It was “Saturday Night Live” all over again at the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center on Saturday night. The reason? Former “SNL” cast member Jon Lovitz was in town. The veteran of 30 films including “A League of Their Own” and “Benchwarmers” regaled the crowd with his thoughts on everything from his own sexuality (he’s not gay but Bob Saget is another story), to his religion – he wants everyone in SLO to know he’s not a Jew, he’s Jewish.
The show had an international flavor with Australian-born comedian Jim Short opening for Lovitz. Short continued Lovitz’ habit of disassociation declaring to the crowd, “Mel Gibson is yours now, he’s not ours anymore. Mel Gibson is from New York.” The stand-up veteran was hilarious for the five minutes he was on stage.
Lovitz is working backwards in the fact that he is an actor going to stand-up, and it shows. He’s not as polished or smooth in delivery as most accomplished comedians, or maybe that’s just Lovitz, I don’t know.
That said, he had some really good bits, such as teaching the mostly gentile audience what the Yiddish word “hutzpah” means. Lovitz: “Lance Armstrong has hutzpah.well, one hutzpah really.” Finally, he laid it out in far simpler terms saying, “Hutzpah is Hitler moving to Israel and asking ‘why is everyone picking on me?’”
The weirdest thing was hearing Lovitz drop the f-bomb in the first couple of minutes. I’ve seen a bunch of his movies, but I don’t remember hearing him cuss. It was kind of awkward, like getting used to watching your grandparents make out. You know it’s gonna happen, but nothing prepares you for its arrival.
Unlike your grandparents, Lovitz is a delight to watch. His stand-up career is in it’s relative infancy, which is apparent as he fumbles over his words a bit, but it quickly becomes part of the act.
One of the best portions of the show was when he got into a “raise your hand if” bit with the audience. The first came when he asked all the Catholics in the audience to raise their hands. Upon doing so, Lovitz offered a well timed apology for “killing their Lord.” Good stuff.
The second came when he asked all the Republicans in the room to raise their hand. He then congratulated them for being “winners” then instructed everyone in the audience to look at them. I’m pretty sure he lost the conservative portion in the audience after that.
Lovitz closed the show with a rousing musical tribute (he’s got a decent voice and plays the piano pretty well) to his best friend, comedian Bob Saget. Side note: remind me to move to a different country if my best friend ever gets big in show business.
Lovitz gave a stirring musical tribute to the sexuality of the former “Full House” star, including covers of “Knights in White Satin” and “Hey Jude.” It was a perfect end to the show for two reasons.
First off, I had no idea Jon Lovitz could sing, much less play piano. Second, anytime you can watch the pitchman for Subway perform a musical parody of the star of “Full House,” come on – endings don’t get any better.