Friday, December 31, 2010

A Personal Year-in-Review 2010

Typically, I like to spew out a reasonable summary of the events of the year, and there's been plenty to talk about...An Election Year, the Glenn Beck Rally, the Rally for Sanity, Palin, Obama, the KFC scholarship, Jesus' Worst fans, another year of fun-yet-scary media debauchery, the list goes on....BUT, this being a close-of-the-decade year I decided to do something a bit different and give a more brief and personal send-off to 2010.

First, if you don't have plans tonight, and live in Pittsburgh, consider coming down to Papa J's for their New Year's Eve bash. I'll be doing jokes for a bit along with a few other locals followed by music via DJ for the remainder of the evening...That being said this is the first-time for me, not just in comedy but in my life, having a NYE gig of any sorts, which is kind of particular I suppose. I had an offer in '08, but that year I did a show on Thanksgiving, so the girlfriend asked me to promise there would be no NYE gig, to which I obliged.

Overall this year has been a pretty solid one for me in terms of comedy and career, so I'd like to thank everybody who has shown their support in any and every way, whether it be coming out to the gigs, booking me, letting me open for you, sharing advice I actually asked for, talking shop, listening to me rant when things go lousy without throwing a foreign object, or even having a few drinks with me to cope with gig cancellations, for the sake of time and space I'm not going to be too particular but you all know who are, thank you a million times over, it means the world and then some.

Thank you to everyone that made this year's Holiday Ha-Ha a great one. We had over 100 in attendance, and featured sketch and a music ending for the first time ever. To all the comics who dedicated their time and effort and all of those who came out, thank you for making it a memorable one.

Right before I left my house to head down to Club Cafe, I was perusing through Facebook, mainly to cope with being nervous, and I noticed the profile of my old roommate Kimmie from when I lived in Nashville. I realized I hadn't heard from her in awhile and decided to do a profile-check to see what she was up to. I found out that Kimmie passed away. Kimmie and I were roommates for around three months, and although we only crossed paths for a short time in both of our lives we stayed in touch fairly regularly. Kimmie's husband is a trucker, so she would move around often, but I'd usually hear from her via e-mail every so often and usually I'd get a phone call from a number and an area code I didn't recognize whatsoever, to be pleasantly surprised that it was Kimmie's new number and she was living somewhere new and enjoying it, or in some cases looking to leave and head elsewhere. She was a true free spirit but more importantly one of the most genuine people I had ever met. We lived in a Youth Hostel, and Kimmie made pretty much everybody passing through feel right at home by introducing everybody and more often than not preparing a meal for them. She did this out of her own generosity, she was never formerly hired by the place to do any of this, and to my knowledge she never received any financial compensation of any sorts, she just genuinely loved travelers and loved to have a good time and wanted to share that with others. Kimmie was always very encouraging of me at a time when I didn't have a clue what I should've been doing, and when I told Kimmie that I had started doing stand-up she was very encouraging, and told me that that seemed to be a perfect fit and she couldn't wait to see me live. Thus far in my lifetime, I can honestly say people like her are rare, and I'm lucky and honored for her friendship...I'll miss you Kimmie, have a good time on the other side. --Ron

Well, so much for the "brief" part of this post, all-in-all, 2010's been a great ride, and here's to 2011. All the best.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Ha-Ha! ONE WEEK!!!

Just a cordial reminder that this year's Holiday Ha-Ha Comedy Show is happening one week from today!!! December 29, 7pm, Club Cafe, Pittsburgh, PA. The show will feature sketch, stand-up, out-of-town guests and perhaps even a musical number or two. I think I speak for all of the comics involved when I say that we are very excited about this show. Tickets are still available and they are $5 in advance, $7 at the door. Any questions feel free to contact me. I sincerely hope to see you all there! Last but certainly not least, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Ultimate Hell Gig

It was an all-day festival, middle of summer in Pennsylvania about 20 minutes outside of Pittsburgh at a large fair ground. They never tried anything like this before, the entertainment was to be all comedy, beginning at 10:30am and ending at 6:00pm. The booker called all of us participating into a meeting the night before and she gave us our slots. I was given the 4:00 slot and was to do 30 minutes. There were two people after me. All of the comics on the show, including myself, were pretty much at the same level in terms of work we were getting and how far along we were on the ladder. To put it more bluntly and in comedian terms, no headliner/TV credits on this show. I usually don't let this kind of stuff get to me but one of the people after me happened to be a comic I didn't care for very much. Not only his act but as a human being I thought he needed kicked in the throat a couple of times. I was pissed he was after me as the boooker seemed to have given us our slots based on her perception of our skill.

The next day, I showed up at 10:00am as that was check-in time. The booker approached me, "Ron, I was kind of hoping you'd do the warm-up in addition to your slot, you need to be on at 10:30am, that cool?" I said sure. I figured I just had to introduce the event, thank people for coming, ummm, in a situation like this should one tell people to silence their cell phones? I figured I had a few minutes to decide. As I was about to go on stage the booker approached me again. "Ok, so go until about noon." "What?" "Go until about noon." "That's an hour-and-a-half, that's an awfully long time for a stand-up, it takes years and years for people to develop a full hour-and-a-half they can do all at once." "Well, you're not allowed to do any of your material, so that's fine." "What?" "Your 4:00pm slot is for your material, this 10:30am-noon slot is for crowd work only. You said you would do it, if you back out that's fine but I wouldn't bother contacting me for dates in 2011." I didn't want to lose a year's worth of dates from a booker I worked for regularly, so I sucked it up and went on stage. The stage was about 10 feet from the ground. The closest audience member was a solid 20 yards at least away from me. An hour-and-a-half of crowd work. I greeted the crowd, backs were turned, reverb from the microphone, somebody coughed. A couple children were playing in the fields a ways off. I was mostly ignored. I turned to the sound guy and asked if the booker was still around. "Nope, she left." I bailed. I didn't know what time it was, but I bailed. I told the people the comedy would start back up at noon and I'd be on at 4 and to stick around. A couple people clapped. I took the subway back into the city and went to my apartment. My girlfriend was just waking up and asked me why I was home. "It's going to be a long day, are you coming to the show?" "I wasn't planning on it." "Well, you won't be missing much, when it's over, I'm going to need a drink." "What's your slot?" "4." "I'm surprised you're not closing out of that bunch." "Whatever, we all get paid the same I think."

I returned to the grounds and nobody seemed to have cared that I bailed on my hour-and-a-half of crowd work. I saw the comic I didn't care for that was going on after me. "I'm pumped I'm closing this, it pays twice of what the rest of you guys are making, isn't that weird? I mean, I do the same amount of time, but I get paid twice as much, dude, maybe she'll let you close next year." What a dick. I try not to be petty when it comes to stuff like that and of course jealously gets one nowhere, but this guy's just a flat out chode. I agreed with him that it was odd and walked away. It wasn't worth it to retaliate, why stoop to his level? I waited around for a few hours, bought some candy, the crowd seldom paid attention to any of the comics. At one point a water-gun fight broke out. Later, a couple started making out near the stage and the dude went right up the girl's shirt in front of everybody. At about 3:45 I started to get closer to the stage. Just then I noticed my parents had arrived. "We saw this in the paper, saw you were on it, thought we'd get out of town for an afternoon, how's it going?" "Eh, to be honest, I'm not looking forward to this, sometimes it really feels like a job, this is one of those times." "When are you going on?" "4." Brief moment of silence.

Then my dad piped up, "wow, it's pathetic you're not closing this shit." "What?" "Seriously, that guy (comic I don't like) is a total hack, I'm pretty sure he stole his closer from CK, he sucks." "I agree." "Yet he's closing the show and you're not. Seriously, it's pathetic." "It's one booker's opinion." "It's pretty sad Ron, we need to get going actually, we're going to miss your set." "You just got here." "Yeah, I forgot we have stuff to do." Unbelievable. So what if one booker thinks I shouldn't be closing the show? I can't let this crap get to me, especially not now. As I'm trapped in thought I get a tap on the shoulder, it's the MC, "hey man, I need your intro." I looked towards the stage and the comedian on stage was humping the stole with three people watching and laughing and applauding and the rest of the audience still had their backs turned.

I woke up. I was thirsty. Yup, friends, it was a dream. There is no subway in or around Pittsburgh, that's the kicker. Not to mention I don't think either of my parents are familiar with the term "closing" in terms of it being used as comedy-lingo near synonymous but not quite with "headlining." Although, to all my comedy friends out there, I'm a bit disturbed at how possible that dream could actually be. Oh, and neither the comic I didn't like nor the booker were actual people, all sole residents of my subconscious, though I guess if they were people I probably wouldn't divulge their identity anyway. If you need me I'll be at the park doing 90 minutes of crowd work.