Tonight, in a rare change from the usual theatre haunts of the city, we had the immense pleasure to see the legendary Jimmy Walker, the actor behind J.J. Evans, dynamic star of the breakthrough 1970s comedy, “Good Times” as he visited the city courtesy of Mad Hatter Shows.
The venue for tonight’s entertainment was the Irving Theatre. This historic gem of the city has been one of my personal favorites for years. It still boasts many unique artifacts of it’s 100-year history in the city and is overlooked by the “Two-Headed Stose” which serves as the building’s perennial mascot.
Opening for Mr. Walker was local comedian Hoss Ridgeway. Ridgeway’s act struck me as an amusing mashup of Michael Winslow and Jim Gaffigan. From my 2 minutes of internet research (and that’s about the level of research you can typically expect this blog) Ridgeway is a minister at Turning Point Church in Franklin, Indiana. If Ridgeway’s act tonight is any measure of the sermons, this church is a lot more fun than whatever church you’re going to.
When Walker took the stage, the audience’s appreciation was evident. At 74 Walker’s wit is still sharp as a tack. His timing and delivery haven’t aged and while he might struggle more with the stairs than he did 45 years ago, he still kept the audience laughing.
Sadly, Walker’s visit to Indy is at an end but check out madhattershows.com anyway to see what mischief they’re up to next. Mad Hatter brings the state acts ranging from the latest internet phenom to comedy legends like JJ and even the incomparable Gilbert Gottfried who’ll be visiting the city in April.