Well, I guess I still do stand-up

I had a show Saturday, my first one since I think July. I don’t even know what month it is now, all time has melted into one pandemic sized pool. A long time, however, by far the longest I have ever had between shows. AND YES IT WAS SAFE. I had COVID in early December, yet still wore a mask while walking up to the stage, plus the crowd and audience followed mask and seating guidelines. It is amazing to watch people adapt to the rules versus when this all first hit. Gives me a glimmer of hope in humanity that will probably disappear after the first comments section I happen to read of any news story.

I actually did almost zero prep work. My last shows all the way back in the summer of I think this year, I butchered a joke horribly and felt off, so I did what any true professional does and just let it rip. I did have a few minor pandemic related references and one joke just to address the elephant in the world. As I started, I fudged one punchline a bit on a joke I hadn’t done in a year, but muscled through and looked down at my watch at one point. I was over my needed time by five minutes. I had about five more jokes ready to roll, but closed it out and got off the stage. I also enjoyed watching the headliner’s set, it was strange all around to sit and see a real show going on.

So, I guess, in summation, I still do stand-up and I was beginning to wonder. I got so annoyed when people asked lately, I was beginning to resent comedy. It almost felt like an older player forced into retirement before being ready, except in my example, the old player is really old and never had any talent outside of public speaking and saying stuff most people wouldn’t in front of strangers. Anyhoo, it was strangely natural being onstage and I’m grateful I got to do it. It was nice to see people enjoying my material aka stroking my fragile ego and need for attention. Now back into my cave until the next one! See you May 22, Newark, Ohio!

Complaining about the complainers

I complain. A lot. There’s a lot to point out, after all, everyone is subject to stupidity (except you, reading this very intelligent tour du force). Lately though, I think I hate the internet commenter more than anything on Earth or possibly the solar system.

Fresh example one: The Super Bowl Halftime complainer. Do I enjoy the Weeknd’s music? Not so much. I hate the way he spells his name and really only know one or two of his songs. (It’s one, but I’m assuming I know another and didn’t care to find who sang it). The halftime show? It was weird, but people were actually bitching that he didn’t dance. You know why I don’t care? Most “singers” on the show dance but don’t sing. So I commend his strange ass. He had the balls to sing live at the Super Bowl. Good for him. That said, can we get GNR on the damn show before Axl turns 70? Seriously.

Example two: I saw a thread of people hating on the Marvel finale Avengers: Endgame because the time travel didn’t fit their understanding of it. Oh, I’m sorry, are you a time traveler? No? You work at a Speedway? GTFOH. Also, you’re going to watch a man design a metal suit and push a live nuclear missile into a wormhole, then fall to Earth again to rejoin a 100 year old soldier, a radiated green goliath, the Asgardian God of Thunder and other made up characters, but you have an issue with the nuances of fake time travel. Go take a garage nap with the engine running, you wanker.

Now here’s a real complaint to get back to my normal surly self, who has legit complaints. Can everyone with $5 in Robinhood stock acting like Gordon Gecko? Having Reddit doesn’t make you a Wall Street Tycoon. I think it’s interesting and love the support for struggling businesses against hedge fund dbags, but just stop it with “insider info” you spew like these billionaire blue bloods aren’t two days from tanking your stimulus check because they have the time, money and insider wet kisses that your internet chat room dreams about.

Basically the point of this blog is only I can complain about stuff and you can’t. There. Glad we are all on the same page.

I’m pretty sure I just became a smuggler

My wife got a message from her cousin that they won an auction online for a kids’ grocery checkout for almost nothing, but they didn’t realize it was an hour away, so they offered it to us. It was a nice one – Melissa and Doug brand – which for non-parents means wooden and educational/not cheap. Sure, I mean it didn’t have sneeze guard or tabloid magazines telling me about Jennifer Aniston or Jennifer Lopez or Jennifer Kardashian, but kids have imaginations, so why not?

I pulled into this warehouse with a huge “FOR LEASE” sign and about 120 cars, semis and trailers moving around like an intersection in Bangkok. I finally got a parking spot next to a pothole lake that could have been a swimming pool and stepped out into freezing rain and a line of at least 40 people. I was one of three not wearing sweatpants or showing signs of leprosy. As my body temperature began to plummet and the secondhand smoke from the absolutely not at all socially distancing riff raff began to sap my will to live, a redneck in a “USA” leather jacket decided to talk to me. SIDE NOTE: I AM THE MOST SURLY, UNAPPROACHABLE ASSHOLE IN THE MIDWEST. WHY DOES EVERYONE SEEK ME FOR RANDO CONVERSATION?

This gentleman surmised if you only had one item, you could walk right in. I don’t trust people that wear leather coats in the rain, but lo and behold, he did it. Some other guy then zoomed past us on a forklift and made the same proclamation. So I went in. The inside was even dirtier than the forsaken wasteland they called the parking lot. There were two more lines, 20 and 15 people deep trying to checkout and rows upon rows of damaged boxes. I was now convinced my wife’s cousin was indeed a pirate to have found this derelict den of thieves. After not being able to discern the forlorn patrons from the rundown staff, I just plowed ahead and found the box myself in row 3. Thankfully, there was a huge sticker showing how fun it is to scan groceries and I snagged it. I was so ready to run for the hills, I tossed it on my shoulder, despite a sticker saying “team lift”.

It’s time like these my COVID after effects kick in and I got rather tired, but at this point, I would have carried it to Juneau to get the hell out of there. I lucked out as a homeless looking man with a scanner checked me out, mostly from sympathy of seeing me lug this around and off I went. Amazingly, it was almost damage free and my daughter sold me two empty cups and my wife vanilla ice cream (WTF right? Empty cups vs. ice cream? I got the short end of the stick). Now I just need to install a lotto machine and liquor store and dad can play smuggler’s den grocery too!

HOLY POOP IN THE PANTS I HAVE A SHOW!

Take that, 2020! I have a show! Telling jokes and “my little bits” (please God don’t ever tell me to use that in one of my little bits, you will catch hands stat). I got a text from an old comedy pal who will remain unnamed as I didn’t ask permission to name drop, but this will be my first show in over six months. Feel free to toss in a Sir Mix a Lot “Uhh, double up, Uhh! Uhh!”

In all seriousness, I thought about retiring. That’s a nice way of saying quitting. Before I had kids, I had went over 8 days without doing comedy twice in eight years. I’ve done two shows (same day, btw) since February last year. That is ass. ASS. ASS! In all honesty, the pandemic stole my shows, but the social media political bullshit stole my motivation. I am truly exhausted mentally with cult of personality, party over country, blind hypocrisy and most of all, good friends and family shitting all over each other over their opinions. I’ve blogged about four times since October and it has been a chore.

That aside, I finally feel a bit invigorated and ready to tackle the stage. I also had some old blogs pop up in my memories when I had actual real life experiences and that helped also. I promise no soapboxing, although I am rustier than the Edmund Fitzgerald. BTW, I had COVID and have antibodies until at least March, so don’t rain on my parade. I’ll see you Feb. 13 at the Brickyard, Marion. Let’s see if we can have a chuckle.

2020: the death of comedy (sort of)

2020 wasn’t the worst year in American history, but great day in the morning did it stink like all the butts for stand-up comedy. Here’s a recap from a sort of retired whether I want to be or not comic!

March 2020 was the month that the coronavirus went from “oh, here we go again with the disease du jour scare” to “oh, this isn’t just hanging out in Wuhan and people are really dying” and the bars and restaurants and venues all shut down. Just like that, I lost dozens of shows, some booked, some in the works, some yet to be scheduled. At one point pre-children, I did 17 shows in a month. Even after, I still knocked out a few per month (usually) and didn’t have to take every bottom feeder show on Earth like I did when I started. I did two this year after February. On the same day. Two shows. (Full disclaimer: a lot of people had it much, much worse during the past ten months, just detailing how the comedy went.)

“Hey Chris, why didn’t you do online stand-up?” Quite frankly, I hate live streaming, recording sets, basically anything involving more tech than a speaker and a mic. That said, I was willing to consider it, but the results were more profound than I expected. Almost every single show/webcast that was pure stand-up bombed hard and fast. I did a few talk show/podcast type shows that were fine because I didn’t have to stand in my kitchen and act like I was onstage. Those dried up fast also. I even made a toilet paper shortage video and did two story hours, the last one raising over $400 for buying toys through Franklin County Children’s Services. It wasn’t the same.

The only shows I did were outdoors, on the same day, being the feature act for Donnie Baker. The chance to do a show was great, plus it was outdoors. The staff was masked and it was very safe for all. The issue was that due to the sanitation, the first show was at 2 pm and the second started at 8. That means when I walked off the stage, I had five and half hours to kill where I couldn’t interact with anyone. I went to my mother in law’s and mowed her epically large yard, showered, then went back for another show. To say I was rusty was an understatement. I forgot a punchline, like completely. Before March, the longest I had ever went between shows since May 2007 was three weeks. I hit the stage over four months after my last set. I haven’t been on since, which means whenever I get back, if I do, it will be longer than that.

This year cost me a looooootttt of money, but at least I wrote jokes right? Nope, not more than whatever I slapped on social media. Ironically, I had my best sales year at my real job, built the largest playground I could find for my kids and somehow managed to find a three day getaway with a pool in October that was socially distanced. So long story short, 2020 sucked for comedy, sucked for life and sucked all the creative energy out of me. And no, I don’t want to do a COVID related set the first time I get back, but I probably will because I have probably forgotten half my jokes. “What’s the deal with masks, amirite? Hey o! Tip your staff! (vomits in own mouth). Here’s to 2021, unless a civil war starts, then my bad 2020. Also, be nice to people in health care, entertainment or the restaurant/bar business. Without them, stand-up isn’t coming back.

Tales from the Crypt (I had a birthday)

Well, I am now old as proverbial shit. I don’t know how old shit is, depends on who shit it and when, I guess. Great, now I’m a philosopher. Let’s start over. Now that I’m old(er), here’s some wisdom for you animals.

Did you young people ever hear of water? I sure didn’t until I was like 33. DRINK IT. LOVE IT. And if someone calls you a wimp, you get your water drinking self up early and call them 44 times at 6 am and see if they think you’re a big huge yellowbelly then.

Your body will change. Buckle up. My feet at somewhere around 39 just decided to turn into horse hooves in the winter. I have more dead skin on my feet by Christmas than the Great Pyramid has bricks. I pulled AT LEAST fifty white stray hairs out of my beard and head since last Monday and I look like I stuck my finger in a socket. WHY DO THEY STICK STRAIGHT OUT? My eyesight has been gone since at least George W.’s second term and I crack and click like bubble wrap in an elephant pen at the zoo every time I stand up, roll over and pretty much move at this point. I hurt my shoulder REACHING FOR AIR playing with my kids and my left shoulder is just changed forever now. It pops now and as fun as that sounds, it’s not.

At least my acne went away…ope! No, it’s still there. Thanks, DNA!

At least I have my hair still. (Furiously rubs Rogaine foam onto crown.)

At least I can grow a beard at my age (Furiously plucks black hairs from upper cheek, just below eyes. Finds random jet black or stark white hairs in ear, on ear, coming from nose, on neck, in middle of ribcage).

At least I’m wider, I mean wiser now. (Calls dog my daughter’s name. Yells at cat using son’s name. Calls mailman my grandma’s name. Sits down and cries, forgets why I’m crying.)

It’s not all bad. I actually lost weight in the last year. I lost all desire to do stand-up and found my stress dropped tremendously. I finally completely embraced the fact I hate all new music and will listen to Pantera and Iron Maiden for the rest of my days and don’t care if you have a problem with that. That said, let’s drive a stake in 2020 and get ready to complain about a new year!