On Sunday night, Mark and I had the absolute pleasure of attending Alton Brown’s live show at the Benedum Center right here in Pittsburgh, PA!
I absolutely love the Food Network and my DVR is always packed with episodes from my favorite FN personalities. It’s partially about learning tips and tricks from the pros, but there’s so much more to it than just that. On the Alton Browncast, he often discusses with his guests how food is a nondiscriminating international language. Everyone eats, regardless of religious views, polticial opinions, ethnicity, background, worldview…every human is interested in food on some level because of our basic need to eat. Food bridges gaps between humans in a unique way.
It’s not just the universla language factor that draws me to the FN; it’s also the comfort factor. There’s something so comforting about watching Ina make a lobster bisque in her idyllic home in the Hamptons. Watching Giada ride the waves on the Pacific, then get off her surfboard to go make lunch for her family and her friends…I want that life. And I think we all do. It’s a form of escapism, like watching a good novel being played out. Over time, we feel more and more familiar with these TV personalities and we start to almost feel like we know them in real life, just like a character in a novel.
Alton Brown has an additional appeal on top of all of this. He’s a nerd. Oh such a lovable, hysterical, relatable, totally-cool nerd. The live show is all about embracing his nerd-dom.
The set is surprisingly flashy enough to catch the eye of audience members, but simple and functional enough to avoid distraction. The large screen was essential for catching Alton’s expressions, close-ups and odd angles. It added an element of the television viewing experience to the theatrical experience.
Alton began the night with his “10 Things I’m Pretty Sure I’m Sure About Food,” a hysterical and at-times-serious examination of the gems of wisdom he has discovered over his many years of culinary experience. It was clear from about 30 seconds in to his first “Thing” (“Chickens Don’t Have Fingers”) that there he is much more than a chef. Alton is a comedian, an actor, and a raconteur.
The live show included original musical selections from multiple genres, including the heart-rending “Airport Shrimp Cocktail,” a ballad of love gone wrong, “Easy Bake,” a punk-y tirade against THE MACHINE – er– Alton’s parents who refused to give their young boy a feminine toy such as an Easy-Bake Oven. Alton got the final word though, because he constructed a Mega-Bake and brought it along on the tour with him, a beast of an oven capable of cooking a pizza in just 10 seconds.
Of course, he was hilarious when interacting with his audience volunteers, keeping the floor as the comedic center of the show but sharing just enough of the spotlight to embrace all opportunities for comedy brought into action by audience volunteers.
I never got bored for the 2.5 hour performance (including a 10-minute intermission). The entire evening was incredible, start-to-finish and I’d recommend the show to anyone who loves food, comedy, music, and some good ol’ laughs.
Favorite Good Eats episode?
Anyone else seen the live Edible Inevitable show?