I was really looking forward to opening night, because I had seen him open for the Nitty Gritty Dirty Band in 1970 and howled at his HBO special. I remember LMAO watching him blend comedy with playing the banjo, wearing the fake arrow-through-the-head and his signature line, “Well excuuuuuuuse me!”
While I may have been a fan, I also had a job to do that night. I was there to review his show for The Press of Atlantic City.
To thunderous applause and a standing ovation, Martin – in his familiar white suit – made his Atlantic City debut. And for 90 minutes, he proceeded to disappoint the hell out of me.
It’s not that he wasn’t funny. He had the audience in stitches. Only, I’d heard and seen it all before. Virtually every line and every well-crafted sight gag that I first saw live in 1970 and then watched again on his TV special six years later was identical.
In my review, I expressed my disappointment as both a fan and a critic. I chastised him for phoning in the show and suggested – without using the word – that perhaps he was lazy. He’d perfected an act and didn’t feel the need to challenge himself by creating new material.
Martin was not amused. The following night, he walked onto the Superstar Theater stage holding a copy of The Press, specifically my review. And he proceeded to read the review to the audience, which began to boo me in absentia.
After his dramatic recitation, Martin asked the audience to join him in a salute to me – and he raised his middle finger high. Fifteen hundred people followed suit, and the incident actually rated a small blurb on the Associated Press entertainment wire.
Fast forward 10 years. Trump’s Castle books Martin for his first club gig in nine years. Only instead of being the headliner, he insists on being the opening act for the ‘60s band Rob Grill and the Grass Roots. And instead of being Steve Martin, he appears for just seven-minutes as a silent comedy character known as The Great Flydini. (Google it to learn more.)
After the show, I was invited by former Trump entertainment vice president Tom Cantone to have dinner with Martin and several others. As we broke bread, I asked Martin if he remembered the night he flipped me the bird.
He did. And he remembered why, too. He remembered it was my review accusing him of being lazy. And then he did something that floored me.
He admitted I was right. He said he had been through a lazy period, and it wasn’t fair to his fans. I told him I was a fan.
When Dweezil Zappa decided it was time to introduce a new generation to his father’s music and call it “Zappa Plays Zappa,” he didn’t realize the project would be so labor intensive.
The moment Mike Epps realized his comedy tour would bring him to hurricane-battered Atlantic City, he promptly decided to donate a portion of his ticket sales to the storm relief effort. Then he did the next logical thing: He began working on some Sandy-esque material.
'Atlantic City is a great central place and an exciting place. It was just a great room and it was the first one I wanted to go back to.'
When massively popular Dane Cook made the decision to mount a full-blown arena show for his summer Global Thermo Comedy Tour, he wasn’t thinking with his ego. It was, as he explains it, simply a matter of supply versus demand. “It’s certainly not something you decide on your own,” explains Cook, one of only a small handful of comedians who has sampled the rarified air of arenas. “It’s really [about] the fans and having so many people wanting to come and see you.” A decade ago, Cook was a funny but fairly ordinary comedian playing 300-seat comedy clubs. But his popularity was on the rise, due in part to his regular appearances on the...
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With just eight original studio albums in 27 years, they barely rate a blip on the popular music recording radar. Let’s face it, the Saw Doctors aren’t exactly a household name — unless your household is located in Ireland. In that case you just may have a shrine to the band, especially if you’re into Irish-flavored rock ‘n roll.
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