Monday, February 28, 2011

Show #38: Timeout Sports Bar

Louis C.K. was amazing last night.  In my opinion (which doesn't really matter.  No one asked for it or deserved it.  But who cares? Read it)... Louie is the best stand up comedian working right now.  He is up there with the likes of Carlin and Pryor as one of the best and most prolific writers in comedy.  It was especially cool to see him work a small club like Carolines.  

It was also a great learning experience... when you're standing fifty feet away from the best, you can't help but observe or try to pick up things. You notice certain mannerisms or habits. You can see how a guy can handle long laughs or applause breaks verses a joke that didn't get as big of a laugh as it would elsewhere.  The biggest thing I got from the experience was motivation.  Seeing Louie at the peak of his powers at the most famous comedy club in the country made me want to work my ass off to get that good.  I know I'll never be that good... but dammit I'm going to try. 

Still riding the high of my weekend at Magooby's Joke House and seeing C.K., I got back to work tonight at Timeout Sports Bar in Westminster, Maryland.  I did a solid eight minutes in front of twenty-five or so bar patrons.  I mainly worked on one new joke and tightening up jokes I've been doing for a few weeks... which all seemed to go over well.

In the middle of my set, one random guy tried to "participate" and yelled out something during my set.  I said the word "asshole" during a joke and the following exchange happened...

Drunk Westminsteronian: (sarcastically) Did you say "asshole" or "casserole"? 
Me: I said "please don't interrupt again"
(Big laugh from audience)

It was short and sweet.  It was nice handling a talker without being really crass or mean.  After the Esquire Lounge debacle last week, I've learned that being nasty to hecklers or interrupters comes with mixed results. There is a really fine line and balancing act when it comes to handling a disruptive person or audience.  I'm still a novice at that art.

My next show is Wednesday night at the Martini Lounge in Waldorf, Maryland.  Until then, here are two youtube videos that have nothing to do with this blog post....







Sunday, February 27, 2011

Shows #36 & #37: Magooby's Joke House

I'm writing this blog from the Megabus via my iPhone. I apologize in advance if autocorrect changes phrases like 'good times' to 'rejoice the declaration of the continental army in the United States of America'. It could happen. One time I (lovingly) referred to a friend of mine as a 'bone smoocher'. Autocorrect changed it to 'bone beholder'. But I digress...

I'm on my way to New York to see Louis C.K. at Carolines. It reminds me of being a kid... I loved baseball (still do) and would go to Oriole Park and watch batting practice. That's how I feel now. A little leaguer going to watch Cal Ripken in his prime playing the game he loves. It's going to be a great night and nice finish to a hectic but awesome week.

My last two shows at Magooby's went well. I had two good sets last night in front of two sold out crowds (250 people each). I think my second set last night was the better of the two. It was a longer set and I was a little more warmed up. I got a lot of great feedback and it was cool hanging out with comic friends T. Brad Hudson and Mike Storck. It was a great week hanging out with and watching headliner Carl LaBove. He is a good man with an incredible story (check out his interview with Marc Maron on WTF...it's amazing). I'm definitely a better comedian for working with him this weekend.

I really do have to thank Andrew and the staff at Magooby's Joke House. I was given a great opportunity and was treated so well by him and his staff. It was a lot of fun.

I can't embed YouTube videos from my phone.... I probably can but I'm too dumb to figure it out right now. I promise two videos tomorrow. Until then, rejoice the declaration of the continental army in the United States of America... bone beholder.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Shows #34 & #35: Magooby's Joke House

I did two shows tonight at Magooby's Joke House and had a great time.  The eight o'clock show went well and I had a good set in front of roughly one hundred and seventy-five people.  I did about ten minutes and did really well despite a minor stumble at the end of a joke.  It wasn't that big of a stumble... I told a joke slightly different than I'm used to.  When it didn't get as big of a life, I tried to stretch it an extra line to get a bigger laugh and it came up short.  A different joke ended up getting a big applause break in the middle of my set.  Getting one of those doesn't suck.  Overall, it wasn't my best or most consistent set but it was solid.

The ten o'clock show was a smaller crowd (around one hundred people) but a better set for me.  I did thirteen minutes and every joke connected.  I wanted to change things up and do some different jokes than I did on show one.  I did only did about five minutes from set one and fixed the mistake I made earlier.  It ended up going great and getting my biggest laugh of the night.  It was also cool that Carl Labove was quoting my joke to me after the show.  He is a really awesome guy and an incredible storyteller.  It's been great working with and getting advice from Carl.  He is a great conversation and good friend to young comics.  

I have two shows tonight before my run at Magooby's is finished..  It is kind of bittersweet in a way.  I've loved working with these guys and this club.  During my second set, I remember thinking at one point "This is fun... I can't believe I'm actually getting paid to do it".  Stand up is a high and something I really do have a passion  for.  I would drive hours and pay to do it.  It still boggles my mind that occasionally we get paid to tell jokes.  

I hope that someday I'm doing this every weekend at a lot of different places.  Making a living at stand up is kind of a pipe dream but you never know... it could happen.  It probably won't.  I just hope that it's this much fun and fresh a few years from now.  

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Banner

I'd like to give big thanks and a shout out to Ben Rosen for the new banner and blog logo!  Ben is a multi-talented guy and besides co-headlining Hightopps with me in April, he can be seen hosting a comedy show every other week at Illusions Magic Bar in Federal Hill, MD.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Show #33: Magooby's Joke House

I hate it when comedians write about how good they are.  I hear so many comedians that talk about how awesome they are or how they kill all the time.  When they are decent comics, this comes off as extremely arrogant.  In reality most comedians who say they "kill" are delusional.    Unfortunately... a lot comics can be both. 

That being said... I killed my eleven minute set at Magooby's Joke House tonight.  Stand up comedy really is a process and like the cliche goes: "It's a marathon and not a sprint".  I feel like I've been putting a lot of work into comedy and it paid off tonight.

Originally I was supposed to host Magooby's New Talent Night but at the last minute I was replaced by Mickey Cuchella of 98 Rock (I'm still hosting two shows tomorrow and Saturday night).  Quite frankly this arrangement worked out great for me.  I still got a paycheck and got to do my normal set.  It ended up being a half-night off for me as I got to enjoy the rest of the show.  I did my guest spot in the middle of the show in front of two hundred people and it ended up being the most fun I've ever had on stage.  Every joke popped and I got a great reaction from the audience.  I feel like it was the best set I've done from start to finish. 

I'm sorry if this blog makes me sound like a tool.  With comedy, I usually dissect everything I do.  When I'm done dissecting it, I over analyze it and then dissect it again.  I'm a very hyper-critical and neurotic guy but tonight's set felt really good.  It was also nice hanging out and talking with Mickey, Greg Brown, Carl Labove (who's brain I'll pick apart this weekend) and the New Talent winner: Kyle Swisher.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Shows #31 & #32: Sonoma's and 11th Street Lounge

I braved the snowstorm and did two sets last night.  First I did nine minutes at the new open mic at Sonoma's Bar and Grill in Columbia, MD.  It was a pretty good set.  I figured out what lines to cut from the new jokes...so this show was a success.

Then I drove to 11th Street Lounge in Arlington, VA.  I was comedian 23 out of 24 and there were about six audience members left by the end of the night.  Chris Barylick who runs the show is a really nice guy but really wanted the show to be over by the end (I can't blame him).  I got really frustrated when he lit me (shining the light to say there are two minutes left) really early.

I ended up screwing up two jokes and got mad at myself.  It was a mini-meltdown.  However, I did get laughs and tell the two jokes I wanted to work on correctly... so it wasn't a complete waste of time.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Show #30: Hightopps Bar and Grille

My thirtieth show of the year was at Hightopps Backstage Bar and Grille.  As I've said before, Hightopps is kind of my home base for comedy.  A lot of times, it feels more like hanging out with my friends and less like a comedy show.

My good friend T. Brad Hudson, who runs the show, let me host tonight as practice for this coming weekend at Magooby's.  It was a really good time and probably the best job I've done mc'ing to date.  I stuck to mostly new material that I've been working on and opened with a really strong eight minutes.  It's nice that the new jokes are really coming together.

It was also a lot of fun introducing and riffing in between acts.  I have to give a shout out to my friends Chris Logan, Bryan Preston, Drew Landry and Ben Rosen for their sets.  They all did great and it was nice hanging out with those guys.  Ben and I will be back at Hightopps on April 10th as co-headliners.  Ben is one of my really good friends and that is going to be a great show.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Show #29: Esquire Lounge

Why do people talk during comedy shows?  If you are an audience member that paid your hard earned money ($10 cover charge, 2 drink minimum, parking etc.) to listen to people tell jokes... why in the world would you disrupt the performer?

I did fifteen minutes at Esquire Lounge tonight and as always, I recorded my set.  In listening back to it, I had about as good of a beginning as I could have had.   The audience was small (twelve non-comedians) and despite being interrupted constantly, I had a really strong ten minutes.

At about the ten minute mark... a rude lady that I will refer to as "Stupid Woman" interrupted a joke I was telling three times.  "Stupid Woman" kept trying to tell me that her husband, "Ass Turd Monkey Fucker" has a room in his house that he masturbates in.  The crazy thing she wanted me to know was...."HE DOESN'T EVEN CLOSE THE DOOR!!!!11!!!1!"

I pointed out to "Stupid Woman" and her merry band of assholes that I didn't care.   Sadly, this just made things more disruptive and more awkward.  This table of five people continued to interrupt until I eventually told them "Go die in a fire" (a line I stole from my friend Jay Szech).  I could have handled this situation way better.   They were almost half of this audience and making fun of them only made it more awkward.  This table was too drunk and too obnoxious to reason with.  In hindsight, I should have wrapped up my set and ignored them.

If I'm performing or watching a show, I have very little tolerance or patience for hecklers.   These people weren't even hecklers.  They were those stereotypical drunk people at the bar that thought they were the life of the party and didn't care about the people around them.  I hate when these people think they are "participating".  Talking during a show doesn't enhance the show or "help" the comedian.  It messes with the timing of jokes they've been working on and hurts their sets.

There are people who say things like "they are just having a good time" or "they paid money... they can do whatever they want".  To that I call poppycock.  It is great that they came to have a great time and as an "entertainer" I do my best to that.  But if you want to get drunk, crack one liners and talk about your husband's masturbatorium then go to another bar.  Don't go to a comedy show.   I know you paid money to go there but so did other people.

Tonight wasn't a complete bust.  Esquire Lounge has potential to be a good room.  It is a nice space and the people that run it are very nice.  Overall my set was solid.  It is frustrating because I feel like it could have been one of my better sets.  Instead it ended up being very average and ended in death wishes (which even after a cool down period...I don't take them back).  I figured out the wording on a joke I have been trying for a while... It killed tonight.  That's the nugget I'll take away from a night that was pretty annoying.

I'd like to give a shout out to my buddies C.J. Stottuth, Chris Logan and Alabama for having really good sets under less than stellar conditions.  


Jimmy Meritt hates you... (a non-show blog)

Jimmy Meritt is a good man.  Jimmy Meritt is a married man and a great comedian.  I talk to Jimmy about the road and comedy on a regular basis.  He is always friendly and gives great advice on comedy.  I feel like I am a (marginally) better comedian because of the guidance and advice he has given me.  To say this guy is cool is an understatement.  But here is something you should know about Jimmy Meritt... He probably hates you.

Standing at 6'2 and weighing a mere 150 pounds, Jimmy Meritt is not much in stature.  What he lacks in body mass, he makes up for with pure hatred.  Are you a comic that has "Comedian" written in your name on facebook?  Jimmy hates you.  Comedians that post videos on facebook and tag a million people that had nothing to do with the video.  Boom... Jimmy hates you.  If you are a comedian that likes to sit in the audience and draw attention to yourself by talking while another comic is performing... Jimmy Meritt hates you and for good reason.

Sometimes you do not have to do anything for Jimmy not to like you.  Once Jimmy hated a guy named Jeff for no reason.  He'd say things like "I just don't like Jeff's face.  I hate him".  That's just the kind of guy James Andrew Meritt is.

In all seriousness, Jimmy is a good guy and a major league talent in comedy.  Like me, he is misanthropic and thinks he hates people a lot more than he does.  I can't really say that for sure.   Something I can say for sure... The dude is really fucking funny.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Show #28: Magooby's Joke House

I mc'd a show at Magooby's Joke House tonight... It was a last minute gig that was really fun and headlined by Rich Vos (Opie and Anthony, Comedy Central).  Comedy is fun that way.  At 7 pm, I was bored and pooping.  At 7:30, I went to Magooby's to watch a comedy show.  By 8 pm I had a show and my most legit comedy credit to date.

It was good to get work in as an MC... I'm still a work in progress as a host but I'm getting better.  It is tough to just go on stage cold and make people laugh.  Good hosts are usually guys/girls that are energetic and have a lot of charisma.  I'm not really that guy.  I tend to pace myself with stand up.  Mainly because I'm fat and I have to.  It's tough being a methodically paced, misanthropic comic that hosts but I'm working at it.

I got laughs during my ten minute opening set and made all of the announcements correctly.  It was a really small crowd but a few people came up to me and told me they liked my material.  Meeting people who enjoyed the show is always nice.  It is weird meeting people that think you suck.

Speaking of people who think I suck... Magooby's has a drawing at the end of every show.  Staff collects comment cards and the person who wrote the selected card wins free tickets.  When I pulled the random card tonight... it said "MC sucks" under the comments section.  I looked through the twenty or so cards to see if there were more critical comments and that was the only one.  Still... of all the cards, why did I pull the one that says I suck?

Overall, this was a good experience and a good show.  Rich was a funny and good guy.  I'm grateful for Andrew at Magooby's Joke House for giving me a lot of cool opportunities and being a great friend to comedy.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Show #27: Potomac Grill

I did a really solid nine minutes at Potomac Grill in Rockville, Maryland.  I stumbled through some transitions and the wording on one brand new joke but overall it was a really good set.  With the exception of one joke, I have done all the jokes in this nine minutes less than five times. I still have a lot of work to do... but it feels good that these jokes are getting laughs.

Props to my friend C.J. Stottuth who did a good job filling in for Rob Maher as host.  It was also nice hanging out with my good friend Rob Nelson. I've seen Rob perform dozens of times and tonight was the best set I've seen him have. So in the end, it was a good night all around.


When did different become better? A non-show blog...

I hate hipsters. Everyone knows of the guy or girl that likes crappy music just because no one else likes it. These are the same pretentious people that look down on movies because more than seven people saw it and atleast six of them like it. They do all of this while wearing extremely tight pants. Oh… the skinny jeans.

Lately, I've run into a lot of "alt comedy" people. Amongst these people there seems to be a growing attitude that “different means better”. I’m going to go ahead, disagree and say that different means… well, different.

To look down on a "stand up comedian" for telling a "regular jokes" is dumb. To label a stand up comedian as a "standard, set up then punch-line guy" is incredibly smug and unfair. Unless he steals or lifts material, each comedian is unique and different (even if it’s in a very small and subtle way). Comparing Louis CK and George Carlin is like comparing Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson.  Saying Dave Chappelle and Richard Pryor are identical is like saying Radiohead and the Beatles are the exact same thing.  Comparing... fuck it. You get the point.

Lumping all stand up comedians in the same category is passive and if you consider yourself an authority on stand up comedy, irresponsible. Actually, if you consider yourself an authority on stand up or comedy... kill yourself. There are no authorities on comedy. It’s subjective. I think that is the whole point of this blog.

I appreciate anyone who tries stand up or any kind of performance art for that matter. There are comedians I flat do not like personally or comedically but I respect the fact that they try. A comedian that goes out there every night and tells jokes is a performer in the most vulnerable position imaginable. It takes courage. To put all of us in the same category because we are trying the same craft is plain stupid. Performers that sing songs that aren't funny but claim they are in the name of irony, have food eating contests or have sex with stuffed animals on stage may be different... but it's not necessarily better. Half of the time it's not even comedy.

I really do try to respect all performers and even if I don't like it, I appreciate that someone else might. People in the alternative comedy scene should try doing the same. They should also wear baggier pants. They look like dumb asses


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Shows #25 & #26: Varsity Lounge and Magooby's Joke House

I had two shows tonight.  First, I did ten minutes at Varsity Lounge (formerly known as EJ's Landing) in College Park.  I followed that up with a nine minute set at Magooby's Joke House in Baltimore.

I worked on a lot of new jokes, as well as crowd work at Varsity Lounge.  I really like my new opener that I did for the first time tonight (and then did again at Magooby's)... There are some jokes that you write and even if they don't get a laugh or the audience doesn't get it, you just like.  I'm lucky that the opener killed twice tonight.

Varsity Lounge is interesting.  It is a weird and small room that tends to get rowdy and out of control at times.  Tonight was alright.  However, I'm still wondering why some couple had a baby there.  There was literally a dumpy woman walking around the show with crying baby (that couldn't have been older than a few months).  I'm no parenting expert but a bar comedy show is no place for a small child.  Overall it was still a good set and a good opportunity to work on new jokes.

After that I raced over to Magooby's... I didn't have much time in between shows and was proud that I made it there in forty minutes (despite google maps saying it would take fifty-four minutes).  The late show at Magooby's had over two hundred people in the audience.  It was awesome performing for that crowd, and I absolutely crushed it.  I did a really strong nine minutes and it was the most fun I've had on stage in a while.  It was really nice ending this week in comedy on a high note.

A shout out to my friend Jay Szech for a great featured set.  It was also nice meeting Andy Pitz and Desi Alexander.  They were really nice and talented guys.  I hope to work with them again.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Show #24: 11th Street Lounge

I did eight minutes at my friend Chris Barylick's showcase at the 11th Street Lounge in Arlington, Virginia.  It was the best set I had since Hightopps two weeks ago but overall it was a mixed bag.  It's kind of expected when doing new jokes but is still disappointing.

I opened really strong and closed great...but the middle was very "eh".  One new joke/story did great and I think is going to end up being a really good bit.  Another new joke kind of fizzled half way through...but I'm going to re-work it.  Another new joke did okay despite me screwing up the set-up, middle and punch. The new jokes are still inconsistent and experiencing growing pains....

This was still a good show.  Chris is a good guy and runs a good show.  Randolph T, Tim Miller and Mike Smith are also really good guys and had great sets.  Tomorrow night I have two sets.  The first is at Varsity Lounge in College Park and the second is at Magooby's Joke House.  Hopefully it is the start of a good run.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Show #22: Looking Glass Lounge

Did six minutes at Looking Glass Lounge last night.  I did mostly new jokes to mixed results.  One new bit went really well while another one crashed and burned.  There is another new joke that I am going to retool and try again later.  I'm working on a brand new 5-7 minutes over the next week... which excites me.  I have so many bits that I think could turn out well.  

Tonight I'm doing WJHU radio tonight from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. with my friend Tommy Sinbazo.  This show is always a good time...so please check it out if you can.  Otherwise I'm doing stand up at Walter Reed Military Hospital, 11th Street Lounge and EJ's Landing this week.  Hopefully I'll get some open mics in between these shows to work on the new jokes.