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Turnabout of the Spotlight

UCB’s longtime stage manager takes to performing autobiographical stories with potential

By Cristina Merrill / Jester correspondent

Instead of using Twitter to stalk celebrities, why not send tweets of wisdom to your 16-year old self? This is the topic Pat Baer explores in his show, performed March 17 in the UCB Theatre’s “Spank” hour highlighting new work. Baer, an accomplished stage manager at the theater, takes a walk down memory lane and recounts things that happened to him at various stages throughout his life, giving himself a tweet of advice for each stage. Baer’s show suffered from a lack of real comedic timing, but he has some great ideas and personal stories, so hopefully he will stick with this whole social media comedy thing and work to improve it.     

If he had the chance, one tweet of wisdom Baer would give to his younger self would be “Pick your battles.” For this tweet, Baer recounted the time he went with his friends to see the metal band GWAR in concert. This, Baer said, is the story of his life: doing things because his friends wanted to do them. When a member of a small group of Christian protesters (12, to be exact) outside the concert venue threw a bottle at his friend, Baer said he became so angry that he challenged the entire group to a fight. Neither side, he said, would back down. Then the police took Baer away, causing his endorphins to wear out. He was freed, thanks to the friend he defended, and today he looks on the bright side: he got to hang with his friends and did not have to see GWAR.

Another wise tweet Baer would share is “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Baer brought up the topic of “swifting,” a popular activity in high school in which someone would yank down a guy’s pants, exposing their boxers. Baer was swifted by a friend. “He did too good a job,” he said, so several people, including Baer’s then-girlfriend, got a good look at his teenage penis. “I freaked out, which is totally reasonable,” he said. Freaked out, indeed. He said he ran to where the cheerleaders were practicing, picked up a table and then dropped it, damaging it. The bright side to this was that no one in school mentioned his full-frontal moment, only that he destroyed a table. “I’m proud of that,” he said.

Baer’s tweets are more like mottos, but each one ties to a story, such as, “Find the thing you love and do it.” Baer cited his decision to move to New York City and pursue his love of comedy. Soon after, he recounted a party he went to in college, one in which he started to fight a guy who had hit a girl. He was ready to challenge several of the party-goers – they were actually fans of the guy – when “this beautiful Amazonian lady” came in and realized Baer had been defending her friend. “I was awesome in front of her,” he said. He would eventually lose his virginity to her at the age of 19. Knowing this now, he would like to tell his 16-year-old self, “Only three more years. That’s not bad.” 

Baer’s lack of comedic timing made the show struggle, especially in the beginning. But after a few minutes, it is clear that he has had some interesting experiences, enough for an audience to stay in their seats to find out what happened to him, and what advice he would tweet to his younger self based on that experience. In this show, Baer takes social media as inspiration for pieces that could be honed and adjusted. He should make the most of what he’s developed so far.



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