Two Fiddy

Hey there ‘Redheads… Welcome to this blog’s 250th installment. Any other blog of this kind would have about 3 times as many, but I’ve never been about the quantity…or the quality, now that I think about it. Here’s to 250 more chances to mildly amuse you. I’m altering my usual blogging habits for this post. Usually, I wait until about 11:30 or midnight to milk the blog teat, succumbing to eventual exhaustion as I type into the wee hours of the morning. Today, I’m fresh as a daisy and will have one less excuse when this blog barely passes for mediocre.

I’m back from a comedy road trip that took me to Comedy Zones in Kentucky and West Virginia. The hills had eyes and they were smiling in my general direction. This was my second time back to these two clubs, and the shows went better than the stereotypes of the region might suggest. I had the pleasure of working with two time New Orleans entertainer of the year, Mutzie. Mutzie is a cool guy with an interesting look to him that I can only describe by putting it in old school pro wrestling terms. Imagine if George “The Animal” Steele talked like Dusty Rhodes. I’m glad the shows went well, because the weather stunk out loud. I had a 7 1/2 hour drive on Thursday. I didn’t rain for about 15 minutes of the trip. I didn’t see the sun until my drive home on Sunday. The sky was a depressing blanket of clouds…an AIDS quilt of clouds for the entire weekend. In order to at least simulate sunlight, I decided to make a return trip to the Eastern Kentucky Science Center to check out the afternoon planetarium show. I’m sure you’re asking yourself what you might find at the Eastern Kentucky Science Center… Does it house Col. Sanders’ top secret 11 herbs and spices? Well, here’s one item on display…

Luckily, they also have a planetarium which, just like last time, I had all to myself. The program they had this time was about the Hubble. Nothing too fancy. It was like looking into a giant ViewMaster that’d been left in a hot car. Afterwards, I was treated to a complimentary laser light show set to some of today’s crappiest rock hits. I was kicking myself, because one of the choices I was offered was Laser Praise. If there’s one thing lasers have yet to fully convey, it’s irony.

Onward to the next exotic port of call, Charleston, West Virginia. When I got to the hotel, I made the discovery that there was a casino with a poker room about twenty minutes away. Let’s see… Idle time? Check. Extra cash? Check. Horrible judgement? Check. I’m not going to get into specifics, but I’ll throw a quick stat at you. My average per minute in the casino was -$4. From my hopeful entrance to my shameful exit, I lost $100 in 25 minutes. Actual poker table time was more like 5 minutes. I can’t even say I played horribly, because what I did doesn’t qualify as playing poker. I got played. I was a goddamn slot machine with a sweatshirt on. Rather than buy back in to try and win my dignity back, I sulked back to my car, went back to my hotel room, and watched a marathon of Bully Beatdown on MTV2.

As bad as I got beat, at least I could rest easy knowing that I had a sure bet that paid off on Sunday. Go ahead and check the last installment…I called the Chiefs over the Redskins. Two field goals against the worst defense in the league. This team is so inept at scoring, they can barely get in a 3-point stance. I expected to see Snyder fiddling while the fans burnt FedEx down. The Native Americans that are suing the team over the name can just site the last six games as exhibit A that the Redskins are offensive. I do feel bad for Jim Zorn. He’s like Wallace Hartley, bravely trying to make some music while the Titanic sinks into the drink. On Monday, he had his play calling duties forcibly stripped from him, and I’m pretty sure he had his credit revoked at Eastern Motors.

If you haven’t heard yet, there’s a huge comedy festival descending on the DC area this weekend. Tig Notaro and friends brings us The Bentzen Ball. 50 comics, from Patton Oswalt to Sarah Silverman to a cavalcade of local comedians. I’m not one of them. Don’t let my veiled bitterness keep you from checking it out.

To be continued…

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TMI

Hey there ‘Redheads… Happy Tax Day. Any of you guys and gals partaking in the unfortunately named protest of “teabagging” your elected officials?

I’d love for the leader of the protest to be a guy who goes by “Hot Carl”. Holy crap, it’s been awhile since I fired up the blog and written anything halfway interestingish. In this era of immediate access to even the most mundane information, this blog is getting left behind like a fat kid in a 5K. I’d like to draw a line in the sand and say that I never have, nor will I ever, tweet. Let me get this straight, a website that does the same thing Facebook does…without any of the cool stuff that Facebook does. I don’t know if Billy Mays could sell that. I’m actually in the process of developing a new social networking site that focuses on the size and frequency of your friends’ bowel movements, called Shitter. People will be able to follow your regular flow with farts. In the interest of full disclosure, I should let you know that I’m not at 100% as I type this. I’m allergic to something that turns my lungs into a goo farm. This morning, I coughed up something so green, if a banjo was handy, it would’ve sang Rainbow Connection. But, I’m soldiering on, so I don’t neglect you any further.

So, the big happening in the last of these blog-free weeks is my trip to Vegas. I got a rare chance to go on the cheap. Just had to pay for the flight, since I was tagging along with my funny little honey, who was going for a business convention. We stayed at The Venetian, which is easily the nicest place I’ve stayed in Vegas. It helps the ranking that I wasn’t sharing the room with 4 sweaty comics this time around. I’ll take my funny little honey over Jay Hastings any day of the week and twice on Sunday. The room was opulent. You could actually say, “I’m going upstairs to bed.” There were 3 flat screen tvs, two in the main room and one in the bathroom. The curtains were on a remote control. We were nestled comfortably in luxury’s cushy lap. Like any of my previous trips to Sin City, my goal was to get the most bang for my gambling buck. That meant tournament poker and lots of it. My week of poking went reasonably well. I cashed in one tourney, which pretty much paid for the couple others I got ousted from before the money. I took 5th at Caesar’s, by far my favorite place on the strip to play…mostly because I’ve cashed there twice. Here’s the major highlight of the tournament for me, then I’ll move on. I was at a full table of ten players, first to act, blinds at 200/400. I got dealt Q-10 offsuit. I call. A guy five players down from me attempts to raise 1000 on top, but he string bets, which means he didn’t push all of his raise in at once. This isn’t allowed, so he only ended up raising 600 to 1000 total. I was going to fold to his original raise, but I figured another 600 wasn’t that big a deal and I called. The flop came out Q-Q-10. Can’t do much better than flopping the full house. There’s no way he has anything than can beat me. In poker parlance, we call this “the nuts”. I checked and let him bet into me. He obliges and pushes all in. I don’t think he got the “in” out before I called. He flips over aces. I break the bad news. Technically, if another ace hit, he would’ve hit a better full house, but that didn’t happen and I was Scrooge McDuck swimmin’ in chips. I think I would’ve had an aneurysm if I folded that hand and saw that flop hit.

I already felt like a winner before I did any gambling. When we landed on Tuesday morning, one of my missions was to find a pair of pants that I could wear to my funny little honey’s fancy business dinner. We hit the mall inside The Venetian, hoping to find a deal. We struck gold with Banana Republic, who was discounting their already on-sale items another 20%. I’m not a big clothes shopper, but even I knew this was pretty sweet. I got a sweater for $7, a nice t-shirt for $7, and a roomy pair of pants for $15. The cash register should’ve had a slot crank on it.

One of the things I love about Vegas is that it embodies the scramble for fame on any level. It reminds me of the joke where the guy shoveling elephant crap in the circus is asked why not quit and he responds, “And quit show business?” There are some truly talented people in Vegas who are busting their humps in front of gawking slack-jawed tourists, hoping for that big break. In The Venetian, for example, they offer gondola rides through their fake Venice. The gondoliers are trained opera singers, who serenade you while they paddle. So here’s a guy who has honed his craft for years and now he’s dressed like he belongs on a jar of Ragu while he ferries people who’s only experience with opera is seeing Elmer Fudd sing Kill Da Wabbit. I also encountered a small troupe of actors while I was killing time before a poker tourney, who were singing That’s Amore to a smattering of confused onlookers in the mall.

I know I’ve always dreamt of one day playing in front of the Banana Republic. I can just imagine the pitch they got… The good news is you’ll be playing in front of a standing room only crowd in Vegas… The bad news is…here’s the outfit.

So, I came to a realization in Vegas. I will never understand the Tao of WOOO!! Allow me to explain. We got to Vegas during the week, so the casinos and nightclubs were relatively quiet for the bulk of our stay. Then Friday hit. Then a Fantasia broomstick army of popped collar douchebags and scantily clad gals who couldn’t get past the table read for Girls Gone Wild lined up outside the nightclubs to get ready to put on Date Rape: The Musical. Their primary means of expression was, “WOOOOO!!” Oh, and, “VEGAS BABY!!” (as a sidenote, I think there’s legislation in the works to make it legal to punch someone in the throat if they shout that within 10 feet of you on the strip) I don’t get it. I’m old.

Here are a couple other random Vegas pix…



A good time was had by all. More coming soon. ‘Til then…

I, XXXIII

Hey there ‘Redheads… Long time, no type. I’ve been suffering from low blog motivation for some reason. Luckily, another stunt month is quickly approaching…Blogtober. Try to contain yourselves, really. Some time has passed since the last installment, and a metric shit-ton of blog worthy stuff has happened. Most notably, I recently became divisible by eleven. I turned 33 last week and have just recently finished the whirlwind celebration. Unlike previous birthdays in my thirties, I don’t feel much older this time around. For 31 and 32 I expected to look in the mirror and see Lance Henrikson staring back at me. Not this time…it was just another day with cake. By the way, there needs to be some kind of federal regulation on the sugar content of birthday cake frosting. I nearly went into a diabetic coma from a single whiff of the stuff. The cake should’ve come with an epi-pen. I’m just saying, I’d like to enjoy my 33rd without risking my shot at the 34th, to stick a fork in it without having to stick one in me, to have my cake and not eat it too…ok, I’m done (it’s been a couple weeks…making sense is not a high priority). Speaking of super sweet, I got a call from my impossibly cute nephew, Mo, and he sang his nearly two-year-old version of Happy Birthday to me. That pretty much turned me into pudding for the rest of the day. So, I’m older. And so is this blog, by the way. The official blog-iversary was the 15th. I usually break out the digital confetti and break down how many of you very patient people give this rambling mess a looksee, but this time I’ll just say thank you for reading and hope you stick around for another year of poorly crafted procrastination. Onward and upward.

I have been busy these last couple of weeks in the comedy department, travelling to Harrisburg, Greensboro, Baltimore, and most recently, Youngstown. Big thanks to Dave, Tony, Crystal, and the rest of the fine staff at the Funny Farm. This was my third time working for them in their third different location. The previous two were located in hotels, but this new one is a more permanent comedy compound that is a converted Damon’s Steakhouse. Nice place. When I pulled into the parking lot, I didn’t know what my accommodations were going to be. The lovely Crystal informed me that the club rented a nearby apartment for the comics to stay. Groovy. I got the following directions to get there: Go around the building and turn left. Go past the trailer park and look for the house with the Winnebago in front and turn right. You’ll see a four-unit apartment building on your left. I say again, ga-roovy. I got there and met the headliner, Bill Scott. He informed me that the cable was out, so there wasn’t a functioning TV. Upon further inspection of the apartment, we also found that all of the towels left for up were damp and moldy. And there was a persistent funk coming from…somewhere. My first guess was the crawlspace that I found in my room. It appears we were stuck in the renter’s sequel to The Shining. Luckily, I had decided to bring my PS2 with me to use as a DVD player, so we weren’t completely lost. The only other source of entertainment was a wooden cabinet that slid open to reveal an 8-track/record player/stereo. The knob for volume was labelled “loudness”. We found a selection of polka cassettes for the 8-track and an Up With People record, which we immediately attempted to play backward to summon a denizen of the netherworld who could appreciate this place. After the show was done on Thursday night, Bill and I went to the all-night K-Mart to grab some supplies for the rest of the weekend…they were out of holy water, unfortunately. I did pick up a fresh towel and a cheap deck of cards and poker chips. Luckily, Bill was a fellow degenerate gambler, so we spent a large chunk of time playing heads up poker. We figured we had nothing to lose.
On Friday, Bill and I went to the local mall to kill some time. While were chowing down on some mediocre pizza from the off-brand Sbarro clone in the food court, Bill dropped some knowledge on me. He was enjoying a grape Fanta with his cheesy shingle and he asked, “Do you know the story behind Fanta?” I did not. Apparently, Fanta is the brand that Coca-cola came up with so they could continue selling soda to Germany during WWII. They didn’t want pictures of Nazis drinking all-American Coke, so Fanta was born. Our sick minds wondered what the ad campaigns must’ve been like. I came up with Fanta: The final solution for your thirst.
On Saturday, emboldened by my success playing poker against Bill, I tried to raise the stakes of my disappointment, by driving 45 minutes to nearby Chester, WV to check out the Mountaineer Casino. Unfortunately, the one tournament they had running in the poker room was a $235 buy-in, which was a smidge too rich for my blood. So, since I had come to play cards and lose money, I bought in for $100 in chips and sat down at a $1-$2 no limit table. I won one hand as was feeling pretty good, then I was dealt King-Jack and the flop came Ace-King-Jack…two pair. The turn was a five. Then the river was a Queen. So there was a potential straight on the board that I didn’t have and the guy to my left raises to $40. I had already called previous bets on the flop and turn, but he didn’t seem like he had the ten. I called. I turn over my King-Jack. He turns over Ace-Queen. I begin muttering to myself. I think I spent more time driving to the fucking casino than I did at the table. That was worth it. Luckily, I sold enough CD’s to offset that lapse in judgement. Fun bunch of shows in Youngstown and Bill was great to work with.

This week, Oct. 1st – 5th, I’ll be hosting the slate of shows at my favorite club, the DC Improv. After four weeks on the road, it’ll be nice to play roughly 20 minutes from Stately Stern Manor. I’ll be working with Jim Florentine for the second time in three weeks. He was fun to work with up in Baltimore, so this should be a good week. Come check us out.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the current political and financial climate that is currently swirling around us like the ghosts that seeped out of the ark at the end of Raiders (don’t look at it). Sarah Palin looks like she won a reality show to get on the Republican ticket. I caught part of her interview with Katie Couric. The phrase “moose in headlights” comes to mind. I do, however, think that John McCain is the best candidate to lead us through the impending depression…because he lived through the last one. I don’t understand the bailout. I have no head for money. I had all of my assets converted into skee ball tickets. I just want someone to put it in terms that I can understand…

Happy New-Jew Year to everybody. It’s 5769 and still no flying cars…come on people.

To be continued…

Sunday Knight

Hey there ‘Redheads… I’ve been sitting on this installment for about a week now and I think it’s ready to hatch. This chickadee has all manner of chirping for ye. We’re going to go in reverse order, freshest memories first, then I’ll try to recall the Vegas trip as best I can…and I’ll show you all on the Snoopy doll where Jay Hastings touched me.

I caught The Dark Knight in a tightly packed theater on Saturday night. I think it belongs up in the top five best comic book movies. The movie is dark…almost bleak. Heath Ledger’s Joker is brilliant as advertised. He wasn’t as silly as Nicholson’s take on the character. He is just certifiably insane. And I kind of liked that every word out of the Joker’s mouth isn’t a catch phrase. It gives him more depth. Also of note, despite the overall darkness of the film’s tone, a decent amount of the mayhem in the movie takes place in broad daylight. You don’t see that very often in movies like this…it’s normally either dark or torrentially raining. I was disappointed that I seemed to be the only shmuck in line for the flick that was wearing any Batman phenalia (as opposed to a pair…look it up). I expected to see a Justice League worth of dorks dressed up for it. Instead, I was the only superhero there…I was THAT GUY. Dorks have had quite a streak lately with all the super hero flicks this summer. I think that streak comes to a screeching halt with the new X-Files movie out next week. Just a hunch.

Moving back to last weekend, I went to the AFI theater for a pretty cool presentation called Muppet History 101. They showed a bunch of rare clips from Jim Henson’s early work with the muppets, like Rowlf on the Jimmy Dean Show, the Wilkin’s Coffee commercials, and muppet sketches from the first season of SNL. Jane Henson was there too. My inner eight year old had a blast. One of the clips they showed was a sketch from The Muppet Show that didn’t originally air in the US because of time constraints. If you don’t laugh at this, you have no soul. Just letting you know…

It was part of Muppets, Music, & Magic: Jim Henson’s Legacy which is going on at the AFI through August 24th. If you had a childhood, you should probably check it out.

And now, Vegas. On Friday night I packed my bags and met up with Jon and Amy Mumma, Jay Hastings, Sean Gabbert, and Justin Schlegel to pre-game for our 6am flight to Vegas the next morning. After dinner, we settled in at the Mumma’s to watch a movie that would set the tone for the entire trip. Casino? No. Ocean’s Eleven? Pshaw. Vegas Vacation? Three strikes, my friend. We watched a documentary. The inspirational story of Jesco White, The Dancing Outlaw. Here’s a small snippet of the wisdom we were basking in…

Basically, if the classic scene in Deliverance had tap dancing instead of banjo picking, you’d have the story of this back woods gene pool skimming. Do yourself a favor, put it in your Netflix queue, then when you get done watching it, we’ll all go ball vaultin’. After we got done with that AND the sequel, we realized that we would have to leave the house by a little after 3am to time everything out right. So, we went to bed…with visions of Asian handjobs dancing in a couple of our heads.

We made it to BWI without incident and boarded the plane for beautiful, luxurious Newark, New Jersey. Yeah, we had a connecting flight and Continental didn’t have the good taste to put their hub in a real city. I think we went through a toll booth while taxiing down the runway. It was a short flight from BWI to NJ, so the plane they put us on was essentially a toothpaste tube with wings. Tiny, cramped, and when you get off, you’re in New Jersey. We already felt like winners. We had a short layover at Tony Soprano International Airport, then we hopped on the flight to Sin City. We landed in Vegas at 10am. It was a balmy 105 degrees. But it’s a dry heat, right? I’ll never rationalize that again. Dry heat can suck it. The wind blew hot. If that was dry heat, then Hell must serve saltines. We had a couple hours before our rooms were ready, so we checked our bags and surveyed the blinking and beeping landscape of the MGM Grand where we were staying. There were six of us on the trip and we had two rooms booked. Mom and Dad (Amy and Jon) got one room and the rambunctious kids (me, Jay, Sean, and Justin) got the other. Two beds in our room. Care to do some math with homo-erotic overtones? Luckily, there was a body pillow on the bed that was used as a buffer zone. The primary reason for our trip was to check out UFC 86 which was happening that night…the other four days was just gravy…and in that heat, we made our own. Once we got showered up, we headed over to Mandalay Bay for the bloody festivities.






The fights were pretty intense. The non-televised undercard had the best action of the night, but the main event more than made up for the couple crappy bouts that preceded it. Forrest Griffin upset Rampage Jackson in a unanimous decision. The night would’ve been awesome if it weren’t for all the money we lost on the fights. Not so much lost as could’ve won. I put $50 down on a three fight parlay. I picked the main event upset, Joe Stevenson who also won, and a guy named Maximus that Jon and Justin told me couldn’t lose. If the whole thing came through, it would’ve paid $700…unfortunately, Maximus got his ass handed to him. We all had money on this chump in one way or another. We were hoping his gladitorial nickname meant we could give him the thumbs down and open a trap door into a spiked pit or something. Justin spent the rest of the trip wishing bad things on his family. Good times.

The fights were fun, but my main purpose in Vegas was poker. I was primed to play plenty. Also, my friend Caity was playing in the World Series of Poker Main Event that was going on at the Rio that week. So, I left the rest of the group behind and swung by to watch her play. There were 2000 people playing on the same day. I was one of the first couple of spectators to filter into the Rio poker room so I got to hear the “shuffle up and deal”, which is the poker equivalent of “play ball”. The sound in there was incredible…constant clacking of chips shuffling…it sounded like it was raining. I spotted a couple poker celebs like Phil Ivey and Annie Duke. While I was craning my neck around the room trying to spot Caity, I saw Forrest Griffin, who had a massive shiner on his right eye from the night before, sit down at a table to play. I made my way over to that table for a bit. Who sits down at his table a couple minutes later, but poker legend Johnny Chan. When they air the Main Event on ESPN, you might be able to see my torso on TV. I was standing right by their table while the cameras were rolling. As for Caity, she did well for herself on day one, knocking out poker pro, John “The Razor” Phan. She’ll definitely be on TV for that. Keep an eye peeled for her…

So, like I said, I was primed to play lots of poker…lots of shitty poker. Yeah, I talked a good game, but I just couldn’t get over the hump on this trip. I played in about 8 tournaments in 3 different casinos. Met some very cool people. And one douchebag. At Harrah’s there was this guy sitting to the right of the dealer. Earbuds in, sunglasses on, raising with shit and showing it. This asshat tried to tip the dealer…with tournament chips. Quick lesson, kids…tournament chips have no cash value. It became the rest of the table’s mission to get this guy gone. Anyway, I played badly and made it about 2 hours deep in every tournament I was in, then had to go all-in with a short stack and a marginal hand…Queen/Jack off-suit was usually my death hand. Luckily, my poker losses were offset by a pretty good run of luck at the blackjack tables. After it was all said and done, I broke even gambling and spent about $100 a day on food and cabs. I’ll take that in Vegas. Here are some other family photos…



Another recurring theme was the Indiana Jones-like quest for a massage parlor that offered *ahem* extra special service. Every cab ride included Justin hitting up the cabbie, who barely spoke English, for the best spot for a good crank yankin’…or ball vaultin’ (watch the movie). We did find out that there are spas in Vegas that offer such services for women too. My suggestion of a name for such a place? Bailey, Banks, & Diddle. Thanks, I’ll be here all week.

We also ate. Boy howdy did we eat. You haven’t lived until you’ve had a proper Vegas buffet…and once you have, you may not live much longer. Our last meal in Vegas was at the Bellagio buffet. I’m still full. Every kind of food you could imagine. Alaskan king crab legs, steamed mussels, Chilean sea bass, pizza, pasta, short ribs, skirt steak, creme brulee, the mind boggled at the choices. I’m falling back on pictures at this point because it’s almost two in the morning, but I’m soldiering on…for you.

TO GLUTTONY!

During one of my many trips back through the buffet line, the rest of the group decided it was my birthday and when I got back to the table, the staff surprised me with a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” while I tried my best to play along on short notice. It was touching, really.

Large hand or small cake? You be the judge.

A good time was had by all, but five days was about two days too long to be in Vegas. We all had to have mini-interventions for each other at some point during the trip. We were all one or two hours shy of full-blown gambling addictions by the time we left. We did not happen in Vegas. After all of that gambling, I was more than ready for a day of relative certainty.

I might’ve forgotten something, but that’s for another blog.

To be continued…

Poking

Greetings from the tempest-tossed wasteland, ‘Redheads… As per usual, this installment is a couple days overdue. I would’ve gotten to it on Wednesday, but my power got knocked out by the cataclysm that roared through town. No lights, no internet, no tv…like Robinson Crusoe, it was primitive as can be. You don’t realize just how plugged in you are until the power goes out and you almost turn into Jack Nicholson in The Shining from the lack of stimulus. It made Jack a dull boy, is all I’m sayin’. Now that power has been restored, I can continue to chronicle my moments of non-boredom for ye.

Let’s spin the clock back to last Wednesday, which began a very interesting and exhausting 24 and change hour stretch. I was at the Arlington Drafthouse, competing in round one of the Drafthouse Comedy Challenge. Also vying for the audience’s adulation were Sean Gabbert, Larry Poon, Tyler Sonnichsen, Bey Wesley, and Lance Smith. After we all did our 8 minutes, the massive throng (45 is a throng, right?) chose Bey and Larry to move on to the next round. Congrats to both of them. You can check out their round two exploits on June 12th.

Luckily, the show got done at around 9:30. This gave me time to race home and take a couple hour cat nap before I made the drive up to AC. Registration for the tournament started at 7am, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t have to deal with traffic or long lines at the Borgata. I set two alarm clocks for 2:45am and put my head down to charge my batteries for the trip. I was on the road a little after 3:00. Got to watch the sun rise over New Jersey…nothing like the first light of morning glinting off a toll booth…striking. I pulled into the garage of the Borgata at about 6:30, which gave me time to find the poker room and get a general lay of the land…and pee. After I got registered for the tourney and shoved a bacon and egg sandwich down my neck, there was still two hours to kill before this thing kicked off. I decided to do what any high roller would do…went back to the garage and napped in my car. Scintillating so far, right?

Ok, let’s get down to brass tacks. How did I do? Well, the good news is, I beat 300 people. The bad news is, there were 400 players in the tournament. I would like to have made a little scratch, but it was a respectable showing. It was a roller coaster of a game. **WARNING: POKER LINGO AHEAD** I had a stretch that started with me doubling up through the chip leader at the table when he bet into my pocket aces. My fortunes changed a couple hands later when I had an ace-high flush cracked on the river when the board paired, turning my opponent’s trip twos into a full house. Then I called another all-in that I shouldn’t have and my stack dwindled down to 4,000 chips, which may sound like alot, but that’s less than half of what we started with. Then I doubled and tripled up through consecutive all-ins with ace-ten and ace-jack. I built my stack back up to 41,000 before the second break in play. I think I had three playable hands the rest of the day and the rising blinds and antes conspired to whittle my stack down to $17, 500 by the time we got down to the final ten tables. After finally seeing cards above a 7 at the table I got moved to, I decided to play. At that point, it was $6,000 to call. The guy sitting next to me raises it to $15,000, so I decided to take my chances and go all-in with queen-jack off-suit. He had a pair of fives. He flops a five and that pretty much put me out of my misery. I went out with a whimper. The guy who went out right before me took the worst beat I’ve ever seen. He was all-in with pocket kings against ace-queen. Ace-queen are live cards, so it’s not out of the question that it would win. A simple ace comes out on the flop and the kings are sunk. But that would be too easy. Here’s how it went down: the flop comes out six-eight-six, giving the guy with kings two pair. The turn is another six, giving the guy with kings a full house. The last card? The last six in the deck, giving both players four of a kind sixes, but ace-queen has the higher kicker. The guy with kings loses. Brutal. If it was the wild west, somebody would’ve gotten shot over that hand. Probably the dealer. He seemed to take it really well, but I hope he punched a wall when he left the poker room.

I got knocked out at 3pm. Here’s an interesting little fact about the Borgata. No food allowed in the poker room. I last ate at 7am. I almost started gnawing on the felt during the last couple of hands. After calling a couple people to break the news of my pseudo-victory, I proceeded to the food court and inhaled a plate of Panda Express. My day wasn’t over yet. I hopped back in the car and headed to Philly to visit my sister and the cult of adorability, my nephew Mo. We played in the sandbox and I followed him as he wobbled around the front yard. Life was good.

Small sidenote: Mo’s going to be getting a new brother or sister in the next couple days. I’m not sure if the new kid will be able to measure up on the cuteness quotient. Mo pretty much broke that scale. Just letting you know that you’ll have new baby pictures to coo at in the coming weeks.

I finally got home at around 10pm. And collapsed.

More to come…

Sit In My Lapse…

Hey there ‘Redheads… Well, it’s official. After a valiant two-weekish effort, JOKE/BIT/PREMISE/TAG-A-DAY IN MAY is dead. A week between installments kinda defeats the whole daily thing. Great timing too. The stunt-blogging gets a mention on DCStandup.com, then I decide to let it stagnate. I have the follow through of a thalidomide baby’s golf swing. I think I got a couple decent comedy nuggets out of the enterprise. As my inevitable apology, I offer you a piping hot batch of cutie pie…






…now that I’ve reduced you to a puddle of goo, let’s get this installment rolling, shall we?

Now for some horn tootage. Tuesday night, I won a poker tournament. I made my way through a field of 80 fellow degenerate Texas Hold ‘Em players and won a buy-in to a tournament at the Borgata in Atlantic City next week. The top prize is in the neighborhood of $30,000. I hope to trick or treat through that neighborhood. That kind of money almost makes it worth it to visit Atlantic City. That place is a wretched hive of scum and villainy. One place I have to make sure I stop by on the way up…the HQ of Spencer’s Gifts. I need to take that tour.

A big thanks to Matt, Tonia, Jeanne, and the rest of the groovy staff at LOL Comedy Club in Clayton, NC for a great weekend. The crowds were small (some shows, they felt more like drunk focus groups) but fun. I got a chance to work with the round mound of profound, Mo Alexander.

Here we are, filling a quota…

Comics in Clayton luxuriate in the lavish accommodations of Jeanne’s house. Which has a 60-inch big screen TV…that can vote, it’s so old. It’s one of those rear projection jobs. This one takes about a half an hour before it warms up and holds a steady picture. Oh, and the cable wasn’t working. You haven’t seen scrambled snow, until you’ve seen it on a big screen. I felt like Carol Anne from Poltergeist. And the feature’s room is pink. Pepto Bismol pink.

While we were tooling around Clayton, Mo and I stopped at a local drive-thru bbq joint, Smithfield BBQ. We pulled up to the menu to check out the bill of fare, when the lady behind the speaker popped on to take our order. We had no idea what we wanted, so we asked her what was good. She said everything was good. We weren’t satisfied with what seemed like the company line, but she backed up her statement with, “I’m a 200 pound woman. I know about good barbecue.” She was right. The bbq and cole slaw sandwich was pork-tastic.
The last night in the house, Mo, Jeanne, and I were lounging on the couches in the den, discussing various mysteries of life. The conversation turned to religion, then turned into me answering questions about Jewish stuff. Jeanne then asks the loaded question, “Can I ask you something without offending you?” Well now she had to, regardless of the outcome, “Go ahead,” I said. I prepared to clear up some misconception about bar mitzvahs or having sex through a hole in a sheet. The question she chose was, “Are you really cheap?” WHA?? That was her burning question. Am I a stereotype. It was like asking Mo, “What’s your stance on grape soda? For or against?” I thanked her for the new material then, after she went to bed, I took this picture with her camera…

No promises on the next bit of bloggage, but I’m gonna try not to veer too far off the path of regular updates.

To be continued…

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…

Milkshakes and High Stakes

Hey there ‘Redheads… And welcome to any new readers who found their way here through my guest post on Arjewtino. Wipe your feet and try not to bust up the joint. This is why we can’t have nice things. A couple random cool things to cover in this installment, so allow me to whip out my extra large butter knife, so I may slather it on thick.

I my first road gig of ’08 over the weekend. Thanks to Dave, Tony, and the rest of the fine folk at the Funny Farm in Youngstown, Ohio for making it worth the trek up the PA turnpike. To help kill my Saturday, I took in a matinee at the local multiplex. It was a coin flip between No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood. Blood won the toss. I cannot recommend this movie enough. Daniel Day Lewis is a magnificent bastard. And yes, *spoiler* there is blood. See this movie…then thank me afterward. It contains my new favorite notable quotable. It won’t do it justice to type it out, so here it is…

I can’t stop saying it. It’d be nice to have a few people out there who knew what the hell I was talking about, so go check it out. It’s even cooler in context. When AFI puts out the new list of Top 100 Movie Quotes, that one better be on there.

Before I hit the road for Youngstown, I took in a show Thursday night at the DC Improv. Not only were two of my favorite local yokels, Jon Mumma and Herbie Gill, on the bill, but before the main show, the audience was treated to an impromptu feast courtesy of the Food Network show, Dinner: Impossible. Chef Robert Irvine was given an improv theme and had to put together a three course meal using 15 mystery ingredients, including ramen noodles and hot pockets, and using members of the DC Improv Comedy School as sous chefs. So the cameras were rolling whilst 250 other patrons and I served as guinea pigs for meals that may well have actually contained guinea pig. They were pretty damn delectable, especially a chicken breast stuffed with crawfish. I think I might’ve snuck on camera for a reaction shot, we’ll see when it airs. The coolest part of all, was the executive producer of the show…

It was a physical challenge to get this picture…

Marc Summers from DOUBLE DARE!! If you were in middle school when I was, that show was appointment viewing and you almost put yourself in traction practicing the physical challenges and training for that glorious day when you’d run the oozy obstacle course to capture the flags and win fabulous prizes…like school supplies. Ah, memories…

It’s all about being on TV in one way or another, isn’t it? It starts when we’re young with stuff like Double Dare, then you think you could be picked to live in a house with seven strangers, now there are so many goddamn reality shows out there, the dream is being realized by just about anyone whom light doesn’t bend around. Where is this going, Jared? Good question. Well, I’ve got a cool opportunity to be indirectly among the televised masses. I’ve qualified for a poker tournament that’ll be played Wednesday night. The top two finishers in that advance to a World Series of Poker charity tournament on Saturday. The winner of that gets a $10,000 buy-in to the WSOP Main Event in Vegas…which is covered by ESPN. I have a shot at a shot. I’ve got a lottery ticket and I get to fish around the ball hopper. My poker skills are on the better side of okay. I’ve been playing in free weekly tourneys for the past couple months against players much better than me and my dignity is still fairly intact. My big weakness is my poker face. I’m easier to read than the Cliff Notes to See Spot Run. It’s a chance, though. My fate isn’t up to some shady tv producer casting a show. I really want to take down a big pot in dramatic fashion, so I can bellow, “I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE!! I DRINK IT UP!!” Seriously, go see There Will Be Blood.

I’ll keep you posted on the inevitable disappointment.

To be continued…

Viva, Part 2: A Fuzzy Recollection

Hey there ‘Redheads… Happy Hanukkah to you and yours. Have a latke, some vodka, and blow your paycheck on some high stakes dreidel. You’ll have to excuse my usual blog lag. I’ve been a runny mess for the last week. With a schnoz like this, believe me when I tell you the last couple days have been my own personal Double Dare physical challenge. I’ve collected the bulk of my nose-leavins to sculpt a giant snot replica of The Thinker (enjoy your meals, folks). Ok, so before I try to scrape the account of my trip to Vegas off the bottom of my brain barrel, I want to get some quick plugs and thank yous out of the way, lest you check out on me in the middle of my stories of high rolling hobnobbery (look it up).

First, a big thank you to my good friend Chrissy (#1 on MySpace) and the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation for including me in their benefit for Children’s Hospital last week. Fellow funnyman, Rob Maher and I provided the comedy portion of the entertainment for the evening. There was a great turn out and they raised a bunch of money so some kids can have a happy holiday. Hopefully, this good deed will be enough to offset all of the petty crap I’ve done this year. Also on the bill, was a great local band, Rome In A Day. They rock…I’m holding up my lighter and swaying side to side as I type this. Do yourself a favor, click the link, and give them a listen. Rob and I took turns swooning over their lead guitarist, Ali, throughout the evening…for the kids.

On to the pluggage…
COME SEE ME AT WISEACRE’S IN TYSON’S CORNER
FRIDAY, DEC. 7TH @ 9:00
WITH HEADLINER MARK MATUSOF
ONE NIGHT. ONE SHOW. ONE…NEW JOKE.

or…

COME SEE ME AT THE COMEDY SPOT IN BALLSTON
SATURDAY, DEC. 15TH @ 7:30
WITH ADAM RUBEN, BEN ISAAC, AND LEO GOODMAN
JEW MAN GROUP

TIX ARE $14…and we’ll be picking up loose change off the floor.

For those of you clamoring for a local Jared fix, there ya go. I assume the rest of you have the patch. Now, finally, three weeks later, let’s get to my trip to Sin City. For those of you who would like a well-written account of most of it, please to be checking out Chris White’s blog (conveniently linked to your right). What you’re going to get from me is some basic detail with some cough-syrup enhanced embellishment and some pictures. Cool? Let’s light this menorah.

First, big thanks to the DC Improv and Chris White, who’s free hotel room in Caesar’s Palace I crashed in for the duration of the trip. Chris was one of 3 finalists from the DC regional bracket competing in Ziddio.com’s Lucky 21 contest. I was a close 57th. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. I got into Vegas around 9 on Thursday night, just in time to drop my stuff off in the room and check out Chris’ first showcase. Also on his show were local favorites, John Betz Jr. and Al Goodwin. I went to take a quick bathroom break after Chris’ set and had my first celebrity sighting of the weekend, Brian Posehn from The Sarah Silverman Show. It was particularly surreal because I had just seen him on the plane ride in on a celebrity edition of The Weakest Link. It took every ounce of restraint to not accost him and tell him this. That restraint would come in handy later. After the show, we adjourned to the special VIP lounge that the festival had set up for those associated with the comedic goings-on (again, thanks to the DC Improv for getting me on the list). Who do we see heading to the lounge? Chris Rock and Jeff Ross. I got a good idea that restraint was going to be the theme of the weekend when dealing with the various famous and semi-famous people, when we saw Chris Rock rebuff a request for a picture by a random bystander. That will explain why there are no famous people in my collection of pictures. Instead, here’s one of me and my friend Becca just happy to be there…


The lounge was a sweet set up. Free food. Free booze. A foozball table. Plenty of vague high-ranking showbiz muckety-mucks to suck up to…it was a comic’s wet dream. It was also, as was the bulk of the festival, sponsored by Twix, so the thing might as well have been built out of candy. Here’s a quick run down of the rest of the celebrities we spotted, gawked at, and otherwise pretended not to give a flying fuck about: Nick Swardson, Bobby Lee, Bill Burr (shook hands with him, nice guy), Carrot Top, more VH1 talking heads than I can count, Marc Maron, Kevin Pollak, Patrice O’Neal, and Jim Breuer. For the most part I mixed and mingled with some familiar faces, Tony Deyo and Andy Hendrickson. We also ran into recent DC export Adam Jacobs. It was a cavalcade. So, that was the scene in the VIP lounge.

My first morning in Vegas, we had breakfast at a cafe in Caesar’s Palace. I had peanut butter and banana stuffed french toast, in tribute to The King. Then I continued my tribute by passing out on the toilet. After recovering from breakfast, on a suggestion from Chris, we trekked out to the Atomic Testing Museum and Casino.

Nothing like a little bit of historical destruction to temper your future gambling losses. The coolest thing in the museum was footage of houses on the test site being obliterated shot by cameras that can capture a 1000th of a second. You could wind the video back and forth, frame by frame. It was an apocalyptic flip book. They also had the list of every code name used for nuclear tests. My favorite: Ferret Prime. Sounds like the greatest band ever or the shittiest Transformer ever. They also had a timeline of the history of nuclear discovery as it related to moments in pop culture and regular historical events. It was what they chose for the pop culture that got me. Most made sense…see which one jumps out at you as out of place…

1980: John Lennon is shot.
1987: Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is popular.
1989: The Simpsons and Seinfeld debut.

That puts things into perspective. 1987 stunk. Moving on. On our way back to the strip, we stopped for coffee. Keep an eye peeled, folks, because this drive-thru sensation is gonna sweep the nation…

SexxPresso. Coffee served by scantily clad vixens who got tired of working the day shift at Pizza Slut. The drinks have naughty names with double and triple entendres, and come in either A, B, or DD cups. A refreshing surprise was that these gals took being a barista seriously. The coffee came first (get your head out of the gutter). One word, people: franchise.

We also took in a Vegas show. So many to choose from, we wanted to have a truly unique experience, so the dart we threw landed on the bullseye of…Topless Vampire Revue. That makes it sound so tawdry. Yeah, sounds about right. We went to see Bite at the Stratosphere. Chris does a great job of crystallizing the show in his recent blog entry. The only thing I’ll add is never has a show been so accurately described by its title. It had its moments, but for the most part, it was laughable. The vampiresses writhed to such rock anthems as “Welcome to the Jungle”, “Cat Scratch Fever”, and “Stairway to Heaven”. They did so under the direction of the Lord Vampire, who looked like he didn’t make it past the table read at WWE auditions for The Undertaker. Overall, the set looked like it was out of Ed Wood’s high school musical. Yes, I realize I’m critiquing a show that basically revolves around undead boobs (thumbs up on those, btw). The one redeeming part of the show were the most convincing audience plants I’ve ever seen. They were brought up on stage and “bitten”. They turned out to be amazing acrobats. Check out the video…

The other great audience plant was an unassuming guy who had a gimpy hand. Well, after he got bitten, he kept his gimp hand strong and turned out to be a better than average singer. If it weren’t for those performers, it would’ve been a wash.

Be sure to look for my east coast topless vampire revue, Suck. Chris also came up for another great monster-themed topless revue…shaved werewolves. Hot.

Once again, my poor blog time management is getting the better of me, so the last thing I’ll mention, in a bit of horn tootage, is that I took 3rd in a poker tournament my last day there. It started at 3pm…I played ’til 8:30. My winnings ended up paying for my trip.

Good times.

To be continued…