Lily Tomlin is performing in a multitude of cities and was in Vancouver Tuesday evening, the toast of this town. A Canadian bug had its way with me and so I was flat out for the evening, but I have spies and pals all around here so I heard all that I missed.
The theater was jammed with fans and it was a big party even before Lily appeared on stage. Apparently half of America has practiced being Ernestine and many of them were there waiting for her. Few actors have brought imagined characters to life as Lily has. The audience was there as much for Ernestine and Edith Ann as for Lily. But my spies tell me they were deeply impressed Tuesday evening with the warm affection for Lily and the appreciation not only for her talent and her humor but for her sweetness, and her ability to be so funny yet leave you feeling so happy and good. In this era, I think that is indeed a special gift and I have noticed it when we wOw women are together, all of us talking at the same time the way we do. Many of us can be edgy funny. But Lily’s edge is aware. As a result, she has built an enormous connection with people who appreciate her and want her to know they do and, waiting for her to appear, they jumped up and down and became Ernestine and Edith Ann with each other at the theater Tuesday night.
She appears on a bare stage all alone, but there is no sense of lonely drama up there; there is a fully realized happy talent. She is so glad to see each and every member of the audience and is so in touch with each one. So much electricity goes on back and forth and she brings forth so many kinds of laughs and so much understanding of her stories — so deliciously personal that the stage gets very busy with illusions. My spies kept telling me that trying to leave the theater when Lily had left the stage was an athletic event because no one wanted to leave and everyone was everyone else’s buddy by then. And they each seemed to want to take Lily and Ernestine out for a drink or home for dinner because they loved them. Wonderful, that kind of talent that makes people feel loving, in this world at this time especially.