This is bittersweet. I was honored to be included as one the last 10 guests to appear on the CrabFeast, but sad for its end, and, selfishly, sad for the loss of the platform. It was a place to talk about my foibles, and issues, and get positive feedback that made my life feel well-lived, if, a tad bit, angst ridden. It helped me see it all differently, no story was a waste of time if I got to tell it on the Feast. They helped me launch my book, and put the term storyteller front and center in my thoughts, and shaped my art, since my first appearance.
The story will continue for all of us, in different formats and media, and it will forever be seasoned with a little Old Bay, thanks to my friends Ry, and Jay.
There’s daytime, news hour, and prime time. 3PM on a Saturday, is none of those times. Rest assured, the performers you’ll see tonight… uh, today, sorry — will not be seen in any of those time slots anytime soon.
The Roast of Chris Gehrt 15 performers, 4 SAG cards among them.
I want to thank the Westside for having us. I also want to thank them for the scared-straight-dose-of-reality that most of us needed in career advice. Quit while you’re behind – got it, thank you.
We are performing, while the rest of the world drops off their dry cleaning, or washes their car. People are paddle boarding, or having brunch. We are here, once again, following the lead of a man responsible for the films Jizzmaster 1 and Jizzmaster 2. While some of us are cardio boxing, we chose to perform in a space at a time of day when most theatres are dormant, to mock a man who wears sweatpants at night, and still laughs at farts. It’s like getting a great deal on a ski cabin in August.
I’d rather be at Home Depot, looking for shelving than be here right, now. Seriously, I could be watching the Shawshank Redemption on TNT, and eating a Subway right now, instead I had to sing a parody song an octave lower than the original, and now I have the feeling of a flashback making a speech to get a scholarship to student senate when I waited ‘til the last minute, in High School.
We rehearsed our song, 3 times, probably 6 to 8 hours; Justin, Will, and I making neighbors mad, and embarrassing ourselves, also on a Saturday afternoon, when we should have been enjoying life — all because our deluded leader gave us homework, and has a thing for Guns and Roses, like I do for Springsteen, and Donald Trump has for his daughter.
The last time we gathered was to roast Convicts of Comedy charter member, Dimo. What a night that was — operative word being — night. That night, more than a year ago, I visited similar themes, of hopelessness, obscurity, and wasted time. But, again, it was at night. So we had that going for us.
Our collective progress now measured in how many of us are caught up with Game of Thrones.
That show gets credit for being sexy, right? Jon Snow, Ceersei, Kal, right? Do you realize what the standards for hygiene were back then? Huh? Those people must have stunk to the high heavens, a nosebleed was fatal. Jon Snow is sexy? Really, he’s been wearing a Buffalo pelt since February, he smells like a chicken parmesan sandwich with gangrene. But, have at it…Sorry that’s a little off topic.
You’ve heard the saying that sunlight, is the best antiseptic? Well today we test that theory, with this gaping sore of a comedy show. It’s like a trade show for despair in here. Seriuously, Searching for Sugarman, had a better career trajectory.
Maybe Chris is smarter than I thought. The 3PM start time gives me plenty of time to fall off the wagon, and try to forget the sorry state of my career. And compose my excuse for not going to the Rainbow Bar, in hopes of seeing Duff McKagan getting blown in the bathroom.
If 3PM on a Saturday were a compact disc, it would be in the bargain bin of a record store. That’s right, a record store, an extinct form of retail that Chris Gerht ever only entered to buy Guns N Roses albums, and also the time his development as a human being came to a screeching halt.
If Chris Gehrt, was a wrestler, he’d be called The Average Package. He’s like a host of That Metal Show without the knowledge.
I will be targeted at this roast for being, among other things, the author of a book no one has read. Which in Chris’ case is not a change in behavior, at all. Seriously, could Chris Gehrt’s tastes be more lowbrow? It’s as if Corey Feldman had his own radio show on NPR. Chris, NPR is a national … never mind, enjoy, Wrestlemania.
Chris voted for Trump. A brave stance to take in ultra liberal Hollywood, good thing Chris is not in Hollywood.
Taking offense to Chris’ political views is like taking offense that Hacksaw Jim Duggan won’t wipe his feet before entering your home. Again, I have to rely on wrestling references to keep Chris’ Trumpian attention span engaged.
Speaking of engaged I want to offer my belated congratulations to Chris and Sarah. You’re now married and have a child. I am begging Sarah to take the lead on educating that baby, we don’t need another climate denier, world is flat, Reebok-Pump-Wearing mind, trying to pitch “Jizzmaster, The Series”, as a Virtual Reality, Immersive world to NetFlix Nation in 25 years. “But my father had a dream, to bring Jizz to the world. I won’t stop, until my father’s name rings out to the world, through jizz.”
I’ll keep this short, mostly out of lack of will, to say thank you to Chris. There’s a quote, in my book, The Drama King, available on Amazon, that seems apt, “Nothing enrages the disgruntled more than enthusiasm.” And it is your enthusiasm that brings us here, that has brought us here before. Enthusiasm for childish, douchey things: like shitty horror movies, and bad wardrobe decisions; and enthusiasm for tanking in small market cities, at free shows, with bad lighting and bad sound, for a driving style worse than Dale Earnhardt Sr.
But it is only that very enthusiasm that could get all of us together, at 3PM, on a Saturday, in July.
How do you come to know the things you know? You learn all along the way, and school is really a sliver of what you learn. “Just give me a sliver,” that automatic request for the diet conscious at any cake cutting, is a phrase I learned at my uncle’s house. How to call pizza, apizza, which sounds like ah-beetz, I learned at my uncle’s house. I learned how to shuffle cards and play solitaire from my other uncle Lou, I learned to like the shortbread cookies my grandmother sent me home with when I’d visit my uncle’s house. I learned that some of us are blessed with boundless appetites for food that could rival the Nathan’s 4th of July champions.
I learned to survive the boredom of PBS News Hour and music from a bygone era, I learned how young I was compared to a century old grandmother, and how to politely ask for something to drink, which was difficult for a shy child. I crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge, and learned that the roads in Connecticut were terrible.
I learned that my middle name, Emil, is not really my uncle’s name, it was Emidio, which was shortened to Mid, which I thought was much cooler than Emil. I have misinformed the few who know that my middle name is Emille, which sounds more exotic and fancy, but it is Emil (EE-Mill). And today I write for the first time in the loss of my uncle.
Emil DeGregorio, hung on for 98 years. A true member of the Greatest Generation. A veteran, and a generous man, who helped me at every stage of my life. Who supported from afar and with no stipulations. Just support. Constant and unwavering, and in his passing, I am left to wonder what kind of man I am and what kind of man I want to be. I think I am a decent guy, but, truly what does that mean? I learned from my uncle that generosity is like a gene you possess or you don’t, and I don’t know if that gene was passed on to me. He gave and gave, and it was always the thing most needed, at the time most needed, and I shudder to think he might not have known the depth of my gratitude. I know my gratitude and regret have brought me to tears, and somehow I know my stoic and grand uncle wouldn’t understand. It was just what he did, he saw need and gave.
My uncle wasn’t much for talking on the phone, and he certainly wasn’t much for saying, I love you, but he would always end the call with the phrase, God bless you, and I knew what he meant. I would say, God bless you, too, and try to infuse my words with all the love I could muster.
He was the oldest of my father’s brothers, and the last to leave the world. Giving me a last link to my father, and he stayed so long I grew complacent in his constancy. In his loss I finally understand what a gift he was and I am left to proceed knowing I have much to do to have a sliver of his giving spirit. My uncle Emil was a titan in my life. I learned so much. I learned what love in action looks like. I don’t know a greater lesson.