Feb. 23, 2019 – West Bend, WI – Emmy Award winner and master storyteller John McGivern performed in front of a sold-out crowd Friday night at UWM at Washington County.
The animated McGivern told stories about true kid life including paper routes, working hard because “you didn’t want to have the word ‘lazy’ written on your gravestone,” growing up in an Irish Catholic family, not being allowed another glass of milk because your dad said “we’re poor.”
Dressed in comfortable blue jeans, white shirt, brown sweater and jacket, McGivern brought us into his life of growing up on the east side of Milwaukee. The “closer to the river” east side Milwaukee not so much the Lake Michigan east side Milwaukee.
His family was his favorite fodder and the common thread was, aside the vintage vehicles like a Rambler and VW Beetle, his topics melded into a rhythm where we could all relate.
”I had to race from my morning paper route to school because every morning at St. Peter & Paul grade school we had Mass,” said McGivern. “I’d be running up the stairs with $7 worth of dimes in my pocket and there would stand Sr. Mary Ray Nitschke.”
Armed with a heavy Midwestern accent McGivern would impersonate his mother. He even told a delicate story of his aging parents, his father’s stroke, his dad’s love of a toupee and cleaning out his mother’s dresser.
”There were delicates in there,” he said of her undergarments. “And underneath the underwear…. I found my dad’s teeth.”
Brazen, bold and boisterous. McGivern cracked himself up on stage which made it all the more fun for the audience.
After reading from a white 3-ring binder a collection of some nasty emails directed to his show, Around the Corner with John McGivern, the house lights were brought up and McGivern fielded questions from the audience a’la Carol Burnett.
One woman had a strong suggestion that McGivern do a show on Allenton. Another man flagged McGivern as a fellow classmate at seminary, McGivern’s seminary teacher John Craig was even in the audience.
After the show McGivern came out to the lobby to meet with fans, shake hands, take photos and help create more memorable moments.