Monday, June 23, 2008


Nebraska was a surprise for many reason and in many ways. The people displayed a generosity of spirit I have never come across in all my years of travel in this country. When I hear conservative, I will understand now that they are not all alike. Hopefully, I have left a positive impression too. Norfolk, is America. It is the America you want to believe we are and the America you want to believe we came from. It is the three block main street and the people waving at each other. It is a church on every other corner, but it is also the pastures and fields I find what I imagine they must find in those churches. I like knowing that Norfolk is a real place with real people leading normal lives. The thought that families still farm is comforting in some way. Norfolk is the kind of town you can't wait to get out of when you are young. But it is also the town you can't wait to get back to. It explained a lot of why Johnny Carson was the way he was. His temperament and interview style was always patient, always sincere and never really about him. That was his great talent. I remember watching him over my dad's shoulder as a kid. My parents would leave their bedroom door open at night. I would sneak out of bed and stand just outside the open door in the hall watching the comics. I understood very little of the jokes, but I could hear my Dad laugh and knew that it was funny. This went on for years before I was old enough to sit at the foot of their bed and watch. Eventually, I watched alone in the basement den. Being there, in his home town and seeing what he came from, I thought about that memory again, watching him over my Dad's shoulder. When I did get a joke, I had to work hard at not laughing so I wouldn't be heard. I kinda felt like thats what the crowd was doing sometimes.

My favorite memories from this are not the big bright ones. They are the little moments when I was talking with Robert Mac in the back of the Bus on the way to the airport. It was having Dick Cavett tell me I reminded him in some strange way of David Bowie before turning away to someone else leaving me with my mouth hanging open. It was being on a hay ride with 20 other confused comics trying earnestly to listen to a lecture on watering crops and while fitting this moment into reality. Those were all great, but what really made an impression was the last show. I am not use to sitting still and watching stand-up. I fidget too much anyway. But on the last night, I sat in the audience and watched. People look so small from the crowd. But each person, some more polished than others, stepped out on the huge stage and filled it from their first word. It made me hungry to be on stage. It made me realize again how fucking cool it is to do what we do as comics. It made me want to go home and write jokes. Not long winded stories or bits that I could never tell on TV, but solid practical jokes like I was hearing now. That was the moment I realized I still have a creative level as well as a business level to reach. I thought I was creatively far along. Watching these other comics, I know that I am very very good, but I also know now that there is a lot more I can do with what I have. The joke, that short sentence of set up and punch, is still an amazing thing to watch when done right. I did feel like a lot of the delivery was very similar though. Everyone started to sound like they had the same cadence. If anything, I want to keep my delivery, but I can see where the tightly worded, beautifully constructed joke is the thing to aim for. Personality will take care of the rest.

I hate travel. Not the seeing new places, but the actual moving from one place to another part of it all. I love staying in hotels too. It doesn't matter if it is a big one or a small one. I know I have stayed in way too many though. Every knock at my bedroom door now I just say, "No thanks! Not today!"
It took all day to get back into San Francisco. When I finally made it, I found the rarest of things; a parking space directly in front of my apartment door! I wanted to do a set at the Punchline last night. I love coming home from a long road gig and stretching out in the living room that is the Punchline. Thats how comfortable I feel on that stage! I couldn't nap. I showered, put on what was left of my clean clothes and got in my car a little reluctant to let this space go. I thought about taking the bus. I turned the key, pushed the button for the radio to come on and thats the last thing I recall. The next moment a roommate was knocking on my window asking me if I was alright. Near as we could tell, I feel asleep right there on the drivers wheel. The car ran until the gas was gone and thats where he found me at 5:30AM this morning. Damn! I really need to take better care of myself. The dreams were crazy vivid. Those dreams you only have when you have been fighting sleep for hours. What I was thinking and dreaming merged seamlessly. One second I was thinking about the Greased Pig story and the next I was in a field with a shovel looking at an impossibly huge sun thinking, that is not the normal color. Then, my roommate beating on the window thinking something terrible had happened to me. I had to go to the nearest Gas station, wait for them to open and get gas before I could get coffee. After I filled up again and headed down the road to Starbucks, I got pulled over by a cop and given a fix it ticket. One headlight and a brake light were out. What! The car simply sat in a garage for a week. Excellent. Nothing like starting the day with no gas, waking up in the same clothes you had the night before and having a cop inform you that you must now spend money on a car problem or face a fine by the state.
How did your day start?

1 comment:

Sandy said...

You just described the sun I saw last night... it was all huge and strange, due to the smoke from the fires.

OMG... that would have been so strange to wake up like that, well... stranger to fall asleep like that! Tired would seem be an understatement in your situation!!!!!! I once fainted against a tree and it was the strangest thing waking up in a location other than a bed.... I bet you had a similar sensation! AND, probably a sore neck??!!??