Friday, December 29, 2006

My Feature Gig

So as y'all know (well, those who bother reading these), I had a 20 minute paid set in Jersey last Saturday night at The Comedy Shoppe. I found out how to get there, I memorized the order of my jokes, my name was on their website, I was psyched.

The show started at 10 and I wanted to make sure I got there in time so I left my apartment at 7:30 to catch an 8:14 train out of Penn. It got to the station at about 9. I asked a cabbie there where the place was and he pointed the way, explaining that it was about a twenty minute walk...with time to spare I figured why not. So I started walking.

I walked alongside a highway, past what looked like a long-deserted church, past a cemetery. By the way, there was no sidewalk - I was walking on dirt and grass - and few lights besides that of cars passing me. After 15/20 minutes, I was still walking through a winding residential area, with no hotel (the club was located in a hotel) to be seen. I started to panic.

What if I walked the wrong way?

Deciding to cut my losses I started to run back to the station (though first texting Bronwen to tell her I'm lost in the middle of nowhere). I made it back to the station in a bout five minutes, seeing the driver who gave e the initial directions. I got in his cab, sweating like a pig.

As it turned out, I was going the right way, I just needed to walk another ten minutes.

I got to the hotel and found the "club." It was more like a bar with a stage set up on one end. The producer, James, greeted me when I walked in.
"Hey Harris, yeah, looks like the holidays are gonna keep the crowd down."
Still sweating, I looked around the room. There were forty seats set up in front of the stage. They were all empty.
"Umm, I see," was all I could muster as I wiped my forehead with my hat.

The comics joked about the train wreck of a show that we were about to embark upon. They tried to get people from the bar to sit by the stage but only five or six people obliged (there were only about 20 by the bar). We agreed to each do ten minutes and get out. They turned up the mic so the comics could be heard over the bar crowd. Since I had the longest trek home, I got to go first (after the MC).

As far as my set goes, let's just say that my best laugh was when I joked after asking if they were taping it, so I could send it to Comedy Central.

With no crowd, naturally, I didn't get paid.

The most bizarre thing occurred when I was trying to make my train though (one that runs once every hour at that time)...I made it without a minute to spare. All in all, a decent evening.

Rock On,


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tales From the Trip Home

Went to Bronwen's Folks' for holidaze...nothin' fascinating happened there, but the trip home was "fun" -

Sweating the Small Stuff

The train coming back to NY was crowded. They kept announcing to put all bags and other personal belongings on the overhead racks or below your seat. Naturally, I did, and a man sat next to me.

I noticed the person on the other side of the aisle, a slight middle-aged woman who spent her time knitting, didn't. That annoyed me. And due to her bag on the seat, no one ever asked her if anyone was sitting there. Every time they made that same announcement, I looked over at her, and of course, she just kept on knitting. How freakin' rude, some people think they own the place, I thought. Probably some rich women who didn't think rules applied to her.

Eventually, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I took my knapsack from beneath my seat, excused myself from my row and walked towards the front of the train. I circled back and asked the knitter if I could sit there. Without saying a word, she took her bag off the seat and let me sit. I felt better knowing this person wasn't gonna get away it. There, all's right in the world.

When when the conductor came around looking for tickets, the knitter looked at him pleadingly while extending the stubs of five tickets. He looked at them and ripped one in two. Then her phone rang. Apparently, she didn't speak English.

I also noticed the guy who I was sitting next to had taken his bag from beneath his seat and placed it on the seat that I had previously occupied. No one sat next to him the rest of the trip home.

Paying $14 To Go From Penn Station to Penn Station

With a suitcase and a knapsack, I wasn't in the mood to take a subway, and I also had to get my dog back from the sitter, so even though I think cabs are a rip-off, I splurged when I got out of Penn Station and flagged one down. We started up 8th Ave and immediately hit traffic. He told me he was gonna try 10th Ave.
"Fine," I said. More much so that he asked if we should just skip 10th and try the West Side Highway.
"Okay." Thanks to the higher prices while sitting in traffic, the meter was already like $7. We made it to the highway, but traffic was ridiculous there too. We sat for a minute in it, when I told him to drive me back to Penn (which was still the nearest subway). I figured this ride was gonna cost me $40 bucks (at least). So yeah, that wasn't a misprint, it did cost me $14 to go from Penn Station to Penn Station.

I need a few days off.

Rock On,


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Getting Heckled

So thanks to "winning" the best comic of the night award at some open mic (to be honest, I coulda urinated on the stage and still been the best), I got a five minute spot at the club's Saturday Night Latino Laughter show. It wasn't the first time I'd won - the first few times went okay...not this time.

I got to the club around 10:30 as I was told I'd go up around 11. There were about 20 people in the audience, all Latinos. I watched four or five comics go up before me, all Latinos. Some were pros, some amateurs - they all got fairly poor response from the crowd.

Judging by the other comics, my best bet would've been to hit the stage and go, "Where my Puerto Ricanos at?!?!" "Where my Dominicanos at?!?!?" "Where my Mexicanos at?!?!" You get the idea.

At around 11:30, I was told I was next. I was also getting "the check spot" which means they drop the checks on the table during my set - it's considered the worst time slot since everyone's busy figuring out what they owe for the bill and no one's paying attention to the comic. So before going on, I knew I was in trouble.

Just before me a comic spoke about integrating the races. This chick in the front row shouted, "I'm okay with it as long as there are no Jews involved." And some other chick in the crowd agreed with her! The comic was cool, called them both "loco."

When I got on, I started with, "So, I'm Jewish" and looked at that chick. A few laughs but the chick said, "That's good for you...I just dont want us all integrated and shyte." And it went downhill from there. Most of the people were discussing their bill, others were just tuning me out. One chick was watching me so I said to her, "Okay, I'll talk to you."

After my joke about my girlfriend's use of the word Hooray," one chick said, "Hooray? What the heck is that?"
"Yes," I agreed, "What the heck IS that?"
"You should dump her."
"That's a little harsh, no?"
"I just think she sounds weird."
"Uh huh."

After one joke, this dude said, "Is that sposed to be a joke?" I replied that it was last night. A couple of times, I actually aborted jokes midstream, when I realized they weren't gonna dig them.

My favorite part of my set was when I saw the light, meaning my time was up. All I could think was "Good thing it was only a five minute spot."

I'm doing twenty minutes in Jersey this Saturday. Pray for me.

Rock On,