#1 (Finds wife’s magnifying mirror) “Holy crap, this mirror makes my nose look huge like an old drunk.”
Wife: “Isn’t that what you’re trying to be?”
“Well, I don’t want anyone to know about it.”
#2 “I should have taken a leak before we left to come to the zoo. Where in the hell is the bathroom? You think I can go right here?”
Wife: “Well, there’s trees, but probably not.”
“I’ve seen what those rhinos do, it’s much worse than what I can do.”
#3 “Looks like I’m going to make the fantasy football playoffs in a couple leagues.”
Wife: (Not paying attention)
“I could win some money.”
Wife: “Oh that’s cool, how much?!”
Boy, should this blog be unnecessary, but apparently it’s needed now more than ever. Here we go!
DON’T SHOW YOUR WANG TO PEOPLE! Here’s a tip (no pun intended) to men: It’s not sexy. Women are attracted to what it’s attached to and perhaps what it does. Sadly, although you think it’s a big turn-on, no one wants to see it. In fact, most people (98-99.7%) are actually repulsed! I know! It’s CRAZY! Who wouldn’t want to see your 60 year old venous flesh whip? Keep it in your pants, when in doubt…or always. Especially at work.
DON’T GRAB WOMEN’S ANYTHING, WHETHER THEY ARE ASLEEP OR AWAKE. Believe it or not, women tend to let you know when they want to be touched. Typically, it’s after a long courting process that leads to something called a “relationship” or they will flat out tell you. Strangely, most don’t want to be fishhooked, groped, palmed, stroked, rubbed, accosted, squeezed, tongued, licked, nuzzled, or even dry humped off the ol’ cuff. Calm down, calm down, I know it’s tough to learn these things at your age. Oh, wait, you’re in your 50’s? You’re a scumbag – I’m sorry, I thought you learned these things at 5 years old like the rest of us.
NO, YOU CAN’T USE EXCUSES OR PAST ACCOMPLISHMENTS TO EXCUSE IT. But I’ve done a lot of good! OK, great, still a creep. Just because you made a good movie or worked reeeeaaaallllyyy hard on a bill your staff or lobbyists probably wrote for you, you still can’t be an el molestor. How about you do those good things and NOT sexually assault people? Then we are good to go! Amazing!
Well that should cover it, I think. Quick thoughts – this is America and get what you can, but how does someone make $25 million for being a host of a show and still have enough free time to molest people at work? I make a bit less than that and I don’t have 21 seconds to wee sometimes. Another one, how did Congress get by for years not having a sexual harassment policy? Before just now, the accuser had to file in a short window, go to counseling and basically sign a confidentiality agreement to keep their yaps shut. That should show you what was going on there. Lastly, people of the world, please stop making excuses because you like the person’s work. “I can’t believe what that guy did! Hold on, let me Google their abortion position…never mind, I’m cool with it.” You don’t get a pass because it’s been a while, you’re a former civil rights icon, you’re a comedian, you’re a powerful TV or movie person and defending these slime makes you look like an ass also. Hopefully that covers it, but I think by the time you’ve read this, three more perverts have been outed, so let’s hope for the best.
“What animals live in the woods?” G: “Elephant.” “I think that’s more Africa, but we’ll roll with it. What other animals live in Africa?” G: “Lion. Gorilla.” “Very good! What else?” G: …… (Oh crap, now I have to think of animals.) Suddenly, she speaks, keeping dad from saying eagles like he does for every answer. “Dragons.” “Hmm. Well, I’ve never been to Africa, so let’s just go with that. And eagles. Good job.”
Opens door, which she closes when it’s time for number 2. “Hey peanut, can I check your diaper?” G looks around, grabs a half an apple and hands it to me. “Stinky!” “I think the apple isn’t the problem.” Then I remembered I had to change the diaper, smelled the apple to be sure, hoping for the best.
G, running around after a diaper change. “Where did pants go?” “Oh, if dad had a dollar for every time he’s said that after a few beers!” (Looks around to see if wife heard that comment.)
When discussing food. “Do you want peanut butter?” G: “Ice keem.” “How about ham?” G: “Ice keem. Ice keem.” “OK, maybe after, how about hummus?” G: “Ice keem? Ice keem!” (Fast forward three minutes.) “Oh hell, you’re getting ice keem.”
About seven or eight years ago, Dan Swartwout asked me to be a part of the “Great Debate”, a charity event put on by the Rotary Club of Hilliard. It’s a debate, in the form of a roast, where four people on each side represent Michigan or Ohio State, using wit and sarcasm to battle for points, as it primarily relates to the rivalry. It has really blossomed into a huge event with over 500 attendees and this year they were able to raise $55,000 for charity. Of course, the crowd is 99.7% Ohio State fans, so Ohio State has an undefeated record thus far in the debate. Shocking, I know!
I’m a lifelong Buckeye fan and started off on Ohio State, but for several years now, I’ve been “debating” for Michigan, I think primarily because a chunk of comics don’t know anything about sports and even fewer are willing to do it for the enemy. I’m used to being disliked, so why not? Hey-O! It’s actually fun and challenging, plus I know trying to burn Ohio State in Columbus when they have won five in a row is about as productive as pissing into a hurricane, so I usually roast or mention the other comedians. The worst part is people asking me what it’s like to root for Michigan and live in Columbus, because it happens about five times per debate. I imagine it’s like being someone who likes Miracle Whip more than mayo. I actually got some pics and the audio – safe for work, as in, if your job is cool with you listening to a roast during work hours.
More lessons from the road in comedy. I would be more articulate with my opening, but I am assuming you read part 1. If not, read that first or shut up.
Locals/townies are quite the grab bag. I did a show once, where I was told, “If they like you, they’ll send up shots during your set.” I asked if there was a cab service in town. “No, but there’s a good back way to the hotel and there’s only one cop working.” Well, sounds foolproof! Give me shots! I had another show in an even smaller town in Pennsylvania where a small, drunk, older man told me, “You should have done more ni**er jokes.” Well, by more, that means I did one to begin with. I started explaining that failure in logic to him and began to insult him overall when a woman ran up. “I’m so sorry, he is racist when he drinks.” No, he’s racist all the time, he just talks about it when he drinks.
You’re not in Kansas anymore – actually, maybe you are and it may not be cool. Add to that the fact you’re probably outnumbered badly wherever you go and they usually pay you in cash, so keep that in the back of your head. I was on vacation once in West Virginia on a rafting trip and the guide told us, “You guys seem cool so I’ll warn you, don’t accept any invites to go to a bar with local girls, you’ll get robbed.” In other words, try to keep your cash fairly hidden, but I would still rather have cash than a check. Not that there’s much money in comedy anyway. I’m talking about it like you’re getting $4000 a show. “Here’s $25 and a rib bib from our sister bar, Smackey’s BBQ. You be safe out there – good show!”
On that note, you deserve to be paid. One comic told me after a show I was running, “I didn’t have a good set, I don’t want any money.” Well learn from it, you’re getting the money. I told you I would pay you and you filled the time. Think of all the great sets you had where you didn’t get paid. Take the money. To put it in perspective, I’ll leave you all with this story. When I first started, I got booked on a show to emcee. Unbeknownst to me, he booked nine comics on the show and told them all to do 20 minutes. Most of the comics were brand new or not actually comics. I had to oversee this train wreck and do time between every comic to bring the show back. He brought crock pots and was trying to sell $4 hot dogs and even brought his own bouncers to this bar…which had signs up telling people not to do drugs in the bathroom. I was mentally exhausted after the show, which ended up being almost 4 hours long. He had tried to offer me free beer from the bar originally, but I insisted on at least $50 (I’m a cruel and savvy negotiator).
After the show, I asked him for my money and he asked we go outside to the patio. “Um, yeah, so here’s the thing. I didn’t get a great door tonight, and here’s the thing, I couldn’t even pay my bouncers. So the thing is, I lost money on the food and the flyers. Um, so the thing is, I can’t pay you.” Warm rage filled down to my fingertips. I leaned into his personal space. “No, here’s the thing. You ran a shitty show and I need paid. I don’t care about your damn hot dogs.” I think I said more, but the anger was clouding over me. He changed his face from apologetic to smug. “Um…, it ain’t happening.” More tingling, warm rage. “You made two mistakes! One, you told me you didn’t pay your bouncers, so no one has your back. Two, you don’t fuck with a redneck!” (I don’t why I said that, but it felt good.) My two hands shot out like lightning and closed around his neck. He began flailing about and tried to break my grip. He quickly reached into his pocket with one hand while the other slapped against my forearms and handed me $50. I stormed out and as the adrenaline left me, I realized I better get in the car and get the hell out of the there. Get your money. Trust me, if you don’t deserve, you’ll quit getting booked eventually. Take what you’re owed. Oh and learn a good chokehold just in case.
I have seen a couple articles recently about comedy on the road, so I thought I would shed some light. I don’t do nearly as much as I used to with a family now, but for about four years I hit it pretty hard. Here’s some insights.
Most comedy venues put you up in a hotel. Their goal is to put the room within their budget, so they usually strike up a deal with a local venue for a good price. This means about 40% of the time, you’re staying in an absolute shithole. I’ve stayed in rooms where there were fresh makeup stains on the pillow, the carpet was a version of that putt putt green stuff you see on boats, and a motel where a drug couple had their pit bulls tied up in front of their room to keep people away. My goofy golden retriever almost got eaten by wandering too close. Even worse, sometimes they decide you’re cool with staying with the other comic, which I bet is fun for female comics. I’ve been put in a room with two other comics (I paid for my own room) and once the bar forgot to book a room on the little town’s busiest weekend of the year. I had to drive 18 miles in the wrong direction and share a bed with a grown man. I built a wall of pillows between us like the Mongolians were attacking.
You learn to fight back. I had a hotel once tell me, as the feature contracted to do 25-35 minutes that the show was supposed to run two and a half hours. I told them that was incorrect and offered to get the email, but they didn’t care. They insisted, so I did over 50 minutes. The headliner went up, did 45 and got paid more than twice what I did. Another show the headliner went to the wrong city, so I had to “fill” the time until he showed up. Rather than delay the show 15 minutes, I had to do an hour and 15 minutes with almost no prep time. The last 20 or so minutes I was literally telling stories from college and even asked if anyone wanted to come up and sing. When the idiot finally showed up, I passed the mic off. You know what I got for my heroism? The same pay and five free beers. I learned pretty quickly what doing favors gets you – nothing. Except for sometimes five beers, which actually is pretty cool normally, just not I’m dying in front of 45 strangers for 20 minutes cool.
Car problems. Don’t ever underestimate you are driving yourself to the gig the day of. This means your whole weekend is usually shot and God forbid you have a shitty car, like 98% of all comedians. I’ve had a battery die on me, got a speeding ticket that exceeded my show pay and got stuck in the snow by myself in Sault Ste. Marie. I had to cram an old shirt under the tire to make it and perform at an Indian casino with no stage in a cafeteria for 15 people. It was a pretty hot venue – Bubba Sparxx was there the next week, so you know it was happening. I’d rather be a backup dancer for Ms. New Booty than tell jokes again in a cafeteria.
That’s a start, maybe I’ll do part 2 later this week, but I’m having flashbacks of awful shows and I need a break and perhaps a therapist.