Regarding the Aforementioned Disappointment…

Hey there ‘Redheads… Where do I begin? When I left you in the last installment, I was full of starry-eyed optimism, with a couple of pipe dreams flowing through my head. First, I was looking forward to playing in a poker tournament that could’ve ultimately led, slim though the chances were, to a seat in the 2008 WSOP Main Event. Also, I was moderately psyched about doing a set at Caroline’s on Broadway in my first show in NYC that wasn’t a bringer contest. The world was my burrito. But, as we all know, when it comes to burritos, as delicious as they may seem in the beginning, they can tear your insides out like so much shredded cheese-like food product. I have bag of frozen peas on my bruised ego. My starry eyes are now squinty and my optimism has been overthrown by a mob of mopes. At this point, if life gave me lemons, I wouldn’t be shocked if I got lemon AIDS. So, in order to properly vent this malaise (that’s Hellmann’s malaise…ask for it by name), I’ll be detailing the debaclery for your diversion (alliteration, baby). Now serving Pity, party of one…

Let’s flip the calendar back a week or so to last Wednesday, which was the night of the poker tourney. I knew my odds were slim going in, let’s not have any illusions. The best I’d ever done in a poker tournament was the 3rd place I took in Vegas, and that was against 50 people who only had to pay the entry fee to play. This night was upwards of 70 players, all of whom had qualified by making final tables in smaller tournaments throughout the four weeks previous. I had to do the same, so I figured on having a puncher’s chance if I played tight and didn’t do anything stupid. If only I had typed these words before I played. The tournament started at about 8:30, just after I got to see my Terps get clobbered by Duke in high definition. I was gone at about 8:37. Three hands dealt. I only needed to play one. I’ll try not to be too technical for anyone who isn’t poker savvy. I was dealt King/Eight of Spades, so after folding my first two hands, I figured this one was worth playing out. The flop, or first three cards, comes down Jack of Spades, Ten of Clubs, Nine of Spades. Let’s break this down. There’s a straight (five cards in numerical order) draw on the board, and with my two spades, I have a flush (five cards of the same suit) draw. I bet 200 chips. I get a couple callers. Next card is the Eight of Hearts. No help on the flush, but now there’s one card to a straight, and I paired my eight. I bet 200 more. Good poker players out there are probably screaming at this blog right now. One caller. The last card is the Eight of Clubs. The flush is gone, the straight is there for whoever has a queen or a seven, and I have three of a kind eights. I push all in (yes, Joe…irresponsible). The other guy calls. He has, drum roll please, Queen/Seven…had the straight both ways. Thank you, goodnight. The only flush left is the one that sent my hopes of playing on ESPN down the crapper. I was the first player eliminated. That stung a little…but by a swarm of angry bees. It’s taken a week to stop from replaying the hand in my head…or folding it altogether. Ok, so, no big deal right? Poker is just a game. I didn’t lose any money, and some would argue that I have no pride. ‘Twas a simple pipe dream. I put poker on the back burner, and refocused my energy on getting my act together for Caroline’s. Yeah, about that…

On Tuesday morning I hopped on a bus up to New York City. By the way, if you’re traveling to the Big Apple, do yourself a favor and take Vamoose. $25 each way and it leaves from Bethesda or Arlington. Your chances of having a story about a urine soaked homeless guy puking on your shoes are about as slim as my chances in the poker tourney. It was a 4 hour straight shot. I slept for two hours and got ignored by the hot girl sitting next to me for the other two. I had some time to kill in the city before I met up with comedy compatriot, Ryan Conner, who was cool enough to allow me to crash on his couch. I figured I’d get a better idea of where I was going later that night and headed toward Times Square in search of Caroline’s. Just so you know, I am not a city mouse. I am Aquaman out of water. The fact that I found Broadway was a victory on the level of Rocky knocking out Drago. I have the sense of direction of a dreidel. So, it was only fitting that about a block from Times Square, a lovely young lady asked me for directions…to Times Square. Even I had this one covered. Her name was Valentina and she was from Italy. She knew enough English to introduce herself and ask which way she was going. It turns out, for people who don’t speak fluent English, I talk fast. We walked together for a bit, but my Italian is limited to ordering from a Carraba’s menu, so the conversation crumbled like so much parmesan cheese. I took in the sights, sounds, and smells for a bit. My theory on New York is that, other than the tourists, the people parading up and down the sidewalks are hired by Central Casting to give NY the proper freak flavor. They show up to a warehouse of mismatched clothing in the morning, take their pick, and then get paid to walk around for a couple hours. All the out of work actors get to work on character exercises and mutter to themselves while the families from the midwest gawk. I met up with Ryan at the subway to take the train to Hoboken (Hobo Barbie sold seperately). He explained which bus I’d need to catch to get back into the city later that night. Unfortunately, he had to fly out to a gig in Denver at 6am, so he wouldn’t be able to check out the show. We hung out with fellow DC comedy transplant, Matt Mayer, and rocked out on Rock Band for a couple hours. I’m Les Fucking Claypool on the bass…set on easy. Time passed. We got out of there close to 7:30. My show was at 9:30, and I wanted to make sure I got there with plenty of time to spare, just in case. Well, upon checking the bus schedule, we find out I missed the bus into the city and the next one isn’t for another 45 minutes. Ryan drives me back to the train station and I head back into the city, with about a 15 block walk to Caroline’s once I get there. It’s cold and windy and foreshadowy. I get to the club at 8:30 and check in with the nice lady working at the box office. I tell her I’m on the 9:30 New Class Clowns show. To which she replies that the 9:30 show has been combined with the earlier 7:00 show. Fuck. The next thing I discover is that I’m not on the list of performers on the program. Fuck a duck. The next thing I find out is that the guy who booked me is no longer with the club. Meep. She points me to a guy in a dark suit who is the manager of Caroline’s. I tell him about my situation. Luckily, he was very accommodating. He offered to put me on…next. So, I head into the showroom where a comic is on stage and killing. I get to follow him. Thankfully, they get my name right and I hit the stage. I’m a sweaty mess. The back of my neck is a log flume down my back and into the crack of my ass. I played the hits and got some decent laughs, but my mind was darting from joke to joke rather than flowing and I was not having fun. My 7 minutes was over in a flash and I shuffled off stage. I met no one. And the few people I had coming to the show missed it because they were coming to a 9:30 show. Oy vey. I met up with them as they walked in and made the awkward apologies for the crappy situation. We then left for some much needed alcohol. The highlight of the evening was the stellar roast beef sandwich I had at a bar called The Perfect Pint. I also had several pints of perfection, which made me feel even more inadequate.

I :-/ NY.

There ya go. High hopes…big splat on the pavement. One of these days, I’m going to learn to lower my expectations and stop having these Walter Mitty moments. Until then, I’ll be pinning my hopes to these lottery numbers I got off a fortune cookie…I got a good feeling about this one.

To be continued…

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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…