Friday, July 1, 2011
Road Journal Part 6: Northeast and End of the Run
6/30/11 Had some dates around home, didn’t find it necessary to report there. Just got back from Boston and Vermont, hence my run is over. First, the shows, Boston was a great time. Germs was able to come for this part so we went around town during the day and then I did a few sets at night. Met some great comics, there were some really fringe (for lack of a better word) acts that I got to see in Boston. Which, I really appreciated. I enjoy seeing somebody that puzzles me at first, where I think, “wow, this is a different way at approaching this,” where I don’t even know if it’s an act or not, that’s something I appreciate. It’s always cool when I get to see acts like that because that’s not something I get to see in Pittsburgh ever. That’s not a bash at Pittsburgh, it just seems to me that certain acts that are really doing something cerebral need to head to either LA, New York, Boston or San Francisco. It doesn’t seem like any other city would have a market or scene big enough for the type of acts I’m describing to develop. I could be totally wrong. “Alternative” comedy is a phrase people love to throw around constantly and to be honest I don’t know if such a thing even exists or not but what I do know is that there are some pretty out-of-the-box left-of-center acts out there that I find inspirational, and no, the fact that you have a joke about a unicorn going into a time-machine and do an absurdist impression about a dragon selling make-up door-to-door doesn’t put you into said category. Anyway, Boston, was good to catch up. Met some really cool and talented comics out there, got to catch up with Josh Gondelman. Burlington was exactly what I had hoped for in terms of a place and an end to a run. The city reminded me a bit of the northwest, scenic, nature-esque, laid back, and they’ve got great beer and cheese. I got to see my friends Luke and Justine, and did a show at a place called Radio Bean. I couldn’t find much going on in terms of comedy in town, and there was no comedy club in the city, so I got myself a 30-minute spot on a music show so my friends could have an opportunity to see me in their town. When I arrived at the venue I was a bit worried about how things would go. There were several singer-songwriters up before me alternating songs and while I actually dug their stuff it was not necessarily something that would blend well with comedy. I told the bartender who I was and he told me I could just go up whenever they were finished. Once they were off I made sure the microphone was still on and then I walked around with it a bit testing it to make sure I wasn’t getting any feedback. No intro, cold stage, unsuspecting audience. I went to the bar and requested that the house music be turned off, the bartender responded that he would turn it down. Uh oh. I was a little worried at this point, I went up to my friends and warned them that this may be a train-wreck. Once I got on stage though, the music was completely off, and people were staring at me. Since nobody could bring me up I decided I would just let them know the plan. I told them I was a comedian and because there were no comedy shows in the area this was my opportunity to do a show for my friends, if they wanted to listen, that’d be great, if not, that’s fine too just please go elsewhere if they wanted to talk because there was definitely a handful of people there that wanted to see me. The show went surprisingly well. It took a little bit for people to warm up to the idea and not being afraid to laugh-out-loud, but it ended up going pretty solid, especially considering the circumstance. The staff seemed to dig it and some of the locals mentioned that they enjoyed it and it was something different they never really get. That room could be perfect for comedy and I’m sure an actual comedy night would go really well in that place. I had a great time performing and even though I was worried at first it ended up being a great way to end the run. The next day I hung out on the water, took a boat ride, tried some different beers with Germs, then later that night we bid Lucas and Justine farewell and drove through the night for Boston as our flight left early in the morning. I went to bed upon returning to Pittsburgh. Now comes the time to reflect what it all means, I’ve definitely learned a good deal about myself and comedy. I think I have a much better idea of what work needs to be done for the future and what areas I’m doing reasonably well in and what areas need some more work and attention. On a personal note, I’ve decided I’m going to try to stop using energy drinks, and instead try various green and Turkish teas as substitutes. I can make it iced in advance. I’m also considering taking up hurling, and I want to get back to speaking Italian regularly. The tour is over. Arrivederci fun-yons!