The next part of our Italia trip was in Tuscany. Tuscany is known for wine much like West Virginia is known for oxycontin. The agenda included a wine tour – I learned about grape quality, how to pick a good year, and to swirl, sniff and swish. I now do that for everything to show how classy I am. Busch Light…hmm…2014? That’s a great year. My wife really loves when I do it too. It’s nice to be so much better than everyone else. Now hand me that box of wine, serf!
This part of the trip was very relaxing. We were next to an ancient town which was known for towers and being in the video game Assassin’s Creed. It also had a torture museum. I treated my new bride to a romantic tour of medieval justice. Nothing says “I love you” like seeing a vaginal pear and Judas cradle together.
I finally got a beer in San Gimignano. It was the first time since I was 18 I went that long between beers.
I finally found a Budweiser later in the trip, the only American beer in sight, but due to a lawsuit by a Euro beer, it’s called simply “Bud” on the label. EUROPE IS SO DIFFERENT!
The only rough part was the final leg getting there. We got on a bus 9 miles from our hotel, but apparently the driver thought it was more efficient to go to a town an hour in the other direction first, even though the bus and ticket had no such plan posted. “Oh, you would like to go to downtown Columbus? No problem, we’re just going to swing by Pittsburgh really quickly.” Thankfully, I was able to bribe a restaurant worker into calling the only taxi within 15 miles. When I have a choice between my natural charisma and money, I’m going with bribery.
Our first real stop in Italy was Venice. Venice was built centuries ago on a swamp to get away from invading barbarians. Now they welcome foreign barbarians called tourists. We found out the first key to Italy – trying to figure out public transportation. You can drive in Italy, if you have the driving skills of Mad Max. I seriously think if you can fix brakes you would be a millionaire in three months. They park on the sidewalk, the buses tailgate about two feet of Vespas that swerve in and out, everyone speeds…oh and don’t count on ambulances, they don’t pull over for them. I think 75% of the people that need an ambulance die stuck in traffic. Except for Venice, by the way, no cars in the actual city, unless they drive under water. Don’t get hurt there either.
Venice was pretty cool. The whole city is over 100 islands with canals for streets. After walking around, I had to wee. I went to the water closet and they charged me 1.50 Euros to piss. This is weird because their streets are basically urinals. We did a gondola ride also and our gondolier (?) gave us a history of the city. Thanks to multiple concussions, I remember about a third of it, but most interesting is that it is illegal to build new buildings there. Like Detroit, in other words.
We had some great food in Venice, plus I found a store that sold Jim Beam. All was well. I did learn something though. The first two days I about had a stroke because no one would bring me the damn bill or more wine. One place we sat there for an hour. “They hate me because I’m an American! I know it!” I was about to smash a chair until I looked online and found out in Italy it’s considered rude to come back to the table unless asked. Oh and they don’t tip, so they really don’t have any motivation to come back. No problem Italy, looks like I’m ordering wine by the liter the rest of the trip.
My new bride and I went to not America for our honeymoon, the part that looks like a boot they call Italy. I must say, it was quite the trip, but I was pretty overwhelmed by the differences from the good ol’ USA. First off, they call their cities Roma instead of Rome, Milano instead of Milan and San Gimignano instead of San Gimignano. Don’t they even know how to speak right? Ridiculous.
The food was maybe the biggest change. They eat cigarettes and espresso for breakfast, have a little pasta for lunch with some more cigarettes and espresso, then eat at 9 pm a lot of food. What’s crazy is the restaurants close from 3 to 7 or 8, so a couple times we got caught unawares and were eating airplane peanuts to survive trying to make it to 8 pm. One bad part was the water was all bottled so you had to pay for water, with half of that being sparkling water. Imagine someone giving you a Sprite, then rinsing it out with water. The good? Wine is dirt cheap and available with every meal. Screw you water!
The first night we got to Venice and hit up a pizzeria. Italian pizza is even different – you have to cut it yourself and the number one topping there is ham. They primarily eat ham. Raw ham for an appetizer, ham on pizza…ham is about the tenth best meat, but their number two meat for pizza is tuna, so you end up taking the ham. I couldn’t find a good pizza choice at first, then I saw frankfurter sausage and fried potatoes. Finally, some sausage! I ordered it up and it came out with hot dogs and french fries on it. And it was amazing. Wait until rednecks figure this one out, it’s the next sensation in America.
More to come later!
Dating sucks. I once took a blind date to a concert, where she saw her ex and went to talk to him. She didn’t come back. I had a date go south so bad, I fist bumped the girl when she got out. I was shocked she didn’t fist bump my jaw. I’ve dated a couple ladies seemed alright – so alright they were dating other guys at the same time. I was pretty much done with the hassle, wishing sometimes I was a eunuch to save the aggravation.
I met my fiance after a particularly lame run that caused me to quit internet dating. She was beautiful and confident, so I gave her a call. She had watched my comedy that night, so she deserved a free meal for sure. I was surprised how easy she was to speak to and how smart she was. Most amazingly, she didn’t seem to want to change everything about me from head to toe.
I’m not an easy person to get along with. I don’t know if it is my eyebrows or deep voice, but I look pissed all the time (I usually am). I am sarcastic and about as romantic as an egg fart. I snore. My favorite music is heavy metal. I have the home improvement skills of a toddler. Yet she has loved me back. She makes me want to be better.
Tomorrow I will make her my wife. She is the love of my life. Where once there was nothing, now there is Hope. See you soon, babe.
One thing that comics seem to love is either giving or receiving advice about comedy. I’m more than happy to impart my knowledge, but lately I have had a bunch of open mikers and newer comedians asking me questions. I’m not exactly a stadium filler, but here’s some easy tips that I think everyone should know.
1) No other comedian can give you perfect advice. If someone tells you how to improve a joke or your stage presence, you should take notes. If someone tells you what you have to do completely, it won’t work because you’re a different person. Unless it’s future you and they tell you what works and how you can make millions. Listen to that person and save John Connor from the Terminator too while you’re at it.
2) If you want my advice on comedy, but won’t go on a stage, you’re wasting my time and yours. Find a new hobby. Once you go up, we’ll talk. Maybe. OK, probably not, but go onstage first.
3) Videotaping your set will help you more than any amount of memory. I have gotten great punchlines, callbacks and add-ons I never would have remembered after performing thanks to tape. I have a great memory…but I drink a lot, so I trust the tape.
4) If you can’t remember five minutes of material, you probably aren’t going to be getting paid anytime soon. If you are asking how to get paid to do comedy, you probably won’t be getting paid anytime soon. If you get paid, don’t feel guilty about it if you have a bad set, as long as you prepared yourself and gave it your best. Trust me, you don’t get bonus money when you kill.
That’s about it for now. If someone figures out how to get paid for blogging, message me and this blog topic was worth it.
There are a lot of candidates, but my least favorite one was about a year and a half after I started. My pal said he had a gig for me that he couldn’t make. I was to do a show at a VFW in my hometown, 45 minutes, good money. I walked in and there were 300 people in attendance. This is a great turnout! Then the bartender said, “Oh, you’re in the other part of the building.” I walked around the corner and there were 15 people, most over 75. Turns out the other part was a fundraiser, I was to entertain the hardcores in the back bar.
A man about the age of Methuselah approached and shoved a microphone in my chest. “Are you ready?” No, where’s the stage? “No stage, stand by the door.” I grabbed a beer and went to start. At that moment, a dad brought two boys under 10 in the bar for steak night. Great, there’s half my material. The sound quality was awful, which doesn’t help when most of the crowd has hearing aids. The other bonus was that every time someone came in, the door hit me in the back. Thanks, asshole. It got worse.
After struggling with my new clean material I had as a backup, I decided to throw caution to the wind and spice it up. I got two tables laughing on my first blue joke. Then as I started the next one, the loudspeaker announced a blue Toyota had its headlights on. I fought back, only to be interrupted that the half and half drawing was at 9 pm. I did one more joke and the voice of God announced that the steak orders had to be put in in the next five. I was pissed…then I realized the man making the announcements was the old bastard that set the show up. I looked right and he was speaking into the other microphone, staring right at me while he did it.
I knew I probably shouldn’t punch an octogenarian, so I looked at him. “I’ll quit now for half pay.” “OK!” He was too excited. I finished the joke and walked out with a check I was sure would bounce. There is no worse feeling as a comedian than walking out of a VFW with old people staring you down with a mixture of contempt and pity. Sorry, greatest generation. I let you down. Except that guy running the sound system. He probably fought for the Huns.