Saturday, March 19, 2005

The woes of a guitar comic

The woes of being a guitar-playing comedian

Recently I did an industry showcase in L.A., which means I did a set at the Hollywood Improv on a night when casting people, talent scouts and producers were in the crowd evaluating comics. These types of shows are very nerve-wracking and we comics prepare and stress out over them for weeks.

I have to say I was really happy with my set and the crowd reaction. I got them on my side doing material that I’m proud of, intelligent and at times personal without sacrificing the funny. After the show I was on a high, having done well in a high-pressure situation, and I got a lot of nice compliments.

And yet…

I talked Joey Edmonds, who put the show together, and he was telling me how great the tape looked and how much he enjoyed my set (I love it when agent/managers pump up your ego); but he was also able to slip in the fact that one of the industry people left the minute I pulled out my guitar.

“He’d seen too many terrible guitar acts” Joey said.

I’ve gotten used to the looks of disdain from other comics whenever I walk into a comedy club with a guitar case in my hand. I’ve gotten used to being introduced to industry types and seeing them check out of the conversation the minute the introducer mentions I play guitar in my act. I’ve gotten used to being thought of as a lesser member of the comedy world, in the steerage section with prop comics, magicians and ventriloquists. All of these slights and snubs have become part of my existence and I’d like to think I carry my burden with a touch of grace and some level of class, so I didn’t get angry when Joey told me that someone walked out. I just said to myself, “this is the way things are.”

On the upside, Joey said another industry type asked the guy who left if he had seen my act, and when he replied that he left due to the guitar he was told that he should have stayed, that he missed a really good one.

If it’s true it’s a nice story. If it’s not I’ll believe it anyway.

It’s really all I can do. I’ve been a musician all of my life and music will therefore be a big part of my comedy. Giving up something I feel I’m really good at just because it will cost me opportunities just doesn’t seem right. And I feel equally strongly that it’s wrong to do a song for the morning radio/blue collar comedy crowd just because that’s what’s expected of me and that’s what’s seen as the best way for me to break out.

I would simply like to ask the guy who left if he had ever seen a bad standup before, and if that kept him from watching other standups in the future. If I ever become an industry guy that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to shut out stand up comedians from every project I do, all with the excuse “I’ve seen a lot of bad standups, there’s a chance you could be one of them.”

“What, you just stand there and talk? We already have a guy that does that. We can’t have two people that stand and talk on the same show.”

“Oh jeez, here comes the guy with the notebook. I bet he’s going to do a lot of material about public bathrooms, and farts, and how he hates to go shopping with his wife.”

So yeah, I’ll just keep doing my thing. And if you someday hear me on syndicated morning radio doing a song about a dog pooping in my living room or how fat my wife is you’ll know that I’ve truly sold out. Pray for my soul.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Congrats to Bar Sepia!

Last night was the one year anniversary party for the coolest neighborhood bar in Brooklyn, Bar Sepia. The first year is always the toughest and they've been rockin through the winter months and are ready to start a great second year.

Congrats to Delissa, Eliya, and everyone!

(234 Underhill, Prospect Heights yo!)

Friday, March 04, 2005

Best Sci Fi Title Ever!

So I stayed in tonight--after a long week of being a rock star and doing some undercover field work during the day I had lots of domestic duties to attend to--and I was rewarded with a promo for the best title of a science fiction made for t.v. movie ever. Are you ready for this?


That's right, half man, half mosquito.

If I were a producer and someone pitched me this idea all they would have to say to me is "mansquito" and I would have authorized the highest budget under my command.

I'm so happy I live in a world in which a movie like Mansquito exists.

Mansquito will be the most successful made for sci fi t.v. movie ever and I'm already working on pitching some ideas for sequels. These are all copyright 2005 Paravonian so the millions are mine, sorry.

ManDingo Half man, half Australian dingo, kind of like a wolf man.

Manmur Mostly found in Madagascar, the manmur is half man, half lemur.

Manny Devito half man, half Danny Devito.

Manfredo a human frame, but flesh has been replaced by alfredo sauce.

Manodge Artois Half man, half Dodge pickup that runs on Stella Artois.

I think that last one will send my kids to college.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Oscar awards they didn't present

Now that the Acadamy Awards are over and all of the anticipation we put into not giving a crap has passed, I'd like to recognize some people and categories that were overlooked this year. Here are some awards I would like to bestow on some of Hollywood's best, complete with cheesy introductions:

Most Over-Hyped Actor in a Box Office Bomb

Sometimes actors get too big, they’re are on too many magazine covers, they’re the subject of too many entertainment news segments, and we get so tired of seeing their spa-treated faces everywhere that we secretly hope and yearn for them to be taken down a peg. That’s why when an actor on this level of exposure is in a movie that absolutely tanks at the box office we feel a sense of joy and relief, an emotional response we could never get from the film itself.
We would like to recognize these actors who have brought a moment of joy into our sad, pathetic lives, and that’s why it gives me great pleasure to present the award for Most Over-Hyped Actor in a Box Office Bomb.

The nominees are:

Ben Affleck in Jersey Girl
Jude Law in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (cost 70 mil, took in 37 mil)
Collin Ferrell in Alexander (cost 155/took in 35 domestic)
Brad Pitt in Troy (cost 150/took in 133 domestic)
Billy Bob Thornton in The Alamo (cost 92/took in 22 domestic)

And the Oskar goes to: (and by the way, does anyone even remember they released a film called "The Alamo" last year?)

Colin Farrell in Alexander.

The Blair Witch Award for Best Pretend Grass Roots Marketing

The fusion of Douglas Rushkoff's concept of the media virus and the communication revolution of the internet have ushered in a new era of marketing and advertising, especially for the movie industry. No longer is it enough to buy ad space and invite Entertainment Weekly to the premiere. Movie marketers must generate word of mouth on internet sites, in chat rooms, and niche publications from PC Modder to Cat Fancy.

A movie's financial success depends on this grass roots marketing being properly faked. To recognize these efforts, we will present the Blair Witch Award for Best Pretend Grass Roots Marketing.

The nominees are:

Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism
Farenheit 911
Open Water
starring Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah (you should see some of the fake posts they put up on bbs, still didn't work though)
Broken Lizard's Club Dread (this group's biggest accomplishment before Super Troopers was headling the Duplex, a piano bar in the village, yet they assemble money to make films. Good work!)

And the Oskar goes to:

Open Water, a movie that proves the old show business addage: You Need a Gimmick!

Best Porn Title Parody of an Actual Film

The world of pornography and the world of mainstream movies rarely cross over. But when they do, that grey area between Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley fills with awkward stares, blushing cheeks, and stifled giggles. Nowhere is this more evident than when the title of a pornographic film is inspired by a film from Hollywood. Now the award for Best Porn Title Parody of an Actual Film.

First of all, there were many honorable mentions, including: Rodzilla, the Original Japanese Version, The Sperminal, A Day Without a Mexican Prostitute, The Whole Ten Inches, The Lady Skewers, Shaolin Soccer Moms I’d Like To F#$&, and Along Came Polly.

The nominees are:

The In-Bedibles
Hotel I Want Ya
(I think that’s a German film)
The Chronicles of Red Dick
And Supersize Meat

And the Oskar goes to:

Supersize Meat