Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ask Abbi: Best Show Ever?

Chris of writes:

What's the best comedy show you have ever been to?

Thanks for asking! I have great memories of Butler University, even though I did not go to school there. I made my best Girl Scout cookie sales there as a child, I babysat at a house facing the campus for three consecutive New Year's Eves during my awkward teen years, and in between college semesters, I made extra cash by working as a creative writing camp counselor there in the summer.

The best time I had there when I saw my first live comedy show. Not only is it a fun memory of spending time with my mom, but it is seared in my brain as the hardest I have ever laughed. Sinbad was playing at Clowes Memorial Hall. I was not old enough to go to comedy clubs, so my exposure to stand-up was limited to Comedy Central's programming. This was back when they cut and assembled footage of various stand-up specials together and listed comedian details in the lower left corner, like a music video. You would see a white man in a blazer with fringe sleeves blowing the audience away with his slow, homemade rap song, and then the info would fade in:

Barry Sobel
A Night at Hee-hars

We were about four rows from the stage, and I was really gaga over celebrities. I once jabbed Dick Clark in the arm at a restaurant, just to tell my middle school classmates I had touched him. Now you understand the kind of person who babysits instead of going out with friends on New Year's Eve. So back to the auditorium, when Sinbad walked on stage, my eyes widened in unison with the crowd's crescendo applause. I don't remember his material, but I remember my cheeks hurt from smiling all night. He is still someone I consider to be a significant influence.

I have since seen other stand-up legends, been to amazing improv marathons, and watched SNL from studio 8H, but this show will always be my favorite. Until I see Barry Sobel live.

Feel free to post your questions for Abbi in the comments section, to be answered in a later post, or write curlycomedy (at) with "Ask Abbi" in the Subject.

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Chris said...

Perhaps not the best show I've seen but one that I thought was really cool was Penn & Teller at the Rio in Vegas. Their show was solid but what stuck out to me was that before the show, Penn plays standup bass with a pianist off to the side incognito (his hair down, not really looking out at the audience) and I don't think most people realized that the headliner was also the opening act, playing jazz while the audience filled into their seats.

The other thing which I thought was really cool was both P & T ran out to the lobby after the show to meet and interact with fans, sign autographs, take pictures, etc. (And Teller even talks!) Struck me as a really class act to do since they obviously didn't have to do it but just care about their fans.

The Critic said...

Best comedy show I ever saw? Hmmm...I'd have to dig back into college since I haven't been to too much comedy since then. We used to get free tickets to a local place near where I work, but I can't remember anyone's name right now off the top of my head.

I think I saw Margaret Cho around 1991. That's the only name I recall specifically.

You ever play in Cleveland Abbi, you gotta hook me up with the time and place and I'll be there.

Abbi Crutchfield said...

@ Chris: Magic acts are my favorite. And magic COMEDY acts...(mini fireworks in my eyes).

@ The Critic: I have no problem being the person responsible for re-introducing you to the joys of live comedy! One day my schedule on the right-hand side will say Cleveland. And my league of promotional tween fans will slip a flier under your windshield wiper.

Luke said...

Best live show I've seen was back before I started comedy. I saw Jim Gaffigan at Crackers Comedy Club in Indianapolis. This is before he was famous. He had done one Comedy Central Presents (which I had seen on tv prior--that's why I wanted to see him live), but nothing significant other than that yet.
Crackers can hold an audience of 320+. That night, there was approximately 80 people. This man now sells out Theaters.
Jim gave a flawless show. I've never laughed so hard at a comedy show in my life. I may never again.
There's been more meaningful shows I've been to (i.e. Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, my first show at the Comedy Cellar, the first time I saw Abbi on stage), but I've never been in tears the way I was that night.
And afterwards, I bought one of his self-produced CDs for $7. He was charging 10 but all I had was 7. He gave it to me anyway.

Abbi Crutchfield said...

I'm gonna marry you, boy! Good tale.