Back on the Bus

February 7—Coronavirus Tour 2020

by Lenny Hughes

You've probably been asking yourselves, where have I been?

Not the first thing on your minds, of course, what with the sad demise of Kobe Bryant, the sadder performance of the Republican Senate, the devastating natural disasters of Climate Change and the looming plague of the killer virus.

But if you're reading this, you may have wondered.

Well, I sort of retired. Since our last show in the spring in Bethesda, I've been home with the kitties, reuniting with friends, celebrating holidays and birthdays with the family, vacationing in New Orleans, and watching wonderful re-runs of “Perry Mason” and “Leave It to Beaver”. . . you know . . . like normal people.

But Zeke Foerster, the fantastic kid who was taking my place, came to his senses last month, and announced HE was retiring—or at least, moving on.

Packin’ Heat

So just last weekend, I packed my bags (the cats hated it—Luci commandeered my suitcase), and there I was, back on The Bus, streaking down I-294, bound for that jewel of the midwest, Waukegan, Illinois, and listening to Lewis Black SCREAMING on the telephone to his friend Kathleen Madigan about the stupidity of Donald Trump and the spinelessness of Trump's fellow Republicans.

Not much has changed since my hiatus.

Lew & Seth

Lew looks healthy, fresh from an appearance on Seth Meyers. My being away must have been good for him. Ben looks happy, too—there he was, frying up some sizzling bratwurst on the Bus's new Johnsonville Sausage Grill, while James contentedly plugged away on his laptop—the brains behind the remarkable Rant portion of every show.

Lew gave that unique phenomenon a shout-out on Meyers. Every night he finishes his gig with a world-wide mini-show, reading and answering complaints from the fans. You can submit one yourself, and watch the results on your device, free, by logging on to Far as I know, nobody else does this, and nobody else has the bizarre spontaneity that it takes to pull it off with the kinds of laughs Lewis gets from it.

Mrs. Black’s Boys

Helped me stay in touch with the crew. I visited Lew's mom a number of times, which always gives me a dose of Black humor when I need it.

We dropped in on her condo last Fall: Lew, Ben, Frank and myself. Frank made his last run in December, after a stellar career of driving celebrities all over the country. He's made a well-earned retirement, up in Canada with his lovely wife and Leo the cat.

John Bowman is still recuperating from some medical mishaps, so he's back in Connecticut. Jeff Stilson is still with us, opening for Lew and joking about the Bobbleheads, which sends audiences into a frenzy of Bobbaloosa binge-buying.

Our new bus driver Jethro is great. He's driven everyone from David Copperfield to Elvis Presley.

Mt. Pleasant
Soaring Eagle

We started out last week at the classic old Coronado Theatre in Rockford, Illinois, then moved onto the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

We hit a little snow heading down to Illinois and the show in Waukegan's Genesee Theatre, but it wasn't what you'd expect in the dead of winter.

Waukegan Stage
Lew Signs

At the Genesee, Lewis led the audience in a round of “Happy Birthday,” since it was my Big Day on Saturday. (You may send presents all through February, of course, because I always celebrate the entire month.) Afterward, he signed autographs for the crowd, braving the spectre of coronavirus that's sweeping the nation.

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Florida ad

Before we left the north country, Lew recorded a little commercial to warn the folks in Florida we would be heading their way this week.

So here we are, shooting through the Everglades after a rousing show last night at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts, heading to Orlando's Bob Carr Theater, and a visit with our old Springbrook friend Charlie Rock. We end up this weekend at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota.

Master Chef

Talk later. Lewis is microwaving some barbeque. Time for lunch.

Like I said, not much has changed since I've been away.