Kung Foolin’

Hey there ‘Redheads… Welcome to April. I hope everyone had a Fool’s Day full of prank and free of personal injury or embarrassment resulting from any backfiring of said prank. Here’s hoping you didn’t have any real serious information to convey to someone…reaction time is slowed exponentially when everything you say is met with, “Yeah, right…good one.” It’s why there’s a glut of obituaries on April 2nd. A good buddy of mine tried to tell me that his wife is pregnant with their second child. I was genuinely happy for him…until I hung up the phone and I remembered what day it was. My happiness turned to mistrust and betrayal. How dare he use his wife’s uterus for such a lark. I called him back to try to salvage my April Fool street cred and left a message on his voicemail. It took his wife calling to corroborate the story to set things right…let’s just say I’ll feel better when I see a sonogram. Other than that false alarm, my day was prank free.

This also is not a joke…

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) — A Southern California McDonald’s restaurants official says Egg McMuffin inventor Herb Peterson has died in Santa Barbara at age 89.

Even though he shuffled off this mcmortal coil, he has a spot in all of our hearts…that we should have examined immediately by a cardiologist, in case it’s malignant.

Ok…enough of that. A big thanks to Allyson, Red, and the rest of the crackerjack staff of the DC Improv for another great week of shows. After taking the tequila shot of shucking and jiving for dullards in Hanover, PA, it was nice to suck on the refreshing lime wedge of appreciative DC crowds. I had the pleasure of working with two cool guys from the west coast, Ian Bagg and Reggie Steele. It was alot of fun to watch Ian work. His style is predicated on great crowd work interwoven with his written material. Essentially, he does a different show every time. I’m horrible at talking to the crowd, which is a pisser because I like to think I’m a decent conversationalist. On stage, my brain likes to stick to the script and rejects crowd interaction like a bad kidney. I don’t know if you read the other comedy blogs, I appreciate the brand loyalty if you don’t, but you should give them a looksee. Anyway, Erin Jackson had a link to a Bill Burr interview in one of her recent blogs. In it, he talked about how it felt like he was “reading from a teleprompter” when he was starting out. That pretty much crystallizes the gear that I’ve been stuck in. If I read from a teleprompter, Ian Bagg is the on the scene investigative reporter. A long way to go for the metaphor, but it’s an accurate comparison.

A word on proper audience etiquette when at a show like Ian’s, that contains crowd work. Let the show come to you. Don’t try to interject yourself. Speak when spoken to. I mention this because I encountered a putz who may well be coming soon to an open mic near you. About a third of the way into Ian’s set on Thursday night, a guy sitting toward the back of the club leaves his seat and introduces himself to me. He says he’s a former “teaser writer” for CBS and that he wants to start telling the jokes he’s been writing all these years. He seems nice enough. I give him my card and point him toward DCStandup.com for open mic opportunities. Then he eyes an empty seat on the right side of the stage and asks me, “What do you think he’d do if I sat down over there?” I shrug, “He’d probably keep going with his show.” He nods and waddles over to the spot he picked out. Sure enough, Ian acknowledges him. Everyone in the front couple of rows has had a piece of the action. Then this guy starts loudly piping up while Ian is talking to other patrons, acting as a giant sweaty impediment to comedy. This goes on for the rest of the show. Every time any comedic momentum is built up, this guy throws a handful of rusty nails on the road and blows out the tires. After the show is over, he comes back to where I’m sitting, looking for a high five. Normally, when a heckler comes up to me after a show, I nod and smile to keep the encounter as short as possible. But this guy, who planned on being on a stage at some point, needed to know how many pages of the comedy rulebook he had just wiped his ass with. “You weren’t helping,” I started. This stopped him in his tracks and he looked at me like a dog who just rolled over but was refused a snausage, “Wha?” “You contributed nothing to the show and you tried to be the show,” I continued. At this point he was too drunk to process what I was saying to him or coherently defend himself. “If you’re planning on doing stand-up, just know that what you did tonight is not cool. I’m not trying to be a douche. I’m just letting you know.” Then I awkwardly started talking to someone else and he shuffled out of the showroom.

Another big thanks to the crew at DCComedy4Now.com for having me on the latest Top Shelf show at Solly’s Tavern. Comedians in suits not worn since an aunt died or a parking violation was overturned. They had a great turnout for the show and a good time was had by all…aided by Pabst Blue Ribbon…oh, and tater tots…I dare you to have a shitty time with that combo in play…even if it’s your last meal.

A couple shows to let you know about. I probably should’ve led with this, but on Friday night (tonight, considering it’ll be Friday by the time I hit the publish button) I’m part of the kickoff show for the 3rd Annual Baltimore Comedy Fest. Besides me, the line-up is top-notch, including Erin Jackson, Mike Aronin, Mike Way, and Larry XL. The Fest benefits Autism research, so come check out the show and do some good while having some good done to you. Click the link for details. Also, on April 8th, I’ll be back up in Baltimore at the Comedy Factory for a Comcast OnDemand taping. That line-up will be stacked too…and you can get your mug on TV in a carefully planned spit-take reaction shot. See you in Charm City.

To be continued…