Brush with Greatness


Mark At The Tower Theater New Year's Eve Comedy Show. 12/31/06.

Happy Friggin New Year!

I almost didn't go to this show. How friggin dumb would that have been? It turned out to be a great night and I almost turned down a last minute invitation from Rev. Bob Levy to go to this show because I thought the drive down to Philadelphia was going to be awful. Well, the drive down was awful but it was definitely worth the trip.

I'd heard stories about the Philly fans being a little out of control at shows these guys have done in the past so I had to see it first hand. The fans in Philly really are pretty hard core. When my wife and I sat down in the huge Tower Theater about an hour before show time, there were a couple hundred people sitting in this 3000 seat theater. There were already a few rowdy people yelling out Stern Show references at the top of their lungs. I knew then that the stories I'd heard about the rowdy crowds were true.

Shortly after we sat down a live band, Feff, came out to perform some songs before the show. I didn't know what to expect at first but it turns out they were pretty friggin awesome.

When we were seated by the usher we asked him about our VIP passes and if it was okay to go back stage. The guy told me that they weren't letting anyone back stage until after the show. At first I was okay with it but then I figured the guy was full of it and didn't know what he was talking about so I made a call to Bob Levy who figured it was bullshit as well. Within a few minutes we were back stage hanging with Bob, Artie, Richard Christy and a bunch of other people. Irish John, Eddie the Produce Guy and Tony Russo from Unforgettable Fire showed up there as well.

There's more to this story that I'll have to write up at another time... Long story short, Artie was scheduled to appear on Late Show with David Letterman this week (on January 3rd) and I was able to score tickets for me my friend Haydn. Since I was able to talk to Artie at this comedy show, I mentioned to him that I was going to be at Letterman to see him. Without me even asking, Artie told me that I could come back and hang out with him back stage at Letterman. I told him I didn't want to bother him before that show but he seemed fine with it. This new year was starting out pretty friggin great.

Artie welcomes the fans Standing Ovation for ArtieOnce the show started my wife and I headed out to the theater to see what was going on. Paul Dell'Angelo was hosting the show. Once he got things rolling he brought out Dan the Song Parody Man who performed a couple of song parodies that he and the guys in Feff created for the Stern show. After Dan they brought out Shuli who was pulling double duty as a Howard 100 News reporter and comedian on this night. The crowd was pretty brutal with everyone. They would start chanting ''Artie, Artie!'' as these guys were trying to do their acts. Shuli seemed to be getting a lot of shit from the crowd for no apparent reason.

Richard Christy got some love from the crowd but it was still apparent that they were all there to see the man... Artie Lange. After Richard Christy was done, Rev. Bob Levy got up on stage and had the crowd laughing as he does every time I've seen him.

After Bob was done Artie was introduced and the crowd went nuts. He got a standing ovation and I've never heard a crowd cheer so loud. I've been to a lot of comedy shows and I've never seen a reaction like that. The Philly fans really are hard core. Artie had to give them a couple of minutes to calm down before he could get into his act. He did his thing for a while and at about 11:45pm he went and got a special hook up for SIRIUS so they could do the countdown to the new year. Feff played some tunes while Artie got prepared. Then they went live on SIRIUS and the crowd went wild.

Artie counted down the new year and then performed a couple of songs with Feff. When he was singing Bruce Springsteen's ''Glory Days'' some of the crowd kind of rushed the stage and started hopping up to sing with him. Security came over and started taking them off the stage and throwing them out. The more that got thrown out, the more that would hop on stage. It looked like things were getting a little out of control so my wife and I headed back stage where it might be a little safer.

We went up to the green room and told Shuli what was going on with the crowds rushing the stage since he was there as a Howard 100 News reporter as well as a comedian. By the time we headed down to the stage area, the nutty fans had stopped hopping up on stage.

Richard Christy played drums for about a minute to demonstrate his amazing drumming abilities. Artie performed another song and then ended the show sometime around 12:20am. It was pretty wild to be in that theater with so many fans going crazy for Artie.

Mark with Richard and Shuli Mark with Richard and ShuliAfter the show was over I got a couple of pictures with Shuli and Richard Christy. Richard told me what a lifeline my site was years ago when he was out on tour with his band or working as an electrician. I still love to hear that stuff from these guys. After spending a few minutes with Richard we headed back up to the green room to say goodbye to everyone. After that we headed out the back door of the theater and right toward Artie's limo. Artie wasn't far behind so there was a pretty big crowd of fans waiting out there to take some pictures and to yell out his name some more.

Damn these shows are fun. I'm glad I didn't pass up on this one. I gotta get out to more of these shows. Check out to see if they're appearing in your area.

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