POSTED ON FEBRUARY 27, 2013:
A Comedy-Heavy Week
Punctuated by abject sorrow for good measure
Rita Rudner is a rare comedian in that she's very quiet and reserved in her sometimes-earnest, sometimes-deadpan delivery, and also that she doesn't work blue. Why not? She said it's just who she is.
"I like to keep it clean, because I don't want people to laugh because they're shocked or uncomfortable," she said recently. But this isn't a gimmick on her part. Rather, it's an extension of who she is.
"I just did what came natural. I've always been a goody two-shoes. That's who I am," she said. "I always went to be early and ate a good breakfast. I was never in trouble with the law or in rehab. I've never gained 140 pounds and lost it with gastro surgery. Only married once."
And staying in that wheelhouse, she's made a name for herself as a comic, and has also written novels, plays, and screenplays. She's a versatile woman.
After working in Las Vegas playing six shows a week, she's now bringing her wry observations to the Osage Event Center, located at 951 W. 36th St. North, at 7pm on Saturday, March 2.
The stint in Vegas did the comic good, allowing her to try new material, but also be home at night, rather than on the road for weeks at a time.
"When you do shows a lot and you're comfortable with your audience, you can try lots of things," she said. "When you don't do lots of shows, you're like, 'Oh my gosh, I hope I can remember my show.' But in Las Vegas, I could try new material and work on my delivery and things like that."
But again, after 11 years, she had a realization.
"All of a sudden, when you work every night of your whole life for 11 years, you go, 'I've been working every night for 11 years,'" Rudner said. "I still do shows in Vegas, but I like to travel as well. I don't want to be on the road all the time, because I have a husband and a daughter and a dog, and no one walks the dog but me."
That said, Rudner does not regret the Vegas stint in the least.
"It was wonderful for raising a child, because even though I was working every night, I got to go home to my daughter," she said. "And then Celine [Dion] copied me. She did the same thing. Everything I do, Celine has to do. And then Elton [John]. They all owe me a lot of drinks."
Yeah, those are some pretty big sellers in Vegas. A drink seems the least they owe her.
She comes to the Osage Event Center with comedian Paul Reiser, probably best known for his work alongside Helen Hunt in the '90s TV hit Mad About You, but he was doing stand-up long before then. This pairing happens now and again, she said.
"We work together sometimes. We worked together last weekend in Palm Desert, and that was fun," Rudner said. "But I also two-time him, and he two-times me. He works with other people and I work with other people and I work with myself. I'm disloyal."
Rudner said the two work well together when they headline a show.
"I have my own rhythm, and I do things people can relate to because we're all in the same boat. Paul and I are kind of like the male and female. We have our own ways of looking at things," she said.
Both comedians draw on their family lives for their comedy, though Rudner said she's often been hesitant to mention her preteen daughter.
"I have lots more things to talk about now that I have a family than I used to," she said. "But I'm careful, because my daughter didn't sign up for this. My husband did, because he booked me for a show, he paid me, he dated me, and he married me, but my daughter didn't. So I don't want to do a lot of material about my daughter."
Once daughter Molly saw her mom do a full-length show at the ripe old age of six, however, she was chagrined.
"After the show, she said, 'You don't talk about me enough! Talk more about me!" Rudner recalled.
That may change when the teenage years are in full force, but I digress.
Rudner has headlined shows around the country since the 20th century. She's smart, she's funny, and unless she's related to you, she might tell a joke about you.
Tickets are $50 and are available through the Osage Casino Box Office, 918-699-7667 or 877-246-8777.
Let Us Go to SPAMALOT. It is a Silly Place.
I don't know how it is with girls, but among us guys, there is nary a more fun bonding experience than exchanging quotes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. To wit: When I say, "Bring me a shrubbery," you laugh, and respond with, "I'm not dead yet." Some other dude walks up and says, "Help! I'm being repressed!" and we're all instantly friends, at which time we say, in unison, "I fart in your general direction" before laughing hysterically. Seriously. This is scientific fact.
Now is your chance to experience this ultimate bonding activity live and in person, as the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center's Spotlight Series brings Monty Python's SPAMALOT to town for one show only Sunday, March 3 at 7:30pm.
Arthur and his doofus knights rally to search for the Holy Grail in this musical adaptation of the 1975 film. And it's a good one, too -- three Tonys, a Grammy, and a host of other awards. In fact, I don't know of anyone who's seen this show and not absolutely loved it.
Tickets range from $20 to $60, and are available through thebapac.com or by phone at the venue's box office at 918-259-5778.
Go see the show, or I shall taunt you a second time.
Classiest (and Dance-iest) Drag Show Ever
Tulsa Project Theatre hopes to continue its streak of critical and commercial hits this season with the story of Tracy Turnblad, the big-boned gal who just wants to dance. Oh, and be a star, too.
There is commentary on race relations herein, as it's set in the early '60s in Baltimore, but it's neither a heavy-handed nor serious show. It's fun for everyone, and it's kid-friendly, too.
Join Tracy, Corny, Link, and the rest of them at the Tulsa Convention Center's Assembly Hall. The show runs March 1-2 and 8-9 with 7:30pm shows, and March 2-3 and 9-10 with 2pm matinees. Visit tulsaprojecttheatre.com for tickets, which start at $20.
Tell Me about the Rabbits, George
Steinbeck's brutal and heart-wrenching tale springs to life in the ATC production. Brian Rattlingourd and Nate Gavin play George and Lennie, respectively, as the pair navigates the Great Depression, loneliness, powerlessness, and the ever-unattainable dreams that so many of us cling to, even in the face of certain failure and tragedy.
Gavin is one of (if not the) finest actors our city has to offer, and Rattlingourd is no slouch, either.
Go see this one. Everyone needs a good heart-breaking from time to time.
ATC's Of Mice and Men runs March 1, 2, 7, 8, and 9 at 8pm in the John H. Williams Theater downstairs at the PAC, and a 2pm matinee runs March 3. Tickets are $30 and are available through myticketoffice.com, 918-596-7111, or at the Second Street box office.
Phoenix House (formerly the Blue Jackalope) brings two yogis to town for a weekend of instruction in the Kundalini variety of the practice -- one that blends breathing, movement, chanting, and what the yogis call "the science of sequence."
Ana Brett and Ravi Singh lead three sessions over March 1 and 2 designed to help participants enter or strengthen their place in the world of yoga, encouraging Kundalini devotees to explore their own destiny, as well as identify and use their gifts.
All three sessions cost $95, but there are spaces available for individual sessions, as well.
Reservations are required, so hit up firstname.lastname@example.org or call 918-814-4774 to reserve your spot. Phoenix House is located at 306 S. Phoenix Ave.
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