It’s odd that the more I’m forced to write and be creative off of the internet, the more generic my post titles have gotten. Maybe it’s just me. Anyway, I wanted to take this opportunity to throw up some fuzzy statistics from 2014 and to give profuse thanks to some good people down Alabammer way.
The party line on my 2014 comedy-year.
– 100 Open Mic Sets
– 37 Feature Spots
– 19 Headline (or co-headlining) Sets
– Performed in 12 states (including DC)
Additionally, I performed in five character roasts (as a made-up Potter character, Link, Billy Idol, David Lynch, and Bob Cratchit), hosted/produced four episodes of Friendlytown with Jeff Blank, and did one live riff on “White Zombie” with Matthew Chadourne and Paul Simmons that was so much goddamn fun. Numbers are fuzzy since I may have missed some open mics I didn’t mark on my calendar and the QED, Comedy Laboratory shows are too ridiculously great to consider open mics (but I’m counting them in that category here). Not to forget the Ragnarok 3.0 tour with Evan Valentine and all the cool people we met in July.
I’m glad I took the opportunity to head down to Alabama last weekend and do a few shows in Mobile, Auburn, and Montgomery. The shows themselves were a blast (the weekend after Christmas is a fantastic time for that “hey, we’re still in town, what do YOU wanna do?”- crowd to coalesce, and coalesce it did at the Blind Mule Tavern. Special thanks to Steven Street, Maria Wojciechowski, Derek Kopszywa, and Clay Bates. Extra special thanks to Ryan Jetten for being an all-around swell dude and hooking me up with a cool Escape from New York notebook. So much inspiration in Snake Pliskin.
Ryan took me down to Serda’s coffee house the morning after the show, where we bumped into a whole crew of Mobile luminaries. We were standing outside chatting when I looked up and I saw the official Moon Pie sign hanging off a nearby building. I had reached Valhalla.
Not that I remember exactly how the conversation began, but Ryan and a couple of the locals began sharing stories from Katrina, and it hit me what a genuinely great podcast (or at least oral history) that would make: comedians sharing disaster stories. The gulf coast comics would have a wild array of stories about how Katrina and other hurricanes effected them, New York comics could talk about the massive brown-out of 2003, even DC comics (including myself) could talk about the bizarre effect that Snowpocalypse/Snowvechkin500 had on the district area. I wish I had more time these days to get back into podcasting; I miss it.
I headed up to Montgomery to meet up with comics Vern Moody and Trey Brown; we hung out at their friend’s Joe’s place, talked comedy, and played with Joe’s fucking adorable kittens. LOOK AT THEM.
The only real drawback was that Jason Fifi(eld) wasn’t able to join us. It all would have helped soften the blow from hearing that Sammy Stephens had to close the Flea Market Montgomery due to bankruptcy. What a kick in the nuts. The next night, Jason joined us for a drive up to Auburn, where Dave Dettmering set up a show in that town’s finest dive bar, The Balcony.
Thanks to Jason, River Morris, and true metalhead Maurice Smith for opening that show, and of course to Dave for hosting and organizing. The Balcony Bar was fun as hell and I even met a dude from the band Machinist, who I had seen at the Hideaway in Johnson City after doing the Apologies to Follow showcase last summer. We talked pretty intensely about both 90’s and modern emo, LADIES.
I decided to stick around on Tuesday night to headline a special version of Montgomery’s finest open mic at GT South, a gaming bar. Thanks to Vernon for hosting, and to Jason, Trey, Henri Cheramie, and George Collins for hosting/performing there as well. The manager, a fun dude who used to play in a Poison cover band called Cat Dragged In, discussed Def Leppard with me at length afterward. He also shared a fascinating and depressing story about how the venue (which had obviously at one time been a GameStop or something like it) came to get a liquor license out of a social necessity. No idea where this story would have fit in the scheme of things, but it’d be a valid contribution to the recent history of Montgomery, especially since I haven’t been to a place quite like GT South. Needless to say, I’m glad I made the decision to stick around an extra day before heading back up to Knoxville to ring in 2015.
How many of us enjoy comedy, in part, due to the stories we hear from comics, fans, and friends offstage that we would never hear otherwise? I can’t help but think that the stories are at their highest quality (over quantity) when you aren’t famous.