Since I last wrote my “Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, you’re cool, and fuck you, I’m out!” post last August, I’ve ended up doing stand up comedy again a handful of times for a variety of very good reasons that aren’t entirely just excuses.
- I was offered a substantial sum last fall to go to a complete stranger’s house on his birthday that I lived 2 blocks from at the time and then proceed to roast him in front of his friends and family.
- Purely on last minute impulse, I cashed in my airline miles and jetted down to Rochester, MN this summer to attend the last open mic before the closing of Goonie’s, the club I started at. I was asked by my old boss the GM to fill in as warmup for a last minute cancellation before a roast of the very funny man who took over the open mic after I moved to Anchorage, Mr. John Russell.
- I just filled in this weekend for the hilarious comic Kyle Farrell for 3 shows with comedians Uncle Griff, Rudy Ascott & Chris Coleman. We all road tripped to support Kass Smiley’s new album release before she permanently relocates to the L48.
(Coat check: Seward, AK)
It was so much fun and I did surprisingly well at both 4 Royle Parkers & Maverick Saloon in Soldotna as well as The Pit in Seward. I really needed this weekend both psychologically and emotionally, as it reminded me of everything I forget about that is so cool, fun and awesome about touring. Going to a new town where you don’t know anybody, getting free food & drinks, driving a relatively new rental car, staying in strange beds you don’t have to clean up, being viewed as exotic & exciting & mysterious by the local flirts, unique diners, weird but cool bars, gas station munchies, fighting over the radio, killing time writing set lists at sports bars, applause breaks, everything. All of the crazy, I miss it dearly.
I didn’t even really mind that there was no non-smoking section anywhere, that one of the shows almost got pre-empted due to poor planning by “DJ Hankerchief’s Neon Dance Party,” some sketchy hanger-on’s, etc. It all makes me think of an interview with the late great Mitch Hedberg. I’m paraphrasing here but his response was something along the lines of, “You should be grateful as an entertainer that you get to live your life in a hotel room. It is a privilege. It is an adventure. You are lucky in a way that most of us are not. This is fun and you should be grateful for this opportunity while you still have it.” Sadly, in his case, eventually at the end it just wasn’t enough.
Please note: Hedberg & I are both comics born in Saint Paul, MN but I am in no way shape or form comparing myself to Mitch, truly one of the greatest one-liner-writers that has ever walked this earth.
A few people have asked me today if I’m second-guessing my self-imposed “retirement.” I will diplomatically answer by saying I really don’t know either way. I wonder about this the same way I wonder about moving back to MN. When I go home to visit, everyone makes time to visit with me and we go out to these great restaurants. But back when I lived there, I never saw a lot of those people, because I’m kinda anti-social & busy but also because my presence wasn’t a rare novelty treat back then. I’m sure there’s nostalgia about my home state glossing over unpleasant parts of my past there. By that same token, would I eventually just go back to hating everything in comedy again like I used to?
All I know for sure right now is that I didn’t realize how much I really miss my stand up comedy buddies. The bonding & commiserating you get with comedians in cars on the highway is real. There is no substitute for that. It’s like a private club where civilians are not allowed. Stand up comedians do not judge you. Of course we are still competitive & jealous & rip on each other mercilessly. That never goes away. All comics really care about is whether or not you’re still funny. I’m happy to report that apparently I still am. Cheers!
Warning: Do not under any circumstances let this man use your hotel room sink.