Sunday, February 21, 2010
Charm Lessons From Cork Proctor
Charm lessons from Cork Proctor? Really? That's like learning parenting skills from the Octo Mom. It's like asking Stevie Wonder for help picking out a tie. I mean, would you hire Donny & Marie to bartend? Or get marriage advice from Tiger Woods? I'm not going to seek diet tips from Kevin Smith yet there was Prince Charmless himself, CORK PROCTOR, telling me off.
CORK PROCTOR was a great marquee name, a funny man who played many of the Las Vegas lounges and show rooms over the past 40 years. If you think FRED WILLARD is funny, well, multiply that by 10 and you'll come close to the level of Cork.
CORK PROCTOR'S humor is authentic and his talent is real. I'm a fan. Maybe that's why his mean spirited comments hurt my feelings last night. While it's obvious that old Cork doesn't really care about such minor things as other people's feelings, I do. Now I've said-and done-some insensitive things my own self, but the difference between me and CORK PROCTOR is I've never been a prick on purpose and have always apologized. Cork, on the other hand..., hold it. Should I maybe list some other differences between me and the former performer? I mean, it's not likely we're going to be mistaken for one another. I'm the one with manners but, evidently, not much of a future. Cork is the one who grew up in Las Vegas. In his book, he recounts happy childhood memories shooting rats in the dump. What a charmer. And you probably didn't even know he was a sportsman. Now Cork started his career as a drummer and I hear he was good but it was his comedy style that I came to love. You see, most of the comics of the 70's 80's and 90's were doing essentially the same jokes, but not Cork. He was brave and always original. I mean, he'd stand on stage and say horribly funny things about the owners of the very casinos in which he was performing. I admire that. I still do but when I ran into him at a show on Saturday night, he went out of his way to insult and embarass me, and he wasn't working, he was just working the room. Telling me- and those within ear shot- that I killed my career by hanging around bad guys, saying that my future was ruined, well, that hurt. It did, does. Now as an admirer of his, I was kinda flattered that he knew me. I mean, I never hired him. Wait- the list of people who never hired CORK PROCTOR is, like, huge, but my point is, I was pleased, and then hurt that he thought he could comment on my lack of future.
All good comedy is based in truth and Cork had a point. I did screw up royally a few years back, but hey-I don't live in the past and those who do end up bitter. They spend their final years telling old stories. Well, they end up like old Cork. But truth isn't a defense for rudness. Did I comment on his weight gain? No. I mean, would you point and laugh at your friend who had spinach in his teeth? No, you'd help him out. You see, to try and make yourself feel taller by cutting others down is never the way to go.
Now I can take it. I can. I mean, after his impolite comments turned my face red I could have easily just clocked him. Maybe I should have but violence isn't the answer to rudness. Besides, I have a feeling that's what he wanted. Like everyone who fired him for being needlessly mean on stage, he may think that's what he deserves.
Listening to CORK PROCTOR talk about the future made me feel weird. Sure, he's got plenty of anecdotes; his show business stories are great and I'm told he's writing books now, which is fine. I write too only I'm no CORK PROCTOR, ya know? But maybe in a future novel I'll write a chapter where a mean spirted comic, a former shooter of vermin- DORK MOCKER- ends up in a room full of rodents. The thought of him being gnawed by rats reduces him to a mouse in my mind. A very funny, very troubled mouse.
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