Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fall Of The Wall

I'm in a pisser of a mood, for a whole slew of reasons I can't list here. Mainly because no matter how bad my day is, there's always someone who has it worse. I just found out that Adara Almonte, a comedienne and hostess of the Laugh Force passed away this Saturday. I didn't know Adara very well, but I had worked with her before and she was a really nice person. Comedians like that are a rarity. I don't know what happened, but I am sorry for her family's loss.

I'm not going to pull a moment of silence demand, but it would be nice to take a deep breath and put things in perspective. It's something I haven't done in a while, and in it's own way, that pause is pulling me back from the edge. I have a show tomorrow, but after that I'm done with comedy for the rest of 2007 (all 11 days of it - big hiatus, I know). I just don't have the energy right now and I haven't talked to a vast majority of my friends, who are really angry that I haven't returned their calls in a while.

Moral of the story: reach out to somebody. Happy holidays.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


You know it's a bad day when the major events of the day involve showering and cereal. Wow, I can't believe I'm saying this but I miss day jobs.

All I do now is wash the dishes and watch the same two crap HBO movies in the afternoon (this week it's John Tucker Must Die and "Poseidon" - the newer one, which used special effects to cover up for shitty acting). Here's my unemployed afternoon in a nutshell:

11:00 AM: Wake up, turn on the news, turn over and over in bed. Check your phone to see how important you are, make a list of all the things you'll have to do. Then fall back asleep for 15 minutes and forget all about the list.

12:00 PM: Put on a towel but delay showering for another two hours. After all, there's nothing pressing to do, and what's the point of washing up with no place to go? It's a waste of clothes, and laundry is expensive. Instead, check the funny and NYC blogs, Google "Calvin Cato" to see how many times you name pops up (so far, twice a page for the next 5 pages), laugh at Craigslist ads. Get something to drink (OJ, milk).

1:30 PM: Open the blinds, try to get some light in. Walk around like a caged animal. Think about where to go. Museum?--nah too boring. Bookstore?--nah, can't concentrate enough to read. Coffee shop?--Cliche. Lay down, take a nap. You had a tough time thinking.

3:00 PM: Where the hell did the day go? Make a lunch out of leftovers.

3:45 PM: Wash the dishes. Think about something funny. Remember to write it down.

4:00 PM: Shower. No matter how much you hand-test the water, you always manage to jump in when it's too cold. You have to roll away and pull nude acrobatics. You have to grope and paw at the knob like a blind person.
Granted, I wouldn't be doing a lot more in the office, but I'd get money, and a sense It's sad, I want to be a cog in the corrupt greasy machine of life. Weirded out.

Well in the meantime, it's 3:37 PM. I have to shower and send out the obligatory 5 resumes to places I will never here from. Signing off!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Mas o Menos

December is a weird month. My current job is ending, the comedy opportunities are drying up, the weather is not so delightful. Everything seems to be winding down, or is it winding up a mess? I'm really just waiting for New Year's, so I can whack the reset button and figure out my next scheme of taking over the world (or at least adding to my bank balance). And yet, I'm starting to see the futility of it all. It's all so Sisyphus. January, I'll work my damnedest to push that boulder of success uphill and by December the boulder and I will have careened down to the bottom. But I still like the feel of the date. January 1. Just about three weeks away. Right now, it's just a time-killing exercise until I get to an arbitrary date where I can absolve myself and become "born again."

Why is that? Why does the thought of regeneration appeal to me so much, even though I already know I won't change? Maybe it's just natural for humans to believe in target dates, in endings and beginnings. Perhaps we all strive to be Janus, two-faced, having everything both ways.
On a brighter note, I did see someone break the Sisyphean mode when I saw Susannah Perlman's (a.k.a. The Goddess) show at the Zipper Factory. It's called Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad and features comedy, burlesque, spoken word, and a band called The Four Skins (and yes there are actually four of them). I got there a little late, but I saw Mindy Raf, Ophira Eisenberg and Rena Zager do some really nice comedy. Plus, I got to see Vanessa Hidary a.k.a. Jewish Mamita do a spoken word piece about a guy who "fucked like Brooklyn." Not the Brooklyn where I'm from, apparently. Seriously, check it out. There are dancing dreidels and stripping rabbis. Plus Susannah goes through a lot of costume changes in the show. A lot! It's worth it.

Also, I did a Thusday MC show at Stand-Up New York and it was really good. Fun show all around. I got the gig through Rhodes Pierre and Curtis Parks and it was an excellent showcase. Luke Cunningham, Jackie Monahan, and Eric Andre performed too (grea job!). I got to give away a free round of shots AND get drunk mysef. That shit is win-win. I also made up a really bad joke on the spot and got laughs. Weird, but I'll take that over a bottle to the face.

Already, enough happy. There, I posted so the December tab can have a "(1)" next to it. Don't worry, when the unemployment sets in, I'll be blogging a lot more.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Strangest Two-Liner of November

I think the 20-something version of the movie "I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With" would be "I Want Someone To Smoke Trees With." Because let's face it, weeding is fundamental.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pinetree Lodge Tonight!

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

I'm just sending out a frightfully friendly reminder to check out the Pinetree Lodge tonight for some great comedy. Unfortunately I won't be there tonight (as I am in the midst of the biggest move EVER) but Joe Dixon is hosting and will be rocking the house and rattling the funny bones.

WHERE: Pinetree Lodge - 326 East 35th Street
RUN TIME: 9:00 PM - 10:00 PM
WHEN: Monday (Today!) and every Monday 'till the wheels come off

Check it out. And word of advice: never move. God I hate packing!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Why Do We Love The 80s?: Robbie Nevil

I admit it, I am "that guy" who's all about the 80s music, even though I was 5 when the 80s ended. Yes, I own a Huey Lewis and the News shirt, though I've never been to any concerts. I think the 80s were cool - and not in that hipster "Oh man I love decadence and tight checkerboard pattern pants" kind of way. The 80s represent an era where culture really was in flux, old regimes were dying, and media outlet were expanding and trying to entertain a demographic that was not exclusively heterosexual white males over 30.

The 80s gave us some awesome hits by the Police, Culture Club, and David Bowie. And then there's Robbie Nevil. Poor, poor Robbie Nevil.

I would never provide pictures in a blog (this will be explained in an upcoming entry about short attention spans, but I digress) but you need to see it to believe it.

First of all, observe the androgyny overload. I know the whole "Pre-Op Tranny" look was all the rage for male artists (and yes, he is male...I actually had to Wikipedia it, I was so unsure), but god-DAMN, what the hell kind of life decisions were you making, sir? And that leather jacket doesn't make you look tough. You look like you heroin shuffled off a Gap commercial.

And then the music video for Nevil's most famous song: C'est La Vie. The song is about...uh...well...ignoring problems and saying "That's life!" and moving on. Or something. It's a good message, but questionably executed and not helped by the singer sounding so high-pitched. And what's with the gloomy black and white warehouses? Shouldn't life be in color? I can honestly say that when I feel down, I don't go to abandoned buildings. And there's something about the lyric "When you're down, there's just one way to go..." that bugs me. Because sure you can go up, but you could also kill yourself. Of course, if you chose suicide, then the song would be "That's Death!" but hey, I'm just saying. Here's the link:

Robbie Nevil - C'est La Vie

Finally, the video vixens of yore! In a world where girls in videos can only wear twine, move their ass, and get doused by various alcohols in a rented mansion, it is a refreshing change of pace to see women in clothing "groovin' along". But why are these girls dancing in scrapyards and oil wells? Is this some pre-emptive polemic about today's situation in Iraq? Are we subliminally telling people "Off with the burqas, go American oil"? Plus, these are the most lethargic dancers I've ever seen. It's like they realized their rent was due, saw an ad to be in a 1-hit wonder's video, and said "Fuck it." Supposedly the song is about shrugging things off, but those girls don't look any happier.

Where are you now, Mr. Nevil? Recording studio? Drive-thru teller? God only knows. But hopefully you picked a gender and stuck with it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New Mantras/Ongoing Show at Alibi Lounge on Wednesdays!

New mantra: Never burn bridges because you never know when you need a shortcut. Think it's deep? - that's good cuz I wrote it! Hate the message? - well then I got it from a fortune cookie.

Speaking of which I recently got a fortune cookie with no fortune. So either the universe thinks I'm fucked or it thinks I don't need help. Frankly neither situation is looking good.

Also, free show at Alibi Lounge tonight (located at 116 MacDougal Street bet. West 3rd and Bleecker). I'm hosting the show and there are tons of great prizes and good people! So uh, you all should get on that. [ASIDE: I wonder how manny times I have to write free comedy show at Alibi Lounge before it becomes Google-able and I can actually get the show to appear in papers and on websites and shit. Because I've only seen it on like 3 sites, and I sent stuff out to like 30 outlets. I cry racism.]

Every Wednesday @ 8 PM! Drink specials! Free prizes. Check it out

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blog Action Day & Break-Ups (Or Crapple-Bs)

Apparently yesterday was Blog Action Day - a day which celebrates people having online journals devoted to environmental change. Wow, congratulations way to bitch about the environment instead of...going into said environment and interacting with it in a positive way like pick up trash or clean a sea lion. Seriously, your computer doesn't run on vegetable oil, Captain Digital Planet. Peel yourself away from it and don't just write about problems, solve them.

I'm in a foul mood. You know what sucks about breaking up with people when you live in New York City? You have to break up with them and half the good restaurants and bars. There was this really nice bar in Lower Manhattan I used to go to. I'd even go there alone (which is a sign of alcoholism, but nay I digress). I took a girl there a couple of times and she fell in love with the place. Before I knew it, we adopted a bar together! But the relationship fizzled out in a terrible way and we had to figure out who had more rights to the bar. She had more friends than I did and she packed the place so that when I got there with my 2 hangers-on, there was no table and 20 eyes staring at me with disgust. She won the stomping ground and I had to go drink 40s on the street (okay I didn't have to, but there's a metaphor in there).

That's right people: I lost the custody battle of the bar - how shitty is that?! And now I have to go to the crap hole-in-the-wall bar that's deep in the heart of college-village, where I'm guaranteed to sit next to a "birthday girl" and have at least 4 drinks spilled on me. And one of those spills will be from the obviously drunk waiter, who's just working here until med school where he's "totally gonna be a doctor, brah!"

I wish break-ups didn't have to involved jerrymandering neighborhoods. All I ask is for thhere not to be demilitarized zones. Or at least for a better treaty.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

99 Cent Store Comedy Show!!!!!

Tonight's the big opening night for the 99 Cent Store show!

Come all ye faithful and funny! It's going to be a great night o' laughs and merriment, where I'm giving away awesome prizes!

Los Details:

Alibi Lounge: 116 MacDougal Street between West 3rd Street and Bleecker Street
When: Wednesdays @ 8 PM - 9:30 PM
Cost: FREE!!!! Absolutely FREE!!!!
Drink Specials: YES THERE ARE!

It's the start of a new incarnation of comedy and music so be there or be an L7!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Take The Money And Run...

Whenever I have a crisis of conscience, I always turn to the Good Book. No, it's not the Bible; it's Anagrams by Lorrie Moore. If you've never heard of her, you should definitely pick her stuff up - it's witty, poignant and remarkably keen. She's more of a short story writer but Anagrams is her first novel. And frankly, if you're between 23 and 33 and have no fucking idea where your life is going, get this book and read it cover to cover - the answers may surprise you. Here are 3 of my favorite paragraphs (slightly abridged):

"You know what poetry is about?" said Eleanor. "The impossibility of sexual love. Poets don't even want genitals, their own or anyone else's. For a poet, to love is to have no lover. And to live" - she raised her wine glass and failed to suppress a smile - "is to have no liver."
The teacher stared down at the tabletop at something scratched into wood. DROP ACID, it said. And then beneath it, in different writing, NO TAKE IT PASS-FAIL.
In nature certain species, in order not to be eaten, will take on the characteristics of something that is an unpleasant meal. The viceroy, for instance, looks so much like a bird dropping, and as an adult so much like the ill-tasting monarch, that birds, as agents of natural selection, as Darwinian loser-zappers, leave the viceroy alone. Similarly, the ant-mimicking spider is avoided because it appears to have the fierce mandibles of an ant, though it's really only a spider playing dress-up. The function of disguise is to convince the world you are not there, or that if you are, you should be left alone. You disguise yourself as an imperious teacher, an imperious lover, an imperious bitch, simply to hang out and survive.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Observation of the Day

How do people in China spell their names when they're on the phone to telemarketers? I know it's already hard for me to do it, when a C can sound like a G or T or a V. Do Chinese people just yell into the phone "My name is Chan with a tree symbol. A tree symbol! That's tree with four slashes. FOUR SLASHES! Ugh, damn outsourcing!"

Friday, September 28, 2007

"I Am Not A Crook!"

Today was a really weird day. I got a semi-late start and because of a confluence of influences, I ended up going to see a free comedy show in lower Manhattan. And every time I go to a show I've never heard of before, I always write down the name of the show, the name of the producer, and the names of the people on the show. I do this for a couple of reasons.

(1) Because I have a really shitty memory. If I don't write something down, I will instantly forget it. And I write down everything. Seriously if you were to go through my notebook, you'd see addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, lists of e-mails I have to send out and things I need to buy. You'd probably even see a "Remember to breathe" every couple of pages.

(2) Because I like to google comics and see other things they've done. Yes, it's sad to spend an afternoon e-stalking comedians but if I find a comic I like, I always want to find out other shows they've done or check out clips.

(3) And this is the saddest fact: So I can assess the feasibility of asking to be on the show in the future. This may be a shocker to you fans (well, fan) but I'm not "passed" at many (any?) major shows. And the odds of getting a spot on any comedy show is directly proportional to the number of television and radio credits you have. So if I see a show comprised of comics who've got hour long specials on HBO and a Sirius radio credit, I can say "Fuck it!" and not ask and look like a fool if I'm rejected.

The show itself was really good. The comics were funny and there was some nice observational humor. With the exception of the gaggle of drunk-tards I had to sit next to, I had a really good time. Towards the end of the show, I realize I have a better chance getting my face on a billboard in Times Square than being on the show, so I slip out when the headliner gets on and prepare to go home, e-stalk, and remind myself of why I chose to not be doctor to pursue comedy.

And on my way out I run into the producer and host who ask for my name and then tell me that's notetaking is not allowed. I didn't even know I did anything wrong so I say I'm sorry, I just wrote down some info about the show, but I didn't write anything incriminating. And they ask to see my notebook. I readily hand it over and I'm freaked out and apologizing heavily, because I don't want them to think I stole their jokes. And it's completely embarrassing because they see that I wrote down their names and the words "No TV credits = I'm fucked." Plus, I kind of zoned out partway through the show and wrote down a laundry list of things I need to do (as I said, I forget things I don't write down).

I'm not offended at all; in fact, it's a really good policy to have. But I feel so mortified. I mean, it would never occur to me to steal someone else's joke. Who does that?--okay bad question. But who would blatantly take out a notebook and write down jokes? How does that even translate? All my jokes consist of personal stories; it would be impossible (and ruin my integrity) to do someone else's material. Plus, it's New York City. I mean if I were doing someone else's jokes I'd be caught really quickly.

Now I feel like a dumbass because I never even thought there was something sketchy about a guy taking notes at a comedy club. I just assumed that's what people do. I remember a friend suggesting to me that I should try to seek out comics I like and get the names of the people who run shows you'd like to be on. I go to comedy clubs like they're seminars; I always try to get the names of the people I enjoy and filter out the rest. Which is a newbie-ish thing to do, but hell I've only been in the NYC comedy scene for a year and there's still a lot for me to learn.

I've already pissed people because I have no idea who they are, and now I'm in trouble for trying to learn more about comedians?! Sigh, I just don't even know what to do anymore. I feel like I shot myself in the foot with this show because these producers either think I'm a weirdo loner or a joke thief. And I don't want either of these labels.

So to the guys who run the show, I really didn't know I couldn't write things down and I'm sorry. I would never ever steal jokes. And if you ever see me do one of your jokes, you have full permission to beat me up and take my lunch money. Also for good measure, I ripped up the pages I wrote down. Which means I can't directly address this to you since I forgot your names...and I also may forget to breathe.

Seriously, my bad. I'll invest in gingko biloba and leave the pens at home. And if I ever get a TV credit that's not a game show, I hope you guys would be kind enough to consider me and put that embarrassing scene behind us. Also, wonderful show!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Old Article: Worst Week Ever - Fanboy's Complaint

Here's an old article I wrote in response to the release of X-Men 3:

We’ve recently cleared the halfway mark of the double zeroes and it been a good decade for comic book companies. In the 1990s superheroes were so played out, and anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of the Justice League was relegated to the loser table at the cafeteria. But now, in the time it would take for you to say “Let’s go, bub,” a comic-adapted movie will be coming to theatres near you. Fantastic Four, Sin City, X-Men, Batman, Punisher—hell even the Man-Thing got a made-for-TV movie. I wouldn’t have a problem with the revival of comic book movies except for one minor hitch—they all suck!

This issue really started nagging me when I heard about X-Men 3 coming out in theatres over the summer. Considering I had seen the first two X-Men, I was less than thrilled. See, I have to admit something—I am a big X-Men fan. I keep tabs on these characters as if they were my children. I could tell you every sex partner Cyclops has ever had, I could list every non-mutant member of the team. As a hardcore fan, I get offended by the horrid bastardizations portrayed on the screen. Any characterization done is painfully one-dimensional and the plotlines are so bad even a five-year-old can see its flaws. The major franchises suck any interest and depth out of a character in order to condense him or her down to a tight leather suit and a catchphrase.

Normally I’d worry about other things (like finding a job or graduating) but one of my favorite X-characters is going to appear on the big screen: Psylocke. To the average layman, she’s best described as “that Japanese chick with the purple hair, psychic knives, and a British accent” but to a fan she is so much more.
Understandably, the plotters can’t get into her history, which is at best convoluted and at worst incomprehensible. While her body is Japanese, she began her life as a British Caucasian telepath and sister to famed superhero Captain Britain. Later on, she has her eyes ripped out in her brief stint as a solo superhero, was kidnapped by a fat television-crazed mogul and given bionic eyes, joined the X-Men, died saving the world from an interdimensional demon, resurfaced in Australia, picked up some nifty armor, died again escaping cyborgs, was reborn and taken into custody by a Hong Kong kingpin allied with a mystical cult leader, forcibly switched bodies with a Japanese assassin, died again saving the X-Men from a feral psychopath, was reborn via mystical means, lost her psychic powers, gained telekinesis, died again to a Spanish nutcase, and was reborn (in her Japanese body) by her mad reality-warping brother. And that’s just the abridged version. (And for you curious folks out there, yes I will devote massive amounts of brain space to remembering this but will still forget to call my parents on their birthdays.)

I fear that when she makes it to the cutting room floor, she’ll become “sexy no-personality villainess for Wolverine to stab.” It has precedent, check out Lady Deathstrike in X2. Did she have lines?—No. Did she have a history?—No. Come to think of it, she was also Japanese. And we had a Caucasian (or blue) counterpart in the first X-Movie—Mystique. Arguably, she was better developed, but not by much.
I can’t even get into the liberal misinterpretations in other Marvel movies (Typhoid Mary is a member of the Hand? Spider-Man can hold up the side of a building?? The Kingpin is black???). I try not to be vocal about it because the laymen will complain: “God, you’re being so anal. Can’t people have their own opinions about a character?” Of course they can—if the characterization at least remotely resembles the premise. What makes Spider-Man so loveable has nothing to do with raw strength (which he doesn’t have—he’s a scrawny lightweight in the superhero muscle department), but his ingenuity and agility (traits he rarely exhibits in any of the movies). The concept of Rogue isn’t that she’s some shy teenager with space issues; it’s that she put her first boyfriend and a superhero into a coma and any sort of contact can kill. Wolverine, though—he’s pretty much spot on as a hairy berserker.

So yeah, comic book nerds are having the worst week ever. But the people who really deserve a foot in the ass are the faux-fans who clamor for more of this bastardized garbage. All you wannabe geeks and hipsters want to prance around in your Ziploc tight pants and black-rimmed glasses pontificating about how cool you are because you like “alternative stuff” that would get kids beaten up in junior high. Stop appropriating and learn the franchise! Don’t act like you are a know-it-all on comics because you can pronounce “telekinesis” correctly. Stop pretending your Urban Outfitters graphic tee is from the Salvation Army (I know that had nothing to do with my point, but it needed to be noted).

And hey, Marvel and DC, do your share for the die-hard fans. Quit with the antiquated morals. Please stop with the soliloquies on how great power and great responsibility go hand in hand. If I wanted an after-school special, I’d buy a School House Rock DVD. All that “Love and Piece” crap is real cute, but I want to see some hardcore kick-ass fighting, combined with a decent storyline that doesn’t have plot holes you could drive a tank through. Also, hook Halle Berry up with some decent lines. If I hear “What happens to a magnet when it gets struck by lightning?” I will fly to Hollywood, slap every screenwriter, director and producer and demand my money back.

In the words of the ineffable Stan Lee: ’Nuff said.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Pretty White Kids

So the CW has a new show called "Gossip Girl," which is a ground-breaking high concept show about rich white socialites with drug problems. Which is...amazing because I don't think we have enough of those shows on the air *cough*Sweet 16, Newport Beach, The Hillz, Real Housewives, everything on Bravo*cough*.

Honestly, can there be just one full-hour show that deals with relevant issues...or showcase (gasp!) a minority?!! Why do people keep repackaging the same bullshit drama? Between this show, Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls, and One Tree Hill, I just want to rename every show on the CW "Caucasians are Crazy." I feel like nothing would be lost in translation.

This is just plain disappointing. I seriously suspect that the CW just stands for Cool to be White. I feel like now the network that represents me is The Weather Channel. At least, they make passing references to Jamaica, even if the reference usually is "A hurricane has recently blown through Jamaica."

Monday, August 27, 2007

Unemployment Black Male Seeks...

I’ve perused Craigslist for 3 hours today, searching for the perfect day job and all I’ve come up with are low-paying receptionist gigs and writing internships. And I can no longer bring myself to send out resumes that are going to get trapped in SPAM filters. Or even worse go to interviews where I’m told that I’m unqualified (“Sorry sir, but your college degree, writing experience, and knowledge of the alphabet just isn’t right for the position of filing assistant”).

Here’s my counter-ad: Single Black Comedian seeks Super-Flexible Employer to provide a dream job. Job should be in the writing or humor fields. Job must offer at least $60K/year (no need to be greedy), start at 12 noon and end by 6 PM (because everyone needs beauty rest), good health benefits (i.e. medical and dental), unlimited internet access, and at least 4 weeks vacation time plus 4 weeks of sick days. Connection to entertainment agents/comedy bookers desired but not required.

Is this asking too much?!? Alright, then no internet access to porn sites. Wish me luck!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Field Trip!

Recently, a couple of friends and I took a field to Ye Olde Porno Store on 42nd Street and boy was it interesting! First of all, the whole place smells like used vibrators and smegma. Second of all, everything was on a maximum discount. It was like wholesale porn all over the place. For a second, I thought I was going to handed a book of coupons.

We perused such titles as "Catch Her In The Eye," "Cushion For The Pushin," and "Sperm Bank." Though my favorite title by FAR was "She Shoved A Dildo Up My Ass 4" - a movie that, appropriate enough, involves females placing various toys into a man's rectum. There are many reasons why I love this title (the least of which being that it was the fourth in the series). I wish I could have sat in on that ad meeting.

Boss: Okay people it took us a week to make this blockbuster. Now all we need is a catchy title.
Ad Exec #1: Well what about Knockin' On Heaven's Back Door?
Boss: Ugh, too corny!
Ad Exec #2: How about Up The Chute Without a Paddle?
Boss: Hmmm, I don't know if it really conveys the correct amount of passion for back-door play.
Ad Exec #2: Rubber Riders?
Boss: Too gender neutral.
Ad Exec #1: Well, I'm out of ideas.
Boss: Okay let's ask the star. Hey what do you think?
Male Porn Star: Well I dunno, [shrugs, finishes a line of coke on the table] she shoved a dildo up my ass.
Boss: She Shoved A Dildo Up My Ass!!?? Brilliant! Let's make it a whole franchise.

Sure the title leaves nothing to the imagination but I guess you can't blame them for falsely advertising.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Show From Heaven

I could cry right now.

I got a chance to host a show tonight for City of Light Productions at the Kraine Theatre. The thing is I found out about the gig the day before and I had NO IDEA what the heck kind of show it would be. I was just told to show up at the place two hours before. For a second, I thought I was going to be kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery.

So I'm super nervous about the whole deal. And I get to the venue and it's this huge variety show of sketch comedy/improv comedy/music/play readings. It's all dancers and singers who have this breadth of experience and my credits involve being on a game show, hosting a comedy show for 8 months, and making my rounds on the "illustrious" open mic circuit. Sure I have the President Jackson show but the past Monday was rough and I did two open mic sets Tuesday where I just crashed (and paid $12 to bomb - not a pretty picture).

The producers tell me to have fun but not be dirty. In case you saw from previous entries, I'm not good at not being dirty. I'm feverishly going through my notebooks to piece together something that will appeal to people who are really there to see music and dance (i.e. the tangible talents). As a rule of thumb, the MC is barely supposed to be seen and heard. And lone stand-up comedians always fail at these types of shows.

I wait backstage, trying to be nonchalant and the DJ calls up my name to host. I go out there and do some minor crowd-work then do some jokes...and the audience gets me! All the jokes and riffs actually hit. I thought I died and went to comedy heaven.

I swear everyone in the audience was fantastic! At the end of the show, people actually chanted my name! It was the first time I heard "CALVIN!" without it being followed by "Get off the stage!"

The whole show was amazing as well! April Brucker did her ventriloquist bit, which I always enjoy. Kristine Petruchione (I'm so sorry for effing up your name numerous times!) did a great burlesque number. Punch 59 was a fantastic sketch group that had a Christians vs. Jews bit. There was Jared the Conjurer who managed to escape from a burlap sack inside a cardboard box. Kara Ayn did a reading of 23, which was soooo funny (and also dirty, I don't know why I was worried about my own stuff). No Laugh Track Required did some great improv. Elizabeth Styles performed a new song off an album she shopped around (it was excellent!). And Lala closed the show with a killer song and dance number.

This is what a showcase should be. It was great to see talented people get rewarded for being talented. I'm tired of seeing comics get on stage and make in-jokes to other comics. I'm so tired of this pervasive stand-up scene where everything is one big circle jerk. And it was great to not just do real material, but to do real material that I know is solid!

I will try to put up some links and there may be a Youtube vid floating around soon.

Thank you so much Juan and Jason for giving me the opportunity to host. The whole show was amazing!

And big-ups to my pal Warren for coming to see the show. I really appreciate it man!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mounting Fees

It's official; I have to buy a camera! My fame is catching up with me and I don't have a video or audio of myself floating around the Webiverse. So I'm going to break down and buy a half-decent camera with money I don't really have. Can someone drop a $1,000,000 lottery ticket on the floor right now? Please??!?! For serious - a brutha is po' right now.

Plus, check my MySpace link. Due to popular demand (and by that I mean the demand of my 1 and only 1 devoted fan), I have finally updated my MySpace calendar so you can all see the lovely shows I'll be doing for the next couple months. Most are free, some are auditions - you should come. So that one day, I'll land a Comedy Central Special and pay you back for all the 2 drink minimums and shitty shitty small back rooms you supported me through.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Back To My Roots

So, my stint as a theatre actor has ended, not with a whimper, nor a bang.

I am back to doing stand-up which you should see soon...or better yet now!

I'll be doing a rough cut at Studio 315 a.k.a. the Comedy Corner.
Comedy Corner - The Workout:
303 West 42nd Street (go to 42nd Street, enter thru right side, go up to the 3rd floor and go to room 315)
TIME: 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM
DRINKS: $5 on Grey Goose and Tonics
COST: $5 (but it's worth it!!!)

And of course, there is my weekly show at Pinetree Lodge! It's going to be a hot show in the even hotter city Monday night.

President Jackson Show:
326 East 35th Street (between 1st and 2nd Ave)
TIME: Mondays 9:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Drink Specials: 2-for-1 draft beers and well drinks ($5 only, yes please!)
Cost: FREE!!!!!

Finally, what's up with the British invasion??!?! Between Amy Winehouse (or Amy Crackhouse - come on, please get your life together), M.I.A. (who's pretty much global), and Lily Allen, I think I should apply for dual citizenship.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

De-lay, Boss, De-lay: An Open Letter To The MTA

Dear MTA,

Today it took me 2 hours to get into work. Apparently because of a big bad thunderstorm all train service was delayed, which is marginally understandable. I take my usual bus (which is never on time) to the 2 line. I was told the 2 is closed but I could take a bus to the F.

Cool! I get on said bus, which is packed with people, very sweaty irritable people, and ride out the dankness. The bus goes from "We're making all stops" to "Our last stop will be at the Q station. The station is not open. This bus is going out of service." Que? And then when I asked your employees about how I can get to the train I need, all I got were apathetic stares and eye rolls.

I then walk 20 blocks to the F (because every bus in the city is either packed or "out of service") to get on an overcrowded train to transfer to another overcrowded train. And not only do I have the honor of getting to swap sweat with my fellow riders and stand next to someone whose breath smells like cat anus, my commute comes complete with someone coughing phlegm into my newspaper.

Now I understand that the weather was bad and things are hectic, but how are you going to have a bus driver drop people off at a train station that BY THE DRIVER'S OWN ADMISSION isn't open? Come on MTA, that's fucking retarded! Why are buses going out of commision for no reason?? Why weren't more trains re-routed to support stranded riders??? And then you want to propose a fare hike????!!

In sum I want $7, $6 for the cost of transportation and $1 for my paper (I know it was free, but I'm tacking on labor and sweat taxes).

Thanks again for the hell ride and please go fuck yourselves,


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Work Sux, I Know!

Best Bonding Sesion Ever:

Me: You know Dad, sometimes I find it so hard to get up to go to work.
Dad: Welcome to the world. I'm taking today off; don't tell mom.

(If you're reading this, sorry mom!)

Friday, August 03, 2007

OjOs: An Off-Broadway Play

Come see OjOs: a play I'm in. Betcha didn't know I could act, didja?? Hell I didn't know I could act but we'll see.

The play has been going on for a while and Friday (tonight) is a free show! The play will also run next week Sunday - Friday: tickets are $12.

Studio 315 NYC
303 W42nd Street, 3rd Floor (right off 8th Avenue; go through the door on the right)

Seating starts at: 7:00 PM

Tickets available via:

Thursday, August 02, 2007

How Popular Am I?

So I recently signed up for this Google Analytics thingy which does some sort of stie tracking or some junk (I'm so inter-web-savvy, can't ya tell?). Basically, I want to see how many people actually visit this thing, in case I should cut my losses and invest in putting info on a stock ticker over Times Square.

So far, it says 0 hits which is sad. Sigh, it's like sitting around at your own birthday party and waiting for people to show up. Except this blog doesn't offer free booze so the incentive really isn't there.

Oh right! I also have to start re-posting past articles. I think I'll do that soon. Maybe that will drive up the counters, or stats or whatever.

Here's where you can see 'em all at once: Wesleyan Argus Search!

I'll still post super-specials up here though. The next one is an oldie that may only apply to people under 25, but then again the statistics show that that's my best demographic so...we'll see.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Two-Fare Zone

I live in the middle of nowhere in Brooklyn. In order to get home, I take a train, to a bus, to another bus, hail a rickshaw to take me across a rainbow bridge, answer a riddle from a Sphinx, wrassle up a unicorn and ride down a yellow-brick road. It. Sucks. Balls.

It's a pain in the ass when you have to wait on a bus AND a train. Cuz if both of these are late, you are beyond effed. Adn buses in NYC sucks all kinds of ass. Sure there are less nutcases than there are on the train but that's because most buses are so late that the crazies get tired of waiting for them. And what's with the stank attitude from bus drivers? It's not my fault you chose that job out of the sorting hat - suck it up!

I've been trying to move to anyplace close to a train, but since this is NYC (Land of trust fund hipsters and cocaine-addled yuppies), I'd have to sell some organs to get a decent studio (which sucks because I only have so many, but then again if I sell organs I won't have to eat as much, so maybe I COULD afford an overpriced cave).

Seriously can someone send me a link or e-mail me a super-secret connection that everyone else seems to have except me? I won't tell anybody, promise!

In fact, just e-mail me; don't even send a link. I don't want my other fans to know.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Comic On Comics #1: Bendis Truly Needs To Suck It

[BE WARNED: This is a super-long comic book rant. Non-Marvelites would do well to skip this one-shot issue]

Okay, I like comic books. I don't have enough money to actually BUY the comics but I will go to a store and read as many comics on the racks as I can. I feel bad doing this so I buy a comic or two I really like off the rack to show support for the franchise.

I just started getting into non-X-Men characters (and comic books in general) about 2-3 years ago and I try to broaden my horizons. Hell, I wanted to advocate comic books as a valid piece of literature. And then I read Brian Michael Bendis' Avengers--cue horror theme music.

I read older Avengers stories done by Kurt Busiek, skimmed stuff by Geoff Johns, read some Steven Englehart and was blown away. I assumed I would like Bendis' take too. But between the super-fugly-assed art in New Avengers and the complete lack of story in both New and Mighty Avengers, I am so tempted to stop buying anything from comic book stores. Mr. Bendis, I'm sick of you!

For those of you who don't know comics, here's a brief recap of the Avengers As Written By Bendis. In the beginning there was a super-team of A-list Marvel heroes. They did things like stop super-villains from taking over the world, or foiled the long-term plans of cosmic entities, or travelled through time to stop despots. Then Bendis came along and, for reasons too convoluted and retarded to get into, superhero and Avengers backbone Scarlet Witch has a massive power boost and goes ape-shit crazy (because in the Marvel-verse, that's what women do when they have too much power) and tries to kill all of her teammates. The Avengers disassemble.

Then, a couple of A-Listers decide they want to work with C, D, and F-List superheroes and be pro-active. These heroes call them the New Avengers (because THAT'S original). The first story arc involves them tyring to stop a breakout where the Sentry (think of him as gold Superman) fights a villain in space. The second arc has a fight with random thug super-villain #1077 while the Sentry angsts about...uh...something and then goes into space to hit things.

Then the Avengers fights ninjas, for no reason, oh wait there is a reason, it's to prove that one of the Avengers is a traitor. Cut to two pointless issues with loads of talking that doesn't go anywhere (though I give +100 points for dusting off Ms. Marvel - whose comic is effing awesome and restores my faith in humanity - go Brian Reed!).

Next a big energy creature attacks the Avengers and the problem is solved by (you guessed it) Sentry throwing the energy ball in space.

Then the New Avengers disassemble (and for those of you who are celestially inclined, yes there is a scene with the Sentry in space...thinking!). After a godawful one-shot issue that does a "Where Are They Now" with Scarlet Witch and one of the Avengers she killed and the much-maligned Marvel Civil War (more on that another time), we now have two sets of Avengers (one New and the other Mighty!).

The New Avengers are fighting an assload of ninjas again (Seriously, how are there so many ninjas in the Marvel-verse? Do they get good dental?) and the Mighty Avengers are fighting a hot naked robot chick trying to destroy the world using (wait for it) space. Cut to: Sentry in space hitting things.

Seriously Bendis, can you go for one story arc without having a super-powered hero dash into space to rip something apart? Oh wait, you can if it involves a never-ending army of ninjas (and note: mentioning IN COMIC that fighting ninjas is stupid does not make ninja-fighting deeper or more relevant). Can you just write a story with a beginning, middle and end?! Can you not spend issues showing off your innovative (and shittily stilted) dialogue?! Can you not do a rush-job plot-dump issue after wasting time with overly long and mostly irrelevant flashbacks? Can your characters DO SOMETHING?

I understand that most people who complain about Bendis are supposedly dinosaurs who can't get used to a changing world. But I'm only 23 and I just started seriously reading comic books. I picked up older stuff by Kurt Busiek and it's very gripping, mainly because he had things like A PLOT and GOOD PACING and MYSTERIES THAT WERE SOLVED and A SENSE OF CHARACTER AND CONTINUITY. It did not resort to tactics like "I'm going to break the internet in half by having characters talk for 5 issues" or "Hey look remember when you haven't seen this character do anything useful in 15 years?! Well I'm going to make up a new backstory and then refuse to do anything remotely interested with that character."

Wow, I can't believe this man is being touted as the best thing to ever happen to Marvel. And the artwork in New Avengers is abysmal. It's drawn by a gimp monkey with a stick dipped in ink. My God! Ugh, I mean before Bendis the only comics writer I hated this much was Reginald "Hey I'm black and all black superheroes know each other and need to segregate and move to pan-Africa" Hudlin (God those early Black Panther issues made me want to strip away my melanin - Marrying Black Panther off to Storm, a character from a completely different part of Africa, because they're both dark-skinned? Dr. Doom racist AND sexist??? Seriously????).

Bendis, you need to learn how to move characters from point A to point B in ONE ISSUE. You need to actaully explore and use character histories. And until you can write a half-decent plot that doesn't involve space or ninjae, you need to suck it. 'Nuff said.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hypotheticals (or Even In A Dream, I Can't Stop Doing Schtick)

So I had a dream where a friend of mine asked me "If you were a crackhead, would you rather suck dick for crack or take it up the butt for crack?"

And I said "Well if I'm a crackhead, wouldn't I just prefer crack? That's like the definition of crackhead; crack trumps everything."

And then I thought, "Wow, this is something I should write down in my notebook, and subsequently my blog because that could be spun into some comedy gold."

And then I thought, "When did I become so self-important that I feel a need to tell the world that I came up with a shaky premise for a joke, and why didn't I lie and say I was actually talking to a real friend than a dream friend? That makes me look like I have no friends."

And then I realized that I didn't actually think those statements, I said them out loud. In the office I work at. So now everyone thinks I should be straitjacketed. And a straitjacket would be nice, because this office gets really cold in the mornings.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Something To Check Out

In case you've ever had one of thsoe nights and need to understand what the hell just happened, check this out

It's so sad that Wikipedia has articles to define everything. Seriously did you know there is an article focused on the Hadouken. And the fireballs are rated by amount of immolation. Who cares? It's a guy in a headband doing something that is physically impossible. W-evs!

I'm also trying to test how effective these hyperlink deals are. Also, I'm wasting precious work time. But I have to stay late anyway so I don't know what's up.

Life Irony: Is it bad when you're procrastinating at work by reading about procrastination?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Up-And-Coming Stuff

SATURDAY (6/23): Comedy Corner (303 West 42nd Street off 8th Avenue):
Okay this is complicated. You go in through the right side entrance on 42nd Street, go upstairs to the 3rd floor and go to Room 315. It's a great little studio.

COST: $5

SUNDAY (6/24) Stand-Up NY: Comedy Combo #3 (236 West 78 Street off Broadway)--8:30 PM
Helen Hong and Maria Shehata hosts this great comedy show that features Michelle Buteau and Mike well as me! As seen at Mo Pitkins!

COST: $10 + 2 drinks

MONDAY (6/25): Pinetree Lodge (326 East 35th St. bet 1st and 2nd Avenue)--8:30 PM
Joe Dixon and I host this weekly show with established talent and newer comedians doing their thang. There is a comedy contest where some lucky person can win $20 of our money (and that's half our paychecks--so it's kind of a big deal).


...and there may or may not be something big coming up soon. Keep your eyes, ears and e-mails open!

Comedy In The Park = Fun!

I did my first show in the park. It. Was. Awesome. Seriously, my faith in comedy has been restored. Suzette Simon hosted and organized it with the help of Aaron Kominos-Smith, Drew, and David (I think?) Plus two friends of mine came out. A woman came up to me after the show and said "You were really good. I remember seeing you a year ago and you are much improved." Wow, a year ago already. I was grateful to hear that; I also felt a year closer to Alzheimer's. Sigh, it's always good to feel like I'm making headway.

Shout-outs to Del, Ted Greenberg (and his improv), Charlie Kasov, Phil O'Reilly, Jimmy Wohl, Upa, Adam Lash, Dave Lester, Sue Ferrer (love ya mommy!) and Freddy Sheffield/Miguel Pinata for doing their thang! I hope the laughs continue.

Please check le website provided below for more details.

Finally can someone help me set up a proper hyperlink? Because Blogger is being a penis and will not do it the easy way! WTF?! Not cool, i-peeps, not cool.

Friday, June 22, 2007

So Much Desert, So Few Oases

I've been having a good comedic run the past couple of days. I just had my birthday. I hosted a Monday show at Pinetree Lodge and did a set at Luca Lounge and they both went well. I had faith in my career again!

Then I did an open mic and things fell by the wayside. Basically the host told me not to curse or do anything illicit. WHAAA? Asking me to be clean is like having me do comedy with my mouth duct-taped shut. So I trying to work from 5 different notebooks of material, doing completely untested bit, half-aborted lines, and the like. Some of it flatlines, others hit--but at the end of the set I just felt like I'd been battered. And then the host goes, "Well we all falter but you need to practice more."

WTF? I came there with 5 minutes of all new stuff I wanted to work and I couldn't do any of it because of censorship. Then you tell me to whip up a squeaky clean set out of thin air--I can't do that. Moreover, I don't like vague unspecific advice. I've bombed before at much better places than a sparsely attended room. You tell me I need to "practice?!" Duh, that's why I'm at the open mic. Seriously, I'm not some walk-in off the street with low self-esteem and a baggy of cyanide! My God!

Okay...that was way too much anger. But you know, that's how I feel about comedy. It's like we're in a love-rape relationship. I want to romance it and it just wants to fuck me without a condom and then lose my number. Ugh--I'm going to shake it off as a low point and go forward. Sorry for the tirade.

TODAY--FRIDAY: Tompkins Square Park
I'm doing a set in Tompkins Square Park, bringing ha-has to the homeless and heroin-filled. It should be fun though. Check for more info.

Other shows TBA, in a separate non-rage filled entry.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What Have I Done?

...I just accidentally booked myself on 4 open mics/reg shows is what I've done. Mercifully two of them are a couple blocks away from each other, but the other two of them is way over on the East Side and another is so far uptown I'll get a nose bleed.

Will I do all of them?--Well, I'll try my damnedest!

Will the hosts will be pissed?--MOST LIKELY! I don't want to be "that guy": the guy who breezes into a room, puts on airs, does 5 super-rehearsed minutes (and subsequently pretends that he "just came up with that material on the train ride over"), then leaves with a corny wink and a gun. It's annoying to be that guy. I've seen "that guy" at my show. I HATE THAT GUY!

Okay I know I should just cancel a show and trim the fat but I really want to see if I can do it, if I'll feel that rush of "Wow, I just did my own set 4 times in front of different audiences." A while ago, when I was first flirting with the idea of doing comedy, I remember watching a documentary on mid-level comics. I watched this one comic (I can't remember his name but I know he has a Comedy Central Presents credit) do four paid gigs in one night. And I marveled at the fact that he could actually go through the motions of his bit, and not feel bored or suicidal.

I don't even care if I bomb all of them, I just want to see if I have the stamina. In fairness, I have done 3 open mics in a night before, but usually I've done them to 3 disgruntled comics or I'll just kind of give up by the last one. This time I'm going to do it! Wish me luck.

Also...remind me to write about the Naked Comedy Show. I don't think I ever described it--and I think I might do it again. "Naked Comedy?" you ask, face screwed up like Scooby-Doos. Yes, completely NAKED COMEDY. More to come...

P.S. - I'm watching this comedy showcase on TV and this one comic looks like Dr. Robotnik. Seriously, I expected him to leave the stage in an egg-shaped vehicle. Damn, I know comedians don't have to dress nice but good Lord don't give me an eye infection!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Plot Dump

Hey, I haven't written in a while and I don't have any funny stuff to share yet. But...there are comedic developments on the horizon.

Next Monday I'm co-hosting the President Jackson comedy show with Joe Dixon (check him out on MySpace). The place is located on 326 WEst 35th STreet between 1st and 2nd Avenue and you could win $20! (okay by you, I mean you a comedian--although the audience could win a bag of chips or a free book or something).

Okay, I'm just starting my first day of my new (and hopefully permanent) job an dmy direct supervisor isn't here so I have an alarmingly small task list. Plus, I feel really guilty because I had to quit a job that was hard but rewarding to do this one. I also left my temping job as well...which was awesome (mainly because my employers referred to me by name and didn't treat me like I just got off the Amistad). So, I'm just kind of in limbo, sitting at a desk and reading every single Gothamist interview (a blog that covers NYC mini-celebs) in existence. Why?--because I need to feel like even more of a loser since no one's banging down the door to interview a comic who has a day job and frequents open mics (was that too bitter?--let me turn it down a notch).

Another positive: I have been doing comedy at the Laugh Factory Studio. It's in the Laugh Factory building, but not affiliated with the Laugh Factory people. Check it out one Saturday: 303 West 42nd Street (riht off Eighth Ave. and go up to the 3rd floor--it's room 315).

Also, in the not-too-distant future, I will be hosting a show again. I can't give away details but I'll give you a hint: NA. Okay, you're not going to get it...but you will!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Silver Lining (ME Performing @ Pete's Candy Store)

So the loss of EVL was a painful minus. BUT, I will be onstage at Pete's Candy Store this Monday. It is hosted by the lovely Jen Dziura and feature some stellar acts.

Monday Evening Stand-Up at Pete's
Monday, May 21st
Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St. in Williamsburg
(L train to Lorimer, or see for directions)
Free candy, no cover
Featuring Ray DeVito, Calvin Cato, Cody Hess, Will Hines, and Geoff Jackson.

Don't be 'illin; come to the Burg and start chillin'.

What what?!

Friday, May 11, 2007

End Of An Era?

NOTE: Time on blog should be 05/21/2007

Well, it seems like it's both the pit and the pendulum for the "Hey You're Cute!" Comedy Show. I just got word from the powers-that-be about the venue closing down for an indefinite period. So, there is no more me hosting the show at the East Village Lounge.

Usually this is the point where I get all psycho and start writing a run-on sentence typo-ridden rant about how the place was awesome and why was it closed and damn the world arghhhggghhh!!!!!1111one

I can't though, because it really wasn't anybody's fault. It's been a really fun run and I've gotten to work with some great comedians and honest people. Considering it was my first time running a joint, I'm pleased it didn't go terribly. Sure it was hard work and sure there were some damn annoying clients, but the place was like my second home. And it's going to suck being back out on the streets, dropping $10+ to go to unsupportive rooms where other hosts won't even listen to your set. (There are actually quite a few really sweet rooms--the bitterness leaked out a little there)

Seriously, the show may have it's off-nights but overall the "Hey You're Cute" show was an experience. The place was something really unique--it wasn't a cattle call of comics, it wasn't a bitter AA meeting, it was a place where people could be expressive and try shit out and network.

I'm looking for a new place so I'll keep you posted! Don't worry; the show will return anon.

And to all the comics I met, be you people who've been in the game for years or people who did their first set in the room, I wish you all the best. It truly has been a pleasure!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Celebrities Should Be Treated Like Normies

I promised I would never have to bring this chick's name into anything I write. But I am so tired of seeing her in every free paper I pick up. What happened? you ask. Let's just say a certain heiress (we'll call her Versailles Tower) is facing some jail time and is now whining about her "unfair" treatment. Apparently, it shouldn't be a crime to drive around drunk and breaking the speed limit on a suspended license. Wah wah wah, suck it Tower.

Now there are petitions floating around to free Versailles becasue she's being persecuted. Ummm...what? This woman violated THREE conditions of her probation and openly flouts the laws in this country. I'm not a hardcore patriot but I know when and where to drink, and it's not in my car! I'm pretty sure the Constitution doesn't have an amendment saying "If you're a rich, spoiled, drugged out white hobag, you can do anything!" Or maybe that law was under the "Bill of That's Hot," a piece of Americana I missed because I don't own a pretty pink American History textbook with a teacup dog on the front cover. Are you kidding me? Can I start a petition to demand her skank-ho ass be locked up in a maximum security jail, like Riker's with a touch of Oz? At least there, people will be thrilled abot her not wearing underwear.

And why is this news?!! Isn't there, like, a WAR or something going on? Don't we have to worry about housing shortages, the rise of homelessness, problems with minimum wage? WTF, America?

Seriously if there is a God, Allah, Buddha, Shiva, Zeus, any sort of deity, please don't let this herpesaurus rex wander around free. Lock her up in a pen, for good.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Worst Of The Worst Comics: A Review

It's the new trend that breaking the internet in half: The Worst of the Worst Comics List. For those of you not in the know, every week an Illuminati of comics tally up write-in votes and decide who the worst comics in New York City are. There is a top 5 listing (although there are ties for 5th place making it more like a top 7-10). I figured such a list would be made; with so many comedians in the city and so much talent of questionable value, it was only a matter of time before people starting writing about who is the most ear-gougingly bad person to ever grace the stage. However, I find myself asking "What's the point?"

There are a couple of theories floating around as to why such a service is necessary:

(1) Because we're sick of seeing bad comics take the stage:
Fair, but then what? Is the comedy world going to whittle itself down to 5 super-hot comics? I don't think so. Moreover, how does this help bad comics become better? I thought the point of open mikes was to help people work on their stuff. I think it's a bit cowardly if you can't private take someone aside and tell him/her "I don't think this business is right for you" but you can write "So-and-so sucks my ball hair!" to a website. Frankly, if you are tired of seeing bad comics at open mikes, don't go to those open mikes, or get yourself booked at places, or run your own mike and make it exclusive.

(2) So the bad comics know they're bad:
Okay, except the judges freely admit that there are bad comics who hae already been passed at other clubs, so what the hell will they care? Bad comics aren't changing their act for anybody, and the site simply adds to their notoriety. As for open mikers, of course they're going to be bad--they're OPEN MIKERS! To be fair many of the names I saw on the list were familiar to me; but also, there were names I've never even heard of. If you are going to pull something like this, have better standards (i.e. only choose comics who have been out for 2 years, comics that don't do bringers, etc.) And even still there are comics who may have hit a sophomore slump; voting them up is like beating a dead horse.

(3) For the perverse sense of enjoyment:
I'm not going to lie: I do check the list. Religiously. And I giggle whe I see some of the names on there. But this kind of forum makes the already hostile environment of comedy and show business even more unbearable. It's one thing to know you are competing against 100s of comics for an unpaid 5-minute check spot; it's far worse to have to endure the pressure AND worry about having your failed career put on blast in some anonymous website with a lack for accountability. Seriously isn't the entertainment world enough like Mean Girls and do we really need an internet version of a Burn Book?

Again, I'm not questioning whether or not the list should exist. There are discerning critics; there are bad comics--put it together and you have a MySpace site. While I question the voting criteria, I'm not going to make picketing signs calling for the organizers' heads. But I do want to know why, fundamentally speaking, the list exists. So here's my theory. Clearly the voters are all people who still go to open mikes regualrly enough to gripe about the shitty talents. Which means these people aren't getting paid work. Thus, the only reason why this site exists is to feed the egos of people who think they should be doing better than they actually are. And that's fucked up.

Yes, I include myself in the "people who think they should be doing better" list because I am checking the site a lot. Therefore, I am also "fucked up." I'm not saying I'm any better than the people who actually vote (I even sent in an e-mail saying I wholly agreed with one of their choices). But, it is disappointing to see how petty and catty comedy has become where I now feel like I'm in a gladiator-style combat with other comics. And it's also disappointing to see comics giving themsleves a false sense of superiority because there is now a clearly defined bottom. Let me spell it out for you yuk-yukkers: If you are not getting paid work, you are still on the bottom! If you still have a day job, you are on the bottom! No arbitary list will change that!

Comics, for your own sakes, stop hating! Work on your own act, and if you see a lousy comic, put more effort into your own set than into cracking jokes about him/her. Be your own worst critic, not someone else's.

PS Here's the link (b/c I'm also giving them a little press:

Monday, April 23, 2007

Silver Lining

Werd, I managed to get the taste of horror out of my mouth from Thursday's misery! I did a set at the Laugh Factory Studio (it's kind of like the Laugh Factory but smaller...and upstairs...and sketchier). It's actually a really great place and my friend/runner really got the place up to snuff. My joke-telling was not really up to par but I did the A-List things so it was cool. And...a lot of comics showed up! Plus my friend from college was in the city and it's always great to hang out with her.

If I could figure out how to put links up in this piece I would link you to this guy Mike Dobbins. He was crazy-hilarious. In fact, he was crilarious! I had never seen his entire act before, and you should really check it out. It's like a crazy guy who's not really know, just check it out!

I'll be doing a marathon of comedy this week:

Wednesday: 11th Street Bar (510 East 11th Street by Avenue A) - 8:30 PM - 10:00 PM
Fellor comic Jason Levinson is kicking this venue off with its first comedy show ever, ever, ever (loving the echo effect?). It'll be hot (not in that Paris Hilton herpes kind of way, but in that "Wow this is a fun free show" way). Did I mention it's free?--cuz it is!

Thursday: East Village Lounge (186 East 2nd Street bet. Avenue A and B) - 8:15 PM - 10:00 PM(??)
Watch me host a line-up of hot comics who will try to make you laugh...and then try to get your number...There's no cover and drink specials ($4-5)!!!

Friday: Mo Pitkins (34 Avenue A bet. East 2nd & 3rd Street) - 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
There's no cover, and a raffle at the end for a free bag o' chips and a cheap door prize. Can I get a what what?

Saturday: Laugh Factory Studio (303 West 42nd Street right off 8th Avenue - Enter on the 42nd Street side and go to room 315)
The place looks shady, but it's home to some really hot comics! Check it out! No cover, 1 ($5) drink minimum.

Sunday: Botanica Bar (E Houston St. bet. Mott and Mulberry) - 7:00 PM - 9:00PM
I'm probably not getting up but it's a great room to catch comics from VH1, MTV, and BET! No cover!

Plus, May 3rd (next Thursday) is the big ri-sick-ulously good Musical Comedy Night at the East Village Lounge. If you miss it, I'll be really sad...and I might have to hurt a kitty!

Friday, April 20, 2007

I Feel Like A D-Bag

I haven't written on this blog in a while. So this will be called Le Renaissance! No funny shit is going to be in here so beware laugh-lurkers.

I just hosted a show tonight that just misfired...and I don't know what went wrong. I promoted and sold and practiced and everything just died on me. Plus, I accidentally dropped my MetroCard in the toilet and couldn't fish it out, which meant "really expensive subway ride home" for me. And the capper, I ran into a person I knew from school on the train and had to feign not being all drunk and fucked up and try to hold a half-way decent conversation.

Some days, I just feel like I'm not even living, I'm just existing from gig to lousy gig.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

MORE SHOWS!--and a promise to update more

Oh my god, let me dust the cobwebs off this blog and update!

What have I been up to?--well I've been doing shows at the East Village Lounge and temping so....I guess same old same old. I will update properly with actual stuff (I do have developments) but I want to let you know about my comedy thang tomorrow (Thursday) at the East Village Lounge (186 East 2nd St. bet Avenue A and B). I'll be hosting in a bathrobe (why?--read the next paragraph)!

The bathrobe hosting is for...The Naked Comedy Show on Friday. As in comedy, naked. Like balls-to-the-mike-stand naked. Am I afraid?--oh hell yeah! I bought a bucket of Nair and three razors so I'm attacking the problem spots tonight! Anywho, the show is at The PIT (154 West 29th Street bet. 6th and 7th Avenue) and it does cost $10 (you don't get to see the goodies for free, people). Audience: clothing optional//comics: clothing banned. I'm baring a lot so come check it out!

Show starts at 8 PM--try to get back row seats (objects may look larger than they appear)!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Read My Article, Please!

My article for the Brooklyn View just hit the stands! Check out why Brooklyn was deemed one of the top tourist destinations in the world. The site itself may not have updated yet but check it in a couple of days.

Don't forget, this Thursday is my comedy showcase at the East Village Lounge (186 East 2nd Street bet. Avenue A and B)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

New Blog, New Sets

Whoa, I just switched to the new Blogger and I'm totally thrown off!

Werd, so I wanted to thank everyone who came out to the East Village Lounge show and the Mo Pitkins deal-io. EVL was a little crazy, but it went really well. and the Mo Pitkins set was awesome. I'm going to start taping again (when I can buy AAA batteries) and I'll place clips up soon!

I'll be hosting the "Hey You're Cute!" show this and every Thursday...and now we will have professional flyers...and possibly a spotlight...and maybe a mic stand. We're trying to lessen the ghetto parent's basement feel and pander to the more upscale clients (think $3 PBR crowd instead of $1 PBR crowd).

East Village Lounge: 186 East 2nd Street between Avenue A and B
Day: Thursday, January 18th 2007
Run Time: 8:30 PM - 10:30 PM
Cost: FREE!
Drink Specials: $4 Coronas; $5 Well Drinks

The Caroline's show was rescheduled so I'll put up that info when I get around to it.

Also, I'm on myspace now. Do a people search for "Calvin S. Cato" and you'll find me as a penguin pimp. Seriously. Friend me; I'm so lonely...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

By Jove, I Think He's Got It!

You know what's weird, internet stalkers? For some reason, people keep complimenting me on my comedy. My loyal friend went to a set I did on Tuesday and she said "You've gotten much improved." And this Wednesday night I had an 11:00 PM spot at a gay bar...and honestly spots like that are usually brutal. It's already late, people want to get to hardcore drinking, and the gays are a vicious audience. But somehow, I actually made them all laugh!

Now, I wouldn't go as far as to say I am a GREAT comedian, but I can honestly say that I do a good job. I just keep wondering how it happened and to be honest I grew exponentially after I bombed. I had a streak of really bad performances and each one sent me spiraling further and further down. And then I had this show that really stunk, and I realized the problem was me. I know you're all like "Well duh, it's your fault" but I mean I was failing to be a real person on stage. I used to be so serious about my act and then I realized, hey fuck it it's a COMEDY show, I'm here to have fun. And I finally started allowing myself to do that. I finally realized that for the next 5, 10, 15 minutes, the stage is essentially mine and not the audience's or the owner's or the other comedians'.

I did not mean to get all Maury Povich final moments on you guys, but for anyone seriously considering becoming an entertainer, I would say you have to lighten up. Doing comedy is like having a conversation with someone: sometimes you're off, sometimes they're off, sometimes you really click. Just be yourself--and add punchlines!

I always equate stage performing with flying on a plane. Lorrie Moore (a really funny writer; check out her short story collections, bookworms) has the best quote about this that could apply to any budding performers: "The trick to flying safe was never to buy a discount ticket and to tell yourself you had nothing to live for anyway, so that when the plane crashed it was no big deal. Then. when it didn't crash, when you had succeeded in keeping it aloft with your own worthlessness, all you had to do was stagger off, locate your luggage, and, by the time a cab arrived, come up with a persuasive reason to go on living." Ah, priceless!

Keep it real in 2007! And please check out my Thursday show or my Friday set at Mo Pitkins (see previous blog) OR Sunday show (Botanica Bar: 47 East Houston Street bet. Mott & Mulberry Streets--starts at 8:00 PM).

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Comedy Calendar

Okay so here's all the comedy stuff going down for the next couple of weeks.

January 11, 2006 - Most Eligible Comedians Show (186 East 2nd Street bet. Ave A and B) 8:30 PM
That's right, the show's been renewed for another couple months...or more! Come see me host the most motley crew of comedians this side of the Hudson River. And the best part: the drinks are cheap and the cover is $0!!!

January 12, 2006 - Mo Pitkins (34 Avenue A off East 3rd Street) 7:00 PM
If you want comedy in fancy bite-sized proportions, look no further than Mo Pitkins. I'll be on the tail end of the No Name Show (ironically building a name for myself) dishing about winter and being articulate. No cover and drink specials!

January 30, 2006 - Caroline's on Broadway (Broadway at 50th Street) 7:00 PM
This one's a toughie. It's $5 plus a 2-drink minimum, but there will be some A-list talent in there and I really need people to come. So please do so...If you are coming definitely reserve tickets at 212.757.4100