In the past week I’ve watched both The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The World’s End. Both are movies that got me thinking a lot about nostalgia.
Wallflower takes place during the 1991-1992 school year. It was two years after I graduated, but the world was very familiar. I had groups of friends I bounced between back then. I had my closest friends in John and Bill who never overlapped. John was my metal head buddy and together we played video games and went to concerts. We’d drive around late at night and talk about girls. Bill and I went to the community center and shot pool or we’d go to the movies. I also had my own personal Wallflowers.
Thank you again to everyone who came out to the Comedy Castle this past weekend for my CD release party….and thank you especially to those of you who supported this new album in advance through my Kickstarter!
Now is the chance for everyone else to get their hands on my third album “nowadays.“. I’m really proud of this one. While it’s the dirtiest thing I’ve ever put out there, it’s also the most personal. The CD opens with a little skit that kind of harkens back to the old Read the rest of this entry
When I was 16 or 17 years old I bought an Almighty Lumberjacks of Death cassette probably from Rock of Ages or Flipside Records. I never saw ALD live, but I certainly knew who they were. ALD were Detroit punk rock gods! That album “Always Out of Control, but Never Out of Beer” struck a chord with me. The songs ranged from fun anthems like the eponymous Almighty Lumberjacks of Death to the socially thought provoking Motor City Trick or Treat. Jimmy Doom was my guy. He was a local icon, but he was also dealing with the same girl problems I was facing because why else would he write Devil Girl?
I loved that album.
Fast forward years later and I meet Jimmy Doom. My memory of this could be way off. I was working at one of the many many comedy clubs called Wise Guys. I think every third or fourth state may have a comedy club called Wise Guys. Doug Stanhope was coming to town and we wanted to do something different to book his opener. I had the idea of having a contest. To find Detroit’s most extreme comedian, we’d have Detroit’s most extreme entertainers judge it. I brought in locals who wrestled in the WWE, Detroit Derby Girls, and musicians including Jimmy Doom. Even though I was probably maybe a little bit of a creepy fanboy, we hit it off.
If you’re 35 or older and grew up around Detroit you probably remember the Detroit Zoo talking animal commercial from the early 80s. I don’t think a week goes by that something doesn’t jog my memory about this ad. Well…I made a parody of it. It may actually be the first thing I’ve posted on Youtube that doesn’t contain anything objectionable!
I’m going back and forth between thinking I’m the worst uncle in the world getting my niece and nephew to say bad words into a camera and realizing that they at least hear way worse at school every day. Nevertheless, I thought it would be funny.
During my CD recording, I spoke a little bit about how my parents tried to shelter me and my brother. That only worked until outside forces invaded.
So last week I recorded my third comedy album. I had a sold out show at Go Comedy Improv Theater in Ferndale, MI. I couldn’t believe how many people from different chapters in my life showed up to support me. Five days later, I’m still glowing!
My buddy Erik Kitter opened for me. Erik used to work for me when I managed a Gamestop. He’s kind of like a little brother to me. Yeah, I already have a little brother, but if you know the two of us then you know he’s definitely the one who is way more mature! I bought Erik his first drink when he turned 21 and well…I don’t know…I tease him mercilessly, but that’s kind of what you do to a little brother…who isn’t a head taller than you and collects guns!
Ever since I lived in New Orleans about twenty years ago, I had the feeling that I would love Savannah, Georgia.
In my mind it was going to be like all the good parts of New Orleans without the public drunkenness and abundance of frat boys exchanging beads for boobs. Side note, if you’ve always romanticized the idea of going to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, ask yourself this question. Would I like to be stuck in the middle of the world’s largest obnoxious and anarchic frat party? If the answer is no, but you still want to see New Orleans when something else cool is happening, go any other time of the year because something cool is always happening. Go for Halloween or Jazz Fest. Those are both great alternatives. If they idea of being in a giant awful frat party is something you’d enjoy, then what are you doing on my website?
I don’t agree with the idea that there’s no such thing as a bad audience. Comedy in itself is a ridiculously challenging art form. Think about it like this. You have one person relaying words to a group of people who have nothing in common other than the fact that they’re all in the same room at the same time. That one person has to not only try to relate to everyone, but do it while the wait staff is walking around, people are in various states of intoxication, money is being exchanged, and who knows what other baggage was brought into the equation before it even began.
Last year I did a show in front of a group whose mission was to create a safe internet environment for children. Before the show I was dreading it. I thought how on Earth could my silly potty mouth and socially incorrect song and dance act entertain these uptight assholes. They ended up being one of my favorite audiences of the year. I never hang out with people after the show because I’m painfully shy in crowds. I’d rather be in front of a crowd than inside of one. These people were great. They had a great sense of humor even when it was aimed at them….which it was. I know how every single story I tell on stage ends. I never know how some off the cuff riffing is going to end. I also don’t have a filter on my uncontrollable urge to say just about everything that pops into my head on stage. I’ve always been a person too who likes to see how far I can push things, so I’m sure I pushed them pretty far when I saw they were game for anything. It was a really fun night.
Maybe it’s nerves or the adrenaline rush of doing what we’ve waited all day long to do, but many comedians tend to talk a bit too fast on stage. Comedian and owner of the Komedy Korner, Leo DuFour once suggested when I got off stage that I slow down and enjoy my time like I would a delicious meal. Maybe that was a health tip and I’m forgetting that I was scarfing down a Poutine platter at the time….it was Canada after all. Let me find another example.
One of my best friends asked me after a show why I don’t speak on stage like I speak normally off stage. He was right. I didn’t believe in my material at the time so on stage I would yell and ram my jokes down the throats of the audience as quickly as I could.
For the past few months I’ve been tooling around with this idea to try to add it to the act, but this morning when I sat down with it, I realized it would just end up being the kind of thing I’m about to complain about.
Religion is a touchy subject, but I want to get this off my chest. I’m tired of the high and mighty pompous attitude of Atheist comics.
What I do or don’t believe when it comes to the existence of a higher power is my business and completely incidental.
Last week I was at one of my favorite clubs, The Comedy Club on State in Madison, Wisconsin. I absolutely love this place. Gus and Mary who own it are two of the nicest people I’ve ever had the good fortune of meeting. Their daughters Eve and Anna are beautiful inside and out. Joe, the room manager runs are super tight ship and is an hell of a guy too. The waitstaff is stunning. The bartenders all handsome. Both on the surface and beneath it, everything about this place is fantastic.
Originally I was supposed to be doing this week as a split week where I would headline Thursday and then Eddie Brill who used to book Letterman would come in on Friday and Saturday. Eddie got into a little trouble earlier this year for being misquoted or having his words taken out of context about female comics. So he canceled the gig. Instead I was working with Ian Edwards. Read the rest of this entry
Today won’t be the day everything changes. Real life isn’t like that. Real life is a mountain climb. Today I take another step towards the top of the mountain that has no peak.
I’m going to be a guest on a live WTF. If you’re not in the comedy world, you probably don’t know what that means. Having Marc Maron invite you on his show is the modern day alternative comedy equivalent of having Johnny Carson inviting you to sit on the couch. If you’re not in the comedy world, that analogy probably didn’t help either. Being on WTF is a big deal. He has more listeners to his podcast than many television shows have viewers. This is my first big credit.
Two weeks ago I was at Skyline in Appleton, Wisconsin. I absolutely love this club. Todd Glass talks a lot about what makes a club good is when they pay attention to the details. Cliff at the Skyline is so hyper aware of the details. It was a really fun week.
Lewis Black loves the club so much that while he was in town for a theatre show, he stopped by the club and made a video introduction for the show telling the audience, in his Lewis Black way, to be quiet and respectful of the show. It works. Those audiences are amazing. They’re smart, quiet and buy a lot of merch! I completely sold out of all the CDs I brought with me.
I’m in Appleton, Wisconsin right now. Appleton is probably best known as the first American home of Harry Houdini. I went to the Houdini Museum today and it struck me how much I could take from Houdini’s life and apply it to comedy.
Erik Weisz was constantly reinventing himself. His earliest performing was as a trapeze artist. When he moved on to magic, he took the name Harry Houdini. For some comedians it’s easy to find your groove and stay in it. I think sometimes there’s little difference between a groove and a rut. I doubt anyone today would remember Houdini the trapeze artist, or Ehrich The Prince of the Air as he was calling himself at the time. I don’t know how many of us would even remember Houdini the magician. It’s that third reinvention as an escape artist that brought Houdini his fame. Read the rest of this entry
I was super active on Twitter over the past couple weeks while I was in Los Angeles. In case you’re not following me there (and why aren’t you?) here are some of the highlights.
Aug 22: The first time I brush my teeth after flying, I seriously worry that baggage handlers stuck my toothbrush up their butts.
Aug 23: LA is Airport Expensive!
Aug 24: Thank you Harry Moroz for taking me to a Latino Juice Bar to tell jokes.
Aug 24: In Detroit the homeless people want you to give them money. In LA they want to tell you about their “aggressive folk punk” music.
Aug 24: Either I saw Jamie Foxx at a gas station or I’m a racist.