I saw Dennis Miller live once. I think. No, I’m sure I did. It was a long time ago. I don’t know who I went with. I don’t know what theater. I don’t have any pictures. And I remember only one thing about it. After his set was over, he walked off stage and then immediately back on, saying he was going to spare us the encore bullshit. Did he think he wouldn’t get an encore? I don’t know. Either way, well played.
Last week, Shaun and I saw the Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science tour at the Paramount. I’m writing it down because I feel that may be the only way I remember it five or ten or twenty year from now. Although I may remember that at the end of the show, just as he was wrapping up, there was a mass exodus of people, and Alton had to ask people to stay for one last song. (Yes, song.) I think that’s the only time I’ve been at a show where the performer had to ask people to stay. Nobody was leaving during the show that I noticed, but the whole production seemed lackluster. We went to see him talk about food, and instead we got off-key comedy-musical stylings (Allan Sherman would not be jealous) and a couple of silly, large-scale food experiments, with volunteers from the audience who had to go backstage for a costume change and came back in protective smocks and miraculously full of witty one liners. As we were leaving the theater, we heard another couple say that this live show was very different and not as good as his last two years ago.
I always thought Good Eats was a well done show, and I appreciated his explanations of cooking techniques. Some of Alton’s recipes are some of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten. Yet he’s much more into inventing elaborate cooking techniques and using non-traditional hardware because he can, and it’s not for me. And that’s what the show felt like. He did it because he could, and it wasn’t for me.