Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Saturday Night Surprise

As I mentioned last Friday, I had made plans to go visit Clan Stoneheart on Saturday and they, in turn had formulated some sort of secret evening activity, the only clue to which was the instruction to bring nice clothes to wear. When I mentioned this to some of the Singles on Friday night, somebody suggested that they were going to drag me to the ballet, but I knew it couldn't be anything like that, or else Zinger wouldn't have gone along with it. My thoughts were running something along the lines of a play, but I really had no clue what the night might bring.

I met up with Zinger and Pooh-bear in McKinney for lunchat Scotty P's, and then headed to Casa de Stoneheart where I got to see their puppy Drake and play Guitar Hero for the first time. After awhile we had dinner at Ralph and Kacoo's, an experience which was made especially memorable by the fact that Pooh-bear and I saw a large dead rodent out front as we were walking in; nothing to whet your appetite like a decaying rat, eh? After that we headed back to their place and changed into our nicer clothes and headed out to the mystery event. By this point all I knew was that it was nearby and that they'd purchased tickets in advance. We wound up in downtown McKinney, and headed to the McKinney Performing Arts Center, which is housed in the old McKinney courthouse. It wasn't until we were at the main entrance to the theater that Pooh-bear handed me my ticket and I got to find out what we were there to see: an evening of comedy with former Saturday Night Live cast member Victoria Jackson.

Yeah, never would have guessed that in a million years.

As we were waiting for the show to start, Zinger and I were discussing our memories of Victoria Jackson. I mentioned how she always used to do handstands during the Weekend Update, usually with some sort of festive pants on; he remembered her wearing something patriotic, and I remembered her becoming a Christmas tree. Sadly, couldn't find pictures of either of those, but I did find her declaring her love for her then-boyfriend/now-husband, a Miami, FL, police officer.

Zinger then mentioned that she is a "close personal friend of Al," and wondered if she might mention this; and if you're wondering just who this "Al" is, then I must stress that if Zinger or I ever mention an Al, the odds are pretty good that it's this Al

I then asked "Hey, wasn't she in that old skit 'Their eyes were on their breasts'? I"m pretty sure she played the marksman, Eagleboob." Zinger agreed that he seemed to recall that as well.

By the time the evening was over each of these memories would in some way be reference in her show.

But before we got to enjoy Ms. Jackson, we first got to listen to the spiel of the MPAC director who talked about the upcoming events and raved about the new McKinney Hilton -- "Where the Stars Stay." Then we got to listen to the warm-up act, a local "comedienne"* named Laura Bartlett. Oh, did I say "got to"? I really meant "had to." Wow, was that painful. Never been so glad to see someone leave the stage in all my life. But that train-wreck was quickly washed out of my mind by the joy that was the comedy stylings of Victoria Jackson. Now, her comedy might not be the most cerebral, but her delivery is golden.

I won't bore you by trying to recreate her stand-up routine here, but I would be remiss if I didn't at least talk about the portions of her act where she addressed the things Zinger and I had been discussing prior to the show

  • Early on in the act she recited her poem "The Life of a Gymnast" while doing a handstand; sadly, the microphone placement made it impossible to actually hear the poem

  • While talking about her early days dating her now-husband the cop, she discussed how the first time he came out to see the show was the day after the first time he was forced to kill someone in the line of duty, and how odd it was for him to be coming up to New York in the wake of that and see his girlfriend playing in the skit where she had eyes on her breasts** and how that kind of made them think they lived very different sorts of lives . . .

  • She not only mentioned playing Weird Al's girlfriend in UHF and how it made her actually fall in love with him, she also briefly mentioned her experience filming it in the bustling metropolis of Tulsa, OK, Pooh-bear's old stomping grounds, and how Fran Drescher summed the city up thusly: "There's nothing to do here!"***
There were two other items of notice in her performance. The first was her descriptions of her relationship with her husband, wherein she talked about how she brought necessary chaos into his overly ordered life, and how he had told her that the only possible outcome to their marriage was that whichever one of them slipped into dementia first would be tortured by the other; these and other comments elicited much knowing laughter from Pooh "Necessary Chaos" bear and Zinger "Overly Ordered" Stoneheart.

The other interesting thing was when she stopped in the middle of the set-up to one of her songs to suddenly ask "How many of you here tonight are Christians?" After a good portion of the audience clapped, she exclaimed with great relief how nice it was to be somewhere where people understood her, and how she had been yelled at twice in L.A. for saying she was voting for McCain. She even did an encore where she played not one of her silly songs, but one which she had written for a friend who had just lost her child, a song which was filled with Christian imagery and ideals.

All in all, a very entertaining night, and a very welcome surprise. Muchas gracias, Zinger y Pooh-bear.

*Quotation marks added at Zinger's request; he also would have accepted a footnote of "I use the term loosely"
**When she mentioned this skit, it took all of my willpower not to yell out "Eagleboob!"

***For extra enjoyment, please imagine Victoria Jackson doing her Fran Drescher impression while saying this.