Friday, August 25, 2017

"LADY! Get your kid!"

Hi, everyone, Steve Copeland here. Well, the time is almost upon us; in just a couple of days Circus World’s 2017 summer season will be just a memory. It has been an incredible summer, with barely a moment for any of us to breathe, but it sure has been a lot of fun.
Here’s what’s been happening in our neck of the woods.

Last week was a particularly busy one. Pretty much every evening after work we had some kind of extra activity scheduled. It all started on Monday night when Johnny Trapino and his wife, Karen, invited us all to their home in Baraboo for a home cooked meal. Karen made lasagna, and it was delicious!
Johnny showed off his circus models that he builds, and we all had a good time hanging out somewhere other than the circus to talk about……the circus!

Photos by Johnny Trapino

On Tuesday evening the Gollmar-Moeller-Ringling Circus Fans of America tent had a picnic for all of us to thank us for a successful summer season. The GMR tent holds a banquet for us at the opening of the season, and then they always have a picnic as well at the closing of the season. 
While we were eating we went around the group and told everyone what our post Circus World plans are. Several of us are heading to the Circus Spectacular at the Big E in Springfield, MA, including Jenny Vidbel and her horses. When it came time for us to announce our plans, Ryan said he was also going to the Big E to clean up after Jenny’s horses. I said that I would be getting a job as a Walmart greeter, and Nico claimed he is going on welfare. 
Pamela and I ate plenty of food at the picnic, but then we went and saw the horror movie, Annabelle: Creation, and afterwards I wasn’t full anymore since it scared the you know what out of me.

On Wednesday night we had another show at the Ho-Chunk Casino, but afterwards I opted out of the buffet for two reasons: 1) Last week it made me sick and B) I wanted to get a little rest in before we resumed our crazy week.
(A quick flash forward to this past Wednesday) Just two nights ago we had our final performance at the Ho-Chunk Casino, and it was very memorable. The sound system was not at our stage, so Robert had to yell the whole time, Ryan and Jacob did a juggling duet, and at the conclusion of the show Ryan dropped the Ho-Chunk photo wall on top of me.
Pamela and I were going to join the gang for one more free casino buffet, but all the cigarette smoke in the air in the casino made me physically ill, and so we begged off and gave our buffet coupons to a couple of our friends who had joined us.

On Thursday night we had a buyout performance for the Agrace Hospice at 7:30 p.m. Immediately following the water gag a lady from Agrace came out and gave a speech, and then Scott and Dave hosted an auction to raise money for the hospice.
After the auction Ryan and I personally thanked Scott and Dave for putting our water gag before the special presentation, because the speech from the woman at Agrace was one of the most depressing things I’ve ever heard in my life. Typically in our show business experiences, Ryan and I have usually been slated after such somber affairs, like when we were on Kelly Miller and had to follow a presentation honoring those killed on September 11th. I tell you, nothing makes audiences want to laugh at the antics of two stupid clowns more than remembering a national tragedy……
Thursday was a long night, because the speech and auction added about an extra hour to the already long big top show.

We had Friday evening free, but our social calendar was once again filled on Saturday evening, when Jonathon and Susan Lipp, who are on the Circus World board of directors, had us over to their beautiful lake house in Merrimac, WI.
After touring their huge mansion with an indoor swimming pool and beautiful view of the lake, I tried to comfort my co-workers by saying, “Yeah, but their house doesn’t have wheels on it like ours do!”
Susan made a delicious meal for us all, and Pamela and I had a lot of fun swimming in their indoor pool with Jacob and the Ramos children. 
Unfortunately both of my ears got clogged from the pool water, and so for a few days I suffered from muffled hearing and the constant sensation that I needed to pop my ears.

After about three days I could take no more, so I scheduled a doctor’s appointment with a clinic in the Dells. Luckily I booked the appointment early enough, and my visit was in and out, so I didn’t even have to miss the morning makeup show at Circus World.
The doctor used a device to flush out the excess wax I had built up in my ear canals, and the relief was instantaneous. Best of all, they cleaned out enough wax to make a new candle for our trailer!
Ryan was disappointed to hear that they didn’t stick an air compressor up my nether regions and blow the wax out that way.

This past Monday there was a solar eclipse that happened during Nothing But Nonsense, and sure enough, it made everyone act crazy. Beforehand at the big top show there was a little girl that ran up to me after the performance, took one of the light swords I was hawking, and ran away with it.
Her exasperated looking mother came up to me and said, “I’ll get you the money for that.”
A few minutes later the girl ran up and took another sword and ran away without even looking at me. I was busy with other customers, so Tatiana went over and collected the money and returned one of the swords to me. A few minutes later the girl came back with her sword, dropped it off, and took one of the smaller lights.
I made sure to give the mother her extra change as she was walking by, but when I tried to explain why I was giving her more money, I just seemed to confuse her more.

As Ryan and I were setting the props for Nothing But Nothing, the little girl ran into the ring and began dancing. I calmly told her, “Sweetheart, you can’t be in here, because there are dangerous props that can hurt you.”
She yelled back, “I want to dance!”, and continued dancing.
I persisted, “That’s great, but you can’t be in here.”
She promptly ignored me and continued dancing. Finally Ryan coaxed her into the seats and found a place for her to sit for the show. Just about then her mother came into the Hippodrome and tried to walk into the ring. I explained to her that we had dangerous equipment set up, and she needed to stay out. Just then her daughter ran out of the building into the park. The woman called after the girl, who ignored her, and so she slowly followed after her.

Backstage I remarked to Ryan that we needed to keep an eye out for the girl since I was sure she would return to the scene of the crime. Sure enough, when I was setting more props, I spotted the girl running around behind our Spike Jones carts.
I called out, “No! You need to get away from those.”
Her mother laughed apologetically and said, “She’s out of control.”
I tersely replied, “Well, you need to do something about it. She could get hurt in there.”
The mother then half heartedly tried to coax the girl out of the ring, but the girl saw it as a game and kept running away. I went into the ring, placed my hand on her shoulder, and led her to her mother. Both of them left and I hoped the situation was finished.

Cut to the show. Ryan and I had just finished the opening number, and we were talking with the audience when all of a sudden who should run in but our tiny dancer friend. Her mother stood ineffectively at the edge of the ring and tried to call her over.
I pointed at the Steve & Ryan sign over the curtain and asked the girl, “Do you see your name on that sign?” as she ran around the ring picking up rubber chickens and bowling balls to throw at Ryan.
Just then the girl’s mother came into the ring and started chasing the child around.
Ryan and I just watched, and then I commented, “This reminds me of a scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”
Ryan mused, “Maybe she’ll turn into a blueberry.”
Just then the mom caught the little girl, and carried the screaming tot out of the ring to the audience’s applause. All I could do was throw my hands up like someone had just scored a field goal and yell, “Parenting!”

Later in the show there was a family that came in during the Crying Song. Even with my muffled hearing I could tell that they were making way too much noise. They were talking loudly and taking their sweet time to get settled. Most of the song they were standing up with their backs to us while they tried to get their children situated.
After spending the four minutes of the song being as much of a distraction as possible, they then got up and started walking up the stairs and then across an aisle during the next scene. I just stopped and watched them lackadaisically trying to find the perfect seats before interjecting, “You guys still haven’t found your seats? Moses and the Egyptians spent less time wandering around than you guys!”

It was a particularly wacky show, but the audience was with us the whole time, and they ate up all of the interruptions and ad libs. This whole past week has been full of impromptu fun; I’m really going to miss doing this version of Nothing But Nonsense when the summer is over.

The one bit of sad news from this past weekend was the passing of Jerry Lewis. Jerry is probably Ryan’s biggest comedic influence, so Ryan took the announcement especially hard. Both of us came off the Nothing But Nonsense show on Sunday to see the news on our phones, and I was only grateful that we hadn’t heard beforehand, because I know it would have been difficult for Ryan to get through the show.
For the past few days Pamela and I have been watching documentaries on Jerry, as well as some of his films to remember and honor his tremendous talent.
I tell you all this in an attempt to live my life by the words of John Mulaney and Nick Kroll in their hilarious Broadway show, “Oh, Hello”. They said, “When a celebrity dies, blame the year and make it about yourself!”

I think that is about it for now. I’ll see you all next week when our summer season is finished and I have my first chance to sleep in since May! 


1 comment:

Patti Whitebird said...

Strangely, I immediately thought of Ryan too when I heard of Jerry Lewis's passing. I pulled out my Jerry Lewis movie collection and as I watched, I thought how much you two must have been influenced by Martin and Lewis, and by Hope and Crosby. I am a fan of all of those old slapstick movies. I was hoping to make it back this Sunday for my ninth visit but I suffered a rather debilitating back injury earlier this week and have been laid up all week. So if I don't make it on Sunday, let me thank you now for a great entertaining summer! (Maybe I can be wheeled in on a stretcher and catch the last day of the season!) :)