Friday, January 23, 2009

Reflections of Great Gigs, Volume I

It must have been 4 or 5 years ago at least.

I popped into 3G's in Worcester, slightly concerned that I had forgotten to wear a flak jacket that evening. The host of the show, Andy Paquette, was there along with someone or two I can't recall and Vince Golden.

If you don't know Vince, he started comedy years ago, opening for George Burns in the 1850s and later taking Charlie Chaplin under his wing, and is still around today. He is known for a bit where he hurls himself over a railing or some other object, flipping himself onto the floor.

The 3G's bar area was about 1/2 full, most of the patrons watching TV. The other side of the place had a small stage. Vince was on before me, and always sets an example, leaving it all out there, holding nothing back. This man gives the same gusto each performance, regardless of crowd size.

Four people were watching the show, which did not stop Vince from the full performance, hurling himself over a bar stool onto his back with his usual full vigor.

While waiting to do my set, the unfortunate need to take a dump struck. There was no stall for the toilet, and the door didn't quite shut all the way. (Andy informed today this is still the case.) I roamed a block or so down the street to Stoney's Pub and was able to use the facilities there.

Upon returning, I was up there riffing on the place, unsure whether I was bombing in front of 3 people, or 4. One of the patrons had passed. Since he was technically unconscious before I hit the stage, I wasn't sure whether or not he counted? After sharing that thought, I made an off the cuff comment about the vibrant fishing industry in Worcester keeping Gazo's bait shop afloat, the only business I recognized in the decimated city from when I was a youth.) I then asked if anyone knew exactly how many bodies were buried in the back of Gazo's, finally getting attention of the bar folks, who uttered a shocked, "oooooh", which I took as confirmation of the presence of the aforementioned bodies.

The only guy in the entire joint laughing was Andy, the host. he was losing it and really cracking up. I would have had more fun myself were I not concerned with being stabbed en route to my car after this set.

Were it not for places like this and guys like Andy who open rooms so new comics can get stage time, I never would have had the success I did manage to have. I don;t remember that many of the highlights... a few maybe, but shows like this always stick out in my mind.

There is some sort of open mic still running there, and I may drop in to remind myself why I love comedy, and why I hate comedy.


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