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One of the most clever songwriters and quick-witted live comedians in the business... with his high speed, low-drag act that constantly changes and evolves, Pat has such strong material and improv skills, no two shows are ever the same... not even close.
seen and heard on last comic standing the howard stern show the bob and tom show schedule get tickets

Close, But No Guitar

IMG_0257Chuck Berry dies, I got a story. Chuck Barris dies, I got a story. Who am I, Forest Gump? Zelig?
The Summer before college, after my parent’s divorce, I hid out in LA for a few months, trying my hand at acting. The plan was to make it big and not have to go to college, but In no time I was broke and washing dishes for my room and board at a place called The Kipling Retirement Home on Wilshire Blvd. This old dump, now long gone, would’ve been used for the interior shots of The Shining, if it weren’t so creepy. When I wasn’t getting dish pan hands, I played piano in the basement, consorted with the comely female vagrants also housed there, and auditioned for the occasional acting job I could walk to, since I didn’t have a car. No one walks in LA, but I didn’t even have bus fare, so I had to hoof it everywhere. I couldn’t get an acting job, the money ran out, time was running out, and I was willing to try anything. I got wind of the open auditions for Chuck Barris’ The Gong Show and dusted off my High School Talent Show Elvis impression—with a twist. My *new* idea was Presley as an impaired old man, “Elvis In The year 2,000”, complete with gray hair, old man makeup, stomach padding, slurred singing and creaky moves. I was inspired by my Assisted Living environment and thought the bit would be perfect for The Gong Show.
The auditions were held at a place called The Old World Restaurant in Hollywood and by the time I walked all the way there, in old man makeup, in the 90 degree heat, from Wilshire to Cahuenga, I felt like an octogenarian Elvis Presley. No acting required. My aged Elvis idea was to do a slightly altered version of “All Shook Up”. I only had to change a few lines and the rest wrote itself. When it was my turn, they introduced me as “Elvis In The Year 2,000” and I hammed it up for all it was worth.
(In my best Elvis “All Shook Up” voice)
“A well a bless my soul
What’s a wrong with me? (moved slowly)

I’m actin’ like a man of a 93

My friends say I’m actin’ slow as a slug

I’m gettin’ old (coughed)

I’m all messed up

Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay

Well, my hands are shaky and my knees are weak (I wobbled and held my hip in pain)

I can’t seem to stand on my own two feet (almost fell)

Who do you think of when you have such luck? (I looked confused)

I’m gettin’ old (coughed)

I’m all messed up (clutched my heart)

Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay (fell to the floor and didn’t move)”

It killed—Chuck LOVED it. He said, “Perfect, kid. It’s the right mixture of funny and mean. You’ll win or get Gonged.” The only problem was I didn’t have any backing tracks and although I did it for Mr. Barris and his staff “A Capella”—and it worked—he thought it needed something. Chuck pointed to his Martin guitar, ever at the ready, and said, “Can you play guitar?” I told him, “No,” and he said, “Neither did Elvis! He pretty much just held the damn thing. I’ll teach you 3 chords and put you on the show. We’ll tape your segment in September, so that’ll give you enough time to practice.” Chuck told me to wait around for them to finish up the auditions and when they were done he gave me a very quick, rudimentary guitar lesson. It was June, I had enough time, so I borrowed a guitar, practiced, practiced, practiced, and by the end of July, I could bang out a pretty good C, F, and G. I’m going to tape my first big national TV show in September! Problem was, Elvis died on August 16th.
I got a call from the Gong Show shortly thereafter saying that in light of Mr. Presley’s untimely death, me falling to the stage clutching my heart, wouldn’t be appropriate. My bit went from funny speculation to tragic Documentary. Goodbye LA, hello college. I’ll come back to your sunny shores when I’m in my 20s and we’ll explore new ways to fail. (I went back as a songwriter and then back again as a comedian. LA-3, Me-0.)

I kept playing guitar with a passion, thanks to Chuck Barris, and when I saw him years later on a radio show, I brought up my “Old Man Presley ‘Elvis In The Year 2,000’ bit right before Elvis died Gong Show audition”. He smiled wide and said, “So, you’re the guy with the unfortunate timing and bad luck. I tell that story ALL the time.” To which I replied, “Yep, ‘Unfortunate timing and bad luck’, that should go on my tombstone.” R.I.P., Chuck Barris. Thanks for the guitar lesson!

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