Saturday, March 19, 2011

Surprise in Chicago

David forgot to leave the key, so if I left the apartment, I couldn't come back until he was back from work. Thus, I didn't leave until well after noon and wasn't in a hurry to get anywhere, except there was a bit of a chill and I hadn't worn a jacket. I went into the first store that I thought I could pass as a legit patron to warm up, Reckless Records in Wicker Park. I casually browsed records, just in case I came across anything special. Amber called and I paced the aisles talking with her, not in a hurry to go back outside without knowing where I was going. I became aware that the store had begin to fill with an unexpectedly large amount of people for a Friday afternoon. I was still talking with Amber and slightly disoriented and wasn't able to process what was happening. Was there a band preforming or something? I was just about to put Amber on hold to ask someone when I saw a poster advertising an in-store appearance by Patton Oswalt, of "The King Of Queens" fame. I interrupted Amber and demanded what time it was. "Uh, like 2:30," she said. "Why?" Patton Oswalt is reading from his new book in an hour, I told her. No biggie. Of course, I'm telling this to someone who was at SXSW at the time and was being entertained out the wazoo, so it's not like accidentally seeing a comedian read was going to make her jealous, like I secretly hoped it would.

I ended up hanging out by the stage at the back of the store for an hour and change. Oswalt came out and read a couple of quick pieces about Dungeons & Dragons and then took some questions from the adoring audience. One of the most impressive qualities about this guy is that he comes off as very non-exclusive and encouraging. You don't have to know a lot about him to know that he is very supportive of other comedians and his close group of co-workers seems to be deep and wide, rather than just the three other people you saw in "The Comedians of Comedy". More than half of the audience questions came from aspiring comics, and Oswalt was very encouraging and honest with his answers. He told one kid not to worry about delivering jokes like his favorite comics (Oswalt, Louis C.K. etc.) but to just get up on stage. Don't worry about the material, what you look like, anything. Nothing you can do at this point is going to effect your career for good or bad. Just get out there and get experience. It was a refreshing answer. I wonder how many times he's given it.

There was one kid up front that was filming, but when Oswalt realized what he was doing, he told him to stop. He was cool about people taking pictures and I think that I got a couple of keepers that I might put up here later.

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