I’ll never forget the first time I worked with Don White. It was 1995, in a small town near Boston. I had heard through the grapevine he was an up-and comer, but when I saw him work in front of an audience I knew that he had arrived.
A year later I produced a two-day event at The Bottom Line in New York City that showcased funny songwriters called “Laugh Tracks.” I invited the funniest songwriters I know, and Don White was one of them. So was Andy Breckman. That name might ring a bell — he went on to create the TV show “Monk,” so Don was in good company. Also on the bill were Patty Larkin, The Four Bitchin’ Babes, Dave Van Ronk, Tom Paxton, Vance Gilbert, David Buskin, and Rob Carlson — David and Rob actually met at “Laugh Tracks,” and went on, adding George Wurzbach to the mix, the form the trio “Modern Man” which is drawing audiences all over the US and Canada, and recording some of the funniest albums I have ever heard.
Don’s song “Rascal” on “Laugh Tracks” became the breakout ‘hit’ of the two-CD compilation. In the Detroit area a local rock radio station added it to their yearly compilation, and it became the breakout hit for that project, too. I can’t tell you how proud and happy it made me to play even a small part in introducing Don White to new audiences.
When Don and I work together, it’s a very powerful one-two punch that leaves audiences gasping for air (from all the laughter), and reaching for tissues from the unexpected serious songs. After reading just two pages of Don’s book, “Memoirs Of A C Student,” I knew I had to write a book of my own. I’ve written nine chapters so far, have an agent who is shopping it, and I plan to have it out there in 2010. when I’ll be celebrating my 25th year as a performer. Who knew that this young guy I met way back last century was going to inspire me to write a book?
It’s hard to describe what it is that Don does onstage, because there simply isn’t anyone out there like him. I’m a brave performer to share the bill with someone who knocks audiences out the way he does. But I’ve discovered if audiences know me and don’t know him — they become instant fans of his. If they know him and don’t know me, the same thing seems to happen for me. Everybody wins. And I can’t wait for the day onstage when I can say, “If you can only buy one book at this concert tonight, please buy mine. But if you can buy two books, please buy two of mine.”
April 1, 2008
New York City