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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.
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Bond, James Bond

IMG_0415Sean Connery was arguably the best James Bond, but Roger Moore’s dapper, smooth, and haughty take on him was more in line with Ian Flemming’s books. I never met Mr. Moore, may he rest In peace, but I did bond with Mr. Connery.

I was on WMMR’s Morning Zoo in Philly and we were doing a week of live radio shows at Bill Wyman’s Sticky Fingers in London, in July of 1990. The radio station put us up at the Grosvenor House Hotel, a place famous for being one of the Beatles’ last gigs, right before taking over America. When we were checking in, we noticed a well-dressed Sean Connery sitting in a comfy lobby chair, reading a newspaper, smoking a pipe, and drinking something brown. “This place must be great,” I said. “James Bond’s staying here.”

We asked the ole chap manning the front desk why Sean Connery was in their lobby and he says, “Leave him alone and don’t try to interview him for your radio show, because he doesn’t like being bothered. Oh, and don’t call him ‘James Bond’, unless you want to incur his wrath. He hates that.” The guy goes on to say that the very private Mr. Connery takes a month off from his work, wife and family every year and stays at the hotel to be by himself. Just then, Sean chortled at something he read. He looks happy in his solitude.

After our 1st live London radio show, we headed back to our hotel and met up at the bar. We were loud, laughing, and discussing the day’s show (we had Roger Waters on and he cursed a lot). I even played piano while La Toya Jackson sang (she was staying at the hotel and dressed like her brother, Michael, during his epaulets on the shoulders phase). It was going to be a crazy week. This was not a typical workday in Philadelphia. Sean Connery was there, too, but we never talked to him, as promised. He was quietly reading a newspaper, smoking a pipe, and drinking something brown. He never looked up and seemed content.

The whole week was nuts like that, with James Bond in a corner, by himself, oblivious to his surroundings, and us carrying on like ugly Americans. We’d do our show, interview stars like Pete Townsend, Sir Bob Geldof, and Peter Gabriel, run around town doing touristy things, go back to the hotel bar, grab something to eat, have a drink, crack wise, and there he’d be… all alone… every night… Sean Connery. It was surreal, and as much as we wanted to, we never talked to him, never invited him to be on our little show, and never called him James Bond.

One morning, after a few days of eating and imbibing too much, I figured I’d go down to the hotel gym and get a workout in. It was empty, except for myself and Sean Connery, who was on an exercise bike, reading the paper, sans the smoke and drink. I paced around for a little bit, trying to look manly, made eye contact with him, nodded, but he didn’t return my gesture. I went over to the bench press and looked at the weights on the bar. Hmm, it wasn’t labeled in pounds, it was in kilograms, the English measurement of weight, and I didn’t have a clue how much it was, but it looked do-able.

I got the loaded barbel up off the bench, shook violently, and then BOOM, it slammed down on my chest. I was trapped. It was so heavy, I couldn’t slide it down my body and the bar was choking me. It’s like I was having my own International fight to the death with a Bond villain at my throat. I closed my eyes and with all my might tried to lift it. Nothing. I’m going to die. All of sudden, the barbell was pulled off me and I breathed a sigh of relief. I opened my eyes and found myself staring face-to-face with my rescuer, former British spy, Goldfinger’s nemesis, the man who got Pussy Galore… Sean F*cking Connery. I said, “Thank you, 007, you saved my life.” He smiled and said, “Shonny boy, you may want to try a shmaller amount. Perhapsh, a weight more shuited to your body type. And the name’sh Bond, Jamesh Bond.” I laughed hard (his desired response), did some light lifting, and went back to my room.

I never told the Morning Zoo crew about my encounter with Mr. Connery, because I didn’t think they’d believe me. As we were leaving the Grosvenor House Hotel to go to the airport, Sean Connery was in the lobby, and I said, “Nice to meet you, Mr. Bond, and thank you for saving my life,” to which Mr. Connery replied, “You’re welcome, Shonny boy, and you may want to pick a fight with a tiny dumbbell, next time.” I looked at my Morning Zoo co-workers, their mouths agape, and said, “I’ll tell you on the plane.”

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