Brush with Greatness


Mark's Friggin' Visit To The Stress Factory - Saturday, September 6, 2008

This is a quick one. I only had a very quick ''brush'' with comedian Robert Schimmel. He made a rare appearance at my favorite comedy club, the Stress Factory in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

A few years ago Robert and I had been e-mailing about the Stern Show for a short time. I think his agent may have told him about my site and we went back and forth for a short time until I did something to scare him off. I'm not even sure exactly what it was but he stopped responding to me.

Before Bob stopped responding to me his agent had set me up with free tickets to see Bob down in Atlantic City. It was a very entertaining show and I was going to go meet him that time but things just didn't work out. Fast forward to 2008 and I see that Mr. Schimmel is going to be appearing at the Stress Factory. I figured I could find out what I did wrong if I went to see him there. The club is small enough that I'd get a chance to speak to him at some point.

I went to the show with my wife and our neighbors. The show was amazing. Schimmel was great in a huge theater but even more amazing at this small club. I laughed my ass off for a solid hour. Schimmel is not only hilarious but also very inspiring. He talks about his life and, if you've heard his stories on the Stern Show, you know just how wild and crazy it is. Schimmel also talks about his battle with cancer in a very amusing way and makes people laugh while he's doing it.

I've been a fan of Schimmel's ever since I heard him on the Stern Show for the first time. The stories he's told on the show make it sound like he's got a ''black cloud'' following him around like Scott the Engineer does. That black cloud even followed him on stage this night. The Stress Factory has a pay phone on the wall behind the stage for this bit they do at the start of some shows. Shortly after Schimmel started his show, his arm got tangled in the pay phone cord in a way that probably couldn't be duplicated again.

After the show I wanted to say a quick hello to Bob. I was hoping he'd be accessible to the fans and he was. Bob was selling and signing copies of his DVDs in the back exit of the club. I lucked out because most of the fans went out the other exit so there were no lines or huge crowds to deal with.

I told Bob that I was Mark from MarksFriggin dot com... we used to e-mail each other a few years ago... I write about the Howard Stern show. I'm not sure if he remembered me at all but he was very cool about it. I told him how great the show was and thanked him for the great show. I was going to leave him alone after that but he asked if I wanted a DVD. I went to pull out my wallet but he told me to put it away and gave me a copy of his HBO special and his ''Authorized Bootleg'' DVDs. Nice!

I was kind of curious as to why Schimmel wasn't on the Stern Show the week of his show. Schimmel figured they were just booked up that week and weren't able to fit him in.

So that was my little brush with the great Robert Schimmel. He's a great guy, brilliant and inspiring.

I wanted to include a quick review of Bob's ''Authorized Bootleg'' DVD in this write up. I'm writing this a few weeks after I went to see the show. I kept putting off watching the DVD every day for the past few weeks. I'm very lazy.

I'm watching the DVD as I'm writing this and I find myself laughing my ass off again. The quality of the DVD isn't what you'd find on a concert DVD since it is a ''real bootleg.'' There's one camera and Schimmel isn't even in the center of the screen most of the time. That doesn't matter though. The material is great. You can get a copy through his web site It's definitely worth checking out.

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