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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Roanoke Hails Seinfeld

Roanokers hailed Seinfeld last night as he performed for about an hour to a packed house at the Performing Arts Center. This was the first time I've been to that part of the Civic Center and gotta say I was pleasantly surprised. It was much more comfortable than the arena. I don't know if that's because I was in the fourth row or not, but it was great to be able to stretch out my legs. Great seats, but maybe a little over-priced for an hour and fifteen minute's worth of laughter, but then again, it was Seinfeld, so really it was fine by me.

When we arrived and I head the Frank Sinatra songs belting out I turned to my husband and said after, "New York, New York" the show will start. "How do you know?" "I'm a New Yorker, Jerry's a New Yorker, Frank's a New Yorker, of course that's what's gonna happen." And it did.

Another Jewish comedian, whose name I don't know opened up as soon as the last "New York" was belted out. He was pretty funny, although I don't think the crowd appreciated the "Roanoke even has a barber shop" comment. I had a feeling he was going to do more small town or Southern bashing but thought better of it as the crowd warmed up to him and he to us. I don't remember if he said something about the only other thing to do last night was attend a Civil War Convention (they can't get over they lost) or if it was Jerry. I laughed, but the couple next to me didn't.

When Jerry came on he looked like he was wearing his father's suit which was two sizes too big. I'm assuming at 55 he put on weight, like we all have, and tried to camouflage it by wearing something larger. It didn't work and he ended up reminding me of Groucho Marx, he just needed to crouch down a little as he walked and plop the cigar in his mouth. His statute seemed much smaller in person but his comedy was as large as I expected it to be. He seemed to love to pronounce Roanoke with a condescending tone as if to say "what type of place is this, who do you think you are and what the hell am I doing here?" Row-A-Noke, Row-A-Noke, Row-A-Noke. That's how I say it sometimes when the people annoy me so I thought it was funny. I even wore my "Other Roanoke" t-shirt hoping he could see it from the stage and would goof on me.

I almost feel like Seinfeld uses Roanoke as a spring board to see what works and what doesn't with his new material. And it was all new material. And it was clean material, which is nice for a change. I could have taken the kids with us, but the tickets were too expensive (for them) anyway. Like any good comedian he can improvise on the spot and knows how to interact with the audience when they shout something out at him. In fact he gave the audience a chance to shout out a couple of questions when he came back on stage for his "encore." Among the questions asked were, "What kind of phone do you use?" Who the hell cares, but it's a Droid, if you do. "Will there ever be a reunion?" As Jerry said, I guess you don't watch "Curb Your Enthusiasm." And the best question of the night..."Did you ever hook up with Elaine?" Jerry's response was something to the effect..."You know that George and Kramer and Elaine are not real, right? They're characters." If I had a question to ask it would have been, "What restaurant did you go to tonight that they told you was the best Jerry, the best, but you thought sucked?"

We all know that the only reason Seinfeld even comes to Roanoke is because his business manager lives here (I think) so thank you Mr. business manager. I had a great time and will definitely see him next time he comes back. My only complaint was that I couldn't bring my glass of wine into the auditorium and the show was too short. Oh yea, and then there's the biggest complaint...the parking situation at the Civic Center sucks. I felt like we spent more time in the freaking lot trying to get out than we did inside watching the show. Roanokers just can't get the concept of one car lets another car go, and so on, and so forth.

The show was over by 8:30, and Seinfeld even remarked that gave the three people who were going to go out on the town time to do so. My husband and I were two of those three so we did head downtown in the pouring rain. Of course we couldn't find a spot near the restaurant we wanted to go to, so ended up going to Flannery's. I figured since it was St. Patrick's Day eve celebration in Roanoke what better place to have a drink than an Irish bar.

That place is the closest thing I've seen in Roanoke that mimics a true bar. Their prices for drinks were a little steep for the size, (I never saw a Bloody Mary served in such a small glass before) but after all it is "downtown" so that's probably why they get more. I couldn't wait to try the Shepherd's Pie. Surely an Irish joint knows how to make Shepherd's Pie. Unfortunately it was 9:05pm and that was five minutes too late as the kitchen no longer made Shepherd's Pie or anything else on the menu other than "fried foods." When I asked what fried foods I was told just appetizers. So that's what we had. Some potato chip things with cheese and bacon and chicken wings, which weren't too good. As I bit into the last chicken wing I noticed it was practically raw. Gag. Cross another joint off the list.

As we were talking about the show and about Jerry's dining experience we figured it had to be a place downtown. We ran through most of the restaurants we've been to and realized most of them do suck. There are many fine restaurants in Roanoke but not too many downtown. You just have to know where to go. So Jerry, next time you come to town, drop me a line and I'll hook you up.

More pics here...

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