One of life’s biggest deceivers is memory. I fondly remember TV shows from my youth, like Alf. It was basically a shitty Rodney Dangerfield knock off, but in alien form and he tried to eat the cat all the time. When it came on TV Land when I was college, it was so bad my roommate called his dad and apologized for making him watch it on the one family television.
It was a terrible TV night the other night so I busted out the Wii and went through old games. I found Excitebite and eagerly purchased it. I drove through three boards and there was no excitement to be had. I tried Ninja Gaiden and couldn’t get past the second board. Finally, I went over Super Mario and had a game over in about 16 minutes. I realized while I’m doing this, I have a Playstation 3 in the basement shaking its virtual head.
OK, so maybe those weren’t as fun as I remember or I have lost the patience and skill I had as a ten year old. The more I thought on it, I remembered that I used to have about 28 hours of video game free time on an average weekend in the late 80′s. I was probably much worse back then, but it was either keep plugging away at video games or read my sister’s copy of Ramona and Beezus for the eighth time. No wonder I was better. I even beat Bible Adventures about six times. It was a game where you ran around as Noah and picked up cows and tossed them in an ark. I haven’t brushed up on Genesis for a minute, but I’m pretty sure Noah wasn’t military pressing livestock while jumping over a snake pit.
Nothing will invoke the rage of strangers like playing blackjack wrong. I was enjoying a game the other night when a guy at my table was lighting up the dealer. He got at least ten blackjacks in an hour – good for him, bad for everyone else, since he was blowing the table up. The house would show a ten, he had a 13 and would stay. Next hand, he had a 12, hit, got a 2, then stayed. This would be smart, if the dealer stuck at 13. They don’t, but if anyone finds this casino, please let me know, I’ll drive to Alaska to gamble there.
Erratic play is one thing, but being a table douche is worse. The guy who is drunk and can’t focus, the player that asks the dealer what to do every hand…once I had a person at my table ask the dealer if they should hit on a nine. 21-9 = 12. There is no 12 in the deck.
The number one ass of all time? A guy came to my table and laid out $75 in ones. The dealer had to count them out one by one to get his chips. It took over ten minutes. The second he got his chips, his cell rang. He began talking, which is a no no at the table. The dealer stopped the hand and told him so. He got up and left, never to return. I hope the call was to tell him his car was getting repo’d because his payment was one dollar short.
Some comedians make the leap to booking shows to make sure it is run the way they want, get stage time, or make some money. I used to run a couple different shows – one was at a an Elks Lodge, one at a Moose Lodge, one at a bar that was a strip club the other six days a week. In other words, I’m an expert. (No one is buying it…) I am here to tell everyone how to run a perfect comedy show.
1) Make sure the sound equipment works. Then pray the band the night before doesn’t steal the cords, spill a beer on the soundboard, or break the mic stand.
2) Promote the show on social media, local papers, by calling your friends, getting radio time and distributing flyers. Then remember that the favorite local sports team has a playoff game or watch as a freak snow storm comes in. Poop.
3) Book good comics and make sure the emcee (if not you) runs a good show. Then sit back and realize the bar wants to delay the show 45 minutes because the owner’s buddies are late, which pisses off the people already there. Watch as the emcee forgets to light people or does seven minutes between comics, one of whom decides to try new stuff at a paid show. Lastly, the owner’s buddies whom you delayed the show for are drunk and are mad that someone is taking away the spotlight. They begin heckling, no matter how well the show was going.
4) Against all odds the show is a smash hit. Then the venue’s owner gets sent to jail for tax evasion or drugs and you start all over. Then you should learn to sing or juggle.
One theory about drunks is that they are children, just older and horny. I think I witnessed this at last night’s show. I arrived before the open mike portion was over and a guy in a Marlins hat was yelling at the bartender that he had some important knowledge to tell him. This went on for about two minutes until he gave up or forgot this crucial message. He must have lost focus thinking about how long he’s been a die hard Marlins fan, like everyone in Ohio.
Then two very intoxicated ladies came up and virtually screamed how much they like comedy, then proceeded to yell talk through the rest of the show. Big fans, indeed. What happened next was classic. A younger gentleman decided to buy these hens some shots, but leaned in first. The bartender then made some bottom shelf $1 shots – smoothness! Get credit, but don’t waste that sales bonus from selling the scratch offs last month. They tossed down the shots like they were trying to forget the 2000′s and didn’t pay him a second’s more notice.
Finally, I went up and did my time. I probably could’ve done better doing my shorter material right out of the gate, although it went OK. After the show, Marlins fans yelled, “Now it’s my turn!” but his friends had bailed, so no one heard him but me and the dozen that stuck around that late. He realized this and left, presumably to ram his car into the side of a Taco Bell. Then a drunk girl on crutches started yelling at a patron and the bartender. I wanted to tell her that her future former husband just left, but I passed. I have to get home before that drunk ass shuts down the road with an accident.
This week, I pulled in and saw the trash and recycling had picked up and we missed it. This was strange, as Veteran’s Day was Tuesday, which is supposed to push back collection one day. I called. “Sir, you missed your day.” I thought Veteran’s Day was Tuesday, did I imagine that holiday? “The city doesn’t observe Veteran’s Day as a holiday.” You gotta be shitting me. I looked it up. The county observes it, not the city. Columbus Day, however, is official! A day where ol’ whitey found some Caribbean island and introduced smallpox to the Western Hemisphere, but not a day honoring our vets. My bad, how stupid of me to think the 15th largest city in the United States bothers with taking a minute to honor living and deceased members of our armed forces over someone who never got within 900 miles or 300 years of the founding of our city. Guess I’m dumping my trash at the closest city park.
I then ordered flowers for my wife. Irony, her office was closed for Veteran’s Day. Not a big deal, they’ll just send them tomorrow, hopefully. I tracked the package and somehow it didn’t deliver. I called. “You weren’t there, so they didn’t leave the package.” I wouldn’t be there, it’s for my wife. “No one was there.” That’s funny, because she works in a building with a hundred people. “The suite number was missing.” No it wasn’t, but you also said no one was there. Are you just reading answers off a sheet, hoping I will be appeased? “No sir.” I gave him the address again (keep in mind I had to do all this myself, no one emailed or called me). “So, will you be there to sign for them, Hope Coen?” Yes, dipshit. My name is Hope, I just smoke 3 packs of non-filtered Camels a day to get this deep voice. My parents were very cruel in naming me that name. THEY’RE FOR MY WIFE!!! They arrived the next day, in less than ideal condition. The label had the correct address AND the suite number. These things happen in threes. Looks like a fun weekend.
Tonight I’ll be hosting a semi-final showdown in the Open Mike Talent Search at the Columbus Funny Bone. It used to be called the Funniest Person in Columbus, but I was at a show where five current/former Funniest Persons were present and the emcee intro’d everyone that way. It was awkward, so the judges changed the name, but it’s still the same concept.
I like hosting these a lot, mostly because there is zero pressure on the host, but the 12 competitors are usually ready to vomit. Comedy competitions are stressful affairs, I think I’ve been in 11 of them. The common theme is that almost everyone that gets knocked out thinks they got ripped off and usually hates the winner secretly, or in some cases openly. My former college roommate Camp beat me in the first one I got in and used to bring it up when we were drinking. I considered murdering him, but usually passed out before I could set my plan in motion. Unfortunately, science hasn’t developed a Funnyometer, so the debate over who is technically funnier will rage on.
One thing I try to do at shows with multiple comics is make a short joke referencing something they talked about during their set. Partially to entertain the crowd, mostly because I’ve done shows where the host says “This next comic does clubs and colleges all over the USA” when it’s clear they have probably done a couple bars and a Halloween party. The other ol’ standby line as an emcee is “This comedian is a close, personal friend of mine.” The drawback here is that in a comedy contest, you never know what will come out of the person’s mouth. Nothing is worse that saying that, then having your close, personal friend talk about bestiality with their opener. Time for a new friend!