Monday, March 6, 2017


I'd never seen anything like it before.  Now, granted I've only been watching Morning Joe for six months or so...and since it runs here from 3 to 6 a.m., I don't see it often.  But in my months of watching the show I'd never seen anything like it.

Mika Brzezinski, coming to the "wrap up" part of the show, looked shell shocked following 3 hours of discussing Trump's (aka "45 because I am tired of typing his name so often!) unproven allegation of wire tapping by President Obama, summed up her feelings as saying "I used to be hopeful and open minded, but I'm no longer hopeful and my mind is closed."  Then she went around the table asking for comment from the rest of the panel, and one by one, with a look of real depression, they said essentially the same thing.  

Next you saw Brzezinski remove her microphone and start to leave the table, with still a few seconds left of the show.  The tone of the whole day had been one of deep depression on the part of anyone who was on the panel or who had been interviewed.

Even the most ardent 45 supporter (Kellyanne Conway) could only look at the camera with that Stepford Wife smile and reassure everyone that the president had access to classified information that the rest of us did not and she was going to be supportive of whatever he had to say.

A reporter from Mar-a-lago reported that 45 had arrived that weekend livid because there was still talk about the Russia ties to his campaign team.  He reported 45 had been angry when he arrived, was angry over dinner and still angry in the morning.  Presumably at the height of that anger was when he decided to go on Twitter to accuse his predecessor of something which there seems to be unanimity among Republicans (including March Rubio) and Democrats that a president is unable to do.

A lot of people are speechless over this allegation and sputtering trying to come up with something intelligent to say.

It was a day for thinking about being "speechless."

I went in the evening to see comedian Jack Gallagher in his latest one-man show.

This is his 7th show premiered at Sacramento's B Street Theater.  I first saw Gallagher at his previous show, 5 Songs.  Prior to that I only knew him as an amiable guy who did the Crystal ice cream commercials on TV.  In 5 Songs he got suggestions from the audience of five different songs in a long list of options and then he talked about each song and his memory of those songs.  It was a fun evening, an evening he now admits he doesn't really remember very well.

The new show is called Concussed; Four Days in the Dark, which tells of an incident 3 or 4 years ago when he was out riding his bike and had a collision with a car.  Gallagher flew over his handlebars and hit the window of the car (fortunately he was wearing a helmet) and ended up on the concrete.

He felt shaken but didn't think there was any damage and rode his bike home again.  Three days later he was still having headaches and having trouble with word finding.  He went to the doctor, who diagnosed traumatic brain injury and ordered him to bed in a dark room with no TV, no computer, no music, no radio, no nothing.  Just lie there for four days and allow his brain to heal itself (just the thought of lying alone in a dark room with zero distraction is enough to make me claustrophobic.  In fact, every time he got into the on-stage bed and the lights lowered, I felt a shiver of fear up my spine.)

Despite this dark subject matter, the show is alternately emotional and funny.  Gallagher is a consummate story teller and knows how to engage an audience.  In fact, I was impressed that he managed to draw everyone in at all times.  The theater isn't in the round, but kind of a u-shape and one-third of the audience is along either side of the stage, while the other third is in the center facing the stage.  Even when lying in the bed, he managed to face each 1/3 of the audience so normally that you never felt you had to watch the back of his head for long stretches of time, and it was so unobtrusive that it was only when I got home and checked out a couple of his videos that I realized how skilled he was at this.

He talked about how the scariest part for him being his difficulty with word finding.  He's a man whose entire career is based on words and finding the right phrases and knowing how to put them together to make the best script.  He had always been proud of being able to edit and then mentally cut and paste himself during a show, based on the response of the audience.

Now, like my mother and her problems with word finding, his brain didn't work right and he had a real terror of what would happen if he couldn't get it all back.

This is why he doesn't really remember 5 Songs very well.  He knows he did it, and as a member of the audience, I certainly could not detect any problem with his delivery (which is like sitting in his living room chatting, so it lends itself to covering up memory problems), but I could understand that the thought of not being able to get back the skill that had been his entire life must have been terrifying, especially lying in the dark with nothing to distract him.

As someone whose life also relies in large part on words, finding them, manipulating them and then sharing them with either readers or people with whom I am talking, I understand his terror.
His self reflection led itself to very funny bits about things like family, parenting, and growing older (he had just turned 61 on the day of the accident and as the majority of the audience had grey hair, we all laughed and nodded along with his observations).

He says that his skills have mostly returned, but he now needs a few notes on the stage, which he never did before ... you'd never know it, though, since it is done so subtly.  It's really a great show and if anybody reading this is in Sacramento, I highly recommend getting yourself to B Street to see it before it ends (April 16).  

I don't know what Jack Gallagher thinks about the current Trump brouhaha, but I suspect he would be speechless too...and glad of it.

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