Last summer I was fortunate enough to play in Manhattan Stories: Improvised Woody Allen Movies, a show that ran for more than three straight months at The Hideout Theatre. Being a lifelong Woody Allen fan—literally “lifelong”: my earliest memory is being five and throwing a fit in the kitchen, where my mom was cooking dinner, furious at her that we weren’t Jewish, because I’d just seen a man named “Woody” on Donahue talking about being Jewish—being in this show was the fulfillment of a pretty big fantasy.
And the opening night of Manhattan Stories remains the best thing I think I’ve ever done onstage. I was en fuego—almost literally “en fuego”: as I played the devil himself, in the form of a smarmy self-help guru. My jokes landed. The audience roared in approval.
Thank goodness The Austin Chronicle sent its reviewer that night, because I wasn’t so mesmerizing on other weeks. Because the Chronicle’s reviewer gave me my only piece of press ever, when she wrote:
“… hilarious improv newbie Andy Buck.”
Someday I’ll point to this quotation with my shaky octogenarian finger, turn to my ungrateful grandchildren, and say, “See, ya little brats?! There was a time grandpa was respected!”