Tuesday, February 08, 2005

HBO's US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, CO - Preamble

Rambling Preamble

First, let me set the stage ... we attended the festival for one day in 2004 and loved it. This year we hoped to go for the full five-day event. We invited some friends to join us and they acted interested (bordering on excited) to partake. Before you get your hopes up, just know that they all flaked and backed out. Flakes.

It would just be me and Erica.

Ticket packages for the Aspen Comedy Festival went on sale in June of 2004 for the February of 2005 show. No events were yet announced, so I waited. Gradually, events were announced. Gradually, I grew more and more interested in attending, but wasn't sure how large a package I wanted (though all SPAM-brand e-mails tell me the larger the package the better). Finally around November I decided to get the Black Diamond Pass, the largest package imaginable (the ladies were going to love me and the guys would all resent me). I delayed purchase though, as most of my available cash was being used for Christmas gifts and travel and other things that money is accustomed to buying. January 3, a month plus a week before the show, I ordered the tickets: a Black Diamond Pass for me and one for "the wife" (I don't know why "the wife" is in "quotes" because she is actually my "wife". Oh well). I booked four nights in a nearby hotel (The Stonebridge Inn in Snowmass) and everything was looking cheery.

About a week later they sent an e-mail announcing the time had come to choose the shows we wanted to attend. I scurried online. I scrolled through the choices, mentally preparing a list of the must-sees and mentally undressing a list of the must-misses (you know, to make them feel self-concious and unabashedly ashamed). Scrolling the 'I's, my heart stopped and my pulse quickened (is that even physically possible? (I'm no doctor, but I play one in the bedroom)).

One night only ... previously unannounced ... EDDIE IZZARD!!!

We have been life-long fans of Eddie Izzard (who's name sounds like it was interpreted by Snoop D-izz-ogg, or any white person four years after Snoop implemented his -izz-es) since November 2003 when Nancy Williams introduced us to his transvestite brand of comedy via the wonders to Digital Video Disc (henceforth referred to as DVD). We were insatiable. We bought all two of his US-released stand-up shows, but that wasn't enough. No, it wasn't. We had to have the UK releases as well. We bought a region-free DVD player (it wasn't region-free until we "converted" it - using high pressure threats of Hell-fire and damnation) and over time ordered his four remaining DVDs (see above if you don't know that DVD stands for Digital Video Disc). Three of these discs have since been released to US markets, but damn if we aren't ahead of the pack on that fourth disc. We rock as Izzard fans! We rock hard!

There were four shows at the Festival that we were most excited to see. They were (in order of excitement quotient) 1) Eddie Izzard, 2) Waiting For Guffman reunion, 3) Arrested Development Live (I had quickly become a fan of the show after hearing they would be in attendance - I picked up the 1st season DVD (don't make me tell you again!) and watched it with loving attention), and 4) Jim Carrey winning the AFI Star Award (being presented by Conan O'Brien).

I chose these shows (and others) for our packages and waited to hear which of them (and others) we would get. I would like to say I waited patiently, but that would be a lie, and I don't want to lie to you (although I say "I don't want to lie to you", sometimes it's necessary for me to lie to you - for your own good - but just know that I don't want to lie to you). I was antsy, like as if I had ants crawling on and, even worse, in my skin. Weeks passed. I called HBO's box office (that's a little redundant, eh?) once and/or twice a week to check the status. "No update" was the status quo. See, there was a chance that we wouldn't get the tickets we wanted, even though we bought the most expensive package. We bought late and it was first come, first serve.

On January 28th, it was announced that Arrested Development Live had been cancelled due to key cast members' scheduling conflicts (which seems to be Jason Bateman's need to host Saturday Night Live that same weekend). I wanted to swear. I wanted to say words like "fuck" or "shit" or "dang" to express my disappointment, but I never swear (this could be construed as one of those times when I lie to you for your protection - it's in your best interest to believe me good-hearted and pure). The show was replaced by American Dad Live - a new cartoon by the creator of The Family Guy. Not a show I plan to watch. The sadness I felt was overwhelmed by my still lingering hope that we would get to see the other three important shows on our list. Oh hope, my old friend, don't let me down, don't be like those friends who said they wanted to go with us to the festival and then ... didn't.

About a week before February 9 - the first day of the Festival - I received an e-mail listing the tickets we got from the choices we made: AFI Star Award - awesome! Waiting For Guffman Reunion - kick ass! American Dad Live - um, I didn't really choose that! Sarah Silverman - what? I didn't pick Sarah Silverman (not that I have anything against her - I've seen her before so it wasn't a priority). No Eddie Izzard! Sarah Silverman replaced Eddie Izzard. We didn't get the one show we looked forward to most ! Hope was dashed upon the rocks like so many urine-filled beer bottles. Nooooooooooooo!!!!!!

And this was where we are before we leave for the festival. We still hold out that we can exchange tickets at the Exchange Desk (as I was told by box office officers) if we get there early enough on Wednesday, February 9, 2005. Chances are slim (like the pants on a cowboy).

Stay tuned,

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