Saturday, October 22, 2005

Stage Fright

Tonight we went to see Penn & Teller. Before the show started, we were asked go on stage and check out a box and sign an envelope. We didn't, but the ones who did, thoroughly checked out the box inside and out, to see if there were any false panels or sliding doors, so we figured that watching all of them check out the box was good enuf.

Well, about 45 minutes into the show, completely by chance, I was called ON.STAGE. They had just finished a bit about ESP by giving 2 random people joke books and they had to pick a joke out of the book and Penn had to figure out which joke they picked. Of course, he was able to figure out which jokes they picked, but in the meantime, another joke book was being passed around the theatre for everyone to verify that the books were ‘for real’. My father-in-law passed the book to me and w/in a second after I received it, Penn asked “Who has the book?” A spotlight shined on me and I lifted it up. He called me onto the stage - ‘Oh dear lord’ I’m thinking. As I got up on stage, he asked my name and shakes my hand. Very cordial. Had me sit in a chair, big spotlight. I look out into the audience and it’s true…it’s totally black out there except for the 1st 2 rows. But I know that there are hundreds of eyes staring at me…and you all KNOW how much I hate hate hate having attention paid to me (and…I’m thinking…damnit, if this had to happen why couldn’t it have happened 2 years ago when I was skinnier?!?! – LOL! And of course, since it’s not 2 years ago, I’m dressing a lot more like a…eh hem…slob - LOL again!!) Nothing I can do about that now, just try to play it cool. At least I’m wearing one of my awesome “Life is Good” t-shirts. hehe. Anyhoo…bygones.

First thing he did was explain the bit of this ‘act’: that I would randomly pick a joke out of the book and everyone in the audience would know the punchline. Well, he has me pick a page, any page, out of the joke book. Tells me to read the jokes to myself thoroughly on the two facing pages but don’t worry about the picture on it. He asks how many jokes are on the 2 pages – “5” I say. Then he has me make sure that all of the jokes are totally different, he reads out loud over my shoulder, 1st one’s about a prostitute, 2nd one was a classic Buddy Hackett joke, 3rd one was about nuns, 4th one about the stereotypical vegas tourist and the 5th one about a jogger in central park. He told me to pick one and read it aloud. I start reading, apparently too fast: “A jogger in central park…” “Hold on Madeline, go a little slower…but before you start again, did you sign the envelope?” “um. No.” he ribs me a bit about how the pianist was suppose to get everyone in the audience to sign the envelope and since he didn't do his job right his pay would be docked. So he has another audience member verify her signature on the envelope to show that it hasn’t been tampered with. Teller had already ripped open the envelope and once the lady verified her signature, she pulled out another sealed envelope. Then Penn told me to continue reading, “A jogger in Central Park runs up to a man with a dog. He cautiously asks the man “does your dog bite?” the man replies “No, my dog doesn’t bite.” Happily, the jogger continued running past the man, but the dog snarled and bit him. “I thought said your dog doesn’t bite!!”. And the man said…” I pause for the audience to tell me the punchline and they all say “That’s not my dog!”. Penn and Teller had opened the envelope and in it was the punchline to my joke written on a big banner for everyone to read. WOW!!! How’d they do that??? They gave me the banner, thanked me and I went back to my seat.

It was pretty cool actually. I did get very hot up there…nervous and had a hard time paying attention to Penn because so many things were running through my mind “people looking at me. Pick the joke. What did he just say? Dang that spotlight is bright and hot. Don’t make a fool out of yourself. Oh no, you didn’t sign the envelope. Breath. Don’t read too fast this time. Don’t stumble over your words. Everyone’s looking at me.” But in the end, it was totally cool. after the show I got Penn to autograph the big banner that had “That’s not my dog!” written on it.

Of course, Jimmy figured out how they did the bit. Can you figure it out? Lemme know how you think they did it! Comments please…

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