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Steve Martin: I flubbed at Hub Pub Club

“In June 1975 I was booked into the frighteningly named Hub Pub Club in Winston-Salem. Located in a shopping mall, it was trying to be a fancy spot for gentlemen, but liquor laws in North Carolina limited attendance at nightclubs to members only. About the worst things an entertainer can hear are ‘members only’ and ‘group tours.’ While I was on stage doing my act to churchlike silence, a guy said to his date, loud enough that we all heard it, ‘I don’t understand any of this.’

“My [diary] entry for the Hub Pub Club started this way: ‘This town smells like a cigarette…. My material seems so old…My act might as well have been in a foreign language.'”

– From “Born Standing Up” (2007) by Steve Martin

Within weeks Martin’s luck turned. He was booked into more appreciative venues, pulled together his stage persona and in 1976 made his first appearance on “Saturday Night Live.”