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Road Trip July 15th - Aug. 2nd 2003

I’ve decided to start recounting my adventures again after a lapse of about 3 years. This trip consisted of 15 shows in 18 days and covered over 2000 miles. It took place in South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska. These are places a lot of people do not visit, so I thought I’d give you my take on them. In the next few weeks I’ll be heading to London, Amsterdam, Taipei, and Las Vegas so there will be something for everyone.

The first week consisted of 3 one nighters in South Dakota and a weekend in Sioux City, IA. My first show was in Ft. Thompson, SD and I had to look long and hard on the map just to locate this godforsaken place. It’s kind of in the middle of the state and there is no easy way to get there. I took the red eye to Omaha from LAX, rented a car and drove 350 miles. I figured I get some sleep on the plane and do the drive no problems. Never count on sleeping on the plane. The person next to me would flick on and off the light periodically, waiting just long enough for me to almost fall asleep only to be jerked back into the harsh reality of real life. This sadistic little game went on for 3 hours and as a result I had to drive a rented Dodge Neon for 6 hours on no sleep. I played little games to keep awake. Games like “Pretend you see something interesting”. There’s nothing more boring than driving through South Dakota. If you ask directions people say things like “Just go up and over” and damned if that isn’t the way to get there. Ft. Thompson is smack in the middle of the Crow Creek Indian Reservation. The show was in a casino and I don’t think they advertised much. The “crowd” consisted of 6 Native Americans sitting way in the back. I met the middle act and we both pretty much thought it was gonna be a tough day at the office. It turned out to be fun though. I found out that the Crow Creek Sioux hate the Crow Indians, so I just told a bunch of Pollack jokes and substituted Crow for Pollack. It got a little scary when I let a woman take the mike and tell jokes in Sioux. She killed! It turns out she was making fun of us. She was saying things like “We would scalp this one but someone beat us to it” and stuff like that. Never give up the mic. The next day we drove 150 miles to Aberdeen, SD which is a bigger town.You can tell because it is a circle instead of a dot on the map. I’ve been doing this gig for years and I know most of the people there. It’s at a Ramada Inn and the show is right in the hotel. The show was fun and we went to the local bar afterwards where we hung out with extremely drunken people. The same deal the next day in Watertown, SD where they had 25-cent beer night. The weekend was at a club called Pepperoni’s in Sioux City, Iowa. I’ve worked there many years and my headshots are lined up to show me going bald. They have great pizza there and the crowds are always eating during the show. When somebody laughs pizza through their nose they kinda look like the Zapruder film. Especially when their heads go back and to the left. We had 3 days off so we drove the 500 miles to my Mom’s place in Wisconsin and did some walleye fishing (them are good fer picklin’). Then week 2 started with a show in Iowa City, IA, and the weekend in Cedar Falls. After the Friday show a vivacious busty woman insisted on showing her appreciation for the show by displaying her breasts to us. Kinda like a tip I guess. Turns out she was an off duty stripper.

Road Trip Aug. 8th – Sept. 1st 2003

PALM SPRINGS, COUNCIL BLUFFS, MESQUITE, Amsterdam and London The Casino in Palm Springs is called “Agua Calente” which means “Hot Water” and it was quite apropos because the temp was around 112 in the day and 95 at night. The stage itself lacks a few of the amenities of other clubs… like walls, for instance. It is right in the middle of the casino and there is one long row of people watching and everyone else is gambling with their backs to you. It was like playing to a weird version of “The Last Supper”. A couple of days later I flew to Omaha and performed at a club that was attached to a riverboat casino that went up and down the Mississippi. There was a celebrity golf tournament for old football players going on and some of them came to the show. I was heckled by Conrad Dobler. Way cool. The next day I flew to Las Vegas and drove an hour to Mesquite, NV and worked a casino called Casablanca. This club does it right… walls and everything! It is a place where lots of Mormons go to gamble and do bad things, so I was performin’ for the Mormons.

Next I had a few weeks open so I decided to go to Amsterdam and London with some buddies. I figured I’d check out the comedy scene and take in the wild life of Amsterdam before they start making stuff Illegal. There are 2 comedy clubs in Amsterdam that cater to Dutch and English speaking crowds. One is called Toomler and it’s a Thurs. – Sat. gig, seats about 80 and they put you up at the Hilton. The other one is called the Comedy Café and it does more Improv and performance stuff than straight stand up. While walking around Amsterdam I learned to keep my mouth shut. I forgot how harsh the American accent sounds to people in Europe. When you walk by groups of people, they will often repeat what you say and laugh. Either that or chant “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry!”. I was traveling with an American comedian and two Rugby players – one Irish and one New Zealander. Between the two of them there was never a fart free moment. I think they actually exhaled through their asses. I never felt threatened when those guys were around. They chased off pickpockets and led us to the best hash bars our limited Euros could buy. A Euro spends pretty much like a buck so it was an easy conversion. Getting the munchies in Amsterdam can be detrimental to one’s waistline. On every corner there’s a Kabob place, and we ate more lamb than you can shake a skewer at. The hotel rooms left a little to be desired. Space is limited and the stairs are more like ladders. Bikes are everywhere and they don’t slow down for people. London is one of the coolest cities I’ve seen. The comedy clubs are plentiful and the comedians come in a wide range of varieties. Most American comedians I saw over there are loud and obnoxious. So are the American tourists. Most of the British comedians I met don’t like American comics and they let you know. The Big clubs over there are Jongleurs and the Comedy Store. The crowds are very heckling orientated, so you’d better be ready to give it out when you hit the stage there. It’s hard to find a comeback when you can’t understand the drunken slur of a Gaelic Scotsman. Next I’m off to Taipei, Taiwan to attend my brother’s wedding… should get some material out of that. I do a week in Vegas at the Palace Station Casino mere hours after returning, so stay tuned for the next installment.

Road Trip Taipei and Vegas Sept. 8th – 28th 2003

The flight to Taipei was on Malaysian Air and I highly recommend them if you’re traveling to the Far East. I got a sweet deal ($450.00 round trip!) on a non-stop flight from Los Angeles to Taipei. Taipei is the largest city on the Island of Taiwan which is considered to be part of China…. Unless you talk to the Taiwanese. Unlike Amsterdam and London, Taipei is not a tourist city meaning not much English was spoken. I speak no Mandarin so I had to rely on gestures, facial expressions, and voice inflections to communicate. It worked but I felt like Marcel Marceau. The temperature stayed around the century mark and it was humid. My Chinese name was Large Sweaty Man. Westerners enjoy a semi-celebrity status and I was stared at and followed around by children when I was out and about. I was there for my brother’s wedding to a Taiwanese woman so I got to experience how another culture does the whole marriage thing.

It starts with the Groom and 6 of his friends (representing warriors) go to the bride’s mother’s house to ask for her blessing. My brother did not have 6 male friends so my Mom and my Aunt had to be warriors. The Bride’s mother served us tea and when we finished we stuck a red envelope with money in the empty cup. The Mother then counts the money and decides if she will allow the groom to marry her daughter. Then they exchange rings and we all go out and drink lots of beer. Then we come back to the Mother’s house and they ask the groom a series of questions. If he passes this test we are allowed back in and the bride is his. Then we all went to the reception, which was like an American reception – open bar and the omnipresent drunk uncle who makes a fool of himself. The flight back was nice too. It took 12 hours. Taipei is 15 hours ahead of LA. I got back 3 hours before I left. It worked in my favor because I forgot my watch, so I just called myself and reminded me.

20 hours after landing I was in my car driving to Las Vegas. I worked the Palace Station and they treated me very well. I had a corner suite on the 11th floor overlooking the Strip. I was featuring so I only had to do a 20 min show so it was cake. The crowds are not your comedy savvy audiences I’m used to so I had to cater my set a little. The Fire alarm went off during my set on Wednesday and my ad libs during the 5 min siren went over better than my act. Next up I have a week in LA and a week at “Catch A Rising Star” in Reno. More on that in my next installment.

Reno and The Las Vegas Comedy Festival
Oct. 7th – Nov. 1st 2003

I flew into Reno. It’s cheaper than driving although the 395 can be a fun drive. I worked the “Catch” at the Silver Legacy Casino; one of the nicest casinos in Reno and the club is pretty good too. It’s a six-day run and they give you three passes to the buffet every day. Burp! On Thursday I stuck a quarter in a video poker machine and won $100.00 (4 aces and a deuce). All in all it was a good week at the office. After a few days off in LA I was off to the 2nd annual Las Vegas Comedy Festival at the Stardust Casino. I drove right by the huge fire and the smoke stayed in the air all the way into Vegas. It cleared up the next day, but it was strange to drive into the city and not see the buildings until you were a mile from the strip. The festival was a gathering of comics and comedy industry related people performing and giving seminars on the various aspects of the Biz. Thursday I went to Shelly Berman’s wonderful talk about the history of comedy, saw the Smothers Brothers perform, and did my showcase. I was an invitee, which meant I was invited to do a showcase and I was lucky enough to perform with such great comedians as Bobby Collins, Rocky LaPorte, Vince Morris, and others. On Friday I hosted a round of the Competition, went to a few seminars, had lunch at the Harlem Globetrotter Luncheon, and at night I did 2 shows at the Santa Fe Station Casino. It was Halloween and that is notoriously the worst night to do comedy. The “crowd” consisted of 6 people in costume not laughing. A guy in a clown suit was in the front row smoking a cigarette and crossing his arms. It was eerily ironic to say the least. Afterwards I went back to the Festival and had a few beers at the after party and traded road stories with my pals. On Saturday I went to some seminars and performed in a mock fashion show dressed up as a rabid Packer Fan – what a stretch! Downtown Julie Brown was on hand as well. Then I did a
radio interview for and I had to do 2 more shows at the Santa Fe so I missed the big award banquet. I hear they had some so so comics perform and then Pat Cooper went up and killed by cutting everybody and everything about the festival down. It was a fun festival, albeit not very well organized. It was cool to hang with such people as Norm Crosby, Jack Carter, Eddie Brill, Brad Upton, Kermit Apio, and Kevin Kearney and have a few laughs. I met some nice folks such as Brian McKim and Traci Skene of and they have a much more in-depth account of the festival on their website. I’m in Calgary Alberta this week at Yuk Yuks Comedy Club and if anything fun happens I’ll let ya know in my next installment.

April 04

I worked the Zanies in St. Charles, actually – not Chicago per se but close enough. The Chicago Zanies is located in the middle of downtown Chicago – the St. Charles one is in a rich suburb at a resort called the Pheasant Run. The clubs been around for 20 years and they sent a limo to bring me to and from the airport and my room was overlooking the golf course. Weeks like this kind of spoil me, but I was brought back to Earth the next week. I worked a 5-year-old room in Omaha, NE called Jokers. This is kind of a “no frills” week where they put the comedians up at a “condo”. The word “condo” can strike fear into the hearts of most performers because sometimes they are not the best accommodations. This one was nice however. It was in a big building that had been renovated and it was downtown. I woke every morning to the sound of bums working the bus stop for change. The crowds at Jokers are not easy, so you have to be ready for anything. They like to participate more than listen so if you go into it with that frame of mind it goes smoother. At any point a member of the staff might walk up on stage and bring a shot or just tell you something they think you will find of interest. It was fun. The next week was in Tucson at a club called “Laffs”. Also a condo week, this one was not what you might call stellar accommodations. They have been around for about 15 years and I don’t think the condos carpet has been cleaned in that time. But as scary as the digs are, it’s ok because the crowds are great. The club is owned and run by a comedian, Scotty Goff, and he knows how to run a professional show. They pack ‘em in every night – Tuesday through Saturday – and the place holds about 250. He threw in a one nighter at an Indian Casino on Monday so I wouldn’t have an idle day. The 200-mile drive to the Hon-Dah Casino in Pinetop, AZ was spectacular. Fun week at the office. Next week is the Boston Comedy Festival and competition, so I’m sure there will be an interesting story from that week.

The Boston Comedy Festival April '04

I finished up my week at Laffs in Tucson Saturday night and Sunday I caught a noon flight to Los Angeles, grabbed a cab home and had a whole 6 hours until I had to leave for the airport again. That's plenty of time to do laundry, pay bills and get sick of LA again. I coulda done it in 3 hours. Anyhoo, I flew to Boston with my buddy Jonathan Thymius and split the cost of the week with him. It's the only way to do the Boston Festival if you're not a big star who gets everything gratis. We're just blue-collar comedians, so we got a room at the Park Plaza for the week for 500 smackers which is a bargain (or Bahgin). It was a comedy festival and competition where 96 contestants would eventually get paired down to 8 finalists, the winner of which would receive 10 grand. The first night I did a set at the Comedy Connection for "The Boston Tea Party" part of the Fest. The Connection is located in the historic section of Boston and is one of the best clubs in the country. Tuesday a great guy named Ed Regal let me do a set at his club called the Emerald Isle, so I could get my competition set tuned up. Wednesday was my night to do the competition and that was at a club called "The Vault". This is one of those clubs that has been around for years and has a reputation as a tough room. It's downstairs from a loud bar and the place holds about 50 people. There were about 30 there for the show and half of them were friends of a local comic who was in the competition. I had some tough competition including Daryl Lenox and Tom Cotter (The guy who won the whole thing on Saturday). There were 12 of us and only 2 could go through to the semi-finals. I came in 4th. I was happy with my set - I did the material I wanted to do, so no complaints from me. It's tough to be judged, but if my Mom was on the panel I'm sure I woulda made it through. My Buddy Jonathan didn't make it either so when the Semi final competition took place (in our hotel) we were just observers. I saw no harm in having a few libations as I watched my fellow comedians put their nerves through the wringer. Someone suggested doing a few shots. What the heck, I thought, all I had to do was get myself upstairs and pass out in my own bed. Around 10 pm my manager (the wonderful and talented Barb North) came up to me and said "Rob, I just heard that you are supposed to do a show tonight". It was the best of the people who didn't make the semis. "When?" I slurred. (you wouldn't think you could slur the word "when", but I did. "Right now at the Vault." Well, we zoomed down to the Vault (3 blocks away) just in time to watch the act before me. Barb usually gives me good advice before I go onstage like "focus" or "remember your agenda" this time she just said "don't slur". I had a fun set and I don't think anyone knew I was sloshed. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. The finals were great - everyone had a fantastic set. I'm just glad I don't have to judge comedy because everyone was funny in their own way. Tom Cotter, Danny Bevins, and Tom Simmons were the top three but they all won in my book. Everyone ended up partying in our room until 4am. That was the best part of the whole competition for me - just hanging with my fellow comedians, sharing stories and catching up with some old friends. Comedians are the coolest people in the world and I'm proud to be one. Now it's off to another shit gig, so I'll tell ya about it next time.


May-Aug. ’04

Oops! I let a few months go by – sorry. Let’s see… I last wrote in April and it’s the end of Aug. now. I’ll just do a quick recap of the past 4 months. I flew to London in May – saw some great theatre. The best was Othello done in modern dress. I made a few connections for future comedy work in the city, ate some fish’n’chips and flew back. In June I did the Bob and Tom Radio Show and the Skyline Comedy Club. The Bob and Tom Show was a blast. It is syndicated in 150 markets and has millions of listeners. You can hear selected cuts from the interview on their website and go to the archives section. The airdate was June 15th, 2004.

In July I did some roadwork. I drove up the coast to Monterey, CA. It was awesome with the ocean in view the whole way. Then back to LA where my buddy K.P. Anderson (one of the producer/writers from “Last Comic Standing”) had a poker night at his house. It was professionally done with dealers and tables set up in his back yard. I had never played Texas Hold’em so I watched it on ESPN the night before and with beginners luck I came in 2nd out of 45 guys. Now I’m hooked on watching it on TV. The next day my buddy Jonathon Thymius and I drove to Missoula, MT from LA (1,200 mi), then Idaho Falls, and Billings, MT for a week of what we in the comedy biz call a “Tribble Run”. The guy who books it, Dave Tribble, has been booking comedy for years and it’s always an adventure doing one of his runs. I had to do about an hour and a half per night and the crowds were pretty drunk and rowdy. It was a fun challenge. It’s kind of like running a marathon and doing ten min. sets in LA is like wind sprints. A good all-round comedian should be adept at both. The whole tour was around 3000 miles and Jonathon and I split the gas and driving so it wasn’t so bad. We drove through some beautiful sunsets and sunrises, and saw some wonderful scenery driving through the canyons of Arizona and the valleys of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. What a great country we live in!

Then I did casino in Nevada and a week at “Catch a Rising Star” in Albuquerque, MN. I flew to the “Catch” gig and it was the third week they had been doing comedy there so the crowds were thin but appreciative. The club is in the “Old Town” section and at night it gets real scary. By midnight the streets were filled with drunk, rowdy people looking for fights, and cops on horses trying to keep order. It looked like a riot to me but I was told it was just another weekend night. The next week they had Gary Goldman and Jay London from Last Comic Standing performing there. I hope they got bigger crowds than we had. The next week I did a private show at a country club in Henderson, NV. I was lucky enough to catch a ride with Kira Soltonovitch (from the TV show Girls Behaving Badly) who was doing a one nighter in Mesquite so we split the gas and made a fun trip out of it. Then I flew back to Appleton, WI where my brother, Scot, and his wife, Maggie (who’s wedding you read about in my Sept. ’03 road story) had an American ceremony to renew their vows. It was nice to get the clan together for a fun reason. My relatives come from all over the country – and now Taipei too – so we had quite a mix. At the end of April I did two weeks of work in the Midwest. It was Iowa City, La Crosse, WI, and Cedar Falls, IA one week and Aberdeen, SD and Sioux City, IA the next. I did these about 9 months ago, so you can read those stories again if you want.

Next up I have some one nighters in the SoCal area and a week at the Palace Station in Vegas so stay tuned for that.

                             Vegas and Northern Canada Sept. 14th – Oct. 23rd 

 The first week I worked at the Palace Station Casino in Las Vegas.  I was there a year ago (see Sept. ’03 road story) right after Taipei.  It’s a Tues. – Sat. gig, good $ and a real nice staff.  The first night the headliner’s plane was delayed so they called my room and asked if I had enough material to do a 40 min. fill in.  I told them “No problem, I’ve got so much material it’s not even funny.” Luckily it was a packed crowd and they were into me so I had a great set.  Maybe next time I work there I’ll see MY name up in large plastic letters.  The casino is off the Strip and it’s a 20 min. shuttle ride to the heart of Vegas if you feel the need to go.  The Palace Station has everything you need – Bars, shows, pools & Jacuzzis and caters at all your gambling needs. 

The next week I flew to Edmonton, Alberta for a 23-day tour of Western Canada.  The comedy club chain is called Yuk Yuks and the first week was in Grande Prairie which is a 5-hour drive north of Edmonton. I don’t think much happens in Grande Prairie because the big story on the front page of the Grande Prairie newspaper was “Woman Finds Spider in Her Grapes”.  They had a picture of the spider in a jar and everything.  Then they went on to talk about how many times spiders have been found in grapes and how dangerous it was to buy grapes and the back page was a full page add for grapes.  I got some mileage from that onstage.  The crowds were good for the most part, but each show had at least one heckler who was so drunk they couldn’t even form the words to heckle.  It was like being interrupted every five minutes by a pirate with turrets syndrome.  The next week was in Edmonton.  The club holds about 3 or 4 hundred and they pretty much fill it every day (Tues. – Sat.).   

The next week was in Calgary and this club also packs ‘em in every night. I had great shows all week and got some new bits worked out.  On Saturday night before the first show, a large drunk man was complaining about his seating arrangement and started getting violent.  He was told to leave and his response was to hurl a large heavy pint glass across the room as hard as he could.  It flew 50 feet and smashed against the wall where the comics were sitting.  Luckily the comic who was in the direct path saw it coming and ducked.  It would have killed him for sure.  It left a deep scar in the plaster wall and one comic suffered a small cut from the flying glass.  The drunk was hustled out of the club, we jotted down his license plate and reported him as a drunk driver. After a few days off and spending the Canadian Thanksgiving eating my dinner from the hotel vending machine, I did a one-nighter in Lethbridge, AL.  This is a real blue-collar Alberta town and the place was packed with rowdy, drunk 18 to 25 year olds who came to talk.  The only time I ever got their attention was when I did a bit where I would shout into the microphone and they would shut up out of shock and look angrily up to the stage before continuing their shouting matches.  A long hour at the office for me.  The next day I flew to Vancouver, B.C. and had a beautiful view of the BC Rockies from the plane window. 

Vancouver, British Columbia is one of the coolest cities I’ve ever seen.  The club is smack in the middle of downtown.  When you drive in the skyline looks futuristic with its glittering buildings.  The Club is smack in the middle of downtown and the place is teeming with an eclectic mix of people. They have quite a number of homeless so it was easy to get rd of my Canadian change before I left. The banks take the paper money (which is much nicer than US currency…it looks like Ted Turner got a hold of their treasury) but they won’t take change - Loonies and Toonies (yes that’s what they call the one and two dollar coin) and the dreaded quarter.  You don’t want to try to spend a Canadian quarter in the States.  People treat you like you have leprosy.  The clerk will say stuff like, “Hey, what State has a Caribou on it?”  and, “Why is George Washington wearing a crown?”.  The Club, Yuk Yuks was fairly new and the crowds were mostly young and not too sober.  I found it best to use a barrage of material with quick punch lines as opposed to the more laid back relaxed style.  This was mostly because the crowd had listened to over an hour of other comics (many guest sets) before I got up there and they would start to burn out if I tried the slow thinker stuff.  The comics and staff were wonderful and I downed quite a few Canadians (beer) with them.  I also visited a gentleman’s club called Brandi’s.  The peelers were really buff and did amazing acrobatic things while striping.  It was like Cirque du Solei with boobies!  During the daytime I would explore Stanley Park where I got lost for three hours.  Great aquarium.  The food was awesome in Vancouver.  Lots of Sushi and Donairs (Gyros).  It reminded me a lot of London.  Getting my checks deposited in my American account when I got back was a pain.  You have to get redemption stickers and call a secret number and get a reference code and meet a guy in the back alley and tell him the password.  Afterwards you see how much green stuff you really made and you feel raped.  It was a great adventure.  Now I’m back in LA – got an audition for some reality show this week and I’ll do a few corporate gigs and some in town shows.  If anything exiting happens I’ll let ya know.

Dec. ’04 and Jan. ‘05

I spent the month of Dec. in Wisconsin shoveling snow, doing a few private parties and celebrating Christmas with my Family.  On Dec. 19th I went to the Packer/Jacksonville game on the Frozen Tundra.  It was 15 below – so cold your bratwurst would freeze between bites.  I picked the wrong game to body paint.  I tried to fly standby from Mpls to LA the week after Christmas and after spending two days in the Minneapolis airport I realized it was not gonna happen.  I had to bite the bullet and shell out 600 smackers for a one way.  Ouch. 
     I had a New Years Eve gig in Sedona, AZ at the “Los Abrigados Resort and Spa” so I flew to Phoenix and rented a car and drove the 100 miles to the gig.  My flight was delayed because of weather but I got lucky and flew standby and made it to Sedona with an hour to spare before the first show.  Happy New Year!  Sedona is really beautiful and my suite was top notch.  New Years Eve is a tough night to do comedy.  Especially after they hand out the noisemakers.  The crowds were good though, and we were treated to whatever we wanted to eat and drink. 
     The next week I had more travel woes trying to get to Lexington, KY.  I made the mistake of trying to connect through Chicago.  Avoid Chicago in January.  There was a huge ice and snowstorm and my flight from LA was delayed 4 hours and when I got to Chicago it was a madhouse.  There was only one flight to Lexington left that day and it was delayed and full.  No chance for standby anyway.  I called the club owner and he said if  could get to Louisville he could send someone to get me.  I luckily squeaked by on standby and made that flight but by then it was 8pm and the show had to be cancelled.  I made it to my hotel by 11pm after 15 hours of traveling.  I passed out and got a few hours of sleep before my wake up call at 6am.  I did 3 radio shows that morning and 3 in the afternoon.  Then it was time for my first show in Kentucky.  I’ve worked most of the States but never here.  I hear it’s beautiful, but all I saw was rain and cloudy skies.   The crowds were great and the club (Comedy Off Broadway) has been around a long time and it’s run like a Swiss watch. I did another four radio shows the next day so it was seven in all.  I like doing radio and it puts butts in the seats.  Rich Hall (the Sniglet guy) stopped in to do a guest set on Friday and it was good to see him again.  I hadn’t seen him since we worked together in London years ago.   I tried out my fake Kentucky accent on the Waffle House waitress.  I asked for my hashbrowns “Scattered, covered, and smothered” and asked her what she thought of my southern drawl.  “I don’t know, I’m Russian” she said with a thick Russian accent.  I got the only Russian Waffle House waitress in Kentucky.
     The next week I did a club called 4th and B in San Diego.  The place is huge and usually has big name musicians but they do comedy every once in a while.  It holds about 2000 but they only had about 500 the night I did it.  Every time I do this gig there are always a few drunk people in the front row who try to shout out stuff to throw the comedian off.  Not the sharpest cheddar in the deli – if you know what I mean.  I just ignore them and they stop trying after awhile. The non-stop rain in LA the week before created large deep potholes that made the 100  mile drive an adventure.  I had a whole day off on Sunday and on Monday I flew to Minneapolis, MN where the temp. was 15 below.  I was supposed to do some one nighters in Minnesota but a blizzard came along and put an end to that plan.  I drove through some white out conditions and luckily survived.  I saw a lot of cars in the ditch.  People are nuts to live there.  I was happy to get back to LA and sunny skies.  My Mom, Mary Ann, and my Brother, Scot, came out to visit and escape Wisconsin for a week.  My sister, Lynn, and her husband, Harry Carrico (the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Virginia), came out too, for an honoring ceremony at the Beverly Hilton.  Fancy Schmancy. 
     A lot of people think it’s weird that my brother in law is really “in law” – not only that, but an actual Supreme Court Judge.  I found out that they are just like regular Court Judges, only they have sour cream.  Next I’m off to Richmond (where Lynn and Harry live) to do a club there, then San Francisco, Reno, and Tucson.  I’m one hard workin’ son of a physics professor. I have to slave over a hot microphone an hour a day!  Sometimes it’s too hot.  My P’s are popping all over the place!  Stay tuned for more stories as they unfold.


Feb and March ’05

This was a six-week, fifteen flight, forty-four-show tour – but who’s counting?  I call it the Noah’s Ark Tour because it lasted 40 days and 40 nights.  The six cities were San Francisco CA, Reno NV, Tucson AZ, Louisville KY, Minneapolis, MN, and Portland, OR.  

            The week I worked San Fran I got the flu and was as sick as a dog.  It was a new club called “The Green Room” and they put me up in a beautiful hotel called the Argo naught, right on Fisherman’s Wharf.  The club was next door and it had a 4 star restaurant attached to it.  I could have anything I wanted from the menu, but I was so sick I couldn’t taste a thing.  There’s no such thing as calling in sick in the comedy world.  You just medicate yourself and hope no one notices.  I was on Day-Quil, Tylenol, and nasal spray – but still had this fear of producing a snot bubble at some point on stage and there’s no getting the crowd back after that.  I noticed that when I have a stuffy nose my mom’s name automatically becomes “Bob”, as in “I deed bore kleedex, Bob”.  The shows went well and no one knew I was on death’s door.  It was a drag to be in San Fran and not enjoy it.  One of the coolest cities in the world and I stayed in my hotel suite zonked out on painkillers.  I flew back to LA for my weekly few hours in my apartment.  Just enough time to do laundry, pay bills, catch a few hours of sleep and get my ass back to the airport so I could fly to Reno. 

            In Reno I worked at “Catch a Rising Star” in the Silver Legacy casino.  Nice club, nice accommodations, and free access to the buffet and gym – which kind of offset each other.  The crowds in Reno can be great and sometimes scary.  Someone once called Reno “The white trash Vegas”, I think of it more as “Vegas’s mentally challenged brother.”  One night there was a couple in the front row that tried their best to fulfill that description.  The guy was apparently enamored with Larry the Cable Guy’s act and kept shouting, “Git er done” throughout the show.  When I voiced my displeasure, his dentally challenged, home-permed wife told me to bite her, which did not sound like a winning proposition for either one of us.  Most of the crowds were intelligent, fun-loving people though and the week flew by.  B.B. King performed at the Casino on Saturday and I got to sneak in and watch.  Perks of the job.

            The last show in Reno was Sunday and my next week started on Monday so I didn’t get my 16 hours in LA this time.   I left for the airport at 5am, Flew to Tucson, rented a truck, picked up the feature act and drove five hours to the Hon Dah Indian Casino in Pinetop.  We got there one hour before the 7pm show and I was exhausted so I asked for a wake up call in a half hour and I passed out cold.  When the phone rang I had no idea where I was.  The conversation went something like this:


“Hello Mr. Brackenridge, this is your wake up call.”

“How did I get here?”

“Well, many people believe in the creation theory, but folks around here think the gods molded us out of clay many years ago…”

I hung up, jumped in the shower, took a few gulps of hotel room coffee, and ran downstairs to the showroom just as the show started.  The next day we drove back to Tucson and I started my week at Laffs Comedy Club.  I last worked there in April ’04 (see back story) and the condo was just as scary as it was back then.  Most of the crowds were great so I’ll tell you about the bad ones.  On Friday first show it was “Sorority girls and their Moms night”.  My kind of crowd.  There was a constant high-pitched chatted running through the entire show.  It sounded like an episode of “the View” but magnified 100 times.  I heard the girls in the front row trading meatloaf recipes while I was onstage.  Tough night at the office.

 After the Tucson week I flew to LA and 16 hours later I was heading back to the airport for my flight to Louisville, KY.  I landed at 4:30pm, was picked up and brought to the condo, which was a decent place and I had it to myself.  I was a fill in at the club, which means someone had cancelled at the last minute and I was available.  When you take a fill-in week at a club you’ve never been to before, the staff looks at you kind of weary. They’ve seen their share of last minute hacks. This club was called “The Comedy Caravan” and it has been around for a long time.  Was met at the door by a large black guy with dreadlocks who went by the name “Big John”.  He told me he would take care of any heckler situation if it got out of hand.  As it turned out almost every show had an overly drunk loud person who had to be told to be quiet.  At The Comedy Caravan they had an interesting way of quieting down an unreasonable person.  They would tap the offending drunk on the shoulder and inform them that the performer is trying to record the show and if they talk it will ruin it.  It works a lot better than just telling them to shut up.  It seems weird that you have to make up a story to make people listen to a show they paid to get into, but some people don’t think it’s a true comedy show unless the comic confronts someone.  Often the drunken heckler is a guy who got burned by the comic last week and is out for revenge – even though it’s a different comic this week.  Sometimes it’s a boyfriend who’d jealous that his girl is laughing at another man.  Then there’s the times when it’s just a case of way too much alcohol in the system. 

            That was the case Thursday night.  There was a front row table of 3 girls and 3 guys who seemed to be about 21 years old (or younger) and they were so wasted that they couldn’t focus on anything.  We figured that they must have tried to beat the system by drinking shots before the show so they wouldn’t have to buy booze in the club, but they over did it.  Oblivious to the show, they talked loudly to each other and two guys got kicked out after several warnings. They staggered out, called the manager a name that implied he had orally satisfied other males and then asked for a refund. Classy. During the feature act, another guy and girl stumbled out leaving two girls who appeared to be so drunk they had trouble keeping their heads up. They would have left but the were too drunk to get up!  Sure enough, we heard the unmistakable sound of vomit hitting the ground – twice. As the “ladies” weaved their way out of the showroom, the feature act said, “That’s just my girlfriend folks, she’s really sick of my jokes.”  We did three shows on Saturday and the at last show I took the stage at 12:30am.  It’s strange to start a set with “Good Morning”. I don’t want it to sound like all the shows were bad.  Actually only 2 out of the 8 shows were hellish.  I never write about the good shows because that would be boring. 

            Once again, I flew back to LA, this time for a whopping 20 hours after which I flew to Minneapolis, MN for a St. Patty’s Day week at a club I first worked way back in 1988.  It’s currently called “The Minnesota Comedy Club”.  St. Patrick’s Day is one of my least favorite days to do comedy. That and Halloween rival New Years Eve as the hardest nights to get any kind of focus.  Friday night a freak blizzard hit and only about a dozen people showed up for the show.  They turned out to be the best crowd of the week.  I guess you really got to like comedy to risk your life to get to the club.  Minneapolis is where I started doing comedy and Saturday night a bunch of my old comedy buddies came to the club for a packed first show.  Dave Mordal stopped in to do a guest set that would be sent to the tonight show, but after his first joke bombed he spent the rest of his set berating the crowd and ranting about how much he hates conservative Minnesota people.  It was hilarious.  He really has anger down to an art.  I don’t think that tape will ever get sent though.

            On Monday it was back to LA for my 20-hour pit stop, and off to Portland, OR where I played a club called “Harvey’s”.  The last time I worked this one it was called “The Last Laugh” and it was back in ’92.  This was a Mon. – Sun. week and all 8 shows were packed in the 400-seat showroom.  Great crowds all week so I won’t write about it except to say that I got a swelled head and I will now think I’m the greatest comedian who ever lived.  Your ego really can go on a rollercoaster in this business.  I stayed at a condo again, but this was unlike any comedy condo I’d ever seen.  It was an actual three level house, brand new, with a pool table, Jacuzzi, and all the amenities.  I lucked out again and had the place to myself so I was sliding around in my socks to Bob Seger tunes all week. 

            Well, that was the end of my “Noah’s Ark Tour”.  Now I’m back in LA for a few weeks.  Got some auditions and a few one nighters lined up, and I just got a fill in week in Vegas which starts in four days.  I’ll drive; I don’t even want to see an airplane again for a while.  Until the next episode, I bid you adieu.