The Year in Celebrity Pictures: Dave "Gruber" Allen
Freaks and Geeks and the Naked Trucker
Photo taken: September 24, 2011, at the Best Buy Theater, NYC, after the Cinematic Titanic show
I'm not sure I've ever met a nicer celebrity than Dave "Gruber" Allen. The first time I met him was before a Knitting Factory show in 2004, when the Naked Trucker and T-Bones were the comic relief at a benefit show during the Republican National Convention that also featured Serj Tankian from System of A Down, Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine, Steve Earle, Michael Franti and Spearhead, and Boots Riley from The Coup. He could not have been happier to sign my Freaks and Geeks DVD yearbook (I think he might have been the first to sign it) and talk about the show, and we had a nice conversation. Unfortunately, there was no one around to take a picture at the time. I thought about asking a stranger to take a picture after the Naked Trucker and T-Bones were done with their set (which was awesome, if slightly confusing to the more earnest rabble rousers in attendance), but I chickened out.
Which brings us to the Cinematic Titanic show in Newark last November. I'd read that Mr. Allen was the opening act for the show (a live--and very funny--version of Mystery Science Theater 3000), so I got my ticket to the show (thanks, Josh!) and prepped for my Gruber photo. Alas, he didn't make the trip to Newark. Foiled again. But since Trace Beaulieu and Joel Hodgson from MST3K made appearances in Freaks and Geeks, and J. Elvis Weinstein was a writer for the show, I added them to the yearbook, making the evening at least a partial success. And Cinematic Titanic is awesome. I never watched Mystery Science Theater 3000, but I loved the live show. It's essentially just five really funny people mocking a really bad movie, but it's two hours of almost nonstop laughter. Check it out if you can. They're back in Newark in March.
Anyway, now it's September 2011 and the Cinematic Titanic gang is at the Best Buy Theater in NYC. I do some research to see if Mr. Allen's been opening shows lately, find out he has, and buy my ticket and hope for the best. When I see him setting up microphones, I get a little giddy. He does his opening act thing (funny), the Cinematic Titanic crew riffs on East Meets Watts (very funny), and soon it's time for the postshow meet and greet. I don't really have anything for the CT crew to sign, but I figure Mr. Allen will be in the meet and greet room. As I'm standing on line, I see him there, but a few minutes later I notice he's gone. D'oh. I get my ticket stub signed and resign myself to trying again next time.
Then, as I go up the escalators, I see Mr. Allen standing by the door and thanking people for coming as they head out into the night. Hooray! I then get my stuff out (8X10 screen shot from the "Eighteen" scene and my Naked Trucker and T-Bones CD) and wait my turn. As soon as I show him what I have to get signed, he gets super-excited and tells me that I've made his night. We talk about the Knitting Factory show and some other Freaks and Geeks stuff, and then I hand my camera to some dude to take the picture. There are two pictures because after the first one, Mr. Allen said, "OK, now let's take another one where we're shaking hands." So we did. Then he thanked me again and I went off into the night.
Coolest guy ever. Long live Dave "Gruber" Allen.