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…

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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…

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…