Standing room only the other night at the UCB Theatre for the latest edition of The Dave Hill Explosion, one of the more unique talk show experiences you can, well, experience.
What sets Dave Hill apart? He’s from Cleveland. No. That’s not it. True, though, it may be. Onstage, Hill has a personality of contradictions that somehow makes a winning formula. His awkward presence comes off as charm. He has a big ego, but wrapped in insecurity.
Last week’s show, which featured guests Ira Glass and Moby, certainly helped pack the venue more than normal. Hill was ready for them. But was the audience ready for Hill? His new one-man show, "Ordinary Activities Made Profound Through the Music of Philip Glass," certainly shocked and awed. How much yogurt could he eat, exactly? On this night, three cups. Hill delivered further on his promise of a multi-pronged entertainment attack with the screening of a new video, "Stomp!*" featuring David Rakoff and Martha Plimpton. *Not to be confused with that other Stomp, although confusion always reigns supreme with Hill at the helm.
Hill then welcomed Ira Glass, host of the popular public radio program, This American Life. Hill had done his homework. But what impressed and amused me more was watching Glass react throughout the interview. He could not stop smiling and laughing. At one point, Glass told Hill: "I’ve never had the experience when someone is interviewing me and I want to reassure them and tell them it’s OK." No reassurance needed. This is all part of Hill’s secret master plan. Glass acknowledged that he enjoys editing the radio show more than actually performing on it. Also: "I’m not so keen on the television," though he did plug his second season of the TV edition, coming May 4 to Showtime. It’s not that he doesn’t want to be on TV, but rather the process — the hurry-up-and-wait of TV production — that he’d rather do without. David Mamet may have said glowing things about Glass, but Glass had a big compliment in store for Howard Stern. "Howard Stern has the best radio show in the country," Glass said. "Have you heard him since he went to satellite? He’s so happy!" The segment culminated with Hill performing an original song on guitar that he wrote for Glass, called, ahem, "Ira Glass," and the folks at UCB Comedy better have recorded this and uploaded this soon, because I predict it will become a nice big video hit. And I wish I’d recorded it myself on video. It was a moment to remember.
Of course, the show wasn’t over. Hill’s cohort in comedy, Phil, emerged to say he wanted to split and form a band with Moby, and Moby walked onstage in a baby blue suit and a fake mustache. (I hadn’t seen Moby since I met and interviewed him at a radio station festival in Washington state nine years ago!) A verbal battle ensued between Hill and Moby, with Hill asking the musician: "I liked that Play record. When are you going to put another one out?" And Moby retorting with a profanity-laced tirade about Hill sucking up to Glass forever and relegating Moby to a few minutes of stage time. Anyhow, all’s well that end’s well, and Phil and Moby did a cover of "We’re Not Gonna Take It," then had Hill join them for a trio on Led Zeppelin’s "Immigrant Song."
Anyone have pictures from this show? Please holler my way. Thanks.