Inside the Improv Green Room: Jon Lovitz

At one point in your life you may have heard the phrase, “A rolling stone gathers no moss.”  Whoever came up with that phrase was telling the truth, but they weren’t telling the whole truth.  While a stone that is constantly rolling doesn’t gather moss, it issubject to significant wear and tear.That being said, I’m happy and relieved that this weekend is over.  I don’t have any moss on me, but I feel slightly eroded.

The week began with a typical scheduling mishap that I am very prone to.  About a month ago, I had told Brad Ryan that I would do a show for him at a VFW in Cecil Township.  Of course, I forgot all about that and on Monday I asked the Manager at the Improv if they wanted me to feature for Jon Lovitz.  They did.  I enthusiastically wrote it down on my calendar.

Oh crap.  I just double-booked myself.

I came to my senses about 3 seconds later and wasn’t sure what to do.  I would need to break a promise with one of the two parties.  There was actually a point in time where I was fantasizing about doing my 7:00 show at the Improv, somehow driving 40 minutes outside the city to Cecil Township to do my set, then magically jumping back in my car and screaming back to the Improv for my 9:00 spot.

Luckily, several of my comedian friends laughed me out of the room when I pitched that idea.  So the Improv manager and I worked out a deal where Mike Wysocki, the MC for the weekend, would bump up to the middle act and Derek Knopsnyder would take the opening spot.

All seemed good in theory.  I did my set at the Improv Saturday night and basically ran out the door.  This running around was taking a toll on me.  As I sat in traffic on I-79 trying to get to the Cecil gig, I unleashed a hot jet-stream of F-bombs for the better part of 20 minutes.  I pulled into the VFW and I was shaking from over-worrying.  Of course, everything worked out fine and I made it just in time for the start of what would turn out to be an unbelievable show.

Overall, working with Jon Lovitz was a good experience.  Mike Wysocki was a great host and Jon did well at all of the shows.  He was surprisingly edgy, which I didn’t expect.  He had bits ranging from religion to racism.  From sex to celebrities.

Jon had taken a weird road into stand-up comedy.  He first got his break on TV as a cast member of SNL.  He then went on to do movies (Mom and Dad Save the World, A League of Their Own).  Then he had his own animated show (The Critic) and has done lots of voice-over work.  He told the audience why he started doing stand-up about 7 years ago:

“Because I can barely afford the payments on my yacht.  That’s why I’m here.”

I unfortunately didn’t get to talk with Jon much.  So if you’re looking for some insightful points into his life, I’m afraid you’ll have to rummage through his trash like a normal person.

I left the weekend feeling good, but weary.  It’s a good problem to have, I guess.  Yet another reason why I think it takes tremendous courage to be a real comedian and work the road for weeks at a time.  It really is mentally draining.

There’s something depressing about finishing up a series of shows for the week.  I think it’s because of the uncertainty that becomes apparent when you get in your car after the last show on Sunday.  You’re so focused on the task at hand, making people laugh, that when you finally finish your shift, the night seems a little darker, the road a little more blurry.  You think, “Well.  That’s done.  Now what?”

Onward and upward.