Vet makes audience howl
SILVERTHORNE – Before Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald cared for animals as a veterinarian, he dealt with another type of animal – fans of rock stars – as a bouncer for The Rolling Stones.
In 1978, after working for The Rolling Stones on and off for nearly 10 years, Keith Richards told him to get a grip on his life because the band gig wasn’t going to last forever. (Little did he know.)
“When someone like Keith Richards tells you to go back to school and make something of yourself, you listen,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald has practiced as a vet for 20 years and has performed stand-up comedy almost on a nightly basis since 1986. Now he’s the star of Animal Planet’s “Emergency Vets” and a regular at Denver’s Comedy Works, one of the top 10 clubs in the nation.
His rapid, one-liner style, combined with his warm demeanor on stage, have led him to open for such legendary performers as Diana Ross, Bob Hope and The Neville Brothers. He has appeared on the “Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “The Maury Povich Show,” the Discovery Channel and “The Howard Stern Show,” among others. In addition, his clean-style comedy has led him to perform at hundreds of corporate and benefit shows.
In June 2002, People magazine selected Fitzgerald as one of the 50 most eligible bachelors in America, along with George Clooney and Ben Affleck. In his humble way, he said there are 3,000 guys in Denver alone who should be on the list ahead of him and attributed his good fortune to being in the right place at the right time, much like Forrest Gump.
“Kevin is like your best friend on stage,” said David Gray, who also will perform at tonight’s comedy show. “He has all the skills you’d expect from a doctor. His bedside manner comes across in his stand-up. He’s very gentle and soothing and funny.”
Fitzgerald’s material includes true-life animal stories, current events and memories from his childhood. Often, classifieds wind up in his act, such as poorly punctuated ads which read: “Free to good home pit bull will eat anything loves children” or “doberman neutered just like one of the family.”
“You don’t write funnier things than what happens, and I know animals and what happens to them,” Fitzgerald said. “I think everybody’s funny. Comedians show people things that they don’t notice in everyday life. They put a mirror up to society, hopefully in a good way. We can’t take ourselves too seriously.”
In contrast to Fitzgerald’s Yiddish style of delivering two to three punch lines per minute (developed by such comedians as George Burns and Jack Benny to prevent audiences from heckling them), Gray goes off on tangents.
“I’m out there a little bit more,” Gray said. “I’m a risk taker.”
Gray’s highly improvisational act stems from his training in improv with Chicago’s Second City and Los Angeles’ Theatresports.
“I bounce all over the place,” he said. “When I’m on stage, something will come to me, and I’ll just go off on it. Most comics think, “I’ll save that for later.’ I go on a tangent because I have no self control. I’m an undisciplined comic.”
Everyday characters Gray meets on the street inspire him to recreate them on stage. He mimics a streetwise Girl Scout, a Thai waiter who hates Americans and a bagger at the local grocery store.
“He’s known for his insight and his writing ability,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s very warm and likeable on stage. If you’d have to go cross country in a car, you’d want David with you.”
Gray indeed has crossed the country with his act, working with Chris Rock, Drew Carey and Jeff Foxworthy, among others. He moved to Denver 15 months ago and headlines at Comedy Works.
The comedy, described by Gray as PG-13, begins at 7:30 p.m. today at the Silverthorne pavilion. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Reservations may be made by calling (970) 262-7370.
Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
? When: 7:30 tonight
? Where: Silverthorne pavilion, Silverthorne
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