Sunday, January 30, 2011

Finger Lick'n Good

Being huge fans of Chelsea Handler and her montley crew of E! Entertainments “Chelsea Lately” nightly comedy talk-show, Chris and I were ecstatic when we found out that her panelist were touring in our area. So three months ago, we bought our tickets, scheduled a sitter and counted down the days until last night when we would venture off into the middle of nowhere - the former quarters of Caesars’ Pocono Resorts, Cove Haven; home to the famous 7-foot tall Champagne Glass Whirlpool Bath for two. No, we didn’t partake. This time.
As her “Comedians of Chelsea Lately” roundtable guest rotate on tour, our hearts skipped a beat when we saw that our top three (and Chuy, of course) were the ones slated to perform: Funnyman/Hottie Josh Wolf; judge of NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Natasha Leggero; and my personal all-time favorite, the one and only, Loni Love (who, both Variety and Comedy Central have named among their Top 10 Comics to watch).

Wanting to do something special for Loni for mustering up the courage to tour in our Red State - in an area of the Keystone where the banjo could be considered the state instrument and people here do believe they can see Russia from their house, my first thought was roses. It’s nice, it’s warm, it’s… well, it’s the white thing to do. So scratch that. So what do you get a B3 (Big, Bold, Black) Diva? Anything she wants. And knowing Loni from the show, there was only one thing that would comfort here while looking out at the sea of Caucasians in the crowd – a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Yep, I said it.

So, making a 25 minute detour in the snow, we headed to KFC, picked up a bucket of mixed thighs and breasts, and rushed to get to Cove Haven by 7pm. Penning a note on a ItsDaddies.Plural note card, I told her what I big fan I was, and that yes, the chicken was safe to eat.
We arrive at the sold out 1000 entertainment hall with 10 minutes to spare. We grab our chicken and camera and rush into the building. It was completely empty, except for the three stage hands that were setting up for the band, and one sitting at one of the 125 tables. “um… we’re here for the show. Is this the right place?” He said we were in the right place, but we should head into the side door, which was the conference area. Conference area it wasn’t, it was more like a conference room. And this conference room was being turned into the Green Room for Loni and the others. Chris and I just look at each other. An older gentleman, John, was in the room and asked us what we were doing there. “We need to drop something off for Loni Love who’s performing here tonight. Are we in the right place?”

“Yes, the band starts at 8:30pm and the Comedians go on at 10pm.”

I shoot Chris an evil eye. He made the reservations and put it in his phone as 7pm, which happened to be the time we needed to leave the house, and not the time we needed to be in the boonies.

“What do you have for Loni?”

“Chicken.” A look of confusion pans his face.
“Are you delivery guys?”

“No, no, no… we are here for the show. For some reason we thought it started at 7pm. We just need to drop this off for her.” Still, a look of confusion. This poor guys was probably just walking through the room at the same time we are and now we’re trying to explain why we’re delivering a bucket of KFC to one of the headliners performing.

“Loni knew we were coming to the show to see her tonight and, knowing that we’re out in the middle of no-where, she asked if we could pick her up some KFC.” (Okay, so I lied. Again, who is this guy and what does it really matter). 

“Oh, do you guys have comped tickets?”

“No, we’re just big fans and catch Loni's show anytime she’s performing on the East Coast. Every time we see her, we bring her a bucket of chicken… it’s kinda our thing. We knew we were going to be here tonight, so last night she sent me a text message asking if I could pick this up for her.”

“Oh, okay. Is this her dinner?” (oh God. What if they have something planned for her already and they stop making it because of this).

“Not sure. But knowing Loni like we do (where is all of this coming from???), I would have something set up for all of the performers and have this on the side for her. She’ll pick a little bit of everything.”

And with that being said, we turned around and headed to exit the building to try to find something to do for the next 3 hours before the show really starts. I detoured to the bathroom and Chris followed. “What was that? Do you know how many lies you just told?” , “Chris… I wasn’t lying, I just fabricated the true a little. It isn’t going to hurt anyone. That guy will leave the bucket on her table and if she eats it, she eats it. If not, no big deal. I’m sure he’s not going to have any interaction with the entertainment.” Chris starts to freak out. This isn’t the first time I’ve done something like this in the past 13 years we’ve been together, so I’m not sure why this is coming as a shock to him. Though, he's still recovering from the incident where I had a gallery owner thinking we were going to be buying two art pieces that were only $35,000 a piece. I got her down to $60,000 for the set and told her we needed to talk to our accountant first before we made that large of a purchase while we were on vacation. That woman is still probably waiting for us to come back since she gave us the account information on where to wire the funds to.  They would have looked really great in our house. Too bad we don’t have the $60k to blow on something like that :)

Laughing as I exit the bathroom, the guy, John, was there. “Excuse me, since we have some time to kill before Loni goes on, can you tell us where in the resort we can get some food?”

“Well, guest of the Resort are eating in the main dining room now, which is that way (as he points in one direction), and we have a café in that building there (pointing in the opposite direction). I was going to eat in the main dining room tonight, but now I’m having second thoughts. Why don’t I walk you guys down to the café.” Chris pinches my arm behind Johns back. “Actually, since you guys were so nice by bringing something for Loni to eat tonight, dinner is on me.”

“Oh no, seriously. We couldn’t.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll put it on my account.”
Chris and I just look at each other. As we walk into the building, the service staff snap to attention as John heads in. (What did we get ourselves into?) “I’ll have my regular, and get these two guys anything they need.” Chris is now pinching me harder as we whispers into my ear, “Why do you continue to get ourselves into these situations? This guy is ‘somebody’ and you just told him you were friends with Loni Love and she’s expecting that. Tonight when she gets in, she’s going to ask ‘what the hell is this’, and this guy is going to come and throw us out of the resort.”
We sit at our table and John asks if we mind if he joins us. He too is waiting until the show starts. Chris kicks me under the table. Come to find out, John has been in charge of Entertainment for all three of the Resorts. He’s been one of the head honcho’s for the past 16 years. About 20 minutes into the conversation, about ten guys in suits walk in and head over to our table to talk to John. They then sit at the two tables next to us. It’s his security detail. He starts going over the agenda for the evening with them. Chris continues to bruise my leg under the table. I join in the conversation with them and start talking about Chuey, Josh, Natasha and Loni. Hell, for the fun of it, I start throwing out Chelsea’s name. Chris is now pinching himself to stop from laughing. We find out from the security team that the performers are not going to be there until 9:30.

John turns to us, “Tonight we’re doing a meet and greet after the show. Come back and join me. It’s going to be crazy… we have a sold out house, so about a thousand guests will be at the show. The meet and greet will be for about 300. Just some to the side where you saw me and these guys will let you through.” Cha-Ching.

About an hour and a half later, we end our conversation (which morphed from conversations with his staff, to his role in the resorts, his wife and children, and both of our jobs), it was time for John to head back to make sure the band was ready to perform. We headed to main stage and parted ways. I looked at Chris, and with a smirk, told him that he owed me one. Then reality kicked in and we stared feeling bad for ‘fabricating the truth’ to this guy. Oh well, too late to do anything about it now.

Fast forward. It’s now 9:30. The band has been playing. Drinks have been served. People are walking around. I catch an occasional whiff of cigarette smoke from those going outside before the show as well as the sporadic hint of White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor (there was a handful of 60 year old guests that were there at the show because they booked their weekend at the resort and got the tickets for free and they had no clue who these people were). All of a sudden I turn to Chris, “Take a deep breath. What do you smell?” That’s right, it was KFC. Seems like Ms. Love found her bucket and someone was heating it up for her. We died laughing.

It’s now 10pm, Chuy comes on and says a couple words to a huge round of applause… then Natasha opens and kills the crowd, as does Josh who followed her. Chris has the biggest crush on Josh, who happens to be Scott Wolf’s (the star of Party of Five, Everwood and V) cousin, my own Matinee Idol.

Then, here comes the Diva herself. Starting off like Chuey, Natasha and Josh with a, “Where in the hell are we” opening. Don’t worry sister. I’ve been here 7 years and I’m still asking myself that same question. She then ventured into her 'Big Girl' jokes where I got my first shout out from her, thanking me for her bucket of chicken. “Where’s you at, Paul?” I stand up screaming, “I love you, Loni”, then she throws out her first, ‘I love the gays’ reference. Throughout her 40 minute set, I ended up getting 4 shout-outs and a special, “Thank you, Sugar-Stix”, her version of a term of endearment to the gays and then I got an additional term of endearment as she ended the show. This one I got on video (shhh… don’t tell anyone), but it’s a little too racey for our “It’s Daddies. Plural.” site.

Third in line for the meet and greet (Thanks, John), I have my little sign, as seen here, professing my love to Ms. Love. Her face lighting up as she saw it when she came out of the green room. We were able to get a group shot with the gang (Me next to Loni and Chris next to Josh – sorry Chuey and Natasha, we love you guys but you two, tonight, were icing on the cake for us). After a kiss on Loni’s cheek, I went to head out and she said, “Give me my sign!” Telling her the sign was for me to get her attention – like a bucket of KFC didn’t do the trick – I ended up giving it to her. The gang thank us for the chicken, which Natasha told us they devoured the entire thing, and we headed out of Cove Haven into the snow and on cloud nine. “Oh what a night!” Wait a minute. That’s a song from the 1960’s group, The Four Seasons… which, if you act now, you can get your tickets to see next month at The Cove.
By the way, yes, Chris is holding slippers in the photo, and no, this isn’t a usual accessory for him. Dearfoams happened to be the sponsor of the Meet and Greet and they were handing out slippers to those in attendance. Just felt like I should clear that up :)