American Idle

Hey there ‘Redheads… Well, we’re a mere two weeks into the new year and I’ve already hit my first full-fledged blue funk. Yeesh…the last blog was so full of gusto…with the expectations and the goals and whatnot. I’m still planning on fosberry flopping over the bar I set for myself, but I seemed to have stubbed my toe on the approach. I celebrated my 6 year shitcanniversary from DC101 last week…that never fails to get me thinking about what the future might hold when I get comfy and complacent in the ass groove on the couch of life. The screenplay I was yammering about in the last installment has been roughly outlined and I was happily surprised when I googled the name of my evil villain and got absolutely no results…that’s as sure a test as any that you have an original idea these days. It’s becoming a fun, if slightly aggravating, exercise to squeeze the lump of nerf in my noggin to come up with character names and establish the rules that will govern the little universe that the story takes place in. Now comes the part where I get off my ass and actually write a scene. It’s taking entirely too long to fire up the rocket-bike and jump the Snake River Canyon between visualizing a scene and putting it on paper. So, there’s that to deal with, plus I’ve been beating my head against a brick wall trying to come up with some new material. Anyone on the DC circuit can recite my act, complete with the I-uh’s, so since I’ve polished that 30 minute turd to a streak-free shine, it’s time to pepper in a couple new yucks for ’08. Oh, and I have a mustache. I was sick for the better part of a week, and I didn’t shave for awhile. When I finally got around to grooming the Teen Wolf sequel on my face, I decided to give the ‘stache a shot. It’ll either be gone by the next installment or I’ll grow it to Wilford Brimley proportions…rides are a dollar. So, how are you?

Some cool Amiable Zany sightings to keep an eye peeled for…

On Friday the 25th, I’ll be at the DC Improv MCing for Ari Shaffir. One night, two shows. Tim Miller is featuring. If you’ve been itching to see me locally, you should probably get that looked at.

Any ‘Redheads in Baltimore with Comcast digital cable, you’ll be able to see me OnDemand sometime in the near future. I taped a showcase up at the Comedy Factory last week with Charm City luminaries Big Ben Kennedy and Jim Meyer. Let me know where the camera decided to add the ten pounds.

For those of you in the Big Apple, I’ve gotten an opportunity to perform at Caroline’s. My previous appearances at NY clubs like Gotham and the Laugh Factory have been in the context of crappy bringer contests. This time I got a hook up through a buddy of mine who works at Z100. He knows the publicity director and he put me in contact with the booker, ipso facto I got 7 minutes to do my shtick. I have no idea what to expect from this, so I asked one of my compatriots in NY to drop some knowledge on me. Here’s what he told me:

Doing the show is a huge deal if you started in NYC, and went through the open mic ranks. But as someone who is actually good at comedy and does real shows, it won’t be a big deal. It’s just a regular show. Honestly, there isn’t a ton to gain from it, other than face-time in NYC, which is valuable. The positives that you can draw from it are 1) The booker will see your set, and hopefully give you more in the future. 2) You’ll meet a few comics who may not be able to put you on any shows, but will increase the number of comics in NYC that you know. That’s about it.

So, there ya go. I’m not a big fan of the exchange rate of 4 hours travel time for only 7 minutes of stage time but c’mon, it’s Caroline’s. If you’re in the city and want to check it out, it’ll be Tuesday, Feb 19th @ 9:30.

With the pluggage and baggage out of the way, there are a couple things that have been marinating for awhile that I’ve been meaning to get to. Just before the new year, I was up in NY for my cousin Josh’s wedding, a lavish black-tie affair at the Waldorf…swanky. There was an after party for the younger guests at a bar a couple blocks away from the hotel. So, I hang out with two other cousins of mine who will remain nameless, but they’re both women in their mid-twenties. Both were dressed to the nines, complete with strappy shoes. We get done at the party around 3am and we catch a cab to Penn Station to wait for the 4:50 train to Long Island. The two of them start complaining about how their feet hurt. I don’t think men will ever fully understand the mentality of women when it comes to shoes. It might harken back to the darker version of the Cinderella story, before Disney fluffed it up, where the step-sisters were cutting toes off to jam their feet into the glass slipper. Style over comfort…no wonder Easy Spirit went tits up. Women would wear bear traps on their feet if they had a bag to match. I get that their feet hurt…what I don’t get was what they did to cope. They both took their shoes off and walked barefoot through Penn Station. I can’t even imagine eco-system of filth, the petri dish of festering funk, the slithering muck that lives on the floor of a NY train station. I half expected them to start dissolving. They insisted that I was overreacting. So, to all you lady ‘Redheads, I ask you, fair or just plain foul?

That’s all for now, but be sure to check out a special bonus blog that I’ll be doing for Arjewtino at some point in the coming week. I met the guy who writes it at the Good For The Jews show last month and he asked me to do a guest blog about the experience of the Jewish comedian…oy vey.

To be continued…

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Pro Crast In ’08

Hey there ‘Redheads… Welcome to the first installment of 2008. It’s a new year, full of promise and ripe with hope. This is the time for resolutions, high expectations, and big plans. You’re gonna do it this year. Whatever it is you haven’t been doing. You’re going to quit that go-nowhere job and grab life by the horns. The world is your oyster and you plan to shuck it, cover it in tabasco, and slurp it down your smiling cake hole. Schlemeil, schlamazel…Hassenfeffer Incorporated, you’re gonna do it!! At least for the first week or so…then, you’ll most likely slip back into the same rut you’ve been stuck in since you resolved to stop procrastinating in ’03. C’mon, seriously, you can make all the half-assed resolutions you want, but if you had to wait for the ball to drop to get your shit together, odds are you’ll be using the leftover ass cheek to rehash the same resolutions next year.

Uplifting, ain’t it? Well, I speak from experience. I’ve been happy to let the calendar pages fly past like a complacent flip book. This year, I’m hoping I can muster up the gumption and the drive to do all that crap I mentioned earlier. Next week marks six years to the day that I got canned at DC101 and started on the path that has me where I am now. That was a life changing event that ended a chapter in my barely spell-checked life. The page numbers on the next chapter got printed when I had another life changing moment last week. Something that struck me. I was– what’s the opposite of inspired? –insulted, yes, I was insulted to take action. I saw Alien vs. Predator: Requiem. I was excited to see this movie. It had the potential to be a great sci-fi action flick that could get fans excited about the mythology of the two creatures and make up for a string of disappointing and mishandled sequels. It could’ve been Alien vs. Predator: Apology. They fixed the prime mistake of the first AvP and amped the rating to R, allowing the film to take the kid gloves off and give the people a proper showdown between the two R rated franchises. I saw this very promising trailer online…

It couldn’t possibly suck, right? *sigh* Oh, the wrongness. The trailer lied to me. LIED. It was a wretched, rancid, festering, steaming pile of skunk shit. Just awful. One of the forgotten elements of a good monster flick is an emotional investment, however slim, in the humans being picked off. Either you root for the hero to make it or you root for the villain to get his comeuppance. Go rent Pitch Black or Dog Soldiers or, the best of the bunch, Aliens to see it done right. The characters here were paper thin and poorly developed cattle. You’re given just enough background to know that they exist, then they cease to do so. That could’ve been forgiven if they were given some snappy dialogue to spout before they get impaled or disemboweled. Fat chance. If I had brought my cliche dialogue bingo card, I would’ve won big. Allow me to give a few examples:

A military official, after giving orders to nuke the town (sorry for the spoiler), “God help us all.”
A young child to her mother, after surviving the ordeal, “Mommy, are all the monsters gone?”
And the classic, “Get to the chopper!”

But, you don’t go to these movies for dialogue or character development, so both of those could’ve been forgiven if the action were half-way decent. You had an army of Aliens and an Alien/Predator superhybrid facing off against a lone Predator. The Alien swarms against the Predator’s high tech battle savvy. With modern day special effects, it would at least be great eye candy. Snake eyes on that roll too. The action was so dimly lit that it was impossible to tell what the hell has going on. All you see are some flailing dreadlocks and oozing fangs. I’ve seen better fights between Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots, which’ll probably be adapted for the screen this summer. Plus, in most of the scenes, the Predator is invisible. Dreck, top to bottom. Don’t even get me started on the previews they showed before the flick.

I walked out of the theater angry…muttering to myself angry. My expectations were limbo champion low, and I was still disappointed. I was sure of one thing. I could do better. So, in 2008, I plan to try. I’ve had a story kicking around in my head for a couple years now, and I hope to hammer out something resembling a screenplay in the next couple of months. I’m telling you guys this now, so I’ll be more motivated to actually get it done. This isn’t exactly writing it in stone, but it’ll do. Excelsior and whatnot.

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s get to recapping my New Year’s Eve. After a quiet dinner of spaghetti and chicken meat lumps with some friends, we hopped in the car and went down the rabbit hole of DC to Wonderland. Usually, a pretty cool bar and home to Kostume Karaoke. That night, it was home to Massive Fire Code Violation: The Musical. The place was packed. Six pounds of drunk in a five pound bag. We made our way through the masses and staked out a patch of dance floor up front and proceeded to shake our respective groove thangs. I thought the night was going to take a fun little turn, when a hot chica shimmied up to me and said, “Hi, I’m bold. I figured we’d end up dancing together anyway.” Score. I was on my way to being a part of some girl’s last bad decision of ’07. Well, she was retrieved by one of her friends shortly afterward and we got separated in the crush of the revelers who continued to stream in. Every odd couple of seconds, some drunk pushed past us to get to the front of the room. Wonderland was starting to live up to it’s name, because the phrase “Eat me” kept flashing through my head. After the countdown, my first resolution of ’08 was to do this…

There are some other things that happened in the last throes of ’07, but that’ll be covered in the next blog. I wanted to get this stuff in here before the memory and the motivation ebbed.

If you’re up in Columbia Saturday night, come check out the show at Taglines. I’ll be up there with Freddie Vernell, and Mike Shader.

Also, happy 5th anniversary to DCStandup.com. My buddy, Chris White, has built one of the finest comedy resources of its kind on the web. I was one of the four comics on the list when it launched. Here’s to ya.

To be continued…