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DailyTidings.com
  • LIVING IN ASHLAND

    'Rosey's Last Stand-up'

    Suffering from terminal cancer, Alan 'Rosey' Rosenberg chose to work on a comedy routine
  • He had long wanted to be a stand-up comic, but when Ashland real estate broker and theater critic Alan "Rosey" Rosenberg was diagnosed with terminal, rapidly spreading cancer, he immediately decided to drop everything and make people laugh.
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    • If you go
      What: "Rosey's Last Stand-up, an Evening of Inspirational Black Humor," by Alan Rosenberg
      When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 17
      Where: Temple Emek Shalom, 1800 E. Main St., Ashland
      What: Ben...
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      If you go
      What: "Rosey's Last Stand-up, an Evening of Inspirational Black Humor," by Alan Rosenberg

      When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 17

      Where: Temple Emek Shalom, 1800 E. Main St., Ashland

      What: Benefit for the Ashland Food Bank and the "Indigent Funds" of Havurah Shir Hadash and Temple Emek Shalom

      Tickets: Minimum $10 donation
  • He had long wanted to be a stand-up comic, but when Ashland real estate broker and theater critic Alan "Rosey" Rosenberg was diagnosed with terminal, rapidly spreading cancer, he immediately decided to drop everything and make people laugh.
    "When I got my diagnosis last May — esophageal cancer, now in the liver — I walked out of there and immediately began taking notes for what became 'Rosey's Last Stand-up.' It struck me that I never had and now never would have a better source of comic material than I do right now," says Rosenberg.
    He did a round of chemotherapy that, he says, gave him three more months of life. Those are gone now, and he was expected to die while in the hospital in March.
    He didn't.
    Two days after his discharge, on March 23, he rocked a packed house at Havurah Shir Hadash, dwelling riotously on the up-close realities and ironies of death.
    Among his favorite lines: "The day the doctor told me I was going to die soon, I decided I wasn't going to change a thing, except that everything had changed. Instead of shopping at Costco with one list, I now took two: My everyday shopping list and my will."
    At this point, Rosenberg tossed Scotch-Brite cleaning pads into the audience from his Costco 30-pack, setting the house a-roaring.
    Another bit from his schtick: "When the fellow at Radio Shack tried to sell me a lifetime warranty for my new iPhone headset, I told him, 'A lifetime, huh? For me, a Chiclet might last a lifetime.' "
    Rosenberg realizes he could die at any time, so every moment is a gift.
    "It's been a series of miracles to have this time to remake my life," he says, "to put a pool table in the master bedroom, get two kittens and have this time with Peter (Spring), playing pool, making music and holding the cats."
    Spring, an Ashland flautist, lost a 23-year-old son to cancer a dozen years ago and didn't have time to grieve. This is a time for both men to share and absorb the journey to death, they say.
    "It's a real blessing to hang with a guy who can laugh and joke and cry about everything — and to plan and accept death the way Rosey is doing," Spring says. "We have gotten a deep connection together. It's what I didn't get to do before."
    Rosenberg, a critic for Sneak Preview, is lining up venues with the main theater companies in the valley, without knowing whether he'll be here to walk on stage.
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