This has been a pretty amazing weekend, starting on Thursday when I got a call to see if I was available to be the opening act at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom
for comedy legend George Carlin. The call came in just after noon, and the New Hampshire spot was about a 5 hour drive from my apartment (under perfect driving conditions, which never seem to exist when driving through Massachusetts), so it was going to be close, so I basically dropped everything and jumped in my car, guitar at the ready.
I got to the venue, which is huge and holds over 1,500 people and is definitely the largest place I've ever played, and quickly tried to make myself presentable. When Mr. Carlin showed up backstage and was being introduced to me he asked, "where's our Armenian comedian?" which cracked me up, mostly because that meant he had actually been told my name. Not only that, he said he watched some of my YouTube
clips on his iPhone during the drive in. How cool is that
I was brought on stage as many people were still getting seated and getting their first round of drinks--such is the lot of an opening act--so there was a bit of a buzz in the room, but the crowd came together, I did my best half hour and I left to a nice ovation. Carlin's folks were happy, I was happy, and the crowd was ready to see their headliner.
There was a 20-minute intermission to give the folks a chance to get a drink, buy a t-shirt, etc., and then the lights went down. The crowd cheered. From off stage a voice simply said, "ladies and gentlemen, George Carlin," and the place went nuts. Several people stood. The man nearly gets a standing O. walking on the stage. Pretty effing cool.
He worked on a lot of new stuff, and it was great not only to watch him perform but to see how much adoration he got from the crowd. Not only that, he's 70 years old (though doesn't seem 70) and he still loves to perform. I have a lot of respect for that.
So how the heck did they find me? Well, I have been scheduled to open for him for a few dates in November, but I haven't really mentioned it too much because things in show business sometimes fall through and it's always awkward to retract something cool that was supposed to happen. That's why some of us performers keep things under our hats for a while.
But now that I've at least done one show for them, I guess I can let the cat out of the bag. I'm scheduled to open for him November 2, 3, & 4. I'll post the venue info when it comes in.
It's definitely one of the biggest thrills of my comedy career thus far, and the fact that it came up at the last minute and involved a madcap drive up to New Hampshire gave the whole episode a sense of adventure.
Thanks to everyone at the venue, everyone was really nice and helpful, and I even had my own dressing room with snacks! I've hit the big time.
Labels: Casino Ballroom, comedy, George Carlin, Hampton Beach, I-495, Rob Paravonian