Ok, this post is written from the fan in me, not the comic. Although since taking comedy seriously, the fan in me has gone through some significant changes.
This week I had the opportunity to see one of the greatest comedians of my lifetime… playing banjo on a bunch of bluegrass music he had written. Yes, the wild and crazy guy, Steve Martin himself came to Tulsa with a bluegrass band he has recently recorded an album with, the Steep Canyon Rangers. As I too have flirted with bluegrass music a time or two in my career this concert was a hit for me. Steve was very self aware of his status as a comedian and between songs kept the audience in stitches with little one liner’s and full on bits.
I figure in my lifetime this will probably be the closest I get to seeing Steve Martin do stand-up again. His stand-up style is so specific, and so “overblown” almost to the point of being a satirical caricature of a stand-up comedian. While he does not do that big production style stand-up during these shows, he is still VERY funny. If I hadn’t read his book (thank you Hallie Green for that gift,) I would think he can’t help but be funny. However, I know how much he works at it. Anyway, the funny is not the point to him of these bluegrass concert tours, but rather it is the music.
Steve is a very accomplished musician. Having even won a Grammy among other accolades for his writing and banjo work. He is an impressive musician, and has often played with the likes of Sam Bush and Bella Fleck. The music was amazing, especially considering, as Steve explained, the Steep Canyon Rangers were just a local North Carolina band that he heard and really liked. And they were no slouches in their own right. I would not put them up against say Allison Krauss’ Union Station, Nickle Creek, or Ricky Skaggs band, but they were good.
If you want a taste of the funny side of the music, go to youtube.com and look up Steve Martin Atheist Hymn. This was one they did in the show and even in Tulsa Oklahoma, it killed. The night ended after almost 2 full hrs of music including an encore, and I, along with the rest of the audience would have gladly stayed for 2 more.