Jamie Garrett’s Epic Weekend Includes Steve Martin and Emergency Rooms
It was an incredible weekend of emotions. From blah to extreme regret to nervous anticipation to fear and then utter exhaustion.Steve Martin has always been a hero of mine. While everyone else was going blue with comedy, there he stood, banjo in hand and arrow through the head. Not that I mind an hour with Eddie Murphy, but there's something about doing it without the blue that make comedy that much more difficult.
From his time on the comedy tour circuit through the SNL days and movie stardom and now on to books and art, he's done it all. And he's done it with a certain air of defiance, never giving people what they want, yet giving them exactly what they didn't know they wanted. While people were still screaming for silly humor, he did the smart Father of the Bride. When people wanted more Bride he picked up a banjo and went on tour. A music tour, mind you.
My wife saw Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers at Bonnaroo. I went to watch Weezer. I've never regret a minute of that time with Rivers Cuomo and Co. as they put on a hell of a concert and I'd never seen them before, either. She told me afterward that there was nary a joke, only a self-deprecating slam upon himself for being the comedian not telling jokes.
My brother called me a few months back and told me about Steve Martin and Martin Short doing a tour together that he was going to take my dad to see at the Winstar Casino in Oklahoma (this past Saturday night's show). After checking the tour schedule we saw another date in San Antonio that would save us a couple hours off the driving time AND give us a babysitter in my wife's parents in Schertz.
The only problem? We just came back from a week at the beach, exhausted and broke. Could we make it to San Antonio for that Friday night show? Sure, we can. I'd just have to be up by 6am the following morning to make a remote broadcast at 11am in Killeen. Could we afford it? Sure, we could. It would mean fewer fun trips the rest of the summer, but we could swing it. Put those two together, though, and it was too much to stomach. We both said "no" and went on with our lives, with only a tiny bit of regret.
That tiny bit of regret snowballed into an overwhelming force of self-hatred this past Saturday morning when my wife sent me the post from Steve Martin's Facebook page.
Nooooooooooo!!!!!!! Two of my favorite people. In the same room. On the same night. My self-hatred to this very moment typing this consumes me for missing this. Being an old fart that didn't think he could swing the quick turnaround has cost me dearly. I never got to see Letterman taping a show, but I've been to the theater a couple times. I think back to watching his old NBC show with my now-deceased grandmother late at night during summer vacation.
She was the coolest, and the fact that my whole family is from one of Dave's former home offices, Tahlequah, OK, made it even more memorable. I can't tell you how much I love Dave, and how much I hate myself for missing this.
Are you kidding me? I got back and forth between laughing hysterically and laughing maniacally for missing it. My wife and I both knew what we had to do.... she bought the tickets and I got Julia Conner to cover my afternoon broadcast (thanks, Julia). She met me in Killeen at 2pm and we hit the road. We had arranged to meet my dad and step-mom at the casino and hand the kiddos off, allowing my dad, brother, wife and me to catch the show.
The first indication that something was "off" about the night came just north of Dallas as I was having a swearing fit with Google maps on my phone. It kept trying to send me off course, and I said, "Screw it (or something close to that)", and made my own journey. It was only after a quick check, "This IS the casino right by my dad's place, right?", that I realized I was driving us to the wrong casino. We were headed for the Choctaw Casino on Hwy 77 in Durant when we needed to be at Winstar in Thackerville along I-35.
Luckily, Hwy 82 runs close to the Red River between Sherman and Gainesville. It only cost us about 30 minutes, and we made it with plenty of time. We met up, got rid of the kids and headed into the venue. It was pure magic seeing Steve Martin, and I have an entirely new appreciation for the "drama dork" known as Martin Short. If I have that kind of energy when I'm his age it will have to be medically-induced.
About an hour into the show, the laughter turned to fear. We were sitting four rows in front of my dad and brother (they ordered their tickets well ahead of the show while we got ours 7 hours prior to showtime), and my wife poked me in the side and pointed at my brother helping my dad down the row. Dad couldn't move a muscle. Literally. He was having some sort of medical episode, and it had me freaked the hell out.
We got seen by an EMS crew outside the doors to the venue in the casino itself. We couldn't figure out what was up, so I did my best Duke Boys-driving (in a minivan) and headed the eight miles across the border to Gainesville, TX. After several hours of tests he was moved by ambulance to a bigger ER in Sherman. As soon as I got the the hospital in Sherman he seemed much better, and after an hour of arguing with him we eventually had to let him sign himself out. Stubborn ol' man. There's no doubt where I get it.
We didn't see the whole show, but I'm guessing Dave Letterman didn't show up. We knew it going in, but there was still the outside hope he'd show up for one more show. He didn't, but I can at least live with my self-hatred now that I tried. I guess it's safe to say that Steve Martin & Martin Short very nearly literally "killed it". Sorry, too soon?