The following is a guest post by Kim Sedmak, Executive Producer of Your Life Calling TODAY.
When Jane Pauley arrived at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre in Sarasota, Florida she was greeted by stand-up comedian Gid Pool with a box of chocolates. And not just any chocolates, but a hand crafted box filled with the signature “Jane Truffles.” These were originally created for Jane by Antoinette Little whom we profiled on AARP’s “Your Life Calling” TODAY show segment in December 2010.
The crew knew all too well what Gid was up to! They all burst into laughter because we had a feeling Gid wanted to impress Jane, and he didn’t disappoint, “what you see is what you get,” he responded!
Gid and Jane immediately established a rapport and by the time we rolled on the interview, they were comparing notes and even boasting about situations where they had to “vamp” because they admit, despite their differences, they are performers. Perhaps two very different types of performers, but both know the importance of keeping an audience engaged.
We shot Jane’s interview early Friday morning, April 20th, at the comedy club where Gid performed later on stage that night to a packed house. Comedy isn’t for the faint at heart or for the timid. You have to be willing to get up and be prepared at all times to make a fool out of yourself and hope the audience buys your act. Gid definitely delivered!
Gid told Jane “comedy is a young person’s game”, but he also went onto to suggest that older comedians like Bob Hope, George Allen, Jack Benny, even Phyllis Diller all performed well into their 80s and 90s, convinced that this kind of performing is a deterrent to Alzheimer’s disease. We only have to look at Betty White for inspiration. At 90 years-old she is another fantastic example of how the power of laughter is linked to the fountain of youth!
What came across more than anything is Gid Pool loves to make people laugh, have a good time, and forget their troubles for an evening. Something seemingly so simple yet a skill for the seriously talented. He works hard at it!
Jane came back that night to McCurdy’s for Gid’s performance and witnessed his showmanship firsthand. One thing we didn’t tell you in the segment on TODAY: before every show Gid plugs in his iPod and listens to Susan’s Boyle’s version of the song “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables. It motivates him to keep getting up on stage and doing his thing night after night. He knows when the crowd laughs and somebody roars “Give it Up for Gid Pool everybody,” he’s a lucky guy. At 67, he has finally heard his life calling!
Watch our segment on NBC’s TODAY show May 31 between 8:30-9am ET.
Also, join us for Jane Pauley’s live internet radio show “ASK JANE” at 10am ET on May 31. Listen at: www.aarp.org/Jane.