December 11, 2010

Prizes: Shows! Shows! Shows!

Good God, there is too much happening at this Monday's long-awaited episode of the BQT. Apart from it simply being the first NYC event in far too many moons, we got the preshow Jeopardy! viewing party, the possible debut of the BQT buzzer system (I believe in technology when it believes in me), and a super-secret surprise (at least one of them). And, as always, we got prizes.
Shows! Straight from Broadway, the one-man show Colin Quinn: Long Story Short. Like many of you, I first became familiar with this guy as the annoyingly endearing, endearingly annoying sidekick on perhaps the greatest non–Price Is Right TV game show of all time, Remote Control. He wasn't bad, though clearly not the reason I was a fan, and several years later, when he showed up looking uncomfortable on Saturday Night Live, I wondered how the hell this guy got to be (semi-)famous. Damn, I could do this. I would do this! I decided to become a stand-up.

So I became a stand-up, and shiver me timbers, found myself opening for Colin Quinn (eh, not really; he performed in the 8pm show, I was in the 6:30 one, but cut me a break, I was getting neither paid nor laid). And this guy quickly gave me a clear and undeniable lesson about why I would never make it in that insane business: He was funny, yes, but also smart (even though I didn't always agree with his insight; dude was totally pro–Iraq War), and—most importantly—he was completely cool and comfortable onstage, making it look stupid easy. He made the whole room feel like they were his nicely toasted drinking buddies, trading jokes and observations at the bar on a Friday night (or, if you prefer, his thoroughly stoned roommates, trading jokes and observations in the dorm on a Saturday night). By contrast, my act was occasionally funny, usually smart, but I was never cool and comfortable—nothing looked easy in my set. That was that; I didn't last much longer at the Comedy Cellar.

And now—Broadway! Long Story Short is billed as the "History of the World in 75 Minutes," and will you look at that, it's directed by some old sitcom star! It was just extended to February 5, so get your tickets while you can. Or, better yet, win them Monday night.

Plus, Off Broadway…The Flying Karamazov Brothers! These guys played NYC in the '80s, my parents took me, and I remember it with uncanny detail. They juggled. Like, everything. They invite the audience to bring stuff for them to rhythmically toss in the air (I recall a pound of liver), and you best your bippy, they fucking juggle it. Boom. Plus, I can pinpoint this show as the exact moment I learned about the time-honored art of improvisation: They kept making fun of a horrible sport jacket some guy in the front row was wearing, I figured he must have been a plant, but my mother (being the show business veteran she is) told me about the art of ad libbing. And years later, I was angling for laughs on an Upright Citizens Brigade stage.

And now the FKBs are back. "Their looks can kill, their show can slightly injure," goes the slogan, so apparently the modern-edition Brothers are rather handsome fellows. (I remember a bunch of bearded dudes who looked like nerdy versions of ZZ Top.) Judge for yourself…

Free tickets to some lucky winners Monday night. Plus, since I love you, you can get cheap tix by going to Ticketmaster and using the code LSP584. And please, avoid any "dropping balls" jokes. Thanks!

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