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A Year of Comedy

Last year, Adam Sandler began touring again for the first time in years. I REALLY wanted to go, and it just so happened he was doing a show in my hometown. However, tickets were not cheap, and we were trying to buy a house, so I made the wise decision to not attend but I felt like I let this once in a lifetime opportunity pass me by.

I have a complicated history with The Sandman. Growing up, he was my everything. His comedy albums blew me away and I loved his movies and characters on *Saturday Night Live*. Then as the years went on, the jokes on the internet began, and I just fell into that same negative midframe. I’d take cracks at uninspired movies or stupid characters, without ever watching the films. Then, over time, I’d catch one of the movies here or there, and I realized I liked them. Nothing had changed. He was still making the same feel-good movies he was making in the 90’s, just the world had become more cynical. Once I realized I was the problem and not Sandler, I began to enjoy his films once again and I’ve had a blast revisiting all the movies I missed out on, alongside my old favorites.

A few years ago, he released a comedy special on Netflix that really blew me away. I knew his live show would be similar and that is why I wanted to see it for myself, but that time had passed or at least I thought.

Once the house buying process fell through, I found myself chatting with my wife about how I saw Sandler had added some more shows, including one in Charlotte about two and half hours away. I saw a twinkle in her eyes, so I went on a rant to discourage her from buying tickets, but little did I know, she had already done so. It was one of the biggest surprises I’ve ever received and despite the horrific traffic in downtown Charlotte, attending the show was one of the highlights of my year.

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I loved it and it was everything I imagined it would be. The show took place on February 18th at The Spectrum Center, where the Charlotte Hornets play. The arena was sold out, and I don’t know the true final attendance, but it seats over 19,000 people for NBA games, so I have to imagine it was relatively close to that.

One of my fondest memories of the night was arriving in Charlotte and seeing dozens upon dozens of orange jerseys. While I’m not the biggest sports junkie, I do keep up with local teams, and I just couldn’t place any team in North Carolina with orange as a color. I kept trying to catch a closer look and wasn’t until I saw the fans filing into the arena that I realized they were wearing jerseys from *The Waterboy*.

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Joseph Vecsey warmed up the crowd and was fantastic. Each show Adam Sandler had a special guest open for him and for our show it was Kevin James. He did a fantastic job and even joined Sandler later for a song and destroyed a guitar on stage.

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For my first ever comedy show, it was unique. There were jokes, stories, singing, interacting with the crowd, and everything felt just out of control. I loved it.

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My second comedy event took place on April 20th, at the DPAC in Durham, North Carolina where I saw David Spade.

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I’ve been a David Spade fan for about as long as I have been a Sandler fan. His dry wit has always tickled me, and I love several of his movies (*Lost and Found, Joe Dirt, Dickie Roberts,* etc.) and Just Shoot Me is one of my favorite sitcoms. A year or so ago, I began listening to Fly on the Wall, his podcast with Dana Carvey and I was thrilled to see him have a bit of a resurgence of popularity.

His opening acts were Bobby Miyamoto and Katherine Blanford who were both fantastic. Mr. Spade himself did not disappoint as his self-deprecating humor was on display alongside his sarcasm. It was a hilarious show and of the three comedy shows I attended this year; it was the funniest.

The final comedy show I attended was by Kevin James. A few years ago, I started watching *King of Queens* and became a fan. I was hoping to one day see him on tour and when he announced a show in Raleigh, I quickly bought tickets. For my wife, this was the most anticipated show and I had high expectations following his fantastic opening for Adam Sandler back in February.

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On May 7th, Kevin James performed at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. His announced opening act was Gary Valentine, probably best known as Danny from *King of Queens*. I have got to admit, it was funny at times, but out of the three comedy shows it was the least enjoyable. The jokes just didn’t seem to land well, and they went on way too long. I’m thankful I got to see him in person, but I probably wouldn’t buy another ticket to one of his shows.

Even the best joke from opening for Adam Sandler wasn’t included in the set, and that was a bit of a shame.

As I get older, I realized the comedians that I grew up with are getting older and the time to see them is running out. I’m so thankful I got to see three of my favorites in one year.

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