Monday, November 28, 2005

There are three comedy things happening in the very near future in which I will participate and to which you should consider paying attention for various reasons.

First - Tuesday, November 29th, at 10:30pm at the UCB Theater (5919 Franklin Ave, Hollywood), I will be joining one of the really outstanding shows in the L.A. area - "See You Next Tuesday." Produced by Matt "in search of Sasquatch" Belknap of http://www.aspecialthing.com fame, it is rapidly becoming the place for rising talent in L.A. to see and be seen. It follows the redoubtable Comedy Death-Ray, so come early and see two fantastic shows, or come late and see only one - the choice is yours. Much more detail at is available at http://www.ucbtheater.com/la and I whole-heartedly desire and endorse your presence.

Second - Tuesday December 27th at 8pm at the Hollywood Improv, I will be on the bill for one of Lesley Wolff's "All-Ivy League" comedy extravangzas. I am not an Ivy League grad, merely a comedy legacy, but I hope to bring honor to the hallowed halls of University of Maryland, College Park. Lesley throws a hell of a show and packs the house and the stage with smart and funny people - it's a good time all around.

Third - Tuesday Jan 3 through Sunday Jan 8, Las Vegas plays host to the giant Consumer Electronics Show, the jaw-dropping Adult Video News Awards, and me! I'll be at the Improv at Harrah's Las Vegas, and headlining will be Don McMillan, the king of nerd funny! Don's the real deal - a former electrical engineer for Bell Labs and VLSI and now the master of all that is "Technically Funny!" Check him out at http://www.donmcmillan.com, check out CES at http://www.cesweb.org, and check out the AVN awards on your own time!

See you at the shows!

The First Comedian I Ever Saw...

I grew up in Washington D.C., and when I was about 17, I went to a place I remember being called "This Is It!" at 14th and H or so. This was the red light district and this particular place was noted for the occasional sighting of Mayor Marion Barry. It was an honest-to-God burlesque house, although at the time I wouldn't have known what that meant. It was a bubble suspended in time, like Douglas Adam's Restaurant at the End of the Universe, except instead of temporally rocking back and forth over Armageddon, the End, the Last Bit, it instead gently swayed in and out of Sept. 27th, 1948.

I was drawn forth by the very idea of boobies, something that had recently grabbed my attention away from AppleSoft BASIC programming. Due to our Mayor's indiscretions, I had read in the Washington Post that boobies could be seen for reals, no kidding, at the "This Is It!" and off I went as fast as my 50cc Vespa moped could take me. The drinking age in DC at the time was 18, and honored more in the breach, so entry was straightforward. I took a seat at a table, placed my white Bell bike helmet under my chair, and waited for magic to happen.

The first woman I saw in the place was the point of this ramble, the first comedian I ever saw live. She was a hard 50, peroxide blonde and thick through the middle, wearing a beaded and sequined white floor-length gown, a white feather boa, and a look of exhaustion and disdain that even in my pink and virgin state frightened me more than words can describe. I guess she was the MC, she was telling jokes, setup-punch jokes, and at the end of each one a tuxedo-clad drummer behind her would flail his limbs and hit a rim shot that landed like a balloon full of oatmeal. To call the drummer tuxedo-clad ennobles him in an unwarranted manner; he was moth-eaten in a way that did not end at his clothes. He had the thinness of arm and paunch of belly that suggested his main source of nutrition was juniper berries, and he too wore an expression that betrayed a lifetime of Chesterfields, SRO hotels, and regret.

But back to our star. She would tell a joke, the drummer would drum, and the crowd would respond with equal parts indifference and impatience. This sequence repeated several times, and the crowd tipped harder and harder to genuine antipathy. And then she did the thing that would forever resonate in my understanding of comedy--she turned on us. She snarled a little, and then through a grimace like a nailgun spat out "Aw, you fuckers wouldn't know funny if it bit you!", and turned on her heel and left. Here's what I take from that now, twenty years later and six years into my own stand-up career.

She still cared.

I can make up a story here, she was a showgirl, a real looker, who after ten or fifteen years of late nights and men who never quite came through maybe wasn't so much the looker anymore. She'd been around enough that she could tell a joke, so rather than settle down waitressing at a diner somewhere, she fell into comedy, MC'ing the shows, snapping off a one-liner or two and den-mothering the new girls. And after thirty years of cheap drunks and smoke in her eyes, she still cared whether she got a laugh. I had the need tattooed on my brain at the tender age of 17 with that lady's ink, homemade of whatever bitter salt it is that's left behind when your dreams evaporate into heartache.

And then after that, I saw boobs.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Will fix computers for sexual favors

Will fix computers for sexual favors
Reply to: serv-111693819@craigslist.org
Date: 2005-11-16, 11:01AM PST

Email with computer problem and favor.

* this is in or around Los Angeles Area

This is not me. I don't care what you think, it's not me.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Microfinance on a Macro Scale

www.kiva.org

Just read about this on BoingBoing, and I think it is brilliant. Decentralize, distribute and engage on a one-to-one level to connect people in the developing world with people in the developed world. This will create a web of shared vision that unifies us, binds us together. I'm signed up and ready to go, you should be too.

Fantastic.