This weekend marked the last scheduled comedy work of the year for me (and technically the last scheduled work of my life if you check the barren wasteland that is the calendar page of my website, but I am mildly confident it will not stay that way) and it was a classic J-L gig full of positives, negatives and sad transportation. The trip began with Martz Trailways – the Monkees to Greyhound’s Beatles. The shows were at Mohegan Sun in Wilkes Barre, PA. The first thing to mention is that the casino is really nice. It is how small casinos should do it – make your casino a smaller site of luxury instead of making a big, cheap, shitty casino. People would rather have a small dose of a luxury hotel with nice restaurants, bars and table games then some behemoth of slot machines and crappy buffets (the buffet at MSWB by contrast is quite good). But before I can get to the casino I had to take the aforementioned Martz Trailways.
There are a few signs that your town or city is struggling. One is if there is an Ebola breakout. Another is if the girls who reside there are routinely beaten for attending school. But a worse sign than either of those is if Greyhound buses choose not to service your town or city. And Greyhound does not go to Wilkes Barre. So when one arrives at the bus depot at Wilkes Barre it sort of resembles a group of overfed walkers from The Walking Dead. After a relatively pleasant three hour bus ride (as pleasant as I can be with my knees firmly lodged into the encroaching seat in front of me I arrived and waited for the local bus to arrive.
Pulling up to a nice casino on a public bus is probably exactly how the Rat Pack did it in Las Vegas, so naturally I felt like a real big shot when I stepped inside the Mohegan Sun.
The first night the show was tremendous though I had a moment that made me feel really guilty. One of my jokes that I recently wrote, based on an actual encounter at a Panera Bread in October of this year, is about a confrontation between an older man and a young woman. I described the man as a “Clint Eastwood type who had the look of a man who had killed a bunch of teenagers in some foreign village.” It got a decent laugh, though that is not one of the big laugh lines in the bit anyway. But coming off stage (to tremendous applause #Blessed) a man in a motorized scooter stopped me and said “You were very good, but we didn’t go over there to kill kids. That wasn’t right.” And for one of the few times in over 11 years of doing comedy I felt really bad. Obviously I did not mean the reference as an indictment of veterans, but of course the imagery would be graphic to someone who actually had been in Vietnam.
So I was feeling bad waiting outside to sell CDs after the show (sold 3 #ComedyMogul) and I saw the man drive his scooter (is that how you describe that?) to the bathroom and then he just got off it and walked with relative ease to the bathroom! Knowing that he could walk made me feel less bad about the joke for some reason so the night ended on a high note and I celebrated with a large chocolate milkshake (#ComedyMogul).
The next day I spent in my room writing two of my best sketches ever. Look for the first one on December 16th (a novel look at the violence affecting black men in America) and the other one in early January (me as Joel Osteen). I will leave it at that, but I have missed the days of being able to just sit and write for 5 or 6 hours in a row. I can really crank out good shit when left alone by people trying to get me to pay my bills.
The Saturday show was very good and I sold one CD after which I promptly used to buy a large chocolate milkshake ($4 change left over #ComedyMogul). The club paid me in cash, which given my love of gambling was dangerous, but for the second trip to MSWB in a row I avoided all gambling. After all, trying to make stand up comedy a career is a much bigger gamble than anything you can put on the roulette wheel.
The next morning woke up early and went to the Wilkes Barre station which at 645 am is fortunately cleared of walkers.
So there it is folks. Another year of stand up and travel is over. Now it is time to get into the office and help some real #moguls make money so I can continue my #ComedyMogul lifestyle (extra chicken on my lunch salad).