Dear Strand Fan,
Miss us? For some reason our Newsletter did not launch last week. That’s OK, we’ll catch you up this week.
Sad news in the entertainment world. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried died this week. Gilbert performed at the Strand Theatre in 2014. Below are some memories from that performance:
From David Finkel:
I received word that Gilbert Gottfried was performing in smaller venues. With nothing to lose, we made contact to have him perform. At the time Gary Nolley handled most of our booking, but I was contacted by his agent, a prominent agency from New York City. I explained what the Strand was, and how we did things. To my surprise they backed out of the transaction and let Gilbert hand it over directly to us. The next day I got a call from someone in NYC. I answered and the person said “this is Gilbert Gottfried, how the f**k do you get my management to get out of the way?” Gary handled the rest and the next thing you know, he is on his way to Shelbyville. Gary and Michelle Nolley volunteered to be Gilbert’s host for the weekend. We all went out to dinner one evening. It was quite the experience to say the least.
From Gary Nolley:
Gilbert’ came in on a Friday and I picked him up at the airport. He didn’t know who to look for so I was one of those people you see holding a sign to identify I was the one picking him up. Instead of writing his name on a sign, I simply held up a picture of Iago. For those who don’t know, Gilbert was the voice of Iago in the Disney cartoon, Aladdin. He found me.
I soon learned on the ride back to Shelbyville that the crazy voice and personality we came to know was a stage act. On stage or screen he used his iconic screechy, obnoxious voice and wild personality. Off stage he was very quiet, introverted and somewhat awkward.
That night he dined at 18 on the Square with me and my wife. I don’t recall many people recognizing him there, which I found surprising.
He asked if we could show him the area the next day as there was a lot of time to kill before the show that evening. We obliged. Being a New Yorker, he didn’t see the countryside very much. As strange as it might seem to us, he didn’t even have a driver’s license. What real New Yorker does?
He was very intrigued by the things he saw. We took him around town, but mostly we showed him the countryside. I found a few places I knew were quite foreign to someone from the big city. He wanted his picture taken at these locations. One was in front of a covered bridge in Rush county. Another was of him imitating a concrete lawn jockey. It was a very interesting day, for me at least.
One of the most interesting things I learned while spending time with him was that he completely ad libbed the famous scene from the Eddie Murphy movie, Beverly Hills Cop II, as attorney Sidney Berstein.
That night I took him to the theater and talked with him for a bit before the show. Then, at 8 PM that night, when he was introduced on stage, it was like a switch was flipped on. The quiet introvert went away and the screechy voiced, wild personality came on. It was an amazing transformation. His performance was terrific and a bit raunchy. The audience loved him.
On the ride back to the hotel the switch had been flipped off and the quiet introvert was riding in my car. It was quite a memorable experience for me.
From Branden Yates:
I have the most fond memory of volunteering is the night Gilbert Gottfried performed at the Strand. For some odd reason, there was quite the presence of elderly folk in the audience that night but that didn’t stop him from telling raunchy jokes. There was one joke in particular that was so dirty and so shocking, it was met with a wave of silence after he told it. While I held in my own laughter, I assumed most people were just too embarrassed to laugh out loud or too caught off guard that he’d actually tell a joke like that in little ole Shelbyville.
Of course, this didn’t stop him from working the crowd a little more. He re-told the joke again, only this time slower while explaining each part of it. Once he was finished telling it for the second time, he had the audience in tears, gasping for breath. This was all because he had such amazing charisma on stage and his trademark voice always added a layer of comedy to all of his jokes. You could never forget the name of the guy telling them.
It was great to be able to witness that moment with my own two eyes. Not just because it was so funny but it showed me how truly great of a comedian Gottfried was. After his set, I learned his voice was a part of the act when I met him and he was actually an extremely kind, soft spoken individual. He loved that the Strand was run entirely by volunteers. I have no doubt in my mind he was loved by many and will be sorely missed by his fellow comedians.
We have held 2 lectures recently at the Strand. Our first “Understanding Government” series lecture featured School Board Governance. We have had over 250 people view this lecture online! This week we hosted our Community Treasure Series with the subject “Building Shelby County.” Alex Krach discussed 14,000 years of history starting with the glaciation. Both these are available on-line on the Strand’s Facebook Site. We will soon be moving these lectures to our YouTube channel too.
Next week we have a return to normalcy. 5 events in 5 days!
Three Sisters Books
April 27, 2022 – Wednesday
7pm – Free
Big Band Concert
SHS JAZZ BAND
April 28, 2022 – Thursday
THE DOORS (1991)
April 29, 2022 – Friday
RETROVENTION – A TRIBUTE TO THE DOORS
April 30, 2022 – Saturday
RUSH COUNTY CHORAL
May 1, 2022 – Sunday
2:30pm – Free
We are proud of this line-up. April is National Poetry Month, come celebrate with us! This is also a great time to hear wonderful music in the Strand. We need your help in supporting our ticketed events so that we can continue what we do. You will be glad you did!
On April 23 we are planning a Saturday Work Session. We will be starting our marquee LED light upgrade. We have several other projects to complete. While we are in our lull, this is the perfect time to get things done. Please wish for good weather that day, we’ll need it!
Thank you for your support. We are still not out of the woods financially, but are thrilled the theater is back in operation. We have lots of things booked, and the rest of 2022 will be amazing. See you at the Strand!