This weekend I was (technically still am as I have begun this in a Starbucks 90 minutes before the final Sunday show) in Richmond, Virginia, capital of the Confederacy and home to two Amtrak train stations (more on this shortly). More specifically I was in Short Pump Town- arguably the worst town name in history where there is a mall containing the Richmond Funny Bone and other stores. I was staying in the comedy condo across the quasi-highway from the Mall. I was opening for Guy Torre, who I have opened for before. And like any trip down South the people of America fell into three groups – those that look like porn stars, those that look like they have Type 9 Diabetes and immigrants, who appeared to be the only people with average body types. The weather has been very hot (at one point I asked my balls if they were cutting weight for a boxing or wrestling match) and the comedy was very good. So with that brief road map, let’s dive in to another comedy trip:
Thursday – Why Does Richmond Have 2 Train Stations?
When I booked my trip to Richmond I selected “Main Street” as the station I would go to. As it turns out that station is less popular, has less frequent train stops and is a longer ride to the club than the earlier Richmond Station stop of “Staples Mill Road.” Maybe it is a Greenland/Iceland situation where they tell outsiders that there is a Main Street station to draw them away from all the wonders of Staples Mill Road. But I learned in time to get off at SMR.
When I arrived on Thursday I was greeted by Jason, the manager of the club and, as it turns out, my roommate for the weekend. He splits his apartment with the club. Admittedly when I saw my bed I was less than thrilled. It looked like something that Child Services or Special Victims Unit would want to take photos of before letting me move my stuff in. But the apartment was comfortable and one across-the-highway-sprint away from all that Short Pump, Virginia has to offer.
Thursday’s show went really well. The laughter was loud. The jokes killed. And the CD sales after the show were zero. But making up for it was getting to know the staff of the club. The sound guy (Buz) is a dead ringer for Rex Tillerson and that made me laugh. Also, one of the employees of the club, Sho, won me over when, during an in depth discussion of In Living Color, he called David Alan Grier and Tommy Davidson the “Klay and Draymond” of the show (the implication being that Steph and Durant were the Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans of the show). Now, if you know me you know I love In Living Color, Basketball and analogies. Basically at that moment I knew that if I were gay I might have met my soul mate. (Fast forward to next week when I am yelling at my girlfriend – “WHY CAN’T YOU BE MORE LIKE SHO?!!”
Friday – Girls’ Trip and Cheesecake Factory Bloat
On Friday I decided to take it easy so I went to see Girls’ Trip (I give it 3.5 Yassss Queens out of 5) and had an early dinner at The Cheesecake Factory (salmon, broccoli and then a very reasonable 1400 calorie piece of chocolate cheesecake). Apparently all that caloric intake had a positive effect because I crushed both sets that night. And as a bonus, my brand new manager showed up with his wife to the second show. It was their 11th wedding anniversary so either this dude is going to be the Jerry Maguire to my Rod Tidwell, or my comedy career is going to begin having negative impacts on personal lives besides my own.
But the highlight of the night was my exchange with a woman after the first show (which as it stands now was the best set of the weekend).
Terrible Fan Lady: You was pretty good. You’ll get better.
Me: Ah thanks
TFL: You was pretty good. You’ll get better.
Me: I am actually pretty happy where I’m at right now.
TFL: You’ll get better. And you need to get you a real girlfriend.
Me: Wow – 15 seconds to shit on the two of the most important things in my life. That’s impressive.
TFL: You was pretty good.
Fade to black.
Saturday – Get Swoll and Get CDs Sold
Saturday I ventured over to the amazing gym that comedians are allowed free access to during the week. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the condo and it is magnificent. In New York City, a gym as large and comprehensive as this one would probably run around $8500.00 per month. Of course in Richmond it only costs 3 eggs and a loaf of bread. Had a great workout and then had two more great shows. On the second show it was announced that Doug Williams, Super Bowl winning quarterback of the Washington Redskins was in attendance. I did not get to see him, but hopefully he enjoyed my set and will be telling all his friends. I also sold $90 worth of CDs, which would not be good normally, but since they were selling like laser discs the previous two nights I went to sleep happy (after asking a gas station attendant to turn the money into 90 $1 bills so I could Indecent Proposal myself to sleep.
Sunday – Detroit, Joke Bombs and Game of Thrones
(resuming writing Monday morning at Starbucks)
On Sunday I went to see Detroit, which was the story of a young Carrot Top who becomes a cop to terrorize black people in a hotel in 1967. It was a flawed movie, but very intense once it moved past its clunky first 40 minutes. I would give it a B+. Of course during the movie, the headliner for the weekend Guy Torre, asked me if I wanted to attend Washington Redskins training camp with him, so I missed that. But on the plus side, former comedian and Richmond-area resident Mike Way saw me in the theater and we had a pleasant conversation/movie-date. It was like the poorest man’s version possible of a Bill Murray-esque story for Mike.
For Sunday’s show I decided to try a few new jokes. Two went well, one was a shit show (hint – the one that involves sex with kids did not go over well).
- “Why does everyone in the South either look like they do porn or like they have Type 9 diabetes. My trip to the gym nearby was full of jacked tattooed dudes, women with big fake tits and people oozing over their scooters. You need some normal people here.”
- “Why are Southern women so flirty? Every conversation they need to make physical contact and they sound too interested and seductive – a woman at the movie theater asked me if the book I was reading was good in a way that felt more like the beginning of a porn.”
- “A guy once told me I looked like Jared Fogle. And that was before we knew he raped kids. I was offended then. Some things you just shouldn’t say. I don’t care if I am banging a 10 year old, holding a pair of giant khakis with my free hand while being fed a 6 inch veggie sub – you don’t tell me I look like Jared Fogle.”
After the show I went back to the condo to watch Game of Thrones and it was glorious. It was like the fantasy genre version of finally getting Eminem’s rap battle at the end of 8 Mile.
So thank you Richmond, Short Pump, the beautiful people and the obese people who all make up the capital of the confederacy. See you in 2018. Time to get home.