Here it is... I leave Motel 5.342 and I head out to Anaheim to find my second hotel, which is directly across from Disney..at $41 a night, and well worth it. Seriously. The hotel has an ATM, a gift shop, and a great view of the Harbor Blvd. And, it's not going to be until 3pm that I can get into my room. It's 11. I'm so beat. I didn't sleep, so I use their computers, at $17 for 10 minutes to check email, because in my haste, my machine is sitting up on the counter at the house in Vegas. Great. S'okay. IHOP is next door so I have myself some breakfast to kill an hour, and work on some material. I have a show to do. And, I call Mike cos I do that when he needs me to do that. And he always needs that.
I get into the room, it's great.. got a patio.. it's quiet..opposite of motel 5. And.. head off to the club. I LIKE getting there early because I like sitting alone and writing. That's when I get a feel for the room, the space, and just tune into what I like to call, "the time", and just zone out. Usually I grab something to eat on the way, and I had a great little Asian chow at a place called Lotus on Golden West. Very nice. I was set to write.
My plan is to make Tuesdays my story night.. I will set up the new material on Tuesdays, tell the stories and video tape. On the disc, I view where the natural laughs were, and where I can plug in tag lines. Then I can play more, and really do it up. Well I wrote about 15 index cards worth of tags off of the story, so it's got quite a bit of material. Some are fun, some are risque, some are just goofy. And I mean Goofy. The story is about getting arrested at Disneyland. And, since I did the bit in Orange County EVERY ONE seemed to have a Disney story this week. I don't know how that works but it does. If you come in ready to talk about shoes, everyone talks about shoes. If you want to talk about cumquats, everyone else is, too. This week, Disney.
So I did the Disney, got a few chuckles where I didn't think I would, and that was that. Then I watched everyone else, and got happily surprised by some of the newbies, and had a great time listening to some very talented up and comers. At least here, there are people WRITING material. Unfortunately, as I learned at the Comedy Store, the clubs in LA aren't ready for them yet. I wish that wasn't the case. The road is friendly to those who write.
But I head back to the hotel crashed, and went over to Leila's the next morning. On the way over, I got a call from a new comedienne who was sweet, and asked if I would mind some "tag lines" for my material. She's unfamiliar with how I write, and has only known me from a couple of the new material nights-- never saw me on TV or anything. She had no idea I'd already had about 75 or so tags written already, but I said, "sure" and figured why not see what she'd had. I never had anyone offer to write anything for me before. I keep forgetting that I've been out of the public eye in LA for awhile so the people I used to know aren't really there.. and those who are new don't know me as a regular in clubs. So I guess it's kind of weird... it's just another new face for them. And...they really don't know me from radio..and that's the weirdest part.. going from being an afternoon fixture to not having anyone recognize the voice.... that's really funny... but it's all good. That was ten years ago. I understand.
So I am at Leilas and I finally get to meet her son, Jack who is all of 3 months, but looks about 5 months, and he's 100% smiles. Heidi's there, and doing great. It's fun... we are having gal chat, and I really needed that too. There was a lot of down time.. destressing. They were chuckling about the material offer because they know how prolific I am. That was pretty funny. But, still... we had a nice time together. It's been so long that since I had any time without any stress, or demands put on me. I was just enjoying time alone with friends, and no one was expecting me to take care of them, or the things around them. I didn't have my computer or the benefit going on, and it was just quiet time with friends. But I did have a show to do..so I knew it wouldn't last very long.
Again I head out early enough to write. BUT, I didn't get that time. I didn't get to detox and turn off the head and stop thinking. I had to deal with a very attention starved person who wanted to be the center stage for whomever was in the room. Unfortunately I am that person for whomever that attention starved person is no matter where I am, many times. This time it happened to be another disabled fellow. I was enjoying a nice chat with a young lady who was telling me about her career, and she also was prepping so I figured it was going to be a nice short chat, and we'd be doing our own thing. BUT, this kid was sweet-- and just clinging. I couldn't breathe, and it bugged me. He was nice. But just smothering. You know how it is when you're at a birthday party for a four year old and there's one kid who always clings to your leg, and won't leave? that's what this guy is like. Nice, but you've had enough an hour ago. Finally someone else he knew showed up, and he moved on.
But by then, his time was drained. I did a different set, and was on fire a bit. I had a lot of laughs and it was fun. The set was good. I was starting to feel like my old self again. It was as if I was back at the Laugh Factory and not in Huntington Beach. I played a bit with the audience, and did a little bit of newer stuff. The crowd was a little out there. Some folks were doing great with them, but they were drinking hard, and only there for ONE comic so it was hard to win them. I did fine. Two or three other people did just fine, too, because they didn't try to play against them. When they played with them..they loved them...when they fought them... it was death. I play WITH them, so it was fun. But it as death for others and that was so hard... I had that exact reaction last week, and boy that was not fun.... in a bar in Whittier.
So Thursday, I am supposed to play in a bar in OC. I have a fun day hanging with Leila again, and I catch up on a little email, but mostly it's about writing. And winding down. I have no idea what this club is like. I get there early...and... I end up in a corner of the bar, which is nearly empty. Not a good sign. (Bar and being empty..so two not good signs.) Then, I'm sipping ginger ale, and this guy sits next to me and proceeds to not stop talking about being a plumber to the stars. For an hour. Nonstop. Doesn't come up for air to breathe or even so much as to even nod that there is any thing else going on in the world other than HIS conversation about plumbing. I'm going to poke my eye out with scissors at any minute. Finally someone else shows up and he decides to leave. I have no time to even write a set list. Fine. Okay. whatever.
The guy running the show seems nice enough. But he does the thing I hate. He has full loud conversations during everyone's set, and the room seats 20 people so you can hear everything he's talking about. It's not cool, and not pro, and very annoying. THEN, there's a guy complaining about what everyone else is talking about. Another not pro thing to do. You don't bitch about new comics. They're there to learn, and they need to find their way. You talk to THEM not about them. Instead he whines and complains. Loudly. And it's easy to hear him from any corner too. So that's two non-pro things that are happening. THEN the guy running the room tells me he's having me and this other gal as headliners because we have the experience. ..okay I can deal. Doesn't tell people how long we have. Fine.
The guy up goes up for 30 minutes. No lie. A thirty minute set ina bar with 20 people in it. WOW. Are you kidding? He's really good, but that's really long, and he's lost the audience for everyone because ... he just made himself the headliner, and he's the third guy up. Okay.... he doesn't know because he's new, and the guy running it is new, and is talking over his set, and doesn't pay attention. Okay that's fine. I'm just sitting there, and enjoying his good parts and hoping he realizes that he's got some good material but he's made it a full 30 minute show. Okay. He doesn't, I found out later. If he could learn to keep time, he'll be fine. He is going to be a good comic and he's got some great stuff going.
There's the guy who is bitching about everyone else. He's in a bar. He does the show I've seen him do in the other club, and he's got some good material. It doesn't fly in a bar because he's not pandering to the drinking crowd. He's a writer, and he writes real material. He's not a bar comic. That's not good here. It's okay but not here. And, he isn't doing great. It's good for stage practice, and he's learning. No one is listening except me and another comic. The guy running the show is talking to someone else. So he talk about giving tickets out to another show he's doing.
I go up to do my set, and he literally takes people OUT OF THE ROOM, and has people talk to him OUT OF THE BAR, in the parking lot.... both he and the guy who run the show. Neither of them are there for my set, so I'm there with like six people. There are two people at the bar, a guy in the booth, and a couple of others... and I had written some jokes SPECIFICALLY for the people who were in the front section. Those people are gone now because the non-pro folks have decided this would be the time to chat out side. Are you kidding me???? So the guy who was complaining had made the point that he didn't like "blow" jokes. I made sure that when they walked back in that my material was NOTHING but those jokes. That's what the whole set was about... I was just all about that material... because that is something you just don't do in that setting to another comic on stage EVER. E-V-E-R. never. Just not cool. And then the kicker was, the guy running the room had the balls to tell me he wants me back in his rooms for the next 9 dates??? Are you kidding me??? First you have me up when you're talking then you have me up when you're walking out of the room with my audience and you want me back?? I know, let's have the show in the parking lot and let the cars just keep circling while I do the act... at least then you'll know my vicinity. That's probably NOT going to happen. Thanks.
part 3 coming up-- my return to the Improv.