I started doing comedy in 2002. I won’t bore you with the details right now 1I’ll bore you with them at a later date, when I can milk another story out of it, but my first few shows were at the Irvine Improv. Having taken their comedy classes, the two major perks were : you could get booked for 7-10 mins on one of their amateur nights once a month (even though they had those every week – you had to move up in rank to do it more often), and you & a guest could see any show you wanted to for free – provided you gave at least 6 hours advanced notice and it wasn’t sold out.
I milked that second perk a lot more than the first one. Which means my comedy priorities have always been fucked. But I got to see some great comics in a relatively small room – Bill Maher, Kathy Griffin, Pablo Francisco, Kevin Pollack, Norm MacDonald, and… the focus of this story : Mitch Hedberg.
It was a friday afternoon. 2 days prior, I had seen the manager of the Irvine Improv (Jeff) after my last performance on an amateur night and he said I did well and should hit him up soon to book something for the next month. I had forgotten to ask, at the time, if I could get some comp tix to Mitch Hedberg’s show on Friday – but I also kinda didn’t wanna milk this teet a little too much in one convo.
So, I’m calling in for my comp tix and I get the front-desk lady. I said “hey, is Jeff around?” – “Oh, he just stepped out for lunch, should I call him on his cell?” – “No, no, it’s cool. I was calling about the show tonight” – “Okay, and who should I say is calling?” – “Oh, tell him it’s Mitcz..”
I know it sounds like I was doing that intentionally, but it simply didn’t occur to me that Mitch Hedberg would ever call Jeff. The lady got excited and said “ohhh… wow. Oh I LOVE your comedy”. I thought “…wow, that’s nice to hear”, but said “ohh.. thank you. Means a lot, cause you see all sorts of comics coming through there”. She said “yeah, your set last night was just SO funny”. Now I was confused. Did she mean Wednesday night? “Last night?” – “yeah… and you’re coming back tonight, right?” – “Uhh.. yeah, that’s what I was calling about, I wanted to come out tonight”. She said “Uhh.. you’re scheduled for it. Two shows tonight, Two shows on Saturday”. Now I was really lost – but enthused. “Really? He wants me to open for Mitch Hedberg?”.
There was a brief silence on the line. She said “…this isn’t … Mitch Hedberg?”. Oops. “No, no.. sorry. This is Mitcz MARZONI”. She laughed, sighed “Okay, I’ll tell Jeff to call you”. Damnit.
That night, Mitch did a very energetic set. He was practically bouncing around the stage. Lively crowd. Great show. He was really ON that night, in a way you don’t hear/see in his recorded performances.
After the show, he was selling and signing CDs. This was just after Comedy Central had bought the rights to his first CD, but he was still selling his own copies with the original artwork and his original domain : MitchHedberg.com (which was snatched out from under him by a porn company). I asked him to sign it..
Hedberg : “who do I sign this to, man?”
Me : “Oh. I’m Mitch, too. And also a comedian”
Hedberg : “Haaa that’s great, man! Two Mitches.. haaaaa….”
And so it came to be that he signed my CD “to : Mitch2“…
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