Comedy Karma and the Connecticut Comedy Nightmare

I have been delinquent in my blogging duties this week for a variety of reasons, but I am back on this glorious 4th of July to celebrate that most American of professions… stand up comedy.  July will be the busiest month of my year so far and it kicked off with a July 3rd feature gig at Foxwoods for my buddy (who will become “one of my best friends” once he hits it big, which is what all comedians seem to do these days), and hilarious comedian, John Moses.  He asked me to feature for him for one night (he is the feature for someone else the rest of the weekend).  The gig only paid $50, but John was driving and he thought it was a good opportunity to get me in front of the people from Comix to possibly get work down the line.

Side Note on John – he is an extremely talented comic, hard working and like me, someone who is not caught up in the mutual admiration society that has become the world of stand up comedy.  He just does his work, makes people laugh and moves on to the next opportunity or job.  But, at the risk of sounding like what I hate, that is why John is one of the few people I trust in comedy.  So I headed up to Foxwoods with John and his fiancée.  I lugged my podcast equipment to record an episode with John before the show, but in a sign of worse things to come the drive took about 6 hours with holiday traffic and we arrived only 30 minutes before show time.  No time for the podcast.  Not even time to ice my shoulder from lugging aforementioned podcast equipment.

The club at Foxwoods, Comix, is really nice and just walking around the casino I kept thinking two things – one, I wish all the casino gigs I got were not one-nighters and two, I wish I was not a struggling comedian because I would love to go to a casino for a nice weekend vacation.  Being a comedian is like being permanently on a working vacation.  You are not tied to an office, but you are always sort of working on stuff.  I was taking two vacations a year when I had a regular job.  I have not travelled anywhere that was not comedy-related or family visit-related in 4 years.   So if you consider play station marathons vacations then I am the most relaxed man in the world.

The gig went great.  I did 22 minutes, taped a really solid set, sold a CD to the one guy who was buying merchandise from anyone and also had J-L fan (and Dexter superfan from Tuesday’s podcast episode) Jon Butler show up to the show with a buddy.  Then the booker came up to me in the green room and told me he enjoyed my set.  Perfect – done.  Good set and even at $50 I was going to turn a profit on the gig.  And then Comedy Karma (CK?), like some sort of villain from a Stephen King novel, intervened. Martin Luther King Jr. said that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” (this could have also been a pick-up line he told to his side action referring to his penis)  Well according to J-L Cauvin, the arc of comedy is sad, and bends towards fu*king you over.  Here is a timeline of what happened from that point on:

9:52 pm – I accompany John and his fiancée to Fuddrucker’s next door to the club for dinner.  I ate at the club already, but the two of them were starving and with John willing to drive me 1 hour to the New Haven train station I had no intention of being pushy.  Important detail: the last Metro North train to NYC from New Haven was scheduled to leave at 1135pm.

9:55pm – a woman cuts in front of John and his fiancée on the Fuddrucker’s line.  This is a great move that people should try more often, especially women.  I have been cut on line several times in my life and I do what most people do – I huff and I question and I semi-speak up, but then I sort of reach a confusion level where I half doubt if I was ahead of the person on line, simply because the conduct of the person cutting is slightly out of my frame of normal behavior that I know how to respond to.  The three of us did that to this woman’s cutting.  She took two minutes with her order.  Like The Usual Suspects you will want to review this timeline when you finish this blog to see all of the things that contribute to its tragic ending.

10:18 – Dinner is finished.  Just as we are saying goodbye to John’s fiancée who is headed up to the room, John realizes he left his valet parking ticket up in the room.

10:26 John hands the ticket to the valet

10:31 I get in the car with John.  I turn on the GPS and it is giving me an estimated 1144pm arrival at the New Haven Metro North station.  What then transpired was the first installment of a potential film franchise known as The Crass and the Furious, starring John Moses as Paul Walker and J-L Cauvin as Vin Diesel.  John Moses proceeds to shed 12 and a half minutes off of that time, all in a 2001 Malibu.  The unfortunate part is that he needed to shed 13 and a half minutes for me to catch the train.  When we arrived at 1136 pm there was no sign of the train.  John had basically pulled a Rocky I – he made it closer than anyone thought possible, but in the end Comedy Karma had received just enough help from a Fuddrucker’s skank and a momentary lapse in valet card placement judgment.

11:52pm We decide to look for a bus station to see if there are any midnight buses.  My GPS leads me to just a random public bus stop in West New Haven, where skinny black and white men wear lots of tattoos and no t-shirts at night. We arrive at the bus stop at 12:01 to see that it is a bench with a Rite Aid in the background.  Despair begins to set in.

12:07 We drive back to a La Quinta Inn, which had a sign out front saying “Rates from $95 a night.”  Considering I needed something walking distance to the train in the morning this was the most affordable choice.  I have stayed in La Quinta Inns before.  They are a solid chain, but not all La Quintas are created La Equal.  This felt more like a housing project that had been converted into a La Quinta Inn.  I go in and the lobby (and as it turns out the hallways) have no air conditioning.  I sign up for a room and John Moses says to me “You can’t quit comedy… not like this,” apparently reading a look of despair on my face that Helen Keller could have seen.  I bid him safe travels and went upstairs to my room.

12:20am If you have seen the movie Heat then you know the character Waingro (also cinema’s best representation of comedy karma).  He is a psycho who ruins everything for Robert DeNiro and when DeNiro has a chance to escape he decides to pay back Waingro, which eventually seals his fate.  This hotel and hotel room felt like the hotel in Heat where Waingro murders a prostitute. The room is sweltering so I turned the air conditioning on full blast.  I waited until my body had reached a decent level of cooling and then pulled down the sheets to reveal (no exaggeration) blood stains and some grey-ish brown streaks.  So in fact a murder may have actually taken place here, or at least a miscarriage.  Needless to say I slept on the other side of the bed.

12:47am I look up on the trains in the morning.  I might as well travel in modest style home if I am already losing significant money on this trip.  And then what I saw truly horrified me.  There was a 12:35 am Amtrak for $39 that I had just missed and had forgotten even ran. It reminded me of the Stephen King movie The Fog, where Thomas Jane opts to kill his son in an act of mercy before he starves to death, only to have help come minutes later.

2:00am I fall asleep, ending the nightmare.  Well played Comedy Karma.

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