Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sets #246, #247, #248, #249 & #250: Ottobar, Charles Village Pub, Iota, Caoco Lane and Magooby's Joke House

As the year winds down... I'm taking a little bit of a breather.  I don't have any booked gigs this week but I plan on writing, working on a few projects and sleeping.  This year I'll have done over 250 shows, recorded another CD, written another 30ish minutes (which I'm really proud of) and worked as far north as Rhode Island and as far south as Florida.  It's been a good and interesting year.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sets #192, #193, #194, #195, #196, #197, #198, #199, #200 & #201: The Cove, Hightopps Bar and Grill, Sidebar Tavern, Fish Head Cantina, Delia Foley's and Baltimore Comedy Factory

I had a great (and busy) week working out new material... the shows all had a varying degree of difficulty but were all productive and successful.  The new jokes are clicking and the shows were great all around.



P.S. My second set tonight went so well that a middle aged women came up to me afterwards and told me that I was "adorable" and gave me her phone number (despite most of my set being about how I'm married and my wife is awesome).  She also hugged me multiple times and has possibly traumatized me for a little while.  This is the life I have chosen for myself... 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

#186, #187, #188, #189, #190 & #191: Your Place, Fish Head Cantina, Church Street Pub, Caoco Lane and the DC Improv

I had a fun week of working on new bits and then had a good audition set at the DC Improv.  The new jokes have been going over well and the audition set was a success because getting on that stage was a big moment in itself.  Hopefully it will lead to some more gigs as well... 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sets #176, #177, #178, #179, #180 & #181: Magooby's Joke House, UMBC, Caoco Lane, Pratt Street Ale House and Elaine's Piano Bar

Elaine's in Asheville, North Carolina - 9/20/2013

I finished up a great weekend at Magooby's then worked on new stuff through the rest of the week in Baltimore.  I'm really happy with these bits and happy with the evolution of this material.  I'm currently in the middle of a run through North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.  So far... it's been fun.  Until next time, I'll be in a car, watching movies in a hotel or on a stage.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sets #168, #169, #170, #171, #172, #173, #174 & #175: Baltimore Comedy Factory, Church Street Pub, Triple L, Magooby's Joke House and Hampdenfest

Baltimore Comedy Factory - 9/7/2013

I've had some really fun shows of late.... Last weekend I got to open for Drew Carey (who couldn't have been a funnier or sweeter dude) and feature at Magooby's Joke House, with some productive open mics in between.  Two new jokes are hitting very nicely and I'm starting to hit a stride.  I'll continue the grind tonight with two more shows at Magooby's.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sets #136, #137, #138, #139, #140, #141, #142, #143, #144, #145, #146, #147, #148, #149, #150, #151, #152, #153, #154, #155, #156 & #157: Speakeasy Rehearsal, Sidebar, Desperado's, Hard Times Cafe, Big Hunt, Light Horse Tavern, Cafe 611, Old Town Theater (5 shows), The Cellar Door, The Town Boutique, RiRa, Magooby's Joke House, Firestation One, Townhouse Tavern, Desperado's, Big Hunt and Touchdown on U Street

I have not been updating this blog... but I have been working hard.  In the past month I've been writing a lot, doing a lot of shows and working on a film project.  Highlights from the road included a PBS filming at a show I headlined at the Cellar Door in Frederick and opening for Dustin Diamond (who turned out to be a nice dude) at the historic Old Town Theater in Alexandria.

I'll be back with a long blog soon... 


P.S. Leave Affleck alone... he's the least of the Batman/Superman movie's problems.  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sets #129, #130, #131, #132, #133, #134 & #135: Caoco Lane, Ocean City Comedy Zone, Desperado's, Solly's, Pratt Street Alehouse, Triple L and RFD

I worked on new stuff over the past week... I still don't know if it's funny.  It's definitely polarizing and a little out of comfort zone.  If anything, it's honest.  I just need to work hard and keep searching.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sets #114, #115, #116, #117, #118, #119, #120, #121 & #122: Caoco Lane, Firestation One, Fish Head Cantina, Pratt Street Alehouse, Baltimore Comedy Factory and the GoProud Benefit (at RFD)

"Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in"

I honestly thought I would go a month without doing standup, but I just couldn't stay away.  I had a nice variety of shows at the Comedy Factory (including the late late urban show), an event benefitting a group of conservatives supporting gay marriage and open mics.  The feature weekend at the Factory went great and all of these shows flexed different comedic muscles.  I had a great time and a few weeks off certainly did me well.  

I have a few more shows coming up, but the short film I'm working on is still on track to shoot from August 18-25th.  I'm pumped.


P.S. No matter what people think of Kevin Smith and his movies... this is one of the most thoughtful, funny, encouraging and beautiful talks about making art I've seen.  Any aspiring comic, writer, filmmaker or artist of any kind should watch it.  

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Mud

Spoiler alert: Mud is not the intense thriller that trailers and previews have made it out to be.  Though it has thrilling elements and even a great action sequence, this is a very sweet movie at its core.  I had high expectations going into this one and I have to say that these expectations were exceeded.

One of the things that drew me to Mud was Matthew McConaughey (who shines in an Oscar worthy performance).  With interesting choices and roles in movies like Killer Joe, Magic Mike and The Lincoln Lawyer, McConaughey has been on a roll in the last few years.  Forget stinkers like Sahara, Fools Gold and Failure To Launch; McConaughey has become one of those actors that is magnetic onscreen and makes interesting choices in characters and films.  Even when one of his movies doesn't quite work, his performance is usually hard to not appreciate.


In this movie, McConaughey plays the title character Mud, an outlaw who is hiding in an Arkansas riverbank before being discovered by two impressionable teenagers.  Flawed and complicated but certainly likable, Mud seems to be a dream role for a character actor (something McConaughey has always been at heart) and one that he plays flawlessly in this film.

Not to be outdone, the heart of this film lies in Tye Sheridan, who plays Ellis, one of the teenagers who finds and helps McConaughey's complex fugitive.  I've never seen Sheridan before, but he really is the film's heart and protagonist.  The fourteen year old's character adds a sweetness and a moral compass that was not expected going into this story.

Reese Witherspoon, Sam Shepard, Sarah Paulson and Michael Shannon round out a great and perfectly cast ensemble.  Written and Directed by Jeff Nichols, Mud is methodically paced, exceptionally written and is sure to be one of the most satisfying movies of 2013.  This is definitely a movie I will find myself owning and re-watching multiple times when it comes out on DVD.

Smile Train

I was listening to a podcast (Skeptic Tank w/Ari Shaffir) this morning and the subject of charity came up... Ari's guest Doug Benson mentioned that one of the charities he supports is Smile Train. Curious, I looked up this organization and learned that it is a truly great cause.  If you are unaware, Smile Train started in the late 90's and raises money for underprivileged children with cleft palates. Since it's start, it has provided provided free surgery for almost a million children in Africa, China, India and many other places across the world.  If you have some extra money and are looking for a good charity to donate to, I recommend visiting www.smiletrain.org.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

This is wonderful...

I'm not a huge TJ Miller fan... but this is fantastic.  Check it out.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sets #111, #112 & #113: Sidebar Tavern, O'Sullivans Pub and Lake Shore Firehall

I had some really good shows this past week and I'm feeling great right now... I have no booked shows in June, so I'm looking forward to napping and working on a movie project for a while.  After 300 sets (in the past 14 months) and recording a new album's worth of material, this break comes at a good time.


P.S. Fuck Sammy Rhodes 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mike Lawrence's Sadamantium


I don't really know Mike Lawrence personally... but we have a few mutual friends and have crossed paths randomly at open mic when I've been in New York.  He seems like a nice guy and has always been very funny when I've seen him.  Last night, I purchased his album (the beautifully crafted and relentlessly funny) Sadamantium and was not disappointed.  Lawrence is quick witted, a great joke-writer and provides more belly laughs in the first five minutes of his debut album than most comedians you'll hear all year.  Bottom line: BUY THIS RECORD!


P.S. as a comedy fan I'm really happy for Mike Lawrence and his success... but the narcissist in me is irritated that I'm not funniest comic with a beard, glasses and/or the name Mike.  

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sets #107, #108, #109 & #110: Sonoma's Bar and Grill, RFD, Comedy Depot and Sean Bolan's

It was the best, worst and most mediocre of times... The show at Sonoma's Bar and Grill in Columbia, MD may have been the worst show I've ever been a part of.  I won't harp on it because this room is dead now (though it probably should have never been born) and it would be beating a dead horse.  This is one of the cases where I will take the paycheck and smile. 
 
After the Sonoma's abortion I took a few days off and followed it up with a mediocre set at RFD in Washington, DC.  I actually got a lot of laughs and even had an applause break but I was not very good.  I was stiff and my energy was low.  I should have destroyed with a crowd like that... but instead I was just blah.  It was also a kick in the pants I needed and made me refocus a bit. 

The next night... I got a last minute headlining set at The Comedy Depot in Lancaster, PA.  Though the crowd was small, I had a good forty-five minute set.  All of my material hit and I even had a few improvized moments that went well.  The highlight of this set was when I referred to an audience member as "the guy who killed John Lennon".  Overall, this was a fun show and raised money for a good cause. 

Finally, I had a really good sixty-five minute set at Sean Bolan's in Bel Air, MD on Tuesday.  This was one of the shows I decided to record for a possible album and I absolutely crushed it.  I hate it when comics brag about "killing" or "crushing"  (because it's usually false and doesn't mean anything) but I'm going to give myself some credit here.  This was an important night for me and it ended with possibly the best long set I've ever had. This was also the most comfortable I have felt on stage and it was the first time I did an hour where it did not feel like "work".  I'm really proud of this set and can't wait for people to hear it in the (not too distant) future. 


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sets #104, #105 & #106: Iota, Magooby's Joke House and Beats Venue

What is wrong with me? This is a question I ask myself multiple times a day... Another popular question in my arsenal is: Why do I do this? With a few exceptions, I have had a string of really shitty sets (that were mostly really bad situations before I entered the equation) lately and this has been causing me to ask these questions repeatedly in the lightning round known as my "life".

Maybe I'm being more neurotic than usual... or maybe I'm just a little burnt out. Regardless, I need to say "no" more. For four years, I've tried to be open-minded and really have not turned down many shows. I've pretty much accepted any gig without worrying about pay, location or circumstances. I've used these gigs (especially the really bad ones) to get better and hone my craft. For the most part, I've kept a very high batting average and have found ways to do well or at least have acceptable sets under the conditions but lately the grind has been getting to me. 

Tonight, I had a show in DC. This was an improv and standup show that I took despite the very small paycheck because a friend of mine was running it. After hitting traffic, I had trouble finding parking. I drove around for street parking for about fifteen minutes before giving up and looking for a garage. I hate paying a lot for parking, but the show was starting and I did not have the time to continue a search for street parking.

I pulled into one garage and they were full. I had to back out of the garage (which took forever because of traffic) and found another one several blocks away in the opposite direction (which cost about as much as I was getting paid for the show).  After parking, I started walking (the first of ten blocks) to the venue and right on cue… it started raining.  Like a silent comedy film from the 1930’s, it starting pouring as soon as I left the garage. 

Soaking wet, I arrived to the show late.  An improv group was already onstage and they had almost as many members with them as there were in the audience.  In a matter of minutes I went from irritable to sad to pissed off to depressed and eventually back to irritated by the time I took the stage. This was not a great combination of emotional to have when trying to entertain people. 

My set didn't go well... and that's my fault.  I’m embarrassed about how I acted on and offstage.  I was mopey and it really showed in my “performance”. It's not the fault of the ten audience members that the show wasn't great or that I'm having a shitty day. It was my job to make them laugh and I failed.

I probably should not have been at this show in the first place.  I should have said no to this gig... but I didn't. I accepted it and it was my responsibility to handle the situation more gracefully. I regret phoning it in and things worse than they should have been. I need to work on preventing this from happening again.



But seriously… why do I do this?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sets #102 & #103: Firestation One and Townhouse Tavern

I worked on all new bits last night (which included a more polished version of something I improvised in Warwick over the weekend).  All of the premises have potential and I'll consider this to be a successful Monday night.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sets #100 & #101: Warwick Comedy Zone

I had a really good weekend at the Comedy Zone in Warwick, Rhode Island.  I had some good sets (that ran thirty-two minutes each), stayed in a nice hotel, saw 42, Iron Man 3 and the Mayweather fight for free (because the comedy club was located in a movie theater). I also ironed a shirt for the first time in years and made my own waffle. Overall, this was a very good "road dog" weekend.  

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Set #99: Redhouse Tavern

My ninety-ninth set of 2013 was fine.  The crowd was sparse and I worked on newer bits and just kind of did okay.  The response was on par with the other comedians with that crowd last night.  Nothing great.  Nothing horrible.  Just... okay.  I'm taking the night off and then going to Rhode Island in the morning.  This weekend should be a fun cluster of shows at the Warwick Comedy Zone. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sets #96, #97 & #98: Fishead Cantina, Sidebar Tavern and Vera Cruz

The new stuff is clicking despite one of these sets being a gigantic waste of time.  Some nights when I drive an hour (each way) and sit around (through dozens of comics) for three hours to work on five new minutes of jokes in front of 5 comics and 0 audience members... I can't help but wonder "why do I do this"?  I can't help but wonder if I am truly any further than when I started this.  


Sorry I'm emo... Hopefully tomorrow's post (because I'm an idiot and am sure that there will be another set tonight) will be happier

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sets #91, #92, #93, #94 & #95: Firestation One, Townhouse Tavern, Redhouse Tavern, Caoco Lane and Sonoma's Bar and Grill

I didn't have any booked shows this week... so I spent my time working on new material and doing open mics. The new jokes are clicking and includes the best line I've written to date. I'm really happy with this new chunk and can't wait to do it this weekend at the Warwick Comedy Zone.

 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Upcoming Things

Shalom! How are you? I am fine. If you are reading this... I like you. I don't like "like you, like you" but I do consider you pretty cool and consider you a friend. As my friend you know that I have been doing comedy for the last few years and that it is something I do a lot. I typically hate pushing and promoting shows (I know how annoying it can be to get bombarded and spammed with constant Facebook invites and flyers for comedy shows... so I try to be choosey and conscientious about how much I push this stuff) but I wanted to highlight two upcoming shows I'm doing...

On May 21st I will be headlining a fun show at Sean Bolan's in Bel Air. This is one of my favorite comedy rooms and the Color Me Funny guys (the dudes that run that room) are nice enough to have me close out that show. 



After that show, I will be headlining a one off show at the Sidebar Tavern in Baltimore on May 28th. This will also be a fun show that my talented friends Stavros Halkias and Mike Storck (who are doing me a huge favor) are doing as well.

Why are these shows so special? Well first... I'm going to record these shows for a possible second album. I'm a much better comic now and I'm really excited about the comedic evolution from 'Stupid Genius' to 'The Cheery Side of Denial' (the future second album).  So this aspect should be very cool. 

In addition, May 28th is my birthday. I'm not saying this to guilt you into coming (though you really should come because it is my birthday and I'm not asking for a gift of any kind. Just come and make your laughter my birthday present. Anyway, you're totally a bad person if you don't go)... I'm saying this because recording an album and celebrating another year of not dying is a good excuse to burn some material. It's been 14 months and about 320 shows since my last album was recorded and I feel really good about the material I've written since then but I'm also tired and have outgrown some of it. This will be a good milestone and time to retire some bits. 



Finally, I'm not going to be doing a lot of standup this summer... I've been keeping this under my hat for a while, but I'm going to be working on a movie for a few months and will have to put comedy on the back burner for a bit. I'm really excited about this movie and think it will be good... but it's going to be impossible to continue doing stand up the way I'm doing it now (anywhere from 5-12 times a week) and direct this film. I have some road work and a few random gigs scheduled in June and July... but besides that, I'll be doing the movie thing (and occasionally eating dinner with my wife) until the September.

So that is pretty much everything. I hope to see you at one of these shows. They will be good. If you can't come, please text me and ask me to hang out. I will either say "yes" or "I got a new phone.... who is this?'

Be well,
Mike

P.S. I'm sorry that this was really long and probably made me sound self indulgent.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sets #87, #88, #89 & #90: Second Street Comedy Club, Stables, Laugh Riot at the Hyatt and the Capital City Showcase

I had a few sets this week with very mixed results. My Wednesday (charity) show at the Second Street Comedy Club in Harrisburg, PA was a lot of fun.  My thirty minute headline set was consistently good throughout and certainly a solid outing.  After doing a few charity shows that were (extremely well intentioned but) not good, it was nice doing a benefit in a comedy club with a good audience.  I was very happy with my set here.

My Thursday show at Stables... happened.

I had two shows on Saturday that were a lot of fun. The first show was at the Laugh Riot at the Hyatt (located in the Bethesda Hyatt Hotel) and it was fantastic. This independent room is basically a comedy club inside a hotel (it's run very professionally with a great backdrop and physical layout).  The crowds were attentive and open minded and I had a great time performing here. 

After the Riot, I had a very good ten minute set at the Capital City Showcase. This was a great show in a small blackbox theatre.  Despite the mic cord popping out (and not handling this blooper gracefully) it was a solid set. Overall, this was a great night of shows. 


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sets #79, #80, #81 & #82: Magooby's Joke House

I had four really good shows this weekend at Magooby's Joke House in Baltimore  The crowds were great and there was not a bad set among any of the acts over the week.  Having passed my feature audition, the pressure was off and I felt loose at the remaining shows.  I had a really good time on stage and as always it was great working with Vos and the nice staff and crew at Magooby's.

 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Set #78: Magooby's Joke House

Set number seventy-eight was an important one for me... After two years, seven hosting weekends, dozens of guest spots and several one nighter/fill in MC gigs, I got a chance to feature at my home club (Magooby's Joke House).  Though I've featured in several other comedy clubs before, there is something special about getting a chance to do it in your home club. 

Serving as an audition set, I successfully middled for twenty-two minutes.  The crowd was small (which can be tough to handle in a room that large) but my set went over well.  I didn't kill by any means, but I had a consistently solid set with big laughs through out.  I didn't really take any big chances.   I just did my "A material" and had a really good set. 


 
P.S. I'm happy to say that I passed the audition... I will be getting a feature weekend at Magooby's over the summer.  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Set #77: Touchdown on U Street

I had a really good sixteen minute set at Touchdown in Washington, DC last night.  This was a very good room with a friendly and really attentive crowd.  I had a good time and possibly the most fun I've had (doing my material) on stage in a while.

Despite being very good, all was not perfect.  I still need to cut two lines out of my "mental health" chunk.  It's amazing how these small changes be the difference between a good bit and a great bit.  I will trim the fat before the next time I do the chunk (most likely tonight).

Overall, this was a nice tuneup and confidence booster for my feature spot at Magooby's Joke House this weekend.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I Am Not A Hipster (a non show blog)


Don't judge a film by it's title... because I Am Not A Hipster is a wonderful movie.  Beautifully shot and acted as well as featuring an amazing soundtrack, I Am Not A Hipster is my favorite movie of 2013 (so far).  Shot on location in San Diego, the movie follows a week in the life of depressed musician Brook Hyde (played excellently by Dominic Bogart).

I Am Not A Hipster is not the type of movie that blows you away with effects, explosions or even a complicated story and plot twists.  It's a character study with relatable but not always the most likeable people (something that echoes films of the 60's and 70's such as Five Easy Pieces and The Graduate).  The performances (acting and musically) drive this one and the results are fantastic. 

Despite winning audience awards at Sundance and SXSW,  Hipster is not getting a huge release so be sure to seek it out.  You can find it via VOD or at www.iamnotahipster.com. You won't want to miss it. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Set #76: Fish Head Cantina

To recap: I spoke in a southern accent without breaking character for 25 minutes, I covered the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song, "Baby I got yo money" and "Free Bird" on the guitar, I told my "life story" which sounds very similar to the film Varsity Blues, I used another comic as a mic-stand and had a women tell me that I'd be a "lame bitch" if I couldn't name all seven members of the Wu-Tang Clan.... It was a good night. Hashtag: Alternative Comedy.  



P.S. I would typically never do those things on stage... but you had to be there.  I'll be back to telling my stories on Wednesday.  

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sets #72, #73, #74 & #75: Dempsey's and Arlington Drafthouse

I had a few fun shows this week... On Thursday, I had a solid twenty-six minute set at Dempsey's at Oriole Park in Baltimore, Maryland.  This show was tough to close out because it was following an open mic contest... but my set was passable.

On Friday and Saturday, I got to work with Rich Vos and Bonnie McFarlane (which is always a pleasure).  My twelve minute Friday set was incredibly solid and a good time.  The Saturday show was fine (though the crowd was a little more subdued).  My twelve minute set was good despite the crowd being tricky to warm up. 

My highlight for the weekend was when I walked off stage (on Friday), Vos said to me "Good set... I didn't listen to it but I heard the laughs".  I caught this moment on my iPhone recording.  I might make it my ringtone.  Overall, the weekend with Rich and Bonnie went well and I look forward to working with Rich again at Magooby's next week, 

After the show on Saturday, I had a very good set at the Drafthouse open mic.  I did two new-ish bits (that are ready for clubs now) and an older bit that I wanted to knock the dust off of.  Overall, this was a very good set. 


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sets #70 & #71: RiRa and Caoco Lane

I had two sets last night... the first of which came at RiRa in Arlington, Virginia.  The (packed) crowd was great and my eight minute set went over very well.  I started out with two short marriage jokes and then focused on a longer story.  The crowd was friendly, attentive and stuck with me the whole way.  I wish more crowds were like the one at RiRa last night. 

My second set was at Caoco Lane in Ellicott City, Maryland.  This show was basically a work shop and I had a decent to middling ten minute set.  Doing mostly new jokes and improv, I got laughs throughout the set and found 1-2 good new jokes.  We'll chalk this one up in the "win column". 


Monday, March 25, 2013

Sets #66, #67, #68 & #69: Arlington Drafthouse and Magooby's Joke House

I had a fun sixteen minute set in the sideroom at the Arlington Drafthouse on Thursday.  The crowd was a little hard to warm up and I started slow but everything was clicking by the end.  The last half of my set was really clicking and I'll consider this show an overall success. 

After Drafthouse, I had a very successful last minute weekend at Magooby's Joke House in Timonium.  I hosted for Nick Dipaolo and Joe List for three shows and had a great time.  The late show on Friday was surprisingly good with a with a tired but (thankfully) not a rowdy crowd.  Though the crowd was a little more subdued, I had a very good set. 

Both Saturday shows were sold out and could not have gone better.  In my opinion, there is no better room in the area when Magooby's is full.  With tiered stadium seating, the laughs trickle down and gives the room the feel of a big theater show.  Both crowds were great and I had my best hosting sets (to date) at the club.  I learned a lot and had a great time watching basketball with Joe and Nick (who is sincerely one of my favorite comedians working). 


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sets #64 & #65: Ben's Run and Red House Tavern

This is how I feel when the audience talks during the show...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sets #57, #58, #59, #60, #61, #62 & #63: Sully's Chantily, Avalon Theatre, Sidebar Tavern, Codmother, Touchdown, Judy's Restaraunt and Magooby's Joke House

My fifty-seventh set of the year took place at Sully's in Chantily, Virginia.  My forty minute set was solid and was a nice warm up for the next night at the Avalon Theatre in Easton, Maryland.  I had a great forty-five minute set in Easton, which included roughly forty minutes that was not on my CD.  This show gave me a lot of confidence as a long form comedian and happy with the state of my current long set.

I spent the week working on new stuff at Sidebar and Touchdown as well as further polishing my headliner set at Codmother in Washington, DC.  Codmother was a great venue and had a really hot crowd.  My thirty-five minute set went over great and did not feel like too much work.  This crowd was attentive and incredibly responsive.  I wish more crowds matched this particular audience's enthusiasm and intelligence.  Overall, this was a great show.

I spent my five minute set at Judy's Restaurant in Washington, DC refining the bits/ideas I worked on at Sidebar and Touchdown.  The tale of the "The girl that didn't look like Natalie Portman" is going to be a really good bit once I work out the kinks.  I hope to work on this bit more during this coming week.

I mentioned in a previous post that my mom was having health issues.  Without going into too many details, she had a major setback on Friday.  This caused me to cancel a trip that my wife and I had planned in New York.  I didn't have any shows planned for this trip, but I was very much looking forward to hanging out at the historic Comedy Cellar in Greenwich.  Instead, I spent 20 hours in a hospital on Friday and Saturday.

Tired... I felt the need to get on stage and did so at Magooby's Joke House on Saturday.  I was lucky enough to grab a guest set, which went very well (despite one tag that I'm going to cut in the future).  I focused on doing bits that I haven't done at this venue before, and all of it went over swimmingly.  This was a very fun show and a nice relief/release from "real life".

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sets #51, #52, #53, #54, #55 & #56: Hightopps, Fishhead, Dangerously Delicious, Caoco Lane, and Irish Channel

I'm really behind on this blog... I've been busy.  I am sorry.  All of these sets were mediocre.  That is the best I can do right now.


I have another week and a half of shows to catch on after this.  I'll try to be more in depth about those (because there were some good ones in there).

Monday, March 4, 2013

Coming soon...

Despite the fact that Wayne Newton and I are now connected forever... this picture raises three interesting thoughts (to me anyway). 
 

1) I hope that someday I get to the point where promoters do not have to specify that I'm a comedian to sell tickets.  

2) I still feel weird calling myself a "comedian".  A boy is not really a "comedian" until we lists it as his profession on facebook.  Duh! 

3) I'm on a marquee with Joan Osborne!  This raises the question... "What if God was one of us"? 
 
All kidding aside.. this is pretty neat and humbling and I'm looking forward to a great show at the Stolz Listening Room at the historic Avalon Theatre on Saturday.  I hope to see you there! 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Set #50: Slainte

I knew that the show at Slainte was going to be rough when I showed up and they were duct taping a flash light to the wall. That was the "lighting set up." There was no stage. There were two rooms seperated by stairs. The showrunners set up a microphone stand on the middle step. I guess that was the stage. Between the two rooms there were about fifty people but only six of them knew they were attending a comedy show. It's always fun when comedy springs up on a crowd and interrupts "dinner and drinks night."

The first comedian was my friend Stavros Halkias (Magooby's New Comedian of the Year). He's a really funny guy but struggled mightily at this show. At one point a woman yelled "Get off the stage." Stavros responded "I can't get off the stage. I'm standing on a pile of stairs." That made it all worth it.

I decided to take my eighteen minute set mobile. The mic was wireless and I walked back and forth between the two rooms with it. When one side of the room got loud, I would walk over to them and tell my jokes. This was pretty effective in quieting whichever side was talking loudly.

I'm at my best when I can take my time and tell stories. This venue was not conduive to my skill set (nor conducive to any comedy for that matter). I found myself yelling short jokes at whoever was paying attention. It wasn't my best but it ended up being eighteen minutes of survival skills and scattered laughs. To put it in perspective, when you do well in comedy it's called "killing." When you door poorly it's called "eating a dick." I did not let this room force feed me that dick... though it got really close to my face a few times.

This is my dream... this is show business.
 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sets #48 & #49: Topaz and RFD

I had two shows on Thursday with mixed results...

First, my eight minute set at the Topaz Hotel in Washington, DC was simply "eh".  This is a great room and features some of the best comics in the area every week.  However, this can also be a tough crowd to warm up and it is preferable to go up later in the show.  For this set, I went second in the order and had just an okay set.  I had a few nice laughs but a lot of things did not hit the way they usually do.  I think performing in this room more will help me learn and adjust to the energy in the room.  Experience will help those "early in the lineup" sets. 

After Topaz, I drove to RFD in Chinatown.  I've referenced this room a lot in the past and always enjoy my time there.  Usually this is a very "hot" room (I've joked that I could "fart in this room and get an applause break") but for some reason it was very tired on Thursday.  Before my set, I noticed that the crowd was tight and lethargic.  In response to that, I decided to "amp up" my performance and probably had one of the more intense five minutes I've ever had on stage and the results were great. 

I had a really good set with big laughs and three legitimate applause breaks.  It's nice to know that I have a different gear that I can go to when I need it.  Though this was a really good set... it was far from perfect (no sets are).  When I listened back to the set, I noticed that I stepped on two laughs that could have been bigger.  This may have been a product of being too amped up and overly aggressive.  I'll have to remember that for next time. 


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sets #43, #44, #45, #46 & #47: Terra Cafe, Red House Tavern, Firestation One, Looking Glass Lounge and Sidebar Tavern

I was in the bathroom at my office today and someone walked in and said "OH MY WEINER".  In other news... today has been the best day of my life. 

I've been busy the lately, and the last few days have featured several sets.  Set #43 was at Terra Cafe in Baltimore.  This eight minute set featured few jokes and a lot of riffing.  This was a tough open mic (which I hosted) and featured very limit audience and a million comics.  Overall, this was still fun and I got to practice improv skills (which I don't use a lot). 

I followed TC with a twenty minute set at the Red House Tavern.  This was a late night room (which started at ten and I took the state around midnight).  This was a lot of fun and featured a very good crowd.  I did mostly "A material" and worked on some of my feature set bits that I haven't had a chance to work on in a few weeks.  Overall, this was a good time. 

After a day off, I performed three sets (that could not have been more different from eachother) last night.  The first set came at Firestation One in Silver Spring, Maryland.   The crowd was a little tight at first but definitely receptive.  I spent most of my time working on two stories, which seemed keep the audience engaged and had a nice payoff (despite not hitting on every punchline). 

My second set of the night was less successful at the Looking Glass Lounge in Washington, DC.  This was kind of a rowdy show with a the drunkest and loudest table closest to the stage and not very condusive to comedy.  However, I spent my five minutes working on some new bits (one of which will work nicely) and got to see some comic friends that I don't typically see.  We'll call this "breaking even". 

My last set of the night was at the Sidebar Tavern in Baltimore.  My six minute set hit strong and the crowd was fantastic.  I got to the venue just moments before my set and kind of "winged it" on stage.  Still, all the jokes hit and I had a lot of fun with this group.  This room (which I originally started and then gave to Tim Hoeckel) has evolved nicely over the past few months and has turned into a legitimate work room.  Overall, this was a nice end to my long weekend of shows.


 
Not every video that accompanies my blog needs to be funny... 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Set #42: Pratt Street Alehouse

I had a good thirty-three minute set at the Pratt Street Alehouse in Baltimore last night. Despite a drunken idiot (that happened to work at the venue), this set was a lot of fun.  A girl/heckler/participater/fuckhead interrupted and was loud at several points during the show, but I recovered nicely.  I messed up one bit (a movie theater bit that I'm going to scrap) but opened (with the "air freshener story") for the first time to great results and closed very strong (without a microphone).  This was a very strong headlining set. 


Sets #36, #37, #38, #39, #40 & #41: RiRa, Dionysus, The Cove, The Sidebar Tavern, Dangerously Delicious and Red House Tavern

Here is a rundown of shows from the past week and change...

I had a really strong seven minute set at RiRa in Arlington, Virginia on wednesday.  This is a great venue and features some of the area's best comics.  This was my first time performing there, so I didn't really take any chances.  I did seven minutes of my polished "A material" and it could not have gone over better.  I look forward to coming back to RiRa soon. 

The show at Dionysus in Baltimore was tough for me personally.  "In real life"... my mom broke her hip.  I spent a lot of time in the hospital and drove straight from there to the show (getting there five minutes before my set).  My ten minute set went over well but there was definitely a lot going on in my head. 

After a day off on Saturday, I had a good thirteen minute set on Sunday at The Cove in York, PA.  I spent most of my set working on "Cemetary Flowers" and another story from high school.  This was a solid set and if I edited out a few extra lines, it would have been a great set.  I followed this with a another good set at the Sidebar Tavern in Baltimore.  The five minute set consisted of a work story and a few new jokes (which worked well). 

On Tuesday, I had an okay set at Dangerously Delicious in Canton, MD.  This was a good work room and did a set of all new jokes.  There were some winners and some big misses.  There were a few premises that will eventually become good bits.  Overall, this was a productive set. 

I followed DD with a very good eight minute set at Red House Tavern (also located in Canton).  This was one of the better sets I've had in a while.  Despite being tired (from work, stand up, my mom being in the hospital), I stepped up and had a very good set.  This set consisted mostly of a story about getting arrested (which I haven't done in a while).  This show was a lot of fun.  My friend Matt Baetz (a talented dude who has made more appearances on the Late Show w/Craig Ferguson than any other comedian) was there and said "You killed man.  I remember when you started... you're not allowed to be that good". 

Coming from him... that means a lot.  


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sets #30, #31, #32, #33, #34 & #35: The Barking Dog, The Irish Channel, Two Doors Down, The Baltimore Comedy Factory and Firestation One

I did thirty-eight minutes at The Barking Dog in Bethesda, Maryland. It was blah blah blah blah blah blah and blah. Conditions were not ideal (small crowd, too long of a show, a really tired crowd that was smaller by the time I got on stage, weird lighting and a really hot mic) but I should have done better. I needed to make adjustments and I failed to do so.

Some crowds are tight, some are attentive, some like being punched in the face. This crowd enjoyed being punched in the face (which I did a few times) but I didn't follow through. It was a weird vibe in the room and I didn't make things better or less awkward. The crowd didn't dislike me or hate the show... They just weren't the most lively or enthusiastic bunch.

I followed this set with a very good set at the Irish Channel in Crofton, Maryland. I'd be lying if I said my heart was fully into this one... but I think that I faked it well. This is actually a big deal. You're going to have off nights and times when you're not feeling well. Being able to perform at a high level and not having the audience realize you're not 100% is an important skill and one I have not always done well with in the past. When I listened back to the set... I think I pulled it off.

On Friday I had an odd thirty minute set at Two Doors Down in Manchester, Maryland. I've been to this venue before and had a lot of success. Unfortunately this show was derailed by the "Desperate Housewives of Carroll County" (a table of drunken hecklers). This group of obnoxious women interrupted the host, guest comic and the co-headlining comedian that went on before me. They repeatedly disrupted the show for me, the other comics and their fellow audience members. After they interrupted my set several times (and I asked them to be quiet several times) I finally had enough. I responded by laying the microphone on a stool and refused to continue the show unless they "were removed, left or died".

It seems like a bold move and one that I've never tried before. There was just no way I could continue with the show as it was. It wasn't fair to me, the other comics or the other audience members that paid ten dollars per ticket. The people were eventually removed and it made for a better show. Despite the awkward removal and unexpected two minute break, the rest of the show went very smoothly. I performed 15 minutes after the drunks were kicked out and I ended up having a good, if not interesting set.

I followed the Manchester episode with an last minute feature gig at the Baltimore Comedy Factory where I performed two sets in front of the hilarious Godfrey. My first set (20 minutes) went okay as the room had a short attention span and was a little chatty. After starting out very well, I lost them with a long form bit at the twelve minute mark. I got a little nervous and started speeding up after that (which is something I haven't done in sometime). However, I calmed myself down and rallied. My closer and my backup closer (which I used to cover the time because I cut another bit short) did well. I feel lucky that this set ended up the way it did... because it could have easily gone off the rails and been a disaster.

My second set at the BCF went much better. I ditched the long bits and adjusted to the rowdy room by doing all shorter entires. This fifteen minute set (everyone's sets were cut short due to a late start) went over very well and was much needed. Every joke hit hard and the response by audience members after the show was great as well.

On a side note... Godfrey could not have been a cooler headliner to work with. He was an incredibly friendly, funny and thoughtful dude. I really enjoyed chatting with him after the show and got a lot of good advice from him (as well as nerding out about the Dark Knight Rises and dueling Bane impressions). Overall, this was a very fun night.

Finally, I had an okay set at Firestation One on Monday. I spent most of the eleven minute set working on two stories and it went over pretty well. The main story was a six minute story (that is called "air freshener" in my notebook) did not do as well as I would have liked but will eventually be a great bit. I screwed up the order of the bit and missed a joke or two but the arc of the bit is in good shape. It has a strong punch at the end but just needs to be structured better. This venue was a perfect place to workshop this bit (and a few others) and helped it cap a productive monday.

Overall, this has been an odd but solid and busy week. If you've read all of this... Bless you and I'm sorry. I'm done.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Set #29: Firestation One

I had a good set at Firestation One in Silver Spring, Maryland on Monday.   Most of the six minute set was dedicated to refining the "cemetary flowers" bit I've been workshopping and it seems to have come together nicely.  It will be interesting to see how this story I've been obsessing over fits onto a larger canvas when I add it to my headline set tomorrow in Bethesda. 


Friday, February 1, 2013

Sets #26, #27 & #28: Red House Tavern, Caoco Lane and RFD

I finished January by performing two sets on Wednesday and one on Thursday. My early set on Wednesday was pretty mediocre.  The eight minute set at the Red House Tavern got laughs because of the material but not the performance. Listening back to it, I sounded tired and the set came off as very flat. However, I managed to rebound and had more energy at Caoco Lane in Ellicott City.  The ten minute set had some minor flaws but it went over very well. Overall, I have no major complaints about this one.

On Thursday, I decided to use my six minute set at RFD in D.C. to work on a five minute story.  It felt kind of odd to use most of a set on one long form bit but it went over incredibly well.  I had been working on the "cemetery flowers" bit all week and it showed.  Now a polished chunk, the response from the near capacity crowd was fantastic.

Overall, January was a very good month.  I did twenty-eight sets (with no major train wrecks) and drove about 1,411 comedy miles.  Not a bad start to the new year...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Set #25: Dangerously Delicious Pies

Twelve comedians, four audience members and a microphone in a pie shop... this eight minute set went about as well as it could go. I worked on an old story called "Cemetary Flowers" that I will probably bring back. The pie was good and I enjoyed hanging out with other comedians.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Set #24: Harrisburg Midtown Art Center

My tour of Pennslyvania ended last night at the Harrisburg Midtown Art Center in downtown Harrisburg.  My sixteen minute set had a rough start but ended up being a good one overall.  I still don't know if it was me, the tired crowd or dramamine in the air... but the sluggish start to my set was odd. 

It was like the crowd flipped an "off switch" at during the last few minutes of the previous comedian's set.  When the host introduced me, only three of sixty audience members clapped.  I felt like I had to win the crowd over and dig out of a hole, which I eventually did. 

I got a great response during the last ten minutes of my set, so I consider this one a win. 


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sets #21, #22 & #23: Harrisburg Comedy Zone

I had a great weekend (1 show on Friday/2 shows on Saturday) at the Harrisburg Comedy Zone in PennslyvaniaThe venue and the crowds were fantastic and I always enjoy working with the legenday Rich Vos. 

The friday show was a lot of fun and I was surprised how good the turnout was with the bad weather and snow in the area.  The crowd was a little tired but receptive and my twenty-two minute set went over well.  Despite some nerves, one or two stutters and a flat punchline this was a very solid start to the week.

The first show on saturday could not have gone better.  My twenty-five minute set went over very well for the sold crowd and it was a great show all around.  This may have been my most complete and best set to date.  Every bit hit the way I wanted it to and my riffing was very on point as well.  When I went back to watch the "game tape"... I was very proud of this one.

The last show of the run may have been the rowdiest but it was still a very good show.  My twenty-four minute set went over very well and actually aided by a heckler.  For maybe the first time ever (in my young career)... a thing that a heckler yelled out, set up the rest of my joke perfectly.  I didn't really have to change a single word of what I was about to say... it all seemed like a respond to him and it worked out beautifully.  Overall, this was another good set.

All in all, this was a wonderful week.  I enjoyed working the Harrisburg Comedy Zone for the first time and made a lot of new friends and "fans" (though I consider them friends too).  I wish all weekends went this smoothly. 


Friday, January 25, 2013

Sets #19 & #20: Caoco Lane and Dempsey's at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

I had an okay set at Caoco Lane in Ellicott City, MD on Wednesday.  The twelve minute set was wildly inconsistent but I did manage to close strong.  This was an odd show (that featured a PA that broke half way through the show, making it hard to hear the comedians) but I should have handled it better.  I let myself get too distracted by my surroundings.

I did follow CL with a very strong seventeen minute set at Dempsey's (located in Oriole Park at Camden Yards).  This was a very consistent set and got a great response.  This was a great set up for a comedy show (I'm a sucker for low ceilings and brick walls) and I look forward to coming back in March to close out the show.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sets #17 & #18: Firestation One and Sidebar Tavern

Two good sets tonight... the first of which came at Firestation One in Silver Spring, Maryland.  My six minute set got a great response but I'll give the crowd most of the credit.  The ("standing room only") audience was incredibly incredibly friendly and supportive and gave me (and every other comic) laughs through out the show.  This set was a good ego boost and helped me polish a bit I'm readying for my feature run at the Harrisburg Comedy Zone this weekend. 

After a fifty minute drive (where I listened to the "Adam and Drew show"), I arrived at the Sidebar Tavern (my weekly workout room in Baltimore) and did another five minute set.  This set went surprisingly well (as I went last in front of mostly tired comics) and some of the new jokes I'm working on took some shape and got laughs.  Overall, I found this set to be very productive and exceeded my (low) expectations. 


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Set #16: Your Place

I had a pretty good 35 minute set at Your Place in Lancaster, PA.  This was a really cool and intimate room (which only seats 60 people) and featured a stellar lineup.  Overall, this was a good set despite a few odd occurrences...

For example: There was a mass exodus right before my set.  Literally 1/3 of the crowd went to get a drink, go to the bathroom or smoke.  They eventually came back throughout my set but this effected callbacks and references throughout my set.  I caught fire and found my stride in the middle of the show and had a great run of bits. I was gearing up for a strong finish when the check drop (which usually doesn't happen at bar shows) came really late (in the middle of my closer).  It was really distracting but I went to a back up closer after that and closed big (without a microphone because the stand broke during my second to last bit).

Despite everything, it was a fun show.  I sold a few cd's and saw a girl that looked exactly like Rosemarie Dewitt.  Good times.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Set #15: Red House Tavern

The more I write these... the more I feel like Doogie Howser (a character on a popular 80's television program of the same name who was famous for typing a journal entry at the end of each episode).

That being said, I had a good set at the Red House Tavern in Canton, MD.  The twenty-three minute set was comprised mostly of new or newer bits but also featured a few old bits that I'm trying to polish for a feature run next week.  Most of the new stuff worked including a bit I finally nailed after trying for the third time this week. With the exception of dropping/forgetting a few lines, it felt like a very solid set.

The biggest downside for me was how much time I did... Everyone on the lineup was doing 8-10 minutes and the room runner told me to do as much time as I want.  As much as I love doing time, I felt bad and didn't intend on going that long in the middle of the show.  I wish I would have done a shorter set or gone long at the very end of the show.  It just felt like an asshole move and rude towards the other comedians (who I apologized to individually). 

Overall, it was still a good show and everyone did well.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Set #14: Stables Bar and Grille

I had a very good thirty minute set at the Stables in Westminster, Maryland tonight.  Besides one joke not popping like it usually does and one brain fart (I forgot a punchline causing me to rant a little bit) this was a very strong set.  My last eight minutes in particular were perfectly paced and got huge pops.  This show was definitely a confidence builder.

Sets #12 & #13: Pure Lounge and Touchdown

I had a good set at the Pure Lounge in Washington, DC last night.   This show had kind of an odd setup (featuring hookah, construction, a DJ and no lighting) but my set went over very well.  My story I worked on at Sidebar a few days before was definitely a highlight.

After Pure, I walked to Touchdown (which was literally two doors down) and participated in their "open mic lightning round".  My three minute set was hit or miss but my one new premise (that I had also tried at Sidebar) went over very well.  I used this quick set to talk out new ideas and I definitely got a lot out of it.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sets #10 & #11: Sonoma's Bar and Grill and Sidebar Tavern

I did two sets on Monday night with the first coming at Sonoma's Bar and Grill in Columbia, MD.  This was the last comedy show ever at Sonoma's, which feels odd because it was the first show I ever did (that wasn't an open mic).  Apparently, I have done more sets at Sonoma's in the past three years so it was nice and fitting to be part of the last show

I said "goodbye" by roasting the guy who runs the show for my nine minute set.  Though this material will never be used again (which is a shame because there were damn good jokes in there) it was fun and a nice skill to work on.  Overall it was good times and a nice finale. 

My second set of the night came in the form of six minutes at the Sidebar Tavern in Baltimore, MD.  I spent the first three minutes working on a story (which seems to be going over well with the exception of 1-2 lines) and the rest working on half baked premises.  Both premises have a lot of potential but I still need to figure out the jokes.  For now they are funny ideas in search of strong punchlines. 




Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sets #8 & #9: Sylvester's Saloon and The Gold Club

Two shows this weekend... one in biker bar and one in a strip club.  Not ideal but I did my time (25 minutes each) and didn't embarrass myself.  If anything, these sets built character.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Set #7: Dark Horse Saloon

I had a mildly amusing 11 minutes on stage at the Dark Horse Saloon in Bel Air, Maryland last night. This SHOULD have been a great set.  It's a great room with a really receptive crowd and I've done well there during my previous spots.Unfortunately I was a little under the weather and really underprepared for this venture.

I stumbled through my first three jokes and one of my new jokes did not get as big of a laugh as it has been getting.  The stumbling and stuttering was odd.  I can't remember the last time that's happened and it got in my head.  When I went back to watch the video, I could see myself become physically jarred after the first stutter.  It looked like I had gotten punched in the stomach.  Despite the fumbling, the jokes still got laughs.  I caught my rhythm about half-way through my set and got a few nice pops and an applause break.  However, it got awkward again during my second to last joke...

The joke before my closer was a hilarious romp about a strange trip to Subway (eat fresh) that ended with a reference to spousal abuse.  The bit killed but after the "clapter", a guy in the front row said "It's so true!" (in response to the spousal abuse reference).  I responded by laughing and asking him if he beats his wife.  An awkward moment passed and the guy in question raised the hand of the gentleman sitting next to him (fingers locked and all) to signify that the two men were gay.

This was my "Kaiser Soze" moment.  The fact that two well dressed were sitting next to each other (very closely) and holding hands now made sense.  The flamboyant guys got a huge laugh from their response.  I responded by saying "so, I'll ask again.... do you beat your wife?" which got a laugh.

We'll call that round a draw... but it was an awkward moment and I dug the hole deeper by explaining what happened to the people in the back that had no idea what was going on.  The train had definitely gone off the rails but I feel like I had them by the end of my closer.

Overall, this set was much more work than it should have been.  Too much sweat, stuttering and sputtering for eleven minutes in front of an overly receptive and friendly crowd.  However, I take pride in still getting laughs and making it to the finish line.  Something I don't think I could have done a year ago.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sets #5 & #6: Firestation One and Sidebar Tavern

Set #5 came in the form of seven minutes of newish material (with one older bit thrown in) at Firestation One in Silver Spring, Maryland.  The set went well and I feel that my new jokes are starting to click.  I was disappointed that one brand new bit did get a big laugh but I realized that it could play well as a tag to another (thematically similar) bit.  Overall, this was a solid set in front a good crowd and I learned a lot about my new material and it's direction.

After a fifty minute car ride (which I used to catch on an episode of Marc Maron's podcast), I arrived at the Sidebar Tavern in Baltimore, Maryland.  My expectations for the nine minute set were low (due to the thinning crowd and the fact that I was the nineteenth and final comedian of the night) but it turned out well. 

The first three minutes (which included the fixed version of the joke I tried at FS1) proved productive and the bits continue to progress nicely.  I then used the last five minutes to tell a story which got an even better reaction.  This was only the third time I've told the story on stage but it is going over very well.  Once I figure out which ending to use (I am going back and forth between two options), this "bad show/standing ovation tale" could be my closer/bookend for my feature/headline set.

Overall, this was a very productive and fun Monday night.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Set #4: Magooby's Joke House

I had a very good 8 minute set at Magooby's Joke House in Baltimore last night.  My guest set (on a great show that featured my hilarious friends Mike Storck and Mike James) was solid from start to finish and every punchline got a big pop.  I wish I closed on a different joke and paused for a second too long on another bit... but overall this is one of the better sets I've had in sometime.


I have some cool gigs coming up and some road work that I am excited about.  Until then, I'll be working hard and looking for more gigs as well applying to festivals.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Sets #2 & #3: RFD and A SHOW THAT WILL REMAIN NAMELESS

On Thursday I performed two sets in our nation's capital...

I started the night with a really good seven minute set at RFD in Chinatown.  RFD is one of the best and most supportive rooms in the area.  On top of being incredibly supportive and run by great guys, it is not uncommon for over a hundred people to come out and support local comedy at this Thursday open mic.

The only downside of RFD is that it can be TOO supportive.  The audience is polite and tends to support comics (from first timers to pros) and most jokes good or bad will get a laugh of some kind.  It is almost impossible to bomb in this room (though I've seen it happen) and as a comic with three years and 600+ sets under his belt I should do well in this room... and I did.

My second set on the other hand was a completely different story.  Though I will not say the name of this room or the people that run it... I will say that I won't be returning.  I do not like blaming rooms or audiences for bad comedy but this nameless room was the exception to the rule.

To paint a picture... here are a few of the many reasons why this was an awful experience: 1) As I walked into the room, the host of the show was being loud, drunk and literally having a conversation with someone else during the comic on stage's set.  Note: when I say "conversation"... I mean he was obnoxiously yelling at a person on the other side of the room while the comedian performed literally 5 feet away.  2) The bartender was heckling and interrupting comics  3) During my set, one of the guys running the room came up to me and made small talk with me DURING my set.  As far as interruptions go, that was a first.  Did I mention he was drunk?   4) There were five audience members and three of them had their back to the person "onstage" and we're either talking or not paying attention.  At one point during my set, I tried to engage one of the audience members by talking to him directly.  I asked him "how are you doing" three times.  He made eye contact me and stared... but refused to respond.  No words.  No nods.  No grunts.  That was another first for me. 

(Note: I could keep going with reasons why this room was shitty... but my complaining already feels unhealthy at this point)

Again, I hate blaming rooms and room runners for bad shows.  Bad shows build character and comedians need to learn how to get laughs under less than ideal situations.  However, when comedians are getting interrupted and talked over by people running the show... why should an audience member be expected to pay attention and respect the performer?  Comedy show runners (especially when they are comedians themselves) have to know better.  I don't expect other comics to be overly supportive and laugh at everything other people say... but shutting up while another comic is on stage is the smallest request that anyone could ask.

All this being said, there are always lessons to be learned.  In comedy, you have to learn how to write and perform.  You learn how to be more comfortable and you learn how to be funny.  You also have to learn how to bomb gracefully (something I still need to learn).  Some comedy shows teach you how to box... some teach you how to get punched.

Though based on these two shows... I feel like I went from winning the lottery to getting shot in the face.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

We're back (a.k.a Set #1: Red House Tavern)

My first show of 2013 happened happened last night at the Red House Tavern in Canton, Maryland.  The eleven minute set went well and was a nice start to the new year. 

The set's opening was odd as I riffed on my introduction.  It was an awkward and slightly polarizing joke (that received tepid laughter at best) but I recovered nicely.  My opening story did well as it was the eighth and best time I've told it to date.  The three minute chunk/story about job got laughs through out and will hopefully be a strong entry on a future CD.

The rest of my new material went over well (with the exception of one forced call back) and I look forward to the continued workshopping of these bits.  Since my last album I have thirty of new material that is going well and another fifteen minutes in sketchings and ideas.  Hopefully in time... this will become an act. 


Thank you for reading the blog.  Hopefully this was only the first of about three hundred or so in 2013!