Tuesday, March 31, 2009

We Be Bloggin'

I will be speaking at this year's Brooklyn Blog Fest. So if you like comedy blogs (which you do since you're reading this), and you like to visit Brooklyn (which you must judging from that pizza stain on your hooded sweatshirt), then come down to this festival and network with other transplanted MidWesterners.

Brooklyn Blogfest 2009
May 7th at 7 p.m.
powerHouse Arena in Dumbo

For the most current information and to register online: go to brooklynblogfest.com

Find out why Brooklyn is the bloggiest place in America at the Fourth Annual Brooklyn Blogfest on May 7, 2009 7 p.m. at powerHouse Arena in DUMBO.

Fourth Annual Brooklyn Blogfest
May 7, 2009
Doors open at 7 p.m.
powerHouse Arena
37 Main Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Admission: $10. ($5 for students and seniors)

Brooklyn Blogfest 2009
Insight. Advice. Inspiration. Resources.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ask Abbi: Pre-Show Rituals?

Andrew of socetew.com asks:

Do you have any good luck rituals before a show?

Thanks for reaching out through Facebook! Readers, if you haven't done so yet, add me as a facebook friend. We'll be that much closer in this big, wide world. Before such technology, we had to wait weeks for mail to arrive by postman on a horse. Then we had to feed him stew for his journey back. Then we had to apologize for the lack of meat because the drought took out our best cattle. Then we had to return to our needlepoint and listen to the sound of dust blowing over dust.

I do not have good luck rituals before a show but I have rituals. On the train to a show, I open my notebook, write and underline the title of the show, the time it starts, the date, and then a set list. Even if I'm doing a character.

Borscht 8:00PM 3/20/09
(Erykah Badu)

Chinese Herb
JD Salinger - Ghostbusters
Paperclip Underwear
Dirt 4 Dinner
Wilfred Brimley
Crank Calls
Baby Corn
Freestyle song

This might be similar to what a lot of people do, but even if I know my set, I write it down. I like to catalog things. It helps me not to repeat jokes if I come back to places. After the set, I circle any bits I forgot, I check off the jokes that worked, and I add a note about an ad-lib that worked or a mistake I made.

Other rituals include engaging the audience before a show starts, which is a habit from my dinner theater days when we had to mingle in character, and I kid around with comics beforehand to get in the mood to tell jokes. Then I stab a voodoo doll shaped like the host.

Feel free to post your questions for Abbi in the comments section, to be answered in a later post, or write curlycomedy (at) yahoo.com with "Ask Abbi" in the Subject.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Nyack-ety-yack (Don't Talk Back)

Had a gig in Nyack, NY this past weekend.

Luke Thayer, Chauffeur
We carpooled, with Luke driving,

Abbi Crutchfield, Back Seat Driver
me back-seat driving,

Entourage: Matt Little, Kevin McCaffrey, J-L Cauvin
and Matt Little, Kevin McCaffrey, and J-L Cauvin in tow.

The show was Comedy Night, in a cozy Latin fusion cafe with a theme of religious relics. A section of the crowd, one table up front, were Comedy Night regulars, and apparently their tastes were a little refined. Each of us had completely different material, and none of it was to this table's liking. Out of the three men and three women seated together, two of the women were stone-faced, one woman had commentary for every performer, two of the men stared down and sat with their hands clasped over their mouths. The third man turned his whole body away from the stage to show his distaste. The entire show.

Some of us went blue, some of us were clean, all of us talked about life experiences which differed from one another. Here were the topics that did not go over well with these people:

Being raised by a single parent
Being raised by both parents
Being single
Being engaged
Being black
Being white
Being black and white
Having a job
Being unemployed
Being religious
Hating religion
Happy that Obama is in office
Not liking that Obama is in office
Ambivalent now that Obama is in office

These people were like Teflon. Nothing stuck to them. Nothing resonated with them or seemed to come close to what they live through each day. Apparently they were cleverly disguised aliens from another planet. Talking to them did not help, ignoring them did not help. Finally, we squeezed a few chuckles out of them.

Here's what did well, or at least inspired one woman in the front to start talking loudly with us:

Ad-libbing about the objects in the room
Asking what they wanted to hear about (answer: Spring time. Unfortunately this answer came at the end of the last performer's set)

But what do you want? It's not the Big City. Like I said, their tastes are little refined.

Special Nyack Pairing: Coffee and Sandwich

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Need the Antidote

I know a blog is for communicating complex math-based codes to extra-terrestrials, but for a moment, I would like to address what's happening in my life as if this website were an outlet.

I got schooled by my fiance and fellow-comedian Luke Thayer tonight. We were talking about a show he did at Karma that was a booked open mic and turned out to have ample audience but a dearth of performers. Result: he got, and made use of, gratuitous stage time. I explained the lack of performers by musing that a lot of comics might not FEEL like doing open mics, and he shook his head in disbelief. I indignantly added, "Some comics might prefer to grow by folding socks and eating cereal."

Writing you on this blog right now is in violation of my sister's plan, "Operation: Comedy on the Shelf While Wedding Gets Planned", and contradicts Luke's mantra that I need to do less in order to focus on stand-up comedy more.

I amuse readers here, I write reviews of shows on a comedy site, I write funny paragraphs for a parenting blog, I tape and edit a weekly parody of the First Lady, I produce a live comedy hour twice a month (featuring new material in the form of characters or the latest version of my stand-up act), and I raise eight newborn children in addition to my six toddlers.

This would not be so bad if I didn't also insist on networking via Twitter, Facebook and Myspace, and writing dozens of e-mails a day. All while juggling the minutiae of constructing a wedding (convincing Luke that white tuxedos are for anthropologists). I need the antidote for this poison called activity overload. The good thing about NYC is the possibilities are endless for what you can do creatively. It's like college. Remember how excited you were by the prospect that ANYone could be a campus DJ? The down-side is you lose track of time and fail your Map of the Modern World class, and suddenly you can't GIVE your Limp Bizkit cds away.

Spreading thin only works for Vegemite, and even that's debatable.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ask Abbi: Secret Crush?

Jerrell of jerellprice.blogspot.com asks:

Who were your celebrity crushes growing up? I will accept any answers including:

1. El DeBarge
2. The bongo player from the Miami Sound Machine
3. Dr. Dre (of YO! MTV Raps fame)?

Consulting my journals from age 6 and up, I notice I claim to have had relationships with the following male icons:

Mickey Mouse

Michael Jackson


Hulk Hogan

(You could fry potatoes on that man )

From age nine I start talking about real boys / heterosexuals / people not on steroids, and the stories get significantly less interesting. Why I chose to lie about who I was dating is beyond me. I guess I hoped someone would open my diary and be very impressed with my connections. If anything, I think it explains a lot about why I decided to be a comedian. Because I can lie all I want, and no one will ever know.

Feel free to post your questions for Abbi in the comments section, to be answered in a later post, or write curlycomedy (at) yahoo.com with "Ask Abbi" in the Subject.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Engagement is Off!

Some one else's. Not mine.

I Bristol at the thought of how hard it will be for a single teen mom, but I hope she learns lessons from her family's generosity and is Palin it forward to other young moms in her position. The Tripp to making it to the finish line is probably not to have so much drama and pressure surrounding the marriage. Political advisors killing the mood are a sure thing to make him want to Levi.

In other wedding news, I have a groom, a ceremony venue, a reception venue, an ill-fitted dress that gives me uni-boob, and hors d'oeuvres. I don't have a cake, music, flowers, or a honeymoon. It's time to change some traditions! Now guests will bring their own dessert, we will all make flowers out of colorful crepe paper (it was good enough for the school play), and then George Bailey's friends are going to create a romantic setting in our new dilapidated apartment.

Can our hero put it all together? Will her blog continue to suffer the horrible puns? Tune in next time on Matrimonio Diablo.

Friday, March 6, 2009

My Bachelorette Party / Comedy Roast

I present to you the first bachelorette party that welcomes men and does not ask them to remove their postal uniform. I must admit it's a little odd to be roasted when you haven't established a public persona that people can enjoy. Dean Martin had his drinks, Jack Benny was a cheapskate, Nipsy Russell was a janitor. Anything people hear about me will be new to them and come across as genuine criticism. Or it could all sound like the gentle ribbing that made us groan at the Oscars. But it could go so far as to be super corny, which I would love. "Talk about shallow. She's into men who make a lot of bread. You should see her fawn over the guys at Subway."

The dais includes
Carolyn Castiglia (my hero)
Katina Corrao (my spirit guide)
J-L Cauvin (my son from the future)
Jiwon Li (my cool Asian imaginary friend come to life)
Jennifer Dziura (my intellectual superior)
Nick Cobb (my neighbor and motivator)
Elon James White (my human energy-source)
Dave Lester (my brother from another mother and father)
...who will all be roasted by me at the very end. The gloves come off.

Saturday March 7th, 7:00PM
Ochi's Lounge (downstairs showroom)
353 W. 14th St (8th / 9th aves)
1 drink min

Photo credit:
Aemiessence Fine Arts

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Have Your People Write My People

Take time today to write your sponsored child! Your letters will establish a special relationship between you and the child you sponsor.

The envelope is marked, "Message from Your Sponsored Child". There is the Ethiopian version on the left, and the translated version on the right. Apparently my kid is too young to write in Ethiopian. Or he is a pampered prince whose royal secretary does all of his correspondence.

How I celebrated / will celebrate Christmas:
Dear Sponsor, he celebrated Christmas at Church together with his friends and with happiness.

Question for my sponsor:
Do you have preparation in Church for Christmas?

Please pray:
He wants you to pray about his family. Good bye.

Sincerely: (child's name)
Signed by: (writer's initials, if not written by the child)
Translated by: (some other person's initials)

I wish my name actually were Sponsor (like the famous actor Sponsor Tracy), because then they'd have to find something else to call me to make me feel more removed. For all I know the child may never get my thoughtful, newsy letters because his translator doesn't feel like sitting that long. Or maybe it's my tiny pen pal who can't sit still. "Come here child. It is time to hear from the American. Put down that soccer ball. She had a good comedy show the night she sent this, three months ago. Don't you make faces at me. She is worried that her material is not relatable. She wants to know if you have heard of the Sham Wow. Child! Come back here!"

Dear Pen Pal,
Your sponsor does not think you read her letters. She says either your writer is a cold fish or your translator is underpaid. She is going to learn Ethiopian to see if any humor from your writer is getting lost on the translator. Perhaps it is the Organization that serves as a third filter wringing the letters dry of their warmth, empathy and humanity. She will hide a test word somewhere in here to see if it gets through.
Good fart.

Pooch Envy

My latest post on HipSlopeMama.Blogspot.com is called "Dog Gone Expensive", about pampering your pet and the problems it presents to your neighborhood comic.

The four-legged tornados cannot help but tear up your stuff, and what do you do? Move to calmer climates? No! You get more stuff. I eat from the same instant oats canister each morning. I can’t afford bacon, let alone bacon-shaped treats.

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

Photo credit:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Apiary: Where Dreams Are Pollinated

As a non-mom who contributes to a parenting website called HipSlopeMama.Blogspot.com, I feel obligated to tell you, sometimes I write about stuff I know.

You can also find my writing on TheApiary.org!

What means Apiary, Papa?

In the dictionary, apiary is a fancy word for bee yard, where hives and honeybees are kept. In New York, it's a synonym for online comedy mecca. The editors consider it an "Us Weekly of NYC Comedy", but they're being modest. It's like the People of NYC Comedy, and it even keeps tabs on commercial success outside of Manhattan. Like if you star in an Oscar Meyer commercial in L.A., they'll still praise you as if you did it from Katz's deli.

The Apiary features the Bee-log (links to funny happenings elsewhere on the 'Net), the Honey Shot (a photo or art from the comedy scene) and even asks you to submit your own Buzz. They are also your main head-quarters for non-insect puns like Interviews, New Video Wednesday, and Reviews. I am responsible for the latter. I began by reviewing stand-up shows from a stand-up's perspective. This meant instead of saying, "Gaffigan has good jokes about Hot Pockets," I would say, "After [20] years of performing comfortably he is still evolving what he talks about and how he talks about it." I also do event coverage and reviews of one-person shows.


Richard Belzer, 7/25/08
DailyMotion.com Rooftop Screening, 7/29/08
Rick Overton, 8/18/08
Jim Gaffigan, 9/11/08
Elon James White, 10/20/08
Violet Krumbein, 11/17/08
Joe Powers Benefit Show, 11/25/08
Dave Angelo, 2/17/09
Jen Dziura, 2/24/09