Sunday, January 31, 2010


This weekend was a pretty stellar one for shows. Friday I opened for my buddy Anthony Rankin at PD's Pub in Squirrel Hill. Had a great time and while music shows, at least in my experience, are usually not the easiest stages for comedy I had a great time on stage and got to watch some stellar music from an excellent band. Last night I did a show in White Oak, PA to a sold-out crowd that was there to laugh and enjoy a comedy show, which makes all the difference in the world. My 30 minutes up there felt like 10, I can't say that happens too often, was a nice way to end a month. I learned a few things too...calling Christopher Columbus an embarrassment to Italian-Americans in a room full of older Western PA Italian-Americans proved a bit too risky, fortunately was able to get the room back with the relationship material. So it goes, if I didn't want to take a risk or two and put something challenging out there than I wouldn't be doing comedy, I would've went into juggling.

That was the good news, now for the not-as-good news. First, I will very much miss Franz from the Hold Steady. The Hold Steady has been one of my favorite bands to see live the past couple years. Franz, for those of you that don't know, was the keyboardist. He recently parted ways with the band. Back in Indiana I interviewed Franz for submission to one of the local media outlets, to be honest I can't remember which, it may have been for the radio, I honestly can't recall. Anyway, as soon as I got him on the phone my reception was terrible and it wasn't picking up on the audio equipment at all. I couldn't decipher anything he was saying. I was too embarrassed to tell him that I jacked up the equipment so I just cut it short after about four questions.

"Wow, that was short."

"Yeah, it's a 30-second segment short thing we've been working on." Total bullshit. Anyway, my interview with Franz didn't work out. But, it did give my girlfriend and I two free tickets to their show in Indianapolis that night.

Friday night before the show at PD's I did something I've never done before and hope to never have to do again in my life, I didn't tip a waiter. Gave him nada. This dude was the worst waiter I've ever had in my life, ever. First, dude forgot our ticket, completely botched it. Which, no biggie, mistakes happen, the show wasn't until 10. He never re-filled our water, never checked on us, at one point I saw him walk by and look at us, he had an "oh, shit" look on his face and then he looked down at his tickets. He never turned us in.

Finally after 30 minutes we asked about our food. "I'll go check on it." 10 minutes later dude shows up, checked on another table and then turned to us, "o, I checked on your food, there was some conflict in the kitchen, they'll take half-off your meals, sorry about that." And then he gave a whatever wave. This dude was totally checked out. You don't give a customer a whatever wave, he was down to 10 percent at this point. Especially since he lied. Conflict in the kitchen? Really? My girlfriend ordered a salad.

We continued to wait, I told my girlfriend if our food didn't come by 20 after we were walking out. It came at 18 after. The waiter said he'd get me some ketchup, I told him please. I also told him I had somewhere to be so could we get the check now. 10 minutes later he dropped off the check. Never apologized, never asked us how it was, nothing. I never got my ketchup either. I had to go to the hostess and ask for ketchup. O, I almost forgot, at one point said waiter dropped a plate of food all over the floor, never apologized to anyone, goes without saying at this point. To top it off, he didn't CLEAN IT UP. One of the other waitresses cleaned it up for him 5 minutes later. Let me point out too this establishment was not very crowded.

Now, if you're going to be a piece of shit to customers, that's your choice, you can deal with the consequences of getting a low gratuity, but if you hang your co-workers out to dry too, then you don't deserve a penny as far as I'm concerned. In case you're wondering, the food was mediocre at best.

When I got my tab I wrote a big fat ZERO on the tip. Then, I wrote an explanation on the back of the receipt.

"You did this to yourself. Just so you know I'm a multi-millionaire. I've invested well and I've cashed in. Whenever I go out to eat I hand out $100-bills just because I get a kick out of making a stranger's day. In fact, I'm so well off that I'm able to dedicate the rest of my life to my childhood dream of being a stand-up comedian, check out my website. Come out to a show sometime, I may talk about you and how shitty you are at your craft."

I don't want to say the name of said establishment, but if you ever find yourself in the Regent Square neighborhood of Pittsburgh I recommend eating anywhere that isn't Dunning's Bar and Grill.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sam I am

When I'm in an elevator I wouldn't normally frequent I always tell any stranger I may be riding with that I'll see them tomorrow.

I was desperate for work. We all were. This was back in '07. The economy was fine, being in a small college town with no industry was the issue. My roommates and I used the same resources and eventually we realized we were all applying for the same jobs...which helped in the end because we could tip each other on which ones were the pyramid schemes.

The ad said "Get Paid to Wave." I could wave. Hell, I had just gotten a degree a month earlier, this should be cake. At the interview guy told me he was also looking for someone with a background in marketing. Marketing. I took a class on that in college. The professor had a thick East Coast accent so I just remember him saying MAHketing all the time. I also remember a girl I was seeing at the time was taking the class and found it necessary to study way more often than I did. During our study sessions I'd read for about 20 minutes or so then I'd get bored and would try to get her attention by doing the hamburger. (If you're confused, Google it, and then do the hamburger at the next party you attend, it's the new craze.) Then I'd fart. Things with us never worked out. Though, to date many of my exes have been to every single comedy show...I've bombed spirit.

Anyway, marketing, I could do that. I told him so. And for that season I wrote radio commercials, press releases, newspaper ads, and then I'd go out on the streets in costume and hand out coupons, talk to the public, whatever was necessary. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Speaking of radio, the job worked around my shift at the community radio station which was a 1-3pm on Friday afternoon, prime afternoon music mix. Our ad-pool was top notch too.

Ode to simpler times.