Irony

“A state of affairs that is the reverse of what was to be expected. A result opposite to, and in mockery of, the appropriate result.”

It’s Houdini locking himself out of his house…
It’s a skydiver breaking his leg when he falls out of the bed…
It’s Wolfgang Puck getting salmonella…
It’s getting swindled by the Better Business Bureau…

You get the idea… But irony is best appreciated when it results in death…it’s funnier too. Gruesome ironic death is the bread, butter, and blood oranges of any decent horror movie. Following in the grand tradition of having the girl who hates bugs die in a roach trap and the triskaidekaphobic falling down an open elevator shaft on the 13th floor, is Saw II…oh yes, there will be…Saw III.
If you’re at all squeamish, you’ll probably want to skip this one…’cause the squeamish chick in the movie is strapped to a chair and forced to watch Saw II…I’m pretty sure I just blew your mind…and saved you $10 plus the Fandango surcharge. I did not see Saw…and I only mention that because I think it’s funny to say “see-saw”. It’s got a decent twist ending and you get to see some 7th Heaven daughter cleavage…good stuff.

On to other business… ALL HAIL FRANK HONG! COMEDY KUMITE ULTIMATE CHAMPION AND FUNNIEST MAN ALIVE! ALL OUR BASE ARE BELONG TO HIM! MAY HIS RULE BE MERCIFUL AND JUST
Seriously though, the Comedy Kumite: Tournament of Champions was a great spectacle of fierce and farce. Kudos to the Comedy Spot for providing a great arena for our joust of jackassery. Frank Hong whipped the audience into a blood-thirsty frenzy that carried him past Zach Toczynski, Erin Conroy and, my pick to click, Justin Schlegel…lost the house on that one. Watch for Comedy Kumite: Wrath of Chris White.

To be continued…

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There Can Be Only One…

From the dawn of time we came, moving silently down through the centuries. Living many secret lives, struggling to reach the time of the gathering, when the few who remain will battle to the last. No one has ever known we were among you…until now.
*cue Queen’s Princes of the Universe*
…God, I’m a dork.

Well, the Comedy Kumite Tournament of Champions is less than a week away. I have the honor of hosting this fight to the finish (technically to about 10pm). Before I reveal my picks to emerge victorious from this clash of comedy *WHAT?* this fracas of funny *WHAT?* this battle of bon mot *WHAT?* this donnybrook of dick jokes, let me first give you a brief history of my comedy death fighting career. I’ve participated in 3 Kumites (I,II,and VI) with a record of 1-3…
In the inaugural Kumite, I was dispatched in the first round by the quiet assassin, Frank Hong.
In Kumite II: The Revenge, I was expunged by the tournament’s architect, Chris White.
Realizing that comedy death fighting wasn’t my calling, I went on a self-imposed exile to save my ego from further scarring. Until…
Kumite VI: The Untitled, where I recorded my first ever win over Sean GabbertI was then soundly thrashed by Tim Miller the following round.

Ok…let’s pick some Kumite…and after the first round is picked, we’ll pick some more…so it’ll NEVER HEAL
Atlantic Region: Rory Scovel v. Ryan Conner… These two are the Kumite Tag-Team Champions, and must now face each other to chase singular glory…it’s Hawk vs. Animal…Ricky vs. Robert…Sonny vs. Cher. These two have similar styles and compliment each other very well…why, just yesterday I heard Ryan tell Rory he was a snappy dresser…Rory, in turn, told Ryan that he smelled of fresh begonias. Homonyms…comedy gold. While both are among the 7 funniest comics in DC, Rory has the edge in a head to head battle, having nearly won Kumite IV: A New Hope.
My pick: Rory Scovel

Mid-Atlantic Region: Chris White v. Erin Conroy… This one is going to be Dr. Frankenstein vs. the monster he created. The creator of Comedy Kumite, Chris White faces off against the woman who has made the tournament her bitch, Erin Conroy. Much like the previous bracket, these two also wield similar styles. Both take uncomfortable and embarrassing stories from their broken childhoods and mildy retarded social lives and unleash them on the audience in such a way that everyone is forced to laugh…to keep from crying. Chris has been training hard for this Kumite…shouting jokes at the elderly, sitting in place, and, most importantly, paying off the judges.
My pick: Christian Robert He-Man White

Funkytown Region: Larry Poon v. Justin Schlegel… Know this: the winner of the tournament is coming out of this bracket. This is going to be a slobber-knocker. Call the Fire Marshall, because these two white hot greasefires of funny might just burn the Comedy Spot to the ground, leaving us to sift through a pile of ashes to declare a winner. There won’t be a dry seat in the house. When the dust settles from this F-5 of a match, the man with the better taste in initials will be victorious.
My pick: Justin Schlegel

Candyland Region: Zach Toczynski v. Frank Hong… Comedy physicists have often wondered what would happen if the anti-matter of Zach were to clash with the matter of Frank. This will finally give those completely fictitous people an answer. This’ll be an interesting match up. Zach is a flamboyant performer…and his name is damn near impossible to spell. Frank is very Zen-like…and squinty. For this match, I have to err on the side of the man who handed me my first Kumite loss…and a cold compress afterward.
My pick: Frank Hong

That finishes the first round. The next wave of picks’ll be quick and dirty…
Rory Scovel v. Justin SchlegelJustin winsFATALITY
Chris White v. Frank HongChris winsANIMALITY

And, in the match to decide the Ultimate Kumite Champion
Justin Schlegel v. Chris White
Justin Schlegel is your winner.

Wanna see it for yourself? Thursday, Oct. 27th @ The Comedy Spot in Ballston Common Mall…BE THERE

To be continued…

Weekend-TASTIC!

All kinds of stuff to get into… The weekend was chock full of cool stuff, so let’s start there…

FRIDAY: I put on a Superman shirt and my DC101 jacket and went out to party like it was 1999 (those of you who’re familiar with my life pre-standup, will realize that timeline fits). Met up with my buddy, Chris White at RFD in Chinatown for a couple of brews before the 9:45 showing of A History Of Violence. Apparently my flashback wardrobe caught the attention of Zork, the God of Odd Coincidence, because I ran into two ghosts of my DC101 past. Kardin, a fellow former ClearChannel employee (our bartender) and Pamela, who played on the Morning Show kickball team and served margaritas under the alias “Rosalita”. Both’re very cool gals, and we reminisced about the good ol’ days. One particular bit of way-backery (look it up) brought us to the sex toy parties that were held in-studio on more than one occasion. These parties are a lot like tupperware parties, except instead of Prep Essentials Snack-StorĀ® Container, Cold Cut Keepers & Egg Trays, they sell double-headed dildos. Which begs the eternal question… How much would YOU pay for something that can fuck a tin can and still be hard enough to fuck a tomato, hmmm? I believe a sale was just made.
On to the multi-plex… A History Of Violence was a great movie, and catapulted Viggo Mortensen to the top of my list of Favorite Viggos…past the former #1, Viggo, Master of Evil from Ghostbusters 2. I recommend giving it a look…it is an empowering film…I had the urge to maim at least 3 homeless on the walk back to the Metro.

SATURDAY: Went to see a Henry Rollins spoken worperformancece at the Birchmere. Rollins is funny, engaging, intelligent, and angry. Do yourself a favor and pick up one of his better spoken word CDs, The Boxed Life. It was a great show, despite suffering from a bad case of swamp-ass/stiff neck afterward. Basil White was also at the show, and I bring this up to set up what happened after the show. Henry, despite his gruff exterior, is a very nice guy and gracious to his fans. A bunch people had brought things to be autographed, and a group of about 15 of us waited by his tour bus for him to come say hi. I brought my copy of The Boxed Life to get signed…and a copy of my own CD, Strangers Laugh At Me, to give to Henry…cuz I’m a whore. It took the better part of an hour for him to show, and in that time, Basil decided to hit the dusty trail. Basil was particularly moved by some things Henry had said about teachers and gave me a transcript of one of his standup comedy classes to give to Henry. Ok, so Henry comes out starts signing stuff and talking to the people. He gets to me and my brain decides to go take a smoke break…as he signs my CD, I try to explain my offerings to Henry… “My friend really liked what you said about teachers and he wanted me to give you this…” He looks quizzically at the folded papers… “It’s a stand-up comedy class…” This guy just got finished a 2+ hour show where he had the crowd rolling, and I’m implying he needs lessons…at least, in my mind that’s how it sounded. I felt like a shmuck.
I sent the following email to Basil the next day…
Hey Basil…

I gave Henry your class thing…when I told him what it was, I believe the thought that went through his head was “hey, fuck you buddy”. I’ll be emailing him later to explain myself.

–Jared

Basil apparently replied on my behalf…
Henry: My sister and I are teachers and we liked what
you said about teaching. Jared handed you what I
teach – http://www.basilwhite/comedy workshop – it’s
the psychology and neuroscience of how people get
jokes.

-Basil White

To which Henry replied…
Basil / Jared. It’s really not for you to assume what goes through my head, fuck you or otherwise. I have the writing, the CD, all of it and I’ll check it out when I get a chance if I get a chance. Thanks. HR

…Pretty cool, eh? I thought so.

SUNDAY: Met up with my uber-cute, rock star pal, Marissa. We took advantage of the absolutely gorgeous day and went to the Renaissance Festival…in costume. Nothing quite like dorking it up in full D&D regalia. The Renn Fest brings out all the colors of the rainbow, from the whitest of trash to the reddest of neck. We dined on roast turkey legs and guzzled mead wine. The day wouldn’tve been complete without a comedy-sighting, and big ups to Curt Shackleford, open-mic kingpin, for filling the bill. A fun day was had by all.

On to other news…

It was recently the first day of school for a Vatican university teaching aspiring demonologists and exorcists. “There is no doubt that the devil is intervening more in the life of man these days,” Father Paolo Scarafoni told the students. “Not all of you will become exorcists, but it is indispensable that every priest knows how to discern between demonic possession and psychological problems,” he said.

…which is the crux of my brand new game show:

* AUTISM *
* OR *
* SATAN? *

To be continued…

Holidaze

Happy belated Columbus Day… I celebrated with my Cherokee friend, Running Horse. Then I kicked him out of his house and renamed it.

Can’t stay happy for too long, though… Yom Kippur is tomorrow. The Jewish day of atonement. This is when all the guilt built up over the last year finally catches up with us and we cleanse our souls to gear up for the coming year’s neuroses. Up, up, and oy vey!

Here’s a random observation from the open road… The state of Virginia is the capital of crappy personalized license plates. I was on my way to Wiseacre’s and I saw a guy in a truck with the license plate: VOLTRON. When they form the giant robot, this guy is the asshole.

Speaking of Wiseacre’s, tonight’s open mic was a tossed salad of anal-themed material. Be it shit, or anal sex, or opening a bottle with your asshole…the poopshoot was central to tonight’s comedy cavalcade. Crap was the crux. Lot’s of new faces on stage tonight. Apparently, Fredericksburg, VA has been a breeding ground for new comics…tonight they ventured north. Good times.

To be continued…

A Tale Of Two Cities…and other stuff

I gave very serious consideration to giving up on fame and fortune in the world of comedy this weekend. I have seen the future…and it’s not me. The DC scene is chock full of talent, and yes I think I’m funny, but there are 3 guys in particular who are on a fast track. I’m not going to name any names, but if you’re a part of the DC comedy community, and aren’t completely delusional, you have some idea of who I’m talking about. They have a unique blend of raw talent, audience connectivity, and insight…and most importantly, they’re unassuming and genuinely nice people. They deserve the success that comes their way. I just ask that they put me in a movie…or something. Ok, had to get that out…on to my attempt at a funny and insightful post…

My recent comedy trek started off with a trip up to St. Mary’s, PA and Gunners Inn. This was a great show in a small town. 150 people who were there to have a good time. Shout out to Mark and Annette, who have an awesome staff and a fun room. Every once in awhile, a comedy audience contains a patron that is, in a word, a gift. There was a guy in this audience, who’s laugh sounded not unlike two cats fucking. I had to tell, maybe, 10 jokes tops in my 30 minute set. The rest of it was spent pointing out this guy’s response, to the uproarious delight of the crowd. Lotsa fun with the fine folk in St. Mary’s.

I woke up the next morning to a bit of rain as I packed up my stuff and headed to my next destination, Harrisonburg, VA. There’s one thing I like to treat myself to when I’m on the road. No, not whores & whiskey…that’s two things. Cracker Barrel. Love me some pancakes. But as I took the Plank Rd. exit off of 99S, another oasis caught my eye…
The Altoona H(.)(.)TERS…where the finest specimens of Altoonan femality serve up crappy wings with a side of fleshy distraction. And, no, “femality” isn’t a word…but it is a bitchin’ cheat code for Mortal Kombat…

Ok, onward to Harrisonburg. The trip was nothing but rain and fog the entire way…like driving through bisque, except a lot less delicious. I got to the gig at 4:30…the show wasn’t until 9. Luckily, there was a Regal about a block away. I caught a matinee of Waiting, which was an enjoyable way to kill the time. I’m pretty sure I could listen to Ryan Reynolds read the phone book. He was the highlight of a well-put-together cast. Dane Cook had his share of quotable lines, all of the actresses were sufficiently hot, and it’s always cool to see Chi McBride. And if you want to see a funnier food tampering scene, check out Road Trip, where Horatio Sanz *ahem* fixes DJ Qualls’ french toast…good stuff.

The gig, however, was not good stuff. It was a perfect storm for a shitty show, to say nothing of the torrential downpour outside. The room that was usually used for the comedy show was taken by a local cover band, moving us to a smaller stage near the bar. The band was The Worx. The bartender went a long way to describe them when she said, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard them do anything original”…*sigh* The double standard of show business…this quartet of yuck-a-pucks can crank out a sub-par rock rendition of Black Eyed Peas’ Let’s Get It Started and the crowd goes apeshit, but if I try to do a prop-comic version of Bill Cosby’s The Dentist, I’m the talentless hack. Yes…I know…some might say there are plenty of “cover comics” out there. Just sayin’ is all. Anywho, the show starts, and I’m met by an ovation of 4 people…I drove 5 hours…now, I suck at math, but that’s a crappy ratio no matter how you slice it. The math got worse, with the addition of a table of young women who promptly began talking amongst themselves. And one of them turned around to another woman behind her and started loudly muttering, “He’s not funny…He’s not funny.” She’s entitled to her opinion, and I’d like to think that most people disagree with her (see the beginning of this post), but if you’re not going to directly heckle me, keep it to yourself. I’m not going to begrudge a heckler for heckling…it’s what they do, but this waste of boobs was conducting a smear campaign. I couldn’t even use the classic I don’t go to your job and yank the manure shovel out of your hand…the equivalent would be more along the lines of me sitting next to her at a bar and proclaiming to the patrons, “There is no way anyone would ever want to fuck HER. I don’t know why she even left the house with that man’s haircut.”
My set ended well, with the number of interested audience members exploding to 9. The drive home continued the evening’s suction. The hard rain continued thru the night, turning 66 into an asphalt log flume ride… To sum up, first gig: :oD…second gig: :o(

Such is stand-up.

Let’s lighten the mood, shall we? Y’know what lifts my spirits? Rhetorical questions…and a romantic comedy.

I’m not a political guy, but 2008 is shaping up to be a Presidential race for the ages. When the dust settles, don’t blame me…I voted for Zod.

Coming soon: My picks for the Comedy Kumite Tournament of Champions brackets.

To be continued…

Hump Night

Greetings from the year 5766. Yes, Jews control the media…and the future.

Ah…Wednesday night at Wiseacre’s. 19 comics. 19 audience members. Those two groups were NOT mutually exclusive. That Venn Diagram is one circle. But this is the anatomy of the open mic. Feast or famine. Tonight could’ve been sponsored for 85 cents a day. The show was still a hoot. I hope people start to realize that after Lost, the MLB Playoffs, the NHL, Apprentice: Martha Stewart, Nanny 911, thumb-twiddling, and staring contests, open-mic comedy is a viable entertainment option. While you were sitting on your duff, trying to find something remotely amusing about The George Lopez Show, you missed out on one of the funniest new comics on the DC scene. Her name is Alicia Gomes. I finally got a chance to see my fellow Sketchup alum strut her stand-up stuff, and goddamn she’s good. She’s only in town for another couple months before she heads to NY…do yourself a favor and take in a set.

In other news, Nicholas Cage just had a bouncing baby boy. Good for him. He named the kid Kal-El. For all you non-dorks out there, that’s Superman’s Kryptonian name. After the doctor cut the cord, Nick wrapped the kid in a blanket and shot his cradle into space. Thanks to Mr. Cage for giving me the courage to name my first-born son Zod.

Tomorrow I embark on a two day tour of Saint Mary’s, PA and Harrisonburg, VA. With gas prices being what they are, I’ll have mortgaged my future by the time I get home. It’s my blog. I don’t have to make sense.

To be continued…

For Blog’s Sake…

Let me start off by apologizing for the lag between updates. It has recently come to my attention that people not named Jared Stern actually read this blog. It just took me awhile to amass enough tidbits to make this a worthwhile post. That being said…

Just got back from a rousing game of Texas Hold ‘Em with Erik “DJ Qualls’ Stunt Double” Myers, Adam “Kuato” Gregory, and two of their friends. This game featured 3 four-of-a-kind hands…none held by me. I left down $1.25 and a pair of pants…did I mention it was the most disturbing game of strip poker ever played? No winners.

Speaking of stripping…

SEATTLE (Oct. 2) – Fearing a spate of new cabarets after a federal judge struck down the city’s 17-year moratorium on new strip clubs, the City Council is planning to vote Monday on some of the strictest adult-entertainment regulations of any big city in the country. No lap dances. No placing dollar bills in a dancer’s G-string. And the clubs must have what one council member likens to “Fred Meyer” lighting, a reference to the department store chain.

While you’re at it, why not make it an All-Lunchlady revue?…or Girls With Goiters? Christ, I know I can’t eat the steak, but at least let me rub my face in the menu. Where can a man go where his sticky dollar bills are welcome? Where can he be free of this penile penal system? Enter: Salem, Oregon… Beaver Country…

SALEM (Sept. 29) – The Oregon Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional yesterday a state law against live sex shows and a local ordinance that says nude dancers must stay at least 4 feet away from patrons.

If there was ever a demand for a sequel to the computer game The Oregon Trail, this is it. C’mon…put the Leisure Suit Larry people to work. Pack up your wagons, boys…there’s gold in them thar fleshy hills!

I’m reminded of a trip to Good Guys…*flashback fade out*…one spritely young lass was giving a spirited performance on the pole. When she got done, I noticed she was wearing bowling shoes. I asked her why, and she said the standard-issue stripper shoes hurt her back. She just got finished contorting herself in ways that made Cirque du Soliel look like a geriatric Electric Slide line. Gotta be the shoes…

In other news, my mother will be holding a one-woman candlelight vigil for Leo Henryk Sternbach, Ph.D., who passed away at the age of 97. He invented Valium.

To be continued…