Ohio Player

Hey ‘Redheads… Greetings from beyond Buckeye country. Before I get to my travelogue, I’d like to extend a hearty congratulations to hometown cinderella, George Mason for playing the best game of the NCAA tournament thus far, and dashing the hopes of the UConn Huskies…and the brackets of degenerate gamblers all over the country. The ONLY prognosticators who had the Patriots going this far were stoned George Mason students, PTA moms who liked the Mason color scheme, and Mr. Howdy, the KTVT sports chimp. Even with the fall of more high seeds than the re-entry of the Jamaican space station, Marley (stay with me), I’m happy to announce that my pick for national champ is still standing. UCLA…my favorite Thundarr the Barbarian sidekick.
On to the recap of my recent comedy exploits… Buckle up. This’ll be a long one. But it’s got some pretty pictures…

THURSDAY– I packed up the Liberty and headed west to my first destination of Mansfield, Ohio. When you’re on a long drive, with nothing but your thoughts to keep you company, you notice things that might you not normally. I spotted a sign on a church that said, in big bold letters, “CHRIST IS THE ANSWER”. Who’s the pastor at this church, Alex Trebek? I’ve got no problem with religion, it’s just the marketing campaigns that get to me. Maybe they should try listening to the question, before claiming to have an answer. For me, the only question Christ is the answer to is, “Who is Jim Caviezel?”

Getting back to the trip, after six hours and change, I rolled up to JOE’Z CAFE. It was a bar just off Rte. 30 that was attached to the Mansfield Inn. The place looked sketchier than an SNL rough draft. Any qualms I had about my evening were allayed when I met Joe, the owner, and his wife Maggie. Very cool people who are committed to bringing a quality comedy show to Mansfield… receptive audience be damned. Just before the show started, I met up with the headliner I’d be working with on this run, Al Katz. Al is a 28-year comedy vet. He’s the triple threat you rarely find on the road: funny, nice, and not an irretrievable hack.
Before I go into the evening’s show, I’d like to share a nugget of wisdom with the DC comedy scene. Don’t EVER take the DC audiences for granted. They are, more often than not, educated, receptive, and capable of abstract thought. Cherish that. They’re a far cry from the coarse, narrow-minded, and obtuse folk that were warming the seats in Mansfield. I mean that in the nicest way, of course. They were hard working small towners who were out to have a hootin’ and/or hollerin’ good time. The quality of the show depended largely on the equilibrium I was able to maintain by doing my material and handling the unsolicited input from Tweedledrunk and Tweedledrunker.
This was the first show in a couple years that I was sent drinks on stage. Mid-punchline, a waitress alerted me to a shot of tequila that someone bought for me. Unless there’s a genuine health risk involved, it’s generally bad form to refuse a shot. It makes you look weak…this type of crowd respects strength. Tequila isn’t my usual choice but, fearing a mutiny, I took the shot. Feeling my oats, I jokingly asked, “Anyone got a worm?”, then moved on to my next bit. What does the waitress bring, not 2 minutes later? Another shot of tequila…with a fucking worm in it. Not wanting to embark on a vision quest, I drew a line in the sand and said that there was no way I’d be drinking a worm. Luckily, a guy came out of the crowd to show this city mouse how it’s done in Mansfield. The rest of my set went ok…one or two dead spots, but my dick joke closer got me off stage on a decent laugh…when in Rome…
After the show, Al and I set up our CD flea market in the hopes of recouping some gas money. While we were hawking our wares, I was approached by a guy named Jacob. He owned up to being the guy who sent me the first tequila shot. He thought I seemed a little tense on stage and I needed to loosen up. Like I said, at heart, these are good people. Jacob imparted this notion to me, “You should use the fuck word more.” This statement intrigued me. I replied, “Y’mean fuck?” As a comedian, economy of speech is an important part of the on-stage product. Shakespeare once wrote, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” What I’m trying to say is, the fuck word is fuck. Nitpickery aside, my new friend made a good point. It was as if the entire town of Mansfield had been mass hypnotized, and “fuck” was their trigger word.

FRIDAY– You might think that Mansfield, Ohio has no cultural value whatsoever. I’ll be honest, so did I. But that all changed when I ventured two exits west on Rte. 30 and visited the Richland Correctional Facility. Most of you have seen this place. It was where they filmed one of my favorite movies, The Shawshank Redemption. Unfortunately, it doesn’t open for tours until May, but I was able to get a good long look at the prison’s impressive exterior. The only thing that would’ve made it more impressive would be if Morgan Freeman were narrating my thoughts. Sadly, he only pipes up when he’s commanding me to kill… I didn’t have a camera on me, but I found these pix online:

That last one isn’t from the prison…it was my hotel room. Moving on…
From Mansfield, it was off to the Wit’s End Lounge at the Ramada Inn in wild and wonderful Morgantown, WV. When it comes to mapping out my comedy treks, I use MapQuest. Alot of people don’t like MapQuest…here’s an example of why. Part of my trip to Morgantown included going from Rte 30 East to 1-77 South. Here’s how MapQuest wanted me to go:

Merge onto US-30 E. 27.5 miles
Take the OH-302/MADISON AVE exit. 0.1 miles
Turn LEFT onto MADISON AVE/OH-302. Continue to follow MADISON AVE. 0.8 miles
Stay STRAIGHT to go onto DOVER RD/OH-83N. Continue to follow DOVER RD. 4.6 miles
DOVER RD becomes US-250. 15.6 miles
Keep RIGHT at the fork to continue on US-250. 5.8 miles
Merge onto I-77S

For those of you keeping track, that’s 5 steps in between US-30 and I-77. After finding out the MADISON AVE/OH-302 exit was closed, driving around Ohio Amish country in circles for half an hour, here’s what I found out: US-30 HITS I-77. Hey MapQuest, I’m looking for the interstate, not One-Eyed Willy’s fucking buried treasure… Howabout keeping it simple for the Jew with the sense of direction of a dreidel, eh?
Once I righted the ship, it was a quick shot to Morgantown.
The show that night was on par with the show in Mansfield. Once again, I was advised to “use the fuck word.” Nice people, but their knowledge of audience etiquette was pretty slim. One young lady, who seemed confused for most of the evening, kept saying out loud, “That’s not right!” Another woman, sitting in the front row, while I was doing my bit about which diseases Sesame Street can tackle, I shit you not, shouted out, “Tourettes!” (yes, I’m sure the irony was lost on her) For the remainder of my set, I referred to her as my suggestion box (think that one over).
If there was one thing I would change about Morgantown, it’d be the dental plan. These people had Halloween teeth…lots of candy corn…lots of jack o’lanterns. They made Leon Spinks look like Carol Channing.

SATURDAY– The final leg of the trip was the Lafayette Riverboat Hotel in Marietta, Ohio. This blog is getting long, so I’ll just say that this was the most fun night of the weekend. The crowd was receptive, polite (mostly), and quick on the uptake.

All in all, it was a fun trip. I finally got my hands on a digital camera, so I’ll be able to snap some pix from the next exotic location I get to emanate from…Erie, PA… Oh, the glamour.

In the meantime, you can check me out at the Baltimore Comedy Festival on April 1st. I’ll be doing a showcase at the Mobtown Theater with local superstars Mike Storck, Jim Meyer, and Justin Schlegel. CHECK IT OUT!!

To be continued…

Plenty Of Jared Stern To Go Around

Hey there ‘Redheads… I wanted to get in a quick blog before I hit the road tomorrow for a 3-day tour of Ohio, West Virginia, and…Ohio. Not exactly worth printing a t-shirt, but it should be a fun couple of days and it’ll give me a chance to get my road legs back.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to put in this post, when MySpace dropped this in my lap:


So allow me to tell you a story sir. Once upon a time there was a young boy who dreamed of one day becoming an “actor”, as he grew he developed a “wit” about him and in his pursuit of the “performing arts” became fascinated with Stand-up Comedy (the “quotes” will now stop as they are becoming tiresome and slightly obnoxious looking).

This young boy went to an acting college (that he hated) and because of their bullshit rules, he was not allowed to audition outside of the school. Upon graduation he set forth to begin his career as both an actor and comedian.

He wanders into a local comedy club looking to perform the work he had been working on for years, and when he writes his name on the list he hears the gentleman say something quite peculiar “Oh, I’ve heard of you”.

Now right away our hero realizes that this man has NEVER heard of him, and so looks online and sure enough, there is…… ANOTHER JARED STERN.

Yes Mr. Stern, I am Jared Stern as well. Spelled exactly the same way. And what are the chances of TWO Jared Stern’s spelled the same way pursuing the same career in less then 100 miles of each other.

So first I was pissed, and then I heard your stuff, and you are funny. I do need to know though (if you don’t mind) what your experience is and goals in life. I’m not trying to stalk you, but SAG (Screen Actors Guild) is a bitch and I need to know if I need to create a new name now.

Anyway, good luck, liked your stuff, and if you can spare a few for a fellow Jared Stern, I’d appreciate the heads up. It would help a lot!

– Jared Stern

Pretty cool, eh? Jared Sterns aren’t that rare, actually. When I first got into stand-up, there was another comedian named Jared Stern. That’s why my website is JaredLive.com…JaredStern.com was his. After a couple months of comedy training, though, I was able to track him down…lop off his head with a broad sword, and take his Quickening…thanks, Ramirez (that reference was for 5 people). So, in short, he and I will be battling on a rooftop in New York at some point.

Tonight, I hosted the American University preliminary round of the District’s Funniest College competition with fellow avid comedy bloggers, Rory Scovel and Danny Rouhier. The show was held in the food court of the student center. It was a great stage set up, but it was situated next to a juice bar…with the loudest blender since the Kenmore Monster Truck Appliance Jam…on SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!!!…sorry, got carried away. There’s nothing quite like being heckled by a wheat grass smoothie.
Highlight of the evening: the Coca-Cola drink, Full Throttle, a co-sponsor of the show, gave out promotional FREE WHOOPEE CUSHIONS. Rubberized comedy gold…the portable fart joke. The bat-a-rang of the 8-year old comedy utility belt. There’s something about that talc and rubber smell that stuffs me in the trunk of a Delorean, sets the clock to 1985, and hits 88mph back to my childhood. 1.21 gigawatts of innocent child-like poop humor (that reference was for 5 more people). All I’m saying is, I’ll be closing my shows this weekend with a whoopee toot. Old school…old elementary school.

To be continued…

I’m Not Bad…I Just Blog This Way

Hey there ‘Redheads… Long time, no blog. I wish I could say I’ve been terribly busy, but no…I’m just lazy.
I worry about myself sometimes. I worry that I might be an awful person. I’ll give you an example. I was thumbing thru the paper on Thursday and found this story:

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The reigning Miss Deaf Texas died after being struck by a train, officials said. Tara Rose McAvoy, 18, was walking Monday near railroad tracks when she was struck by a Union Pacific train, authorities said. A witness told Austin television station KTBC the train sounded its horn right up until the accident occurred…

This made me chuckle. Yes, I know, I’m in my handbasket as I type this. But, I didn’t stop there… I went ahead and typed out this little embellishment:

…Details are still being sorted out, as the only witnesses were Miss Blind Texas and Miss Dumb Texas…they were taking a break from practicing for the Austin Women’s Team Pinball Championship. Police call it a “senseless tragedy.”

This, apparently, came from the side of my brain that wears a goatee and an eyepatch. If that made you laugh, even just a little, I’ll see ya in the smoking section.
Here’s something creepy I stumbled upon when I googled the story… She had a MySpace account. Not unusual, but check out her comments section. Something about seeing R.I.P. messages online that makes me long for the days when spam was just bad meat.

Speaking of MySpace, I’d like to give a shout out to my good friend Chrissy. She’s going through a patch of uncertainty and doldrums right now, and could use a cyber-hug. See? I’m not all bad…

This blog is short. I’ll have another one for you in a day or so. In the meantime, I’ll go sit in the corner.

To be continued…

Blog #42

Hey ‘Redheads… I’d like to begin this blog by saying whatever it is that I did, I’m sorry. Just a blanket apology to the universe because, apparently, I angered someone on a cosmic level. I was punished last night. Around 2:00am, my brain decided to update its profile on MyGraine.com…a place for agonizing pain. It felt like the left side of my brain was trying to secede from the Union and the new anthem was being sung by Geddy Lee and Bjork. For those of you who get migraines, you know there is a simple, three step method for dealing with them: 1) Turn out all the lights. 2) Curl up into the fetal position. 3) Weep. I tried killing it with pills, smothering it with pillows, but I was able to finally able to quash the rebellion in my head by stumbling to the bathroom and drowning it under a steaming hot, hour-long shower. I was pruny but less…painy. It was the combination of the near sensory deprivation and the constant stream of water that was able to diffuse the blinding pain from my head…back into my soul, where it belongs.

I’m still trying to piece together what led to this three hour ordeal. Perhaps it was my Disney Aristocrats joke from the previous post (I didn’t mean for it to come out like that…I meant to include the frozen head of Walt Disney and Pinnochio’s nose…but, what’s done is done). Or, perpahps it was Thursday, when I journeyed to Catholic University to be a judge in the latest round of the DC Improv’s District’s Funniest College competition. I judged three Catholic students by the same criteria that they’ll be assessed by when they reach the Pearly Gates: stage presence, originality of material, and audience reaction. The first two guys were pretty funny. The third guy, who apparently gave up original thought for lent, told 5 minutes of Mike Birbiglia jokes. After the competition portion was over, the other judges, fellow pillars of the DC scene, Chris White and Ryan Connor, and myself did some time while the scores were tabulated. Despite my fear of bursting into flames when I hit the stage and the student body realized I had no alibi, I had a fun time in front of the crowd. I did, however, violate a cardinal rule of stand-up: Know thy enemy, er, audience. I realized, as I was telling my birth control patch joke, that the Catholic crowd maybe wasn’t with me. It was a little like telling my Outback Steakhouse joke at Hindu U.

While this blog ponders the wrath of the Almighty and how it relates to my headache (wow, do I have to get over myself), allow me to share with you my theory on God and the afterlife. I’m not a very religious guy. I’m Jewish, but I don’t practice much anymore…nagging injury (enjoy a double helping of entendre). Regardless of your faith, this is how I think the afterlife works. Everyone gets a shot at being God…not just Morgan Freeman. From the most selflessly righteous to the most deplorably evil. When you die, your soul takes the controls until the next person shuffles off the mortal coil. Sort of like an omnipotent MP3 player…an iGod, if you will. Back in biblical times, there were fewer people, so people got to take the reigns for longer periods of time, allowing for miracles, smiting, etc. These days, people are gone from the control room before they even realize they were there.

A couple of my other comic brethren, Chris White and Danny Rouhier (whose blogs are conveniently linked to your right), have expressed their undying devotion to 24. I’m also a fan. It’s the only show on TV that I actually make it a point to sit down and watch every week. This season has been one of the better ones, if for nothing else than the high body count. Plot holes aside, the only thing that has me scratching my head is their choice of guest stars this season… The head terrorist is Julian Sands from Warlock. CTU’s primary suspect is Peter Weller…many have nicknamed him RoboCop, but to me he will always be Buckaroo Banzai (I have it on good authority that the terrorist who infiltrated CTU was named John Smallberries…god, I’m a dork). Kim’s boyfriend is C. Thomas Howell…the fuckin’ Soul Man. Not to mention head of The Goonies, Mikey Walsh as the recently deposed Lynn McGill. When did 24 become I Love The 80’s? The only way to make the circle complete, is if the head terrorist mastermind turns out to be this guy…

Put Jack in a body bag, Johnny!

To be continued…

Turning On The Charm

Greetings from beyond Charm City, ‘Redheads… I had a great weekend of shows hosting at the Baltimore Comedy Factory. Thanks to their crackerjack staff for making things flow as smoothly as possible. I had the great pleasure to work with two very funny guys, Kevin Williams and Chad Daniels. These two were alot of fun to watch work. There are comics who do a great job of abandoning their routine and interacting with members of the audience, while still being engaging and funny. I’m not one of them…yet. I am a slave to my material. Both Kevin and Chad enjoy a freedom on stage that comes with allowing themselves to break from the script and react to their environment, rather than trudge through a bit that may not be working for the sake of filling time. I mentioned in the previous blog that the weekend marked my 4 year comedy anniversary. One of my goals is to allow myself to expand my focus beyond my set and start exploring that other side of performance a little.
Ok…enough of the introspection. I know that chaps the asses of a few people in the DC blog-o-verse, so let’s move on.
This weekend was also the first time I’ve done 3 shows in a night. I’m not gonna lie, Friday was a little rough. No knock against the Factory…it’s widely known in the comedy world that the Friday late show is a crapshoot…not the kind with dice…with actual crap cubes. When asked why he got out of stand-up, Steve Martin was quoted as saying, “Friday late show.” Well, this Friday had a late late show. The magic number for the show was 30…the number of people in the crowd AND the average blood/alcohol content in the room. The show had hanger marks on it. The crowd were antagonistic marionettes, with hooch jerking on the strings. We weren’t so much telling jokes as we were negotiating our release. Luckily, the sour taste of Friday’s last show was washed away by the sweet sweet flavor of Saturday (alot like sugar cookies). All three shows were packed with crowds who wanted to laugh…at us, no less. ‘Twas refreshing.

I had a comedy dream last night. It wasn’t so much a dream about comedy, but in it I came up with 3 or 4 great lines…at least they were pretty funny in dreamland. For some reason, the topic these jokes centered around was laundry. Here’s the pisser about dreams like that…when I wake up, the funny lines go *poof*. I kind of remember one of them. I was along the lines of when I opened the dryer, my clothes were as hot and wet as Girls Gone Wild: New Orleans. Like I said, it was funny in dreamland…Freddy laughed his ass off. I’m not a big fan of comedy dreams. I suck in my dreams. I fumble my set-ups, I forget my punchlines, and I bomb horribly. When people talk to me after shows, they tell me I’m “living the dream.” If I ever start living my dreams, I’m in BIG trouble.

This blog rarely gets political, but I saw this picture in the Washington Post, and I chuckled.

This is from an anti-Bush rally in Pakistan. I’m not sure if the guy’s sign says something different in Pakistani, but he has to remember who he’s protesting against. If Bush actually saw it, he’d probably think the guy was a fan of his…”Yeah…hehe…Go me.”

News Flash:
ORLANDO- A videotape cleared four Disney employees of rape allegations, showing their accuser to be a willing participant in the sexual encounter, Orange County sheriff’s officials said.
Apparently, what happened was, Donald and Daisy Duck, Goofy, and Snow White were pitching a new act to Michael Eisner. They taped it so he could get the full experience. It starts off with Donald and Daisy on stage. Donald lays on his back, while Daisy waddles over and squats over his face. Donald begins reciting the Star Spangled Banner. Just as he gets to the line about the bombs bursting in air, Daisy lays an egg his open mouth. He holds it in his bill as it hatches a cute little baby duckling. Then Goofy comes out, dressed in a cowboy outfit. Daisy ducks her head, no pun intended, as Goofy struts up to her and whips out his dick and begins pissing on Daisy’s head. Well, the piss rolls off her duck back and into Donald’s mouth that the new duckling starts splashing around in like a yellow, sticky, afterbirthy birdbath. On the other end of the stage, Snow White does a cartwheel into a triple flip and lands straddled on Donald’s bare feathered crotch. Meanwhile, Daisy starts going down on Goofy even while the piss stream is still trickling out. So, Snow White is fucking Donald and Daisy is blowing Goofy, while the duckling starts felching Daisy and Donald begins gargling It’s A Small World After All. It turns into a frenzy of fucking and sucking and feathers and excrement. Snow White plucks the duckling from Donald’s mouth, bites it’s head off and spits it to Goofy, who catches it in his cowboy hat and holds it out for Daisy. Daisy spits his goofy spooge in the hat. The four of them leap to their feet, take a shit on stage, and skate around in it until it spells out THE END. Eisner turned off the tape, “That’s quite an act guys. What do you call it?” Goofy smacked Donald on the back and proclaimed, “THE ARISTOCRATS!”

I feel dirty…you?

To be continued…

4 More Years…or 40 more posts…whichever comes first

Hello ‘Redheads… Welcome to this blog’s 40th POST SPECTACULAR!!…ok, maybe not “spectacular”…would ya believe “ok”?
For those of you who are part of the DC comedy scene, I’d like to start this post by saying that I know so little about how to succeed in comedy that my dearth of knowledge could fit on the head of a pin…my lack of accomplishment could be chronicled subliminally…my void of expertise is so vast that light cannot escape it.
That being said, this weekend marks my 4 year anniversary doing stand-up. I’m this big…

It was the end of February ’02, when I tagged along with my buddy, Bill to the open mic at the now defunct Winchester’s Comedy Club up in Baltimore…right across Light St. from the Baltimore Comedy Factory. It was there I learned the fine art of making ones of apathetic strangers chuckle once a week. Flash forward four years, and now I’m being paid to do the same thing. I’ll be at the Baltimore Comedy Factory for 6 shows in two nights. I’ve never done three shows in one night before…I only have to do 10 minutes a show, so I don’t expect it to be exhausting, but I think it’ll be cool to experience three separate crowd reactions in one evening. Part of my enjoyment comes from seeing different peoples’ reactions to my same jokes (this should, in no way, be construed as advice, direction, or instruction…the views expressed in the previous sentence are those of Jared Stern and in no way reflect how you should view the art, practice, or science of stand-up comedy). Should be fun.

In other comedy news, I finally saw The Aristocrats, the documentary about a joke that allows comedians to wallow in their own filth in the hopes that their telling is just a smidge more vulgar than the version they heard. It’s like a game of telephone with incest, excrement, and donkey fucking. Many people have said that Bob Saget and Sarah Silverman are the highlights of the film. Maybe they were victims of over-hype, but I didn’t think they were all that noteworthy. My favorites? The ventriloquist and dummy team of Otto & George made me fart, I laughed so hard. There’s something about seeing a puppet say, “…then I fucked the bullethole,” that warms my cockles. Also, Doug Stanhope telling the joke to his infant son touched me…in a bad place.

To be continued…