Ed Norris stole something last week. I witnessed it, and so did hundreds of other Baltimoreans. Norris stole the show at Centerstage.
At the end of The Second City Does Baltimore show last Wednesday night, Norris appeared for an onstage chat. It was the first of the show’s “Walk-On Wednesdays,” which feature a show-closing cameo by a local celeb, and Norris got things off to a rousing start.
Cast member Dana Quercioli asked Norris about his radio show, role on The Wire, and time as a cop, and he was good-natured and hilarious—the sort of guy you’d love to have pull up a barstool next to you. His reply when asked about the strangest crime scene he’d ever seen was flat-out fantastic. I can’t do it justice here, but Norris described coming across a pair of seated, decapitated bodies. The guy on the left was holding the other guy’s head in his lap and vice versa. Norris recalled that, after the killer was apprehended, he couldn’t wait to ask about the placement of the heads.
“I thought you guys would think it was funny,” he was told, and that got a laugh from the Centerstage audience.
Then, Quercioli asked Norris if he had, in fact, found it humorous. “Uh, yeah,” he said, and the audience howled.
The fact that Norris could generate peals of laughter from such a grisly tale says more about his delivery and presence that it does about the story’s actual content. When asked if he’d ever become friends with someone he arrested, Norris’ reply had a similar edge and wit to it.
Like I said, he stole the show, which was pretty good (especially the improv skits) in its own right. And if Norris ever gets the urge to tell some more stories, his next beer’s on me.