I’ve had a day to digest it., this show 24 hours ago at the White Oaks resort in Niagara on the lake, Ontario.
I’d say it was easily in the top 5 performances of my 25 year career in comedy & magic. Show for a small corporate audience. I got a standing O and an encore. These things happen with some regularity, but this encore, the audience was banging on the tables for it. People were literally cheering. I’d noticed throughout the show the people sitting closest to the stage, men and women, were crying from laughing so hard, wiping their eyes with table linens. From the first line to the last everything got huge laughs and big applause. I was, as they say, “on fire that night.”
I don’t say that to brag but merely to set up the situation. Good as that show was I feel like it wasn’t me that performed it. I didn’t even feel like I was onstage. I felt like a puppet being controlled by some other entity. Honestly. You’ll hear comics say that when you’re really killing on stage you’re “in the zone”, and while that’s true and I was last night, there was more to it. I had almost an “out of body experience”. I’ve never had it happen before and I’ve literally done thousands of shows. It was, as if, something took over me and performed. I’m not talking a ghost or spirit, but there were times during that hour and fifteen minute show when I had an improv line and it got a huge laugh and at the moment of delivering the line I thought in my head “did I just say that, who the hell said that?”.
Often when you’re really clicking with the crowd and being spontaneous the thought in your head is, “wow…. I can’t believe I came up with that comment so quick”. I’ve experienced that many times. This was something else. Creepy. Really creepy.
I was on the phone with a comedian friend, Bill Davern about 15 min before I walked onstage that night. I mentioned to him that I thought it was going to be a tough gig. I could tell the crowd was introverted and quiet, and getting laughs was going to be like pulling teeth. After a certain number of years in corporate entertainment you learn to walk into a room and instantly tell how the show will go. We were talking about another comic, recently deceased. A funny almost egoless act named Dave Hook. Dave was young when he died. He and I started in comedy clubs at the same time and it always shook me that he died very, very young. Bill and I often say that Hook isn’t really dead as long as we’re talking and writing about him. Like the Egyptians, who thought you could erase a person from time and space by removing all record of their name. Maybe that’s why comics reminisce about our comedy friends so much. Gotta keep ‘em alive.
End of the day, I’ve no idea what the heck was guiding me through that show at White Oaks. I’ll probably never kill like that again onstage. Not with that much new, off the cuff material and most certainly not with that speed. I kind of like to think Hook was guiding me through what would have been a tough gig. Maybe he just took over because it was easier to shift gears and bob and weave through the material if he did it himself. One things for sure, IF, and I’m not sure I believe there was some paranormal nonsense happening, but IF it was Hook taking over and working for me, I’m sure glad he didn’t make me sing “Sodomy Saturday Night”, or any of his other song parodies.
Tell you what. Email me, and I’ll tell you the most hilarious story about Dave Hook or possibly any other Canadian comedian. It happened at a fundraiser in Toronto. Use the subject line “Ronald McDonald”. We have to make sure Hook keeps on truckin’.
See ya on the other side kids,
Matt DiSero, Toronto, Ontario workin’ it from the conference and convention comedian circuit