Listen to the world premiere broadcast of the Bennington Family Thanksgiving Show today on SiriusXM 99 from noon until 3, and then again on Friday, same time, same place!
SiriusXM’s Bennington show is something of a companion to our website- they are frequent collaborators, friends, and promotional partners of ours. But I can confidently say without a shred of bias that their Bennington Family Thanksgiving Show at the Hard Rock Cafe was one of the best comedy events I’ve been to in years.
The Bennington Show is a family show in more ways than one. Co-hosts Ron and Gail Bennington are father and daughter, their team of Chris Stanley, Vito Calise and Jenn Daniels are like family, and they have always thought of their listeners as an extension of that concept; they know many of their hardcore fans by name and face. And every year the Benningtons host a live Thanksgiving event that airs on their channel on Thanksgiving Day, but past shows have been smaller, more intimate events, complete with a full Thanksgiving dinner for their listeners/guests/extended family.
This year the Benningtons blew the doors off the Hard Rock Cafe with a kick ass full throttle kind of event that– in size and scope hasn’t been pulled off by any radio show anywhere in at least a decade. Listeners packed into the place with lines that went on for city blocks to get in, and a packed room.
At one point the venue said they might have to stop letting people in, while there was still a line around the block, but a quick decision was made that freed up some space to accommodate more fans and everyone who showed up was able to get in.
And the show itself was one for the books. Inspired by The Last Waltz, with a few nods to Almost Famous, the Benningtons put on a show that won’t soon be forgotten. They brought together some of the best names in comedy in the country- and even flew in the Goddamn Comedy Jam with Josh Adam Meyers all the way from Los Angeles to perform. Taking place in the event were Jim Norton, Anthony Cumia, Rich Vos, Artie Lange, Bonnie McFarlane, Big Jay Oakerson, Dan Soder, Sam Roberts, Robert Kelly, Judah Friedlander, Mike Bochetti, Ian Fidance, Greg Stone, Matteo Lane, Mike Bochetti, Jim Florentine, and even Florentine’s son Luke got to make his Hard Rock Cafe debut and tell a joke on stage.
The room was packed- three levels of seating and standing room- and the show began with Ron and Gail making their way through the crowd to the sounds of Back in the New York Groove.
After a quick hello, the Benningtons introduced producers, Vito and Chris, dressed in Run-DMC inspired 80’s hip-hop gear to perform a hilarious dance-off for the crowd.
Since Thanksgiving is for family, Ron took some time to talk with someone who has no family. Chris Stanley shared a slideshow of his childhood- a time when he still had a family.
The first surprise guest of the evening- an appearance from the 80’s- a young Chris Stanley meets his modern self. It was a blast until Doc Brown showed up and took Chris back…..to the past.
A street jokes segment brought some major talent on stage. Greg Stone kicked off the segment, with Ian Fidance, up next. Jim Florentine came up with his son Luke, and were followed by a very edgy performance from Big A: The Insult Comic. Earl Douglas, took the stage next, followed by Robert Kelly (who told the best joke of the night). World Champion Judah Friedlander, unfortunately, found out he wasn’t allowed to tell a street joke, but brought in Mike Bocchetti to pinch hit.
With such an all-star segment, it’s hard to imagine who could close it out, but the Benningtons went full star power in bringing in the host and star of the #1 podacast in the universe.
After a short break, a Newlywed style-game pitted teams of radio show co-hosts against one another to see who knew their on-air partner better. One of the broadcasters- Artie Lange- went missing. Robert Kelly became a hero for a brief minute when he took the stage as Lange, but only moments later the place went bananas as the real Artie Lange returned to the stage. The laughs were gigantic- how could they not be with Five of the funniest broadcast teams anywhere– the Benningtons, My Wife Hates Me, The AA Show, The Bonfire and Jim and Sam- all on one stage.
The show ended with a huge surprise. The giant curtain on the Hard Rock stage lifted to reveal Josh Adam Meyers and the Goddamn Comedy Jam on stage with Big Jay Oakerson dressed in full cowboy gear singing We’re an American Band.
Gail Bennington killed performing Four Non Blonde’s “What’s Up” with back up vocals from everyone in the room.
Matteo Lane followed dressed as Freddie Mercury, performing a killer rendition of Don’t Stop Me Now.
And then the final surprise of the night, Spin Doctors frontman Chris Barron came out to perform his song Two Princes, and the crowd went crazy.
The full show run came on stage to close out the night with a group version of Sweet Child of Mine, complete with a crowd surfing Josh Adam Meyers before the Benningtons closed it down with their signature song, promising to see us all again in 1974.
After the show fans lined up for a meet and greet, got free posters signed, and the chance to purchase Almost Famous inspired t-shirts (still available right here on ibangshop.com).
Check out these amazing photos taken backstage and all over the main room at the Hard Rock throughout the show