Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Small but worth it....

This last week I was in Los Angeles for I THINK my last time this year. I was there mostly for my pals Sharon and Pat- wedding time. ROCKING Mrs. Maybrier is in Maui at the moment, and alliteration aside, it was an amazingly cool wedding from the GIGANTIC 5600 carat glass diamond to the gondola ride, to Rush as the "Bride and Groom Entry" music. Just rocked..and yes, this gimped danced to "Dead Man's Party" like it was 1985. (86? 88? whichever...)

There were two comedy nights during the visit. The first was in a town near where I spent some interesting years. Montebello is kind of the gateway to Pasadena, or the last stop before you hit Cerritos. Either way, it's a nice town with a strong Latino heritage, and some down-home shops on the main drag. One of the restaurants features a comedy night, hosted by Erik Schulte, (not sure did I spell that right? I think so..). In either case, I used to hang out there when I was living in South Pasadena, in search of thrift stores and enchiladas.

The Wild Coyote doesn't seem like a place that would a. host comedy and 2. be in a Latino town. The walls held posters of Marilyn Monroe, (marylina monrovia?) and Megadeth- as one of the members of stated band plays there now and again. There is a small 5 x 5 stage in the corner by the restaurant side of the bar, and it has probably one of the crappiest sound systems..appropriate for Megadeth I guess... and one of the nicest sound guys ever. The waitress is somewhat absent minded, but her legs make up for that seemed to distract many people still waiting for liquid as I type. The tables were pretty far from the stage- about 18 feet or so- and there was a dance floor, so there was kind of a weird effect with the crowd.

The line-up included six or seven people..about the right size for a room that small... and the majority of these were students at El Cerritos City College or somesuch who are taking- no lie- stand-up comedy classes. That made for a GREAT place to play new material, and test out bits. The only drawback..the sound was so bizarre that it was hard to tell if the crowd was able to hear..and there were running televisions..including a few giant screens. So while the Phillies were clobbering the Rays, I was on stage hoping I wasn't the only one hearing the feedback into the microphone. I was., the video doesn't have any of the weird bleed audio that I was hearing.

Erik does a good job of hosting- he doesn't do too much material in between sets, and he is generous with time to the comics. He also listens to the people on stage, and seems to really enjoy the job. That makes for a good emcee and a great host. I can't tell you how many times I've been in rooms where the guy/gal decides it's okay to do 10 minutes between each act- driving both comics and audience members crazy. He was supportive of the new group, and kind to us old-timers.

There was one guy left when Grace and I had to leave..neither of us leaves a show before the last guy, usually, but the last guy was running really, really long. His name was on the posters, so I am sure that had a lot more to do with it- and he was making the fatal comedy mistake of YELLING INTO A MICROPHONE, which you don't need to do, especially in a room that seats about 40 people. As a result..I never got to thank Erik, but it was a worthy room for the drive, and I recommend it to people who want to test material, or play in a bar for crowd work.

Friday, Grace and I were also booked at another room together. It's great having a comedy-buddy to play with, because you get to see how the act progresses, and can help each other with notes to punch up punchlines. This time we hit Mar Vista, and joined David Corrado at his Friday Night show in St. Bede's basement.

This room is quite intimate. There is a general atmosphere of "try stuff out, we'll love you", and there are probably only 12 people around- which means you are fairly driven to play to your friends. We got there, and David played some pre-show music from the 50's which inspired regular visitors, a couple well into their oh- 200's? Okay maybe 80's... to dance their butts off. They were ADORABLE- she was doing her best Busby Berkely, and he was Fred Astairing. Nice warm start.

Last time I was there, I tried a bit that hadn't been on any stage before. Nor since. But, this time, it was standard jokes, testing things out for use on Onyx stages. It worked well, and having Grace to bounce off of during the event only made it better. Dana Snow was there again, and unfortunately wasn't feeling all that well. I did get to meet a few other comics I hadn't had a chance to chat with before- including Rosie Tran.

It's unusual for a room to book more than one female a night- having three was a blast. We had our own approaches, and none of us used any of the same topics. We each had a casual demeanor and it makes for a supportive, happy show. Rosie has an infectious smile, and even when her jokes didn't go over...very rarely..she was so charming it made up for it. There were four guys up that night too... and they each had different appeal. All stayed the whole show, and all were very fun to watch.

David is also a wonderful host- he pays attention to all of the people he books, and is very good about watching time. I am one of those who times her act before hand so I figured- I had six minutes, I did six minutes. But David will let people do more time if they want it- and he notices when people struggle with too much time. So many emcees don't get that.

If you're in the LA area and want to do some work-out rooms, these two are on my "yep, they are great" list. You won't get the laughs you would in a standard comedy club, but you'll understand your own material better. If you want to use a camera to catch how you're doing, that's easy. The hosts are cordial and the audiences are happy to see you.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What is Hack?

Most comedy today has been done to bits..and the words "sarah palin" are so intrinsic to the comedy stage, it's already too done to say them. But, the thing that bugs me on the comedy stages are the people who claim they are doing 'clean comedy' but are just redoing Bob Newhart, Rossi and Allen, and even older Alan King bits, and calling them original. It makes me upset because that is the essence of all things HACK. And, they get away with it because people who are supposed to know better actually hire them, and use them in clubs. Or promote them in contests. Either way, they're stealing and shouldn't be rewarded.

When I hear an insurance bit I think back to Alan King. When I think of bits about teaching, I think about Dennis Wolfberg, whose bug eyed delivery always made the bit better than it was. When I think of a white jewish girl pretending to be a big black man, it's Karen Haber. And, when I think of the Wizard of Oz, it's Lois Bromfeld. My personal heroes- Phyllis Diller and Moms Mabley did the "I'm ugly" bit long before others did. And, they did them right. The first time.

These bits are all on you-tube, and other websites, and are readily available. If you see them, you can see who is doing the exact routines. Mark Pitta, for instance, does one of the best Robert DeNiro imitations ever...because he LOOKS like DeNiro when he's not doing it. When I saw some kid imitating Pitta doing DeNiro, it just didn't ring true. He was imitating Pitta doing DeNiro and it was just not correct. It was mimicry at best, and falsely inflated ego at worst.

The fact is, there are thousands of us with ADD. There are thousands of us bringing note cards up on stage, and using THAT as part of the bit. The general colloquialisms that permeate our language, (all the izzle's inclusive), are not new. Bill Hicks did Bill's material, Denis did Denis's material, but the performances were so extremely similar no one can dispute them. Parallel thought is part of the world of comedy- parallel parking on an exact phrase, exact delivery, and exact timed piece is just plain hack.

The ones who bother me are the ones who assume that no one else studies comedy the way they do. That bothers me because I am one who would go to clubs EVERY night whether I was on stage, or not, and LEARN about comedy by watching everyone I possibly could. I sat transfixed to Lenny Clarke, Richard Jeni, and Roseanne with the same aplomb. (love that word) They were up there, headlining, and getting people to pay attention to them, and I wanted to know WHY- not what they were saying that I could improve on, or plainly steal, as so many seem to do now. When I saw someone doing a Bobcat imitation on a TV show supposedly designed to find "new" comedy, I nearly lost it- it wasn't anyone behaving as a comic and being funny, it was someone PERFORMING without WRITING anything new- and it was just theivery. It's the problem Fred Travelena and Rich Little have with those who imitate THEM, when in fact, they've written bits specifically to match their impressions. Other impressionists stealing bits from Fred and Rich are just telling the audience, "screw you, you don't know any better." That's just the wrong song to be playing in the Intel Age.

The online video sites are there for anyone to learn about what stand up is, and what it isn't. It's there for people to see "Oh yeah, Jeneane Garafalo had a good few years before she was on TV doing stand-up", "Patton Oswalt wasn't always killing when he first started.", "Oh yeah, look at Bernie Mac doing TV for the first time, wow, he was so much like Redd Foxx in his timing." It's for people to understand character motions, like those done by Buster Keaton, Mark Blankfield, and Jim Carrey. It's there for anyone to watch good comedians when they were not-so-good, and see them grow. It's there for people to see Ritch Shydner, and Mitch Hedberg and not just wonder who they were on the stage. It's there for the wisdom gained by Piper and Tupper, and Bobby Slayton, and Margaret Cho. Some continued on to be huge names, others great headliners and others, just footnotes in the comedy history books- but they're not up there so people can STOP writing.

Writing is what comedy is about. In Vegas, we have some terrific writers- Don Barnhart, Brandon Muller, Tanyalee Davis, Kathleen Dunbar for example. All are at different stages of their careers. We have terrific shows- the Short Bus Comics inclusive- where those who are more like Tim and Eric or even Terry Fator- can be alongside those who are college headliners, and longtime veteran champions of comedy everywhere. But people are writing constantly. It's what makes the stages come alive here. Diaz Mackie to Jeremy Flores, you'll find gems if you look.

So no, there isn't a reason to assume your audience isn't aware of comedy and the history of stand-up. (And before you start to mumble it, yes the Ass of U and Me line..done to death, thanks.) Assume that someone in your audience is also aware of Jim Norton and Jen Kober. Assume that someone in your audience has seen Carlin or Cosby, maybe even the same nights, and have played their albums for as long as they could. Assume that someone in your audience gets that Ernie Kovacs and Norm Crosby knew what they were doing. Assume this because if you don't, you are going to be disappointed when it comes time to talk to that person who DOES know these people and GETS that you are 'borrowing' material.

Everyone has their own views of something . I will write about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a different way, based on my own experiences and language than Grace Fraga. I will write my way, she will write her way. I will present my way. She will present her way. But I will WRITE and she will WRITE. When you're up there and talking about George and Gracie's version of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, it will be obvious to others that you're just "playing comedian" and not actually being one. If you want to do the acting thing, that's great, but you don't get a pass to not write your own stuff. Check out Michael Keaton's stand-up and see if you can't find Johnny Dangerously in it. Learn the craft. Learn to write.

And then be the comedian you want to be- don't pretend you are someone else. You WILL be discovered, as a hack if you do. You WILL be discovered as talent if you WRITE.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thanks Jamie Kennedy (and Emery Emery)

Everyone who has ever gotten on stage to do stand-up needs to watch Jamie Kennedy's movie, Heckler. Why? It says so much about what it means to be a comedian, and what it means to read another person's words.

You may have noted- I don't bash people as a rule. I've been heckled three times in a 24 year career. That's either saying that my audience just falls asleep when I bore them, or that I am too busy ignoring people- when actually, they're a lot f my act. I adore playing with people- and although I'm not as swift as Jimmy Brogan, I tend to make the audience my pal... or I just go away, head held low, knowing I didn't accomplish the goal of making people happy. Life goes on...

I've had great sets, and I've had full months of bad sets. I mean last year, when I was prepping for Comed-o-Therapy, I asked pal Bill Word if I could play his room to test out new stuff. The good part is that I got to work out a lot of material. The bad part is that the room is full of comedians, and want-to-be comedians, and they sat at the FAR WALL of the room..leaving a vast empty pool of seats which made my type of comedy very difficult to do. For the first time in my comedy career, I spent days bombing. Days. I mean nights. I even had a crappy night with my pal Martin Moreno at his room- where seven people, ready to hear about my vagina, were regailed with gimpy stuff they weren't sober enough to get- I didn't read them right, and I did miserably. Two weeks later, when Richard Villa had me in the bullet position, (first up), I did pretty well at the Improv, and felt a lot better... not quite as defeated.... and had some great laughs, too.

Flash forward to this year, and I'm doing a few rooms in Los Angeles, and Vegas. Fortunately, I'm not hearing crickets, and things are flowing. I had one not-so-perfect, but great times at Friday Night show with David Corrado, Grace Fraga, and Dana Snow. But, I saw Jamie's movie at the store- and thought- yes, I would very much like to see this, especially with a mix of Hutchens, Emery, and Maria Bamford. I think every comic should see Lenny Bruce, The Aristocrats, and Heckler. Maybe you can see that movie with Tom Hanks and Sally Field, because George Wallace in the hospital scene is worth the rental- but the first three listed, see.

When you go on stage in a college in Ohio, and there are fifty-one football and baseball players expecting you to do sports jokes, and you were told it was a benefit for the alumni association- but you're getting paid- it's sort of like living the movie, Heckler. It's a lot of people staring up at you- "Who's the CHICK?", then figuring out you're okay when you mention Larry Bird, and suddenly you can do your own material again. When you sit and write a three hour monologue for ten minutes of usable material- it's exactly why you do comedy- and it's why you're glad you do it.

Jamie Masada is one of the funniest part of the extras. He's seen EVERYONE, (me included), and knows ALL of the come-backs to people who mouth off to a comic. His brother was still alive and booking the Laugh Factory when I was there- but watching him brought me right back to the days when I would sit by a waitress wondering if I could go up that night- and hearing Jamie in the background saying, "I don't know if you can be regular yet." If that doesn't make you regular, nothing will.

I never have met Jamie Kennedy, that I remember. I met most of the people in this little flick. I met them when we were on rosters together, or when we were in lines waiting to be called for Open Mic's at the Store back in the 80's, or at the Santa Monica Improv, (rip), waiting to hear Lonow tell us one more time, "I'm not sure yet." People like Slayton were up there, doing amazing things, and Carrie Snow, and Taylor Negron, and my personal comedy god, Charles Fleischer- blowing people off the planet with just how fast and funny each is.

Everyone who spoke truly gets the point of being on stage. They get what it's like to be destroyed by someone's comments. It's a standard rule with me, words aren't to be wasted, and they are to be cherished. If you start your conversation with what you hate in the world, or whom, then you are just saying, "I don't like my life too much and I want you to be miserable too."

The guys shown to be critics are just so boring to me. They should be to anyone who loves comedy. Critics of comedy are generally people who never got picked by Masada, Mitzi, or Lonow to do stage time. They're generally people who couldn't get hired by the local A.M. radio station, started a podcast, and used enough naughty words to get noticed by the keywords on google. Basically, they're just people who didn't get to be the bully, or class clown, so use words to be both. Just sad. Sad. Sad. Sad.

Loved Heckler also because it was a great way to see Emery editing again. He's a great human, and a super pal, and just all out talented. I hope he gets a lot more work...he's got a great eye. That's all - and if you need no other reason, watch for Jen Kober. She's amazing.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Smart Men. Dumb Men.

I would rather spend ten hours with a person who is literate, has an opinion, and would be happy to talk about life than someone who putz around with a car, talks about "screwin'' and thinks fine dining is sitting INSIDE instead of hitting the drive-thru.

That said, there are people who do THINK for a living, and they are the ones who have always been the sexiest human beings on the planet to me.

Marc Maron, for one, is a thinker. Whether the topics is his cats, or Obama, he always has something interesting to say, and a great way of saying it. Very sexy. Very cool. He may not be the guy that you'd find at starbucks, but he certainly will tell you all ABOUT the guy at starbucks, who is working there, why they are there, and what they assume the world is about- and he'd be right. Coffee and cigs to Marc- he's earned them.

Henry Rollins is a thinker. He's a book-boy- the kind you find perusing the mom and pop used book stores, wondering if the next great find is just around the next shelf. He talks about politics from the perspective of a son-of-a-military man, and that shows in every event he's in. I listen to Black Flag with equal aplomb to his spoken shows- and he always makes me wonder why I didn't articulate as well exactly the words he uses.

Eddie Izzard- looks better in bright red lipstick than I do, but my favorite moment was sitting next to him for the entire showing of The Aristocrats in the Hollywood premiere...thinking..this is the sexiest man who has ever crossed dressed, and that's one tomboy I wants to play in the sane-box with. He makes thinking a way of life- and he's just stunningly sexy.

Now there are far too many stupid men on this planet. (mccain) There are so many that just starting a list of them (bush) seems useless as I think there aren't enough ink jets in the world to print that list up.

Stupid men tell you something you already know and try to make it sound like their original idea. They try to impress you with a vocabulary garnished from dictipedia, and amusing anecdon'ts. They will belittle the intelligent guy, and assume you will go along for the joke. To me, and many women, they are hideously boring. When a guy starts comments, "I just heard this..." you know that they're testing an idea that THEY find stupid, but want to see if it's acceptable to others.

Meanwhile, there's Dave Barry sitting at home, talking about his wife and kids with the same enthusiasm as Einstein talked about mathematics. My first crush was on Gene Wilder because he made me laugh.. and he was smart about it. Yes, he was in the most famous fart-joke movie ever, but he was still smart. Smart, funny. Witty, wise. These are the qualities of attractive men.

I bring this up because the other night I mentioned to someone I liked Sci-Fi nerds. I like them, and I find them very sexy. Kevin Smith is a sci-fi nerd, as is Seth MacFarlane- they could each recite lines from the FIRST Star Wars movie back and forth to each other, and then have a full conversation in iambic pentameter reguarding anything including shoe-horns, (a word I find quite amusing). One of my friends said, "Sci fi is for idiots", and I think I wanted to laugh at her, hard, and wonder if she has ever seeeeeen David Tennant in Dr. Who, or the equally gorgeous, yet somehow just too gregarious gay-boy-toy, John Barrowman in Torchwood.

Thinking boys are the best. They not only have read the Karma Sutra, they can tell you the Klingon sex games, and even offer you a handful of skittles as they do it. I mean do it.

I married a guy who is now a sci-fi nerd. He wasn't when I met him. Now when we're zoning on the couch, when he has the remote, which is always, he flips to the Sci-fi channel, the nerdiest movies, and he can recite EVERY line in Fargo, which isn't a Sci-fi movie, but is a good brain-man movie just the same. He was always a book-boy, though, and that's a huge thing with me, (writer and all), because it means he is still learning about life, and approaches the world anew with every turned page. Clancy, Ludlum, or King- he devours what he reads- and then joins me in the discussions of biographies- Beatles to single moms. He gets the idea that life is about what you don't know THEN about what you do.

That's smart boy sexy.

And he's funny. Not Izzard-Maron funny, but in a Farrelly Brothers Neurotic kind of way. That's a good sci-fi nerd trait.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sammy Shore, and Short Bus Shows

It's been a long week with the husband dealing with post surgical stuff, one of my favorite sets of pals becoming engaged, and then a car accident- everyone is fine, (People 1, Car 0). Unfortunately it was the hubby's car that lost the battle, so that's another movie written. Lots of comedy in there. Just not tonight.

Friday night was the Short Bus Comics sophomore show- the second of a long great run at the Onyx Theater, in Vegas. Roman, the producer, is certainly one of the most talented artist hunters I've ever met. I emcee'd a room that was filled with great energy, great comedy, and great people. Some folks hit the stage for the very first time, some are storytellers, some are Aliens from another planet, and some are puppetmasters. But all of them are true to themselves, and do that special thing that makes comedy so much better live- they let themselves goof up, and the try things that others aren't willing to risk.

For this reason specifically, I expect the Short Bus show to last in Vegas for a very very very very long time. It's reminiscent of the Greenwich Village shows at coffee houses where you'd see Woody Allen play alongside Brother Theodore. (Yes, Gabriel, that was for you.) It's the melting pot of humor that works really well because there isn't a "You do comedy this way" method that seems to prevent other rooms from gathering heat. With the warm personalities- every one is there from start to finish supporting one another, and offering something amazing- a home.

After a few minor glitches with mics, and with the goofy emcee getting a couple comis out of order..(sorry guys).. the show was mostly a smooth run of the magnetic personalities and truly unique acts that made being on stage just a joy from start to finish.

This morning, I had to get up at 6am to prep for the book fair at the Clark County Library. (yeah, I know, zombies don't even get up at 6 in Vegas.) It was pretty insane, but it had to be done. Lots of print-outs. Lots of copes for the Las Vegas Quillkeepers table. One other member made it, and she was amazing, (thanks Wista). The guy who had the table after me is not unkown to comedy circles.

The fact was, I know his daughter Sandi. We met about 12 years ago, in Los Angeles, at the Comedy Store, when I wanted to brush up on my act after being off stage for 6 months. Sandi has a book about comedy and it's pretty good- we got to be friends and I even helped her with her website for a little while. She would bring her dog to the club, and her dog and I were also friends. His son, Pauly, was at the club when I was doing stage time for the first time there. He was a mere 17 years old, I believe, and still Rodney Dangerfield's favorite kid comic up until he died.

Mitzi was a terrific mentor, and I'd hear her telling other comics, "you'd be good if you just worked a few other rooms, then came back". I was lucky enough to be "passed" the first time she saw me, when she said, "You got something unusual kid, don't lose it." In the divorce, Sammy Shore gave Mitzi the Comedy Store, and she really made it into the home for most Los Angeles comedians.

Sitting with Sammy today was a complete accident. It turns out our table was to be his at a designated time, and I waited for him, to help him set up and to say hello- he is SAMMY SHORE after all. The peer to Moms Mabely, Phyllis Diller, Joey Bishop, and the opening act for Elvis for five years. There isn't a stage that Sammy didn't own, and to meet with him, after having dozens of chats with his daughter and son was just a thrill so hard to describe.

He was just the glowing dad when it came to talk about Sandi- and that was charming. Working with Tony Orlando is also something he was just excited about telling me...and he was just vibrant. The guy may be 81 on the outside, but he's about 35 upstairs. Smart, swift, and really a funny guy who has seen it all. His hearing isn't the best- and my low voice probably didn't help- but we had a great chat. Politics, publishing, comedy, the Store, his kids, his dogs- we just had a nice afternoon.

So for the last 12 hours I had a great immersion into the world that is comedy- part with new legends to be, and part with a true master of the form. It was a day that let me know "I'm doing the right thing, and these are my people."

It's a great feeling.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

good club, bad club

This past week, I had the fortune of visiting Los Angeles, my former home town for many years. I was doing workshops at a corp gig as part of the Atheist Alliance International, (there will be a post on this on the GodlessGrief Myspace page, and blog). But as part of my trip, I wrote to about 30 or so clubs asking if there were spots open that I could try some material in- and got some great responses, and some not great ones. But, I took two offers up, and I write about them as a warning and as delightful surprise that could aid my co-comics out in the future.

The first, is the good, because no one seems to talk about good stuff anymore. But there's a small room in a church basement of an episcopal church. I know, you don't usually hear ME talking about going to some church, but this was different. David Corrado runs a little show Friday Nights in St. Bede's in Mar Vista, with a combination of music and comedy as the theme for the evening, and it's just terrific. I didn't really bring A- material, because, really, had no idea what the room was, and didn't really plan for anything other than working out a brand new bit...but that was perfect.

David and I first met years back when I had a room in Westminster, in a Bennigans, (commence Butters imitations now), and people like Martin Moreno, Steve Marmel, and Courtney Cronin were regulars- along with Tanyalee Davis, Roz Browne, Julie Kidd, and a few other interesting folks. The room worked because there was no pressure on anyone. It was JUST a work out room and just a place where doing new material is the right thing to do. Headliners came down, did a 15 minute set, and then went back to the Store, the Factory, or the Improv, and killed. It worked because everyone was there from start to finish to support one another, and as emcee and host, I never wanted it any other way.

David's Church Basement show was more than that because there were musicians doing the same gig. I had never been in that atmosphere- and it was kind of hip and wild, and cool, and a throwback to all things I miss about "performance art" which I was so much ensconced in during the 80's. No one was there to do their auditions, and no one was trying to be a tv star, like you'll see ruining the comedy rooms around the city- it was just people who wanted to play on stage, and have a great place to do so. David brought that into fruition, big time. He's a humble host, and a funny guy, who gets why people do comedy. If you get a chance to do his space- DO it. The crowd may be small but it's just perfect. And, I'll be back, along with Grace Fraga, and Dana Snow, to do some newer and older stuff, and to feel at home again.

Then comes the opposite of the spectrum. In every year, since 1979, the first year I was on a comedy stage, I have never once did a show where someone said to me, "you must bring at least X number of people or you won't get on stage". Ever. These are prominent in the music community and it was not unusual to see bands walking up and down Sunset, or in Venice Beach, GIVING people money to go see their shows at the Whiskey or Palomino club- the bands did that- the comics didn't. Why? Comedy clubs HAD audiences... people wanted to laugh and didn't care if it was a black guy, a white girl, or a jewish nun doing the show.

So it's now 2008, and I got a response back from one club in North Hollywood, whose name rhymes with "Blah Blah", saying, sure come on down. Wednesday night gig. Okay. Weird night of the week, but okay. And, the only other thing in the email, "do you advertise when you play?" I wrote back, of course, it's all over MySpace, Facebook, etc... and people tell me they'll be there, and usually they make it. Well, Kyle Cease was at the improv, Gabriel Iglesias was at another improv, and the new Laugh Factory Long Beach was luring people with comps that night so I didn't have high hopes that there would be a big "me" crowd- just figured ah, they're open Wednesdays, they must advertise something, too. Silly me.

I told a couple of folks where I'd be...and heard crickets. Just nothing. No warnings. This is why I write. This place is the worst place for ANY comedian to perform for MORE than just a "bringer show" atmosphere. They charge comics a $5 per SODA fee. I have no idea what the liquor costs, but it wasn't that cheap, either I'm sure. There were comics getting charged a COVER fee..uhm... no. NOT cool. And, twenty minutes AFTER the show starts, no one was even told their times on the slots for the night.

A full twenty minutes after a show starts, someone needs to know the slots, and the comics need to know they are going up. But ten minutes after THAT... some guy who was doing part of Mark Pitta's, Jason Stuarts, and even a bit of K-von's act- mostly just posing and pretending he was cute- comes up to me and tells me, "You don't have any people up here yet. Do you expect them to show up soon?"

Uhm. I drove from Las Vegas specificially because on TUESDAY when I called the club to confirm I was told, "Oh yeah, we're doing a show at 9pm. You're set for the gig." I said, "My husband just got out of surgery, do you have any slots later in the week?" The nameless voice, (by the way, the email wasn't signed by anyone either..just blah- blah cafe.... ), saying, "no, we're booked solid two weeks so you have to take this or nothing." I say, "I'll be there an hour early".

I show up... there's a security guard. I ask who I check in with- he says the bartender. The bartender says someone named Eric, (aforementioned hack), and the Eric guy never made an appearance until well after the show I just slunk into the back. Now, anyone will tell you- whether you are Dennis Blair or Celeste Davis, I'm going to stay from the first comic to the last because I know comedians need audiences. I learned when I was playing the 2am slots at the Improv ANY audience is better than NO audience..and never once have left a show before it ended unless I was scheduled somewhere else.

So that said... it's 45 minutes in- no one I know is there..and that kid goes up on stage to do the gay boy dancing routine. Uhm. It's an older bit, and Jason does it better. So does half the Logo TV comics where he probably got it from. And Ian Harvie does the "I'm coming to get you" line with more believability. It was not a great set. He disappears. Never returns. Never tells me I'm going up...and never says anything about me driving JUST for this show. Unproffessional on every level.

I have texts and calls into Roz, Grace, Gulden, and Ant. Gulden tells me to pass the phone to Jack. Well Jack is apparently outside getting screamed at or flirting with someone else on the phone. Never did acknowledge me..or welcome me...or anything..and he's supposed to be the big guy. Okay. So I have a place in Long Beach I have to get to by midnight because there are babies there...

The kicker? I got my cd which is part of the newer bit..the d-jay, aka the security guard, tells me "Oh you're not going on?" He didn't have a set list of who is up... not even the people WORKING know who is going up.

So recapping- Ant, Roz, Gulden, Grace, Dana, David- supportive and wonderful. St. Bede's Friday Night show... really fun, and David is an awesome host. DO that room. Blah Blah club is only in the business of making money OFF of the comedians, and although ONE guy (someone named Hutch? who looked a lot like Cabin Boy...) was funny and had some stage experience, the club wasn't paying attention to anyone. At all. Not worth going all the way up to North Hollywood unless you're looking for an overpriced drink and free parking. Seriously. You can do that on in Vegas- the drive is cheaper- or at your grandma's local bar.

Meanwhile- The Short Bus Comics Show opened this past Friday. I'm emceeing on the 10th. I hope to see the Vegas locals and visiting folks then. Should be a HOOT. GREAT comedians, GREAT body on the nekked one. And, no more cafe gig for YOU or me. (warning warning warning) Just hit the St. Bedes if you want to test material'll be happy. Very.