Lakewood Civic Auditorium is Hell – Oh, and Joel McHale Performed

(originally posted 6/21/2009)

Lakewood Civic Auditorium SUCKS!!!!!

Why, why, why would you have a 1500 seat auditorium with NO AIR CONDITIONING!!!! Why would you book a performance for an evening in June and NOT HAVE AIR CONDITIONING!!!

Why do you have rows of seats with so little leg room that a 5’6″ woman is in pain after sitting there for a mere 2 hour show?

Was this designed by sadists?

I saw that Lindsey Buckingham and Alice Cooper have played here.  How? Why?

This place could be so good.  I didn’t have to drive downtown (although, what was up with closing the main street and then not resetting the lights?  The main street, Bunts,  was closed for construction and it still had a far longer green light than the smaller road I was on.  Why does a closed road need to have a green light at all?  Um, hey Lakewood, take a second and think these things through.  Or, when you know you have 1500 people attending an event in this area, put some damn policemen out to direct traffic.  We’re spending money in your city, make us want to come back).  There is free parking.  The place is cute.

But the seats are really uncomfortable.  And the rows were way too narrow (I just had an hour massage yesterday afternoon and my previously really relaxed back was screaming when I got out of there).  And the people behind me just stank.   And as I mentioned before, there was no air and they closed all the fire exit doors.  For the love of all that is good, open those bad boys up and at least let some air through.  I’m so glad I was at the 10 pm show and not the 7:30.  Oh, I would have killed myself during the 7:30 show.  It wasn’t even that warm of a day but that 7:30 show must have been unbearably hot.  My last complaints about the venue are these: 1) no alcohol and 2) when we were trying to leave after the show, they only had one little exit open for all those people.

It is as though the place is managed and run by Satan. It looks all pretty on the outside and IT HURTS once you get in!

I was there to see Joel McHale, the host of the Soup. His opening act was Chris Hardwick.  I had never heard of him but he started saying stuff he had been in (Singled Out, Attack of the Show) and I knew what the shows were.  He’s been around a long time.  And his act is really funny.  It’s really polished.  He really should have been the headliner.

By the time Joel McHale came on, the lack of leg room, air conditioning and comfortable seats coupled with the presence of BO had me starting to get a little cranky.  My perception of Joel’s performance might be totally different if I wasn’t so uncomfortable.  But I was.  And unfortunately, after that great opening act, Joel’s lack of stand up experience is very apparent.  Plus, the ticket weren’t cheap.  I paid $90 (after about $15 of   LiveNation fees) for two tickets. When someone is charging that much, they better nail it and there are few things he nails.

His jokes about the Innerbelt Bridge and the commentary on the LeBron James billboards were some of his funniest material.  He is very good at making pointing out the absurdities in everyday monotony.  The material he did about his dad was funny as were some of the things he had to say about his wife and sons.  But much of this was painfully mashed together filler. I realize that he was on for over an hour, but the filler was that bad. And the commentary on the Z-grade celebrities that makes him delightful on the Soup, don’t work without the clips. It was painful to see him just start naming these personalities and expecting the audience to laugh just hearing the names.  Jole McHale saying “chicken tetrazini” isn’t funny.  It’s only funny seeing that crazy chick’s disembodied head fly across the bottom of the screen as she’s saying it.

He also really should stop swallowing the ends of his jokes.  This is something I notice even on the TV show.  There are ways you can deliver those little snide, offhand remarks in a nonchalant but biting way while still making them intelligible.  I shouldn’t have to wonder what he just said (or when I’m watching the show, I shouldn’t have to rewind it to try and figure out what he muttered).

And he needs to figure out when to end one of his stories.  He has some charming little stories which would be much funnier if he knew when to end them.  They sort of meander around until he goes to the next topic rather than to build into a final, definitive punchline.  Even the end of the show was kind of like, “oh, I guess he’s done”.  Very anticlimactic.

I wanted to stay and buy some of Joel’s tchotckes after the show.  I heard that he is very gracious and will stay and sign whatever you buy.  But my bonne humeur was gone and my husband, who had spent half the show with his shirt up over his mouth and nose because the people behind us really smelled that bad, was just done.

Joel McHale is charming and, given more experience, I’m sure he’ll be a great stand up act.  He’s just not there yet. He should spend time watching his opener.  That guy knows what he’s doing.

And Joel, please request that your booking agent puts you in places with air conditioning when booking you in June.

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