Wednesday, June 17, 2009

a week in vegas

terry fator's sister debi called me a few weeks ago, to invite me to a birthday dinner she was throwing for terry. i hadn't seen him since i went to the soft-opening of his mirage show back in february. that was an interesting time for me, because i had just driven from kentucky to l.a. and i hadn't found an apartment yet. i remember staying on billy zabka's couch one night thinking 'this is a little surreal'.

i got into vegas around 6, and terry's show started at 7:30. i quickly checked in to my room and ran to drop my stuff off before meeting terry in his dressing room. i put the keycard in and it made its little R2D2 noise. i opened the door to reveal an entire family of people, sitting on the bed, watching tv. one woman was in a towel putting on her makeup in front of the mirror. i slowly closed the door and backed away, as if from a wild panther.

after i got that sorted out at the front desk i went to terry's dressing room. it was full of family members and friends. people kept pouring in the door to meet terry and wish him happy birthday. suddenly i see kirk thatcher, a guy i used to work with at henson. we hadn't seen each other in years. stunned we both asked 'what the heck are you doing here?'

on our way to the theatre we passed comedian brad garret. he and his family were there to see terry's show. also, brad was in town for a two-man show he's doing with ray romano. we shook his hand and moved on.

we all took our seats in the terry fator theatre. my seat was just behind kirk's, so i could throw small things at his head. but then the usher signaled me. then terry's manager, john, started calling and gesturing to me. i looked up to see brad garret approaching my seat. the ushers checked my ticket and found that i was in the wrong seat. i was in brad garret's seat. he is a big man. i am a small man. but he was nice, and didn't kill me.

the show was fantastic. they added a lot of new material, and the pacing was great. kirk, who was a comedy writer and director at henson, was quite impressed with the show.

after the show, we all met at a restaurant in the mirage for terry's birthday dinner. there were maybe fifty people seated at the long table. i sat next to terry's wife, across from kirk. about halfway through dinner, robin leach and his date showed up. they sat next to kirk, across from me. for some weird reason, robin decided that i was short, and proceeded to make short jokes about me all night. it was very bizarre. at one point he called me a short kenny loggins. awesome.

the next day terry asked me to stay the rest of the week. he wanted to work on writing a song with me. it was a lot of fun. we played a lot of tiger woods golf on the wii. it has a frisbee golf mode.

i've been to vegas millions of times. but i've never stayed for more than three days. that's about how much vegas i can take. but something weird happened this time. i stayed past that threshhold, and suddenly that magic of vegas sort of lifted. it became a normal place for me. with a starbucks and a target. each day, driving from my hotel to terry's condo felt normal. i always used to wonder how people could live in vegas. and now i know. they live there just like they would anywhere. it was sort of a fascinated feeling, but i don't know if i should be sad that vegas lost its spark for me.

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