Steve Martin recently performed a mythologically rare opening stand up set at a Jerry Seinfeld show, held at the Beacon Theater in New York on the eighteenth. Martin’s opening set, the first since he left stand up thirty five years ago, was a complete surprise for audience members. Not surprisingly, Martin’s act was well received.
Seinfeld originally had another opening act planned for the two shows at the Beacon and in Rochester this month: comedy veteran Tom Papa. Papa, who got his start at Stand Up NY some twenty three years ago, has been a friend and opener for Seinfeld for over a decade.
In a recent appearance on the Bennington show on Sirius XM, Papa told host Ron Bennington that he was bumped from the opening slot at the Beacon in favor of Martin. “They asked me to do February, so I was honored. I said ‘That’d be great,’ and then they called me a couple weeks after and said ‘You’re out!’” Papa laughed. “I said ‘Why am I out?’ He said ‘Well, Steve Martin’s going to do the date,’ which was very exciting” said Papa, without a hint of bitterness.
The comic went on to gush about his experience in the dressing room hanging out with Seinfeld, Martin, and Tom Hanks, as Martin rehearsed his set out loud. “It’s so uncomfortable because these are the monsters of your life. From watching ‘Bosom Buddies’ on with Tom Hanks, Steve Martin, first comedy album I ever heard in my life, Jerry, you know, the monster, and I’m there” said Papa, obviously starstruck. Papa joked that he had to pressure himself not to take a selfie or ask for a photo with the fame-filled room.
Despite getting bumped from his opening spot at the Beacon, which he seemed more than happy to do under the circumstances, Papa went on to open for Seinfeld in Rochester on the nineteenth. The reviews have been glowing.
All in all, it looks like there’s no hard feelings for Papa, as he and everyone in that room knows that they got to witness what may very well be a once in a lifetime event.
Tom Papa will be performing four shows at Laugh Boston between Friday 2/26 and Saturday 2/27.
Ron Bennington can be heard, along with co-host Gail Bennington and producer Chris Stanley, on the ‘Bennington’ show on Sirius XM, Raw Dog Comedy channel 99 every day from noon to 3pm et.