Category Archives: Quick Question…
Where I pose a question about life as a stand up comic to some of my comedian friends.
I live, breath, eat and sleep comedy. Movies about comedy speak to me. From the flawed Punchline to a classic like Annie Hall, I love movies about comedians. The best movie to capture the essence of comedy in a small town doing a one nighter has got to be The Godfather of Green Bay. But my all time favorite is Funny People. People knocked it, but I love it. My nightmare is that I’ll end up friendless like Adam Sandler’s character. I try really hard to be nice to everyone, but I know sometimes I piss off my friends and that makes me feel terrible. I need my them. Anyway, I asked my peers what their favorite movie about comedy is. Check it out:
Brad Austin: Comedian. (Mike note: An essential documentary for every comedian to watch.)
The third chair…the great Pat Francis: Mr. Saturday Night.
In light of a situation where an older comic kept using the word “Oriental” to describe Asian people even after I explained to him that “Oriental” describes property, not people, I got to thinking about words that both me in comedy. I hate that word in addition to the word “retard”. Not only is that word hurtful, but it’s just such a hacky word to throw out to get a guaranteed laugh. Anyway, I asked a bunch of my peers which words they don’t like when used on stage. Check it out:
Mike O’Keefe: “In any context, I am not a fan of ‘bitch’. ”
Garri Madera: “Really”.
Ricarlo Flannigan: “Seriously”. Very annoying.
PJ Jacokes: “Bitch”.
Jeff Conolly: “Faggot. It’s like cooking with truffles. Only the best chefs can do it because the flavor is so potent and easily off-putting if mishandled. “Faggot” is the same way, only the best comedians can handle it properly. Also, truffles sound pretty gay.”
Paul Gilmartin (Mental Illness Happy Hour/Dinner and a Movie): ” I can’t think of any word in particular, but when they use the same phrase over and over because they’re afraid of silence, I get annoyed.”
Quick plug to my friend comedian Mike Brody. He is the “Official Comedian of Beyond Reality Events”. In fact, if Deadpan takes off and we get to do a second season, it’ll involve hopefully either Mike Brody or a character based largely on Mike Brody. Maybe we’ll call him Brody Michaels. Hm.
To kick things off, here’s my spooky story. I was at the notoriously haunted and historic Holly Hotel doing a Christmas party a few years back. Normally the comedy shows are in the basement, but this private party was on the top floor, which is supposed to be where the “stuff” happens. I was delighted and making jokes about the ghost, when a large painting fell off the wall and freaked everyone out. So I changed topics and went back to my normal nerdery. It made me jump though!
Jeff Dwoskin: I once was doing a show at Holly and it started out great and then everyone stopped laughing. To this day I swear it was because of a super-natural intervention of some sort. I swear this stuff usually kills!
Andy Pitz: I’ve never experienced paranormal activity at a show or in lodging. I have been creeped out by several club owners though.
I feel like I worked with Tony Deyo shortly after this great story happened to him. It’s one of my favorite comedian stories: I was performing at a college in Albion, MI. They had me staying on campus at a 150 year old place called Belmont Manor. First of all, any place with “manor” in the name is haunted. I joked about staying in their haunted Scooby Doo mansion at the show. Afterwards, the opener asked me if he could come over and check out the place b/c he had been into studying the paranormal for about 10 years. When I had checked in at the mansion, I thought other people were staying there too, but when we got there after the show, no other cars were in the parking lot. I realized I was going to be alone that night in the creepy mansion. We walked around the place, and he told me that his fingers were getting a little numb in one room, which probably meant that someone had died of a heart attack in there. As we wandered upstairs via the giant spiral staircase, he told me that that’s where I might see a ghost in the middle of the night. At this point, I was still under the impression that I might actually spend the night. All the doors upstairs were locked except for mine, so as I was walking back downstairs with him, he noticed a door that went to the basement. He couldn’t find a light switch, so he went down with just his penlight on a keychain. I did not follow. He came back and told me that a lot of people had died down there… and that they were killed. That’s when I told him that he was staying with me for 5 minutes while I packed up my stuff and left. I never knew if there was a ghost there for sure, but I wasn’t about to find out.
Once again I polled my comedy friends. This time I asked them about their scariest experiences on stage.
Mine was that I was on stage at Club Bart very early on and was getting
heckled by a black guy with crazy hair. Growing up in the suburbs I
didn’t realize the potential racial implications of saying, “Settle down
Buckweet!” He tried to rush the stage, but the other open mic comics
formed a barrier keeping him away from me. I was afraid to leave the
stage. Nowadays I realize that faking confidence goes a long way and
gives you a lot of leeway with what you can say to an audience.
I popped a question to a bunch of my comedian friends. What was your first time on stage? We’ll start with mine. Mine was Club Bart in Ferndale, Michigan at an open mic show on February 6th, 2003. My comedy class graduation show was on the 18th at Joey’s Comedy Club in Livonia and I was so sick with the flu that I puked repeatedly on the way there and immediately after.