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.