In 1993 my friend Eric D. Snider founded The Garrens Comedy Troupe. In 1993 my roommate/former mission companion/best friend, Lincoln Hoppe, forced me to audition with him for The Garrens. In 1993, I watched my future wife, Katie Fillmore, audition and join The Garrens. In 1993....it all began.
You know how you have that friend who you just don't get to see very often? You are separated by distance and the busyness of life, and it all gets in the way of what you really want to do - which is design a neighborhood where you get to live next door to each other. But when you DO get together, everything picks up as if no time has passed. There is no awkward small talk. It all just clicks.
Well, imagine having 25 of those friends. And that's what this weekend was. Even with those Garrens who I never had the privilege of working with - because they came in the later years after I was gone - it was like we had this experience we all pulled from that connected us. It was like...whatever the opposite of "serving in Vietnam together" is.
We had The Garrens 20th Anniversary Reunion Show on Saturday night, and it was spectacular! We all came together Friday night for dinner at BYU's Skyroom. Garrens alumni came from Florida, New York, South Carolina, Washington DC, Oregon, California, and Salt Lake City. The stories, tributes, and memories brought back all the feelings. I remembered how wonderful those years were - the creative energy and the people who I got to be creative with. The life-influencing friendships that abounded. I remembered how coming together to put on shows felt like coming into a shared living room. It was familial. It was a safe place. There was encouragement, acceptance, and hilarity. It became a part of my being.
It was my privilege to pay the final tribute to Eric on Friday night, at the dinner. As I stood in front of a group made up of some of my favorite people, I wished I had the time to pay tribute to each of them, individually. It felt like there was so much to say. But it also felt like there were not words to articulate all those feelings and sum up all those experiences and define their influence in my life. I love these people. And to go will just make this sound suuuuuper sappy. (Too late?)
Thank you to everyone who has been part of The Garrens! Thank you to everyone who worked countless hours to bring this show to light on Saturday! Thank you to those who traveled, sacrificed, and brought their all! Thank you to everyone who came to the show and celebrated with us! Some of you traveled from out of state - you crazy, wonderful people! Thank you! And our apologies to those who didn't get in because the almost 900-seat theater was SOLD OUT! YEAH!!!