Monday, July 07, 2008

The Weekend of Many Sets.

After a three day weekend complete with fireworks and crazy amounts of stage time, slipping back into the real world after playing rock star comedian sucks like you can't believe. Such is life I suppose. I manged to do sets at every club in town this weekend. I pulled off three sets on Saturday and two on Sunday. I love it when that happens! It made up for the disaster that was Santa Cruz last weekend.
A San Francisco 4th of July is basically a life lesson in let down for those who have not enjoyed the spectacle of watching clouds change colors when you wanted to see fireworks. Five minuets into the show, people started leaving. Little kids were perched backwards over strollers hoping for a glimpse of those hoped for explosions, only to be told, "next year, kid." by parents who now had to walk a mile or so back to where ever they had come from. It was a strange scene. Hundreds of people all walking with their heads down as thunder and color lit the clouds from inside. Red, blue, sometimes a sparkle, but no giant blasts of clear and easy to see fireworks.

Saturday night I pulled off a triple play. First, I did a show at Cobb's, then a set at the Clubhouse and then back to Cobb's for the late show. All this required cabs, luck and the generous offer of rides from a new young comic. There is something about doing multiple sets on a weekend night that adds an extra rush to the whole evening. At Cobb's I worked with Rob Riggle. He is a Daily Show corespondent and has an interesting problem. "People think that because I am on the Daily Show, they are going to see smart political comedy. Thats not me."
He is one of the nicest guys I have ever met. Almost the anti-headliner in a lot of ways. No trace of ego and an all around fun guy to hang out with. But, as he said, his comedy is not smart political stuff. It is in fact, pretty basic. I don't think he would disagree with that assessment either. In fact, he was an Improv guy for most of his career until he landed the Daily Show and saw his co-anchors hitting the road as stand-ups and bringing back nice checks.
Any degree of it can always be parlayed into stand-up appearances. It is the great thing about stand-up and the worse thing about stand-up. It proves everything that is good and bad about this business. Fame, as this weekends crowds learned, does not always mean great stand-up.
And so it went. I did my set at Cobb's and took off for the Clubhouse. I love the Clubhouse and it's funky almost home made club feeling that it has. Five floors up in a converted office space, they have manged to carve out a name for themselves in San Francisco. More importantly, they provide that much needed place where new comics can find their voice before hitting the bigger clubs and making a play for a larger career. That is my thinking anyway. I don't think it is the prevailing attitude of the owner. My intro was this, "You could of seen this comic tonight at Cobb's, but you were smart and paid half the money to see him here." Don't know how I feel about that exactly. The Clubhouse sees Cobb's and the Punchline as an enemy when those clubs barely know it exists. It's the L.A. San Francisco thing at a micro level. People in San Francisco will go off on how horrible L.A. is, but bring up S.F. down there and people just go, "I love that town!"
I did my set at the Clubhouse with an emphasis on trying out some new stuff. Mostly happy with how that turned out, I left the stage to be taken back to Cobb's by a young comic just starting to take classes at the Clubhouse. He was all smiles and nervous energy. Thanks Dude. Back at Cobb's, it was time for the late show where this time I waited for the crowd to leave so I could pass out fliers for me. Thats when temptation showed up in the form of three young hot girls who wanted to know why I wasn't the headliner. Oh hot young girls! You are my weakness and you know it. When they asked if I wanted to join them at the bar, I said I didn't drink. Well, that cock blocked me pretty efficiently. I would so like to come back to this world as a pair of girls jeans.

Sunday nights crowd at Cobb's was great! I got my check and was off to the Punchline where I found a dead crowd. They were OK for some people and then no where to be found for others. I followed a five minuet video that is best described as quirky. It's not that it wasn't funny, it's just that seeing a video near the end of a stand-up show is sorta like seeing a car commercial in a theater when you expected movie previews. You know? The crowd was done but with in a few minuets of loading and reloading the riff gun, they were on board and we all landed together in funny. I even manged to sneak in some bits before returning to a crazy Irish man in back that cackled like a gay Satan and shared with the crowd that his favorite drug was speed balls. That, and a guy up front who was very upset that somewhere in the middle of it all I made fun of Star Trek: Deep Space 9. Yeah. That was my weekend. I am a lucky Dude indeed to pull of sets at all three clubs in town on the 4th of July weekend and I know it.


Anonymous said...

"When they asked if I wanted to join them at the bar, I said I didn't drink." so i was curious about this part - what if you go, and just get a coke?

Joe said...

You ever see a movie where the projector is messed up and it runs at a slightly faster or quicker speed? Everything is out of sync. Same thing with a coke at a bar and hot girls who are all smiles and green lights.
Damn they were cute, though! Besides, I really don't need to repeat all the mistakes I have made that have started with a young girl, a glass of Coke at a bar, and conversation that proves they are not only hot but smart. It's enough to get the ego stroke at this point and hope that one of these days a woman closer to my age walks up to me after a show and says something like, "I love Star Wars and it's underlying message. I enjoy Books, the History Channel and hiking. I don't drink, have no one in my life right now and if this all seems a bit too bold, it's because we are both at the age where bullshit and small talk is not only a turn off, but a waste of time. I find you attractive and live here in town. let's have sex, stay up all night and talk and see what happens next."
If she could also be Asian, they would be perfect.

Dean said...

So how does it feel to know that to some newer comics, both younger and older than you, you're kind of our Obi Wan?

Joe said...

It's true. I have taught one who will turn to the Dark Side one day and bring down the old republic. He will turn to the hack side of the force and destroy what is left of any standards in Ha Ha.
Actually, thats a pretty cool compliment Dean.
I'm pretty good with a microphone and try to follow some sort of code. Course, I would turn to the dark side for a little bit of that fame in a heart beat!
Not really.
Well, maybe.
But you have a wife and a child you adore. Those are worth a lot more than the temporary love of strangers laughter.
Or so I have been told.
Gotta go. I just felt a great disturbance in the force. It's as if millions of people all laughed at once and then realized in one instance that it was hack.
Dane Cook must be working some where tonight.
Now is that something a Jedi would say?

Anonymous said...

"Hokey routines and ancient punchlines are no match for a good riffster at your side, kid."