THANK YOU, ERIE!!! GOODNIGHT!!! Redux

‘Redheads… I am HUGE in Erie. Allow me to explain. First, a big thank you to Debbie and the incredible staff of Junior’s Last Laugh for a great weekend of shows.
So, check this out. On Saturday, I arrived at the club with the co-feature, John Garrett, a half hour before showtime. When we get there, Debbie drops this on us: Grammy Award winners, Train are playing the Erie Civic Center tonight. Their opener got sick and can’t sing. They want you guys to take her place. For a crowd of 4000 people. They want you to be there at 8:00.

Wanna see pictures? Of course you do…

For those about to laugh, I salute you…


My new comedy pal, John Garrett waits backstage…whilst I rock.


* an editor’s note: it seems that whenever I’ve been photographed recently, I’ve been wearing the same shirt. I do own other shirts.

This was the biggest crowd I’ve ever performed in front of. If it weren’t for that bottom picture, I might not’ve believed it myself. Up on that stage, with the house lights down and two massive spotlights in my eyes, I couldn’t see a damn thing (the only reason why the crowd is visible in the picture, is thanks to expert flash photography). With a crowd that size, that was expecting music, I had to make some adjustments to my on-stage presence to make sure I wasn’t devoured and spat into Lake Erie. I had to hit ’em hard, big, and quick to grab their attention. So, I channeled my inner-Justin Schlegel (WWJSD), and hit the stage like a fuckin’ rock star. “HOW’S IT GOIN’, ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA!!!” *CROWD ROAR* Awesome. The crowd was suprisingly receptive to my shuckin’ and jivin’. It was one of the cooler things I’ve done. Period. It’s totally going on the resume.
My 15 minute set went by in the blink of an eye. Thankfully, the house photographer snapped about a hundred pictures…which’ll have to serve as a replacement for my splintered short-term memory. After I finished, John hit the stage and as also well-received by the throng of people.
We were psyched. 4000 people. Guess how many people were at the late show at Junior’s… 40. That’s a 99% drop-off.

You know you’ve made it, when you’re recognized in Cracker Barrel the following day…AND I WAS. Mmmmmmm…syrupy celebrity. That’s one city down, roughly 499 to go.

Along with that massive highlight, there were some other sidelights that made whiling the hours away during the Erie days interesting. One of the easiest way to kill time on a road gig, is to take in a matinee. So, on Friday, John and I ventured to the local multiplex with the intent of gutting a couple hours out of the day. We chose Silent Hill. Now, I’ve never played the game it’s based on, but I’ve got to imagine this crap is more spine-tingling when the controller vibrates. A word on horror movies… Disturbing imagery without context, point, or plot isn’t scary. There was no reason to care about the well being of the people on the screen…to call them “characters” would imply their actions had some direction or thought behind them. In order to make the twisted stuff true horror, the audience has to be able to suspend their disbelief. I believe John and I spent most of the movie laughing. I had high hopes for this movie, only because the lead actress was in one of my favorite creature flicks, Pitch Black…do yourself a favor, rent it.

After a moment of silence for the $4.50 and two hours that gave their lives for that celluloid mess, we headed to the local DQ to ease our pain with a Blizzard…but it was something else that gave us chills. After we sat down, we noticed a person placing an order at the counter. The person looked kind of like Cleveland from Family Guy

You may be wondering, Jared, why so ambiguous? Well, because after careful deliberation, even we weren’t sure what it was. We had a Pat on our hands. The person in question sat down with his friend, who was also of, at first glance, indeterminate gender. The way John and I were seated, John had a bird’s eye view of their table. He witnessed the first one scoop a dollop of whipped cream on his finger and feed it to the other one. A few minutes later, John held a napkin up to his mouth and said to me, “Jared, you have to turn around right now.” I did, and saw the first guy biting into a footlong hot dog. I turned back to John and stated matter-of-factly, “We need to go now.” We quickly abandoned our ice cream and hurried out the door. We didn’t even make it to the car before we both doubled over in laughter. Laughter so hard, my eyes teared, my nose ran, and my chest hurt…one step shy of a seizure. I don’t know how well this translates in blog form, but it was damn funny.

The next day, we took a trip to Wal-Mart. John had a cellphone earpiece to buy, so I decided to take in the value. I found a big fat bin of it. DVDs for $5.50. Decent ones too. I got Total Recall and Hudson Hawk. Ok, yes, I know…these are hardly classics, but for $5.50 I couldn’t afford not to get them. Besides, with the acquisition of Hudson Hawk, I completed the Danny Aiello trifecta (The Professional, Jacob’s Ladder, and Hudson Hawk).
As we walked through the Wal-Mart, monitors broadcasted Wal-Martian propaganda. One phrase I heard was, “Can you put a value on joy?” Would you really want your joy from Wal-Mart? It’s marked down joy…and that’s just apathy. But, at those prices, you can’t afford to not…you get the idea. Don’t settle, people.

Speaking of marked down performance, make sure to check out my gravelly tour de force overacting in…

GUYS WATCHING 24
…conveniently linked to your right

Wanna see me live? It might be more awkward than our digital dealings, but take a chance people. I’ll be at the Baltimore Comedy Factory, Thurs-Sat with Jay Hastings and Angel Salazar. See ya there.

To be continued…

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Sam Are I

Hey there ‘Redheads… I apologize if this post is a bit scattershot. My brain is still slightly scrambled by reaching a new plateau of mental mastery. I can add a new title to my business card: Puzzle Samurai.

Aristotle was a fag…

This puzzle was made even harder because I had to fill it out with a katana dipped in ink…in untrained hands, it’ll cut a Washington Post into birdcage lining.

Now, THIS is a Sharpie…

Ok, enough with the flashy pictures. You came here to read…why, I have no idea. If there’s one thing this Samurai can admire, it’s commitment. For example:

UNIONTOWN, PAA man threw a microwave at his girlfriend, then fatally beat her after she refused to heat up sandwiches, police said.

When I’m blinded by rage at the thought of a lukewarm hotpocket, I rarely have the energy to lift or throw heavy appliances with any accuracy. This guy showed follow-thru…and a great sense of irony. Instead of getting up off his own lazy ass to press the REHEAT button, he goes through the time and trouble to heave the microwave, a symbol of ultimate convenience, across the room. It’s like rain on your wedding day, people.

I hope everyone had a Samuriffic holiday weekend. Whether you ate brisket or honey baked ham, searched for afikoman or Easter eggs, and got stood up by Elijah or Jesus (…again), we all had one thing in common: food comas. I partook in the former of the choices mentioned, as my family and I recounted the common theme of the Jewish holidays… They tried to kill us. They didn’t. Let’s eat. Besides munching on corrugated cardboard and guzzling Maneschevitz like a pledge during hell week, we sing songs to help tell the story of our ancestor’s Egyptian work furlough. Here’s a great Passover song about the 10 plagues that God visited on the Egyptian people…sing along, won’t you?

Sorry this installment was more fluff than actual stuff…I’m feeling kinda lazy…I could use a hotpocket. NOW!

To be continued…

Small Fish

Hey there ‘Redheads… I hope you all had a much more eventful weekend than I did. My weekend was tabula rasa. Whole lotta nothin’…which, especially on a weekend that was congested with comedy, thanks in part to the DC Comedy Fest, is inexcusable. So what, you ask, will I be filling this space with? Kudos, gentle reader. Kudos.

I’d like to devote a portion of this blog to wish a hearty congratulations and a fond farewell to soon-to-be superstar, Ryan Conner. Ryan has cut down the nets in the DC bracket and is off to New York to live the dream that every other comic chases. He took an opportunity in the infancy of his career, not seen since the mother of the Olsen twins sent their sonogram to Central Casting, and has made the most of it. He’s in with some of the biggest clubs in NY and is being courted by management agencies. Am I jealous? You bet your sweet bippy I am, but he’s a great example of the perfect storm that’s created when talent and hustle meets opportunity. I’m a better example of what happens when delusion and sloth meet a Law & Order: Criminal Intent marathon on Bravo. I’ve been waiting for someone in the DC area to hit, so I can latch onto their coattails and water ski to a cush life as a member of their entourage. A man can dream… In the meantime, I’ll hope for a bit part in his first cinematic vehicle, Flip Sorenson: Samurai Mechanic. Seriously, knock ’em dead Ryan.

What of us back in the real world? Well, once again, gas prices are higher than Courtney Love at the Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson. These oil companies are seeing profits that make Scrooge McDuck’s pool of gold look like my ashtray of rusty spare change.

Hmmm…this should be enough for a tank of premium.

I paid $45 for a tank of gas today. I’m pretty sure I’d pay less if my car ran on black market babies. They need to get the nation’s scientists working on another viable fuel source. That, or make a better tasting gasoline, so siphoning doesn’t burn so bad. Priorities, people.

Switching the subject back to fame (like I said…priorities), and how best to pick at least 15 minutes of it from a low-hanging branch, the internet has provided the Mexican day laborers to get it done (that metaphor is mixed and stretchy). I was hoping to have big news for you about a video project that I’m collaborating on with some of DC’s top comics. Unfortunately, getting all of us together at the same time is alot like getting a cow down a flight of stairs. The shoot has been pushed about as far back as it can go, based on the time sensitivity of the subject matter. This will either win a YouTube Oscar (a Tuby), or it’ll be a bigger waste of film than the alternate ending of Titanic. I’ll keep you posted.

To be continued…

Sprung

Hey there ‘Redheads… Welcome to Spring. 2006 is flying by just as fast as last year. In the blink of an eye, we’re a 1/4 done. As the weather warms up, I’m happy to bid one of my pet peeves of Winter adieu. Static electricity. There’s nothing quite as annoying as that unexpected static shock. Listen, I realize the human body is a natural conductor, but it’d be nice if I could touch a piece of metal without a stay of execution from the governor. Give me a sweater, a balloon, and a flux capacitor, and I can get you back to 1985. Unfortunately, as that annoyance vacates the premises, a new one moves in. Bugs…can’t stand ’em. If I could somehow harness the power of the first nuisance, I could gleefully zap the crap out of the second.

Ah, Johnny B…we hardly knew ye…

Also, a belated congratulations to the Lady Terps on their first ever NCAA National Championship. It was made all the sweeter by beating Duke. The overconfident Lady Devils fell to their knees and blew a 13 point halftime lead. Sorry, for the cheap blowjob joke. One of the gals on Duke is 6’7″…going down is about all she can do. Ok, enough. Go Terps. Hopefully, the men can take a hint and erase the embarrassment that was this season.

I stopped by the open mic at Wiseacre’s last night. A nice-sized crowd showed up, which led to a great night for the comics. Much of the crowd was thanks to a first-timer who brought about 15 friends. I’m sure it was great for his confidence. He Dane-Cooked it around the stage for 5 minutes. He killed. They laughed lots.
Here’s the thing about bringing large groups of friends/family when you’re just starting out: You will never get honest feedback as to how you did.
Your friends will laugh at you out of pity, drunken over-exuberance, or genuine merriment. Since they know you, the novelty of seeing you on-stage is enough to make their night worthwhile. You learn very little about yourself as a performer that way. If you shoot your wad in your first couple of weeks, while you’re in the comedy zygote phase, that novelty will wear off. As supportive as your friends are, eventually they’ll stop showing up and you’ll be left to fend for yourself in front of strangers. When I started out, I didn’t even tell my friends I was doing this until I was 3 or 4 months in, confident I was able to hold my own in front of people with no emotional attachment to me other than what they see in front of them. Not a sermon, just a thought.

Speaking of just starting out, I was flipping through my old notebooks and found a bunch of old, neglected, ill-conceived jokes from years past. In the spirit of Spring cleaning, here are a few of these fledgling bits, incomplete thoughts, and poorly crafted ideas for your reading pleasure. Some dynamite hack here…

People with speech impediments…they’re a very misunderstood people.

I’m trying to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest procrastination. I’m coming to grips with the fact that’ll have to accept the title posthumously.

After losing my job I resorted to selling furniture for a living. That didn’t last long… It was my furniture.

My friends all work out three times a week. They drink Gatorade. I drink Sloth…nectar of the idle.

20 years ago, when people wanted to learn about something, they checked out a book…to find facts related to it. Today, when I want to learn about something, I go online…to find porn related to it.

When I say that my body “lacks definition”, I mean they literally haven’t been able to classify it yet.

Golfer Greg Norman has his own brand of wine. It starts off great but, after a couple of rounds, you start to choke.

I’m so reliant on my notes, I’m like the guy from Memento. This is your audience…they paid to see you…they will laugh at you out of pity.

I was raised by monks. They helped shape my sense of humor. If there’s a bad vow of silence joke…I haven’t heard it.

…aaaaaaaaaaaand scene. Your patience is appreciated. Here’s a reward.

To be continued…

Dreamy

‘Redheads, I’m sorry for keeping you waiting. I know how you hunger for my regular McNuggets of mirth, wisdom, and complete egomaniacal delusion. Well, here you go… Eat, you jackals. In the spirit of Daylight Savings Time, let’s lose an hour of our lives, shall we?

Last night I had the honor and privilege of sharing the stage with three comedy dynamos, Mike Storck, Jim Meyer, and Justin Schlegel, at the Mobtown Theater in Baltimore. It was a cool little black box theater with a cool little black box theater crowd. Here’s how cool the crowd was last night… I grumbled “Mahna-mahna” into the mic, and they were hip enough to come back with “Doo-doo de doo-doo”. That’s a rare find. There were traces of drunk Baltimoron, but they were overpowered by the cackles of card-carrying members of the Knights Who Say Ni. Dork love. Here are some pix from the evening:

That’s me backstage…with my patented scruffy Cabbage Patch Kid smile.

That’s Justin…on the phone with Satan…powering up before his set.

That’s how really drunk people saw me on stage…

It was a fun show, and it all benefited Autism research. Nothing like the satisfaction of helping a good cause to offset the twenty minute set of soul blackening rhetoric.

Now, I’d like to extend big kudos to some of my comedy brethren, who lived the dream of every comic in the industry. They beat the snot out of a group of ignorant hecklers after a show. I’ve only heard this story second hand, and I’ll keep names out of it pending legal action, but apparently it was a rumble worthy of a title being on the line. These guys were yelling out “When’s the funny part?” and “I haven’t heard a joke yet!” during the ENTIRE SHOW. Then, afterwards, when one of the comics called them out on it, said “Oh, it looked like you guys needed help up there.”
Here’s a tip to John Q. Drunk Frat McMeathead Who’s Only Seen A Dane Cook Special And Forwards Emails As A Substitute For Original Thought: Unless you’re laughing, YOU’RE NEVER HELPING.
It’s generally not a good idea to piss of comics. We’re lovers, not fighters, but our humor is a mask for deep-seeded pent up rage and bitterness. A defense mechanism honed to weapons-grade by dealing with prickish clods. And a lot of us aren’t terribly stable. We may seem like harmless jesters, but if you call down the thunder by being an impenetrably boorish asshat, we’ll be happy to do 5 minutes at your funeral.
To those who traded punches for punchlines that night, this Bud’s for you…

On Friday, as a means of promoting the show at the Mobtown, I was a guest on the 98Rock morning show, with Kirk, Mark, & Spiegel. I used to work on a morning radio show, before I embarked on standup. I was reminded Friday why I don’t miss it. Don’t misunderstand me, I had a great time on the 98Rock airwaves, but getting up just past the ass-crack of dawn (the taint of dawn) was brutal. I’ve never been a morning person. Waking up that early kept me in an overtired, adrenaline head-rushed funk for the rest of the day.
The guys up at 98Rock are fans of the local comedy scene and it’s always fun shootin’ the shite with ’em. Their show is pretty rigidly scheduled, so I needed to pick my spots to surgically strike with quips, one-liners, and retorts. I thought I could’ve been more vocal, but all the feedback I’ve gotten has been positive. So, I done did good.

Ok, before I sign off this installment, I wanted to share a dream I had with you. Over the past week, I’ve had a string of cold-pizza fueled vivid dreams. I was able to remember most of this one, and I made sure to scribble down the major plot points. If any of you know anything about dream interpretation, or maybe remember the lyrics of Queensryche’s Silent Lucidity, feel free to let me know what the hell is going on in my head…

I start off riding a red dirt bike down a wooded trail. It’s a bike with pedals, but this one is moving more like a motorcycle. As I get further down the trail, I meet up with a pretty blonde girl, named Elfpig. I remember this, because in the dream it struck me as a weird name, so I asked her again. She said it was a British name. I escorted her down the trail to what appeared to be a school campus. We went into a large white building that she had a class in…I’m still riding the bike. We start up a flight of stairs. As we’re walking and talking, we stop paying attention to where we’re going. The stairs end. At a wall. She turns around to find her class and I realize that my bike is gone.
I start back down the stairs in search of it. I find a classroom where Larry the Cable Guy is giving a lecture to a group of students all sitting on leather couches. I never heard him say “git ‘r done” (thank you subconscious), but the kids were hanging on every word of that redneck drawl he affects. I sit in on the lecture because I see my bike in the room. At this point, his lecture turns to the subject of pro wrestling and the upcoming WrestleMania. He’s speaking as if he’s part of the WWE company and he’s selling the line-up to the students. He mentions that they’re set to have one of the most intense United States Championship matches in the company’s history and that I will be participating. I raise my hand like I know this… In the dream, I guess I do. I tell Larry, if I win, he can get a title shot, but it’ll have to be a joke-off.
The lecture ends and I grab my bike and head back downstairs. As I get ready to exit the building, I spot Elfpig in her class. She looks up from her notes and our eyes meet for a moment.
It then occurs to me that I have to cancel my plans to watch WrestleMania, because I’m IN WrestleMania.

Then I wake up.

No more cold pizza before bed.

To be continued…