Larry Miller will tell his story on ECC stage
By Christopher Peterson For Sun-Times Media October 10, 2013 10:52AM
Larry Miller will perform his one-man show, "Cocktails with Larry Miller," Oct. 12 at ECC. | File photo
♦ 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12
♦ ECC Blizzard Theatre, 1700 Spartan Dr., Elgin
♦ Tickets, $29
♦ (847) 622-0300
You may consider Larry Miller a comedian, but he considers himself a storyteller.
“I love the word storytelling, and all art is storytelling,” said Miller, who brings his distinct view on life to the Elgin Arts Center’s Blizzard Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12.
“Cocktails With Larry Miller” is a one-man show during which Miller shares his take on subjects ranging from marriage, children, drinking and “how each one leads to the other two.” His brand of wry observational humor has made him a favorite guest and collaborator of comedy legends like David Letterman and Jerry Seinfeld, who has praised Miller as “the funniest guy I know.”
Miller said he’s looking forward to the opportunity to perform in front of an audience in a theater setting because talking to a group of people is perhaps the purest expression of his craft.
“There’s something timeless and great about theater in general, but storytelling specifically,” Miller said. “As soon as the lights go down, the whole audience is nine-year-olds in polo shirts.”
Joining Miller is friend and comedian Jake Johannsen, who has been a fixture on the stand-up scene for years as a frequent guest on “The Late Show With David Letterman” and his own stand-up specials on HBO and Showtime. Both Miller and Johannsen share an appreciation for pointing out the funny side of everyday life, and Miller said in his mind that fits perfectly into the ideas of the comedian as a storyteller. “To me, a good comic should talk about everything he notices,” he said, adding that the majority of his material is rooted in things that are universal. “A nine-year-old can see me and say, ‘I know that, that’s funny,’” he said.
Talking about universal subjects like relationships and raising children may not be the same as a comedian spitting out rapid-fire punch lines or using shock tactics to get a sudden reaction from a crowd. But Miller said that as long as a performer has a love of performing, a crowd is willing to follow that performer on a journey through the story. “Watching, listening, getting it, starting to smile and feeling it all come together — that’s comedy,” he said.
Miller was scheduled to appear in Elgin last year, but a severe head injury he suffered after slipping and falling on the sidewalk in April 2012 left him in a coma for a month. Miller has made a full recovery, however, and the injury and his convalescence have even found their way into his act. Miller said he doesn’t believe talking about such a harrowing experience should be off-limits for a comedian. “It doesn’t demean it to make it funny, it enlightens it,” he said. “Everything in life is a wonderful source for comedy.”
Miller said the accident really helped him appreciate the smaller things in life much more, and he’s excited to bring that perspective to his performance in Elgin. Each day is a gift, he said, and that means there’s all the more reason to find the humor in the everyday. “The point is that I think maybe I’ve always loved that, and now I smile at it even more,” he said.