Monday, July 30, 2007

Busy Weekend Part 2--New Video and a Show!

O.K., so this post won't be as exciting as the George Carlin story, but it's still fun because I finally made another episode of my video podcast Life as a Comic"!

Video thumbnail. Click to play
Click To Play

I premiered it at my Session at the P.I.T. show this past Saturday and it got a really nice response from the crowd. I had sent out an email promoting the premiere of the new episode in order to force a deadline on myself, so Friday and part of Saturday were spent editing like crazy in order to get it ready for the show, but it all worked out and I'm pretty happy with it.

And the show was a lot of fun too. There were some new faces in the crowd which is always fun, I got to mix in some different material, and it was cool to be back at the P.I.T. where I did my most recent one-man show.

Thanks to the folks at the sketch group Spurn for giving me their time slot for the night.

Hope you like the new episode!

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Busy Weekend Part 1--George Carlin

This has been a pretty amazing weekend, starting on Thursday when I got a call to see if I was available to be the opening act at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom for comedy legend George Carlin. The call came in just after noon, and the New Hampshire spot was about a 5 hour drive from my apartment (under perfect driving conditions, which never seem to exist when driving through Massachusetts), so it was going to be close, so I basically dropped everything and jumped in my car, guitar at the ready.

I got to the venue, which is huge and holds over 1,500 people and is definitely the largest place I've ever played, and quickly tried to make myself presentable. When Mr. Carlin showed up backstage and was being introduced to me he asked, "where's our Armenian comedian?" which cracked me up, mostly because that meant he had actually been told my name. Not only that, he said he watched some of my YouTube clips on his iPhone during the drive in. How cool is that?

I was brought on stage as many people were still getting seated and getting their first round of drinks--such is the lot of an opening act--so there was a bit of a buzz in the room, but the crowd came together, I did my best half hour and I left to a nice ovation. Carlin's folks were happy, I was happy, and the crowd was ready to see their headliner.

There was a 20-minute intermission to give the folks a chance to get a drink, buy a t-shirt, etc., and then the lights went down. The crowd cheered. From off stage a voice simply said, "ladies and gentlemen, George Carlin," and the place went nuts. Several people stood. The man nearly gets a standing O. walking on the stage. Pretty effing cool.

He worked on a lot of new stuff, and it was great not only to watch him perform but to see how much adoration he got from the crowd. Not only that, he's 70 years old (though doesn't seem 70) and he still loves to perform. I have a lot of respect for that.

So how the heck did they find me? Well, I have been scheduled to open for him for a few dates in November, but I haven't really mentioned it too much because things in show business sometimes fall through and it's always awkward to retract something cool that was supposed to happen. That's why some of us performers keep things under our hats for a while.

But now that I've at least done one show for them, I guess I can let the cat out of the bag. I'm scheduled to open for him November 2, 3, & 4. I'll post the venue info when it comes in.

It's definitely one of the biggest thrills of my comedy career thus far, and the fact that it came up at the last minute and involved a madcap drive up to New Hampshire gave the whole episode a sense of adventure.

Thanks to everyone at the venue, everyone was really nice and helpful, and I even had my own dressing room with snacks! I've hit the big time.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My night at a music open mike

Last night I decided to try to break out of my comfort zone by going to a music open mic here in Brooklyn, and boy howdy, if my goal was to be uncomfortable I accomplished it and then some.

Open mikes are social animals; there are regulars, the group of people that runs the open mike, friends of the people that run the open mike, etc. Going to an open mike solo and unknown is always a little odd, like being at the new kid school, but this is part of why I went, to put myself in a different environment.

I was prepared to stick to myself, not get too worried if no one talked to me, and even to not really mind if people talked while I was playing. So when I went up at midnight and people in the audience saw that it was someone they didn't know, they used the opportunity to pick up their conversations where they had left off the last time someone they didn't know was on stage.

This was all fine, and expected.

What was unexpected was the aftermath, the way people avoid you if they think no one else liked you. It's like there's a contaminate cloud of unlikeability hovering around you and if they get too close or make eye contact it will contaminate them too.

Whoo! Hadn't felt that in a while. I can now write an angsty high school comedy because I just relived those moments in the cafeteria at the beginning of the year when you don't know if anyone you know has the same lunch period and you have no idea where to sit. You walk slowly with your tray in your hands looking over the tables, as if there would be some sort of assigned seating or a place card with your name on it.

Good times people.

Actually, the one person that talked to me all night (before I performed) came up to me and said "I'm glad I came tonight because I proved to myself that everyone's doing the same thing."

"Huh?"

"It's all the same song, everyone's playing the same song with different lyrics."

I didn't agree, I actually thought the talent level was really good, so I asked, "you came here and stayed all night because you don't like it?"

Then he said that he came to prove to himself that everyone was the same and so that he could see what not to do because he wanted to keep it real, change it up, you know, put something on stage that was different. he guaranteed "come next week, you'll see some shit."

And that's another constant of open mikes: there's always at least one bitter and delusional artist.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Blog Post brought to you by...

I follow the Chicago Cubs pretty closely and the other week I was excited to see that Cubs' outfielder Alfonso Soriano was named National League Player of the Week.

At least, I thought he was named National League Player of the Week. It turns out he was actually named "Bank of America Presents the National League Player of the Week."

Rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? And when he was named player of the month for June it was "National League Player of the Month Presented by Sharp." But that was a little cooler because Sharp actually sent him some free HDTVs. They didn't say what he got for Player of the Week, I'm guessing free checking?

Soon I think athletes are going to have to include their sponsors names in their own. Soon instead of hearing things like "LeBron James scored a triple double," it will be "Gatorade Presents LaBron James scored a triple double." Or "Nike Air Tiger Woods wins the Masters!"

Maybe this could help the Cubs come up with enough money next year to keep Zambrano.