The Buckeye of the Beholder

Hey there ‘Redheads… Greetings from beyond the PA turnpike. I’m back from a great weekend of shows at the Funny Farm in Youngstown, OH. Big thanks to Tony and the rest of the staff for making my first time there a pleasant one. Before I get into the details of the trip, I’d like to let those who care know that my impossibly cute nephew, Mo, has said his first word. That word? Wow. That’s one of the things I love about the little guy, he appreciates what it means to be a baby…exploration, discovery, and drooling on those discoveries. Everything is pretty new to him, so it figures that he should be in a constant state of amazement…now he can voice it.

Wow, my uncle is a dork…

I can’t wait to talk to him about last weekend, so it can sound like someone gives a wet Huggie. Until then, I’ll settle for assuming that you guys do…

So, Youngstown was a fun trip. The club is in a Holiday Inn, nestled in the back of the hotel’s dance club. It had it’s own room, of course, but as the clock struck ten, you could feel bass that could dissolve kidney stones thumping through the back wall. It wasn’t terribly disruptive to the headliner, the very funny Steve Iott, but those of us sitting in the back had The Tell-Tale Heart told by C & C Music Factory (I Love the 1850’s). And the lights on stage were HOT. I’m pretty sure my shadow was burned on the back curtain. Steve had a great line, “I feel like I’m a boxer trying to make weight.” There wasn’t any blood or tears, but we sweat buckets.
I got a chance to buddy up with local Ohio comics, Katrina Brown, who was popping her club MC cherry on this gig, and Michael Malone, who did a guest set on the Saturday show. Both were very cool and funny, so I was batting 1.000 with nice folk to work with.

When it came to killing my Saturday, I defaulted to the local mall/movie theater. Usually a safe bet to shampoo the boredom out of a 3 to 5 hour rug. I had to catch up on my cinematic blockbuster viewing, so I plunked down $6.50 for a noon matinee of the flick that would test my fragile childhood memories, Transformers. Overall, I enjoyed it. The good outweighed the bad. First, the good: Hearing Peter Cullen as the voice of Optimus Prime made me feel 10 years old again. There were also some nice little touches, like the phrase printed on the Decepticon cop car, “To punish and enslave.” The movie was a pinata of eye candy, and Michael Bay took his directing stick and beat it until every piece of digital Dubble Bubble hit the floor. Action is his forte and every dizzying robotic clash was expertly executed…the final dust-up rattled my eyeballs in a martini shaker of metallic mayhem (alliteration, baby). Now for the dork complaints. Three words: Too many humans. The only two who were remotely compelling was John Turturro’s slightly eccentric head of secret group Sector 7 and the smoking hot love interest of Shia LeBeouf…but only because she was hot…seriously, her belly button had a separate credit. Also, it took way too long to get to Megatron and Starscream…it was a 2+ hour flick and they were first shown with about 20 minutes to go. Of course, they took some liberties with a couple of the characters, most notably turning Megatron into a jet instead of a gun, which is forgivable. What did bother me was the conversion of Devastator from a giant 6-robot wrecking machine into just a suped up tank. Overall, my childhood remained relatively unscathed. I sat through the entire length of the credits to see if they slipped in any extra footage, then left the theater. I was heading for the exit, when I noticed a father and son going to the adjacent theater to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I still had a couple hours to kill, so I slipped in for a double feature. I hadn’t snuck into a movie since The Lost World at a sold out Uptown ten years ago…ah, memories…me and my buddy sitting in our seats while two paying customers frantically searched for a spot. So, two first run flicks for $6.50…that’ll help the healing after paying full price to see The Hills Have Eyes awhile back. The new Harry Potter flick followed the same formula of the previous five, but this one was easily the darkest of the series so far. Ralph Fiennes did his best impression of a Marilyn Manson stunt double as Voldemort and they didn’t waste the talents of Alan Rickman for once…he was Hans-tastic. After spending roughly 5 hours in a dark theater, being bombarded by special effects, my peepers hurt somethin’ fierce. But I got my money’s worth.

This weekend will be a “Hilarious romp!”Earl Dittman, Wireless Magazine. I’ll be featuring at the Baltimore Comedy Factory with the Hollywood Crushers, Adam Jacobs and T-Rexx. Do yourself a favor check out one of the seven shows on the slate. One show on Thursday and 3 on Friday and Saturday. It’s a much better comedy investment than seeing that new piece of garbage Adam Sandler opus…trust me on this one.

See you in Charm City.

To be continued…