Archive | May, 2010

Old New York

23 May

Friday night I was booked for a gig in New York State thanks to my friend Josh from college (Thanks, Josh!)  I taught in the morning, and in the afternoon, I picked up my friend Ted (“Teddy Ballgame”) Pettingel, a funny Boston comedian with the night off.  We headed down to Mamaroneck, NY for the gig opening for Judy Gold at the Emelin theater.  I was very excited to meet Judy and see my uncle and aunt and have a road trip.

Road trip highlights: Summer jams.  Extended discussion of the song “Building a Mystery” by Sarah McLachlan including what construction materials are necessary for a mystery.  Getting a call that I have been invited to the Great American Comedy Festival in Norfolk, Nebraska this summer.

We made it to the theater, which was lovely, and I did my sound check, which was very brief.  The room was great for comedy.  All of the seats were close to the stage.  Not too big.  Great acoustics.  I was very excited.

Very fancy!

Backstage, Ted, my one man entourage (his words, not mine!) and I made our way to my dressing room.  It was very fancy, which to me means that it was there at all.  It was also full of costumes from a previous show, which I was tempted to wear.  The temptation was surpassed by my stronger temptation to not look like a total dick.

Ted took the most comfortable seat, but I didn't complain.

I met Judy, who was very nice, but in kind of a rush because she had a lot of family at the show.  I went onstage to open the show a few minutes later, and the crowd response was (let’s say) attentive but subdued.  After a minute, I thought that maybe they were slow to warm up.  After three minutes, I peered out into the audience, and blinded by the stage lights, I convinced myself that everyone was late to arrive.  A younger me might have sped up and plowed through material, but I kept my pacing on-target and smooth.  I brought Judy to the stage, and she promptly demolished the room for an hour and fifteen minutes, destroying the illusion that the crowd had not materialized on account of unexpected Mamaroneck gridlock.  It was great to see someone I’d never watched before come onstage and captivate the crowd for the whole show.  (Disclaimer: I missed the first few minutes decompressing after my set and eating pretzels with Ted.  But the part that I saw was captivating.)

After the show, however, everyone was super complimentary.  Also, as the crowd filed out, I saw that the average age of the crowd could not have been less than 65.  So, in light of the handicap given that I am 1/3 the age of most of the crowd, and their proclaimed enjoyment of my comedy, I have decided to chalk the night up as a victory.  Especially because Ted and I ate delicious burgers and made it home without falling asleep at the wheel.

Hooray, victory!

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¡Santa Claws!

23 May

Sorry for the belatedness of this entry!  I figure, everyone who reads this, I have already spoken to on the phone about the rest of my weekend in Maine.  But, in case someone stumbles upon this blog in the hear 2099, here is what happened the rest of the time I was in Maine.

Sarah and I did a lot of good walking around.  We did some birthday present shopping in the Old Port and wandered along the Western Promenade, which sounds like a place you can only go if you are wearing a monocle and a top hat.  There were some nice flowers and enormous houses.  Some of them looked like they were built for rich people to be safe in the event of an invasion from New Hampshire and/or Canada.

Bring on the New Hampsherians!

We also walked through an old graveyard.  This tombstone commemorates the life of a veteran of the War of 1812.  Thank you Ezekiel for serving your country in the fight against…1812?  PS. I wish I knew someone named Ezekiel, so I could nickname him Eazy-E.

Here Lies Eazy-E Thurston. He knew nothing in life but to be legit.

We also decided to do the fun/touristy thing of going to a place to eat lobsters.  The lobster is the fanciest food that you can wear a bib while eating.  And the jump is enormous.  It goes strained peas…lobster.  We decided to head to Cape Elizabeth to a little lobster shack called Lobster Shack.  Which was next to a place called Candle Shack, which is a store I could only forsee becoming necessary after the apocalypse.

Important fact: Sarah was a vegetarian for several years and had never eaten lobster before last weekend.  So a) She didn’t know how to do it, and b) She found the whole process horrifying.  Her face looked like I was asking her to eat a kitten.  (Which, for the record, I would never ask her to do, unless the kitten was going to go to waste.)  As she cracked open a claw, she seemed on the verge of tears, which put me on the verge of laughs.  But we got through it together.  I was pretty desensitized to the shelling of crustaceans after my recent Crawlocaust in Louisiana, so I was able to help her through.  I think she’s stronger for it.

Then I took a picture of a light house, because for years my roommate Ben was convinced that the light houses of Southern Maine were one of the wonders of the ancient world.  (They are not.  It was the Light House at Alexandria in Egypt.)  So here’s a picture I’m posting to mock him.

Are those the hanging gardens of Babylon?

The second night at the Comedy Connection was awesome, and I can’t wait to go back!

Hooray, Maine!

B, B, and B (Bed, Breakfast, and Blog)

15 May

Hey Everyone!

Right now I’m in Portland, ME.  It is secretly a very awesome city.  It’s walkable, and there are lots of great restaurants, and it’s on the water.  What’s not to love?  Last night I was in a pinch for dinner, and I had some mediocre pizza, which I guess I didn’t love.  But it had buffalo chicken on top of, which I would probably eat off of a hat or an unfinished basement floor.  Plus, they had Dr. Pepper at this pizzeria, which was a major soft-drink victory!

On to the club (Maine Comedy Connection, http://www.mainecomedy.com).  It’s right in the old port, which is in the cozy touristy part of town, which is perfect because I am a cozy tourist.  The room was about 2/3 full, and the show went great!  It’s my first weekend working up here, and I hope they have me back soon!  One more show tonight, and then I’m back to Boston tomorrow.

My girlfriend (whose name I will not use because I’m not sure whether she reads this blog) came up with me, and we’re staying at a B and B (bed and breakfast, I think).  Both the B and the B were king-sized, which I’m not used to (and which were awesome).  Then Sarah (whose relationship to me I will not list because I’m not sure whether she reads this blog) left for a long run, because she is training for a half marathon.  I told her that I was going to do sit-ups while she was out, but so far, I don’t think I’ve sat up even once.

The rest of the weekend will be full of seafood, comedy, tourism, and potentially outlet shopping.  I feel like my dad.  But that’s mostly because I look like my dad.

Will update tomorrow, but with pictures!

Hooray,
Josh

Just Saying: You Don’t -Always- Double Down

11 May

So guys,

KFC has released a sandwich (the “Double Down”) that reminds me (through it’s name) of Swingers, one of my all-time favorite movies.  It is a sandwich with no bun.  Just two pieces of fried (or grilled) chicken, with bacon, cheese, and some ungodly sauce in the middle.  It’s for if you’re on a low-carb diet, but you still want to gain a crap-ton of weight.  So I had to try it.  In the interest of science, of course.

My friend/co-scientist Ben Sandler and I went into our local KFC for the first time since we moved into this neighborhood three years ago.  We each ordered a Double Down combo, which came with a drink and potato wedges (actually any side you want, but…obviously potato wedges).  We brought the loot back to our house to devour…for science.  Here are my observations.

1. In the television commercials for this sandwich, the sandwich has a wax paper sleeve over it.  We received no such sleeves.  Therefore, we just had to clutch the fried chicken breasts in our bare hands as we ate.  Fried chicken hurts to hold in your hand.  It’s as if the sandwich itself were warning me not to eat it…or that it held an untold mystical power not for the faint of heart.  Probably the second one.

2. KFC listed the caloric content of the Double Down at 396.  But independent sources have estimated it’s probably actually closer to 800.  It tastes like 800 for better and/or worse.

3. “I thought you’d be bigger,” is what I said to it.  Like everyone says to Swayze in Road House.

4. It could really use a bun to balance out all that meat flavor and absorb some of the sauce/cheese.  Seriously.  There’s no need for a bunless sandwich.  Are they trying to save money?  Can I even order one with a bun on it?  So many questions.

5. It wasn’t bad.  But it was not an essential eating experience.  I’ve just got the spirit of discovery in me.

A double Double Down. Don't worry. I only ate one.

My dream: A Quadruple Down.  Two double down sandwiches with steak buns.  Let’s do it, America.

On the Road Again…

11 May

Hey Everyone (Mom, Dad, and Nana, I mean)

Some folks have been asking where I’ll be performing in the near future.  Here’s as comprehensive a list as I have right now through the summer.  There’s a lot more in the works, and I’ll let you all know when It’s locked down.

May:

11 – The Final Rob Crean Show – Obrien’s Pub: Allston, MA 10pm

14+15 – The Comedy Connection – Portland, ME 8:30pm (www.mainecomedy.com)

20 – Mottley’s Comedy Club – Boston, MA 8pm (Audition for Comedy Central, http://www.mottleyscomedy.com)

21 – Emelin Theater – Mamaroneck, NY  8pm (Opening for Judy Gold)

22 – Improv Boston – Cambridge, MA 6pm (The Family Show – All Ages Improv)

22 – Mottley’s Comedy Club – Boston, MA 8pm (Featured Act with Headliner Dave Rattigan)

23 – The Comedy Studio – Cambridge, MA 8pm (www.thecomedystudio.com)

26 – Greater Boston Comedy Relay Benefit at Mottley’s – Boston, MA 8pm

28+29 – Dick Doherty’s Beantown Comedy Vault – Boston, MA (www.dickdoherty.com)

29 – Improv Boston – Cambridge, MA 6pm (The Family Show – All Ages Improv)

30 – Benefit – Woburn, MA

June

3-6 – Funny Bone – Manchester, CT (www.hartfordfunnybone.com)

9 – Mottley’s – Boston, MA 8pm

10-13 Aspen/Rooftop Comedy Festival – Aspen, CO

18+19 – Mottley’s – Boston, MA 8pm (Opening for Jon Fisch)

19 – Improv Boston – Cambridge, MA 6pm (The Family Show – All Ages Improv)

6/24-7/3 – California Dates TBA

July

8 – The Comedy Studio – Cambridge, MA 8pm

14-17 – Laugh Your Asheville Off Festival – Asheville, NC (www.laughyourashevilleoff.com)

30+31 The Comedy Studio – Cambridge, MA 8pm

August

5-7 – Joke Joint – Bloomington, MN (Co-headlining with Seaton Smith, http://www.jokejointcomedyclub.com)

19-22 – Laughing Skull Lounge – Atlanta, GA (Featured Act with Gary Gulman, http://www.vortexcomedy.com)

25-28 – Cap City Comedy – Austin, TX (Featured Act with Iliza Shlesinger, http://www.capcitycomedy.com)

Born On The Bayou

6 May

This blog is a week or so overdue, but I’ve got some time to kill on a bus ride to New York, so let’s do this, readers!

Here is a recounting of my travel adventure to Shreveport, Louisiana.  There were ups and downs and crawfish and baked beans.  So…excitement, is what I’m saying.

On Sunday, I bid goodbye to New York City, where I had visited friends and seen Elvis Perkins in Dearland perform.  The friends were great, and the show was also great.  There was a horn section, for which I have always been (and probably will always be) a sucker.

Elvis Perkins is the blurry one in the middle. Dearland is comprised of the blurry folks on the outskirts.

I took a taxi to JFK Airport.  My cab driver was an amazing old Jewish man who was an economist, and had owned a women’s clothing store, and then run a large non-profit youth basketball league in Brooklyn.  He told me lots of great stories, and even if they were embellished, they were totally worth hearing.

At the airport, I ran into friend Sean McCarthy (of superior blog The Comic’s Comic) and just missed meeting comedy great Marc Maron.  Also, there are birds in the Delta terminal at JFK, which is mildly off-putting.  What is weirder is that no one else mentions it.  Like: “Big whoop, it’s New York City.  We’ve got birds indoors here.”

I fell asleep while the plane was on the tarmac, and I woke up still on the tarmac, which was weird because an hour and a half had passed.  And I had expected the plane to be a space machine rather than a time machine.  Our flight attendants assured us that we would still arrive on time, but, as chronological order would have it, I missed my connecting flight out of Memphis.  Additionally, there were no later flights because the Memphis airport basically turns the keys over to FedEx on Sunday nights and lets them route their shipping from there.

So, as I saw it, my options were two.  I could a) Rent a car and drive six hours to Shreveport.  Or b) Cross my fingers that my 9:20 flight the next morning would get off on time and get me to the gig.  If there had been car rentals right at the airport, I probably would have taken off right then, but everything was a shuttle ride away, so I shacked up for the night and rolled the dice on the Memphis weather and Delta’s less-than-sterling record of telling me the truth.  To console myself, I ordered a bbq pork platter to my hotel room.  I then consoled myself to the point of bursting.

The consolation prize.

Everything went great the next morning.  I made it to the student center at LSU-Shreveport with 15 minutes to spare, and everything was all set for the show.  Unfortunately, there was maybe a crowd of 2 that knew that I was coming.

Nevertheless, the show started, and the audience slowly built to nearly six times its original size.  Plus, there were random laughs from other parts of the cafeteria that I choose to attribute to their accidental enjoyment of my performance.  Everyone in the front, though, was listening and enjoying.  And the people in the back were not disruptive.  So a show that could have been pretty rough turned into kind of a “swell gig” (the opposite of a “hell gig”).

Anyway, on the way back to the airport, Tommy, my second amazing cab driver of the trip, took me to Big Daddy’s to get crawfish.  Big Daddy’s is a trailer by the side of the road with a credit card machine that only takes food stamps.  So I got two pounds of crawfish (roughly six zillion crawfish).  I took them to the airport food court where I proceeded to eat all of them.  The food court director (Chef Tiny) was drawn out of the kitchen by the smell of my crawfish, but he declined my offer to share them with him.

There was no one else going through security at Shreveport Regional, so all of the TSA people just helped me shuttle my bags through, which was nice of them.  Then, by late evening, I was back in Boston.

Slaughter. Wholesale slaughter. Take that, the sea.

Adventure concluded!