My all time favorite condo experience was staying in Mishiwaka at the condo with Costaki Economopoulos and Tony Deyo while we played the old Funny Bone there. It was a great week. There was some sort of big football thing on and Costaki insisted on introducing me to the game via gambling. While that may seem like a sucker bet, since I know absolutely nothing about the game, he was really clear in explaining point spreads and odds and I actually won our little wager. It was something like a five dollar bet. I’m not a gambler. In fact, even though I go to Vegas every year, I always break even because I never gamble at all. I just never got bit by that bug.
What was fun about that week was, if my memory serves me correctly, that was the first time the three of us had ever met and we’re all still fairly close friends to this day. In comedy, close friend often means that we all have each other’s phone numbers and sometimes call one another for gigs or when we’re in the same town! Costaki brought me on the road with him last year for a mini-tour, which was a blast and Tony and I have had lunch while he’s been in Detroit. The funny thing about that week was that we all discovered that we were all super nerds about very different things. At the time, Tony was still doing something for high school marching bands and was laying out intricate formations and things like that. Costaki is a huge online poker nerd and would have multiple games going on at once. I, of course, was playing my PSP. My big regret from that week was that I was staying with Costaki one of the sharpest joke writers, a regular contributor to the Bob & Tim Show and I felt a strange need to beat the game Jeanne D’Arc. Granted, it was a great game!
Ryan Hamilton and I stayed at the condo in Appleton, Wisconsin together. He’s fantastic. I was fairly resistant to podcasts at the time, only really listening to the Maximum Fun shows, but Ryan turned me on to WTF, which in turn got me into a slew of other shows. I was sort of worried about living with Ryan because he’s squeaky clean and a Mormon. I don’t know if I knew a real life Mormon before that. There are not a lot of them in Detroit as far as I know. If there are, they aren’t doing comedy. I love the Aquabats and know they’re Mormon, but I didn’t know what that meant. I wasn’t sure if Ryan would be tisk tisking me the whole week or what. While, I’m still not exactly sure what Mormon’s are or why people like to make fun of them, I am sure that Ryan is a super great guy and another friend to this day. He’s another guy who I make time to hang out with when he’s in Detroit. Together we went to the Houdini Museum and had a blast.
In Newport News, Virginia you stay at the bartender’s condo. In this case, it’s literally a condo. While I was there, Virginia got hit with the worst blizzard in ages. We were all snowed in on Saturday. The staff from the club ended up coming over and we had dinner and laughs. It wasn’t a bad time at all.
As I write this, I’m at the condo in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. This is notoriously the worst condo, but I have to say it’s not that bad. It’s a little creepy because it’s above a bar and the other half of the second floor isn’t finished at all so there are windows that look into something that resembles the set of the Hellraiser movies. When I came here the first time, a couple comedians warned me about it. Apparently it’s been fixed up since they were here. I’ve always stayed here alone before because both times I was here I was working with people who had family in the area. This time I’m staying with my buddies Dave Merheje and Jeff Ford. This is old school for me. The three of us started at the same time and this is the first time we’re all on the road together. We’re just having silly fun.
There have been a couple nightmare experiences in condos though. It’s not all sunshine and lollipops. At the same condo where I had my pleasant experience with Costaki and Tony, I later stayed with perhaps the most frightening man I’ve ever worked with. I don’t want to say his name, but I will say that I used to tell this following story on stage and one time I happened to be in his home town and when I got off stage, he was there.
I stayed with this guy who was a close talker. I counted three separate personalities from him. He had his stage persona, which was essentially Mitch Hedberg, his professional off stage interact with the club employees persona which was nice enough. Then he had his alone with me persona which was terrifying. He put Carmax around his mouth every time he’d speak to me. He didn’t put Carmax just on his lips, it was smeared across his whole mouth area like an insane clown putting on grease paint before burrying children in his backyard. So I had this big, shiny mouth talking close to me about things like how Cool Hand Luke would’ve been a better movie if there was a prison rape scene. Yeah, I know, he’s a comedian, he was probably joking. The thing is, it didn’t seem like it at all! My bedroom door didn’t lock. The bathroom door didn’t lock. I was talking a shower, scared he was going to reenact the infamous scene from Psycho and out of the corner of my eye, I saw the towel hanging over the curtain rod. For a split second it looked like a person and I yelped loudly! The flipside of this is that he may have been totally normal and thought I was the weirdo screaming guy in the shower.
The other experience was actually a near experience. Bill Bushart and I were doing a one nighter in southern Ohio someplace. We were supposed to stay in the apartment above the bar. Once we got past all the dead bugs all over the place, we noticed a pile of laundry and had to wonder if someone was staying in the closed bedroom. I decided we were driving home after the show. While we hung out up there before the show, my memory is that some random person just sort of showed up. It was odd. It didn’t feel secure. The show was odd too. I’m glad we left.
So while I prefer the privacy of hotels, more often than not condos haven’t been a terrible experience. Maybe that’s because I only have one brother and through most of our lives we had our own bedrooms and I never really had to share space. Christine comes from a large family and sometime my need to space seems totally alien to her. I can’t wait to get home to share my space with my wife and my four cats.