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Sunday, March 20, 2005

An 'Uncle', an icon, a muse and the healing power of sports

I spent a good part of the weekend at the local comedy club. The feature act was not just any feature act, but a man who, to the majority of people in my age group, was an Uncle to all. Dave Coulier was in the Full House being one of America's Funniest People.
I'd seen him before. It was brief. I walked into the club, he was onstage talking about Daffy Duck's pants, I walked out. To say that I expected anything other than a disastrous spectacle of a man that once 'was' would be untrue. I expected, and wanted, the worst. Funny how life works sometimes, it always seems to give you what you were not expecting.
As I walked into the club this time, I saw the real life Uncle Joey working the room with a startling lack of conviction. It was almost saddening. I grew up watching this damn show every day. I've been exposed to the Tanner family more than Church. It would be no stretch to say I am more familiar with Dave Coulier/Uncle Joey than I am with Moses, Noah and, what is it, Pontious Pilate? I was a little taken aback that he didn't own the room. He could have. Me and 400 other televison-raised mid-twentiers were all sitting there, waiting for him to break out and say something like 'And fuck that episode where Michelle can't say Ice Cream right!...' or anything of that ilk. He never did. He stayed in his box. In his zone. If he was a car, he was going 80 in a 100. Why, I wondered? The Dave Coulier 2005 model should be a turbo. The questions were coming as quick as the impressions.
I should tell you, the non-existent reader, that I am a good read of people. I have been 'gifted' with this talent which is difficult to explain and according to science, doesn't exist. Simply put, look me in the eye, I can feel you. Weird, but reliable and accurate to this point. Anyway, as Dave (can I call him that?) left stage and walked by the table, we made a very good, direct eye-contact. Not Uncle Joey to 10 year old kid. Not comic to audience, not comic to comic. Just human to human. I felt a deep goodness and vulnerability. As it turns out, Dave coulier is a kind man, one who likely has no idea of the power of his status. I was completley shocked. It explained so much of what I've always seen. Not in over his head, just no desire to be anything but him. Inspiring.
After the show, Dave revealed another side to him. I'm not sure if many of you have ever hung out with a famous person in a group. It's an odd dynamic. Everybody could be talking about nuclear fission, and if the famous one burped, people would declare it genius and hang onto every digestive action that followed. It's really stupid and makes me feel sympathy for the celebrities. Anyhow, as the conversation went in an odd way, Dave (can I call him that?) started an idea for a game. Name the best hockey players for every number up to #99. I thought I knew alot about Hockey. Dave (I'll call him that) opened up a book of knowledge that would rival anybodies knowledge on anything. And with that book opening came open the publication that is Dave Coulier. A smile, a confidence, a sense of belonging. It was nice to watch. I left.
I returned Saturday to see what would be diffirent. Much was. We made the pre-show eye contact. Felt good. It was genuine, and I knew he was in a good place. The MC, rather excited with such a presence in the room, announces Dave to the stage as an honorary Canadian and extoles his mythical knowledge of hockey. If you are not Canadian, let me inform you that nothing has more weight in the Canadian psyche than foreigners with hockey knowledge. Walking on water is cool, but to Canada-people, water in it's frozen state and those who can play on it carries far more meaning. If you are from elsewhere and even know of hockey, you will be given a meal and rights to a second born. Something to do with the climate; Much like hot, but in really, really diffirent way, cold weather can fuck with your head.
Anyways, the audience erupts for Dave now. A standing ovation before he talks. I assume my post at the back of the room and watched it all go down. I note he has an extra step in his show. A little jump to his feet. But then, as the minutes elaspe, it wavered. It was as if he didn't believe he deserved it. If not for tact and the ability to tell right from wrong, I'd have jumped onstage, shook him and yelled, "Dave - I can call you that, right? - what the hell!? Why aren't you commanding this!? OWN IT! They all want you to conquer! They want to believe that you are worthy of their praise! YOU HAVE EARNED IT, NOW SEIZE IT!". But, I never did, and he never did. I just watched, and then I left.
I learned alot from him. Just be you. Turns out fame is nothing, an illusion that makes people stare blankly at you. Hockey is hockey, famous or not, NHL or not. Dave Coulier is Dave Coulier, not Uncle Joey, and Kimmy Gibbler is fake, too. He played a character on a show I watched because I was bored. He does comedy because he likes doing voices. He is as he is.
I learned alot from him for myself, too. Own that audience. They want it, that's why they are there. Their presence is their permission to take them on a ride. I will do that. And who better to teach me than the muse that inspired Alannis Morisette to write 'You Oughta Know'?
Time to make a jagged little pill.


Blogger Marcus C. Beaubier said...

Wow,it's about time you started writing this. It's well constructed, and filled with the kind of words that I have always known would tumble from your heart.

Keep on it. It serves you well.

12:26 AM


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