One of the reasons I love doing stand-up in NYC is the pop ins. Well known people just pop in . This week in NYC Louis CK and Chris Rock are both doing the rounds. A few weeks ago Robin William also did a set downtown. Yes, that Robin Williams. I know I didn’t think he did standup any more either.
Last night I was waiting to go on stage and I started talking to a comedian named Modi who had just gotten off stage. There was a little small talk and then he introduced me to his friend James. I said nice to meet you and we chatted a little. Modi had asked me how my autistic son was doing, and so James jumped in with a well thought out comment about some of the research that was happening right now. He looked familiar but I could not place him.
Thinking he might be a comedian I asked,
“You going up?” (shop talk for are you performing)
He laughed “No, I don’t think so. I don’t think I could do it. I could do it for like 30 seconds and then I would bomb.”
I still could not place him, Ok so he is not a comedian, I tried to salvage the situation and make a guess.
“Well, I figured you where an entertainer so, maybe you started in stand up.” I was grasping at straws.
He laughs, “Comedy is hard. I was on Conan this week, it made me think about the first time I was on Conan. It was 14 years ago and I was at the height of my doucheness. I told these terrible, long boring stories with no punch lines. It was terrible. After the first story I could not hear any laughter but I figured maybe the crowd was not mic’d up so maybe we just couldn’t hear them. Then the second ridiculous story I told Conan say it was going no where and tried to save me and threw in a punch line and I could hear the roar of the laughter from the crowd. Which was great but then I realized, my punch line was not going to be good as his, and I have no where to go with this story.” At this point James eyes get big and he looks horrified. I can almost feel the pain he is describing. The pain of bombing that any comedian knows. Ok, so he is in show business but I still had no idea who he is.
He continues, “It was just a weird time for me everything was going so well. I was 21, Varsity Blues was coming out. What can I say, I was at the height of my doucheness.”
It’s the dude from Dawson’s Creek, that is who it is. Now from those of your who are like how do you not recognize James Van der Beek (I had to look up his real name). In my defense when that show came out, I was in my late 20’s, and have testicles so I am pretty such I am not really the target demographic.
Turned out to be nice guy. Oh, and then Chris Rock showed up and did 43 minutes of new stuff, that’s very cool. Guessing much of it will make it to his next special.
Sometimes NYC is cool.