A Swift Kick in the Ass

Hey there ‘Redheads… For those of you expecting the blog yesterday, I apologize. For those of you who don’t really give a goddamn, help those in the previous sentence lower their expectations, will ya? It’s exhausting trying to live up to your completely ficticious standards…I mean, really.
If this week’s installment were to have a theme, it would be goals. Setting them, reaching them, and kicking them. I’m happy to report that my goal of getting to the gym and following through on a regimen of walking in place, lifting and putting down heavy objects, and sweating like a hack telling an “I’m sweating like…” joke, is going just swimmingly. I’ve gone three times in the past week and, despite my muscles screaming at me like Axl Rose with a thorn in his paw on the off days, I think I’ll be able to keep it up. Long dormant muscle groups are rubbing the crust out of their eyes and asking me what year it is…my delts think Bob Hope is still alive…that’ll be tough breaking that news. Once this becomes a regular part of my weekly routine, I’m hoping the soreness will ebb slightly…praying, actually. But, no matter the minor psychological or physical obstacle, I can’t quit. I’ve found something that provides me with the against-all-odds motivation to soldier on. What is this, you ask?
I rarely impart advice to comedians in this blog. Please, take the following statement and make it a part of your daily comedic activity: Read the newspaper. Dead medium? P’shaw. For, if I wasn’t flipping through the Metro section of last Friday’s Washington Post, I wouldn’t have found this gem…

The D.C. Knights left town with a soccer ball and a dream. And when they returned to the homeless shelter where they live, one of those had been deflated.

For two months, the four men and one woman had practiced on the Mall to take part in a national soccer tournament for homeless people, held last weekend in Charlotte.


Yes, you read that correctly…homeless soccer. There are only 5 people per team, but at least one of them thinks they’re Jesus Christ, so it all evens out. This is inspirational. Think of what these homeless soccer teams have to overcome. The most obvious, EVERY game is away. Some of these guys and gals are actually pretty good. I’m sure there’s a homeless David Beckham…a homeless Mia Hamm…sorta like Bizarro World. Just like in regular soccer, after winning, they take off their shirts…but then they follow it up with a bottle shower and taking a shit on the pitch. I think this would make a great movie, don’t you? It’ll be like Cool Runnings but with nappier hair. If you’d like to find out more about these ragtag competitors, you can find more info at HomelessSoccer.org. Yes, the have a homeless page (sometimes, I amaze even myself). Oh, but I’ve left out the best part…

The best eight players were selected to attend the Homeless World Cup next month in Johannesburg.


There’s a homeless World Cup…it’s filled with soup, apparently. Y’know nothing instills national pride like knowing who has the superior indigent. You’d think the world’s homeless would try to somehow defect to the U.S. team. I think that’s exactly the kind of huddled masses the Statue of Liberty is referring to. Hopefully, the ultimate prize is something they can use…like SHELTER!! I think they’d trade in the teamwork and sense of empowerment for a fucking roof that isn’t corrugated. Oy vey.

While we’re in the vein of our society’s need to feel empowered, here’s a sample of a new Comedy Central show, Special Unit, starring Christopher Titus and local comedy great, Mike Aronin. Enjoy…

That’s just part 1 of 3. I hope this show gets greenlit…so working with Mike will seem more impressive.

Before I sign off, here’s your comedy homework…

Ride the Poon.

To be continued…

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Blog #71

Hey there ‘Redheads… Welcome to the 71st installment of this drivel. I’ve come to find out that it is, in fact, inspirational drivel. You’ll remember that in last week’s blogisode that I took the much needed first step toward physical fitness (then I got winded and had to sit down) and joined a nearby gym. Well, apparently my initiative has spurred at least two of my regular readers to action. On Wednesday, Kat Malone let me know that, after reading the blog, she plans to start jogging. Later that night, while reading Larry Poon’s blog, I found that he too was struck by my anti-flabbular (look it up) efforts. Helping people. Changing lives. This is probably a bad time to mention that I haven’t actually been to the gym yet. I have my free initial consultation with a trainer Tuesday afternoon, so I can be shown how exercise correctly…

He’ll also recommend the best course of action, given my level of physical fitness. Here’s hoping he doesn’t recommend suicide right out of the gate (thanks Chris)…getting out of that one-year contract could be tricky. My goal is to get a weekly regimen that’ll include at least two work-out sessions, maybe taking a boxing class, and as little herniation as possible.

On Friday, took in a movie on the big inflatable screen at the Strathmore Outdoor Film Fest. The flick du jour was the classic, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. As night fell, the sprawling crowd settled in for a different kind of snake…on a plain (call me Big Pun). A good many of the gaggle assembled were young couples. These couples fell into three categories: 1) both guy and gal are fans of Monty Python … 2) guy tricked gal into seeing the movie under the guise of the outdoor film fest being a fun night out… 3) this is the litmus test date for guy/gal to see if their date likes Monty Python…hey, gals keep insisting sense of humor is important to them…put up or shut up already.
After the movie let out, I got a text from a couple friends to join them at The Barking Dog in Bethesda for libations. The night was young, and I didn’t have to work on Saturday, so I figured what the hey. Well, BD has two levels. The lower level is your basic bar. The upper level, where my friends were, had the DJ/dance floor. Ok…libations and gyrations. ‘Redheads, I can’t dance…I can’t walk…the only thing about me is the way I talk. I did my best to keep my ass firmly seated, beer in hand, but it was only a matter of time before I was coaxed out on the floor to shake my groove thang. I should mention that I was born groove thang deficient. I wish wasn’t so goddamn stiff and awkward…there were plenty of hotties out on the dancefloor…their milkshakes bringing the boys to the yard and whatnot…snapping pictures with their phones that would later end up on a MySpace slideshow. I tried what I could, but my dancing is a stumbly hybrid of the Night at the Roxbury guys and the hokey pokey. I made Napoleon Dynamite look like Fred Astaire.
The highlight of the evening was the 60 year-old guy who was shimmying all night long. I tried my best to think of who this guy looked like. This was the best I could come up with…

You’ve heard that corny phrase, “dance like no one’s watching.” This guy was dancing like his Alzheimer’s made him forget he wasn’t supposed to. His dance style consisted of bouncing up and down to the beat and pointing with alternating fingers. I totally got served by him. This guy was the photo op of the night for groups of three or four hotties at a time to freak dance with him and snap a picture. If he was even aware of it, it was the finest scam I’ve seen in awhile. Nothing quite like pity.

Since you got last week off, here’s your comedy homework: go support the show at the Drafthouse Comedy Lounge on Wednesday night. There’s a great line up, with Dave George, Bird Knight, Larry XL, Andy Kline, and hosted by Molotov Cocktease, Jessica Paquin. You’ll be glad you did.

Before I sign off, a somber farewell to Bruno Kirby, who died of leukemia last week. You may know him from his roles in When Harry Met Sally or City Slickers. The one that resonated most with me was his role in Good Morning Vietnam, where he played the program director who tried to creatively stifle Adrian Croenhauer. He perfectly portrayed the guy who doesn’t get it. Painfully unfunny and completely oblivious to it. His great line as he’s getting the boot is, “In my heart, I know I’m funny.” Here’s to ya, Bruno. You’ll be missed.

To be continued…

Anticrastination

Hey hey ‘Redheads… Over the weekend, I had a wake up call that forced me to take a bold step. What were my sleepy eyes awakened to? I, Jared “The Galleria of Comedy”, am a tub of goo. My cuddly, creamy nougat middle is reaching ever-widening proportions. I’ve been in denial of my growing resemblance to Alfred Hitchcock’s silhouette but, after getting an unsolicited rubbing of my jiggly midsection by Ayanna Dookie, I realized that, if I didn’t do something soon, instead of using Match.com to find a girlfriend…I’d need it to find a midwife (run on, sentence…run on). So, to begin the excavation to find my abs, I did something I should’ve done about 9 months ago…I joined a gym. I have no good excuse for not having joined sooner. The gym is walking distance from Stately Stern Manor. To give you an idea of just how close it is, I’m getting winded typing this. Once I get my free initial consultation, I can be told by a fitness professional that I’m more out of shape than a Stretch Armstrong left in a hot car. On the plus side, I should be able to see results immediately. On the bad side, those results include blacking out after attempting push-up numero dos. I’ll keep you posted on the sculpting of my doughy, E.T.-like physique.

I’m also making it a point to get off my duff and hit the ever-expanding DC open mic scene. On Wednesday, I ventured out to Adams Morgan to check out the fledgling new room at Rendezvous on 18th St. I was joined by fellow DC ne’er-do-wells, Tim Miller, Erin Jackson, Jeff Maurer, Seaton Smith, Nick Mullen, and a host of others whose names escape me for the moment. The crowd went from a mere 5 people to a packed house of 30 (it’s a very intimate setting) within the first three or four comics. Unfortunately, I went first, so I got to interact with the mere 5. Nothing quite like telling a joke and being able to tell how well it did by doing a quick head count.
On Saturday, I headed out to The Laughing Lizard Lounge for the late night showcase. As I walked down King St, I heard the sound of an angry mob rousing rabble. Sure enough, there was a good sized crowd of organized angry folk incoherently chanting against something. Come to find out that they were there to voice their displeasure with a guy who, through medical testing, killed puppies. Way to take a stand, people. You really had to waste your right to free assmbly for that? As far as universally detestable actions go, killing puppies is in the top 5. Mostly because they’re cute…it falls in the same category with clubbing baby seals. You don’t need to get the word out that it’s wrong. No catch phrases necessary.

Bring it, Fucker.

The show itself was a fine display of what DC has to offer. Great comics like Jessica Paquin, Herbie Gill, Doug Powell, Ryan Conner, and special guest Keith Alberstadt gave the crowd something worth really assembling for…$1.50 PBR drafts. A protest against sobriety. Good times.

There’s more to get to, but it’s getting late, and I think I just pulled a hammy.

To be continued…

The Great Circle of…Stuff

Hey there ‘Redheads… Welcome to August. Please join me in congratulating my good friends, Seth and Alison, on the birth of their baby girl, the end of sleep as they know it, Hannah Gwen…

Adorable… The kid’s pretty cute too.

If you’ve never held a newborn, I highly recommend it. The aura of adorability at 4 days old is more than enough to offset the constant screaming and the unannounced liquid poo. It’s that aura that is a baby’s natural defense mechanism. The nastiest of predators is reduced to a dumbstruck ball of cooing goo by the overwhelming cute. The only creature that is immune to this is, of course, the dingo.
When I went to visit the new proud parents, I brought gifts for the little poop machine. It took me awhile to figure out what to write on the card. What do you write to a 4-day-old? Finally, it came to me:

Dear Hannah,

Happy Belated Birthday.

–Jared

On Tuesday, after a year-and-a-half hiatus, I made my triumphant return to the Nanny O’Briens stage. Ok…remove the -umph…and the -ant…I tried. After the subpar set I had in Fredericksburg, it was nice to bounce back in front a responsive crowd. Kudos to Jay Hastings for keeping that room top notch. I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Jeff Maurer, Brandon Ivey, Zach Toczynski, Larry Poon, and Ryan Conner. Jay fought off a misguided shot to the nuts, that became a microphone in the teeth, to close out the show…that’s a man’s man…or a wasted man.

I’d like to address a story out of Hollywood that’ll have over-arching ramifications in the world of dorkdom and comedy…

LOS ANGELES, California (Hollywood Reporter) — Batman is heading into a sequel, titled “The Dark Knight,” and he will face off against the Joker, this time played by Heath Ledger.

I had heard through the grapevine that comedian, Eddie Izzard was going to take on the purple pinstriped mantle of the Clown Prince of Crime. That would’ve been a fine bit of casting. I’ll reserve judgement on Mr. Ledger until I see him on the screen. My real concern is that his casting will resurrect the dead horse that is the shitty Brokeback Mountain joke. It’ll only be a matter of time before I hear some hack muse that the Joker will say to Batman, “I wish I could quit you” (watch for Carlos Mencia to do it and declare it as “edgy”). Or maybe…

Wait’ll they get a load of me…ON THEIR BACK!!

For the love of all things holy…make a ROAR reference instead. The world will be better for it.

Speaking of movies, if you like a good creature flick, do yourself a favor and check out The Descent. This is from the same guy who directed the great zombie opus, 28 Days Later. He’s got a good head on his shoulders when it comes to…ripping heads off of other people’s shoulders. My good buddy, Chris White wrote a great review of the movie in his blog (conveniently linked to your right).
The next movie on my list is the Samuel L. Jackson “Muthafucka”-fest, Snakes on a Plane. If you wanna have some fun, please to be clicking here to check out a fantastic example of promotional genius.

Finally, it is with a heavy heart that I bid a somber farewell to…a fish. Jaws, my parents’ pet fish, who’s care I was entrusted with this weekend, went to the big aquarium in the sky yesterday. I did what I could, but fish CPR is a delicate art, and I was not able to spit water into his gills fast enough. So, in tribute…Jaws, this is for you…

To be continued…

I’m Eating It

Hey there ‘Redheads… Welcome to the final post of July. The blog has turned into pretty much a weekly endeavor this month, focusing on sheer blog density rather than frequency. Here’s hoping I’m able to come up with just as much pointless filler for August. Before I get things started, a quick shout out to one of my bestest digital pals, and fellow blogger, Mary. Mary is expecting a bouncing baby any time now…and hopefully soon. At last check, Mary has winced her way through 14 DAYS of contractions as the feng shui of her insides readjusts for the forthcoming vacancy. In the words of the late great Dennis Wolfberg, she’s seen more labor than Jimmy Hoffa. You can read all about it in her blog, Tales From the Dork Side. Onto things that are more me-centric…

Big ups to Adam Dodd for putting on a fine show at the Colonial Tavern in Fredericksburg, Va. last night. I was lucky enough to be on the bill with some of the funnier folk the DC/Baltimore/VA has to offer, including Brian Kerns, Danny Rouhier, Larry Poon, and Justin Schlegel. Powerhouses all. As Danny mentioned in his blog (conveniently linked on your right), the show ran long and hot…and the crowd grew weary. I blame comedy dynamo, Justin Schlegel (arrogant prick…inside joke…way inside…like for 5 people inside). I’ll explain. Due to his extra-long drive home, instead of headlining the show, he was put smack dab in the middle of the line-up. And, of course, he tore the roof off the mothersucker…irretrievably raising the bar to heights that the rest of us did not possess the rocket boots to reach. As a result, the next three comics, myself included, split a bowl of turd a la mode trying to follow him. It was like trying to get someone’s attention in Hiroshima with a sparkler on August 7th, 1945. If not for the soft shoe of Larry Poon, the Minnow would be lost…the Minnow would be lost. Glad to see Larry back in action. Seriously, the great thing about Justin is he has that rare combination of talent and humility that makes him great on and off stage.
My set was spotty, at best. I got frazzled in the beginning trying to engage the audience off-the-cuff. I ad-lib about as well as a Speak n’ Spell. It was an uphill battle from the get go. I managed to squeeze in a couple laughs between the awkward silences, but I was a stammering mess for the most part. This stunk mostly because I was eating it in front of my peers. Or, so I thought. After my set, I was approached by 5 different people who shook my hand and said, “great set” and “thank you”. This means one of two things. Either I have the worst case of stage ears (when you’re doing well and only hear the negative feedback or when you’re bombing and translate a chuckle/polite cough into a standing O) or I’m only funny to individuals and not a whole collective…

This guy sucks…

Or, once again, I’m just making a big deal out of nothing…in any case, it was a fun night and I’m glad I got off my duff and onto a stage. I don’t usually schlep out the Fredericksburg, especially with a tank of gas costing about as much as an XBox. Luckily, I was able to offset the cost with poker money.
The night before, I made my way up to Fredneck, MD for my buddy Steve’s 30th b-day bbq. A keg was kicked. Many racks of ribs were consumed. I ate more pork than Kermit the Frog (hey-oooooooooooo). As the night wore on, a bunch of us sat down to a seven handed game of Texas Hold ‘Em. I won’t bore you with the details (completely going against the blog’s sole purpose), but I won.

I wish that money wasn’t needed for necessities like gas, food, or hookers, because I could use some DVD money. One of my favorite TV shows from my youth is out on DVD…The Incredible Hulk. When I was 5, I was all about turning green and kicking imaginary ass. I had the inflatable Hulk muscles that you wore under your t-shirt and pumped up to rip through it.

Purple pants not included.

In the last installment, I gave you a glimpse of the Muay Thai dynamo, Tony Jaa. Turns out, the movie I saw the preview for was released in Thailand in 2005. So, thanks to Amazon.com, I have the import DVD in my hot little hands. Let me tell you, it is seven kinds of amazing. Better yet, I’ll show you…

Not since The Bride turned the Crazy 88 into fresh sashimi with her Hanzo sword in Kill Bill Vol. 1 have I seen such a brutal ballet. Check this movie out. It’s called Tom Yum Goong. A wholesome story about a boy and his elephant…I shit you not.

Your next comedy homework assignment is due Tuesday night. Go check out the free showcase at Nanny O’Briens. Zach Toczynski, Brandon Ivey, Jeff Maurer, Larry Poon, and yours truly are on the bill. Hopefully, I can make up for the Saturday night debacle. We thank you for your support.

To be continued…