Cleveland, Ohio is often associated with laughs. My hometown is often the butt of jokes — including many made by its steady crop of homegrown comedians, from Bob Hope to Drew Carey. Much of the laughter is well-earned: you set fire to a river JUST ONCE and it’s hard to escape the jokes.
But while Cleveland has been laughed at many times, it’s a city with a great sense of humor — and there’s nothing like being in a room full of Clevelanders enjoying a laugh. That’s what I rediscovered during our recent run of “The Vic & Paul Show” at the 14th Street Theatre in Cleveland’s Playhouse Square.
Every night, Clevelanders got every joke in the show — and the laughter flowed with warmth and recognition. Even when we performed some songs and sketches during an afternoon appearance at a local Senior Citizen Center, it was obvious that Clevelanders enjoyed a joke no matter what their age.
So, while Cleveland has often been laughed AT — we were delighted to be laughing WITH Cleveland this past week. And it wasn’t a one-way street. For all the laughs Victoria, Steve and I delivered from the stage — we were treated in return to a steady stream of wit and riposte from audience and crew members, family, friends, former classmates, teachers and coaches of mine — and even passersby! (Especially that guy in the car who shouted out, “Welcome to Cleveland” with a wide smile as we pulled up next to him.)
I’ll be publishing a longer report on my whole summer adventure as soon as I catch my breath. But I wanted to shout out to my hometown while all those laughs are still ringing in my ears.