Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Monday Night Moments

Had a gig at the top of the week at a favorite venue: Alibi Lounge. It was past my bed time, so I yawned a lot in anticipation. They say dogs yawn when they're afraid.

The show, run by two lovely ladies, Nakia and Nadine, is called Monday Night Moments (LOL Comedy Night), so here are some of the moments from that LOL evening.

Moment 1: Senior Special

I am waiting for other comics to arrive and have yet to meet the host. I order a drink, walk around, and chat up the ladies at the door. "Whatchoo drinkin'? Sex on The Beach?"
--Uh, no, this is cranberry and pineapple juice.
"Just beach then."

Moment 2: Minute Maid

I meet Nadine and ask her where the other comics are. "It's all you."
It's just me?
"Yeah, you're the performer!"
--Oh. I how much time do you want me to do?
"How much do you want to do?"
--(Ten) I'll do 20.

I ended up doing 25 by, as Luke calls it, pulling some jokes out of my anus. I have successfully sustained audiences with a longer feature set, but I thought I was going to be a part of a lineup, and had only prepared a tight ten. Lesson to the rookies: prepare for a longer set no matter where you are. Also leave Nadine alone. See Moment 3.

Moment 3: Know Your Audience

I think Nadine thought I was nervous, either because I was walking around a lot or pestering her while she mingled. Do you know Del? Do you know Robin Cloud? She looked at me, touched my arm and said, "Do you know who you're performing for?" I had seen everyone in the room, but I looked around again for her benefit.
--Yeah! I'm gonna be on Snatchtastic at Angels in Kings this Sunday. It's run by Robin Cloud. Do you know her?
"Okay, good..." and she walks away.

Allow me to let you, the reader, pan around the hypothetical room.

She would be there

She would be there

She might-could be there

(Indelible memories of Set It Off)

And who sticks out like a sore thumb?

Old blue eyes. He keeps leaning towards me and grabbing my hands while he talks to me. I keep pretending I don't know him. I wish he would go talk to the bartender, the only other white man in the room. I tell him to call himself my manager, Carl.

Moment 4: Show time, Synergy

I meet Nakia, the other host and the one who invited me. She puts on headphones, and it's officially a night club scene with low lights and loud music. I am loving the songs she picks! I keep doing the robot, because I'm half-white. Other women are dancing for themselves in the mirrored wall. All of a sudden the music stops and the lights come up. I take the "stage", by moving foot stools and standing in front of the DJ booth, next to the entrance. There is some murmuring and zombies mill about, just like when a school dance is over, and the magic room turns into the cafeterial again. I kick off the set with some audience interaction, and Nadine joins me on the stage while all the other members of the audience chime in. It's like we're all in the ladies room, except one of us has a microphone.

Moment 5: I Told You Know Your Audience

I ask who is dating in the room, and only one hand goes up. It's a promoter I met earlier in the evening, Kenya.
--You, Kenya? What are you doing in here then?
"I like to look,"
--Where's your person?

Several voices repeat, "Person? Person?! Oh Lord..."
--Girl. Woman. Lady you are cheating on. Chick that is not good enough. Hetero guilt stifles the vocabulary.

It was a great night, and one of the most fun audiences I have had in a while. I only lost a portion of them. After applauding in celebration of a girl's birthday, a group of women leaves two jokes in. The birthday girl announces at the door, "I'm really drunk."

She should have tried the Beach.

Hot Nickels Entertainment presents...

Monday Night Moments, the Lounge Party for Women
(LOL Comedy Night)
Alibi Lounge
116 MacDougal St #C
New York, NY 10012
Ladies Only
For cover and more info:

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Failure = Not Trying

Missed a guest spot at a comedy club due to late train

A casting agent for a major network changed her mind about considering me for anything

Forgot half of costume for character at my own show

Tanked an audition to perform in an improv troupe

Elicited pity heckles from an open mic full of poets, the saddest people in the world

Ad-libbed, "I just finished watching a Chris Rock special, and I really feel like I can tell it like it is! Watch! (searched brain for shocking and insightful statement) I'm NEVER SCARED to talk about gum."

Friday, April 25, 2008

For Sirius

I had a fun time on Sirius Satellite Radio's political talk show Blog Bunker with host Joe Salzone.

The channel is Indie Talk 110, and I think it happens every day at 5:00-6:00PM. I like to think of it as "A cutting-edge roundtable featuring a selection of the over 100 million bloggers around the globe". So does the Sirius website.

Alex DiTrolio is a producer who pops in as co-host on occasion.

There's another gentleman named Aaron Hodges whose job is to check the levels and tell me to stop chattering.

The first time I did the show in early March, I walked in when it was already in progress. I heard Joe make fun of John McCain, so when I got the headphones on, I said, "So I take it you're a liberal?" Then he insisted that he's so much of a conservative that John McCain isn't far right ENOUGH in his opinion. I don't pick a political side (malleable mind alert, cult gurus apply within), but I know which issues matter to me, and the people who lean right don't always tend to share the same views I do. In other words, I nodded and thought, "Uh huh. That's good. You're going to eat me alive".

My mother raised me never to talk politics with strangers, so I am tongue-tied on a regular basis, even if I happen to agree with what's being said. Joe is a pro at keeping the ball rolling, so he balanced my meeker moments with his own jokes. We finally found common ground in a strong dislike for pant suits. Then some callers chimed in which gave Joe reason to go off on passionate tangents about Ron Paul.

Despite feeling like the lady at a football game who says, "Why do people in the NBL always take so long to shoot their touchback goals?" I was invited back for a second spot. This time I was prepped with the topics and knew the drill. The only reason to sweat was from a sweltering commute. Alex gave me water, and we were off and running. She held down the fort and tried to keep us on track when I theorized that a Pennsylvania win might be linked to a winning badonka-donk. I like a world where liberals and conservatives can unite to make fun of old, overweight ladies.

I was given the grand tour of the studios and the offices, met some employees and saw the cubicles of my dreams. Maybe cubicles only appear in your nightmares, but you clearly haven't watched Three Men & a Baby and thought, "I'm going to grow up and paint pictures of my friends on my office walls...I want to be just like Steve Guttenberg." These were chest-level, individually decorated fun zones with absolutely no people in them. The folks that were walking around wore jeans and radiated knowledge of all music bands in existence. I heard someone grumbling about deadlines, but that's the only sign of Corporate America I noticed.

In the lobby there was a seasoned man drinking a can of Schweppe's. He had tight jeans, his foot on the coffee table, and a cell phone to his face. Joe and I guessed he was a rock star we should have recognized, but I don't even know the other two members of the Rolling Stones.

"Ahem. We are Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts. And you're forgetting Ian Stewart (not pictured), and original frontman Brian Jones."

I still don't know you.

It was a very fun time on a very well-run show with some very skilled radio folks, and I highly recommend you tune in. It's also the best place to learn how to vote for the next Commissar of Greenland.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Chris Rock

I went to DC last weekend to see Chris Rock on the No Apologies tour. This was my first time seeing him perform live!

Add that to Bill Cosby and Jim Gaffigan, and 2008 is shaping up nicely.

Something that’s not shaping up nicely is my artificial baby bump. You don't see what I'm talking about? here's a better view.

Just say no to Empire waists ladies.

The tickets were an early birthday present from my lovely Sis. Readers, you only have one month left to prepare for my surprise, Middle-Eastern-themed birthday celebration. Order your camels now!

Constitution Hall is shaped like a rectangle with rounded corners--I believe the correct term is rhombuzoid--so everyone gets a good view of the stage. They also allow drinks, and have drains strategically placed along the floor. Unfortunately, the Central Air wasn’t pumping, so the room got warm and felt like a Southern court house scene from a movie about racial injustice. This is in contrast to the night I froze at NBC Studios watching Saturday Night Live. Either way, it made the moment memorable.

The two screens that flanked the stage showed a slide show of vintage covers of popular black magazines. This was followed by black portraits in history, and then contemporary paintings by black artists all with a soundtrack of mainstream pop music. Maybe I’ve seen too many Black History month specials, but I am used to montages being accompanied by Negro spirtuals and Motown beats. Using Fiona Apple and Radiohead is like getting a French director to film Dave Chappelle’s Block Party.

Mario Joyner opened and did a half-hour set. The ceilings are very high, and the walls behind the stage are tall and white, which dwarf the performer. This didn’t matter to Mario because, as he said, his performance was just so the camera people could check the focus and color that appeared on the screens. He talked about wearing glasses, living the life of a bachelor and the criminal records that define his siblings. He walked out with no frills, very calm, and like a magician, took the audience from rumbling with chatter to attentive and chuckling on cue.

There was a 20 minute intermission, then the white walls were covered with green lights that blazed Rock’s initials.

He came out in a shimmery, teal green suit (homage to early years as a comic in the '90s?), got a standing ovation and began pacing. A loud cheer came from the upper section and he said, “That’s Baltimore up there.” Hahahaa. That IS Baltimore. I didn't know why I laughed. I think I was excited to see him.

It's hard for me to enjoy a stand-up performance as an audience member because I study it too closely. I watched how he held the mic cord, the faces he made, the way he circled back to his original idea. No Apologies is the perfect name for this tour. As soon as we were laughing at general celebrity commentary, he started in with the really strong opinions. He's a long way from the video footage Luke has of him in the 80s, sporting a leather jacket, a box Afro and a habit for pounding the mic after a punch line. But even back then when the crowd didn't know how to laugh at his joke he leaned forward and reminded them, "I DON'T GIVE A F***!"

He gave a two hour performance, and only part of it sounded familiar, towards the end. Most of the statements he made just made me want to clap, and I had to try to laugh instead of nodding and saying, "That's SO TRUE." One of the best parts of the whole show was during one joke when he said, “…that’s like a man with no arms saying, ‘Let’s all go to the MALL!’” (split-second of confused chuckles) “well I f***ed that joke up!” (huge laugh) “I’m supposed to say, that’s like a man with no arms saying, ‘Let’s all go SWIMMING!’” (giant “Ahaaa” and then big applause). Watching him stop and get real for a minute made the whole show even better.

Photo credits:

Monday, April 21, 2008

Four of a Kind

One fear I have as a stand-up is not being able to be original. I worry that my ideas are common, that my delivery is contrived, or that my stage presence is lacking. Luke tries to encourage me by telling me that at least I have a "Look" that gets attention right away, and may give me an edge on stage.

Here are some talented ladies I will have to convince to give up The Look:

Name: Michelle Buteau

Her Curly Comedy:

How She is Different From Me: Michelle's got skills that pay the bills! She's a contest winner, a road traveler, and has a great reputation in New York and overseas. From "Buteau has also been seen on VH1's Best Week Ever and A2Z's Donald Trump. She recently won New York's Underground Comedy Festival's New Comic Contest and was a finalist in Budweiser's Ladies of Laughter Competition. On stage, watch Michelle blend her Jamaican and Haitian background, exclusive style of urban funk and Girl-next door comedy into a performance that's anything but routine."

Name: Calise Hawkins

Her Curly Comedy:

How She is Different From Me: Calise is a hustler, Homey. A regular in many rooms, she hosts her own show at the Village Lantern, tapes clips for television and goes home to single-handedly take care of her baby girl. From "Calise Hawkins wears her heart on her microphone. She relays personal experience with comedic insights to the enjoyment of a laughing audience. Catch Calise on stage at most major clubs in New York and you'll experience the development of a true comedian."

Name: Honour Pillow

Her Curly Comedy:

How She is Different From Me: HP has lived my dream and faced my nightmare; Showtime at The Apollo. I have never met her, but I wouldn't mind it, because she does her thing and looks collected while doing it. From "After studying at Chicago's Improv Olympics and Second City, model-turned-stand-up-comedian Honour Pillow moved to Vegas, where she unleashes her confrontational brands of relationship and observational humor at the likes of Boomer's, the Freakin' Frog, the Bunkhouse and Tommy Rocker's. She's also making headway as a viral-video star; her portrayal of a confused grandma exploring the decorative potential of a condom is no Jesus Is Magic, but it's just as memorable."

Whew. That's some steep competition, and I am in no mood to step up my game. In order not to have to sharpen my comedy skills, I may have to fall back on one of my other looks.

Deaf Janiels

My pick for best actor at the next Golden Globes: Jeff Daniels in Sweet Nothing in My Ear. Hallmark tried really hard to make this made-for-T.V. movie unbearably corny, but fortunately his terrific acting and newly acquired signing skills saved the scenes.

And what scenes! When you shout during an argument, and you sign at the same time, it brings a whole new level of seriousness. I could have used this skill years ago before I developed the habit of throwing food to make my point. Once on a lunch break in the City, Luke and I were fussing about something on a Lexington side walk. Unable to sign, “Don’t walk away from me!” I hurled an apple at his back. On another occasion, during a get together with friends, we had a misunderstanding about Popeye’s Chicken. When yelling, “Don’t forget your Coke!” did not get his attention, I threw a soft drink from his kitchen to splatter his living room wall.

If only that picture book of the ASL alphabet I read in the 3rd grade had shown me more than the words “town”, “build,” and “baby”, I might be more eloquent. At least when I am adamant about building a Baby Town, he will know I mean business.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Goodness Gracious Great Walls of Hair

A lot of people in New York City are griping about Pope Benedict XVI's visit causing major traffic delays. In continuation of religious intolerance, I present to you the hairstyles and fashion of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

These ladies are in the news for one of the largest custody battles in history: over 400 children are being removed from a polygamist compound. Not only was this a hair-raising experience (Pun-o-meter rating: 8 out of 10) but to make matters worse, Modest Mouse is suing for copyright infringement.

Let the scoffing begin. You would never find a Baptist Minister with such a tower of tresses!

Or a self-respecting Catholic with such awful shoes

or archaeic, stifling button-down attire

Sigh...denim shirts.

Or a Jewish man with multiple partners half his age!

What I am trying to say is this country has no right to point the finger. Why look at the former cast members of the Mickey Mouse Club today.

"After graduating from a life of being controlled by adults and told what to wear and do, we did not know where to turn. Luckily Henrick Goodspeed came to the rescue. Like a master in a dog kennel, he took one look at us and said 'They'll do'. Sigh. We'll do! Those were our vows, and we've been happily sewing bonnets for the Moon Festival ever since."

Is this about control or is it about modesty? Is this about polygamy or is it about the NATURAL and HONEST joy of having multiple partners who will never have their own multiple partners and who will never challenge your authority or get old because they will always be replaced by a younger version? If loving doormats is wrong, I don't want to be right. Besides, global warming will have us all in burqas by 2015.

I leave you with a few thoughts from a comments section of the Tribune's Blog on Polygamy:

Paul M said...
I like the way that these girls dress. They are modest, and look very nice. I wish all the fundamentalists would dress more modestly. It actually looks better to me!

There is nothing wrong with dressing right and being modest.


1:48 PM

Ben said...
Paul M: there is a special spirit that exudes from a modestly-dressed woman, is there not? Modest clothing allows a woman to let her true, natural, God-given beauty show through, rather than the finery of expensive clothing and adornments.

4:19 PM

Paul M said...
Yes, that is true! I feel that the modern clothes take away from the true beauty of women. I agree with yo (sic) Ben!

8:16 PM

Question said...
What is most important is not the dress but conduct.

A woman may dress modestly but not live chastely. A woman may dress somewhat revealingly and yet live a chaste life.

Judge not the book by its cover.

2:41 PM

Ben said...
Of course, question, I don't think anyone is equating modesty with meaning automatic chaste behavior. Heck, one of the most unchaste people I have ever known was a "good little church girl", always dressed modestly just as her preacher father required her to be. I doubt he had any idea what happened UNDER her long skirts and dresses, though!

No, we should never assume that modest dress equates with righteousness, nor that revealing dress equates with unchaste behavior. We are all at different levels of progression in our understanding, and we should be tolerant of all who are seeking to do that which is right, regardless of outward appearances.

1:37 PM

Thursday, April 17, 2008


In honor of the Pope's visit to the United States, I will talk about something that is slow and occurs once in a blue moon:

the process of launching my website. If you've been keeping up with the news reel at right, you know that I have been talking about this website for quite some time.

I am not chock-full of ballyhoo. I know I can get it up!

(That's what he said.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Three Things I Learned the Hard Way

Three Things I Learned the Hard Way

I was tagged last month in Carolyn Castiglia’s blog to inform my readers about some valuable life lessons. It took me a while to sift through the many pearls of wisdom that come to me on a daily basis. I kept myself from writing about certain topics, as those lessons may be better-suited for different posts. For example, how to cheat at Uno (Three Things I Learned the Card Way), over-easy is best (Three Eggs I Cooked the Hard Way), and locking your knees makes you faint (Three Things I Learned the Buckingham Palace Guard Way).

1. No One Likes a Stalker

I was five or six. My mom was visiting her friends, and my sister and I played with their son while the adults did boring things like have coffee (gross) and talk about BLAH BLAH BLAH (I had already run upstairs). I remember playing with a boy named Tyler and admiring his stilts, which were actually crutches. I kept trying to hook my foot inside the hand rest, and after failing three times I decided my career in the circus would never be. I also decided I liked Tyler. I told him this, looking up into his 8-year old face (me, challenging a full grown man!), and he said. “I don’t like you.” Then he ran off to show us more of his toys. Some time later, I presented my case again to the judge, “But I REALLY like you!” He frowned and said, “What are you, Forgetful Jones or something? I don’t like you!”

He referenced arguably the dumbest Muppet on Sesame Street. Unlike Cookie Monster who can spell and The Count who can count, Forgetful Jones was a cowboy who was too stupid to finish a sentence. He dared compare me to a purple-faced, mustachioed moron! I learned then and there that if I liked someone, I had better make sure the feeling was mutual before moving forward. This has kept me from pursuing romances with Hulk Hogan, Prince and anyone named Tyler.

2. The Office is No Place for Smiles

I have learned a lot of lessons through temping, and this one comes right after “Don’t pour Cap’n Crunch on the desk in front of you and eat it with your shoes off…especially if you stole it from the desk of the person you’re substituting.” When I left a certain company, they bade me farewell with a lovely greeting card, flowers and a gift. The name on the card that came as the greatest surprise was that of my direct supervisor, who I was convinced, hated me. His note: “You were of use here.”

That has since become a line I share on stage. In a farewell coffee break I had with another employee (a former temp himself), I asked if he thought there was anything I could do differently for my next post. He said, “You should probably sit up straight. And iron your clothes. And not laugh or smile as much as you do. It gives off an unprofessional vibe.” Looking back, my boss was trying to teach me that same lesson through example. For two straight months, he never smiled.

3. Neglect Hurts…and Haunts

Sometimes I tell a joke in my act, “A guinea pig is the gift that says, ‘Sure you can have a pet…this year.’” I used to mumble, “Rest in Peace, Madame Jewels,” as an afterthought. This was less of a tag line and more an involuntary admission of guilt. Whenever I think of that pet, I think of how her life ended: alone, in darkness, without having received much love.

The only space for a rodent to freely kick woodchips out of a cage was under the stairs in my basement. Whenever we would turn a light on down there she would shriek for company. When we opened the fridge in the kitchen above she would shriek for carrots. She didn’t know to shriek for water, so that was something you had to remember in between Tiny Toons and Animaniacs. In my case, I went through Rescue Rangers, Ducktales and Tale Spin before she came to mind, even if each episode had a talking guinea pig in a business suit, which they probably did. It was only after I grabbed an Ecto Cooler from the fridge that I would hear the shriek, deliver a carrot, and then notice an empty bottle.

She did not die of thirst. I don’t know what she died of because I stopped checking up on her when I found out my mom would do it if I let enough time pass. The announcement of her death was more of a reminder that I had a pet at all. Death always makes you think of time lost, and I remembered the days I would bring her out of her cage into the living room, and pet her until she purred. I should have done that more often. Maybe then a giant guinea pig ghost in chains wouldn’t hover over my futon at 3:00AM each night.

I tag:
J.L. Cauvin
Matt Sears
Adam Wade
Mo Diggs
Jen Dziura and
Jesse Cooper

Read their blogs for a laugh, but also check periodically to see if they have contributed their own tales of woe and whoa.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Nylon Life

I spent my entire weekend in a wig. The Living Room was a blast on Friday with a great turnout, a completely different lineup than planned, (new host, new mid-show act, and two unexpected visitors that offered their stand-up services), which made the show exciting. Luke and I busted out our first sketch written together in over a year, and the salon setting was perfect for an audience member who happened to be a stylist herself. After the show I asked her if my mimed cutting technique was authentic, and she said yes, but the male character I played had boobs. You can’t think of everything.

On Saturday Luke and I went to a birthday party that had a wig/beard/moustache theme. I wore a shaggy Moses mane and beard, and Luke wore a tight, blond curly wig. Most everyone else in the bar wore their own hair. It felt like the episode of The Golden Girls where they’re accidentally vacationing at a nudist colony. They finally decide to de-robe for a dinner event, and when they get to the resort restaurant, everyone is fully-clothed. We didn’t have any violin music to take us to a commercial, so we sat laughing and waited for anyone we recognized to walk in. Someone did. Hopefully that person would be wearing a wig, we thought. He wasn’t.

The early birds were already huddled around the fast food concessions they brought, leaving vacancy on the couches closest to the karaoke screen. Oh yes, there was karaoke. Broad daylight outside, four wigs inside, McDonalds cheeseburgers cut into quarters and A couple lovingly belting out “Under the Sea” to each other.

I felt better when another guy walked in, looked around, sat down, held his hands in his lap and stared patiently up at the karaoke screen. He looked convincing, like he was watching a basketball game, but the screen was blank…for a really long time. I chatted up a lawyer next to me who was just a regular patron of the bar who was told about the party. He, too, did not know most people. I pretended no one knew each other and was able to loosen up.

If you can’t have fun at a party with free fried chicken and Chalupas, there is something wrong with you.

We left to go hit up Comedy Ain’t Noise Pollution at the Parkside Lounge. This variety show run by Mo Diggs and Trafton Crandall offers up the best hodgepodge in underground comedy. Matt Ruby was a steel baron stand-up in a top hat and handle bar moustache, Bob Bell scatted to an acoustic guitar, Steven Bird talked about the tragedy of attending clown class, and there was a man named John Murdock who did a piece dressed entirely in erotic balloons. My sketch with Luke was fun, but we were ready to show off our hat heads.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Inside the 'Fro

I imagine most of my readers do not have hair that looks like mine (and if you want to satisfy my curiosity, put your sex, race, and percentage of baldness in the comments section). But even if you do, you know that curly-headed folks are like snowflakes, each one different, so one product does not work for all of us. And some products don’t work for any of us. Like mustard for example. Arguably does nothing for your tresses and sometimes harms your reputation.

Let’s take a journey through my bathroom pantry…

L.A. Looks

L.A. Gear shoes, L.A. Law the TV drama...this was the era for Los Angeles. This was also my only option as a kid to tame what my mother lovingly referred to as, "The rat’s nest”. Taming meant sitting sideways on a closed toilet while she raked it into the same ponytail from age 6 to 13. Pencils and spiny burrs would get lodged in this bushy 'do (love on the play ground), and I learned that if you stick your finger into the hole of a tightly wrapped hair band it's a window into the world of a proctologist.

Miss Jessie’s

As a sophisticated woman who pays for her own haircuts, I decided to abandon the unkempt look. I researched a salon that got rave reviews and made curly hair care sound like a science. Only catch: the salon had been closed down. I guess science doesn’t rule, Bill Nye. But their products remained, like a rocking horse after an orphanage bombing in a cheesy, made-for-TV ‘Nam flashback. I liked the smell and started telling people about it, but over time, the reviews soured. Apparently this stuff gets flaky. I didn’t use it consistently enough to notice. I had fallen for some one else…

Carol’s Daughter

I was in love. There is a kiosk by my house, they let you take all the free samples you want, and Jada Pinkett Smith tells me it will make my hair grow.

The stuff is derived from natural ingredients, and apparently, ingredients that come from the Earth are a lot more expensive than ingredients that are bad for the environment. I had to stop buying them in order to pay my rent. While looking for cheaper alternatives, I met a girl at Ricky’s who had hair that looked very similar to mine. She said she stopped using CD products because her hair smelled like nuts. No comment.

But assuming she meant food, that is the gimmick most people are going for right now. Everything for curly hair is called pudding, custard, mayonnaise and even whipped cream. I saw a product called Curly Milkshake, which sounds more like a Midwestern locker room prank. There's also cholesterol, butter cream, and smoothies. So if your hair won't act right, you can always eat it.

Blended Beauty

This stuff is king. All-natural, works like a charm, not too heavy and smells great. Well, it smells like baby spit-up to me, which I think is great (quiet, biological clock!) But maybe that's because I keep my stuff past the expiration date. You have to keep these items in the fridge, which means it's cold on your head in the morning. It also comes from Canada. So you can see why I'm having a hard time promoting it. But when I get my hands on it (birthday in one month), I am going to hold it and cradle it and teach it to say "MAMA".

Tubs are frequently used by the way. Someone in marketing decided we like to dip our hands in and get giant blobs of this stuff. Then perhaps rub it all over the walls.


This is the most recent brand I like (but there are so many more left to try! Maybe I'll save it for the yogi awards). It smells like yogurt, feels like snot, and so far has given me the most motion when I shake it, as opposed to a Marge Simpson.

I am assuming Diana Saez is the only one left reading this. She understands me! Have to run do the Living Room! I hope this was informative to people who ask if they can touch my hair. Don't worry, I don't think that's racist. It's creepy.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Pass The Torchy On The Left Hand Side

It is a bad time to be China right now. I feel worse for the people who were selected to carry the Olympic torch. What was once a huge honor is now a symbol of villainy (or at least complacence) because the torch lights the beginning of games held in a country that violates human rights. It’s like in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when Kate Capshaw finally scores a big palace but at the cost of all the village’s children. If China does not heed the warning of political activists, soon it may wind up dining on chilled monkey brains! (Pause while listening to headset) Really? I see…my mistake. (Returning to reader) Well, if China does not heed the warning of political activists soon it may wind up dining on live baby snakes and giant beetles! (Listening to headset again). Good Lord. What ISN’T candied over there? Yams. Well, just forget the metaphor then.

To stand up to the injustice, I will do what no other athlete has done. I am dropping out of the Olympics! I will continue my steady diet of waffles, eggs over easy and three kinds of breakfast meats in the morning, but I will not swim, nor will I throw a discus. I will not jump hurdles, run races nor will I lift any weights. Most importantly, I will not go to China. Mainly so I can continue my steady diet of waffles, eggs over easy and three kinds of breakfast meats.

Photo credit:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Just For Respect

Are you tired of your ideas getting dismissed in meetings? Do you wish your friends would listen when you say you do not want to go clubbing? Are you teased in public when you pull out your knitting? It is time to receive the admiration that older adults have enjoyed for ages. Introducing Just For Respect hair color for people in their early twenties.

This revolutionary formula is designed to age you significantly, without conveying uselessness and senility. How does it work? Three ways.

JFR TARGETS only the brown, black, blonde or red on your head, leaving any wiry sprouts without pigment alone. Subtle tones of dull gray, sheetrock white and rusty chrome cling to the follicles, and the application is as easy as shampooing your hair…shampooing with honey…or rather…tar. It takes over an hour to wash out.

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From the makers of Myfeetra.

Monday, April 7, 2008

No Whammies

Marc Summers of Double Dare, Jenny McCarthy of Singled Out, David Ruprecht of Supermarket Sweep. These are just a few names on the list of great hosts in history. Tonight, I am about to join that list. Not as a television game show host (audible disappointment from my stuffed animals) but as a stand-in for Ms. Jennifer Dziura at Pete’s Candy Store, a comedy show in Williamsburg, NY. I guess it is more accurate to say I am joining the list of Lisa Ling* Susan Lucci**and Sarah Chalke***as replacements to the real deal, but if it was good enough for Michael Ian Black****, it’s good enough for me.

Pinch hitting is a great honor in the world of stand-up. It says, “I am trusted to handle a show on my own, but if I screw it up, the public will place blame on the show itself, and only the actual host will bear the shame”. On this particular night, I am responsible for purchasing and passing out sweets, as is the tradition and theme of this show. I am debating between carob and raisins (nature’s candy) or fruit-flavored Calcium chews.

Monday Evening Stand Up at Pete’s
709 Lorimer St (L train to Lorimer)
Free show, free candy

Starring Jamie Lee, Kyle Supley, Jimmy Wohl, Charles Star, and Adam Newman!

I leave you with a brief analysis of all past hosts of Family Feud and their proper substitute:

Richard Dawson - made out with each guest on camera and fell victim to the polyester leisure suit era. Best stand-in: Burt Reynolds

Ray Combs - for my money, this was the best host the show ever had. Maybe he’s just the first one I remember so he stands out as the “original”. I like ‘em short, peppy, and sweet. Best stand-in: Lucky the Leprechaun

Louie Anderson - set the precedent that even someone uncharismatic, unattractive and uncomfortable could host on the grounds that he was funny in the 80s. Did you send your thank you note, Drew Carey? I have nothing against these men as stand-ups, but you have to have pizzazz if you are going to hold my attention at 11:30AM on a weekday! Where’s Mike
Brady’s perm when you need it? Oh, on the Brady Bunch, which is a channel-flip away. Best stand-in: A bowl of oatmeal from an episode of Facts of Life.

Richard Karn - Darn you, typecasting! He read well and had a likeable face, but overall I always thought I was watching a cross-over episode of Home Improvement. Survey says? X Best stand-in: Jaleel White

John O’Hurley - the caliber of a Dick Clark, but five decades too late. Something tells me he would have had a great career selling Beech Nut Gum. “You can taste the difference quality makes! And now back to our regular installment of The Shoeshine and the Case of the Missing Ice Box.” Best stand-in: Orson Welles, pre-Technicolor.

*The View, not Channel 1. But remember Channel 1? Awww. Kid news.
**Live! With Regis and Kelly
***the fake Becky on Roseanne
****guest hosted on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn before Craig Ferguson came on the scene.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Blame It On The (T)Rain

I had a very exciting evening cut out for myself. I was going to give my second guest spot at a particular club. Warm, hearty laughs inside, chilly drizzle outside. Cozy, fun, and a great opportunity for stage time.

I left the house with an hour of travel time for what should be a 45 minute commute. In a perfect world, I would have shown up early. In New York City, I have just kicked sand in the bully's eye. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority doesn't like its naps interrupted.

After pacing the platform for ten minutes, I went to the booth to get some answers. The man leaned forward in his chair to realize his second calling as an interrogating officer.
"Let's go over this one more time. You want to go uptown."
That's right. I have to be there soon. Where is the train?
"I'll tell you where you have to be. Right here, until I get some answers."
"We can do this the easy way, or we can do this the hard way..."

He finally revealed that the local train was inexplicably and unusually running express, bypassing my stop. I would have to exit, take the train the opposite direction to an express stop, and then take it back uptown. But it may switch to local again, slowing me down. I went above ground and tried to jog twelve blocks to a station where I would have other train options. I called the club and warned them I was running behind. I had 38 minutes to get my spot, or an additional 8 minutes if I used the time slot after mine. At this point I was watching the clock like a hawk. On a rock. With a sock.

8:53 I catch the Q. I am sweaty. I am panicked. The train stalls. Don't STALL! GO!

8:55 We are back in business. How bad was the wait? Take two minutes to brush your teeth with a pumice stone.

8:58 Train stalls on Manhattan Bridge I am thinking, I have 24 minutes before I lose my second chance to perform.

9:00 Back in business. How bad was the wait? Spend two minutes inhaling the aroma of a package of baloney.

9:05 Stalls between Prince and 14th Street (WHY?)

9:10 Stalls between 14th and 23rd (WHY ME?)

9:13 Stalls between 23rd and 28th. (Oh, why not?)

9:14 Stalls after moving a few feet. I have no way to call the club underground, but it is pretty clear I am missing the 9:22 spot.

It is one thing to have to skip movie previews and another to be late to work, but I had a deeper level of disappointment. It's like the train missed my little league championship for a business trip. With its secretary.

By 9:17 a full on delay was declared. "Attention Ladies and gentlemen hmmmshrmfmf smoke on 5th avenue hmmshrmfm punctuality is for nerds mdmgsjdfhth I have to do my sudoku." I threw in the towel. The train inched towards 34th St and shut down completely. I called the club from above ground and apologized for the drunken uncle that ruined my prom.

I was able to head back down town towards the East Village to catch Matt Ruby's Flying Carpet show. No stage time, but Jesse Pop and Matt McCarthy made me forget my troubles. Then I ducked out briefly for some dumplings down the street and got monsooned upon.

Delusions of Spandex

Here's some of the stuff that goes down at the best sketch show in the city, Delusions of Spandex:

Abbi Crutchfield as Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse croons and samples the "Minty drinks they leave in the hotel bathroom".

Rob, Barry and Mike of The Straight Men and Jake Serlen

The Straight Men put on a sketch that involves audience interaction, an often-featured promiscuous old Southern lady character, and Mike Ennis in a unitard.

Jake and Marcus of Bacivo Nuggets

The Bacivo Nuggets revolutionize iJunk before Steve Jobs can.

Luke Thayer as Tony Francione, Sports Radio Guru

Sports radio guru (and emotional wreck) Tony Francione swears on his Pop's grave.

Luke Thayer as Tony Francione, Sports Radio Guru

Catch Tony tonight at Matt Ruby's Flying Carpet at Rififi (9:45PM)!

Matt Ruby as an Insanely Wealthy Comic

Speaking of Ruby, he bears a striking resemblance to this "insanely wealthy" comic.

Be sure to check out the next Delusions of Spandex show on Saturday April 26th!

Phaea & Becca's Delusions of Spandex
Parkside Lounge
317 E. Houston (@ Attorney)
New York, NY 10002