Archive | June, 2010

Boston Dates Upcoming!

30 Jun

Hey Everyone,

I’m hosting a couple of really fun shows coming up in Boston. I didn’t have anything booked this summer where I was doing more than 5-7 minutes, but these shows will be pretty great.

July 9-10 at Mottley’s Comedy Club.
Hosting with Bethany Van Delft and headliner Tim Lee.
http://www.mottleyscomedy.com

Please come!

Get to the Punchline!

30 Jun

Hey everyone, guess what!  I finally did some comedy on a stage in front of people.  And now I’m going to talk about it with my fingers by using them to push keys on a computer.  Why am I being so explicit?  I’m like the R. Kelly of blogging right now.

For me, comedy is like riding a bike: I have to do it all the time to stay remotely competent.  So a week layoff made me feel a little rusty.  Add to that that Sarah’s mom was seeing me do standup for the first time.  Add to that that I’m performing at a club I’ve never worked at before in front of a very selective booker.  So I was a little edgier than usual coming into the night.

When I walked into the room, it was filling up, and there was a nice warm buzz of chatter and anticipation.  I checked in in the green room and settled down considerably.  I was just excited to get onstage.

That's where I was, but several minutes later.

The show (“What’s Crackin'”) was produced and hosted by Ali Wong, who is pretty terrific.  She very generously offered to put me onstage, and she booked a really tight overall lineup of great comics.  Ali opened with a long set that seemed shorter because it was very enjoyable.  I really admire her rawness and command of the stage.  She has sort of a Chris Rock-y prowl and focus that really captivate the audience.  Also, super funny.

I was next.  I was a lot like me.  (Can you tell I have a hard time writing about my own performances?)  It was a really fun time.  It took me about two minutes to really settle in, but then I started to feel a lot more comfortable and get on what they call in show business or bread-making “a roll.”  The audience was very attentive and fun.  I wanted to bring out some newer jokes because I am self-conscious about doing material that the five people I knew in the crowd had seen before.  But I stayed disciplined and did a ten-minute set of all tried and true material, which was the right choice.  I got to tell some of my favorite jokes, including one I call “Randy a Competitor,” which is perfect for a smallish room (but for some reason doesn’t go over great in theaters, but that’s another story).

The rest of the show was really enjoyable, and it seemed like all of the comics watched each other, which is an environment that I really like.  It’s much better to feel like you’re on a team where everyone is interested in each others’ success.  After me, Lilibeth Helson went on.  She has a really interesting rhythm to her jokes and had some funny jokes about kung fu, skeletons, and her mom.  Then special guest Hannibal Buress went up and destroyed for several minutes.  His jokes are all so creative and well-written, and his cadence is so locked in that he gets laughs at the end of pretty much every sentence.  He has a CD coming out at the end of July that I’m really excited to hear.  Louis Katz closed out the show, and he’s a really strong writer and performer.  I am a big fan of his stuff, especially his joke about marching band that is a zillion times better than my joke about marching band.  I have linked to both jokes.  No need to comment!

His:

http://www.rooftopcomedy.com/watch/MarchingBand

Mine:

http://www.rooftopcomedy.com/watch/IPlayTheTrombone

After the show, people gave me lots of positive feedback, including the advice to do more voices, which I am going to try and take, because I enjoy making weird sounds come out of my face..  Hopefully I can come back to the Punchline soon!  Thanks Ali for putting me on the show, and everyone else there for being very cool and helpful!

Game on!

30 Jun

Hey Everyone,

Tonight I’m performing at the Punchline in San Francisco.  It’s going to be great.  I feel really youthful tonight, mostly because I sat in the middle seat on a long car ride today.  Also, I avoided ironing by steaming my clothes in the bathroom while I showered…and then putting them on when they were still wrinkly.

Yesterday and today were spent at Lake Tahoe with Sarah’s family.  It’s beautiful there except on the inside of the casinos, which are like what I imagine the inside of the casino patrons’ lungs to look like, except instead of emphysema, there’s a Hard Rock Cafe.  But seriously, the landscape is amazing.  Proof?  Sure!

I know that I’m billing this as a comedy blog, and I haven’t done a set in a week, which makes me antsy, but I promise, stuff about comedy is coming soon.  For real.

C’mon Ride The Train…Not the Bus

28 Jun

Good morning (remember I’m in California),

California has continued to be fun and busy!  Yesterday was dominated by two events.  Let’s talk about them in chronological order (that means the order that Chronos, father of Zeus, decreed).

First off, Sarah, her family, and I went to the Red Sox game.  Which, for some reason, people around here kept calling the Giants game.  What gives?  We headed over to AT&T Park, where during the off-season they have underground cell phone fights, I think is why they call it that.  I feel like corporate sponsors should do more for the public.  Like, since AT&T has their name on the baseball stadium, I should get cellphone service in my living room.  Okay, maybe those aren’t really connected.  Either way that park was very nice and very large, and it made me think that Fenway is kind of tiny, but I’m terrified of what they will name a new stadium.  I hope it’s something cool like Robocop Futurefield.  Fingers crossed.

Can you see the game now? How about now?

We got to see Jon Lester (the Red Sox’x (I think that’s how you punctuate that, and boom, nesting parentheses) best pitcher) go up against the Giants’ ace Tim Lincecum.  It’s weird to say that about baseball pitchers since they’re usually not on the field at the same time.  Even in the national league where they pitch to each other two or three times a game.  And in those instances, the pitcher pitching usually beats the pitcher hitting.  Too much baseball talk?  Understood.

The game was really fun, and the Sox won, which was a boost to our enjoyment of the experience.  Also, they have Garlic Fries at this park because garlic grows in Gilroy, California.  If there’s one thing I love, it’s slightly regional food.  It gives me the excuse to eat horrible things under the guise of culture.  The greatest trick my brain ever pulled was convincing my body to eat Buttermilk Pie in Arkansas last year, simply because it was a pie I had never heard of.

Then I helped Sarah pick out supplies for a pasta salad that I wouldn’t be around to eat and took the bus to the Punchline Comedy Club to meet up with hilarious rapper and great friend MC Mr. Napkins (Zach Sherwin).  Riding the bus is great because there are no maps or anything once you get on.  They just assume you know what you’re doing.  Not like on trains, which apparently are for rookies what with their diagrams and announcement of stops.  An elderly Asian lady was my guide, and I am forever in her debt.  Mostly because I had to borrow exact change from her and will never see her again.

The Punchline is a great room for comedy.  All the seats are good, and the sound is great, and the management is friendly and helpful.  (Pictures forthcoming tomorrow or Wednesday.)  The Sunday night show has the mystical quality that comics sort of show up and wait for their name to get called.  Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t.  It’s like Fight Club, that you just have to keep showing up until they let you in.  Which is certainly the least well-known aspect of the movie and book Fight Club, so maybe I could have picked a better analogy.  The show was really fun to watch, and I’m performing there on Tuesday, and I’m very excited about it.  If you’re around and the show is not yet sold out (which I’m told it will be) then you should come!

I'm what's crackin'!

Adventure!  Excitement!

Josh

It’s all good Swayze, Swayze.

27 Jun

So here’s the deal, everyone.

I’m in San Francisco visiting Sarah’s family (with Sarah, I’m not sneaking around behind her back).  My schedule has been pretty breakneck for the last couple of days, and my access to the world wide webs has been sporadic.  I haven’t been onstage since Tuesday in Boston, so I’m getting a little antsy to do some shows.  I’m on at the Punchline on Tuesday, and I’m going to hang out over there tonight in hopes of grabbing a quick set and seeing some SF friends.

San Francisco is an awesome city.  Do not be fooled by its inclusion in California, though.  It will still be 60 degrees and very windy in late June.  You live and you learn.  You learn to bring a thick sweatshirt instead of mostly t-shirts and one button down for being fancy.  Since I’ve arrived here, Sarah and I have done enough tourist stuff for several weeks!

Day 1: Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Woods, Ice Cream in Sausalito which is the name of a cookie (but I now call it Ice Cream City, USA), Watching the Giants-Red Sox game on television.

Day 2: Brief but intense workout at a hotel gym, Burritos in the Mission, Coffee and World Cup Defeat at Philz (Phil’z?) Coffee where they brew by the single cup, The California Academy of Science Museum (with a “living roof,” which is not as scary/apocalyptic as it sounds), Italian food, a speakeasy!, Point Break: Live!!!  I will elaborate primarily on the last two things.

The speakeasy  is a place called Bourbon and Branch.  It is near the Union Square (fancy) and Tenderloin (non-fancy) neighborhoods of San Francisco.  To get in, you have to make a reservation on the internet and then tell them the password once you get there.  You know, just like during actual prohibition!  The lighting is dim (and unfortunately photographs are not allowed), and when we got there, our table was not yet ready despite our reservation.

But that was okay.  Because I got to experience a childhood dream while we were waiting.  They took us to a second bar in the “library” part of the building.  To get there, we had to go through A SECRET DOOR THAT LOOKED LIKE A BOOKSHELF!!!!!!  Some of you might be wondering, Josh, are you secretly Scrooge McDuck, the famous fictional duck billionaire.  No.  I am but a simple man.  A man who got to walk through a bookshelf that was secretly a door.  And my life will never be the same.

When we sat down, we were handed a drink menu that included single ounces of scotch that cost more than the blue book value of my car.  I settled on a cocktail called The Derby, which consisted primarily of bourbon and tasted a letter grade better than drinking an actual hat would have.  Normally, I don’t have upwards of zero drinks in a night, so this guy hit me pretty hard.  I got very silly and started demanding to see Patrick Swayze.

My tipsiness continued to the show (Point Break: Live), where I was duped into thinking that the local actress present was actually Point Break and Hurt Locker director Katherine Bigelow.  But regardless, the show was wonderful in a way that was like what I imagine the Rocky Horror Picture Show would be like if it were more awesome.  There is still blood on my hands from the show.  It is fake prop blood.  Not a metaphor for responsibility I feel for a death that I caused.  The actors who played the Swayze and Busey characters were pretty terrific, and a guy from the audience gets to play Johnny Utah, the Keanu Reeves role.  If they ever do a remake of Point Break, which they should, they should get that guy.  My only regret is that I will not be able to see The Big Lebowski: Live, which only runs on Thursdays.

So far the trip has been excellent.  To close this e-mail, I will include several pictures of vistas and vista-like imagery.  Enjoy!

This is the hill that rocky would have run up and down if he had lived in San Francisco and still been a boxer.

Man, could that brook babble!

Neither Golden, nor a Gate. But one heck of a bridge.

Water as blue as Windex.

These flowers were all over Ice Cream City. My guess is they are not called Ice Cream City Flowers.

Vaya con dios,

Josh

PS.  My show at the Hollywood Improv next Thursday (7/1) is at 10pm and will also feature such excellent comedians as Bill Burr, Hugh Moore, and Ian Edwards.  You can reserve tickets online for super cheap if you use the promo code MORE.  Or come on Friday for a regular price.

http://www.improv.com/ComedyClub/Hol…0-248bb550ce8c

Double PS. Listen to my podcast The Two Man Canoe with Dan and Josh at http://www.twomancanoe.wordpress.com.  Episode 2 is up now!

News (Olds?)

23 Jun

Hey folks!

Here’s some news!
Next Tuesday (6/29/10) I’m performing at the Punchline in San Francisco as part of Ali Wong’s “What’s Crackin’, SF?” show. Tickets will well out! Buy them online here!
http://www.punchlinecomedyclub.com

I’ll also be at the Improv in Hollywood 7/1 and 7/2. Fancy times!

Plus, very talented writer (and improvisor) Brian Perry did an interview with me for The Apiary!
http://www.theapiary.org/the-apiary/2010/6/18/inside-with-josh-gondelman.html

Some news is good news!
Josh

The Nebwrapup From Nebraska

21 Jun

Here are some things that happened over my last couple of days in Nebraska.

I…

-Met Ed Asner.  Resisted the urge to tell him how sorry I was about his house floating away.

-Saw a bunch of Johnny Carson memorabilia, including several racist cartoons from newspapers.

-Did a great set in front of a big theater crowd.

-Stayed up until 4 am with friends, watching them drink beer and doing impressions.

-Saw a zillion great comedy sets.

-Told a seventeen year old girl that she was gross.  Like, legally gross.  Then said she was probably very lovely on the inside of her.  Then clarified that I meant her heart and personality.  Then tried to dig myself out of the whole that I dug, that her father was probably going to bury me in.

-Went several days without seeing a vegetable.

-Took pictures in front of Johnny Carson’s boyhood home and on a replica of the Tonight Show desk.

-Cheered for Joe Wong as he took first place in the Great American Comedy Festival.

-Received the generous gift of a “What Would Jesus Do??” pen.  Then avoided getting a ride to the airport from the man who gave me that pen.  Not very Jesus-y of me.

-Had a second awesome week of Comedy Fantasy Camp.

Here are some pictures!

Johnny Carson Boulevard

Ed Asner and Eddie Brill

Me with Wendy Liebman

Me and Cy at Johnny Carson's Boyhood Home!

Mike and Cy at the Carson Home

Me and Mike at the Same Place as the Other Ones