The Pal in Palindrome

Welcome to the 111th installment of the chronicles of the Amiable Zany, ‘Redheads… As you know, arbitrary milestones are the 87 octane that this blog guzzles, so toss some confetti in the air for passing the 10,000 hit mark. Seeing as how most of those hits are me checking in to see how many hits there are, this fictional milestone is extra special to me…or something. As for the rest of you, thanks for reading.

Like all of the months on ’07, May is zooming by at a pretty brisk clip. The dog days of summer are living up to their name as seven seem to pass by as quickly as one. For me anyway, I find that the weeks pass quicker when I have something to look forward to. My apologies to the space-time continuum for having a big one starting Friday night, when I take the stage at the DC Improv for the first time in more than a year to open for Louis CK in front of 6 sold-out crowds. Yeah, my calendar has been a flip book. For those of you who’ve had the pleasure, you know that few crowds spoil you as a performer like a hot Improv crowd. Quick on the uptake and ready to laugh. I’m sifting through the finely polished turds of my sub-par material in the hopes that the shiniest nuggets make it into the set list…I’m playin’ the hits this weekend. If you’re there, feel free to sing along. Hopefully, I’ll have some video documentation of a few sets for those of you who would like to see me tell the same jokes with a different time stamp on the footage.

Before I wrap up this installment, here’s a news story that has renewed my faith…

Female shark reproduces without sex
A female hammerhead shark that gave birth without sex has put the bite into conventional wisdom about reproduction among large vertebrates, according to research published Wednesday. The discovery is the first known case of asexual reproduction in sharks but it also raises concerns about the genetic health of dwindling shark populations, they say.

…that God is a vicious eating machine. We’re going to need a bigger bible. That’s right, we may have witnessed the birth of Shark Jesus (yes, I resisted the urge to call him Jawsus…give me some credit). He’ll be able to turn water into chum, feed 5000 with just one surfer, and…swim on dry land.

To be continued…

Blogado Gigante

Hey there ‘Redheads… I know, I know, I’ve grossly neglected you, my loyal fictional fanbase. Rest assured, your unwavering patience will be rewarded with a massive installment. Let me start off by wishing all of you mommies out there a happy belated Mother’s Day. A special shout out to three new mothers:

My sis, Lauren, mommy of my impossibly cute nephew, Mo…
My good friend, Alison, mommy of the equally adorable Hannah…
And to my left coast pal, Mary, mommy of dimple dynamo, Emma…

See, isn’t this installment off to a great start? If you didn’t smile, you’re more machine now than man…twisted and evil. Now, compose yourself while I get to all the backlogged nonsense. Smiling babies are only tip of this sensory sno-cone.

Let’s start with the most recent stuff and work backward. Last night I was out with my compadres Allyson and Chris. We assembled the dork brigade show our intellectual and trivial might with a couple rounds of Quizzo at a bar in Adams Morgan. Turns out, that bar wasn’t running trivia that night, so instead we decided to check out the potential freak show of Kostume Karaoke at Wonderland. Just like regular karaoke, but you can’t get on stage without removing your dignity and putting one of the wacky costumes they provide. We sat at the back of the bar and tipped back a few pints, while Migraine: The Musical got going. To be fair, a couple of the entrants were fine singers…others made William Hung sound like Josh Groban. I’m not one to judge. I need a permit to carry a tune. But, it wasn’t long before the three of us started curiously thumbing through the catalog of songs. Then came the bargaining…I’ll do it if you do it, and so forth…a self-esteem murder-suicide pact. While the two of them were waffling, I figured the worst that could happen was getting laughed at by strangers…which is what I get paid to do anyway. So, I marched up to the sign-in sheet, scribbled down my selection, and grabbed a viking helmet in anticipation. Then I went back and informed the two of them of their legal obligation to follow suit or be labeled pussies. This would mark my first time ever on a karaoke stage. For my song, I chose “Flowers on the Wall” by the Statler Bros. You may know it from the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction, for three reasons. 1) I was familiar with it…I know most of the words by heart, 2) it’s a whimsical tune, perfect for the occasion and, most importantly 3) it was 2 1/2 minutes long. Brevity, baby. Aside from the fact that vocally I have the range of a Daisy air rifle, I thought I did ok. Reports from the floor were positive, and the environment is one of overall encouragement. After I was done, Chris hit the stage in a puffy red, white, and blue top hat for his rendition of “What a Fool Believe” by the Doobie Bros…an ingenious choice, since most of the lyrics are pretty much unintelligible. He got the crowd on its feet with his boyish falsetto and acquitted himself nicely. It took a bit more nudging, but we finally got Allyson to give it a go, putting on a modest lei to sing George Michael’s “Monkey”. She also did well, mostly because she got to yell out “monkey” a bunch of times and “monkey” is a funny word. For the record, if we had stayed longer, my next song would’ve been “Land of Confusion” by Genesis.

Big thanks to John X and the fine folks at the Riot Act Comedy Club for a fun weekend of shows. I was joined by fellow local funny man, Sonny Fuller, opening for Ari Shafir. You may’ve seen Ari in Joe Rogan’s video crusade against Carlos Mencia. Those of you on Rogan’s side will enjoy this spot-on nugget (those of you on Mencia’s side can stop reading now)…

On my walk from the metro to the club on Saturday, I overheard an interesting exchange while waiting for the light. Waiting next to me was a woman with her three young children, two boys about 7 and a girl of about 4. Crossing the street towards us, was a lady of, let’s say large carriage. Her steps could’ve been measured seismically. Little kids are a font of curiosity from which endless unfiltered questions flow. The little girl asks her mom, “Who is that?” The mom replies, “Why don’t you ask her.” The little girl adds, “Why is she so fat?” The mom judiciously replies, “She enjoyed alot of yummy food.” Let’s break this down. First of all, I love the logic the little girl is operating on. In her mind, this woman must be really important to be taking up so much space. In a world where grown-ups rule, this woman must be the queen. She meant no offense. The mother’s reply bothers me slightly. Sure, you want to sugar coat the answer, but don’t lie to the kid. Odds are this lady hasn’t enjoyed food in awhile, because that would involve chewing. I’m sure she didn’t enjoy eating her young. And let’s not limit it to just “yummy” food. Yes, a few sweets are sucked through the vortex every now and again, but this lady didn’t seem like her palate had discriminated against anything short of “edible” in quite some time. Yes, I’m a horrible person. Scroll back up to the baby pictures if it makes you feel better…I’ll wait.

The complaints among the dork populace regarding Spider-Man 3 are numerous. You’ve probably heard most of the gripes by now, but allow me to toss my week-late two cents in. Once again a potentially awesome flick is brought down by too many plot-lines and not enough decent narrative to pull them all together. This movie had at least four stories to tell and it didn’t do justice to any of them. They handled the Venom story atrociously. When the black suit starts to impose it’s dark will, for some reason it turns Peter Parker into the lead singer of Fallout Boy. He’s got bangs now…look out! If you want a hero facing down his dark side, then look no further than the gold standard of Superman 3, where after being exposed to tar-laced kryptonite, the man of steel is seen getting drunk and flicking beer nuts.

This looks like a shot for…

I was able to forgive the changes in the Eddie Brock character, but where was the hissing introduction of, “We are Venom…”? I’m nitpicking, but seriously, these are important dork issues. This could’ve been much better had they simply axed the Sandman and just gone with the revenge/redemption story of Harry Osborne and coupled it with the Venom story. To be honest, I’m not sure why expectations for this movie were so high. Aside from Return of the Jedi and Return of the King, more often than not, sci-fi threequels suck. Alien 3, awful. Blade: Trinity, shit. Star Trek 3, abysmal. So, the fact that this one was a let down from Spider-Man 2, is no big surprise. Here’s a fun little video to take your mind off things…

Before I sign off, here’s some more mashed up food for your iPod. Stick these all up in your ear holes…or something:
What I’ve Confused (Linkin Park vs. Genesis)
Puppet Rock (Queen vs. 5th Dimension)
Don’t Speak About the Unforgiven (No Doubt vs. Metallica)

To be continued…


Hey there ‘Redheads… Welcome to the first day of the last 2/3rds of this year. I’ve often found that time seems to pick up the pace when you have something to look forward to. If that’s true, May should be done in a couple days. I’ve got at least one show every weekend this month, and the capper is a big one. May also begins what I call The Gauntlet…a series of birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays that conspire to turn me into a stock tip for Hallmark investors over the next three months. It starts with Mother’s Day, and I’ve already complicated things by signing up for one of the many things in May I’m looking forward to on that Sunday…I’m going hang gliding. And, yes, I’ll be the prick wearing the Superman shirt…don’t judge me. Anyway, more on that as it gets closer. I had 3 shows over the weekend that when the audience reunion is held next year, it could be held in an overhead storage compartment.

The first show was the sophomore outing for the new Taglines enterprise, run by my comedy compadres Mike Shader and Sean Joxe. It’s a cool little room inside the Fire Rock Grill in Columbia, MD. If you’re up that way, go check ’em out on a Thursday night. The first show they had was packed…this night suffered from a small sophomore slump. The crowd was about 12 people…until four of them, for some reason, got up and left. A general comedic rule of thumb, when it comes to crowd size, is that numbers are easily compensated for by exuberance. I’ll take a fun 20 over a disinterested 150 any day of the week. Those that stuck around were there to have a good time and they more than made up for softball team-like attendance. They were like the Spartans of laughter. The press came out to cover the show for a local Columbia paper, so hopefully word will spread and they can get a regular following.

The show on Friday was a fun gig opening for local sketch group DCUP and the Bostonian Late Night Players at the Arlington Drafthouse (please click on at least one of those…I’m slave over a hot keyboard for you people…). DCUP put on a show called the Boneless Chicken Cabaret, consisting of three guys in giant chicken suits who cluck through each of their sketches, while random audience members are plucked from the crowd to become part of the act. Easily, the most bizarre thing I’ve seen in a week (top 5, at least). Frank Perdue on peyote buttons…that’d be the best way to describe it. After they got done, the Players took the stage and put on their own bit of inspired lunacy. Afterward, the lot of us went next door for Thai food.

Yep…pretty sketchy.

I’d never had Thai food before, and I was mesmerized by the exotic sounding names of the dishes. I asked about the crispy squid and it sounded delicious, so I ordered it. I ate the crispy squid and it was delicious (my kingdom to whoever got that very very very obscure musical reference). Anyway, so yeah…the crispy squid was damn good…and spicy. The Thai like their squid HOT. Great going down, the opposite of great coming out. It felt like somebody lit Sigmund the Sea Monster on fire, then he hopped on the Great Space Coaster out of my ass. Turd flambe.

For those of you who weren’t toddlers in the 70’s

Enough poo talk. Besides being very cool guys, the Players hipped me to a cool sonic treasure trove where they get their scene change music from. They use mash-ups. Add that to my list of “Things I Wish I Could Do”, right under last month’s entry: lightsaber videos. I found some kick ass tunes that’ve been frankensteined together by DJ’s worldwide. Here are four of my favorite to tickle your tympanic membranes:
Call Me Phantom
Whole Lotta Sabbath
Champ in Black
Madonna’s Carcass
Put that in your iPod and smoke it. You’re welcome.

The last show of the weekend was at Ned Devine’s Irish Epcot Village over in Sterling, VA. Herbie Gill, the two Tylers, Sonnichsen and Richardson, young Jermaine Fowler, and I took the stage for a show that so few people saw that it might just be a myth. When we got there, there was a family of four sitting dead center…mom, dad, and the two kids…they lasted about 5 minutes. That left three couples. One sat in front, just to the right of the stage, and the other two held down the back of the room on either side. It created a Bermuda Triangle where laughter was lost, never to be heard from again. Actually, that’s not true. The six that stuck it out up through my feature set were attentive, responsive, and laughed audibly. Then, the back two tables up and left…and one of the two sitting up front went to the bathroom, leaving one person in the crowd for Herbie’s set. ‘Redheads, I’m here to tell you that Herbie Gill is a fuckin‘ pro. He took the mic, sat down at the table with the one person, and did a casual, intimate, and hilarious show. A few more tables filled up during his set, and they were enthralled and entertained. And Herbie did this with a stomach flu that had him sipping iced gatorade because that’s all he could keep down. It was a clinic.

That’s all for now.

To be continued…