Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Adventures with the dapper Paul F Tompkins by the Kyles

I have been a fan of Paul F. Tompkins ever since I first heard him on the Never Not Funny podcast about 4 years ago. In those 4 years I've kept an eye out for the possibility of him performing in Boston or Rhode Island. This past Saturday, it finally happened. Tompkins has created the "Tompkins 300" format of booking shows which came about after joking with a fan. He said "if you can find 300 people in Vancouver who want to see me perform, I'll fly up there." And of course, 300 people agreed. The show in Boston stemmed from that show, as Facebook groups all over the country have started popping up saying "Bring Paul F. Tompkins to..." If 300 people sign up to be in the group (essentially promising to buy a ticket), then PFT will perform in that city. Now for this particular show, Kyle and I planned to drive to Wollaston, park at the T station and ride the train in. Sounds easy enough but it proved to be a bit more complicated. We left the Cape a little late since we wanted to grab dinner before heading in to town. Once we got to Wollaston we were informed that the trains weren't running between Braintree and JFK/UMass so we would have to take a shuttle from Wollaston to JFK/UMass, then take the train from there. It was pretty inconvenient but the people watching was top notch. On the shuttle there was a group of about 20 girls, approximately high school/early college age, most of whom were wearing North Face fleece jackets and Ugg Boots. It seems to be the uniform for girls of that age. We have decided that the best label for this uniform is UggFace. Once we got on the train there were 3 girls in varying degrees of disarray. The high (low?) lights in the group involved a tube top and a bright red sunburn, knee high tights with flip flops and a state of inebriation that included the phrase "it's so funny that we all have hot pink lipstick on!" They did not all have hot pink lipstick on, I believe only the speaker did. When we finally arrived at Harvard Station we discovered that the exit to the street that we needed was closed for construction. Neither Kyle or I are familiar with the area so we had to ask for directions at the Harvard gift shop. And of course the person I asked had no idea where the theater was. But we did find the venue with about 30 minutes to spare. When we got to the will-call window, however, we were stalled once again. "What name are the tickets under?" "Brennan, Kyle." Long silence, multiple page flips. "What was the last name again?" "Brennan." Another long pause. "And the first name?" "Kyle." Long pause. "Well I don't see that name on my list-" "Is it under Damron?" Long pause, multiple page flips. "First name on that?" "Kyle." Long pause. "Oh yeh, here you go. Enjoy the show." We had finally made it. I have to admit, I wasn't sure if we were going to be able to see the show, but we did and it was fantastic. I think the most amazing thing about what Paul F. Tompkins is doing now is that the first 30-40 minutes of his set was improvised. All the jokes he told in that portion were off the top of his head. He cracked himself up several times before saying what he thought, which was delightful because it seemed as if he was excited to tell us what was making him laugh. When he finally got in to his prepared material he formed a long narrative about the many jobs he's had. Almost 2 and a half hours of one of my favorite comedians, I could not have been happier. Or perhaps I could have. After the show, Paul stuck around to sell CD's and say hi to people. Since I didn't have any cash, I completely chickened out and we left without saying hello. I guess I just thought it would be awkward to walk up to his table and say "hi, great job, I really enjoyed the show. I'm not going to be buying a CD though." So with regret we left the theater and popped in to a local watering hole for a pint. And I managed to not lose my camera!
- Boy Kyle

This was a completely new experience for me. I have never seen a comedian live before and I was really excited about it. I used to watch Best Week Ever and Paul F Tompkins would be on it a lot. That's where I first heard about him. Ever since then I had seen him randomly on TV shows or while changing channels. The theater where we saw the show was really great. It was small and we were about 10 rows from the front. We had a great view and there weren't any hecklers. I'd love to see another comedian live. It was a really cool experience. So even after all the nonsense we went through to get there, it was completely worth it.
- Girl Kyle

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