Mary Lynn Rajskub turned a small role into second billing on '24' with Kiefer Sutherland. )
The comedy club was full Sunday night, which meant Trenton was pretty much empty.
Twenty-six members of Mary Lynn Rajskub’s immediate family were in Royal Oak for the show. The mayor and most of the city council were there, too, and so were a horde of old friends, new fans and her favorite shoe saleswoman from Macy’s.
“We neglected to tell her exactly who was coming,” said Betty Rajskub, a few minutes before showtime at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle. “We didn’t want her to dwell on it too much.”
Mary Lynn Rajskub, 43, is a seasoned performer by now. As tech wizard Chloe O’Brian on Fox’s “24,” she turned a small role in 2003 into second billing by 2014.
She has a long and growing list of film and TV credits, she’d done her stand-up act the night before in Chicago, and she’s famous enough that a slightly peculiar guy apparently followed her to lunch to get her autograph Sunday afternoon.
But mom knows best, so Mary Lynn had to squint into the stage lights at the end of her show in a hopeless attempt to see which faces matched the laughs.
“I love you guys,” she said, whoever in particular those guys might have been.
The ultimate message was that you can in fact go home again.
What you can’t do is predict what your quasi-Goth daughter will grow up to be.
Going through (many) stages
Wait: She’s wearing black and buying her Trenton High School prom dress at the Penny Pinchers resale shop in Southgate!
Wait: She’s an artist!
Wait: She’s a comedian!
Wait: She’s an actress!
Wait: She’s pregnant! And a comedian again!
That pregnancy part is in her act. Maybe it started out as a one-night stand or maybe that’s just for laughs, but now it’s a five-year marriage (to personal trainer Matthew Rolph) and a 6-year-old son, Val.
As she noted on stage, she had a C-section: “Open up the moon roof!”
That came after the bit about how the Gibraltar Trade Center “shaped my artistic soul,” and after she wondered why so many people tell her they became engaged while watching Kiefer Sutherland’s character smite terrorists in “24.”
“That’s weird,” she said, and it’s hard to argue with her assessment. “Right as Jack cuts a guy’s head off: ‘Let’s make it last forever!’ ”
Betty Rajskub had seen the act once before, in Indiana, but Mary Lynn felt compelled to apologize anyway.
“Sorry about that S-bomb, mom,” she said. “Sorry about all that sex stuff, too.”
But will Jack be back?
Her mom was unfazed and found a genteel word for the discussions of various body parts and what might be done with them.
“By today’s standards, the parts that are ... colorful aren’t too bad.”
Mary Lynn is the youngest of Tony and Betty Rajskub’s three daughters. He was a pipefitter, she worked at a drugstore, and their baby left them devastated when she moved to California to be funny.
The Rajskubs and older sister Kathleen picked Mary Lynn up at her hotel on Sunday afternoon. They went to lunch in Royal Oak at the Redcoat Tavern, where the slightly peculiar guy asked her to sign a photo.
Then, as befits a fast-lane Hollywood star, they went to Target so she could buy Legos for her son.
You can’t predict where your kids will want to go, or what they’ll do next.
Sometimes, neither can they.
In her hybrid role as stand-up comic and TV star, Rajskub invited questions from the audience at the end of her act. Someone asked whether “24” will be coming back, and she said she didn’t know.
“No, really,” the man persisted. “Is it?”
“C’mon,” Rajskub said. “If I knew, do you think I’d be here?”