I’ve been so jet lagged since I’ve been home. Jet lagged and depressed. LA really felt like the land of opportunity. Being in Michigan feels like being stranded on a desert island. It’s not that I can’t get off the island because there isn’t a boat. There’s a boat. It’s within grasp. The only problem is I’m chained to this house. That’s how I’ve been feeling since I’ve been home. Feeling like I have a 700 square foot albatross.
My plan in recent years once I realized I wasn’t half bad at this comedy thing was to get decent enough at my craft so I could go out to Los Angeles and make a fair enough first impression. I’ve always been a firm believer in the idea that you only get one chance to make that first impression and that the first impression is a lasting one. The opportunity to go out to Los Angeles and get a guest pass with the “in crowd” presented itself in April. I’ve been looking forward to this trip ever since. On a realistic level, I was hoping the trip would recharge my batteries. And it certainly did that, plus it gave me direction. On a totally unrealistic level, I was hoping I’d have an experience like Fatty Arbuckle where someone would see my little song and dance act and say, “C’mere kid, I’m gonna make you a star!” Obviously, that didn’t happen. Read the rest of this entry
Last week I was Connxtions in Toledo. The time before this was awful because they hired a new manager who easily was the biggest pile of shit ever to run a club. Well, at least that I came across. He abused his power to bully people, ban them if they didn’t kiss his ass, and just be an unbearable tyrant. Just about the entire staff that had been there since I started comedy has left during his reign of terror. The good news is that he’s gone and has been replaced by Dave from the Lansing Connxtions. Dave, like everyone else at the Lansing club is super awesome and is there to be both professional, but also to have fun because it is, after all, a comedy club. The staff that’s there now had nothing but awesome things to say about him…well…the staff that was there when the last guy was there had nothing but nice things to say about him too, but they had that panic look in their eyes like someone in a kidnapping or terrorist video. “Everything is fine. I like it here. I do not miss you dirty imperialist pigs.” Dave is great, and the fact that he trained with Tina in Lansing makes me positive that he’s going to continue to do well.
There is a couple who have come out to see me every single Friday that I’ve performed in Toledo. They’re an older couple named George and Sharon and they’re absolutely wonderful. Sharon waits for me outside to greet me and let me know if there are any issues with George’s health. They sit front and center every time and are huge fans of the comedians they like. George is not shy to show when he’s not a fan of someone too! He’ll sit stone faced, arms crossed and glare at a comic. He and Jason Russell went at it one time during a show and it was one of the funniest things I ever saw. I love Jason Russell. He’s so laid back and positive. George was having none of it, so Jason directed everything at him in a very good natured way. George simply turned his chair around and faced the back of the room while Jason finished his set!
This past week I was with Felicia Gillespie. If I don’t know who I’m working with, I try to look at some of their clips. Most times, I look at one and say to myself, “I get it.” But with Felicia, I watched everything she had on Rooftop Comedy. She’s smart, clever and super funny! She’s got a very deadpan/aloof style that I find really fun to watch. Additionally, she was very nice off stage too. I feel like I’ve gotten to be a pretty good judge of character based on watching someone’s clips.
After the Toledo run, I slept two hours and headed to the airport to fly out to LA. I’m here now at my allegedly 4 star hotel that I won in a super low bid on Priceline. Turns out I’m not a 4 star hotel kind of guy. There’s mandatory valet parking for $20 a day, I can’t walk two feet with a $4 bottle of water without some bellhop asking if he can carry that too my room for me, and it takes forever to wait for the elevator because I’m on the 11th floor. I’m much more of a Holiday Inn Express or Baymont Inn kind of guy. I know for next time. Err on the side of familiarity!
Last night, even though I hadn’t slept for more than two hours and an occasional nod off on the plane when I immediately wake myself up from snoring, I forced myself to go to Meltdown Comics to do the Matt Mira’s Day Off Show. Matt Mira is one of the cohosts of the Nerdist Podcast, which I listen to regularly. They normally have a show on Wednesdays I believe, but Matt just started this Sunday show about a month ago. It was a blast! My only regret is that I didn’t get there earlier. At 5:00 they had a writer’s panel with people from Community, Parks and Rec and Wonderfalls. Wonderfalls?! Christine and I love Wonderfalls! We own it on DVD! I can’t believe I missed it. I missed it because I was hanging out in my hotel room…I have no excuse for missing it!
Matt Mira’s Day Off is cohosted by Matt and Paul Cibis. The two of them open and close the show together and then alternate when bringing up the 25-30 comedians who are doing three minutes each. They have great chemistry together and really kept the show rolling. For the most part, everyone was really respectful and professional and stuck to their time. I can only think of one person who maybe went over a minute, but that seemed like an honest mistake. The show was a blast! A lot of the people went up and did material based on Father’s Day. One guy did a performance piece that I thought was pretty brilliant where he was imagining himself in 20 years and the kind of father he’d be at his son’s little league baseball game. I did “Jokes That Don’t Work in the Midwest” and did my traditional Mike Bobbitt thing where I got sidetracked and started yelling about something random. In this case there was a sweet old lady who seems like she just stopped in with a couple other people. I don’t think they were there for someone specific. I think they just wanted to watch a show. A lot of the comedians commented about how they felt uncomfortable performing in front of her. So my distraction thing happened when I bent down to explain a joke to her and then realized that in the 1960s she was the age of all the comedians, so she’s probably experienced way more than they had. I don’t know. I did well. All the comedians were super nice. I passed out a couple stickers so people can keep in touch. They pointed me in the right direction for where I should try to get on with Friday. Apparently if I play my cards right I can hit two stages on Friday.
I’m kind of shying away from the clubs this week because my feeling is that a club here is possibly the same as a club anywhere else. I really want to hit these alternative rooms and underground shows. Last night inspired me more than I think I would’ve been had I gone to the Comedy Store instead.
I wanted to go see Conan O’Brien today, but it turns out that’s not a thing you can decide you want to do at the last minute! It’s completely sold out for the rest of the month. Oops! I have a bunch of friends here I’m going to see, but you’ll have to wait until next week to find out how that goes. Do you think the front desk will think I’m weird if I go to the grocery store and bring back food for the week? I spent $15 on a medium sized water bottle, sugar free Red Bull and a king sized Payday yesterday. I can’t afford this. Here’s what’s on the room service menu for breakfast. Continental Breakfast: Juice, bread or muffin, coffee for $12.50. Actually…the rest of it isn’t too bad…the beverages though are insane. It’s $3 for juice. And you know that’s just a tiny one serving size juice. I can get a pot of coffee for $11.95. I’m going to the store, buying liquids and will bring it back here and put it on ice. I wonder how much the ice costs. It used to be a liquid. Jesus!
Here are five of my favorites:
How Did This Get Made?: This is a brand new podcast, just two episodes old, but absolutely terrific. The League’s Paul Scheer and Jason Mantzoukas, Diane Raphael (Flight of the Conchords) and a weekly guest break down exactly what’s terrible about the terrible movies we love to hate. So far they’ve skewered Burlesque and Nicolas Cage’s Season of the Witch. They’ve talked of expanding the show to include DVDs and television shows, sparking my secret hope that they’ll take on The Cape.
The Bugle: Featuring the Daily Show’s criminally underused John Oliver and his long time comedy partner Andy Zaltzman, this is a satirical commentary on the news of the day. If you like the Daily Show or Colbert Report, The Bugle is square in your wheelhouse. Even if you don’t; if you enjoy British humor, give this a spin. And it’s worth it to dive into the back episodes, their string of podcasts covering the 2008 elections in particular were hilarious.
WTF: The great thing about this podcast is that the host, Marc Maron, is just as interesting as the people he interviews. Maron and his guests get into the highs and lows of being a comedian and the business of stand-up over the last two decades in a way that is incredibly frank and always gratifying.
The Nerdist Podcast: This is the second podcast I really got in to. Chris Hardwick has thoroughly entertaining conversations about comedy and showbiz, but with a nerdy slant, with everyone from his fellow comedians to MMA fighter Mayhem Miller to Ozzy Osbourne to the Muppets. The variety of guests and Hardwick’s palpable enthusiasm for comedy is what makes the show so enjoyable.
The Pod F. Tompkast: Hosted by Paul F. Tompkins, this is a variety show of a podcast, featuring ‘The Undiscovered Project,’ an ongoing series documenting the making of a movie shrouded in secrecy and ultimately hidden away by the very geniuses that brought it to life; clips from Tompkins’s various live comedy shows, the occasional phone conversation with comedian friend Jen Kirkman and assorted other shenaniganery. Sadly, it’s a monthly podcast, but it never fails to amuse. Cakeboss!