Most of us have occasional brushes with fame. I’ve blogged about a couple (like the time I got to hang out with Emo Philips), but forgot about this one until I saw Bob Odenkirk on The Daily Show last week, promoting his new show–Breaking Bad‘s spinoff Better Call Saul. Seeing him brought back a memory of the time (cue flashback/harp music) I slept on his living room floor, in Chicago, in the late 1980s.
I was just starting my comedy career, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I had done enough open mic nights to feel like I was ready to start looking for minor league paying gigs.
Fort Wayne is only a three and a half hour drive from Chicago, a comedy mecca at the time. A friend, Chicago comic Jimmy Wiggins, told me that when I was ready he would find a place for me to crash for a night or two and set me up with some local open mics.
Jimmy lived on Lincoln Avenue, across the street from the famous Biograph Theater, where John Dillinger was shot. Jimmy had a girlfriend who, while friendly enough, didn’t cotton to the idea of a strange young woman crashing on his couch, so he set me up a couple doors down at an apartment shared by a few other comics–one of whom was Bob Odenkirk.
I’m sure Bob has no memory of this at all. I remember him, however, because he was about to start writing for Saturday Night Live, and other newbie comics talked about him with respect and awe.
Bob was friendly enough. He was on his way out for the night when I arrived. He told me to make myself at home and have a good show that evening.
If memory serves, the apartment was above a famous Lincoln Park club called Lounge Ax. If not directly above, it was very close by. My night on his floor was barely memorable. It was hard wood. I think I had a sleeping bag. I don’t remember if there was a couch and, if so, why I didn’t sleep on that instead of the floor.
In the morning, I got up and headed back to Fort Wayne, after Bob gave me directions to a convenient place down the block to grab some orange juice and a donut for the road.
And that is pretty much the entire story.
Hey, I never promised it would be interesting, did I?