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


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!