Boston Comedy Festival Part 4: Finals, Fenway, Trains, Planes, & Yogurt!

Hi! I'm Jake!

On Saturday, November 13, I had a runny nose.  Fortunately, my generic allergy medicine kicked in. Unfortunately, I now know for a fact I have allergies.

At 11 a.m., couchsurfer Rebekah and I made plans to meet up at the Boston Commons, a sweet garden by Dick's Beantown Comedy Vault. We were supposed to meet at noon, but I accidentally blew her off. Instead, I met with a quorum of comics at the Caskon Flagon, a bar right next to Fenway Park. I think ESPN or the NFL or somebody voted it the best place to watch baseball in the country. It was also the best place to meet my friends because Fenway Park was next door and we were going to take the 2:00 tour.

I saw Erik Allen from the Twin Cities, Landry from Atlanta, Mike Cody from Cincinatti, Saleem from TV, Chuck Bartell from LA, Tom Dustin from Boston, Steve Scholtz from Canada, and 5 or so other guys from 5 or so other towns. I should have asked him that. I should have written about this on Saturday when it happened. I can't remember who all was there now.

Huh. I just found out Steve Scholtz is from Ontario. So is Clair Brosseau, a cool lady I met in the Seattle Competition. I wonder if they know each other. I wish I would have asked.

I ordered the clam chowda. I had to choose between a $3.99 cup and a $6.99 bread bowl. In hindsight, I wish I had just gotten the cup. The bread bowl didn't have that much more soup than the cup did, but I got to spend $3 extra to buy a nickel's worth of bread to surround my soup. What a deal. Fortunately, David Drozen from Uproar Records was also there. He ended up buying us lunch. Thanks, David!

During lunch, Tom called festival coordinator Helen Mccue and hooked 6 of us up with some sets for later that night. Helen from the festival needed 2 guys to open for Todd Barry and 3-4 more to open for to open for Darryl Lennox. I was extremely happy to do another set. I paid almost $500 to be in town. This was a comedy festival. Doing just 1 5-minute contest set wasn't enough for me!

After lunch, we walked over to Fenway Park for the tour. It was $12. I felt really good about taking this tour because in 2005, Hippieman and I came to town and botched the opportunity. That day in 2005, we had a choice between taking the tour or watching The Exorcism of Emily Rose, a horrible movie. The Exorcism of Emily Rose was a court case movie disguised as a horror flick. It was so bad! We didn't watch an exorcism. We watched a bunch of lawyers talk about an exorcism! Stupid.

Fortunately, I made the right choice this time. I gladly paid the $12. The tour was awesome. We heard about the Green Monster, the Red Seat, the Yawkeys, and how Fenway has the least amount of seats of any ball park. Supply and demand, suckas! When supply is down, the price goes up. Fenway has some of the priciest seats in the country! Every single game sells out. Every game. Every game.

The Green Monster is a great big wall in left field. It was put there because the neighbors used to watch the game for free and the owners didn't want to put up with that. Also, a lot of home runs blasted outside the park and turned shop windows into shards. Those shops wanted Fenway to pay. The Green Monster helped stop that as well.

If you look to the right field, you can see a red seat in the bleachers. It's because back in the day, a Yankees fan fell asleep in that seat and Ted Williams batted a home run to his face. That guy and his family instantly became Boston fans.

I don't want to spoil all the tour tidbits, so I'll just tell you what wasn't on the official tour:

Before the tour started, a crowd of 50 or so eager people gathered around our tour guide, a feisty sexagenarian. The tour guide explained we could ask questions at any time and if he didn't know the answer, he would make one up. Everybody laughed. Drozen pointed to Saleem, a black comedian, and joked "Is it okay if this guy brings his gun?" Uh oh. Everybody got super tight all of a sudden. The tour guide rolled with it, though. He said something like "Sure. Only if he stands next to me. If something goes down, I'll need the protection." Everybody laughed again. Racial tension started by one old guy and averted by another.

One of my friends got a great deal on his admission. Again, before the tour started, my friend Tom, who did not have a ticket, walked in with the rest of us who did have tickets. Nobody even checked to see if he paid. He just walked right in. Tada! Now I know for next time. Half of getting away with stuff is acting like you are exactly where you belong.

When we sat atop the Green Monster, in the most expensive seats in the ballpark, the tour guide told us to sit in the 2 sections closest to him. A few guys went past those 2 sections and were hanging out laughing and taking pictures of each other and doing whatever. The tour guide told them to rejoin the group. He told them that a couple times. They did not rejoin the group. Turns out those guys were part of my group. Nice.

After the last part of the tour, my group wanted to take a picture. Saleem gave his camera to a guy who was unable to take a picture. Saleem had given him clear instructions. The guys thought he had followed them. When Saleem checked the camera, there was no picture. The guy had failed. The tour guide's elderly assistant told us to hurry up. He was growing impatient. It was time for us to go. Drozen asked him if he wasn't the late George Burns. The tour guide's assistant assured Drozen that no he was not George Burns.

A lady, who seemed like she was in the know, walked by. She told us that it was okay for us to take a moment to get the picture. It took a couple minutes. Saleem gave the camera to the failed photographer to try again. Saleem re-explained how the camera worked. The elderly assistant grew super-impatient "Hurry up Spielberg! Take the picture!" Spielberg tried again- and failed. No picture. The assistant was agitated so we had to leave- without a picture.

We went back to the Caskon Flahon and got some more food. Even though I was already full, I had 16 wings. They were 25-cent wings. Cheap meal. Future stomach problems.

After we ate, most of us dispersed. Tom Dustin, a local Bostonian/ repeatedly referred to as the Mayor of Comedy Town, packed 6 of us in his tiny 4-passenger car. It was Tom, Landry, Mike, me, and 2 other people I can't remember for some reason. I should have taken better notes, but there wasn't any elbow room in the car. We were smashed in there like midwestern backfat. I think Erik Allen and Steve Scholtz might have been in the car. Am I right? Let me know.

Tom took us on an informal tour of the city. It was really fun. He pointed out a bunch of cool stuff that I do not remember. I do remember being excited for my set later that night, but at the same time, I didn't feel any rush to be there. I was only doing a 10 that night and it wouldn't affect my career in any way whatsoever. Plus, it was only 5:30 or so. As part of the tour, our driver took a detour from the highway. He pulled onto a side road and took a pee. He told us this street was a regular pee stop for him.

Everybody in the car had different places they needed to get to. I needed to get back to Somerville to grab some business cards and my festival credentials. Then I needed to get back to Faneuil Hall for my set. Landry had a set at Mottley's he needed to get to by 8. Mike had a set somewhere I can't seem to remember. Either it was Nick's Comedy Stop or this other club whose name I have forgotten. The other 2 people I have forgotten had to go somewhere too. For the sake of this story, they got dropped off before anything too exciting happened.

The 4 of us who remained in the car went to Tom's house. Tom's house was smoky. Everybody but Landry and I smoked. I used to several years back, but now I detest the habit!

Mike went across the street. I joined him. I could use the air. Also, after the cramped ride, I welcomed the chance to stretch my legs. He got cigarettes at the Dunkin Donuts/ convenience store. I got a jelly-filled doughnut thingy. Yay! Dunkin Donuts! Thank goodness they don't have those in Denver. I would have never quit drinking coffee! They have the best coffee on the planet.

Tom's bathroom had an overhead fan that broke the week before. It was so loud! It sounded like a robot clearing its throat.

Tom's apartment shows that he is pretty ingrained in the local comedy community. In his kitchen, he had a sheet of paper that listed 5 local comedy clubs. Underneath each club's name was a softball team comprised 12 or so Boston comedians, 1 of whom was my friend Tim Messenger. I think I saw my new friend Dave McDonough up there too. Cool!

Besides the softball league, Tom and his comedian roommates invite comedians over to play poker - using a table Tom built from scratch! They invite their comedian guests based on their ability to converse. Poker skills are just a bonus. Sounds like a good game.

Tom also has a cool little room hidden behind an air mattress. Go into that room and you'll find headshots from 20 or so comedians. I saw Shane Mauss's headshot. We've worked together a few times now. Very funny guy. Joe List's headshot was on the wall. Cool. He was the top comedian in my week of this year's Seattle Competition. He is a semi-finalist now. Dan Boulger's picture was there. I had just met him in Seattle too. He was in the preliminary week following mine. He won the Boston Festival's competition a few years prior. One time, I edited a video demo that included Dan's stand-up. Small world. I don't mean to be a name dropper. I just thought this was a really cool room.

Eventually, we left. We took a roundabout way to Somerville. It took about 20-minutes longer than it was supposed to. When we finally got to, my host's place, I rushed in to get my credentials, to pee, and to take some more anti-cold, and anti-allergy medicines. I said hi and bye to my host then left super quick!

We had tons of time to get to each of our gigs, but suddenly, we were running late. Tom realized he had lined up shows for everybody but himself. Also, we realized that the Boston Comedy Festival didn't have any shows at any of the 5 comedy clubs in town. 5 clubs and none of them was involved. Huh.

We took Landry to Mottley's. I went in there with him to watch his set. I had 90 minutes before my show- and it was across the street. Plus, he was a really cool dude. I wanted to check out his act!

Mottley's was a small basement room. 100 people packed in there like fudge. Saw Twin Cities comics Andy Erikson and Erik Allen- along with some chick whose name I forgot. Andy, Erik, and some chick took off then the show started.

The emcee ended every bit with a loud "AND I UH..." as if he was about to start another sentence. For example, "The comedian was telling a joke that started off as a regular sentence then out of the blue he used a punchline that brought an ironic twist to the story. AND I UH...." If you're into parsing jokes, this is called a tell. Comedians use it so the audience can tell that they just did their punchline. George Burns's tell was flicking his cigar. Ron White lifts his drink. A lot of guys just say "AND I UH...." The only problem with a tell is if you overuse it, your act becomes super predictable, kind of like Curb Your Enthusiasm. AND I UH....

Landry had a great set. He started off by warning guys about Atlanta women. He explained that some of the most beautiful women down there are not women at all. Good to know!

After Landry's set, I went to Cheers. Alex, one of the festival coordinators was there. He said there wasn't an emcee and asked if we'd mind just shotgunning the show. No problem. We determined the show's order by the order we were flying out the next day. My flight left at 6 a.m. so I went 1st. The crowd wasn't going along with with me at first. I told them they better because I paid a $35 entry fee to be at the festival. The highlight of my set was when I said "I paid $35 to be here. You guys paid $20 to see the show! Somebody's getting screwed!" The crowd thought that was pretty funny. They totally identified. I did a tight 10, introduced Steve Scholtz then I took off.

I took the train back to my host's place. I saw a girl on the train that looked exactly like one of my ex girlfriends. She was cute. However, she looked sad or mad. She had one of those big jaunty girl caps trendy hip girls like to wear. She had boots and long stockings. I tried not to look at my ex's doppleganger. I didn't want her to see She got off a stop or 2 before me.

I got back to my host's house. I charged my dying phone and my dying laptop. I decided, as per Erik Allen's suggestion, that I was going to leave for the airport at midnight. I wanted to take the train for $2. Otherwise I'd have to sleep 3 hours, call a cab, hope they made it to my host's place by 3:30 a.m., and then pay them $30. Screw that noise!

So, I was taking the train. I had a problem, though: the T-line shut down at 12:30 and didn't start up again until 6 a.m. I had to be at the airport at 4 a.m.! In order to make the airport by train, I had to just get on the Red Line by 12:15.

As I waited for my phone and laptop to charge, I watched 3 episodes of King of the Hill. Also, I ate my yogurt. The day before, Rebekah and I had gone to the store. I bought a half gallon of yogurt. I topped it off with the rest of my granola and I ate pretty much all of it in 1 sitting. Then I realized the clock on the wal was 5 minutes slow. Holy crap! It was midnight! I needed to leave to make the train!

My Droid phone has Google Navigator. Earlier in the day, it told me I could take the train to the airport if I started walking by 12:01 a.m. Oh no. It was 12:03 a.m. I left the house key they lent me on their entertainment system. I rushed out the door. I didn't lock it- just in case I had to come back.

I checked my phone again. It said the only mass transit I could take to the airport at this point involved 12 different buses and would take 4 hours. No frickin way! I ran to the airport as fast as my luggage would let me.

I asked the employee at the Porter station if I was in time to take the trains to the airport. I knew I could make the Red Line. But could I make the Red Line in time to make the Silver Line? She said yes. She didn't look anything up, but I took her word for it. I bought a ticket, rushed down the longest escalator I have ever seen to get to the 1st train. While standing around waiting for the Red Line, I asked some future passengers if they thought I'd make it. They didn't seem too positive.

I got on the Red Line. Two stops in, the girl with the girl cap got on the train and sat across from me. This was the second time we sat across from each other. She seemed sadder than she did before. She noticed me. I think she recognized me. She instantly dropped her head down. Her hat covered her face.

I got off at South Station. I went to where the Silver Line bus was supposed to show up. It didn't come. The last Silver Line I saw a T-line employee. She rushed and checked with her co-workers. If I took the Red Line back a stop, got on the Green Line, and took that to the Blue Line, I could make the airport. The Silver Line is the bus line that goes to the airport and the Blue Line is the train that goes to the airport. Why didn't you know that Google Navigator?

I got on the very last Red Line train. It got me to the very last Green Line train- which just sat there for 20 minutes. More and more people got on there. It was getting PACKED! The conductor sounded cranky. He told us to squish tight to make room for the last passengers of the night. Why wait for them? I was here now and I had some trains to catch. Let's go!

Man, that train was packed. I was standing next to some really suspicious characters. I had just watched an episode of Gangland a couple nights ago soI was really suspicious of these potential gang members standing next to me, my wallet, and my laptop.

A group of college kids was drunkenly trying to get the train to sing Build Me Up Buttercup. Like the drunks they were, they sang the chorus to that song over and over and over. They also threw in an Take it Easy (an Eagles song) and a couple other songs. I think they sung Stand By Me. Ultimately, though, they kept coming back to Build Me Up Buttercup. I think one of them was recording their little show for Youtube. I don't think that video will go viral. Who knows, though? Behind them, I saw a creepy man just staring at them smiling. I hope they captured him for their video. "Creepy guy watching subway singers" sounds way more interesting than "Subway singers desperately trying to get attention."

Finally, the train lurched forward. and we left. We got to my stop and I ran! The Blue Line showed up. It really shouldn't have. It was past 1:00 a.m. The trains must have been running late. That's why the Green Line conductor was so authoritative. The Blue Line got me to the airport at around 1:20 a.m. 90 minutes into the trip, I had almost 5 hours to kill before my flight. I sat at the terminal watching movies.

Suddenly, I felt like crap. The yogurt, high-fiber granola, and greasy hot wings were coming back to cause problems. My stomach churned grumpily. Before the flight, I killed the terminal toilet- twice.

Also, I was getting super tired, but I couldn't sleep. My eyes reddened. My deodorant gave in. My face sweat like it does when I go too long without sleep.

4:00 rolled around. I bumbled through security. I wondered if they'd take my other screwdriver. They did not. I watched the rest of my movie then I got on the plane. I actually fell asleep for 20 minutes on the plane. amazing! I never do that. It took 3 hours to get to Chicago. I had a brief layover then a 4-hour flight to Seattle.

I got in at 10:50 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. In Boston, it was 1:50 a.m. From the time I left my Boston host's house, my trip took just shy of 14 hours. Larry picked me up- cause he rocks- then took me to his and Susan's house. I took a long,long nap then blew off all responsibility until I wrote this blog today. Now it's time to go to bed again.

Bye! I'm Jake!

P.S. Saleem and another guy tied for 1st place in the Boston Comedy Festival. That's the 1st time the BCF has ever had a tie.