Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Writing the TJ & Dave Book(#9): The Night the TV Came to Life

By Pam Victor

["Writing The TJ & Dave Book" is the series plucked from the journal I kept while writing "Improvisation at the Speed of Life: The TJ & Dave Book" with TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi. You should buy the book here. (I mean, if you want to.) 

A few days before that trip to New York City in 2013, I asked TJ if we could hang out at some point during the weekend in order to establish a bond in the interest of the book. So he kindly invited me to tag along with them after a show. Once we were down in New York, TJ was true to his word on Saturday night. As TJ was headed out after the show with his mom, dad, and Nana in tow, he was sure to include me. 

“I’m bringing my posse, I hope that’s okay,” I said as we were leaving the theater.

“I would expect no less than you rolling with a posse, Pam,” TJ said over Nana’s shoulder.

We went into a cute bar, where TJ hugged the owners as we were allowed into the back room. We arrived to spot David Cross and John Benjamin having a tête-à-tête at the bar. David Pasquesi sat down to share a meal with TJ’s family while TJ hovered nearby. I sat down at a table with my three girlfriends, and we ordered some ridiculously delicious cocktails of vodka, grapefruit, and mint in martini glasses. We clinked glasses and laughed - I had never felt so Sex in the City! The room erupted in whoops when a Sonic Drive-Thru commercial came on. The noise was just starting to die down when TJ’s partner from the commercial, Peter Grosz, walks in the door. It was a truly meta experience. How crazy would it have been if every time an improviser came on the TV in that bar, they walked in the door?

Well, we must have been living in the improv-friendly Twilight Zone because if Saturday Night Live had been on that night, that actually would have happened. Can you believe that following Peter Grosz came a line of folks from SNL? John Lutz - who I actually know from when we did "Geeking Out with: The Live TALK SHOW" at the Chicago Improv Festival earlier that year - Tim Robinson, Michael Patrick O’Brien, and at the end walked into the bar was the intensely dreamy Seth Meyers. There are very, very few actors on TV who could make me whimper with desire around that time in 2013. (And few still today.) Maybe George Clooney (though he’s not a comedian, so it’s not as sweet.) Then there is that guy who played Jim in “The Office.” And Seth Meyers. Around that time, it was not infrequent that my husband teased me for sighing with pleasure during “Weekend Update.” So I just about fell out of my chair with Seth Meyers himself - looking
Seth Meyers
at the 
Time 100 Gala, May 3, 2010.
Photo by 
David Shankbone
exactly like Seth Meyers from TV! - walked through the door. 

My girlfriends and I were trying to be casual at our little Sex in the Cityish table, with only moderate success. Ok, probably no success. We tried to sneak photos of ourselves with Seth Meyers in the background. Then the sweetest thing ever happened. TJ leans over my shoulder with one hand on my back, the other on the table, and whispers in my ear, “Is there anyone you or anyone in your posse want to meet?”

John Lutz and Peter Grosz
2 Square (DCM, 2013)
Photo credit: Pam Victor
“I’m in love with Seth Meyers,” I blurted out in a whispered gush. His response was something along the lines of “Dream on, sister,” but he got Seth to come over and shake hands with us. Probably because we were acting like a bunch of ogling dorks, that was the sum total of our time with Mr. Meyers. Though even better, I had lovely and real conversations with John Lutz and Peter Grosz, whom I would  get to see perform later that summer at the Del Close Marathon in their stellar JTS Brown-style team 2 Square. Great guys, both on and offstage.

And there you have it, the #1 most Hollywood-glamorous moment of writing The TJ & Dave Book. Little did I know that the sparkly memories of that star-struck evening would have to light my way through the months and months of writing drudgery in my Western Mass cave coming ahead.


If you're interested in reading more of my slurry, check out

Here's one about practicing non-judgment called
The Great Spirit of "Fuck It!"

Or perhaps you'd like to read interviews with great minds in improvisation in the Geeking Out with... series here?


Pam Victor is the co-author of the newly released "Improvisation at the Speed of Life: The TJ and Dave Book" along with TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi. Pam writes (and performs) the Geeking Out with... interview series and The Zen of Improv series as well as mostly humorous, mostly true essays and reviews of books, movies, and tea on the blog "My Nephew is a Poodle."  Pam is the founding member of The Ha-Ha’s, and she produces The Happier Valley Comedy Show.   Currently, Pam teaches  "The Zen of Improv Comedy" and "Mindfulness Through Laughter" in Western Massachusetts.

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