| Sullivan Waits Stage Schnertzing Penn - 12/03/00
The shows in
SF are amazing. They're the best shows we've done. We're
filling up every show, the crowds are going nuts and we're
really on. Teller and I are really paying attention to each
other and we're relaxed and improving everything. We're
really working together even more than usual. The new bit
is funny, and a head scratcher. It's burning everyone.
It's almost straight jock stuff. It doesn't really have a
twist at all, it's a great few tricks and, as such, really
works in the show. It's also starting, even this soon, to
be fun to do. I have a lot of hard work, but I'm still
digging it. It's already 12 minutes. Man, Nate, Burt, and
Robbie really kicked on this one. They did great work.
This is a perfect team. I couldn't be happier.
So, last night, we're doing this really hot show. It's
packed and we're rocking. Robbie and I had been joking
around backstage. I was giving him a really hard time
putting me in the strait jacket and we were giggly. Unicorn
went well, and, still in a good mood, I picked the kid for
Mofo. I just look at the kids, I don't look at the parents.
I don't look at all, I just grab the kid and go. The kid I
got was named Sullivan. He was chewing gum. From the very
beginning, he had a style that was killing me. He just
didn't care. It was so deadpan. He was easy in himself,
and didn't care at all. We couldn't even get him to say
"no" on the mindreading. He wasn't being difficult, he was
just relaxed. Very relaxed and above it all. And so cute,
chewing gum. Well, I got to laughing. Embarrassing
laughing. You know, Harvey Korman laughing at Tim Conway
laughing. I was so worried it seemed phoney, but I was
close to an episode. I just couldn't stop laughing. I was
in such a good mood, and the kid was so goddamn funny.
We're talking doubled over stuff. You know, what Harvey
Korman is trying to fake.
So, I spin around to grab my drink of water from Nate (he
holds a water bottle while I grab the Magic marker). I
needed a big drink, because my voice has been a bit rough
and my throat was a bit dry. I took a big mouthful and
turned around. I don't have a line for a while, so I fill
my mouth and swallow while Mofo is talking. As I turned
around, well, Sullivan looked at me and flipped his gum
over. It was one of the funniest things I'd ever seen. His
timing, everything. Man, he was funny. I exploded. I
mean, the worlds biggest spit take. So far beyond what
Danny Thomas ever could have dreamed. I found out that the
way I was lit, from the side, it was just this explosion of
water across the stage. Explosion and then I doubled over.
It was also a schnertz. I had water coming out of my nose and
eyes. It almost killed me. Sullivan just watched me. No
emotion, just watched me. And then, slowly brought his hand
up and wiped off his face. Now, you might think I'm
unprofessional so far, but not just keeling over and dying
when he slowly wiped his face, shows I'm the most in control
person who's ever walked the stage. I mean, I kept
breathing and my heart kept beating and that's all you could
ask from anyone. I couldn't do any lines, I couldn't look
at Sullivan, but I kept alive. I kept alive with Sullivan
doing that take and I get credit for that. I mean, it was
Jack Benny funny. It was funny.
I went into the audience to do the Mofo bill part, and I had
a chance to calm down, but Sullivan kept killing. He was so
good, I mentioned him with the Bullet guys at the end of the
show. Man, he was great.
So, after the show, I'm signing autographs and this raspy
voice yells, "Hey Penn". I turn around and it's Tom Waits
with a kid on his shoulders. He said he loved the show, and
I told him how I loved Mule Variations. I didn't really
look at the kid on his shoulders. But, it was Sullivan.
Sullivan Waits. If you think Tom Waits is good, wait for
the next generation. He may kill us all.