Last night was incredible.
It was one of those nights where you look at whoever’s sitting next to you and say, “I can’t believe we’re lucky enough to be here right now.”
I was at the Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley to see Kelly Carlin- George Carlin’s daughter- perform her one-woman show, “A Carlin Home Companion: Life, Love and Laughter with my Father George.”
I learned of this last minute, on Saturday, and was hesistant on going. Why? Because I’m an asshole, and I’m lazy. Driving 1.5 hours on a Sunday night seemed like a lot. But I decided to go anyway, as I wasn’t sure when I’d have this opportunity again. As fate would have it, I carpooled with my good friend Jeff Applebaum, a comedian I’ve known for 10 years who’s always been by my side. We’ve been wanting to carpool to the Throck for a few months but haven’t been able to coordinate it. And just as life would have it, everything is better when it’s last minute and unplanned.
The car ride was nice. Felt like it was only 15 minutes. We talked about everything, from recent gigs to future gigs, to auditions, fears, and frustrations; to accomplishments and everything in between. It’s nice to have a great person to bounce thoughts off of, especially considering I’ve been really alone in my thoughts lately. And at the risk of sounding redundant, being alone in your thoughts is, well, lonely.
The second we parked the car, I knew it was going to be a special night. Outside of the theatre was Dan Dion- an infamous SF photographer, and Paul Provenza, comedian and host of “The Green Room with Paul Provenza.” He was there to film and support Kelly.
There was a buzz inside, I could feel it. The show was starting in 5 minutes. Robin Williams talked amongst friends, as did Mort Sahl, Mark Pitta, Tom Sawyer, and other comedians. I saw about 5 comedians I knew personally, and that was really nice. The world is a little less lonely when you can commiserate with your own.
At 8:05pm, the show started. I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve never met Kelly, though I’ve only heard amazing things about her. I’ve seen her father twice (in Vegas) read Brain Droppings, and watched a couple HBO specials. Other than that, I’m not a novice. I more thought it was cool to know the only living heir of George Carlin was going to talk openly about her life with him.
Within 45 minutes, I was transported to a place I haven’t been in a long, long time: my heart. God, her vulnerability. And courage. And honesty. I watched her in awe, learning so much not only about her life as a woman and child of George Carlin, but of Carlin himself; as a father, a friend, a comedian, and most importantly, a human. Flaws, outbursts, drugs, fears, and all.
It was heart-breaking and humbling. From her stories of drug experimentation and parenting her parents, to breaking free of Hollywood labels, to dating the wrong guys and finding spirituality, to finding work that redeemed her….what resignated with me most was that throughout it all, she was just a woman who was trying to find herself in this world. As am I.
I watched as her honesty captivated the crowd; with every last detail attatching to any unclaimed heartstring in the room. She had us all in the palm of her hand. And we wanted to be there. Because that’s where the truth was.
And I watched her wallow in it, speak it, relive it, and be in it. And it was beautiful.
Tears fell from eyes. I tried to stop them, but after a while I just didn’t care. I wanted to cry. I needed it. I’ve needed it a lot lately, to be honest. Hearing her truths made me miss my own. I’ve missed feeling like I was connected to something. I’ve missed feeling like I have a purpose. I’ve missed feeling aligned with the Universe. (Hippy speak for “moving up.”) I used to be so focused, so excited about upcoming gigs. I never used to say “I used to be.” I miss “in her element” Sandy. You know, sarcastic. Quick. Focused. Fearless. Creative. Compassionate. And honest.
I haven’t felt that in a long time. But for 2 hours…I did.
Thank you, Kelly.