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The Office of Morty Klineman
Professional Talent Agent
Professional Talent Agent Morty Klineman was on a conference call with his clients, The Regular Guys. Professional Talent Agent Morty Klineman had recently completed one of the tasks agents perform for clients, that of finding his clients work, having lined up a gig for them guest hosting one of those network affiliate morning news/talk shows for a week. Morty hadn’t bothered to tell either Lenny or Larry about this gig until he had a firm offer because he knew Larry would turn it down out of hand if he had brought it up as merely a possibility, and he suspected Lenny might as well. However, if he came to them with a concrete, well-paying proposal, well, they had that week off anyway and they were performers after all.
“I don’t know Morty,” Lenny said.
“Lenny, you’ve been on television before, I’d thought you’d jump on it,” Morty said.
Lenny had done some comedy specials for some really obscure cable networks and public access channels in the past.
“Well, I dunno. I’m not completely averse to killing a week doing this, especially for this kind of dough. My TV experience wasn’t all that great the last time, which was probably mostly my own fault”
“Larry, what do you think.”
“That depends, how stupid do these things make us look?” he asked. Larry himself did not own a TV and wasn’t particularly familiar with what he would be expected to do.
“Do funny interviews mainly,” Morty said. “Most guests nowadays are famous people plugging things to make them more famous.”
“Yeah, these require virtually no thought at all. There’ll even be PR people there to provide questions for you to ask.”
Larry got a look of mock horror on his face.
“It beats that thinking crap we go through every night,” Lenny said, winking at Larry. Morty, of course, could not see either Larry’s look of horror or Lenny’s wink.
“I might also add that right now that week is scheduled to be week three of your two-week vacation,” Morty said, repeating their compensation for the week, which was very good. “And let’s face it, television isn’t necessarily brain surgery or even stand-up comedy. It’s pretty easy. Do funny interviews for a week. Be yourself. Flirt with pretty actresses. Try not to screw up the weather.”
“Pretty actresses?” Larry asked, perking up slightly.
Lenny nodded. “It’ll be chick central, partner. There’s no doubt.”
“Can I sit behind a desk?” Larry asked, kiddingly.
“I’m not sure what the set is like,” Morty answered seriously. “I’ll find out though.”
“I was kidding, Morty. I really don’t care.
“Oh,” Morty said, disappointed he couldn’t tell Larry was kidding. “I’ll look into it anyway. The only real hardship seems to be that you have to wake up at three A.M.”
“Wake up at three A.M.?” Larry exclaimed. “Are you high?”
“Larry, you hit the air at six,” Morty explained. “So, you’d expect to get up at an appropriate hour, right?”
“Don’t they have something in the afternoon we could fill in on? Some noon movie crap or something like that.”
Both Morty and Lenny were laughing.
“Lenny, you wake up even later than I do! Do something!” That was true. On the road, Larry usually had time to get a morning run in before he and Lenny had breakfast.
“Partner, trust me, I don’t like this any more than you do,” Lenny said, shifting in his chair. “Morty, is there anything we can do here? Tape it the night before? Do it live from Larry’s bedroom? Maybe do it in the afternoon and tell people it’s the morning so they’ll think they’re confused?
Morty chuckled patiently, glad Lenny and Larry were funnier than this on stage or right now they’d all be out of a job.
“I’ll see what I can do,” he said.
New York City, New York
After having spent a few hours Sunday learning the mechanics of hosting a television show, Lenny and Larry reported for duty bright and way too early Monday morning. A production assistant who took them to their dressing rooms and got them coffee met them and soon makeup people descended them upon. They talked with the producer and the director and a lot of other people, everybody it seemed, but their guests, who were running a little late that morning. At 6 A.M they were on the air. Larry’s seat was not behind a desk.
And it really wasn’t all that hard. When it was time to talk the director would point at you, and all you had to do was look into the camera with the light on it and either read what was on the cue card or wing it. When someone else was talking and you weren’t on camera, you could pick your nose or do whatever else came to mind.
Lenny took to it immediately; Larry was good, but since it required so little brain power, he found himself oddly bored and he never felt entirely comfortable on camera.
Larry’s job was to do the weather, a task he had volunteered for after the regular weatherman broke his leg dirt bike riding and was going to be out of commission for a while. A former radio announcer, Larry had delivered the weather thousands of times. It usually took ten seconds, something along the lines of “Sunny and nice today, highs in the ’80s, some clouds tonight, lows in the 50’s. Now it’s Boz Scaggs with Lido Shuffle!” If there was going to be rain, it might take a little longer.
Now, he had to deliver the first-look forecast, then the five-day, then the air quality report, the national radar, today’s almanac and who knew what else when all people really wanted to know was how hot it was going to be, and whether or not they’d need an umbrella, which was usually the last thing he read.
But otherwise if the seat-of-the-pants act they were used to doing on stage was completely different than what was required for the TV studio, The Regular Guys were funny and it was harmless enough and at the end of the week the general manager of the station offered Lenny a full-time co-host’s job.
Morty told Lenny of the offer privately. He hoped Lenny would turn it down; but he thought it 50/50 whether he would or not. They sat in Lenny’s hotel room over drinks and discussed it.
“But they’re only interested in you,” Morty said. “Larry’s not part of it.”
“That’s not surprising; he didn’t really take to it.”
Morty waved a hand dismissively.
“He did fine. He’s not really in his element on camera.”
Lenny muttered agreement.
“Are you interested?” Morty asked. He rattled off the terms of the contract; they were pretty generous.
“Yes and no.”
“How yes and how no?”
“Yes: there was a time when I would’ve jumped all over this. Let’s face it, I’m kinda cut out for something like that; I feel comfortable in front of the camera.”
“You looked it too. For God knows what reason, the camera loves you.”
“But there was something between Larry and I from the time we first took the stage. Larry kept insisting we could be funny without a script. And Ann wasn’t any help either; every hour on the hour she kept yapping that we should be a team. I told both of them they were crazy, that it would never work, but my career was going nowhere and I was desperate enough to try it.”
Lenny paused a minute to sip his drink and to consider matters.
“I wasn’t so sure, and I even insisted on a routine to fall back on in case we fell flat, which I fully expected to happen. I was nervous as hell for two days beforehand, and I couldn’t eat at all the day of the show, but then we stepped on stage and I felt completely at ease. I mean completely and totally content. It was as if I had walked into exactly what I was meant to be doing. You can’t beat that and Lord knows I’ve tried.”
The two sat and said nothing for a while. Being able to listen was one of the best gifts a talent agent – who spent his share of time listening to clients – could have.
After a while, Morty took the last swig of his drink.
“You know,” he said, pouring himself another. “I felt the same thing when I first saw you. That you two were doing what you two were supposed to be doing.”
Lenny nodded, but otherwise had nothing to say, so he kept quiet. After a while, Morty continued, cautiously because he still wasn’t sure where Lenny stood on the matter.
“There’s something to be said for doing what you’re supposed to be doing,” Morty noted.
“Yeah,” Lenny said. Morty could tell by his tone that Lenny was still making up his mind whether to take the job or not. He really hoped he wouldn’t take it, but he knew Lenny would find this offer hard to resist.
“But when I was a kid I really wanted to be Johnny Carson. And I’ve always wanted to be a star and be filthy rich.”
“Lenny, all those goals are the result of external factors. You see something and you decide you want that. External satisfactions aren’t the same as internal ones.”
“You’re starting to sound like Larry now.”
“And being a star and rich and being a Regular Guy are not mutually exclusive. You two are a long way from having your final chapter written.”
“You think so?”
“Yes. A very long way away. I don’t think either of you has any real idea what you’re going to accomplish.”
“And you do?”
“It’s not crystal clear, but yes, I think I do.”
“Care to share any of those ideas with me?”
“There’s nothing concrete, Lenny. But you are playing better gigs and you are making more money and that trend is not going to end anytime soon, unless you or Larry go sleeping with live boys. But you know as well as I do that in any endeavor there are any one of seventy times seven doors to go through. We’ll see which one opens up.”
“Seventy times seven?”
“It’s Biblical,” Morty said. “Symbolic of a very large number.”
“In the Bible God created the world in seven days and of those he took one of those off. Can we get these doors opened a little quicker?”
“You want another Biblical quote?”
Lenny shook his head.
“No, I’m good. Thanks.”
New York City, New York
The next afternoon Lenny and Larry were out for a walk. Both of The Regular Guys were buoyant; Larry because his God-forsaken week in front of the camera was over. Also, he had slept in and was rested for the first time in a week. Lenny was buoyant because he had enjoyed the previous week. The sky was gray and rain threatened.
“The station offered me a job co-hosting the show, Larry.”
“Really?” Larry said, more curious than anything. For him the whole week had been one long, tired disaster. “I thought we sucked. I was surprised they didn’t pull us off Tuesday.”
Tuesday’s show had not gone well. Spoofing Monday’s cooking guest, Larry had attempted to cook Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and almost burned the studio down, which in itself actually had some comedic value.
Lenny laughed; his uselessness with a fire extinguisher hadn’t helped matters much.
“Actually, we did well, partner. Our guests were by and large dullards, but we made the most of it.”
“You didn’t go looking for this, did you?”
“No! Absolutely not! They talked to Morty about it; he told me about it yesterday.”
“Oh. OK. Good.”
“Larry, I can’t seriously consider doing anything else besides us. Neither of us could and we both know that. I just wanted you to hear it from me. I’d hate to see the tabloids get a hold of this and blow it way out of proportion.”
Larry whistled. Or tried to whistle; he was actually unable to whistle; he usually ended up spewing forth enough saliva to force everyone within a square mile to towel off.
“Tell me about it,” he said. “It would be a media circus! Besides, Ann would kill you if you left The Regular Guys.”
“You’re telling me!” Lenny said. “And besides, who the hell wants to get up that early anyway?”
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
Lenny and Larry were sitting in an airport terminal, a few minutes from catching a flight home when Lenny’s phone rang.
“What do you want?” he said, having recognized Morty’s number. Lenny, and Larry for that matter, were both tired. It was late at night, they had been on the road for a while and both were looking forward to sleeping in their own beds for a change.
“Where are you?” Morty asked, getting right to the point.
“You make our travel arrangements, you tell me where we are,” Lenny said. “We’re in the airport, where do you think we are?”
“Be nice to me,” Morty said. “For I bring good news: you are not to take this flight home to your nice comfortable bed; you are to wait a couple of hours and take another flight so you can sleep in another hotel!”
Lenny felt his stomach freeze slightly though he wasn’t sure why. He nudged Larry, who had been napping.
“Hey Larry, wake up,” Lenny said.
Larry stirred. “Why?”
“Morty’s on the phone.
“You woke me for that? That’s not a very good reason,” he said and went back to sleep.
“Lenny, listen to me. You’re not coming home; in two hours you and Larry will board a plane to Vegas; The Regular Guys are opening at the Sahara tomorrow night.”
“Opening at the Sahara tomorrow night. Bertie Higgins had to cancel; he was killed by an oyster skin diving off of the Florida coast; he can’t make it. They’re desperate enough to take you; all the good acts were already booked.”
Lenny laughed. There was a time when a crack like that would have played to the insecurities all performers have; now he thought it was funny.
“Wow,” he said. “That is pretty desperate.”
“Well, the curtain goes up in 22 hours. They weren’t really burdened with options.”
“What the hell’s going on here?” It was Larry, not altogether pleased he had been woken, again, from his nap. He moved slowly in his airport seat and had a confused scowl on his face.
“Hold on, Larry just woke up,” Lenny told the phone. He turned to Larry. “Big news, partner: Bertie Higgins was eaten by an oyster.”
“That’s too bad,” Larry said. “I always liked Key Largo.” Larry started singing part of the chorus to himself.
“We had it all; just like Bogie and Bacall.”
“Larry, shut up,” Lenny requested
“Larry shut up? Oooh, must be something big. What’s going on?”
“It’s Morty on the phone. Bertie was supposed to open at the Sahara tomorrow night. Since he’s dead, he can’t make it, and we’re opening at the Sahara tomorrow night.”
“Too bad,” Larry said, ignoring the news of their big break. “He hasn’t had a hit for 20 years. Maybe death will revive his career.”
“OK, Larry’s awake, Morty. What’s the deal in Vegas?”
“You’re playing the Casbar Room. Have you ever been to the Sahara?”
“No,” Lenny said.
“OK. Don’t get too excited; it’s not the main showroom. The Casbar Room isn’t really a room either; it’s an area just off the casino, near the hotel front desk that can be curtained off. They serve drinks and the shows are complimentary. You’re there for seven nights, one show a night, at nine P.M. A Sahara limo will pick you up at the airport. Try not to embarrass yourself Lenny by stealing the booze or getting your fingerprints on the windows. Ask Larry what to do if any etiquette situations come up.”
The Sahara Hotel And Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada
The flight to Las Vegas Morty had booked for them was delayed another couple of hours and Lenny and Larry didn’t get into their rooms at the Sahara until after nine in the morning. It actually worked out well because they were both pretty jazzed about being in Vegas and though tired, neither was very sleepy, at least until they got in their rooms and in sight of a real bed.
An hour before showtime Lenny and Larry were sitting in Larry’s room. Well, Larry was sitting; Lenny, atypically nervous before their first Vegas appearance, was pacing.
“Larry, what the hell are we going to do? This seat of the pants stuff was fine for Ramada Inn and county fairs and cities in the Midwest where they don’t expect much. But this is Vegas.”
“Lenny, what are you worried about? We’re going to be great.”
“Oh, that’s easy for you to say. ‘We’re going to be great!’ Mr. Optimistic, Larry Sunshine, at your service!” Lenny snapped to attention and gave a salute.
“Lenny, why are you so nervous?”
“Cause if this doesn’t work, we’re done. We’ll be hosting talk shows the rest of our lives.” Lenny shuddered at the horror of it all.
“We’re not going to be hosting anything. We’re going to knock them dead tonight.”
“There’s no doubt,” Larry said somewhat dismissively, as if it had already been preordained there would be no doubt. He shrugged. “Why wouldn’t we?”
“Why wouldn’t we?” Lenny asked, obviously not entirely convinced. “Because it’s an hour before showtime and we have no idea what we are going to do except maybe that I might throw some cards around the room?” Lenny said, phrasing it the form of a question as if he were a contestant on Jeopardy.
“Lenny, we’ve been doing that since we started. It’s always worked.” Larry was patient and calm, smiling at his partner.
“Larry, this isn’t Farmville. It’s Vegas; the Big Leagues; The Strip.” To emphasize his point Lenny walked over to the window, which overlooked Circus Circus on the other side of Las Vegas Blvd., looked out while extending a hand, as if he were presenting this for Larry’s review.
“Lenny,” Larry said sensibly. “Who comes to Vegas? I’ll answer that; people from the Midwest come to Vegas. The people here won’t be any different than the folks anywhere else. Well, maybe a little drunker, but there’s free booze here. Besides, we haven’t played county fairs in a long time. We’re long past that and we’ve earned this.”
Lenny threw his hands up.
“We earned this because Key Largo Boy got eaten by an oyster. If he doesn’t get eaten by an oyster, we’re sitting at home right now killing time until next week’s gig.”
“If it wasn’t now, it would’ve been some other time.
“Will you quit being so damn practical?! They came to Vegas to get away from acts like us…”
Larry listened as Lenny continued to rant, although he wasn’t particularly worried. He knew Lenny was just being Lenny and that deep down Lenny believed in what they were doing; that was proved when Lenny turned down the TV gig, and Larry half-believed if Lenny had been the calm one Larry would’ve been the nervous one, to sort of even things out.
But he knew Lenny wasn’t entirely acting either; Lenny had mentioned Las Vegas in passing a handful of times since The Regular Guys had first taken the stage, and he knew Lenny thought this week would be either the springboard that sent them on their way or a leaden weight that sunk them to the comedy depths. For his part, while not particularly nervous himself, Larry was not completely unmindful of this either; he knew that in an hour or so they had better be pretty funny or he just might have to go find something else to try and be good at.
After a minute or so Lenny had piped down.
“We’ve created our own destiny, Lenny. A chance like this was, if not entirely inevitable, at least highly likely.”
“You really believe that?”
Larry pursed his lips together and nodded. “Yes. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to make you the biggest star since Jesus Christ, but I’m not surprised we’re getting this shot.”
“If Bertie Higgins could swim, we wouldn’t be here,” Lenny said.
“If it hadn’t been now, it likely would’ve been some other time.”
“I think you might be right,” Lenny said. “It’s why I turned down the TV gig. This is what we’re supposed to be doing. At least until we choke tonight, and we’re run out of town on the last bus out.”
Larry laughed and shrugged.
“NO! Don’t go shrugging on me! You can’t dismiss this potentially historic night with a shrug!”
“Lenny, tell me, how many shows have we done together.”
Lenny left the window and moved to a nearby chair to consider that for a moment. After a few seconds, he shook his head.
“I dunno,” he said. “Easily over four hundred. I don’t think it’s more than five, though.”
“So after that many shows perhaps our course has already been charted. Maybe by taking the stage tonight we’re merely fulfilling whatever destiny we’ve laid out for ourselves up till now.”
“You may be right. Perhaps past shows were the foundation of the pyramid.”
“There you go. Very much like that,” Larry said nodding. “Except I really don’t think tonight or this week will be the top of the pyramid.”
Lenny leaned back and considered that a moment.
“You may be right my friend,” he said after a couple of minutes. “We’ve worked hard for this. There really isn’t any doubt we’re going to go out and make people laugh pretty hard. We’ve always been able to do that. And if we do that, everything else will take care of itself.”
“At least until Wayne Newton breaks a hip. Then Morty can get us in at the Stardust.”
Fifteen minutes before showtime Morty called. Larry and Lenny were still in Larry’s room, though they were dressed and about to head down with the security officer dispatched for the purpose
“Lenny’s Brothel, how can I help you?”
“Yes. I am backstage at the Sahara. I need two comedians pronto.
“We don’t do comedians here at Lenny’s Brothel, sir. I do have two studly men all dressed up for you though.”
“Never mind,” he said. “I’ll do it myself.”
“You’re really here?” Lenny asked.
“You think I would miss this? Of course, I’m really here; actually, I’m back-stage. Where you are not, I might add.”
“We’re on our way down,” Lenny said. “I had to give Larry a pep talk.”
Lenny motioned to the door and he and Larry headed out and down to the Casbar Room. Lenny and Larry sometimes got backstage as much as an hour before the show; sometimes, like tonight, they showed up right before they were to take the stage. They always walked down together, and both intuitively knew when to head down. They seldom discussed it. Tonight, what with Lenny whining like a four-year-old and Larry pretending to be Confucius, it had worked out that they were heading down 15 minutes before the show.
Indeed, Morty was there. He was not about to miss his favorite client’s first Vegas show. He had big plans for The Regular Guys, bigger than they probably had for themselves – certainly bigger than Larry had for them – and it would’ve taken his own death – or worse – to cause him to miss tonight. The short notice, however, had made it difficult to make it in from the east coast and his taxi had pulled into the Sahara 15 minutes ago, but he had made it.
Lenny and Larry took the elevator down and walked through the casino; since they were both focused on the show, neither of them particularly noticed anything going around them. Soon the security officer had them backstage.
“Hey,” Lenny asked loudly to anyone who would listen. “Has anyone seen a short Jew with a cat on his head? I’ve got a saucer of milk for him.”
Morty then popped his head out from behind a door that led to a small dressing room. He looked at his wrist and tapped it; this would’ve had more effect had there actually been a watch on the wrist.
“Showtime is on time,” Morty said, smiling and looking over his charges from behind the half-glasses resting on the edge of his nose. Lenny was dressed in his usual navy blue suit; Larry, who wore various costumes, was wearing black pants, black shoes and a long-sleeve black pullover shirt. One time he had worn a black shirt that looked like a tuxedo. His only stated criteria was that he liked to wear things you weren’t likely to see someone in the audience wear on the sensible theory the audience doesn’t go to shows to see performers wearing what they’re wearing.
“Hey, we’ve never missed a curtain yet, have we partner?”
“Not as far as he knows,” Larry said, smiling; he greeted Morty and everyone shook hands.
“You ready to go?” Morty asked as if this mattered 10 minutes before the show. If they weren’t ready they were going to go anyway.
“They better be,” said a voice coming from where Lenny and Larry had just walked through. Approaching was a woman in her early 50’s, with shoulder-length black hair. She was fairly tall, attractive and wearing a black skirted suit with a white blouse and sensible though not completely boring shoes. She gave the impression of a woman who had been on the go all day.
Larry fell in love instantly. Out of unconscious habit, he noticed she was not wearing a ring, at least not a ring on the finger that would indicate she was committed through either official engagement or holy matrimony to another human being.
“Guys, this is the woman desperate enough to hire you. Lenny and Larry, this is Rachel Rachmaninov, entertainment director here at the Sahara.”
“Charmed, I’m sure,” Lenny said, taking her hand and kissing it while bowing.
Larry stood there like an idiot, staring at Rachel, unable to say anything.
“Come on, Larry, say hello,” Lenny said much like a parent would encourage a child to eat their vegetables.
“Oh. Hi. My name’s Larry.” Larry said.
“Rachel,” Rachel said, tilting her head slightly and smiling as she hadn’t to Lenny, though she certainly had been glad to meet Lenny. She offered Larry her hand but still rather confused, Larry ended up kissing his own hand. After Larry released her hand she instinctively curled some hair behind an ear.
“Well, we should let them get ready, Rachel,” Morty said. He turned to Lenny and Larry. “You two go get’em; you are not allowed to munch it tonight,” Morty said, significantly. They shook hands and Morty and Rachel left.
Both Lenny and Larry liked to be occupied before a show. Not too occupied mind you; neither wanted to be worrying about the future of the Electoral College or considering European Union expansion, but neither did they want to be standing around doing nothing. When they weren’t arguing, Lenny usually sat and did a crossword puzzle at leisure, while Larry usually would write emails on his laptop or screw around on the Internet. A couple of minutes before the curtain went up they would make their way to the stage together and wait.
“That was funny Larry,” Lenny said as they stood behind the curtain, thirty seconds before opening at the Sahara. As usual, they were making small talk about anything besides the impending show.
“Funny? What was funny?”
“Your shy act with the lady. Very nice.”
“An act? Who said it was an act?”
“Maybe, maybe not. I’m not telling. Do you think she’ll sleep with me?”
“That probably depends on how funny we are tonight.”
“Great. Me scoring depends in large measure on a yahoo like you.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, straight from, from…” It occurred to the announcer that he had no idea where tonight’s act was from. Damn last-minute fill-ins. “…from somewhere funny! Lenny and Larry, The Regular Guys!”
As usual, Lenny and Larry bounded on stage like someone had set fire to their shoes. For their first Vegas appearance, Lenny came out throwing souvenir gambling chips he had bought in the casino gift shop; they were worthless, but he had guests tripping over themselves to get them, at least until they, too, discovered their worthlessness. Larry took out his mobile phone, activated the camera on it and sat down at a table, videoing the three pretty young ladies sitting there.
“Wow,” Lenny said, standing on stage and surveying the crowd. “We sure got the dregs out here tonight. They were going after the bogus chips like feeding time at the zoo!”
Larry returned to the stage and looked over the audience as a commanding officer might inspect his troops; he concurred with Lenny’s findings.
“These must be the ones who’ve already lost all their money…”
“…including the entertainment budget,” Lenny said, finishing Larry’s sentence, as he did from time to time. This phenomenon had first started almost immediately after they had started working together.
“…which would explain why they’re here; they couldn’t afford tickets to a real show.”
“And evidently they didn’t drop enough to get comped to a real show.”
“It’s only Monday and already you’re broke,” Larry said to a couple who was sitting in the front row. He shook his head disapprovingly.
“Maybe they can call their kids and get a loan.”
Determined to get to the bottom of this, Lenny walked up to a middle-aged couple. They each had a martini glass in front of them and looked like typical, normal Americans, the kind Lenny had always been determined not to become.
“So, how’d you lose your money?” Lenny asked to general laughter. The husband started laughing
Simultaneously the husband said ‘blackjack’ and the wife said ‘slots’.
Lenny laughed along with them, and the show went well from there. Lenny and Larry both believed that if you got them laughing within a few seconds of taking the stage, you were going to be all right and tonight they had quickly established themselves as two nice guys who could make them laugh and unless they actually started beating their audience or anally violated each other, they were in for a good show. For their part, the audience was responsive and in the mood to be poked fun at and Lenny and Larry, though tired, both had their formidable minds going on all cylinders.
In the back of the Casbar Room Morty and Rachel Rachmaninov stood taking in the show. The crowd had started small but had grown somewhat as the laughs made their way through the casino. At the end the Casbar Room, which sat 120, was about three-quarters full, which wasn’t too bad for a Monday night with complete unknowns on the bill.
“These guys are pretty funny, Morty. Where’d you find them?”
“Out on the road working together. Either headlining dives or opening for others.”
“How long they’d pester you before you took them on.” In his heyday, Morty was infamous for his selectivity.
“They didn’t, actually. I was the one pitching them.”
“Really? That’s not the Morty I know and love.” She almost said ‘remember’ but she didn’t want Morty to feel it had been that long since he’d had talent in Vegas, even though it had been a while.
Well, I saw something, Rachel,” Morty said. “I’m still not entirely sure what, but I saw something.”
“Is Larry married?”
“I don’t know,” Morty said, turning to look at her. “Larry doesn’t reveal much about himself.”
“I’ll find out.” Rachel said.
Under contract to deliver 45 minutes of comedy – and Lenny and Larry were surprised to learn they would actually forfeit a portion of their fee if they exceeded the prescribed time limit – The Regular Guys delivered 44 minutes and 37 seconds of laughs in their first Vegas appearance.
After The Regular Guys signed off, they stepped behind the curtain. Lenny took a deep breath but otherwise appeared calmer than you might expect a performer who been waiting a career to play Vegas might be.
“That was good, partner,” Lenny said to Larry, shaking his hand.
“Yeah, it was,” Larry said smiling broadly, for him a rare display of complete euphoria.
They stood looking at each other for a second, then Larry patted Lenny on the back and they continued backstage.
“OK, don’t fall in love with yourselves you bozos. You don’t have a marquee yet.” It was killjoy Morty with Rachel Rachmaninov following right behind.
“It’s a matter of time, Morty,” Lenny said, himself smiling broadly and placing a hand on Morty’s shoulder. Morty produced cigars for them. Neither Lenny nor Larry particularly liked cigars, but they seemed appropriate.
Lenny, as he usually did right after a show, ran off to the bathroom. Larry and Rachel stood there together as Morty answered a call on his phone. Larry and Rachel chatted for a minute.
Lenny returned and after his phone call, Morty and Rachel announced they had some minor, brief business to take care of and left. Lenny and Larry were left alone.
“You know partner, we’re going to do some funny stuff this week. But maybe you could take ‘ol Rachel out, just for, you know, funsies. You could ingratiate yourself with her, so she’ll have us back.”
“You know, partner, I’m taking her out for a drink right now.”
“Really? Wow, you move fast. So my career really depends on how good you are in the sack?”
“Pretty much,” Larry said. “You can still get your insurance license, can’t you?”