Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sammy Shore, and Short Bus Shows

It's been a long week with the husband dealing with post surgical stuff, one of my favorite sets of pals becoming engaged, and then a car accident- everyone is fine, (People 1, Car 0). Unfortunately it was the hubby's car that lost the battle, so that's another movie written. Lots of comedy in there. Just not tonight.

Friday night was the Short Bus Comics sophomore show- the second of a long great run at the Onyx Theater, in Vegas. Roman, the producer, is certainly one of the most talented artist hunters I've ever met. I emcee'd a room that was filled with great energy, great comedy, and great people. Some folks hit the stage for the very first time, some are storytellers, some are Aliens from another planet, and some are puppetmasters. But all of them are true to themselves, and do that special thing that makes comedy so much better live- they let themselves goof up, and the try things that others aren't willing to risk.

For this reason specifically, I expect the Short Bus show to last in Vegas for a very very very very long time. It's reminiscent of the Greenwich Village shows at coffee houses where you'd see Woody Allen play alongside Brother Theodore. (Yes, Gabriel, that was for you.) It's the melting pot of humor that works really well because there isn't a "You do comedy this way" method that seems to prevent other rooms from gathering heat. With the warm personalities- every one is there from start to finish supporting one another, and offering something amazing- a home.

After a few minor glitches with mics, and with the goofy emcee getting a couple comis out of order..(sorry guys).. the show was mostly a smooth run of the magnetic personalities and truly unique acts that made being on stage just a joy from start to finish.

This morning, I had to get up at 6am to prep for the book fair at the Clark County Library. (yeah, I know, zombies don't even get up at 6 in Vegas.) It was pretty insane, but it had to be done. Lots of print-outs. Lots of copes for the Las Vegas Quillkeepers table. One other member made it, and she was amazing, (thanks Wista). The guy who had the table after me is not unkown to comedy circles.

The fact was, I know his daughter Sandi. We met about 12 years ago, in Los Angeles, at the Comedy Store, when I wanted to brush up on my act after being off stage for 6 months. Sandi has a book about comedy and it's pretty good- we got to be friends and I even helped her with her website for a little while. She would bring her dog to the club, and her dog and I were also friends. His son, Pauly, was at the club when I was doing stage time for the first time there. He was a mere 17 years old, I believe, and still Rodney Dangerfield's favorite kid comic up until he died.

Mitzi was a terrific mentor, and I'd hear her telling other comics, "you'd be good if you just worked a few other rooms, then came back". I was lucky enough to be "passed" the first time she saw me, when she said, "You got something unusual kid, don't lose it." In the divorce, Sammy Shore gave Mitzi the Comedy Store, and she really made it into the home for most Los Angeles comedians.

Sitting with Sammy today was a complete accident. It turns out our table was to be his at a designated time, and I waited for him, to help him set up and to say hello- he is SAMMY SHORE after all. The peer to Moms Mabely, Phyllis Diller, Joey Bishop, and the opening act for Elvis for five years. There isn't a stage that Sammy didn't own, and to meet with him, after having dozens of chats with his daughter and son was just a thrill so hard to describe.

He was just the glowing dad when it came to talk about Sandi- and that was charming. Working with Tony Orlando is also something he was just excited about telling me...and he was just vibrant. The guy may be 81 on the outside, but he's about 35 upstairs. Smart, swift, and really a funny guy who has seen it all. His hearing isn't the best- and my low voice probably didn't help- but we had a great chat. Politics, publishing, comedy, the Store, his kids, his dogs- we just had a nice afternoon.

So for the last 12 hours I had a great immersion into the world that is comedy- part with new legends to be, and part with a true master of the form. It was a day that let me know "I'm doing the right thing, and these are my people."

It's a great feeling.


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