Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Let's All Take a Break

Dis is da mama, and dis is da wittle baby.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Overheard in an L.A. Daycare...

So you’re the new kid?

Hi. I’m Nahla.

Like from The Lion King?

Ha ha! Good one Suri! (singing) You’re from The Lion King

Did somebody call me?

No, Kingston. But you’re just in time to make fun of Nah-la. She’s dumb. Let’s take her blanket.

Did somebody call me?

No, Weirdo. We’re picking on the new girl. The one whose diaper bag is violet.


What do you want?

What do you want? I was power napping.

I heard if you don’t nap, you don’t get juice with your snack.

What’s the juice today?


Okay, I’m coming!

Now look who you woke up. Everyone just forget about juice for a second. We’re making fun of the new kid for her stupid name.


My name’s not stupid. It means “drinking water from the river one hand at a time.”

Well my name means “princess” in Hebrew. What’s Hebrew, Moses?

I have no bloody idea.

My name is a place in Jamaica.

Mine is a place in California.

Mine means a piece of fruit.

Mine means “someone who shows you to your seat at the movies.” …The fifth.

Can we make fun of him now?

Oh yes! Please do.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Making the Glade

I went in for a general casting reading at a major network last week. The entrance was a long hallway leading to a large desk behind which sat a friendly, petite security guard.

"Hi. I'm Abbi Crutchfield. 2nd Floor?"

--Please sign your name.

"Wow, it smells good in here!"

--It's my cologne.

"No, I think I'm picking up on an air freshener. It's in the whole lobby."

I know what you're thinking. You don't tug on Superman's cape. You don't spit into the wind. You don't ask a chubby woman if she's pregnant, and don't insist someone's cologne is an Air Wick. But he smiled, closed his eyes and nodded.

--Vanilla and cinnamon?


He held out his wrist so I could take a closer whiff. Sure enough, the set of Steel Magnolias was up his sleeve, and he smelled amazing. "Essential oils," he explained, "Good luck up there!"

Perhaps he is the aromatherapy Bagger Vance assigned to calm the nerves of all auditioners.

"I always felt an actor's grip on his script is like his grip on the world...the rhythm of the SCENE is just like the rhythm of LIFE...Inside each and every one of us is one true authentic scent. Somethin' we was born to smell. Somethin' that's ours and ours alone. Somethin' that can't be spritzed on ya or dabbed. Somethin' that got to be remembered. Over time the world can rob us of our identity. It get buried inside us under all our wouldas and couldas and shouldas. That's why there's Country Apple. Crisp Ocean Breeze. Clean Linen..."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why I Love NYC

During my morning commute, while walking to the R train, I read in purple sidewalk chalk:


I figured someone must have left a present by the note. Maybe a bicycle, maybe a bouquet of roses (although who would want them off of the ground?), but as I continued walking I saw, several sidewalk squares later:


Only instead of the word "sunshine" there was a drawing of a sun with a happy face. Now we're getting somewhere. Some person decided to make Celeste go on a scavenger hunt of romantic bliss whereby she reads secret messages. Maybe this person was thoughtful enough to trace her morning walk! Sure enough, a block later, and closer to the train:


Wow, they've been together four years? This may darn well be a proposal! We may have an exciting question on our hands, folks! I clip-clop a little faster. How will the person say it? What drawings will accompany it? Will there be another bicycle or bouquet of pee-pee roses waiting?


This is serious. This is a public gesture of devotion. And do you know how hard it is to bend over and write on gravel? It's almost as tough as hanging upside down from an overpass with a can of spray paint. Surely the poet's hard work is going to pay off.


Above the next line, someone has scrawled in their own sidewalk chalk:


Hahahahahaha! New York wins.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Gaf' Again

My review of Monday's "UnMasked" session featuring Jim Gaffigan was recently posted on The Apiary.

Gaffigan cited Todd Barry and Dave Attell as two of the people he came up with who had early success ... During the end of the comedy boom, you could be good, but you had to really be great to get the stage time that was rapidly disappearing.

Click here to read the whole post. And don't forget to leave some feedback there.

Photo credit:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn

"My head is killing me. Hey McCain. You awake over there?"

"What? Who? I'm up! I'm up! Goodness, I had the strangest dream that I was floating in a bowl of Cheerios. And you were there. And Palin was there. And Rick Moranis was looking down on us holding a big spoon..."

The U.S. presidential candidates are making an appearance at Ground Zero for the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks today. I hope neither of them falls asleep. For all the traveling the Jonas Brothers do, I can only imagine the toll it takes on two men waaaay past their tweenies.

I just heard from my mother in Indiana that Obama was giving a speech there two days ago. Whenever I fly back from Indiana I need three days to recover. One day to shake off the kernels of corn, and two to remember how to put the "G"s back on the ends of my words. I haven't heard much about McCain's schedule, but if he's anything like me, he needs oats in the morning, a nap in the afternoon and chammomile tea during Access Hollywood just to feel alive. I haven't seen Wilfred Brimley pay him any visits.

The campaign publicists have put their heads together and decided to commemorate McCain and Obama's public meeting before the debates (and acknowledge their fatigue) with a revised Beastie Boys hit accompanied by a photo slideshow. Personally, I find it a little tacky.

Foot on the pedal - never ever false metal

Engine running hotter than a boiling kettle

My job's ain't a job - it's a damn good time

City to city - I'm running my rhymes

On location - touring around the nation

Pres-i-Boyz - always on vacation

Itchy trigger finger but a stable turntable

I do what I do best because I'm illing and able

Ain't no faking - your money I'm taking

Going coast to coast - watching all the girlies shaking

While you're at the job working nine to five

The Pres-i-Boys at the 'Zero - cold kickin' it live

Photo credits:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Who's On First?

They say the neon lights are bright on Broadwaaaaaay.

Last night I hit up one of the Motel series of open mics, Broadway Motel brought to you by John Morrison. These are a must-know for comics new to the city or new to stand-up. Some of the bleaker, less friendly mics will put hair on your chest, but these help you focus on your material and not your very existence.

Broadway Motel, hosted by Doug Adler and Cory Jarvis, is the cousin show to Ochi's Motel (below) and is proving to be pretty entertaining after its second week. It's an investment as far as mics go since it will always cost you $5 + one $5 item, (TOTAL = $10 without tip), but it has an enforced No Notes policy while watching ("If you don't know your material now, you'll never know it,") to maintain a supportive atmosphere, and you get the chance to win your money back with a drawing. They also encourage you to stay until the end by giving away quality, comedy-themed prizes (i.e. Lewis Black's "Anticipation" cd).

Last night was fun because the foreign element was a pair of French folks (my PEOPLE!), which made for colorful riffing. I got my angst out over Halle Berry's baby, and developed exactly why I'm not a fan of Target. Slowly but surely I will assemble a Spanking Patrol to keep the aisles clear. Interestingly enough, during another comic's set, he saw me in the front row and, kneeling down, took a moment to ask how I thought my performance went.

Me: It was fun.
Guy: It was "fine"?
Me: No, I said fun.
Guy: Oh fun. But was it fine?
Me: Yeah, it was good.
Guy: What could you have done better, and what can I do better during my set here?
Me: Umm...wait, what was the first part?
Guy: I asked how you thought you did.
Me: No, I know. I mean what was the first part of the second question...what could I have done better?
Guy: What could you have done better, and what can I do better right now?
Me: Umm...I don't know...

He abandoned the exchange and soon his time was up. I don't try to be clever or funny off stage during someone's performance unless I'm heckling Luke, and that's because he's smart enough to ignore me. If I'm in the front row, and I'm addressed (at a mic or at a show), I'll probably say yes to whatever you're talking about so you can roll right back into your material.

I'm all for crowd work if you're trying to think of your next bit or diffusing a distracting moment (loud air conditioner, waitress drops a tray of glasses), but if you come to a point where you don't know what to say, creating an impromptu two-person act just makes two people who don't know what to say.

Broadway Motel
Broadway Comedy Club
318 W. 53rd St
Tuesdays at 6:00PM, FREE
(comics pay $5 + 1 item)

Here's a review of Ochi's Motel on TheApiary.Org. And here's the story of why I'm particulary fond of that mic.

Ochi's Motel
Comix (Ochi's Lounge)
353 W. 14th St (8th/9th aves)
Mondays at 6:30PM and 9:00PM, FREE
(comics pay $5 + 1 item)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Beyond the Stale

I went to Comix last night to watch the XM Radio Taping of "UnMasked" hosted by Ron and Fez. A comedian is interviewed about his or her journey of making a career in comedy. Luke attended the last installment and heard Richard Lewis talk about what it was like to confront someone who steals your material. This time we both went to listen to Jim Gaffigan. It was fantastic and very informative. We left feeling encouraged that the hard work we put in will some day pay off, and we were both psyched at the next chance we had to perform.

Fortunately, that chance was a few hours away at Randy Epley's show, Comedy Dungeon. Produced in a hostel, the show can test your salt with its challenges: make foreign tourists laugh (or stand by your material when references and plays on words are lost), get the people on their laptops to pay attention, assert stage presence under dim lighting and with finicky sound equipment. This evening, luck was a lady, because the room was full and attentive, there were two new, effective spotlights, and the microphone was working fine. Randy gave one of his best performances ever with plenty of one-liners to keep a group of Ft. Lauderdale girls giggling between acts.

I went up first and mixed in five new jokes with my material and a couple of ad-libs. It wasn't an audition for Late Night, but it was work and it was fun. Full steam ahead tomorrow at Broadway Motel.

Comedy Dungeon
Mondays at 8:30PM, FREE
Jazz on the Park Hostel
36 W. 107th St

XM UnMasked Taping
TICKET INFO: send an email complete with your full name and contact information to live@xmradio.com.

Photo credit:

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Swiffer for Sarah Palin

Ad agencies think too hard for this not to be intentional:

I was watching music videos on Yahoo! when I noticed that a woman cleaning her house looked awfully familiar...

Swiffer for Sarah Palin 1

I've seen enough updos coupled with rectangular glasses to know a Sarah Palin impression when I see one.

Her only line of dialogue: "I smell a WINNER!"

Swiffer for Sarah Palin 2

Winner of what? She is not holding mop try-outs. I am no stranger to subliminal political references! I grew up reading Doonesbury. Besides, at the very end of the commercial she uses the handle to stab a caribou.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Comedy and Jealousy

They go together like cereal and orange juice. But our brains, much like Wal-mart, allow unrelated items to co-exist, even to our own detriment. Captain Ron and Easy chairs, anyone?

How can we stop comedy and jealousy from joining forces, clouding any positive thoughts we may have for our peers when they get big breaks?

Here are three helpful reminders that come to us from Chicken Soup for the Self-Absorbed Hack and Shiftless Has-Been Soul (Canfield and Hansen):

Lesson 1: Do Unto Others

When I was seven, I was invited to a summer birthday party that involved lots of sprinkler action. The hosts, two teen-aged sisters decided to line guests up and hand out a home-made Bathing Suit Award. They called our classmate Ashley to step forward and announced that she had the "Coolest Suit". Arguably, she did. It was neon-colored with black, criss-cross straps. Girls started to clap, and I gave a thumbs down and shouted, "Boo!" I got everyone to boo her as loudly as they could. The sisters quieted us down and pulled out another certificate and announced the "Sauciest Suit" and called my name. I was confused. Then they selected the "Most Fabulous Suit". There were awards for everyone.

Sure it feels good to ruin someone's moment of glory. But you don't exactly want people booing when it's your turn.

Lesson 2: Be Careful What You Wish For

I have tried for a lot of things, gotten some, and missed out on others. What others? A reality TV show about female comedians that trash each other, a scholarship offering free courses through 4 levels of improv I've already taken, and the lead role in a play that takes place in a salon and whose humor is based on the regular customers "blowin' up the place with their doodoo stank."

You might be depressed over being rejected but the person who got the gig is probably suicidal.

Which brings us to our third lesson: Everyone Dies

I was sitting in the back of an airplane a couple of days ago dreaming of how little I've accomplished and I woke up right as we were buckling back in for the landing. I heard an unusual buzzing sound under me, and the horizon line switched to an alarmingly sharp decline. My head was dizzy, and I started to panic because I seriously thought we were about to crash. We landed ten minutes later.

When you're feeling jealousy take over, remember, even that person will some day die. But then remember that you, too will die. And maybe you shouldn't waste your life being a jerk.

By the way, the guy in the seat behind me was crying as we landed, so I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who is preoccupied with Kristen Schaal's success.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Gift To Be Simple

In my online bio, I often end with "...For a daily laugh, read her Curly Comedy blog!"

But we all know I update my blog about as regularly as I brush my teeth.

How do I solve this problem? When I do not find the time to post about my adventures in stand-up comedy, I encourage you to read the archives, one old post a day. Tadaaa!

Okay, you don't like reruns. How about this? From a Question of the Day series on Cynical-C.com, I had originally asked the author Chris:


The answers in the comments section about the gifts his readers got are real and hilarious. Someone's well-to-do aunt gave them a box of couscous for crying out loud. On a BIRTHDAY. A must-read.

As for me, the most unusual gift I ever received was a poem on a napkin from a girl who dressed in black and considered herself very deep. I was in middle school, and this was at a party. She signed her work with a name she invented that stood for a mythical Cyote-Wolf hybrid.