Sunday, November 20, 2011


Fun night, good show, great audience!

Laura Hayden has invited me to participate in a couple of her shows. Last night's show was at Bogey's Sports Bar in Redondo Beach. She had told me at the last gig that Bogey's is a dive bar, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Tracey went with me last night. We arrived about 40 minutes early. Even before we went in we could tell that this was a rowdy place. From the outside it certainly looks like a dive bar. You could hear people yelling at the football game that was on tv. We went inside. This place is just a little bigger than the Sire. It had two pool tables at one side, the bar at the other. The place was bustling; lots of people drinking, watching the game, and playing pool. Tracey and I looked at each other. How are they going to have a comedy show in here?

Laura wasn't there yet, so we went across the street to a Mexican restaurant to grab dinner. I kept wondering about how this was supposed to work out. I figured either way, it was going to be fun, and at the least, another notch on my comedy bedpost. I had visions of something like the bar in The Blues Brothers, where they played behind a chicken wire fence so they wouldn't get hit by beer bottles. It made me chuckle to think of some poor comic in a sports bar playing for people who'd much rather watch tv and play pool. Would they supply goggles and a helmet?

When Tracey and I went back the whole place had changed. The pool tables were now covered with plywood and tablecloths, and a stage had been set up in front of a big, red, velvet curtain. People were clearly waiting for a show. Laura arrived and began passing out cupcakes (that's her thing- Comedy and Cupcakes). After a little while she got up and started the show. Boy, she has that hosting thing down. One of my goals is to someday be that good at being the emcee. I've seen her act several times now, and she always makes it seem fresh.

I was the second feature comic to go up. I really think there's an advantage in being a musical act. When people see you get up on stage with a ukulele, they pay attention. The table full of rude (like, really rude) women sitting next to the bar all shut up and started to listen. The rest of the audience were just wonderful. I felt we had a good connection and people really laughed. Of course, this was certainly the most inebriated audience of my short career, so that might have had something to do with it. No wonder that some comics at Flappers would get a little flustered by performing for a sober audience (by the way, Flappers Claremont now serves beer and wine). Alcohol does get people in a jovial mood. But it can also switch off the normal social filters that serve to make people aware of their surroundings, i.e. a performer trying to make people laugh. I came armed with a ukulele.

Oh, man. It is a huge ego feed to see a room full of people enjoying what you're doing onstage. This was another audience that I just wanted to box up and take home. On Friday I performed at the 10:00 show at Flappers. The late show can be iffy and for a while it looked like they might cancel this one. Finally, enough people showed up and the show went on. This was a squirrely audience; the room was lopsided. All the laughter was coming from one side. It didn't help that the host immediately launched into material that was just plain too dirty for that group. She lost the room. The second comic had a lot of long pauses in her material that would have worked in a room where the energy was up. I thought she was good, but she didn't get the laughs she should have gotten. I did ok that night, but I was a bit thrown by the dynamics of the audience. Most of the people were seated on one side, and they were the laughers. The people on the other side were like statues. There was one woman right in front who was really enjoying herself, which was great, but she was very chatty with the comics. That can throw you off, and it showed me a weak spot in my performing. I need to learn how to deal with that stuff. Anyway, it was one of the weakest nights since I've been doing this.

Last night was one of the strongest. I was having so much fun with that audience I actually got lost in the middle of Health Science. Suddenly I noticed that I forgot to change chords! I'm just merrily strumming along on C for I don't know how long. I made a joke of it and recovered. There was one guy I particularly enjoyed. He was laughing hard at just about everything. Every once in a while he'd put his head down and pound his fist on the table. Loved it!

The rest of the evening went very well. Laura gets some really good comics for her shows. I feel honored that she has included me in her line-up. Bogey's is a fun place, and I'm grateful that no chicken wire was required.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Comedy Store

Well, that was funny.

Our little party consisted of Lindsay, Kyle, and Sam, Paige, Drew, and Tracey. One more person than required. That's a "bringer show". You have to bring people. For this one I had to bring at least five.

I had never been to The Comedy Store before. I had read about its history in a very good book called I'm Dying Up Here by William Knoedelseder. The show I was in last night was in The Belly Room and it was produced by Cindy Liebman, a.k.a. Crazy Cindy. I didn't get to explore the whole place, but the area around the Belly Room was pretty interesting. So many offshoots, corridors, stairs and goofy rooms. Very interesting place. The Belly Room, which was created as a dedicated space for female comics but now just functions as the club's small room, holds about 80 people. They had some trouble with the mikes cutting out. I'm guessing a short in the cord. Fortunately, for me it behaved itself.

Sitting backstage and in the green room was interesting. All the other comics, besides Cindy and me, were young guys. I had taken my uke out and tuned it up when the lights in the green room suddenly went out. No one ever figured out what happened there. We all went out to the backstage area to watch the show.

Cindy opened the show. She's not called Crazy Cindy fer nuthin'. She's an in-your-face comic, and she had a good time with my family and friends sitting in the front row. She asked Paige about her boobs, she asked Kyle how he masturbates (his brilliant answer- Manually!), and apparently, Drew and Tracey are now married. Then she brought out a couple comics. Since this was a bringer show, the quality of the performances was quite a bit more uneven than anything I have seen at Flappers. Some of the guys were pretty good, a couple of them were rambling, and one of them was downright hostile to the audience. Newsflash, dude. If the audience doesn't laugh at your jokes, it's not their fault.

Then it was my turn. I don't really remember everything I said. After letting the audience know that it was my family in the front row, I asked Paige about her boobs and I asked Kyle how he masturbates. I made a joke about being from Riverside (people seem to think that's funny), and then I sang the Bosom song. People laughed. Right in the middle of the song a young guy ran up on stage and hugged me! That was hilarious! Someone actually planted his face in my bosom! After that I did Phone Sex. I always close with Phone Sex. I was vaguely aware of some loud conversation in the back of the room, but I plowed on through. And then I was done. I have played the Comedy Store.

We stayed for the rest of the show, which was a bit too long. I was tempted to sneak up and tell my group it was ok to leave, but they were almost half the audience. After the show we chatted out in front for a little while and then said goodnight. I feel pretty good about the whole thing. It was pretty much as I expected.

Thank you to everyone who came out to support me. Cindy has booked me for December 6th. I think that might be he last bringer show I'll do for a while. I think it's a lot to ask my loved ones to plop down $30 on a ticket and two drinks for a show of questionable quality.

I'm glad I did it, and now I have one more credit to add to my bio.

Monday, November 07, 2011

November goes kaboom.

Warning- Impending braggage.

I'm not expecting or even requesting attendance at any of these shows. I just wanted to share the awesomeness. I already did a show last Friday at Flappers. Here's the rest of the schedule for November so far.

Monday, the 14th, Hennessey's Tavern, Seal Beach
Tuesday, the 15th, The Comedy Store, Los Angeles
Friday, the 18th, Flappers Claremont
Saturday, the 19th, Bogey's Dog House, Redondo Beach
Sunday, the 27th, Flappers Burbank

And then there's December 1st, Laff Down stand-up contest. Am I getting paid for any of it? NO. (Well, The Comedy Store will give me gas money.) But that's not the point at this point. I'm getting stage time and experience. I didn't audition; I was invited to perform. Remember, this whole thing was set in motion on August 7th and my first performance was September 2nd. Things are moving fast!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

A shift has occurred...

Wow, what a night. I was scheduled to perform at Flappers Claremont for the 10:00 show. I went early so I could watch the 8:00 show. When I got there I went to the green room to stash my uke and say hello. I had taken some rolls of gift wrap for the staff and I wanted to unload those as well. Grant Cotter, who was headlining, recognized me from a show I did with him last month. He invited me to perform at the first show (not too sure if that was kosher, but Rick seemed ok with it). Rick checked the schedule, and as it turned out, they were running kind of short, so there was room for me in the line up. He gave me ten minutes. I had a nice time chatting with the other comics before the show.

Kenny Klein was the host. Man, he was good. Very even and consistent. I liked his style a lot. The audience was great. I think there were about twenty people there. I opened with a little Halloween joke and they laughed, like a LOT. Things were off and running. They laughed a LOT at Middle-aged Woman, more than anyone had ever laughed at that song. I told a few more jokes and they stayed with me the whole time. They were the best audience ever. They loved The Bosom Song and Phone Sex. And again, the songs got more laughs than ever before. And these people were sober!

Ok, so the audience was great, but what was new and different was I wasn't nervous at all. I felt completely comfortable. I was able to take time with the jokes and put the pauses where I wanted them without my goofy nerves messing up the timing. Damn, it felt good. I felt like I was doing it right! This was my best performance ever. I'm really happy right now.

I put my uke away and sat down to watch the rest of the show. Just before it was over, Onely called me to the back. She said, "Jim came to see you, but we don't have a show." Ok, that was confusing. What I didn't know was the second show had been cancelled because there weren't enough people to see it. When I went back to the green room, Jim Pasiuk was there. Onely had brought him back to say hi to me. I felt BAD that he had come all the way from Yucaipa to see me, and there wasn't going to be a second show. He went back out to the waiting area while I gathered up my stuff and said goodnight to everyone. Then Jim took me out to dinner. I hadn't seen him in a while, since I've been doing this comedy stuff. We had a good, long visit. I told him he'll just have to come when I'm doing an 8:00 show. Onely gave him four free tickets (she's such a doll), so he and his wife can come with another couple. So, good, at least it wasn't a wasted trip.

I'm glad I got to perform tonight. At the 10:00 show I was planning to do my new song and I would have had fifteen minutes, but at least I got to do ten in front of a great audience. And I'm so happy about the change in my ability to relax and have fun with the audience. I'm excited! I want more!

Ok, I'm waaay behind in my blogging. Stuff has happened!

October 7th I had my "big" show in Claremont. I really should have blogged about it right after, because at this point it's getting to be a distant memory. It was great! It seemed like half the room was there to see me. Drew, Mindy, Tori, Tyler, Stacey, Scotty, Brendan, Tracey, Hailey, Ray, Lindsay, Paige, and Kyle, and EVERYONE was seated right down in front. The other comics had fun messing with them all night. In addition to having my loving peeps there, the rest of the audience was really wonderful. Everyone there came to laugh.

I've performed a couple times since then. Spur of the moment stuff. Flappers Claremont is home, and I feel pretty comfortable performing there now.

I've been taking Bill Word's workshop on Monday nights to get myself up to speed. I'm working on writing stand-up material. On Tuesday nights, Bill runs a comic's open mike. It's kind of a strange scene. It's not in a club, or a bar. It's in a hotel in a conference room. The audience is a motley assemblage of comics. Everyone is there because they want to build their skills. People will present new material, or they'll rehash old material trying to make it better. Bill videos each performance and sends them to you the next day. I really appreciate him for doing this. Seeing these videos is very instructive.

So! Two awesome new developments! I've been invited to do two shows outside of Flappers. One is on November 19th in Redondo Beach. Laura Hayden produces a show called Comedy and Cupcakes. Her flyer for this show advertises "professional comedians seen on HBO and Comedy Central." Heh, heh! And there's my photo right there with the rest of them. Oh well, someday...

The second show is at THE COMEDY STORE!!!! Tuesday, November 15th. It's a "bringer show", meaning I have to bring people, but it's The Comedy Store, so I don't care. I get six minutes.

I'm rushing to finish this post because I have more to tell, but I'm going to make a whole new blog entry for it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Last Friday Paige and I went to see Eric Schwartz at Claremont. I thought we were going to see the singing Eric Schwartz, who (whom?) I have been a fan of for a while, but what I didn't know is there's a rapping Eric Schwartz and that's who was playing at Flappers on Friday. Rapping Eric Schwartz is also very funny, and he's a very nice guy.

After Paige and I were seated, Rick came up and asked if I'd like to perform. Um, yes, of course! I zoomed to the car and got my uke. I did seven minutes at both shows. There were thirteen people at the first show, ten at the second. The first audience was ok, the second didn't seem to have a pulse. The other comics had to struggle a bit to get them to laugh. They laughed at my songs, but not at my little jokes. Eric was very good in both of his performances, but towards the end of the second show even he seemed to bog down. The connection just wasn't there. I didn't buy the videos this time.

So, I've got two more performances under my belt. I wasn't nervous at all this time. I still need to work on some stand-up material. Last night I started an eight week workshop with Bill Word. He produces several shows and comedy contests in Southern California and he teaches these workshops. I enjoyed last night's class, but it's hard to get through three hours in a room full of would be comics all trying to out-funny each other. There were three guys there last night who were finishing up their classes, and they were quite chatty. They won't be there next week. I'm hoping things will be more productive.

I like Bill, and I think I'm going to get a lot out of this workshop. This Saturday there's a free beginning stand-up workshop at Flappers, so I'll go to that as well. I want to learn as much as I can before I do my fifteen minutes on October 7th.

Sunday was my birthday. Lindsay, Paige, Kyle and I all went to see the Old Farts Funnies show at the Burbank Flappers. Oh my. Ron Geezer was there, and he was the funniest comic to perform. I'm sorry to say the rest of the show was a bit sad. The audience was small, which I'm sure didn't help, but all of the comics had this old-fashioned style that seemed even older when performed by old people. It makes me wonder, does anyone ever give them honest feedback?

Anyway, I left there feeling encouraged about my own upcoming performance. The October show has been cancelled because they're filming that day. The next Old Farts show will be November 27th. Thanksgiving weekend. Could be a very small audience indeed. I gotta pack the place with my peeps!

For my birthday Lindsay, Kyle and Paige gave me money to pay for my comedy classes. I also got a gift certificate for a professional bra fitting. Woo hoo! I'll be learn-ed and lifted!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ok, mark your calendars

October 7th at Flappers Claremont, 10:00pm.

That's what Rick told me tonight. He said he'd like to have me perform as a guest at the 8:00 show, but that's not his decision. He'll try to use his influence.

Last night and tonight I went to the Deven and Joel shows at Claremont. Man, they are so much fun to watch. From the time they hit the stage they are in constant motion. So much energy!

Tonight's audience was a bit better. Sometimes it seems like people are just daring the comics to make them laugh, but it wasn't like that tonight. When I first got there and was checking in with Onely, three people came walking out and demanded their money back. Onely asked them why they were unhappy, but they wouldn't tell her. They just insisted on getting their money back. Later, I told Deven about it and she thought that maybe they were unhappy about the two item minimum. Anyway, it was good that they left, because they would have been a big, grumpy, dead spot in the room.

So! I need to prepare for October 7th. I have some jokes and bits I've been working on, but so far my only audience has been my own reflection in the bedroom mirror. On September 24th I'm going to a free, beginning stand-up workshop, and on October 4th I'll be starting a beginning stand-up class in Burbank. That's cutting it close, but I think I'll be ok. The stand-up stuff is just there to link the songs. Tonight Deven told me I can talk to her if I have any questions. She teaches classes at Flappers and she assists the pros when they're preparing for performances, so it's pretty awesome having her in my corner. She's my comedy mama.

Heh! Tonight when I walked back to the green-ish room, Rick asked me if I was there to replace a comic who hadn't shown up. That made me laugh. I could have done it, but they decided it wouldn't work to have two ukulele acts in the same night (Deven plays uke in their show). Rick asked me if I had any stand-up. Nope. Ask me a year from now! It kind of blows my mind to think of me doing straight stand-up without my songs, but really, I should be able to do that. And that makes this whole thing seem completely nuts.

But I can feel my confidence level creeping up. Being a comic was a completely foreign idea to me a couple months ago. Sing my songs, yes. Stand-up, no. But now I can see it like a little sparkling light off in the future. Man, back when I was taking care of Dad and then dealing with Jim's death I kept thinking, shit, Mother Universe sure has a twisted sense of humor.

Looks like she's not done with me yet.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Holy shit, it happened!

It wasn't planned. It just happened. I made my debut tonight (last night?) at Flappers.

I went to the Friday night show for another installment of Donita's Comedy Education. Tonight is was James P. Connelly as the headliner, Laura Hayden as the emcee, and Mike Estime as the featured performer. What a great show! Twenty-three people in the audience and they seemed to be in a pretty good mood. Anyway, they laughed, and all the comics were very good.

After the show, manager Rick came by my table and asked, "Did you bring your ukulele?" I told him yes, it's in the car. He told me I should talk to him later. Eek! When most of the audience had left, he told me he might be able to give me seven minutes in the next show, which was about to start. One of the comics didn't show up, so he asked me to step in. I knew it was too short notice to get all my friends there, but I quickly called Paige, Lindsay and Tracey. Paige had to work the next day, and Lindsay was at the Flappers in Burbank. Tracey jumped in her van and made it there with time to spare.

I basically ran to my car to grab my uke. Man, I was so out of breath when I got back! No problem, I had plenty of time to settle down. I went back through the kitchen to the "green room" and chatted briefly with the other comics who were hanging out there. I was way too excited and I knew I really needed to get a grip on myself. I ducked down a hallway and did some deep breathing and planned out what I was going to say. I'm very glad I've been practicing at home for the last couple weeks.

The second show consisted of Adam Feuerberg as the emcee, Ron Geezer, Rawle Dee, and Mike Estime, with Laura Hayden as the headliner. Right as it started, I ran down the hall to use the restroom. When I got back, Tracey had arrived and was sitting in the back with the other comics. We watched the show together. I was the fourth to go on. There were eleven people in the audience and they were laughing at EVERYTHING. I was grateful and relieved. Really, I couldn't have asked for a better audience, considering no one there knew me.

Finally, it was my turn. I got up there and launched into it. I'm not even sure of what I said! I was both comfortable and extremely nervous. But that audience was freakin' awesome, so we all settled in and had fun together. I loved them! Since this was so unplanned, I didn't have a guitar cord for the uke. Oh well. It worked out ok anyway.

I did The Bosom Song and Phone Sex with a little banter here and there. Everyone laughed in all the right places. I had a great time! I was shaking like a leaf, but I had lots of fun. And then, it was over. I went back to my seat. The other comics shook my hand and congratulated me. Man, I was happy. I grabbed Tracey's leg so she could see how much I was shaking. Energy, energy, pow, pow!

I went back to the green room to pack up my uke and to talk to Rick. He was pleased with my performance and asked me how much more material I have. I told him I have four strong songs and that I could do twelve to fifteen minutes. He said I should be prepared to do fifteen minutes next time. He suggested that I take one of their classes so I can get myself some stand-up material. I told him I was planning to do that anyway. Then he said, "A gem like you doesn't come along very often." Oh my. That was quite a compliment.

Before I left, Ron Geezer asked for my contact information. He has a troupe of older comics, and he said I'd fit in nicely with what they're doing. Then, just as I was on my way out, Laura told me about a bar gig that she does in Redondo Beach (I said I'd be happy to make the drive) and said I should get in touch with her on Facebook. Soon, I'll have a video of my performance tonight. Heh! I'll finally be able to see what I did and said!

So, soon I'll be appearing again. For now, these will be unpaid gigs. No problem. I'll take classes, see other comics, and get myself some stand-up chops. And next time, I'll pack the room with my loved ones.

Jeez, can you believe it?

Thank you, Deven!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A quick update

Not much to tell, but it's somewhat significant.

I haven't heard from Rick yet, and I was getting a little worried that the whole thing might fizzle out. Even with everything that's happened, nothing has really happened. I haven't performed, money hasn't been discussed, and no one is telling me to run out and get an agent. This is all still in the "wildest dream" category.

Friday night, Tracey and I went to Flappers for the latest installment of Donita's Comedy Education. A couple of the comics were good, the others so-so. Any time I see any comic, good or bad, I learn something.

Throughout the show, Rick popped in and out to serve the customers, or just to watch. He gave me a nice hello as he breezed by. So, ok, he hasn't forgotten who I am. After the show, on the way out, he shook my hand and said, "Nice to see you here. It'll be better to see you up there." I smiled and said, "Well, I'm just waiting to hear from you." He said, "You'll be getting an email from me very soon." I thanked him and left. What a relief! The dream is still on track.

And I practice, practice, practice...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Deven and Joel

We saw their show on Friday night. What great fun! Everyone should see Deven and Joel.

Deven Green and Joel Bryant are a married couple and comedy duo. She's tall, lanky and gorgeous, he's compact and rather hunky. On stage their physical contrast is striking, and it works really well in their act. Deven uses her body in a way that seems to extend the height of the stage to the ceiling. She's like a beautiful spider monkey.

Once they hit the stage their energy is nonstop. They toss the focus back and forth like comedy ping-pong. Everything they do is tight and purposeful, and they have total command of the room. The way they relate to each other is charming, and you really feel that you're watching two people who are in love and who love performing together.

For one bit they invite a couple from the audience to come up on stage. One night Lindsay and Kyle were that couple. The couple stands next to a table that has a hotel desk bell (for correct answers) and an electric buzzer (for wrong answers). Deven and Joel go into a little scenario and make statements about the couple, and they will hit either the bell or the buzzer to move the story forward. It's pretty funny. At one point the husband and wife were whacking that bell almost constantly in response to the silliest statements. The room roared.

They did this thing I've seen on Who's Line is it Anyway, where they'll hand microphones to a couple of audience members and have them provide the sound effects for the story. That's always a risky thing to do, because you never know if those people will understand what they're supposed to do. It took some prompting, but eventually they got it rolling. The woman who had a mike never did get it, but Deven and Joel used that and made it funny anyway.

The whole show was really fun. Deven sang a couple of her mash-ups and played her uke. Later in the show they did a funny and rather touching pantomime about the evolution of their relationship. I'd like to see them as often as I can.

They're coming to Claremont next month.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I'm in!

Holy moley!

Tracey and I went to Claremont this evening for my audition. It wasn't really an audition, because I already auditioned, but I didn't know that that's what I was doing. This was just so the manager of the Claremont Flappers could hear what I do so he could figure out how or where to place me. Still, that didn't keep me from being nervous and jumpy. So, I guess it's kinda good that things worked out the way they did.

Rick, the manager, wasn't there this evening, so I ended up performing for Onely (pronounced Oh-nellie), who is kind of like the assistant manager. I'm not sure what Onely's title is. Anyway, she's a sweet little gal and she does a lot to help run the place. There was only one other comic there to audition, so I performed for three people- Tracey, Onely and young dude. The performance was video taped. I sang Phone Sex. I felt pretty good about how I did.

When I was finished, Onely was very enthusiastic. She said she'd pass her recommendation along to Rick. She said she was sure they'd want me to perform there. Tracey and I left and went to dinner. Later we went back to see tonight's show. While we were waiting to go in, Rick came out and talked to me a little. He said he was disappointed that he missed my audition. I told him I'm available any time if he wants to see me. He said he was trying to massage the show a little so he could give me seven minutes to perform (what, like, tonight??? YES!).

The headliner tonight was Willie Barcena. Good lord, he KILLED. Johnny Rogue was the emcee, and Omar Covarrubias was the featured performer. He's a magician, and he was very good. Willie Barcena was supposed to do 45 minutes, but he went for well over an hour. Ohmygod, we were laughing so hard. My face hurt!

Afterward, Rick said he was sorry he couldn't get me on. Jeez, I didn't care! We'd had such a good time. He said that for sure I'll be performing, he's just not sure right now just when. It'll probably be this Friday or next. He'll let me know.

And when he does, I'll let all of you know.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Studying comedy

Ok, if I'm going to do this thing (Whatever it is. I still don't know) I'm going to have to incorporate some stand-up into it. I do need to have an act. I can't just get up there and sing songs. As a performer, one thing I NEVER had a desire to do is stand-up. I'm waaay too fragile. And chicken.

So, I'm now studying how to be a comedian. Flappers offers classes in improv and stand-up, and I would love to take them once I find out where this is going, but these classes are $300 a pop. I do think it would be helpful to take a class. I can be funny and I have written some funny songs, but how does one write jokes? I've been a smart-ass all my life, but I can tell you from personal experience that people don't always appreciate my sense of humor.

So, I'm going to immerse myself in the comedy world, at least as much as I can afford. Last night I went to Flappers Claremont for a Habitat for Humanity benefit show. There were four comics with Michael Rayner as the headliner. I guess I should be writing down the names of all these comics so I can remember them. I'm glad I went because the whole evening was very instructive.

The first three comics (two women and a guy) were uneven and only mildly funny. One woman joked about being red-headed and very white. You can only take that so far. The other woman, who was also the emcee, joked about dating and how creepy she is. Hmmm. Her jokes felt like she wrote them after goofing around with her friends and then writing down what they laughed at. They fell pretty flat. The third comic was a Middle Eastern guy who was a bit funnier. Still, he danced around the race thing, which seemed to make people uncomfortable (mostly older people in the audience). The race thing is tricky. The race thing is advanced.

The fourth opening comic was Jason Dudey, gay guy who really was quite funny. He talked about several subjects, and his point of view was skewed a bit sideways. His jokes were funnier.

I had seen Michael Rayner before, but I can't remember where. Anyway, look him up on Youtube. I'm having trouble posting a link here. He's a nerdy-looking juggler, and he's freaking hilarious. He opened by making a chicken out of a towel. Pretty silly trick. Then he got out an old-fashioned tennis racket and a couple of sticks. He got the racket up in the air and kept it there by knocking it between the sticks. It really looked like it was going to slip, but it never did. He balanced a wheelbarrow on his chin, and he spun a cheeseburger on a parasol. Everything he did had a loose and uncontrolled look to it, which made you think he wasn't going to be able to pull it off. I enjoyed that. He disguised his skill. The jokes were good and his delivery was loud and silly.

So, what can I do with this info? I don't need a lot of jokes, and they don't even need to be all that funny. They just can't fall flat. The jokes will serve as a transition between the songs. I've messed around with banter, but it was always just me goofing around with the audience. That's ok, and it works, but I think I need to step it up a little. I just need to figure out what will work for me.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy going to comedy shows. A lot of them.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

This is getting good.

Tonight Tracey and I went to the Claremont Flappers to check out how they do their auditions. I had read on their website that they take the first 25 comics that sign up on the audition list. I've been thinking about what song to do for my first audition. Do I hit 'em with my big guns (Phone Sex), or save that for the second round, if I make it? Are my other songs funny enough to compete with 24 other comics? Should I attempt to tell a couple jokes before I start singing? How the hell do I do that? Yes, I've been doing a lot of thinking about this whole process.

When Tracey and I got there we were the only ones in the lobby. Then, two young guys came in and signed the sign up sheet on the counter. Just before we went in another young man showed up. So that was it. Three guys auditioning and Tracey and me just there to watch. I didn't bring my uke. I wanted more time to practice. I planned to audition next Saturday.

The manager (name's Rick) came in and explained how things are done. He's a friendly guy with a very positive vibe. Each of the young guys got up and did their three minutes. One was certainly a beginner, but the other two were more polished. After each one performed, Rick would give them a critique. He was kind and encouraging. Afterward he asked if anyone had any questions. I spoke up and said, "Hi, Rick. I sent you an email. My name is Donita Smith.." He cut me off and said, "Oh yeah. You're in." He said he'd been to the Burbank club and Deven had "hunted him down" just so she could tell him about me. I couldn't keep a lid on my emotions this time. I welled up and had to brush away a few tears. We talked a bit more after that and I gave him my contact info. He said to come next week with my uke and be prepared to do more than one song.

He explained how the process works. After the auditions he meets with the other managers and the owners and gives them his notes. Then they all decide how each comic will proceed. They might have them enter a contest, or if they're good enough, stick them into a show. The way he talked it sounded like I might be considered for something a bit more fast tracked, based on what Deven had told him about me. I'll know more next week.

After we left Flappers, Tracey and I had dinner at Walter's in the village. She and I are both marveling at how this whole thing has unfolded. We walk into a bar, I spot a ukulele on a chair, and POW! I've been set on a path! Deven is my angel.

I am SO looking forward to this! The atmosphere there was so relaxed and friendly. All that pressure I had put on myself has disappeared. This is going to be just plain fun. I'm very excited and VERY HAPPY. Something good is happening to me.

Monday, August 08, 2011


Wow. You just never know.

Ok. I've been writing these comedic songs for the last four years. I'm not at all prolific. I've written four good songs in four years. Lately I've been trying to come up with a way to get them out faster so I can actually put a show together for myself. I have ten songs that are in different stages of completion. They're all good ideas that will make killer songs if I can ever whip them into shape. But for now they sit in a file.

I've been doing my four complete songs at the local open mike and they've been very well received. People laugh, a lot, so I know they're good. I've been thinking I might even be able to put a little bit together and be an opening act for a comic show. Hey, I can dream.

Last night Tracey and I went to see Bobcat Goldthwaite at Flappers in L.A. Kyle worked as an extra in Bobcat's newest movie. He and Lindsay also had a meeting with him several months ago to discuss doing some storyboarding work for him. Kyle's family is visiting from New York, so this was going to be a fun evening hanging out with all the Carrozzas, seeing and possibly meeting Bobcat, and having an all around good time together.

Tracey and I arrived at Flappers a little early. I needed to pee, so we went directly into the bar. As I passed the stage on the way to the bathroom, I noticed a ukulele sitting on a chair. I thought, hmm, ukulele, cool. When I came out there was a young woman on stage getting ready to start her act. She and I started chatting (She's very friendly. Name's Deven) and I mentioned that I play uke and sing. She asked what I do and I told her mostly covers and I have a few of my own comedic songs. She started her act which consisted mostly of some very funny song mash-ups with some jokes thrown in here and there. We kept chatting during her performance, which was very casual and laid back. Then she asked me to come up and do a song. Wow! On stage at Flappers! Tracey and I couldn't believe what was happening.

I sat down and got through just a couple lines of my newest song, Phone Sex, when Lindsay and all the Carrozzas came in. Lindsay later told me they had been waiting outside the bar for us and then decided to go in. They were very surprised to see me on stage with a ukulele and a spotlight shining down on me! I wish I had a photo of all their faces when they saw me up there. Man, it was funny. They were kind of stunned. We hugged hello and I got back into my song.

I ended up doing all four of my songs. People laughed and it was all good and fun. Afterward, Deven told me I should audition for the club. I told her that Kyle also writes and performs comedy songs and she encouraged both of us to audition. She felt certain that the both of us could easily win. Top prize is $500 and three minutes on the main stage. Pretty cool.

Then (!) I was approached by the bar manager. He introduced himself and said. "I heard you say you're from Riverside. Flappers has a club in Claremont. Would you like to perform there? Give me your contact information and I'll give it to the guy who books the acts there. You have a good voice and you're very funny."


It was all I could do to keep from bursting into tears. Holy shit. This is exactly what I've been wanting to do! And even if nothing comes of it, I will always remember the surreal awesomeness of that moment.

So, we'll see. Kyle and I will audition for sure. Deven is now a Facebook friend. She sent me some more info about auditioning and getting in touch with the Claremont people.

Oh yeah. Bobcat was great. Didn't get to meet him, but we laughed our asses off. There was a really good comedian just before Bobcat. Young guy with Tourette's. He was really good. Good show, yadda, yadda, yadda...

I am basking in a glow.

Sunday, June 05, 2011


I need to take pictures of al I've accomplished in the last few days. I've been a workin' fool. This ol' body is a-squawkin'.

I've been working on getting the front planting bed in shape. That day trip to Palm Springs inspired me. I bought 1,500 pounds of nice 2-3 inch river pebbles. So far I've used about 2/3 of the truckload. I'll probably need more to do the second planting bed in front of the kitchen window. I edged the bed with concrete edgers and lined it with landscape cloth. I've got one layer of rocks down and it looks like I'll have enough to put down a second. I have lots of plants already, but today I went to Louie's and bought a few more. It's all nice, deserty stuff. Ken and Sherri are giving me a fountain they don't anymore. I'll put that in the front corner of the bed. I'm pleased with the progress.

I think it'll all cost around $500 by the time I'm done. Two front planting beds, front porch patio, and fix the lawn. Then my neighbors won't be worried about their property values. When I'm ready to do my big cement project I can re-use that river rock. It feels good to get some things done.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wow, it's been a while.

That last post. So full of optimism. Oh well, it's my nature. I always think my fabulous life is waiting just around the corner.

I didn't get that job. I've had two more interviews since then and didn't get those either. I really didn't think it would take this long. Damn. All I want to do is work and live and do something fun every once in a while.

I'm taking English 1A this semester. I just finished my research paper. It's due on Monday. After that I have two more essays and then we're done. I have not enjoyed this class. The teacher has us jumping through too many hoops. It's been one big pain in the ass.

Today I went to Home Depot and bought a few plants and some supplies. I decided since I can't afford to realize my completely awesome front yard design, I can at least throw down a couple hundred bucks and make it pretty. Hector had fixed my sprinklers, but a couple of them broke right away so I need to get him back here. I want to get the lawn in shape and put in a couple of planting beds. Right now a friend of Paige's is staying with us so I'm going to have him (name's Ray) help me with the heavy work. There's still a lot of gravel imbedded in the soil, so we'll need to dig that out before any planting can be done.

These are not good times right now. I think getting the front yard looking good will help my spirits. Once I'm through with school I'm going to step up my job search efforts. Look for me at the Dollar Store.

Yes, I know I'm complaining.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Catching up

Let's see...

I'm taking English 1A this semester. I don't like it. Oh well.

I had a job interview the other day at Moreno Valley College. I feel good about this one. I did really well. I should be hearing back from them around the 15th. The position is Enrollment Assistant. If I get it I'll be helping students enroll for college. It's part-time, but the pay is much better than it was at DSPS and I'll get more hours. No benefits, but I'd be making about twice as much as I did at that last job. It might just be enough. Anyway, it would be another good chunk of experience to add to the resume and if a better position becomes available in Admissions, I'd be a frontrunner.

Bill started running an open mike at Back to the Grind a few weeks ago. It's really taking off. We've got some good regulars (and some lame ones). Ours goes from 7 to 9pm on Tuesday nights. Then a couple doors down at Worthington's they have an open mike that starts at 10. Jessica said that Tuesdays have really gotten busy there since the BttG open mike started. I must tell Bill that he's boosted business at Worthington's.

Dean came for a visit a couple weeks ago. It's the first time she's been out since Jim's death. She'd never seen my new house. It was a good visit. She came out on the train. I think I might do that next time I go to Texas. She gave me a great idea for my bathroom project. Instead of putting a cabinet in I'm going to have that space plumbed for a stackable washer/dryer. The front bathroom will be the laundry room. Then I'll turn that kitchen space into a pantry. And IF I get that MoVal job I'll have the money to do it!

I've been working in the back yard a lot lately. I had Hector here a few weeks ago cleaning out the junk and trimming everything and fixing the sprinklers. I want to get that yard back in shape. I redid the brick border going around the citrus trees and rabbit cage. It should now do a better job of containing water for the trees. I'm working on leveling the ground so I can more easily mow back there. Once I'm satisfied with it I'll throw some grass seed around. When I get another chunk of cash I'll have Hector install some automatic irrigation on the slope above the retaining wall. Then I'll cover that space with lantana. I'll also plant some fruit trees, shrubs and flowers. Gonna have a pretty yard someday.

I'm so glad I reconnected with Hector. It's great to have a handyman I can trust.

Emotionally I'm feeling pretty good these days. Still unemployed, but feeling hopeful. I think leaving that awful DSPS job has improved my outlook. I've made some new friends. I feel happy and more confident. But I've got to get back to working on my physical well-being. Exercise, bitch! And once I'm working again I want to see about getting into the dating scene. Yep. That idea isn't quite so foreign to me anymore.

Tra-la-la! Spring is here, pretty much anyway. I bought some fabric for bedroom curtains. Gonna paint some rooms. I'm making a BIG pile of garage sale items. That will happen sometime in May. I also want to get rid of Jim's keyboards and sound equipment. It's time.

Yep. Good stuff on the horizon.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I've got to get this down before it slips away.

I was somewhere in the Middle East. I was with a caravan of some kind, traveling with, I dunno, a band of thieves maybe? They had several gold bars they were transporting in this odd casket made of stone, which doesn't make any sense at all since gold is so heavy. Why carry it in a box made of stone? One of the guys foolishly let some thug types know that we were carrying gold. We were safe as long as we stayed together and no one fell asleep. We were trying to quickly come up with a plan for hiding the gold and getting the hell out of there.

We were staying in a hut of some kind. Domestic animals were everywhere, like you see in the movies. Cattle, goats and dogs were tied up or walking around. One black goat kept coming into the hut. Every time I shooed it out it tried to bite my finger. I was thinking, jeez, these aren't like petting zoo goats. These are mean goats. Anyway...

Suddenly we were all in my dad's house, which wasn't on the farm, but on a busy highway somewhere in Oregon. Now the band of thieves were gone and my family was there, but we were still trying to figure out where to hide the gold before the mafia guys showed up to take it. How appropriate that we were in Dad's house. I was looking around and found an elephant figurine that had a hollow space in the base. Good place to hide something, but not several gold bars. I decided to take a walk and think about where a good hiding place would be.

I left the house and headed for the park. I realized I had left wearing only my nightgown. I felt like an idiot strolling through the park in my nightie. Then I remembered I had a friend who does concrete casting. We could hide the gold in some of her large garden ornaments. I headed for her garden ornament factory. She wasn't there so I went back to the house.

As I was crossing the street an older gentleman in a car slowed down and wanted to talk to me. I kept going towards the house and told him to come on in (I really wanted to get dressed). He asked my name and said he had a special delivery for me. It was a paper lunch bag, folded flat so it could be used as an envelope. It was from my grandmother, Nana.

In it was a very complicated pile of papers. A letter from Nana, some coupons, a postcard of the Titanic, and what looked like a magazine article. We (my family and the old delivery guy) kept going through the papers, reading and trying to figure it out. From Nana's weird letter we sort of figured out the story. Years before when I had visited her in Texas, I had brought my portfolio and some of my gift wrap paper. I had given some to a guy that owned a big department store. Nana had entered some contest and won. She was surprised when her prize arrived wrapped in some of my paper. She also learned that the owner had entered me in a sweepstakes and I had won. But we couldn't figure out what my prize was.

Then, in the package of papers we found a little plastic toy police car. We also noticed a picture of that same toy car on one of the papers from the store. The deal was you put a battery in the police car and flipped a switch. If the lights went on and a siren went off it meant you won. Of course, no one could find a battery.

I left and went to this fast food place. It was crowded. This small woman came in and for some reason she was really angry with me and wanted to fight. I tried talking to her but she started swinging punches so I had to fight her. She was so small I had no trouble subduing her. But she kept swinging, so I dragged her around the floor for a while. There was a Christmas tree in the corner, so I tipped it over, stuck her on top and pushed it upright. That took the fight out of her.

I stepped up to the counter to get something to drink. I turned around and Bobby Moynihan from SNL was in line behind me. Then a woman stepped up who had a similar pile of papers about a sweepstakes. It was the same contest. Her pile was incomplete and she didn't have the little police car.

We were trying to figure it all out when I woke up.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hoo boy. I screwed up.

Got a big, fat letter from the IRS. They say I owe almost $2,000 tacked on to last year's taxes. I compared their info to my tax return and discovered there was one statement that didn't get included. It's from one of my investment accounts. I called my tax guy to discuss it with him, but I already knew I was screwed. He just confirmed it. I must pay.

Gonna be more careful this year.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Water hates me.

Water is not a friendly element for me. Sure, I need it to survive, but right now I'm finding it hard to be grateful. I think it's keeping me alive just so it can fuck with me.

The drain for the washing machine clogs up from time to time. A guy at Home Depot suggested this drain cleaner that works better than anything I've ever tried. This stuff is the shit. It works. Usually when the drain clogs I can hear water dribbling out the top of the pipe. Not a big problem. I just add some miracle de-clogger and in ten minutes we're good to go. Well, last night when Paige was doing laundry I heard water blasting out of that pipe. I ran into the kitchen and found a fountain shooting up about two feet! EEK! Usually when the pipe is clogged I can start/stop the washer to get the tub drained before pouring in the de-clogger. Nope. Damn, there was soooo much water on the floor.

De-clogger ain't workin'. Right now I have the washer completely unhooked and pulled away from the wall. The dryer is also pulled out. I figure while I'm working on the washer I might as well change the dryer vent tube (3 years old). I'm going to have to unhook the whole drain assembly and try reaming it out myself. If that fails then call the plumber. Ugh!

Speaking of the plumber. I need him to come out and take a look at the brand new shower valve that was installed a few weeks ago. The shower won't turn completely off and it constantly dribbles. THAT was supposed to be something that I could completely cross off my list, my freakin' LONG list of shit this house needs.

Other ways that water hates me-

A leaky sink faucet in the other bathroom
A kitchen faucet that runs at glacial speed
Broken sprinkler heads
Leaky roof
A yard on the side of a hill that drains towards the house when it rains
A brand new windshield wiper that failed within days of installation
A post-menopausal bladder that demands an available toilet within ten paces or else.

Yes, I know that all these problems are mechanical and not really water's fault. But I'm not letting water off the hook. Air doesn't give me much trouble, except for when it's whistling through my crappy windows. Earth behaves itself rather well, and so far fire seems to know its place, although I know these two could really wreak havoc if they choose to get uppity.

Ok, time to get back to that washer. But first I need a drink.