This is a recent email from the woman who booked me for “New Year’s Gorham” (ME)
Randy, I just heard from a mother who was in the front row at Gorham High School with her 9-year old son. They LOVED your performance.
But, the little boy was sure you had lost your mind. He kept saying to his
mother, “Someone should tell that man that there is no rope. That poor man
actually thinks he has a rope and there isn’t a rope.” The mother told me he
had never seen mime before so she tried to explain to him what you were
doing. He just didn’t get it – he is still talking about the man who thought
he had a rope.
By the way, this boy was one of the kids you had conducting the German
orchestra – he loved that part, too.
This woman told me that she recently moved back to Gorham, and someone gave her the buttons to go to New Year Gorham as a “welcome” gift to Gorham. She felt her life was turned around on New Year’s Eve because they forgot all their troubles, laughed, laughed, and felt welcome.
Recently I was recounting a noontime performance series in Portland, Maine I had been contracted for many years ago. The listener prompted this memorable encounter when she told me that she and her brother remember seeing me perform at Tommy’s Park when they were young kids.
‘Back in the day’ as I was scoping out this popular outdoor lunch venue, I knew one of the features of this noontime hotspot was a convenient diagonal shortcut for pedestrians. On this particular site, it sported a soggy reminder of the previous day’s precipitation – a small puddle.
When I’m asked, “What are some highlights of your many years of entertaining?”, I always include experiencing standing ovations from my audiences. It’s my feeling that these spontaneous and physical bursts of validation rank somewhere in between an “I love you, daddy” and shooting a birdie on a golf course. (I always wear two pairs of pants when I play golf, in case I get a hole-in-one!) And probably the most standing ovations I’ve received from any one ‘sponsor’ definitely come from every tenth grade class from Sanford High School for the last 15 years. The sophomore class has an annual off-campus two day event that includes a variety of presentations on teen issues. My piece is called Full Esteem Ahead, and runs roughly an hour.
On a sunny afternoon on April 28, 2012 Todd Merry and his dad, Luke finished their last hole at Spring Meadows Golf Club in Gray, Maine. As they pulled out their putters and strolled onto the green, 85+ family members stood on the clubhouse deck and shouted “Happy Birthday Luke”. It was a wonderful surprise cooked up for his 75th birthday. Another element to this special surprise was entertainment provided by Steve Underwood, Barney Martin and me (Randy Judkins) of the Maine Hysterical Society
In the 1980s I was hired as an artist in residence for an entire week at Valley High School in Bingham, Maine. Each morning, I would enjoy breakfast at Thompson’s Restaurant on Main Street. I had to sit at the counter because all the booths were taken by the ‘locals’. I had the privilege of working with numerous students every day, instructing them in physical comedy, juggling, unicycling, team building and improvisation.
Early in my career – In the late 1970s, I was hired as an artist-in-residence for 4th graders in S.A.D. 61 – Bridgton, Naples & Casco. After many classes, the 3rd grade teachers in Naples Elementary asked if I would be willing to visit three classes gathered together in the media center. At that time my performing name was Jud the Jester, so I was more than happy to oblige. Plus, they had just finished a lesson on kings and queens in medieval times. What a coincidence!