Blog

Doing The Same Thing And Expecting A Different Result:…

It is hard to believe it has been one year since I lost to Myq Kaplan at Caroline’s in the Final Four of March Comedy Madness 2009.  The road to the championship each year for its first three years has gone through me.  Year one, I lost to Julian McCullough in the Sweet 16, who went on to win the title.  One month later my brother named his second son Julian. Coincidence? 

The next year I lost to Liz Miele, who is the girlfriend of Reese Waters, in the Elite 8. Liz did not win the whole thing, but Reese did, so close enough.

And last year I lost to Myq Kaplan, who won the whole thing, in the Final Four, and has since gone on to be on The Tonight Show.  So basically my comedy career has turned into the equivalent of Jennifer Aniston’s vagina: once you have been through me, greater success for you or those close to you is all but assured.

I feel your pain Jen.

Last night I felt so tired on my way to Comix.  I had already resigned myself to not winning, but seeing someone beat me and attain new success.  I was also exhausted from a day of watching Six Feet Under (great show).  But when I got to Comix (the sight of March Comedy Madness this year) I felt the competitive juices and hope stirring again.  The crowd was buzzing and looking good, (the only comedy club in the meatpacking district, Comix audience members tend to be a hybrid of comedy club goers and women you’d fu-k if your father ran a hedge fund. At least that is what I usually see when I am slaving around in Ochi’s – Comix’s alternative venue in the basement, where I rant and rave, while feeling like my comedy career is Sloth from The Goonies).

Well when I got on stage my jokes all hit exactly as expected (but I had to go first, which meant when the audience votes, my competitor gets last licks, so they can measure how I do and try to do better).  My competitor got a nice reaction from the crowd, but when the voting occurred, something unexpected happened: a tie.  Then after another round of applause voting, another tie. 

Now in every college basketball run to the title, there is always a clutch play that allows the eventual champion to continue playing.  Tyus Edney is still the one that comes to mind in 1995 for UCLA.  Well, due to the tie, we had to do a 30 second joke-off. And like Mariano Rivera out of the bullpen for the Yankees, I dropped my Obama impression for 30 seconds, which saved the day.

Last night felt a little early for my Tyus Edney moment, but so be it.

So now, after a year of recovery from the bitterness and rage that always consumes me after I lose or miss out on anything (I put a friend on two weeks video game suspension when he beat my In NBA Live and did not offer an immediate rematch) I am back and ready to make someone the next champion of March Comedy Madness.  Next Wednesday at 930 pm at Comix I square off against Alex Grubard.  Could he be headed for The Tonight Show, Comedy Central or a intimate relationship with the next winner?  You have to be there to see it.

My Obama impression is my Mariano Rivera. It has saved 50 sets, but has no ring to show for it.
Blog

The Best Show No One Saw

Yesterday seemed promising.  Had probably the best lineup yet at Always Be Funny (two of America’s best up and coming comics – Amy Schumer & Julian McCullough, along with some of NYC’s best unheralded talents Brett Anderson, Mick DiFlo and Pat Breslin).   The lastshow had poor attendance except for a group of sh*theads who just kept talking loudly and drunkenly during the show.  Despite the negativity that permeates comedy and stand up comedians, the eternal optimist in us makes up excuses for bad shows (footnote Harris Bloom).  Mine was that it was the Thursday before Labor Day weekend.  But last night I hoped would be different.

I got to the bar around 8 for an 830 pm show and was happy to see that no one was there except the bartender.  No people at least means no hecklers.  A few people arrived, some to watch the show, some by accident and some to stand outside and talk for an hour before leaving.  All in all the audience of non-comics (though some comics did come by to show support – thank you) was 5.  We actually had more television credits (Amy Schumer carrying the bulk of them)than audience members!  That is a ratio that should never happen in comedy, especially for a free show.  The failure has to be mine as the promoter of the show, but it baffled me.  Is Thursday night the new Monday morning?

Meanwhile, as the show was starting I got a phone call from my girlfriend who was in my apartment taking advantage of my premium HD cable, telling me that the largest cockroach she has ever seen is scampering around my apartment.  Because one large bug generally makes me feel like I am in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, at that moment, my home did not even feel like a sanctuary from the comedy hell that was occurring.

Basically me around large bugs.
Basically me around large bugs.

Every comic was delivering good stuff and was getting as good as could be expected from 5 audience members.  Then I got on stage and delivered a rant that was worthy of an absent-minded dictator at the UN (footnote Jason Good).  Fortunately a documentary team was there filming so a whimsical look at abortion, racism and the friendless existence of comedians should be coming to an independent cinema near you in the future.   My personal favorite remark last night was: “This show, as a metaphor for life, is the point in a man’s life when he is in an alleyway sucking di-k for drugs.  You may see jokes and sarcasm, but this is the low point in my comedy career right now – a metaphorical back alley blow job.” My second favorite was calling myself Daniel Plainview (There Will Be Blood), but without the mansion and a bowling alley to kill someone on.

Some cite Seinfeld or Pryor as influences.  Here's mine apparently.
Some cite Seinfeld or Pryor as influences. Here's mine apparently.

6+ years in and this is the difficulty with comedy.  I am a nobody in the business, so I only have few fans based on some road work.  But I am not new at this so all my friends have moved onto more important things, like fantasy football and masturbation.  And obviously I am not alone in these feelings since Brett Anderson did a great new bit on purging friends.  I guess the lifestyle I have to embrace is hitting me hard, but I will just have to do to it what I do to a woman who bumps into me on the subway: hit back harder.

So I got home and basically napalmed my entire apartment with extra strength roach killer, while I bitched about my show.  I slept poorly, but woke up and saw a giant dead water bug by my desk.  And that is when I knew today would be a good day.