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PACE AGE : Life Changes When You Get Old, Huh?

August 20, 1992|DENNIS McLELLAN | Dennis McLellan is a Times staff writer who regularly covers comedy for O.C. Live!

Now that he's married with a kid, life has changed for Michael Pace.

"I got my boxer shorts, my 20-gallon drum of Old Spice, some black socks," says the comedian, who's appearing at the Improv in Brea this week. "I scratch myself, watch ESPN and tell people to get out of my chair."

Pace, an engaging performer, has an expressively mobile face that provides visual punch to such routines as his evocation of a young kid standing on a diving board, desperately trying to get his mother to watch him dive ("Mommy . . . Mommy . . . Mommy! Mommy! Mommy look!").

The St. Louis--whom the Denver Post describes as having "the well-scrubbed look of a mischievous boy next door with sly, perverse habits"--talks about everything from telephone party lines to airline pilots, who seem to be getting much younger these days. On one flight, he swears the pilot announced: "Radical air pocket, dude."

But it's the routines based on his personal life--growing up, getting married and having kids--that are his strongest.

"I'm trying to come up with something that will appeal to everyone, something everyone can relate to," he says, noting that most comedy club audiences are in their mid-20s to mid-40s and probably can relate more to what he is going through in his own life than they can to material about the newest rapper on MTV.

Speaking by phone from Oceanside, where he was performing last week, Pace described his stage persona as "kind of the smart-ass white kid from the Midwest. And now it's evolved into I have a kid exactly like me, and I'm getting the other end of it: He's got an attitude, and everything I've done to my parents is basically coming back to haunt me."

Pace said that in his act "I'm describing my life and the anxiety I'm having about raising kids. I think what I'm discovering and what everybody else discovers is, as they age, they realize their parents didn't know what the heck they were doing either. In the long run, it kind of lays some pressure off your parents: You didn't come with an instruction manual."

He also finds himself having to adjust to the fact that he's getting older. Those pilots aren't the only ones who seem so young.

Pace said the first time the 16-year-old baby-sitter called him "Mr. Pace," he felt as though he had been stabbed. "I thought, 'My life's over.' "

He felt better when he went into a McDonald's and noticed that a group of teen-age girls was checking him out. He said he was sitting there winking back at them, thinking, "I've still got it." But then he got back to his car and discovered his fly was open.

And then there's:

* The humiliation a kid goes through waiting to be picked for kick ball: "It's like the worst five minutes of your life. It's always the same two guys picking every day--the guys who went through puberty at 3. They're smoking Camel straights, they got that one curly chin hair hanging down. . . . "The worst is if you're the last one on the wall waiting to get picked and the one picker turns to the other picker and goes (exhaling), 'You can have him.' "

* Adjustment to married life: "I'm one of these guys who drinks directly out of the milk carton. Oh, women hate this. 'Backwash!' Backwash? Like I've been eating nuclear slush all day or what?"

Who: Michael Pace.

When: Thursday, Aug. 20 and Sunday, Aug. 23 at 8:30 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 21 at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 22 at 8 and 10:30 p.m. With Jack Gallagher.

Where: The Improv, 945 E. Birch St., Brea.

Whereabouts: Take the Lambert Road exit off the Orange (57) freeway and go west. Turn left onto State College Boulevard and right onto Birch Street. The Improv is in the Brea Marketplace, across from the Brea Mall.

Wherewithal: $7 to $10.

Where to call: (714) 529-7878.

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