I made it back safe and sound.
There was a time – oh, let’s call it the late 80s/early 90s — in which it was not uncommon for me to hit the road for three weeks or a month at a time. These days, it’s rare for me to go on the road for more than two days at a time, before running back home to the cozy confines of my house, and the warm embrace and relentless face licking of my wife and dog. For clarity, the wife does the embracing…the dog does the face licking.
This trip involved six nights away, while I performed five live shows in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Though I do miss being at home, I still enjoy being out on the road, and the duration of this particular trip really made it feel like a step back in time. Like I was, once again, that greasy young moon-faced daydreamer in a skinny tie, trying to turn a penchant for funny phrasing into a couple of bucks and a couple of drinks. There are noticeable differences, of course. I’m happily able to garner more revenue per show now than I did in 1991, and the quality of venue is better to a degree that is mathematically incalculable (…no red squiggly line – that must be a real word). There were numerous times in the old days when I would do my set… dodge a couple of flying ashtrays in the process… then finish up, walk to the nearest staff member, and ask to be shown to the back door. There, outside, whatever other comic I was working with would be sitting in the car with the engine running so we could make a hasty, clandestine escape into the night without being savagely beaten by the generic and woefully stereotypical group of drunken locals who took offense to the “verbal jousting” that followed their attempts to inform us that we suck. We would speed out of the parking lot and look back at the menacing group of thugs milling about the main exit in our rearview mirror. Then it was off to Tim Horton’s or some such well-lit refuge to split up the night’s loot.
It’s a much more enjoyable post-show exchange with the audience these days. Some photos, some autographs, some handshaking, the occasional offer of a “home cooked meal”. Very rarely does the offer of a savage beating crop up anymore. Can’t say as I miss it. I may have a maudlin propensity toward nostalgia, but that particular slice of the old days can remain firmly pasted in the rearview mirror.