Dave Barry April 2, 2005
Dave Barry at Cerritos: I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP!!!”
by Glen Creason
One of the funniest human beings on planet earth visited the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts over the weekend. Dave Barry, once of the Miami Herald newspaper, author of numerous books and Pulitzer prize winner seems as ordinary as a suburban mall until he opens his mouth or sits down to a word processor. Using his weekly syndicated column as a springboard he has taken mundane, everyday living situations and turned them into hilarious vignettes that folks will be laughing about when Baby Boomers are as vanished as the mastodons. In the tradition of Mark Twain or Will Rogers Barry looks at the weirdness of American culture and gently smudges the veneer of normality that glosses families, towns, regions and the whole country. Mostly, he stays in his house and peeks out at the strange happenings that fill the news. It is not so much the journey of the tale but the observations, wit and bemusement he finds there that fills his stuff with genuine comic genius.
At Cerritos he caused much mirth and left us plenty of stories to tell our friends. Much of it was from columns or books but the fresh telling made the corners of our mouths turn upward and those frown lines disappear. Examples: how stupid the family of Lassie appeared on the TV show, having a little boy whose name changed from season to season without anyone noticing, who fell into quicksand repeatedly, who never seemed to learn, depending on a dog to bail them out week after week. He followed this canine thread about his dumb dogs who, after a hurricane demolished the back patio still stood at the one standing item, the back door, waiting to go out. He talked about public perception of California “where crazed celebrities have highly publicized trials and get off Scott free.” Also Miami who he insists has a new motto “we weren’t shooting at you, honest!” He offered advise on parenting also. To achieve correction of any behavior with teens, just threaten to sing in public. This segued into the time he had the opportunity to pick up his then 13 year old in the Weinermobile.
Barry spent most of his time in his South Florida home writing but there were times when his readers coaxed him out. North Dakota riled about his comments about their possible name chance named a sewage treatment center after him. There was also an experience with first lady Barbara Bush back when and his inability to keep his foot out of his mouth. THE funniest section for me was his bit on turning 50 and those first letters from AARP. He uncovered the medical fact that after reaching that milestone age the lobe controlling nouns disappears and we are left attempting to describe stories as “you know that guy, the one who was over there, you know doing that stuff.” He told the really hilarious tale of the beached, dead whale in Oregon and the misguided attempt to blow up the carcass with dynamite. He shouted that he didn’t care if Social Security ran out of money and young people didn’t get theirs, "it’s revenge for Hip Hop" he gleefully pointed out. Lastly, there was the wonderful description of the differences in the talents of man and woman. He marveled at the intelligence and wisdom of females who could actually watch an entire hour of television without once changing the channel. On he went describing burning underpants with a roller disco Barbie, the travails of the 60’s, the plot of electricity, a puking record in an F-16, blog mania and playing in a band with Stephen King. I don’t think the hall has had such a great, cleansing laugh since Bill Cosby’s last visit.