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George Carlin

All 50 States Day 21: Massachusetts!

All 50 States Day 21:


My favorite show that I’ve ever done was in Massachusetts, in Boston opening for George Carlin at the hilariously named Wang Theater on March 15, 2008. The night before we played at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut to a crowd that was okay but not as lively as Carlin crowds usually were. The Boston crowd, on the other hand, was exceptional.

It was the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day and the theater was sold out. My 30-minute set went over like gangbusters, and when I got back into my dressing room below the stage Carlin came in from his dressing room next door and said “a lot better than last night, huh?” I was still really amped from the set and stumbled out some humble drivel like “they’re in a good mood,” or something, but eventually calmed down.

Carlin’s manager, Jerry Hamza, came in and we all chatted for a few minutes and I asked Jerry if he’d take a picture of me and George, joking “to prove to my mom I’m actually opening for you.” I hadn’t taken any pictures with him yet, I wanted to focus on doing good work and getting asked back, but the rush of confidence from the packed Saturday night theater helped me build up the nerve.

Jerry took my little digital camera and Carlin threw his arm around my shoulders and said, “a couple of assholes,” right before the picture was snapped. It’s one of my favorite nights in my show business career.

There have been other stops in Massachusetts before and after the Carlin gig in Boston, with a big college season in 2001–2002 that included UMass, Brandeis, Fitchburg State, and the “Worcester Trifecta” (term I invented) of Holy Cross, Assumption, and Worcester State. I even played the fancy schmancy prep school of Phillips Andover! More recently, okay, 2011, I did my first show for one of the Seven Sisters at Smith College in Northampton.

Other Boston area shows include a stop at the Comedy Studio in Cambridge back in 2001 and the Wentworth Institute of Technology in 2003.

  • Marquee for Carlin show at Wang Theater, March 15, 2008
  • George Carlin and me, Wang Theater dressing room, 2008
  • Flyer at Fitchburg State student union, 2010
  • Selfie frame from FlipCam vid at Fitchburg, 2010
  • Keep Dudley Clean sign, Dudley, MA, after show at Nichols College, 2001

All 50 States Day 7: Connecticut!

All 50 States Day 7:


Ah, Connecticut, you crazy Nutmeg State that I have to pronounce “Connect-i-cut” in my head to spell correctly! You’re so close to my home base in Brooklyn, NY, and yet so far!

With its little southwestern dog-leg reaching toward New York City, the Connecticut border is a mere 37 miles from downtown Brooklyn, which makes places like Norwalk and Fairfield accessible for day trips, easy weekend escapes, or even (shudder) the reverse commuting day job. I’ve spent some summer days in Fairfield with friends at a beach house belonging to one of their families, and I’ve also performed in Fairfield at both Sacred Heart University and Fairfield University.

Other colleges I’ve played in the state are Connecticut College in New London, Albertus Mangus in New Haven, and U Conn in Storrs, where I met a second cousin and her family after the show. Turns out I have relatives there!

Two of my appearances opening for George Carlin took place in Connecticut, one at the Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport on March 13, 2008, and the next night at Foxwoods Casino. I have vivid memories of both shows, the beauty of the Klein auditorium compared to the ‘beauty’ of downtown Bridgeport, and having a conversation with Carlin backstage after my set at Foxwoods, when he told me about “Failing: A Very Difficult Piece for String Bass” and thought i’d like it. He said he’d send me a CD of it after the trip and sure enough I got a CD in the mail a week later with a post-it note on it that simply said “from George Carlin.” He was right, I liked it.

And there’s even something from Connecticut that remains in my everyday life: my gold sparkly Music Man Stingray bass that I record with regularly. If you’ve heard any of my self produced albums since 2004, you’ve heard the bass I bought on eBay and drove to Connecticut (either Danbury or Waterbury, I’m trying to verify) to pick up from a music store. The purchase was against the wishes of my girlfriend at the time and in hindsight her opposition should have been a huge red flag. I mean, look at that thing! It’s magnificent!

  1. Foxwoods Marquee, 2008
  2. Ritch Duncan and I, proud of our grilling skillz, 1999(?)
  3. With the Student Activities board at UConn, 2011
  4. Shot of me looking all LL Bean on Fairfield Beach, 2000(?)
  5. The lovely Merritt Parkway in autumn, on a drive back to NYC from gigs in Vermont, 2008
  6. The epic and amazing gold sparkle Music Man StingRay bass! Purchased in 2002, pictured here in 2020.
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