Riding with Tim Wilson

img_15 For several years I was lucky enough to perform with the Bob and Tom Comedy All Stars. We travelled all over the country appearing in theaters, arenas and concert venues in front of amazing audiences. Every night was like comedy camp and I giggled like a kid listening to everyone’s hilarious stories both on and off stage.
One Saturday morning, a handful of us were standing around outside our hotel in Sheboygen Falls, Wisconsin after playing to a full house the night before. We were about to load up our cars and make our way to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula when someone realized I would be driving alone. As the only comic from Chicago, I had rented a car and driven alone while everyone else flew in or carpooled from other parts of the country. I like driving alone. I listen to music or talk radio and try to put my material together on the long stretches of highway. So I was secretly hoping I would be making the trek by myself. I loved these guys but with two little boys at home it’s nice to get some “me time” and sing Pink at top of my lungs.
“Vasquez! I’m riding with you!” yelled Tim Wilson and before I could respond he threw his guitar in the back seat of my car and climbed in to the passenger seat. I had a pit in my stomach. Not only would I not have “me time”, I might be listening to hours and hours of rants about Jimmy Carter, Harry Belafonte or detailed theories about additional murders Ted Bundy may have committed. Tim was a living, breathing fountain of knowledge, opinion and humor but I was pretty sure I couldn’t handle it alone for the five to six hour drive.
Never in my life has dread melted into delight as quickly as it did riding with Tim Wilson. Within moments of pulling out of the hotel parking lot, it was as though he knew how to tailor his conversation even for an audience of one. We talked about our families, our hometowns, sports, religion, race relations and we had a light and friendly argument about politics. Harry Belefonte didn’t come up even once! We had a moment of tension when I refused to let him smoke in the car. I offered to pull over but he insisted on smoking in the vehicle. I opened all the windows exposing us to the chilly Michigan air. “Fine, Vasquez! I’ll stop. Roll up the damn windows!” We slipped back into our banter. Tim’s insight in to the human experience was extensive and thoughtful. He was a philosopher with a big heart and endless humor.
When we arrived at our venue in Michigan I felt like no time had passed at all. I called my husband and told him I had just had the best road trip experience of my life. He laughed and asked me what he’d done wrong on all the road trips he’d been on with me. “Nothing, it’s just that you’re not Tim Wilson.”
I worked with Tim many times after that. He invited me to be his opening act at several casinos and theaters across the country. I was tickled that he thought we were a good blend. The philosopher from Georgia and the smart ass from Chicago. It was the adventure of a lifetime and I’ll always be grateful that he wouldn’t let me ride alone. Wish I could have him in the passenger seat just one more time. I’d even let him smoke.