Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Duggan!

I closed a contest show at Roosters recently. Let me get right to the point. One of the comics went on stage and told a story about the time he lost an inch and a half off the tip of his dick in a lumber accident. Lumber accident. So ironic! Apparently he was carrying a heavy beam. He dropped his end, or load if you want to continue the bounty of sexual innuendo that this story is! It didn't just fall at his feet though. No. It fell on top of another hard surface (I am letting that one go) trapping an inch and a half of his dick between the not so proverbial rock and hard place. Ever see a crowd of men wince collectively? I have now. What made the story great was this nugget of detail. "A hallo of blood started spreading from my groin." A dare you to close your eyes and not picture that horrific scene. Oh but the best part isn't over yet. The best part was after he finished his set, he sat down with his friends in the front row. The front row!
I turned to another comic in the back of the room and said, "Oh. I am sooo fucking with him!"
The second worse day of his life was the day he lost an inch and a half of his dick in an accident. The worse day has to be the night I got on stage and that was the first ten minuets of my set.
He kept referring to his dick as, The Duggan. The Duggan? The Duggan. There is something about putting the word The right before the pet name for your dick that feels weird. The Duggan. Like it's royalty with a family crest or a Seinfeld episode. I call mine, the Mulligan. I always want to do it over.
Oh the poor guy.
But life had the last laugh on me. He was a good sport. I put my hand out at the end for the guy fist pound thing. He graciously returned the man bonding gesture. That's when I noticed the wedding ring. Wedding ring!? This dude lost an inch and a half off his dick in some freak wood accident (Wood accident indeed) and has a wife, but I went home that night to jack-off to memories of my X girlfriend with tears for lube with a perfectly good dick? Oh yeah. Life's fair!

A Little Revelation

Last night I climbed into my car and started the drive to Sunnyvale for a show at Roosters. As I did the thought hit me, I am going to perform stand-up comedy and someone is paying me for it. It’s a nice thought to have every once in a while. It means that no matter what I still love it. All the rejection and the constant expectation are worth the pleasure of getting on stage and doing what I do better than anything else I can do. It’s a nice revelation to have as you head to a show. Not that I wasn’t looking forward to the show anyway, but I do catch myself drifting into somber thoughts sometimes and this tiny burst of spontaneous gratitude helped to remind me that with or without the desired fame, I would still be doing this. As a result, I had a set that I felt totally alive in and free. That’s just a damn good feeling! When you do an audition, it’s the feeling you want to have embodied in your set. You want it to appear to flow freely, as if everything you are saying is leaving your mouth for the first time. That’s the problem though; you want it to appear that way. It shouldn't be something that you have to struggle to make appear. Lately, that is just what I have had to do on stage; fake it. It’s not that I don’t love being a comic. I do. It’s all the other stuff that comes along with it. You have to get some measure of fame or you just don’t advance. That point is made abundantly clear by the fact that tonight, I will be paid the same amount of money to close a show that I was paid to host my first ever professional gig more than 15 years ago. I don’t blame the club for this either. The clubs are in the same boat the local comics are. They need to bring in bigger names to make more money. The comics want to make more money, so that’s why we endure all the stuff that knocks us off our game. All that being said, when I get into my shinny little car, a car paid for entirely with comedy money, I realize that I have it far better than a lot of other comics. I don’t want my spirituality to be dependant on how much better I am doing than someone else, but I am doing OK. For whatever reason that thought came into my head tonight. There is a lot of stuff coming up. Good stuff. Opportunity. But you can’t reach for that next level if you can’t enjoy where you are now. That sounds like something you read on a poster that has cute kittens or something.
So that’s it. No great story about a weird gig or a report about a show, just one man going to work and thinking, that makes me happy. It makes the tiny apartment worth it. It makes the late nights and early mornings worth it. It makes the egos and the idiots bearable. It makes the let down of not getting something you want so bad worth it. All I want to be able to do is get on stage and make people laugh. But I also know that I have not been taking care of myself like I should be. Between all the stuff I have committed myself to doing, it leaves very little time to take care of the things that need to be taken care of so I can just get up and start the day on a good note. Know what I mean? Something has to give or go before I break. I am thinking about taking a break from teaching for awhile. I didn't know that I would enjoy it so much when I started it, but the demands on my time are starting to go from acceptable returns to a drain. Less money but more peaceful head space might not be a bad trade to make. After all, I know for a fact that I cannot get to that next level without taking all the steeps needed to insure a calm mind and a heart free of anger. This may not be a fact for every comic, but I know it is for me. I have never gotten a gig or advanced in an audition situation when the inside of my head was noisier than the crowd. There has just been a little too much static in there lately. The thought that I still get to do this and get paid for it still amazes me though. You cannot afford to take that for granted. When you do, and there have been times when I have, you are just going through the motions. It is a loveless and gray thing to be standing on stage coasting your way to the end of a set to get that check and get the hell out of there. I want to be on stage and want to be there. Big theater or small gig for gas money, I want all of my shows to be important. The only way to do that is to take all that noise inside myself seriously.
So maybe someone sent me good karma or said a prayer or just had a good thought for me. Whatever it was, I got the message from out of the blue; be grateful for what you can do, not pissed off for what you might not get.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Eyes on the prize, bitches!

Monday night was the first ever Jimmy Gunn Riff sessions at the Punchline. All in all, I would call it a success! If you were there, then you know just how odd and awkward Jimmy's hosting can be. Part act and part that's just the way he is, it made for good fodder the entire evening. In fact, I would say the show became more of a roast than a riff on today's topics. Doug Benson, high as hell, was also very funny. If you ever saw Tough Crowd, with Colin Quin on Comedy Central, then you have a pretty good idea of how the show works. We all did sets first. We went back on stage later, sat down and took questions from the crowd. There were some great moments. I think crowds enjoy a show like this. It gives them something different and something unexpected rather than the usual.
Last night I did my audition set for the Craig Ferguson show. Right off the top I will say that my set was good. Not great, but good. I am fighting the urge to go into greater detail and describe all the joy out of it. perhaps you have noticed. I do that sometimes. The notes I got back from the scout were encouraging. You always hope for a killer set from the first joke to the last joke. His biggest concern was that they might have an issue with my Mom jokes. Were talking TV now. If you watch a lot of late night shows and check out the comics, you will notice that most of their sets are lacking in any opinion or any edge. This is not their fault. The TV people don't want any letters from anyone who could possibly be offended. I was told to avoid politics and not to mention drinking, drugs, product names or any references to violence. In other words, try not to acknowledge the times we live in at all. It left me with about 5 minuets worth of stuff I could do. Good thing, because that's all they want. According to the guy in change of taping all of us, CBS sometimes has issues with a joke where it appears the mom is doing something bad to her kid. I have issues with that too. Hence the jokes about it. It just reinforces the idea that I need to take it to the Internet. No restrictions. No commercials. If people get upset, so what. That's the beauty of the Internet. Send me an e-mail telling me you think I don't understand politics. Send me an e-mail saying you don't think I am funny. To me, all that means is, you watched it.
Soon, Last Comic Standing will air the San Francisco auditions show. Word is, they will air a nice chunk of my set. I will believe it when I see it.
At the moment, I am trying not to second guess my set or think that the Ferguson show will pass on me. Next month I will be at a comedy festival where I will spend a week in front of the David Letterman Booker. Eyes on the prize, bitches!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Another Week of News

Last week, the Congress voted and passed the new G.I. Bill. It is a bill that gives financial help to returning Iraq and Afghanistan vets for college and medical help. Like their fathers before them, this generation of returning solders deserves to be thanked with easy access to education and a better future.
John McCain, Vietnam vet and champion of veterans rights did not vote on the bill. Instead, he choose to stay in California at a fund raiser.
Obama, flew back to Washington to vote in favor of the bill before returning to a rally for him in Florida.
McCain criticized Obama for not understanding veterans issues because he never served. It's true, Obama never served. He was 12 when Vietnam ended. A little young to serve in Vietnam.
Obama voted in favor of a bill that will help returning veteran's, a bill that the President and McCain was against by the way, and McCain couldn't be bothered to vote on it. He did have the time to say that Obama didn't understand veteran's issues because he never wore the uniform though. Make sense? Me either.

Mean while, we are still occupying Iraq. Little history lesson folks. The two main groups of people in Iraq are the sunnis and the shia. Under Saddam, the Shia were second class citizens often brutalized by Saddam. Saddam was a Sunni, so we knocked him and all traces of the Sunni's from the government in Iraq. You think thats a good thing, right? We put into power a government composed mostly of Shia's. Guess who the ruling religious faction in Iran is? Thats right, Shia's. When you hear people say that the biggest winner in this war is Iran, they aren't kidding! We did for Iran what eight years of war with Iraq never could! Then, we complain that Iran is influencing Iraq. You think? It's like we invaded Switzerland at the height of World War War two, threw out the government and installed a new one composed of Nazi's and then got mad at Germany for having more influence in Switzerland. Do you understand exactly how stupid we look to the rest of the world that clearly knows the difference between Sunni and Shia? Most American have a hard time telling the difference between American Idols after a few months, but the world knows what is going on and this is yet one more example of why we look like retards. Who thinks McCain will run anything different?

Now onto another round of Clinton Bashing! By now you have heard Hillary's comment about why she is staying in the race, right? In an interview she said her husband didn't get the nomination until June and that Bobby Kennedy was shot in June. So, one reason Clinton continues to fight is on the chance that Obama will be assassinated. Nice. Anyone else think that at this point she has gone a little nuts?
"I am staying in the race because someone might shoot Obama. Let's face it folks, a lot of people voted for me in the primary because he's a freaking' black guy and you know what this country does to politically minded black people. That's why I stay in the race. Odds are, I will be the nominee by default."
Well, on ward and upward to another week of news=)