Tonight I saw Paula. Performing, that is. Her stand-up comedy. Live on-stage at the gorgeous and intimate (only 588 seats) Lincoln Theatre. Paula is also gorgeous, although we were not intimate. Part of my excitement comes from the fact that I haven’t been to ‘the theatre’ since I was laid off- when working in Corporate America I made enough money to see live performances by people such as Margaret Cho (3 times). Kathy Griffin (twice), Eddie Izzard and Colin & Brad. Also Dolly Parton, Barry Manilow and David Sedaris. You might notice that list is heavy with comics. I love to laugh- an all-day marathon of the British Who’s Line Is It Anyway? was a major factor in my healing from a serious (18 days in hospital, 4 surgeries) car accident.
But there is more to it; as my brother said when eulogizing our Mom we were raised to appreciate and respect great comedy. (Note to self; ask JB for permission to quote) And as much as I enjoy watching Margaret, Kathy and the rest, Paula holds a special place in my affections.
All good comics make a point of finding some local bit to mention; Columbus and Ohio offer plenty of material. We are a ‘swing state’ in the upcoming election, home of the OSU Buckeyes, Nationwide Insurance, Wendys and more. As Paula reminded us, the city is named after the man who landed his three ships here (on the banks of the Scioto River). Paula then riffed about seeing the offices of COAAA (the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging). But she doesn’t stop there. A major part of her act is interacting with the audience; careers, place names and other tidbits are but jumping off points for her. It is what ‘improv’ is like when a single performer can’t fall back on partners and cliches to get through the night. Of course this is mixed in with observations on the world around us, her personal life (well, some parts of it) and some old material that never goes stale (cats and water, for example).
I was lucky enough to be get her attention (1984 was written in 1948) and we chatted a bit; I might have thrown her a bit when I identified myself (see Big Prize). Other audience members providing her with material included a local tax lawyer (because tax law says so), a pre-school teacher (safe behind the moat around German Village) and a few others. It makes for a memorable evening; and one that is about as personalized as she can get without doing 3 minutes with each audience member. I would love to see that; I am sure that she is quite capable of doing a 29 hour show. Or else an even more intimate space – how about my Living Room?
After the show I waited in the lobby to meet her. I had no cash on hand so no book or dvd purchase, but she did graciously sign my ticket (see below). I did get a pic with her, but only on a cheap phone camera in bad lighting. We chatted for a minute, but her police escort was eager to go. Oh and as for the title of this post – you had to be there.