Jimmy Pardo Weekend
So who, exactly, says never meet your heros?
I do, actually. I once paid $50 to meet DEVO post-show, talk, get autographs, that sort of gear. All that happened was we watched a bunch of old musicians come down from a performance high surrounded by fellow nerd-stains like myself, while way-out-of-place gorgeous young women model-types strode around who I guess thought that night, they’d get to sleep with ‘Il Divo’. Swing and a miss, ladies.
If you don’t know, and you should, Jimmy Pardo is the host of one of the best podcasts out there, Never Not Funny. He was the warm-up for the Conan show on TBS and just finished up the first season of Race to Escape on Science Channel and Who-The-Hell-Knows Network in Canada.
Three years ago Ian Atlas, tired of my caterwauling about Pardo not coming to Toronto, booked him for a weekend at Comedy Bar. I hosted. He did my podcast. It was wonderful. This past weekend Jimmy returned and brought with him his podcast co-host and Matt Belknap to do two recordings of their podcast after each of Jimmy’s Friday and Saturday shows. Awesome.
(Note: Ian brings in fantastic comedians to perform in Toronto and you should go see them when they get here. Here’s a listing of his events to come.
So, Awesome? Why Awesome? Jimmy has one of the sharpest minds in comedy. Ever. His ability to weave multiple stories all at once while spinning the plates of audience engagement is glorious. It’s the type of thing that makes you go, “Why do I bother with MY jokes about MY penis?” The stand-up is great and the podcast is “great x great”. Unencumbered by the individual audience engagement of stand-up, he is able to interact with his guests and drive funny into the audience. Staggering.
The Friday I hosted, bringing up to the stage as opening acts, friends and funny people Kate Davis and Luke Gordon Field. With my work done, I snuck to the back to watch Jimmy do his thing. Fantastic. At that point I thought my night would be over and I’d be able to enjoy the live podcast stress-free.
After hearing that I was needed in the green room (for what I assumed was some form of ‘Did you see my Diet Coke?’ emergency), Jimmy approached me as I closed the green room door behind me.
“Would you like to be on the show tonight?”
“What, Never Not Funny?”
“Yes. That’s the show.”
“Is this a question that needs asking?”
Add to this, the other guest on the show was Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart. How does this day get any weirder. I was instructed that Jimmy and Matt would open the show, I’d come out for 10 minutes or so and talk about something. What is that something? That’s when Jimmy caused my entire insides to ask to be excused from my body.
“Do you have an anecdote, a story, anything that we can talk about?”
If you ever want to see your mind erase like a blackboard taking it from a fire hose, have Jimmy Pardo ask you that question five minutes before a live podcast recording starts. Normally, as I listen to Never Not Funny, I play along in my head, putting myself in the guest’s chair.
“That’s where I’d talk about that sebaceous cyst I had once.”
“That’s actually the worst song by Kajagoogoo.”
“I’d bang Neil deGrasse Tyson, marry Magnus Pyke and kill Bill Nye.”
When you’re asked what you’d like to talk about on a show that defines podcasting, you’re done. After what in my head felt like an entire post-graduate career of memory forensics, I came up with the fact that my wife and I went whale watching on our vacation out east. Done. Who knows where the story would go, but it would. The show began and I waited for my name to be called to the stage. I paced constantly trying to figure out what I’d make funny, trying not to look nervous in front of The Hitman, who had is own neuroses to deal with. He asked me what was going to go on, and as I told him not to worry as Jimmy and Matt would have his back, I realized they too would have mine. So, what the hell did I need to worry about? Just the fact that I was seconds from being called to the stage and I desperately needed to pee.
Name was called. Sat on a stool. Talked about whales. Took the applause. Left. Ran to the nearest urinal. Will they ever use the episode? Who knows. I don’t care. If it never sees the light of day, I got to talk to one of the best on one of the best podcasts. If only 120 people heard it, that’s totally great as well.
The next day, Jimmy, Matt and I saw the Blue Jays take apart the Detroit Tigers like they were monkeys yanking windshield wipers off of a car. Because of a cancellation I got to open for Jimmy on the Saturday show as well. The set went great and I got a nice little tip of the hat from local comedy reviewer Glenn Sumi on Twitter. The podcast recording with Sean Cullen was as hilarious as you’d expect.
So, yeah. Fun weekend, an exhausting weekend and a motivating weekend. And you can meet your heroes. Just have a story about whales in your back pocket.