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!

Christmas comes early! I got the COVID virus!

Well, here you all are moping around about 2020, but I’m getting gifts early – the Rona! I figured if it’s cost me thousands of dollars due to cancelled shows, loss of quality time with family and friends, entertainment options limited, and killed off literally hundreds of thousands of small businesses including my favorite restaurants and stores, why not try it out myself?

Ironically, I was just telling my wife I hadn’t blogged in a month because I literally had nothing to write about. More gifts from our friend, COVID-19! Thanks for the spark! (There’s no sparks from the disease, you won’t actually get electrocuted, I meant creative spark. You have to watch what you read on the internet…I just found out some of it is false! Can you believe that?!)

Here’s what it was like for me! I went for a run Sunday, being a world class fitness model and all, and when I was done, my middle chest/windpipe didn’t feel right. I felt winded the rest of the night. Not bad. Monday I woke up and was light headed, had a small fever and I was sure a gorilla had been punching my kidneys and lower back all night. I took aspirin like I was trying to ascend beyond the mortal plane. It was a thumping, deep pain. Tuesday? Almost nothing. Other than a violent cough every sixty minutes out of nowhere. It’s fun just walking to the trash can then wrapping your shirt around your whole face while convulsive spasms rage in your throat. Oh and the chest weakness is still there. Only time will tell what fun will linger around like a bad fart for my endurance and lungs.

In case you’re wondering, we think the whole house got it so at least I’m not in a bubble scaring my kids, so that’s good, I guess. What’s next for me? First, I’m coughing on things to mail to my enemies. I have a lot of enemies. LOOKING AT YOU MAC DOUGAL IN POUGHKEEPSIE! MERRY CHRISTMAS, SCUMBAG! Second, I’m using all this free time…oh wait, I don’t have any still. I’m working from home and have two kids under six. We are fine. We didn’t lose anyone and still have employment, unlike a lot of people, so I can’t comp..(checks liquor cabinet – good? OK), yes, I can’t complain.

That’s the funny part, here’s the takeaway. If you think this is a hoax, I’ll come over and spit in your mouth. Call me in five days. This thing is more contagious than a stupid Facebook post. We haven’t been inside one restaurant since this started, my son has almost never left the house other than the yard and we mask up every time we go anywhere. I even mask up picking up nuggets at the drive thru. The vaccine is almost out so keep your pants on everyone and stay safe – we did and we still go it. Actually keep your pants off, you’re at home.

What can Americans actually agree upon?

Since I would up being a semi-retired part-time comedian, I guess I finally put my history degree to use before the election to ask this (hopefully not rhetorical) question. What can Americans actually agree upon? First off, no one is agreeing on everything. It ain’t happening and never has. Secondly, no I haven’t done any official polls but my kids slept in so he goes my effort.

Term limits. I think “we” (I used quotations because everyone is ready to street fight right now with the election next week and the pandemic still raging) are ready for term limits. This idea, in my life, has typically been embraced by the right and center more than the left, but is now coming up with the Supreme Court on that side also. I think everyone can get behind the idea for Congress also. It amazes me that Congress has such a horrific approval rating, but most get reelected. Familiarity breeds contempt, but leads to votes. This is one reason I’m not one of those “everyone needs to vote!” folks. If you don’t pay attention, maybe you should sit this one out. Term limits were not added into the Constitution because by and large, the society back then didn’t support the idea of lifetime politicians. Sure, there were a few, but if you look, a lot more bounced between state and national and didn’t come out of Washington multi-millionaires.

No matter your politics, we can also agree there are simply not enough holidays from January through May. Sure, there’s Valentine’s Day and St. Patty’s, but if it’s not a day off work, it doesn’t count. Also, no more Christmas off work on a Wednesday. Three day weekend, please.

Campaign and lobbying reform. Sure, I get it. Most people only care about fundraising for the “other” side. I don’t care what your political leanings are, the amount of money being raised for these races now is terrifying. Senate races over $50 million spent? How many families could be helped by that? House races – a two year seat – at 10 million dollars plus? How much debt could be paid off with that money? As for lobbying, these ex-politicians that enter the meat grinder of K Street and come out even richer is getting old also. There is too much graft leading to increased interest and cost for the American people. I think this is another bipartisan idea that can work: not so much money in politics. No matter where it’s coming from.

You know what else is bipartisan (or should be)? People that don’t replace the TP should be put in the stockade. And no, leaving a half torn square doesn’t count as doing your part. And single ply is banned. What are we saving, three cents a pound?

Human trafficking and drug reform. Whatever your politics, these are major issues. Too many kids at put at risk by their own parents and caregivers by trafficking and drug abuse. No, I’m not talking some grandiose network of millionaire abusers, I’m talking someone on the other side of the tracks. We should be able to agree that there are too many child abuse and child death stories in the news, as in one is too many, let alone the untold multitude of neglected children being raised by habitual abusers and drug addicts.

I think we should also agree on the following, liberal or conservative, Democrat, Republican or Independent.

Daylight savings is dumb and needs to go. No one wants the stupid ass night to start at 5 pm. Stop it.

If you try to merge onto a highway at 20 mph, the road has a big spring under it and launches you into the air like Wile E. Coyote.

My kids need to sleep more or learn to about 50 chores, like reorganizing my garage and mopping floors. They’re five and two, so maybe just sleep more. Maybe that’s just me, but c’mon America, help me out.

If we can approve term limits, we can approve post limits. After your fourth non-funny post on social media, your devices lock out for 24 hours.

Lastly, maybe realize people have different life experiences and opinions and you may not like it, but it’s OK. Example: I like scotch better than bourbon, my wife like pineapple on pizza and some people mouth kiss their dogs. Maybe not popular stances, but it’s OK. Alright, not the last example, that’s just weird. Dogs lick their nether regions like all day. Long story short, in a week (or a month depending on the courts and whatever idiocy we are due for) you may or may not like the result, but either way, the government isn’t supposed to matter this much in our lives and maybe we can get worked up about that for a change.

If a comedian falls in the woods…

Is a comic who isn’t telling jokes on a stage a comic? Welcome to 2020, the crotch of comedic years. The unwashed, jock itch year of comedy. Let’s view how comedy is going at large.

There are virtually no indoor shows and it’s late October. I have been told since I started that outdoor shows are an absolute disaster. Semis pulling jake brakes, Harleys and engine revvers, bad acoustics and weather changes make for a crapshoot. It’s been literally the only way to get onstage for most comedians and it’s going to be a high of 50 starting next week. Yay.

There are indoor shows, but they are restricted attendance and very limited opportunities exist. This is good for the industry that they have this option, as a lot of clubs were in trouble before the pandemic. I know of ten clubs and venues that went away in the three years BEFORE this all started. We are literally seeing a bloodbath in the industry of food and entertainment right now. I have counted five restaurants in my area that are gone since the lockdowns started. Oh and coronavirus is still around and being open is a huge burden because the staff literally has to relearn how to do their jobs. I haven’t done an indoor show since February.

So what’s left? Zoom stand-up? I won’t do it. Telling jokes into an iPhone is literally insanity. I’ve done a live podcast, a sketch type video and an interview style show, but no stand-up while sitting down in my kitchen talking to a screen.

Truth be told, I haven’t enjoyed doing stand-up for years. Not to say I’m done or quitting or retiring; for as nostalgic as I am in general, I have had salt rubbed in my eyes with comedy for years. Quite frankly, if I record an album like I planned to this year, I would be absolutely fine never doing another set in my life. I realized I hate every recording of myself doing stand-up and I have put too much effort into it in 13 years to leave with no record I can even stomach watching. I’m at the point with comedy that unless something changes, I don’t see shows starting back up and I’m not sure I care. I see other comics and open mikers talking about missing the stage. I roll my eyes back into my head when someone asks how comedy is going. I have no interest in it. Maybe that will change, but probably not anytime soon.

So long story short, I have nothing to blog about. I have no shows on schedule, the pandemic is still raging and people have absolutely lost their minds drinking political Jonesboro Kool-Aid right now worse than I ever seen in my life…but I felt I had to put something out there since I have a comedy site. Maybe next blog I’ll share a recipe or thoughts on a history topic like the Civil War or rank hair metal bands. Oh wait, it’s a comedy site. I’ll do that, plus a video of me stepping in dog shit. Enjoy!