My wife, Cheryl and I had the extreme pleasure of seeing Jeff's show last evening. Wow. What a great time. We arrived at the Newport on the Levee complex around 5pm and the show was scheduled for 7pm.
This sort of outdoor mall complex, right along the Ohio river, is beautiful. You can see the downtown Cincinnati skyline from the levee walkway. The Funny Bone Comedy Club is in the complex.
We were joined for dinner by my good friend Tom Ladshaw, Vent Haven Museum Curator Lisa Sweasy and Jeff. We ate at an Italian restaurant called The Brio Tuscan Grill. Great food and a really nice chance to visit.
We then headed on over to the show and we had really excellent seats. The Sunday 7pm show was actually a sell out and Jeff had added an earlier 4pm matinee show.
What was also great (and generally unheard of), was that Jeff had requested the club be non-smoking for his appearances all week (sorry, smokers...don't mean to offend anyone).
Jeff's set was extremely funny as always.
He opened with about 10 minutes of stand-up with no puppets. My wife was in tears with laughter as Jeff talked about family, his cars, his dogs...everyday stuff that people related to, which made this kind of material a huge hit as a warm up.
What was even greater was that almost 90% of his act last night was new material. I have followed Jeff's career for over 25 years and have seen his shows many, many times. I always love seeing the "classic" bits he does, but this new material was a riot. There were a couple of times during the show where Jeff got sidetracked in his planned routine and ended up ad-libbing several MINUTES of off the cuff material. Man, what a pro. The audience was on the floor.
Lisa Sweasy has a very unique laugh and since we were sitting just a few rows back from the stage, I think Jeff heard her laughing specifically. They are such good friends, that it only made Jeff crack up and continue with his on-the-fly routine, as he was having so much fun and trying to contain his genuine laughter as well. I truly believe he had no idea what he (or his characters) were going to say next. It is really easy to see that Jeff loves what he does and has honed his skill of improvisational comedy from years of performing and working at it.
Jeff did a long set with Walter (funnier than ever), his Achmed (spelled "A-phlem-med") the Dead Terrorist (which I personally thought was the funniest character) and closed the show with Peanut and Jose. Again, nearly all new material.
Jeff received a well deserved standing ovation.
After the show we all met up again at a little Irish pub (that served some killer deserts) and visited some more. Jeff was trying to remember and make note of some of the ad lib stuff he had just performed so he could possibly add it to his routine.
Here's a photo of us at the pub after the show
(click on it for a larger view)
Tom, Lee, Jeff, Cheryl and Lisa
Just a great night. Let me say that Jeff is one of the nicest and most genuine comedians in the business. Most people of his 'stature' in the entertainment business are generally not very approachable. I have always found Jeff to be more than willing to take time to talk not only about what is going on in his world, but he also takes an interest in what you have to say.
So, feel free to give Jeff a call at any time. His cell phone number is .....yeah, right.
But seriously, thanks so much to Jeff, Tom and Lisa for such an enjoyable evening.
And, don't forget, Jeff has a brand new 90 minute prime time Comedy Central special which airs on September 23rd.
And his brand new DVD "Spark of Insanity" will be released on September 18th. You can pre-order it right now at amazon.com.
The link above will take you right to his DVD page on amazon.
Oh, and his first DVD "Arguing With Myself" has sold over 500,000 copies. In the world of DVD's, 100,000 is considered a smash and a platinum seller. Think of it. 100,000 is platinum. Jeff has sold over a half million copies of his DVD. Astounding.