Road Comedy Recap: The Gig That Broke Me

This morning, on 3 hours sleep (we will address that later) I finished reading Michael Lewis’ new book The Premonition. It is a book about some select people, much like those featured in his book The Big Short, who had a combination of outside-the-box thinking, instinct and intellect to know something bad was coming. In The Big Short it was the financial crisis underpinning The Great Recession. In The Premonition it was the current pandemic.  I know that Lewis will never write a book about me, but I feel like I have some of the same gifts for anticipating doom and gloom, with one caveat: I can only really predict them for myself.  And a day after going on an exhausting, infuriating trip to my nephew’s soccer game (this week’s Righteous Pk Podcast is dedicated to that story – go have a listen), the soccer game misadventure would pale in comparison to the Sunday experience I had going to, and coming back from, Philadelphia.  So let’s get to it.

Christian Rock Lyft

I was headlining Helium in Philly on Sunday night at 7pm.  The good news seemed in abundance. It was one of my 2 favorite clubs in the country, the Eagles were not playing Sunday and the last time I performed at Helium to record my album Thots and Prayers, I sold 100 tickets on a Wednesday.  So my cautious optimism was that I would at least meet that number given my exponential boost in fame and the fact that it was at least a weekend day, if not the worst day of the weekend. I sold 150 tickets on a Monday in Boston, so Philly on a Sunday shouldn’t be a problem I thought.  Now of course, I slept poorly the night before the show and felt my heart racing all day.  See, when I say that comedy is bad for my health I mean that quite literally.  When you entire career has been a fight to get your talent recognized and every legit milestone of your career exists as an isolated incident instead of accumulating as momentum building events, every gig that presents an opportunity for money, a relationship with a club chain, etc. takes on extra weight because of the overwhelming feeling of “these opportunities are infrequent at best.”

So I ordered a Lyft to take me to Newark Penn Station, the world’s worst train station. My driver arrived and began blasting Christian pop-rock.  I like Church and I like rock, but rarely do I like the combination.  First off, how many songs can you just have about Jesus’ love?  I mean that with all due respect – all 10 songs I seemed to hear seem to come from the same single idea with little variation.  There appears to be almost no daylight between a vaguely Christian pop song and a parody of a Christian pop song.  And the radio station said they had pastors on call if people wanted to call in. I found it all sort of humorous, but the driver was not just enjoying the music – he knew the words and was adding percussion on his steering wheel.  And then we passed a homeless man in traffic looking for money and Dominican Joel Osteen behind the wheel just gave him the Jordan shoulder shrug.

My driver had 55 minutes to get me to Newark Penn, which according to GPS was a 13 minute trip. Well DJO opted to avoid the highway (which was clear) for a series of side streets all the way to the station, We still got there with 18 minutes to spare, but I sort of felt like I was being taken the long way to see if the music of Imagine Jesus Dragons could work its magic on me.

Back in Philadelphia

When I arrived in Philly, on time at 435pm, I walked by the club to see my face.  Two things I noticed. One, the club used The Late Late Show as my credit. Perfectly legit, even though most people know me from other, more recent things. But multiple clubs have insisted on including “with Craig Ferguson.”  Would there be a violation of comedy law if we fooled people into thinking my stale late night credit might be from James Corden’s era?  Is Corden going to sue in Musical Theater Court if someone doesn’t make it clear that I was not on his iteration of the show?  The second thing I noticed was the Sonja Morgan of The Real Housewives of NY would be headlining the club a week after me.  I have often told my girlfriend, more anecdotally than with hard data, that when she watches 4 different real housewives’ shows she is supporting the reality show industry which boosted cheap shows starring talentless turds at the expense of more scripted material that before streaming might have been an opportunity for struggling writers and comedians.  I am not saying that reducing scripted shows by half in the 2000s would have directly led to me personally having a boost, but you get that in the aggregate, someone like me might have had more bites at the apple.  But I never meant it in a literal, direct sense. But thanks to sharing a marquee with Sonja Morgan I see that my journey of 18 years in comedy has been worth all the effort and that I am now in direct competition with Sonja Morgan (as singers must compete with Countess Luann’s bars on “Money Can’t Buy You Class”).

The Real Comedian of Bloomfield and the Real Housewife of NY

So now my premonition of doom was bordering on full blown panic.  I went to a nearby Barnes and Noble to finish mapping my set and then went to Shake Shack for a chicken sandwich. Then I went to the club.  With about 15 minutes until showtime my fears were confirmed. I was not going to get close to the crowd I had 3 years ago.  I went into the green room and chatted with the emcee and feature (who both did well) and apologized for the less than stellar crowd.  That is when in a corner of my mind I entered a dark place – if my crowd is reduced by half, after a period when I exponentially increase my fan base, then what has really been accomplished? Other than a Greek Tragedy-level dose of social media-induced delusion.  My goal, of course, is not to be an Internet G-list celeb; it is to be a headlining comedian.  But that requires translating Internet money and followers into asses in seats.  Somehow I did what felt impossible – I turned a fan base 40x bigger than in 2018 into a crowd 50% smaller.

Now before you worry about whether I should be sharing this in an industry that prides itself on false confidence and ass kissing, my crowds in DC and Boston were great.  So it is not like I have been travelling and eating dogshit. But, like many comedians, I can be a prisoner of the moment and because of my several successes in Philadelphia at Helium, it felt particularly depressing to have my smallest crowd in 10 years performing there (including 2 album recordings on Wednesdays when I was obviously the headliner).

The Healing Power of Fans

So I did my set. It went well. My shirt was soaked with sweat, which had less to do with heat and more that I felt like I was fighting off career failure with every joke I told. I greeted fans after the show and they were great. There were social media fans, there was a guy who has first saw me during my first feature week in 2011 and has been a dedicated fan ever since (he told me that when my stuff blew up in 2020 he was indignant on my behalf “you need to check out his stuff! He’s been funny for a long time!”).  And then a fan/friend via social media, Doug, postponed his return trip to the Netherlands to come to the show.  I bought him a milkshake at Shake Shack after for his troubles (as another fan knows – if you travel on a 6 hour+ flight to see me do a show, I will hang out and buy food/drink after – not a great deal admittedly).  So as I walked back to 30th street station, having sold merch and met many kind, generous and effusive fans I felt so much better. One of the silver linings of having a fan base that is not too large is that you get to feel and appreciate their support up close.  From a business perspective sure, it would be better to have a fan base of millions, but when the fans you have can make it personal it makes it easier to be appreciative and stop feeling mopey because one show was financially disappointing.

And then all the good feelings were eviscerated.

The Soul Killing Power of Amtrak

I arrived at 30th Street Station at 1010pm for my 10:28pm train – the Palmetto, which travels from Georgia to NY.  The train was listed as 20 min delayed. No big deal. But on further examination of the arrival/departure board included trains that were supposed to arrive at 718pm and 802 pm from south of Philly as delayed still.  For the next hour, I watched how every ten minutes, ten more minutes was added to the Palmetto departure time.  I checked to see what a Lyft would cost from Philadelphia to Bloomfield (the non-Christian rock, local road option) and it was $134 before tip.  Had I made a killing at the club it would have been a no brainer, but instead I decided to wait for my train.

At 1145pm an announcement was made that all northbound trains were delayed with no addition information. At that moment a mouse ran around near me, presumably trying to get a Lyft before the surge pricing kicked in. I then checked Lyft and it was $220 before tip.

Interesting J-L Jinx sidebar here – the club offered me a hotel. I turned it down because I wanted to be able to start work on Monday morning. Well, as it turns out I do not currently have an assignment, so staying the night in Philly would have had no negative impact on my day job.

30th Street Station Nightmare

At 1215 there was an announcement that the trains north of DC have begun to move and the first one would arrive in 45 minutes.  No word on the Palmetto.  After the 718 train arrived at 1245am, the next train was announced (the 802pm would be here at 105 am).  The station then announced “if you are on the Palmetto your tickets will be honored on this train.” I considered waiting for my train where I would have a reserved seat to myself to maybe nap for the hour back to Newark, but then the Amtrak employee shouted  – “Train 90 can board this train” (that is the number of the Palmetto) so I figured he was emphasizing as a courtesy. So I went down the stairs at 105 am and boarded the 802pm train.  And then we waited.  Multiple trains pulled into the station after, discharged riders and continued north as we sat idle.  An hour later (and as it turns out 35 minutes after the Palmetto had come and gone without me) it was announced that we were waiting for a crew change. My guess is that a train crew cannot continuously operate a train for beyond a set period of time and perhaps the 5+ hour delay necessitated a crew change by union rule.  Well at 215am we finally got to leave. I had the all-nighter chills and shakes, so I probably looked right at home as I arrived at Newark Penn station at 320am, a tidy 45 minutes after the Palmetto had swung through.

I caught a cab and arrived home at 345am to be greeted by Cookie. I put on my eye mask (my bedroom is disturbingly bright in the morning, which is not usually a problem since I cannot sleep past 5am), caught 3.5 hours of quality sleep and woke up wondering if I can continue doing comedy.  Fans are one thing, but 6 hours for a one hour Amtrak trip in the middle of night might be the most powerful, negative force known to man.  The good news for you readers who like miserable comedy writings: I am Amtrak-ing to Raleigh (10 hours each way) in a week and a half to headline Goodnight’s Comedy Club. God help us all (in Christian Rock voice).

P.S. – as soon as I published this by Twitter mentions were blowing up because SNL had announced it hired a new Trump impersonator for the upcoming season. It was not me.  Amtrak actually does not feel so bad anymore!  Good luck to all the new cast members.


Road Comedy Recap: Thots and Prayers Answered

This past week I was in Philadelphia for a very big week in comedy. I was performing at one of my two favorite clubs in the country, Helium Comedy Club and also recording my new stand up album, Thots & Prayers.  The album recording was Wednesday and then I would be featuring for Josh Blue Thursday-Saturday, The week would involve a handicapped room at the Sheraton, fans from Oregon accidentally seeing me perform, South Jersey MAGAts ruining my good vibes, and the best set of my life leading to a double album.  So with that teaser, let’s get into the details.

Wednesday – “We Overbooked King Rooms”

I arrived in Philadelphia around 4pm on Wednesday, nervous AF (I had only slept about 4 hours).  To put this in perspective – most big comedians who record albums have various factors on their side – they are headlining consistently so they get to work out 45-60 minutes per show, multiple times per week. They also have the clout to record several shows so they can pick the better show or edit together the best parts of multiple shows.  When you are a comic like me (prodigious talent, prolific capacity, no clout, no representation) you have to go through a riskier process.  Working on (what turned out to be 100 minutes of material) your set piecemeal – 20 minutes here, 8 minutes there, 25 minutes over there, 7 minutes in your bathroom mirror, etc, you have to trust yourself to a greater degree. Furthermore, you are lucky if you can book an A club for an off night for one show.  4 of my previous 5 albums were basically one take (Keep My Enemies Closer was 95% one show, which I opted to do when only 27 people showed up to a 130 seat venue for my first recording of it). Israeli Tortoise was the only album I had two full shows (albeit a 40 seat venue) to record.  Thots & Prayers, my new one, was going to have to be one take.  So in addition to having to prep for the album in the most difficult way, the one take recording raises the pressure of tech difficulties, audience difficulties and comedic screw ups all derailing my one shot to record a great album. Hence – very little sleep.

When I got to my hotel, the Sheraton on 17th and Race I was told that the hotel had overbooked King bedrooms, so I had two options (I told them there was a third – kick someone else out of a King bedroom): take a room with two full size beds and a normal bathroom or a Queen bedroom with handicapped facilities.  I took the Queen bed. As a comedian wrote on Facebook, my room made me look like Gandalf visiting Bilbo in The Lord of The Rings:

Coming soon to Game of Thrones

Then it was time for the show.  My longtime buddy Chris Lamberth was featuring and my buddy of more recent vintage, Steve Rinaldi, Philly native, was emceeing. I mic tested and then made sure to be in the green room before anyone entered the showroom because if the turnout sucked I did not want to know before hand.  I had a chocolate shake from the nearby Shake Shack as my dinner because I was afraid of having an 8 Mile moment before the show. As Steve got going I heard the crowd and assumed it was around 100 people.  I was correct and they were a good crowd. Chris then went up and the crowd kept sounding great, which gave me a boost of confidence.  And then it was time for me to perform.  I ended up doing 104 minutes that night.  When doing a one take album there is a temptation to throw the kitchen sink at the audience and then edit out what didn’t work.  I don’t try to do that because a crowd will fatigue and then, you might have a closer or a late show bit that seems to bomb or do poorly, but more a result of the crowd being exhausted because you have thrown too much at them.  I knew my set was long (I had anticipated about 80 minutes), but every bit was one that I believed was strong so if everything worked, everything would stay.  As it turns out, from my first listening back to the raw audio, the only bit that did weaker than expected, was my bit about the ESPN OJ documentary around minute 75.  I still can’t tell if it was crowd fatigue or if I have overestimated how good the bit is because of my own personal pride in the bit.  But that was the ONLY lull in the crowd for the 100 minutes.  They were on top of every joke, their energy and laughter was big the whole time.  If I delivered an A performance, the crowd unquestionably delivered an A+ performance.  I posted two different bits to YouTube from the show (the second – I am tempted to use a later version of the Trump joke as a bonus track on the album, but for continuity’s sake I will probably just use the one from the recording- the one posted below is not the album recording version), so hopefully you enjoy them.  The album will be a double album, which I would not do if I wasn’t happy with and confident in the product. And the crowd was about 30 friends and fans and the remaining majority just random people from Philadelphia who came out on a Wednesday for a comedy show.  So the fact that they were great laughers, patient with a no name comic and big enough fans of stand up to support live comedy in the middle of the week was a real blessing (of course none of them friended me on Facebook or followed me on Twitter, but I will let it slide because they made a much more meaningful contribution to my career – though 20K Twitter followers would probably get me more shows and specials than a great comedy album).

Thursday – “You were funny. I don’t know what was up with those people.”

As the glow of Wednesday still lingered I headed to the club for the Thursday show.  About halfway through my set on Thursday I just had this overwhelming sense of gratitude: “Thank God you guys weren’t at the Wednesday show.” It was the same size crowd as Wednesday, but I seemed to have divided the crowd with my comedy.  So after the show I had several people walk up to me and say some version of “Well I thought you were hilarious. That crowd was weird.” Then I had a long conversation with two women in town for a work conference with their arbitration company (how many comedians can say “Oh JAMS – when I was an associate at a law firm, our employment agreement said we agreed to JAMS arbitration in the event of an employment dispute.”  One of the women bought my albums and since she was from Chicago proceeded to rip improv, as well as a small club in Chicago (that has not booked me in a while). And just when I was about to propose she mentioned her husband and I saw my chance for Who’s Line Is It Anyway-hating children vanish.  The other woman was from Minneapolis and asked me if I had shows coming up there.  In what felt like the scene from In The Line of Fire when John Malkovich’s character has his backstory busted by a bank teller, I assumed I was being set up since the ONLY gig I have on my calendar for the rest of the year is in St Paul, MN.  By coincidence I then walked the two women to CVS on the way back to my hotel – when you hate improv and buy my albums you get a VIP experience.

Friday – “You’re Trumpgotz!”

On Friday the girlfriend came down from NYC. We had dinner with one of her best friends and her friend’s husband.  They came to the early show, which, of course, was the worst crowd of the whole week.  That audience was not the 2016 Democratic National Convention Philly crowd. That crowd was the 2018 MAGA South Jersey crowd. Dumb, super white and generally felt unhappy to be at the show (and it was not just me – all the comics on the lineup thought Friday early was the worst crowd.  But of course I felt like that dancing frog from Looney Tunes with my girlfriend’s friends there. Yes… J-L kills… when you are not there… you just need to believe me.

My girlfriend then announced that the were heading to the Devil’s Alley after the show, which I thought was evangelical speak for anal, but turns out was just a bar near the club.

The second show Friday was the best audience of the week, other than the album recording.  After the show a father-son duo from Oregon came up to me and said “You’re Trumpgotz!”  I said I was and they were generally stoked to meet me.  By way of background I created and have done a segment for ESPN radio’s The Dan Lebatard Show since 2016 where I read the words of the show’s co-host, Stugotz, verbatim as Donald Trump, due to some of their eerie similarities in tone and sentence structure.  So when they realized it was me they treated me like a rock star, which was cool.  However, it continues the tradition of people who are big fans of my work seeing me by coincidence only.  Unfortunately, my “I have lots of fans and occasionally they come out to see me accidentally” is not a winning formula to get booked.  But it really was cool to meet fans of my work from across the country (they were visiting the east coast celebrating the son’s graduation from college). Now the big question is whether or not I will be able to get the Lebatard Show to have me as an in studio, in character guest when time to promote the release of Thots & Prayers

Saturday – Cheesecake & Church

When the girlfriend and I woke up Saturday she had to go home to make it to work by 1pm.  We had to wait a long time for the elevator because… 5 of the 6 elevators were broken (sort of an inconvenience in a hotel with 20+ floors) but when she left it was time for me to properly celebrate so I made my way to the Cheesecake Factory to officially commemorate the successful album recording. I had my usual healthy meal at TCF of salmon and broccoli… followed by a piece of Godiva Cheesecake. I then waddled to a coffee shop to kill time before 5:15 Mass at the Church near the club.  Obviously it was a weird time to attend Mass in the state of Pennsylvania after their Spotlight on steroids just exploded a few days earlier (on a related note – the most awkward moment of the recording Wednesday was me doing my joke about the song Janie’s Got a Gun being a great example of child abuse making for kick ass rock, 24 hours after the Pennsylvania grand jury report on sex abuse in the PA Church came out), but I did feel like offering up a prayer of gratitude for the recording going well.  52 Sundays a year and a few holy days of obligation I just spend time relaxing and praying for stuff, but something good had definitely happened and a lot fell in line that good have gone awry so I felt like saying thanks.

Congrats to me!

After Mass a homeless man (or at least very down on his luck) was holding the door with a cup out. I only had a $20 and some loose change so I gave him the change, but I am amazed at how many people don’t give. In Philly, and especially DC, the homeless have sharp strategies – they know the mass times and congregate outside asking for change.  Now this may be manipulative or calculating, but my answer is so what? These guys are homeless and what better place to try and get charity than with a crowd who just listened to the words and teaching of Jesus?  Had I known I would have saved a buck from the collection plate and given it to the guy.  But it seems lots of people in this country practice their religion in Church and on a ballot, but not anywhere in between. Oh well.

Shows went well Saturday and Rob Schneider did a guest set after me and before Josh on the late show.  He was solid, if not particularly original or hilarious, but as I watched a lot of those dumb, attractive South Jersey faces dying with laughter at Deuce Bigalow’s set I realized that I am never going to make it in comedy (not that that I hadn’t realized that already, but my God did it smack me in the face that night).  I dreamed that I would be the next Greg Giraldo (and if I can plug the album one more time I really think T&P really showcases my 3 biggest artistic influences: Giraldo, Patrice O’Neal and Gary Gulman), not only because of my educational background (he was a Harvard educated attorney), but also because of my sensibility and writing style.  But as I have gotten better as a comedian I see that the average comedy club audience (in other words when you are not opening for a Dave Attel-type, i.e., a comic that can and does bring with him a highly attuned and experienced comedy crowd) seems to be getting dumber. More interested in the celebrity of the people they are seeing than the comedy.  I really believe a society that has replaced tweets for reading newspapers, replaced reading a book with candy crush and replaced introspection with social media is cultivating a dumb and self-centered population that is bad for a lot of things, including stand up comedy.  So as the weekend ended I was even more grateful for the amazing crowd that I had Wednesday because it felt like it might have been a stroke of luck than a testament to anything I did to get them there.

I then hopped on the 12:10 am train back to NYC, was greeted apathetically by my dog Cookie at 2am and then fell asleep after a job well done.  Look for the album in late September (I hope).


Road Comedy Recap: Philadelphia and the Bull Durham of…

Last week was a fantastic week for me as I got to go back to one of the best clubs in the country, Helium in Philadelphia.  I was the middle act for headliner Bob Marley, but rather than relay this in a series of anecdotes I will make an easily digestible list of all the things that occurred during the 4 days of shows I had in Philadelphia.  But before you do, don’t forget to check out and share my new web series COMEDY ACADEMY.  And be sure to check out my podcast (the link is below) on Stitcher.  I climbed all the way to #73 on their comedy podcast lists (out of thousands I think) and have a little flame next to my podcast to indicate that either I am scorching up the list or that Stitcher thinks I am gay. Either way, check both those things out, but for now enjoy my list of stuff from Philadelphia:


  • 40 – The number of CDs I brought to sell
  • 30 – The number of Girl Scout Cookies I ate in two nights – 1 box of Samoas pre show Friday and Saturday
  • 28 – The number of CDs I sold
  • 26 – The awkward number of seconds a woman pressed her breasts against me posing for a picture while her boyfriend figured out the camera on the camera phone.
  • 10 – The amount of dollars I spent on a ticket to see Frozen, Disney’s new animated movie., on Saturday afternoon.
  • 9 – The number of women kicked out from shows for heckling (in two groups over two shows) or talking loudly during sets.
  • 8 – Number of CDs I think I missed out on selling after Friday’s early show because the club owner’s daughter was selling the aforementioned Girl Scout Cookies, giving audience members a tough choice on where to spend post show dollars: cute little girl selling delicious cookies, or desperate giant selling CDS/future coasters. I lost.
  • 7 – The number of times I thought headliner Bob Marley might be a yet-to-written Stephen King villain known as The Comedian.  He is from Maine, wealthy and super nice.  Stephen King knows where the bodies are buried.
  • 6 – The total number of train rides I took to and from Philly to NYC throughout the four days. Had to commute Wednesday and Thursday.
  • 5 – The number of people who asked me if my Dad was really Haitian.
  • 4 – The number of people who paused awkwardly when I replied yes.
  • 2.3 – The number of miles I walked home to my hotel at 1 am on Friday and Saturday.
  • 2 – The number of fans I have in Philadelphia who showed up (that I know). Tina and Tameka.  Much appreciated.
  • 1 – The number of fans who walked up to me after a show and said, “Dude, you are the best opener I have ever seen.”  You can now call me the Bull Durham of comedy.

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Too Big To Fail – A Success

Well last night was the end of my 7 cities in 28 days “tour.”  It was by no means an official tour, but if it had been it would have been named “The 99 Percentile of Height” Tour or “The Slowly Killing My Parents” Tour.  Not going to lie it was fairly tiring.  But for all the ups and downs it ended on a high note last night in Philadelphia.  I recorded my third CD last night at Helium and we had a great turnout.  Thanks to everyone who came out, big thanks to people who spread the word and got strangers to attend and an even bigger thanks to people who randomly saw me in May at Helium and decided to come back again.  I appreciated it and you guys made it a really fun night.

I anticipate the CD being released in mid December.  I will harass all of you with that info when it becomes available.


Too Big To Fail? – CD Recording

Have not been blogging recently due to some pressing family matters, but now that things are looking good here is the big announcement:

My 3rd CD will most certainly be the best. Spread the word Philly fans.

To get tickets – use this link:

Thanks – hope to see you there.  Everyone who shows up will get a free copy of the CD when it is released.


Philadelphia Freedom

With all due respect to the many excellent clubs that I have performed at over the years, but this past weekend in Philadelphia was the best sustained comedy experience of my life.  It was not a weekend without challenges, but never have I had more fun on stage than I did for the five shows at Helium Comedy Club from Thursday through Saturday.

Thursday – May 19th

Despite my plans to take Megabus down to Philly on Thursday afternoon I was still writing out my set for the show (I like to type out my entire set before a feature spot – both old jokes and newer ones as a way to beat them into my brain –  plus in ensures I have most of my material archived on my computer).  It was taking me longer than usual because I was putting in about 6 new minutes in that I felt good about.  So instead I had to take New Jersey Transit to Trenton and then SEPTA to Philly.

Taking New Jersey Transit in the late afternoon from Penn Station reminds me of the scene of any Armageddon-style movie where the world is coming to an end and people begin acting like desperate animals only interested in self-preservation.  I was actually pushed out of the way by a woman on her way to get a whole two people ahead of me in the mob going towards Gate 7 (as in she was standing behind me and just decided, “fuck this dude”).  Now I will never hit a woman, which was exhibited many months ago when a young woman tried to trip me at Karma Lounge in NYC after I did some jokes she apparently did not approve of.  Or, when last Winter a waitress at the Village Lantern pushed me in anger in the back because I was in her way on a narrow stairwell.  But I would like to find some way to inspire fear in them (that apparently being 6’7″ and looking angry does not do) so that they at least think I might have OJ tendencies.

But I made it on safely to the NJ Transit train and managed to leave my camera tripod underneath my seat.  So as I arrived in Philly, hating both myself and women (a wellspring of comedy brilliance) I got to Helium.  Of course starring right at me is a giant picture of Myq Kaplan, that seemed to be staring at me saying, “Maybe if you had beaten me at Carolines or in Boston anytime since 2005 YOU’d have a poster in here instead of your name misspelled on a piece of paper outside.”

Well the first show went great.  Philadelphia sports fans have a reputation as being, what is the term I am trying to think of… oh yeah… pieces of sh*t.  Well, perhaps that anger, cruelty and intensity is exactly the perfect place for my humor because I have never felt more in sync with a crowd.  It was like we were female roommates for the weekend.  Part of that may also be because the headliner Steve Rannazzisi attracted a certain fan base because of his fantasy-sports comedy The League.  And I should note that it was good to work with Steve.  The man killed every show, so it was refreshing to see a comedian who had television celebrity, but still had stand up chops, instead of guys who are hogging stand up spots because of television success but cannot back it up (which I complain about every other week on this site).  Well, here was one of the new bits I did the first night (I wrote it that morning so it felt good to know it might have legs).  I think it tells you a lot about me and Philadelphia that the idea of giving AIDS to people who text in the middle of the sidewalk made us all so happy:

After the show I sold a couple of CDs and made my way home on NJ Transit without getting assault by any skanks.

Saturday – May 20th

I had been nervous all day that the shows would be cancelled on account of Rapture, but when it reached 8:00pm I realized we were all safe.  First show was great and then for the second show I was greeted with a surprise.  A good friend of Steve’s, a Philly based comic also named Steve, was in attendance with Pauly Shore.  Philly Steve and Pauly had a gig on Thursday night and decided to stop by and watch the Friday late show.  You can imagine my surprise.  Having a healthy ego I immediately thought, “I wonder if Pauly has read my blog and knows that some people in Des Moines thought he sucked and that I think comedians working largely on name recognition are destroying the future of comedy?”  Obviously he had not.  Or unlike women on NJ Transit, he was afraid to confront me.  After the show, which I performed hopped up and several gallons of Red Bull Vodkas, Pauly told me that he thought I was funny and then asked everyone in sight where the nearest strip club was because he “wanted to see pussy.”  Speaking of vagina here is another new bit that did well with the Philly folk on Friday night:

I sadly informed Pauly that I already had a date with 18 unattractive vaginas on the 2:40 AM Megabus and would not be joining him.  So working on little sleep I got on a packed Megabus where I had to sit sidesaddle for two hours because I literally cannot fit into the top deck Megabus seats.   When you are as tall as I am it feels as if you are so not handicapped that you eventually have the same effect as being handicapped.  Until you walk off the bus.  Then you feel properly capped again.

Saturday May 21st

The final day began with another night of nearly no sleep (I do not have the gift of some of my friends to sleep 8-10 hours regardless of when they actually go to sleep – I always seem to wake up around 8 am).  I touched up my set and sat around for 5 hours thinking about going to the gym.  When I finally left myself no time to go to the gym I showered and headed down to Philly for the last night of gigs.

At this point I realized that commuting by Megabus at the odd hours I was, with almost no sleep, for a few days consecutively, was probably the equivalent of Navy Seal Training, if they had a comedy division.  I think the 30 hour train ride I have scheduled coming back from New Orleans in September will be my Comedy Seal Team 6 training.  “YOU WILL HAVE TO SIT NEXT TO OBESE PEOPLE IN TINY SEATS!  YOU WILL BE SO TIRED YOU WILL START TO TWITCH AS IF YOU IN DRUG WITHDRAWAL!!  THEN YOU WILL HAVE TO ENTERTAIN PEOPLE AGAIN AFTER GETTING ALMOST NO SLEEP!  THEN JUST WHEN THE WHOLE PROCESS IS OVER YOU WILL BECOME DEPRESSED BECAUSE DESPITE ALL THE DRAWBACKS TO THE GIG IT MADE YOU MUCH HAPPIER THAN DOING OPEN MICS AND BAR SHOWS!  ANY QUESTIONS?!”

The two shows went great Saturday night.  In fact they went so well that I took Myq Kaplan’s poster and Rocky IV’d it like he was my personal Drago (despite the physical reversal of roles) (2:01 mark of the video, but the whole scene is awesome):

Ok, so I did not actually do that because I like Myq and destruction of property probably trumps “good sets” as the lasting memory for features when it comes to comedy clubs.  But here are the last two clips (these from Saturday’s shows):

Nothing could have gone better under the circumstances (circumstances being travelling on Megabuses that were so hot and uncomfortable that I just assumed that the driver’s background was in human trafficking).  After the show I went to a nearby bar and someone from Friday’s show was at the bar with friends.  he immediately turned to his friends and said, “THIS WAS THE DUDE I WAS TELLING YOU ABOUT!”  He started reciting a couple of jokes back to me and it felt really awesome.  And then he said to his friend, while pointing at me, “Dude – this guy is right there with Aziz for me!”  I think when he saw the confused look on my face (I love Parks and Recreation and Tom Haverford, but I have yet to dig Aziz’s stand up) he clarified and said, “‘Cause I saw Aziz a little while back and he is fu*king hilarious!”  Phew, because he could have gone either way with that and I would have understood.

So I learned many things this week in Philly.  One is that Philly is neck and neck with DC as my favorite places to perform.  The second was that if I criticize a comedian on my blog it appears that I will either meet them or be compared to them.  But seriously I thank Steve, Lawrence Mullaney the emcee, everyone at Helium and all the people that came out to the shows.  It was the type of weekend that can give new energy to a cynical comedian to keep at it in this business.  And one day that comedian will perform at Helium and it will make a world of difference.  🙂


The Metro-North & Megabus Tour: Stamford to Philadelphia

Rock Bands have their own private 747s.  John Madden had his own tricked-out bus for his coast-to-coast travel during football seasons.  Well from last Saturday to this coming Sunday I have Metro-North and Megabus.

My Metro-North tour was a one night round trip to Stamford, Connecicut this past Saturday ($18.50 in total travel costs – already a win).  Great show, nice town.  Based on the Metro North clientele on both trips I would say that it appears financial services employees (on the way to Stamford) and their scantily-clad daughters or potential 4th wives (on the trip back to NYC) are the bulk of Stamford’s populace. Whatever the case may be, it was a great show in Stamford and really great to be in the black after a gig.

This week I finally feature at Helium Comedy Club in Philadelphia.  The club has a great reputation, but the one drawback is that I am not getting a room for the weekend (for more on the life of a feature act please rent Roots).  That means instead of being an Amtrak tour (the usual unofficial sponsor of my travels east of Chicago) it will be a Megabus tour, probably making me the only person, other than Megabus drivers, that commutes to and from work by Megabus.

For any fans in Philadelphia or NYC here is the “tour” info:

May 19th

345pm Megabus to Philly

800pm show

1047 SEPTA/NJ Transit

May 20th

345pm Megabus to Philly

8, 1030 pm shows

240 am Megabus to NYC

May 21st

345pm Megabus to Philly

8, 1030 pm shows

240 am Megabus to NYC

May 22nd

wake up and wonder what the fu*k I was thinking.

So tell your friends in Philly if they want to see a giant limp around on stage due to cramped Megabus seating they should check out a show at Helium this weekend (Thurs-Sat.).  And to Philadelphia – you are welcome in advance.