Boston Comedy Festival Part 3: Semi-Final Opportunities

Hi! I'm Jake!

As some of you may know, I have been increasing my debt and working for free this month. In other words, I have been selected for 3 major comedy competitions! This past week, I have been in the Boston Comedy Festival. Good times. The following is a recount of the dramatic semi-final rounds of that competition.

The first night of the Boston Comedy Festival semi-final rounds was glorious! To prepare for my night off, I slept until noon, Eastern Standard time. Being as I have been in Seattle for most of the past month, that's like 9 a.m. to me. In honor of Veteran's Day, I took most of the day off. Also, I hit the deck every time I heard any sounds that resembled gunshots or cannon blasts.

Twin Cities comedian Andy Erikson was in the semi-finals that night. I saw her this spring. I was really looking forward to watching her again. The last time I saw her was at an open mic. She was working on new material. She was funny then. I couldn't wait to see her A game. It's good to watch people you like rock a set.

I didn't see her though. Jesse, my couchsurfing host was leaving town Friday, so we decided to hang out. Part of the deal with couchsurfing is not only do you have a place to stay, but you get to meet all kinds of interesting people around the globe. We had to hang out at least once. This was the only night our schedules allowed that. Due to time restrictions, being an amicable guest trumped being a good comedy friend.

Note: in my mind, I said the previous sentence in a Boston accent. Furthermore, in my head, I am saying many of the lines I have typed thus far- and many of the lines I will continue to type henceforth in a Boston accent. Still doing it. You want to fight?

I'm glad Jesse and I got to hang out. After he got off work, he made a super spicy curry using Ghost Chilies. The Ghost Chili is the hottest chili on earth. Take the hottest chili you know and throw it away. That's how hot these chilies are.

In India, the Ghost Chili is known as Bhut Jolokia. Translated from Hindi, that means "Ghost Chili." Chilies are measured in Scoville units. According to a website I just found that I am trusting completely despite the fact I haven't verified any of their info, Jalapenos are usually 2500-8000 Scoville units. The Red Savina habanero is about 580,000 Scoville units. The Ghost Chili is 1,001,304 Scoville units. That's one hot chili.

The Indian military has weaponized the Ghost chili. They use it in a highly inflammatory super tear gas that will render any victim as useless as a garbage sack of ape boobs. I would not want to be in the room when someone got sprayed with that! Typically, I do not enjoy watching people spraying each other with anything unless said spray offers both parties a certain level of joy.

Jesse put 4 Ghost Chilies in the whole pot of curry we had. Holy crap! That curry cleared me out! A Ghost Chili touched my lips and now my top lip is numb. I knew my butt was the next victim. To temper the Ghost Chili curry, we added some plain yogurt. That made a really nice dish. It was soooo good! Hot and creamy.

Later on, we walked to a neighborhood bar to watch some football. They had a deal $14 for a large pizza and a pitcher. I don't drink, but Jesse does and I'll eat cheap pizza any day. Before we could order any pizza, though, the cook brought out an extra pizza for the bar to share. Free pizza? Who ever heard of that? Amazing! I got a slice. It was a great slice, too. So good. So good.

While at the bar, we hung out with one of Jesse's friends. He was a mason. He and his company are renovating one of the tallest buildings in Boston. It's a multi-million dollar job. Thousands of rooms needed work. He said he lost 50 pounds from all the running around for his new project. That's how people used to be fit: they didn't go to gyms. They got fit because they worked their butts off. That was good conversation.

Also, somehow, it came up that Jesse has hosted over 970 couchsurfers. Turns out he used to be the CFO of His brother was one of the guys who started the organization. No kidding! How awesome!

I did some dishes when we got back. Considering my host and his wife put me up for 5 nights, that's the least I could do. We all went to bed pretty quick after that.

On Friday, Jesse left the state. I had a bit of a runny nose that day. No correlation between these 2 events.

I was going to leave the house that afternoon, but I got a text message from Jesse. He and his wife were hosting another couchsurfer that night, a New Yorker named Rebekah. He asked me to let her in when she got to town. No problem. Truth be told, I was excited at the prospect. I have couchsurfed 5-6 times now. This was the 1st time I ever shared the living room with another couchsurfer. Cool!

Rebekah was from the Midwest, but she had a total New York intellectual feel. I enjoyed talking to her. We talked about the Florida Keys. We talked about what we'd each do if we had a terminal illness.

My nose was getting runnier. Sometimes I think I might have allergies. I was really hoping I didn't have a cold. Then again, a cold is temporary. Allergies are for life- just like my Eagle Scout award.

I planned to check out the 3rd and 4th semi-final rounds of the contest. Rebekah was going to meet up with another couchsurfer, Amit.

Rebekah and I took the train into town. We walked around the Theater District. Via cellphone, Amit suggested we should hit up Morse Fish Company. They had relatively inexpensive seafood. We walked 2 miles through Boston's Chinatown to get there.

My runny nose was sprinting. I was already missing the festival. I didn't want my stupid nose to ruin my fish experience too. I had taken 4 knock-off Dayquil liquid caps. It was fakequil. I was supposed to take 2. None of this helped. Thanks cold medicine! Thanks for nothing!

Rebekah and I were the only 2 customers at the fish market. I scoped the place out for a bathroom. No bathroom in sight. I asked the guy behind the counter where I could wash my hands. He pointed to the sink he and his co-workers use. I asked for a restroom instead. I needed to clear my sinus cavities and I did not think I should do that next to everybody's dinner.

He pointed to a little white gate. Curious. I opened the white gate and walked downstairs into a cement Blair Witch Project dungeon. The walls, floor, and ceiling were all painted with the same paint. I used to live in an apartment like that. That place was cheap too. A little closet bathroom was in the middle of this basement. I felt like I was intruding.

While I was blowing the bejiminy out of my snot, I heard the birthday song. I was going to tell them Rebekah had a birthday so they'd bring us some cake too. I walked upstairs to find out Rebekah already had cake because she had been singing with the employees. They were celebrating George's birthday. He is one of the owners.

Before Rebekah and selected our fish dinners, the guy who sent me to the basement went over all the different fishes and told us what they tasted like. We both decided on haddock. She had broiled with vegetables because she is a chick. I had fried with fries and tartar sauce because I am a guy. Amit showed up.

During dinner, I was constantly sneezing. I was the bane of the conversation. Every 5 seconds, I blasted snot. Then she squirted my hands with her hand sanitizer bottle. I did my best to be conversational, but Rebekah told me I had definitely deteriorated. Bummer. I really wanted to bond with her. My snotty self is not my best self. We tried to diagnose my malaise. I think it was allergies. To support my theory, I am typing all this in Seattle right now and I feel perfect.

On our way back to the subway, we stopped at the CVS drug store. Even though I had already spent 20 bucks on medicine, I spent 5 more on some allergy pills. Whatever. My bank account is already in the red. Might as well solve at least one of my problems.

They got off the red line a few stops before me. I texted my host's wife and let her know I was coming back early. I didn't want to freak the bejiminy out of her when I popped in her house at such an hour.

Before going to bed, as per Rebekah's request, I put together a make-shift resting spot out of couch cushions, a couple blankets, and a couch pillow. Tada. I felt like I should give her my air mattress, but I had been coughing and sneezing all over it. So, despite the comfort the raft may have offered, the germs deterred me from being chivalrous to my new friend. Saying stuff in a Boston accent in my head again. Try reading this whole thing in a Boston accent in your head. You will have a fine time with your chuckles.

The contest ended Saturday, but I don't want to cram too much content into this entry. I'm going to shut up now.

One last thought, though: when I first realized I was going to miss parts of the festival, I wondered if I was squandering my opportunities. Then I realized not every opportunity comes with a lanyard full of credentials. Some opportunities come with cake, snot, chilies, and makeshift sleeping arrangements.

Bye! I'm Jake!