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Gary Gulman Goes Above and Beyond In Nashville
by Rich and Laura Lynch
Comedian Gary Gulman went above and beyond at his performance at the TPAC in Nashville on January 25, 2020. On this night, it was quite fitting that Gary closed out his set talking about Bruce Springsteen's book and Broadway show that addressed The Boss's depression. The music legend is known for lengthy revival like concerts. On Saturday, Gulman's monologue clocked in at over two hours which included an engaging and extensive bit about Jesus saying that we (the Jewish people) could have had Christmas before reflecting that they would have turned it into a dark, dark holiday.
Gary like Bruce has also battled depression. In 2019, the surprisingly tall comedian starred in his first HBO special entitled The Great Depresh that was taped in front of a live audience at the Roulette Intermedium in Brooklyn, NY. Gulman shared his own story of growing up as a sensitive kid in Massachusetts who was recruited into sports because of his height which led to a football scholarship at a Catholic college. The Great Depresh - which included a visit to his childhood home in Peabody, MA - blended Gulman's standup with documentary scenes related to his history with crippling anxiety.
In addition to a stint as a football star, Gary has been an accountant, a barista, a doorman, a teacher and a waiter. Today he is a popular touring comic who has appeared on every single late night comedy show. For the first part of 2020, he will be on the road and he told fans on Twitter that the Peace of Mind foray will feature "ALL NEW MATERIAL! Not on ANY special or album".
Another thing that Gary has in common with Springsteen is a connection to the working class. Gulman has had his fair share of minimum wage jobs so his jokes are based on real instances. He recalled how stressful some tasks were declaring that making a Frappuccino was an ordeal. Gary also expressed empathy for the employees (secular saints) at Chipotle. Those who have to deal with people pointing to each food item as a burrito or bowl is built as if they are not going to be able to find the corn - got us thinking that we might be guilty of this gesture which the comedian considered the height of arrogance.
Although Gary did not grow up in a Catholic household as Bruce did, he knows something about sainthood - the first being is that you have to be Catholic then pointing out that this rule eliminates a certain Mr. Jesus Christ. Gulman later declared that Fred Rogers should be a saint as he recalled the lessons he learned from the gentle TV personality. Gary took us children of the 70's down memory lane as he evoked Rogers' make believe neighborhood while noting that its benevolent ruler was King Friday the 13th - a pun he admitted to only just recently getting. Gary also enthused how much he loved the toy Lite-Bright with its excessively hot light bulb.
Much of Gary's life experiences weave their way into his routines. He took a few risks as he touched upon religion (here in the Bible Belt), environmentalism and welfare. Gulman shared that he and his brothers were raised by their single Mom therefore they were eligible for free school meals which led into a comical commentary on pop tarts. The idea of inclusiveness was also incorporated into many of Gary's segments. Gulman also circled back to a previous funny bit or theme throughout his set proving that the lanky star is quite skilled at putting a personal touch on this often used comedic approach.
Besides a few glances at his phone it did not appear that Gary used any notes so his free form flowed from one topic to the next organically or so it seemed. He was well aware of the time but went above and beyond. We were expecting about an hour an half of humor but Gulman like the energizer bunny kept going and as mentioned he concluded with his observations of Bruce Springsteen so it make perfect sense that "Born To Run" echoed through the James K. Polk theater as we exited. True to his word, Gary was already out in the lobby for a meet and greet with a long line of admirers following his impressive comedy marathon.
The Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) in Nashville, Tennessee is a multi-room venue that showcases an eclectic range of events from children programs. to music concerts to high caliber comedians such as Gary Gulman. Coming soon to the TPAC is Tao Drum Heart, Piff The Magic Dragon and numerous Broadway productions including My Fair Lady.
For more information on GARY GULMAN and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links --
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