Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Secret Lives of Performers... Post Show

Orny Adams
April 28, 2007

I’m up a ways on the coast of Oregon. Beautiful country-- trees, ocean, wineries. I have a suite right on the water: but no internet access (right now I’m in a bank parking lot stealing wireless), the tap water is caramel brown, and when I leaned on the plywood table in the living room area, the top flipped off and I fell over backwards. I sat on my ass laughing, “So this is my life?” It was a good, healthy laugh.

But it’s still a “suite” nonetheless. Suite is an example of a word that should be regulated by the government. Another word worthy of regulation would be “estate.” I see signs for “Estate Sales” all the time. Then I go by the estate and the estate looks a lot like an apartment. I know we all like to overstate our existence, but come on. An estate has to have assets, holdings, and property. It can’t be a rental. I expect to see original paintings and oriental rugs at an estate sale-- not your broken furniture from IKEA or your ripped Urban Outfitter’s beanbag.

The show last night was in a function room of an Indian casino: Basically, a stage, a spot, a mic, and a tapestry backdrop… and a cash bar in the back of the room. (That was a first. It was like a wedding.) The crowd was old… very old. It was a mix of 50% old and 30% what I would describe as NASCAR people. One table brought their own cooler. NASCAR is a word Yankees like to use to describe a certain group of people. “That is so NASCAR.” It is not derogatory, but rather very on point. Just like the words Yankee or Preppy or Northwest Liberal. Sprinkled amidst the old people that showed up for bingo, and regrettably had to see me for an hour, were the other 20%-- pony tailed, Harley t-shirt, tatted up dudes with their wives. Thank gawd! These people might actually relate to some of my stuff.

I genuinely think most topics are universal, but when I was selling my DVD/CD at the end of the night, more than a few people said they did not own a DVD or CD player. Hence the tepid response I got to my keyboard joke. I look forward to doing the keyboard joke. And as I was doing it to this non-connected crowd, I was thinking, “Did I just do this bit a few weeks ago on The Tonight Show?”

They laughed a lot at times. But maybe they were being polite. I’m sure my over-animated character was jarring to many. They seemed to live a more simple life and would not let something like a poorly positioned CAP LOCK key get them all fired up. Their problems, I would surmise, would include: A buffet with an early closing time, states that would not sell liqour on Sunday, and why is my favorite tank top dirty? I was onstage thinking, “You aren’t supposed to get me.”

After the show, I headed back to my “suite” with my bag of DVD/CDs. It was remarkably close in weight to when I left for the show. I got in the elevator and there was a guy who just looked out of place. It was his energy-- a confidence. And maybe he felt the same about me, because he just looked at me and said, “Man that crowd was old tonight.” And I immediately realized I was talking to one of the Beach Boys-- who were also at the casino performing.

I pointed to an events poster on the elevator wall, “Which one are you?” And he said, “My name’s Bruce, that’s me.” I said, “Well that’s me,” as I pointed to my name printed right under the Beach Boys picture.” “Were you funny tonight?,” he asked. “I tried. You one of the original Beach Boys?” (You’ve got to ask because some of these reunion bands have no original members… maybe a drummer, who wasn’t the original drummer, but still played with some of the original members.) But it turns out he was in the original band. How cool. And what we have here is an amazing moment in time: two performers, a musician and a comedian, heading up in an elevator to their luxurious suites, both complaining about the crowd. That’s what performers do when they are done performing. They size up the crowd. Now, I know some of you doubted me at the beginning of this piece-- maybe I was exaggerating about the part of the demographic of my audience. But if a 65-year-old Beach Boy is complaining that the crowd was old-- then THE CROWD WAS OLD!

We talked for a few moments in the hallway. This was a Beach Boy. These guys influenced the Beatles. I was talking to a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. And I couldn’t resist, I just had to ask him, “Is the tap water a bit brown in your suite too?”

Shouldn't this guy be staying in a nicer place?

© Copyright Orny Adams, Icrushed Productions 2007


Michelle36 said...

Wow, I guess you see all kinds of people on the road. I was surprised by the lack of CD players. I thought I lived in the black hole of techology here in Hurricane Central. I actually know a couple who got married in the local Walmart. Atleast it's a Super Center. My family thought I'd give birth there because I was shopping for the new baby all the time. Any way, while I personally have never even seen a Blackberry, I think most of the old people here have CDs and DVDs. I like your blog entry. It must be interesting. If you ever get to perform in Louisiana, you'll get the souther hospitality and I'll personally make a gumbo of epic proportions!

Sharon said...

Hi Orny: Caught your show tonight (Saturday) at the Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City, Oregon, and thought you were great, as did the other 4 ladies I was sitting with. I listen to Blue Collar Radio daily and often hear you and enjoy your stuff. Now I'm going to go google a card game called 3-13 (?) Sharon