24 and Mary Lynn Rajskub superfan Trevor Barnette attended three of Mary Lynn’s standup shows and shares his experience in this great writeup. Check out his excellent review below.
Mary Lynn Rajskub: Smart Hot
Visit this site, and pick a date. Or two. Or three. You can thank me later.
Let me just start off by saying here that I rarely ever write reviews like this. But after my experience seeing Mary Lynn Rajskub live at Caroline’s on Broadway in New York City (not once, not twice, but three times) this past weekend, I feel that you all really need to know: This woman is damn funny. She also just happens to be one of the coolest, nicest, and most down-to-earth celebrities you could ever meet. So if you have the chance to catch Mary Lynn Rajskub on her “Stupid Hot” Comedy Tour, I can’t recommend it enough. Often times you’ll hear famous people say how much they care about their fans, and I’m sure most of the time it is true. I’m sure many other times it is bogus. I can tell you that not only does Mary Lynn Rajskub care about her fans, she will go above and beyond for them. And I will explain why later.
If you frequent this site, I’m sure you are already well aware that I am the resident Mary Lynn superfan. You’re probably already thinking this is going to one pretty damn biased review… and I guess I really have no counter argument there. But it was not always this way. When I first met Chloe O’Brian, or as she was called on 24 message boards when the character was first introduced, “Potato Face” (for the record: I HAVE NEVER and WILL NEVER call her by this nickname), I found her to be super annoying, like most 24 fans did. If you had told me 10 years ago when I first started season 3 that one day I would become a bigger fan of Mary Lynn Rajskub than I am of 24, I would have laughed in your face. And yet, somehow, that’s exactly what happened. Today, I would thank the creators of 24 for two things: 1. The countless hours of entertainment they have provided me. 2. Introducing me to the wonderful Mary Lynn Rajskub. I couldn’t tell you how, and I can’t pinpoint exactly when. (Although I am someone who made his mom take him to the theaters – I was 10 – to see Firewall just because Mary Lynn had 10 minutes of screen time in it, so the transition must have started happening around 2006. Plus, once season 6 came around, it was a lot easier.) For a while, I couldn’t even explain why. I’ve loved almost every actor on 24, but I’ve never felt the need to follow every single one of their careers outside of the show so closely. So what was it about Mary Lynn that had drawn me to her so much? (Okay, besides her looks). After this weekend, I totally understand what it was.
Mary Lynn Rajskub at Caroline’s on Broadway in New York City
I’ve been wanting to see Mary Lynn do stand up for quite a while now, but most shows are 18+ or too far away anyway. Since I just turned 18 in February and Mary Lynn was heading on tour, I knew it was finally time I made this dream come true. I spent months just hoping she would announce a tour date in Boston, but eventually just decided that if I didn’t want to wait any longer, I was going to have to go to her myself. When I decided on taking a trip to New York City, I knew there was no way I was going to settle for just one show. If I was doing it, I was going to make a weekend event out of it. It was also my first trip that I had paid for with my own money and gone without either of my parents, which made it even more exciting. Well, maybe not the money part so much. My bank account doesn’t look as pretty as it did last week.
But it was worth every penny. Mary Lynn is, hands down, one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. If you think she is funny on TV during her interviews, you haven’t seen anything until you actually see her show. Mary Lynn shares hilarious personal stories about her family, her personal life, pregnancy, marriage, sex, her private parts, offers relationship advice, and even lets you in on one of her sexual fantasies. Which I won’t post here. If you want to know what they are, you need to buy a ticket for yourself. And if you want to know what celebrity Mary Lynn had an awkward encounter with when she was a waitress at Denny’s, before she was, as she often refers to herself throughout the show, “an international superstar of stage and screen” – you’re going to have to buy a ticket for that one, too.
It’s been said that Mary Lynn “is an extraordinary communicator, who takes stories that are very funny and quirky and finds ways to engage an audience to the point where they relate to her and bond with the stories she is telling. It’s not just a woman standing on stage being funny, it’s a woman on stage being funny and drawing the audience in to her own world because she’s able to focus in on those parts that they share with one another.”
Having attended 3 shows in 2 nights, I can attest to this. I remember I was watching her, I just couldn’t help myself. I’m thinking to myself, “How the hell does she do that? How does she stand in front of a room full of absolute strangers, and we all just start laughing like we’ve been friends forever?” That’s a gift. I remember thinking, “God, I wish I could do that.” But I can’t. That’s Mary Lynn.
(C’mon, you know I had to put one 24 reference in this review.)
If you follow Mary Lynn like I do (by this I mean follow her on Twitter, set your DVR every time Mary Lynn is appearing on TV so you never miss an interview, listen to every one of her podcast episodes on release date, are upset because there hasn’t been a podcast episode in over a year, and know The Creepy Bearded Indie Guy), then you probably already know a lot of the stories she tells during the show. And yet, it’s still like hearing them for the first time. Mary Lynn definitely has a special way of communicating with the audience. She is also very quick on her feet, too. Several times she would exit off the stage and head in to the crowd, picking on some fans in the audience. One highlight during the second show was when a homicide detective held up a poster (er, 8.5×11 piece of paper) he made in crayon, on which he spelled “Chloe” wrong. Mary Lynn spent a bit of time making fun of him for that one. “So you’re a HOMICIDE detective, who still uses crayons to make a poster? AND spell Chloe wrong? Jack Bauer is in the house, everybody!”
Another highlight was during the third show when Mary Lynn shares with us her desire to be “stupid hot”, which is when a woman is SO hot that even she knows it, but it’s all that she actually knows. She then does a very funny impression of what a “stupid hot” girl is like (I think we all know one of those), and how easily they can get men to sleep with them, no matter where it is. Even up against a dumpster in an alley. One woman, who made it clear earlier in the show that she was only there because of 24 and had no idea Mary Lynn did stand up (I will talk more about this later), was enthusiastically cheering during this and implying that she was a fan of dirty sex, to which Mary Lynn had a very funny 24-themed response to please all us fans. “Oh, you like that, huh?” *mimes being pushed up against a dumpster* “Yes! Yes! I’m a bad girl! Call me Nina! Call me Nina! You play Jack!” That received quite the response from the 24 fanatics in the room.
Now before I move on to the second night, I’d like to share something extremely cool that happened during the first. A little known fact on this site might be that Mary Lynn and I have actually been quite friendly on Twitter for over four years now (although it wasn’t until I created my second, and current, Twitter account a little over two years ago that Mary Lynn actually realized “I have a fan named Trevor that tweets me a lot.” But she would tweet me a decent amount when I had my old Twitter handle before that.) and for some reason, I have no idea why, Mary decided to follow me two years ago. Admittedly, she sucks with technology, so it’s quite possible she meant to hit the “Block” option but accidentally hit “Follow”, and just never figured out how to switch it off. (As a side note, sometimes I do catch her favoriting tweets of mine that she is not tagged in.) In addition to Twitter, I’ve also had the pleasure of participating in two live chats via webcam with her, something else I bet nobody here knew. (I hope you all are detecting the sarcasm here.) So she knows who I am and knew I was going to be at the shows. And during the first show, towards the end, in the most adorable voice, she waves to me and says “Hi Trevor.”
After the first show ended, I immediately picked up my tickets for the next one. It was the only show I did not have VIP tickets for as I won them on Facebook and the show is general admission. So I didn’t have as good seats as I did the show before, but it’s not like there’s a single bad seat in the house anyway. I was just in the back this time instead of the front. So as I’m sitting waiting for the show to begin, I see that there’s a table right next to the stage that no one is sitting at. I know VIP ticket holders are reserved the best seats in the house, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask… so I asked someone who worked there “Hey, can I sit at that table right there?”, fully expecting him to tell me no. But instead, he replies “You want to sit there? Sure, go right ahead. No problem.” So I went from the back, to this (no zoom):
Funny enough, my general admission ticket ended up getting me better seats than my VIP ticket did the show before! Go figure! So the table I’m at is pretty large, I didn’t do a count but it probably had about 14 chairs with it, 7 on each side. I expected other people to follow my lead and just ask to move to this large, empty table, but no one did. So here I am. A table for 14 all to myself. The host of the show, Joe Machi, who you may know as a finalist on Last Comic Standing, did make a joke about me being all by my lonesome, which was pretty funny. But I didn’t care. I was about to be watching Mary Lynn Rajskub perform from three feet away. Then the opening act, a very funny man named Sean Donnelly, comes out and does his routine, which was great. But after a little while, a woman did take a seat right next to me. I couldn’t believe it took that long for someone to move over to this table – the seats were amazing! But as I turn to look at her, I realize it is not just “some woman” sitting at my table with me, right next to me. It’s Mary Lynn Rajskub. I know this sounds corny, but my heart felt like it was about to explode out of my chest when I saw her taking a seat right next to me. And then she just says “Hey buddy, what’s up?” Don’t even ask me how I responded, because I haven’t a clue, but I know that I did give her a high-five. So here I am, watching the opening act while sitting right next to a woman I’ve been a huge fan of for years. I saw the guy on stage moving his lips, but I have no idea what he was saying anymore. All I was thinking was “Mary Lynn Rajskub is sitting right next to me!” The only downside of this story is that I really suck at taking selfies.
She called me out several times throughout both shows, enough so that I was treated like royalty by everyone after the show. “How do you know her?”, “Can you take us backstage?”, “Where is she now?”. Couldn’t blame them though, it nearly felt like I was a part of her act! At one point someone asked her some ridiculous 24 question that Mary Lynn had no clue about, so she only answered “I don’t know… Ask Trevor!” It was pretty funny, but so crazy at the same time! She even announced to the crowd how I drove a long way to get there and tweeted her along the way. At one point, she shook a few hands in the front row, but didn’t shake mine, so I said “Uh, hey…” and she walked over to shake my hand. But, to my surprise, she grabs on to my hand tightly and starts pulling me out of my chair! I didn’t expect it, so I started falling out of my chair, and she began to play it off as if she was trying to get away from me. She then turned to the homicide detective and told him to “keep an eye on me.” “He doesn’t really LOOK like he could do anything… but you never with these skinny people sometimes. He could have skinny man’s rage or something.” It was very funny and unexpected. And made me look like a VIP after the show.
The Last Night
After the show ended, we all got ushered out fairly quickly to make way for the next show at midnight (not Mary Lynn Rajskub). Some fans were lucky enough to get pictures with her afterwards, I was not one of them. I stuck around as long as I could and then checked around outside, but Mary was nowhere to be found. She tweeted me later on promising that she would see me after the show on Sunday, sign my stuff, take a photo. So, obviously, I couldn’t wait.
On the third and final show, I got to see what it’s like to be heckled by people in the audience. Mary Lynn had to deal with a table right in front of her that would not shut up! The way she handled them was very amusing, and she was an absolute pro about it, but you could tell she was getting flustered and, obviously, a little annoyed. One of the women at the table I briefly talked about earlier decided to let everyone know that she is a huge 24 fan and wasn’t aware of Mary Lynn’s comedic background, to which Mary Lynn responded – “That’s really great you didn’t know I do comedy. But why don’t you shut up and let me fucking do it?!” It was hilarious, but they still seemed unable to take a hint, and continued to act like Mary Lynn was running a panel discussion and not performing stand up. At one point, one woman called out to her “How old is your son?!” Mary Lynn took a sip of her cocktail on stage and said “No, this is not a question and answer show. You know, this is not, like, a participatory event. Do you need attention? I really think you need attention. I just don’t get why the fuck you keep trying to talk to me!”
Mary Lynn explained that if she asks a question, it’s okay to shout out an answer. But otherwise, shut your damn mouth and let her do her job! She’s trying to work up there. But like I said, she handled them very well and still delivered with the laughs. There were many more outrageous things these women yelled at her, and many more things Mary Lynn quickly countered with (as I said before, she’s very quick on her feet), but this would go on forever if I mentioned every instance of it.
Rajskub For President
Okay, not really, because that would make it pretty hard for her to do a tour again. But I do want to share my final story that shows what a generous, thoughtful, sweet person Mary Lynn Rajskub truly is. After the show ended, I waited around in the showroom for a few minutes (I wasn’t sure where to wait to see Mary Lynn, inside or outside. I just knew she promised me it would happen.) I was paying my bill with a credit card anyway, so I couldn’t leave the room until my server returned even if I wanted to. After he did, I decided to make my way back to the waiting area where the bar is, and ended up running in to the opening, Sean Donnelly, on my way out. So I stopped to talk to him for a minute or two and get a picture. I don’t have an exact count, but I’d say I spent at least 5-6 minutes in that room before returning to the waiting area. Once I got out there, there were several people from the audience taking pictures with the host, Joe Machi. I waited in this room for a few more minutes, not really sure how this meeting was going to happen. So I went outside to check around the area (Mary Lynn tweeted me the night before that she was by the front door, so I figured she may be there again tonight.) Front door – nothing. Side door – nothing.
I waited for a few more moments, and then I see Sean Donnelly walking down the street again. He recognizes me and says “You’re Trevor, right? Mary Lynn is looking for you. She’s waiting backstage, sent the manager out to find you. Just go downstairs and find Phil, give him your name. He’ll take you back there to see her.” I knew Mary Lynn promised I would see her, but I never expected she would do that! I was so touched that she thought to do that for some fan she knows through Twitter. So of course I went downstairs right away to find the manager and gave him my name. He says “Oh finally, I’ve been looking for you. Mary Lynn’s been waiting for you for a while but I couldn’t find you. Let me see if she’s still here. Wait for one minute.” My heart began to sink… Did I really miss out on an opportunity like that? His one minute turns in to 10 minutes, then 15 minutes… So I eventually decide I’m done waiting for him to come back to me, and go to find him myself. I found him inside the showroom seating people for the next show, and I just reminded him I’m still here. “Sorry man, she left. She waited for you for like 20 minutes but you never showed up.”
I’m sure you all can imagine the disappointment I felt hearing those words. Imagine knowing that Mary Lynn Rajskub sent out for you, waited for you, and you never showed? I mean, come on, I’ve got to be one of the only guys alive that can honestly say they’ve stood Mary Lynn Rajskub up. I don’t know what went wrong, but I can’t help but only blame myself. I’m not sure how they didn’t find me when I was downstairs waiting around, it’s not like I was staying hidden. Hell, I was taking pictures and chatting with the openers! My only assumption is that they called my name during the five or so minutes I stepped outside. Why did I leave? I should have stayed in there for just a few more minutes. I should have asked Mary Lynn beforehand where I should go after the show. Or maybe I should have just known she would do something like that. After all, she did make a promise and is clearly very good to her fans. And yet, I did none of these things, which led to me missing out on an amazing opportunity. You better believe I was kicking myself the entire ride home; and then some more after that. And will be for a long time. I guess this is just something I’ll have to add to my list of regrets. (See what I did there??)
Of course I can’t help but be disappointed knowing that Mary Lynn Rajskub sat and waited for me for about 20 minutes and I never turned up, but it also means a hell of a lot that she even cared enough to do that. Why should an international superstar of stage and screen go out of her way to meet some fan on Twitter? Or as one or two of you have referred to me as, “the annoying kid on Twitter who Mary Lynn is probably very creeped out by.” (Although I’m assuming those two people have stopped reading by now.) Mary Lynn says during her show that she is not good at being famous, but I think every reason she lists to back up this claim is exactly why she’s so great at it. She has not let fame get to her head one bit. She shows just as much love for her fans as we show to her. I didn’t originally plan on sharing this story, or any review this detailed, but with all the news coming out about Freddie Prinze, Jr. and having to hear him trash talk Kiefer Sutherland, and then see uplifting stories of his former co-stars defending him, I figured it would be nice for 24 fans to know that there is someone else on the cast who is just as classy.
Even though I missed out because I made a stupid mistake, it makes me feel good to know Mary Lynn tried. Maybe she’ll never even know how much the weekend as a whole actually meant to me. I rarely ever get personal online, and don’t plan on getting too personal now, but I’m sure everybody has gone through some very difficult times at one point in their lives and had to deal with troubling issues within your family. Anyone that has had to deal with this knows how draining it can be. Well, this past weekend seeing Mary Lynn made it very easy to forget about any troubles there may be back home. For two nights, I was able to forget about anything and everything, not a care in the world. Just sit back, laugh my ass off, and enjoy the show. It’s only natural for us to seek some form of escapism during times like those, whether you find it in movies, television, music, art, or… comedy. I can’t thank Mary Lynn Rajskub enough for providing that escape this weekend and delivering what will easily remain the best weekend of my summer. I don’t know why Mary Lynn Rajskub was the one 24 cast member I chose to follow so closely, but I’m sure glad I did.
I’ll be keeping an eye on www.marylynnstandup.com, hoping that she adds more dates near me. Or at least that I can convince someone to take a trip to see her with me, because I can’t wait to go again. At least next time I’ll know the drill. And you should be checking out this site, too. If Mary Lynn is coming to a city near you, don’t even hesitate and buy a ticket to this show. Just don’t yell at her while she’s trying to work.
And in case you were wondering… Yes. She is even more beautiful in person.