Texas Part 2: PLANS GONE AWRY!

Hi!  I'm Jake!

In my last post, "I Want to Shoot all the Snowmen, Traffic Bumblers, and Deer.  My Trip to Texas (Part 1),"  I talked about how I had a white knuckle drive to Texas and I to fend off a cavalcade of mental patients with a sharpened butter knife.  That was a crazy night!

After sleeping all day on December 31, 2010, I had 2 shows at the Fort Worth Hyenas Comedy Club.  Anybody that saw those shows got a hell of a bargain.  Dustin Ybarra emceed.  He often headlines clubs and is in a couple movies that you'll see in 2011. As for me, I've been headlining bars for a long time, but I am starting to headline clubs as well.  Also, I was on Elimidate and I created the semi-viral video, How To Build a Hobo Trash Can Fire. Our headliner was Brad Williams, known for his tours with Carlos Mencia. He has been on the Tonight Show and other stuff too.

We had 2 shows that night.  I have to admit, I was still pretty tired when I got to the club.  Overnight drives can really take it out of you. No problem, though: I have done tons of shows with less sleep. 

What I didn't count on was Dustin.
Most of the time, the emcee is pretty good, and then I show up and I take it to the next level.  Dustin had already taken it to that level. He crushed!  Holy crap!  I did not expect that. I busted my butt those first few minutes. I got the crowd on my side, but they didn't give it up easy till they got to know me a bit better.  Fortunately, I never let the crowd see me sweat. But inside, I was like "Whoa. Big wave.  I thought this was going to be kiddie pool. There is some pee in here- mine."  The 2nd show, I came out guns blazing. Had a blast. That show was a piece of cake.  Phew!

Normally after a show, I sell some t-shirts. Back in the 80s, comedy clubs used to pay comedians about 3 times what they are getting now. Now, they realize there are a ton of other comedians who will do the work for less- so clubs don't pay jack!  So, comedians have to augment our incomes with merchandise sales.  If you ever see a comedian who totally rocks, please buy a CD or shirt or something- if you can.  That will probably turn into their gas money.  You're helping them afford to show up and entertain you.

Anyway, after the shows, normally, there is a huge flock of people surrounding me at the merch table.  Some of them buy stuff. Some of them don't.  Some of them are just saying hi. No biggie either way. Just come say hi. That is important for us too. So, yeah, normally I am surrounded.  However, when I worked with Brad, I noticed something different. Sure, a bunch of people came up to me.  It wasn't as many as normal, though. Most people wanted to take a picture with Brad.  Brad is a midget.  Most people don't have pictures with midgets.  Wait a second: I don't have a picture with a midget!  I should have gotten 1! Dang it!

After the 2nd show, we did a midnight toast for New Year's Eve.  People drank champagne.  I stood on stage with the other comedians.  Jared Butler, manager of the Fort Worth Hyenas, tried to talk me into wearing a diaper to dress up as the 2011 New Year's baby. My gut is a little out of control right now, so I declined. Yep.  I am lame.  That just means I have a gut and  I wussed out! Fortunately, they could not find a diaper (or something to turn into a diaper) anyway- until about 11:50 p.m.  Then, they talked Dustin into wearing the diaper.  They  fashioned a homemade diaper out of a cook's torn up t-shirt.  It looked pretty funny. Dustin has way more of a gut than me.  The thing is, he is overall chubby so it makes sense for him to have a gut.  Maybe his genes are responsible. Who knows?  I am a skinny dude with a gut. My gut looks out of place.  I have an out-of-place gut! I look like a math teacher or Dale Gribble or something.   My body tells you the only reason I have a gut is I don't excercise and I eat like crap.    My body tells the truth.

But yeah, Fort Worth was fun!  I had a blast!  It was good working with both those guys.  Also, it is always great working New Year's. I used to date this girl who always got mad when I worked on Holidays. She didn't understand at all.  She said things like "I deserve to have my boyfriend for New Year's."  I tried to tell her that New Year's is like a bowl game for comedy. If you're working that night, you're doing something right.  This same girl used to get mad at me because I was doing shows every night.  That's my work, baby!  That's how I put food on the table.  How would she have felt if I complained we never get to spend time and then I asked her to start taking time off her work?  "That's different.  Your job is fun!"  So, you're not mad that we don't spend time.  You just hate the fact that we have schedule conflicts- and that your job is lame.

Look: I understand that she wants her man on New Year's.  I always wish I had my girl by my side that night too.  Everybody else is doing their New Year's kisses and stuff.  Even the guy dressed like a baby left the stage to kiss his girl.  Working the road is a little soul crushing.  Because I travel, I also don't have a dog. Sometimes I go away for months at a time.  So it would be hard to take care of it. That sucks too.

I once offered to take that girl with me on the road- even though she was high maintenance and would totally make the trip about her.  The thing is  the places I go include Wyoming, Texas, South Dakota, etc.  She wasn't interested in those places. "How come you never go to Vegas?  You should call them and set something up. Then I'll go with you."  Yeah, cause that's how that works. You just call up Vegas, "Hi Vegas! How are you?" and then you tell them even though you are a comedian they have never heard of, they should book you so your drinky girlfriend can come get soused and gamble your earnings away.  That's how this business works!  Duh!  Why didn't I think of doing that?

Moving on... .

On New Year's Day, I headlined the 1st show of 2011 at Hyenas Comedy Club in Dallas, TX. It was awesome!  This was the 3rd comedy club I ever headlined- and the 1st time I headlined a club with 200+ people in attendance.  

I first went to the Dallas Hyenas last June as a feature. I made a solid impression, so they brought me back in a larger capacity.  It was cool seeing my name on the marquee. 

Curt Fletcher headlined the 2nd show that night. He had a super funny set.  They didn't put his name on the marquee, though because only 1 name would fit on there and his name is too long.  That's what you get mister long-name!

The 1st show was a blast. I recorded both Curt's and my sets using the club's high definition (HD) camera.  The image to the right is a freeze frame from the video we recorded.  Notice the Christmas presents.  Where are all the Hanukkah presents and Kwanzaa bling blings?  

Since the club still had a bunch of their Christmas decorations up, I called them out for being lazy.  It is fun to make fun of the people writing your check.

The video camera at the club records to a SDHC memory card.  If you want to record a really long video, an SDHC card is way better than a tape. Tapes are limited to 62-minutes.  Depending on the capacity of the memory card, it's possible you could record several hours. Since I wanted to get each of our sets from both shows, Curt and I shopped for a SDHC memory card earlier that day.  We went to a Best Buy.  Despite the fact that it was 4 in the afternoon, they were closed.  They were missing a wall. Someone had driven their car through the front door.  I think it was an accident. You can't have a business without all your walls!  So, Best Buy took a vacation day.

Here's a quote from the online version of the Dallas Morning News.  "Dallas Police said the woman, whom they did not identify, was trying to park in a handicap space in front of the store about 11:45 a.m. She told investigators that her SUV malfunctioned, accelerating over a concrete pillar and through the front doors."

Likely story.  Silly crips!

So, we went next door to Office Depot- or Office Max- I can never really remember the difference.  Whatever.  Office Axpot. The employee at Office Deepax  was super confused about my line of questions.  I don't think he gave a crap, though. It was near closing time.  Really?  You close at 4 pm? I guess they work a short day.  

Anyway, I had questions because I wanted to find the right memory card for this shoot at the club.  The Hyenas manager, Billy, had shown me what kind of card I needed.  However, those memory cards come with different capacities (2 gigabytes, 4 gigabytes, 8 gigabytes, 64 gigabytes, etc.)  and I needed to know which 1 would allow Curt and I to capture both sets from both shows.  The prices ranged from $14 to $100 or so. I was looking for the cheapest option that would definitely work. Turns out, Office Potmax had a $14 adapter that would allow me to take the 8 GB micro memory card from my phone and put that in the camera.  Sweet!

All right: so the preceding paragraph was super-boring.  So let me tell you a fun fact: I once snagged myself on barbed wire when I was streaking/ working campus security at Hastings College.

Cool.  The point is I had the memory card I needed.  What I didn't count on is that it would fill up after the 1st show.  In between shows, Curt and I went back to the condo.  I took the micro card out of the adapter, put it in my phone, and transferred the video files to my computer.  Then, we went back to the club.  I put the memory card in the computer only to realize that the card was still full!  Oh crap!  When I was at the condo using my computer, I forgot to delete the files from the card!  Crap! I tried to use the camera to delete the files. I could not figure out how.  I pushed all kinds of buttons and nothing worked. I was getting super-frustrated.  This was not a good way to ready myself for the 2nd show! I dorked around with the camera for about 25 minutes. Then it was showtime.  Too late.  Looks like we aren't recording the 2nd show!

As the emcee took the stage, Billy said "You have time.  You still have 20 minutes before you guys are on stage.  Just have the emcee give me a light when you are back."  Oh yeah!  I forgot Billy was doing a set!  I ran back to the condo, emptied the contents of the memory card, then got back just in time to see the beginning of Billy's set.  Besides Curt's and my sets, I recorded his whole set too. He later told me that is the best/ most current footage of his act that he has!  Phew!  Glad I got it!

Curt headlined that 2nd show.  He rocked.  After the show, I ran into Erick Earp. His sister, Shauna, is my former agent at Big Fish Talent.  Shauna had hit me up earlier that week asking if I could get Erick into the show.  No problem!  Turns out Erick is a comedian too.  Nice.  Also, Curt and I saw his friend, Melissa.  After the show, she took us out to I-HOP.  Also, Melissa told me to tell you she is the coolest girl in Texas.

It's rare that I tell a woman not to touch me.  When I was at I-HOP at 2:30 in the morning, I was touched in an unprofessional manner. Here is a tweet I posted the next day:

"If you are ever an IHOP waitress in Dallas, TX and I am ordering food from you, maybe don't pat my head."
10:07 AM Jan 2nd

We sat down, the waitress brought a friend over, then she told me she liked my hair and patted my head.  Turns out her friend was a trainee!  "Here's how we treat our customers.  We touch their heads then we touch their food!"  

Don't get me wrong, I liked the trainer. She was a cute, mouthy, black chick and she touched me.  However, I feel like she might have violated a policy or something.  Maybe the Best Buy lady should try to park her car at that I-HOP, close them down for a day.  

If you want a pat down with your flap jacks, go to the I-HOP at 4040 Abrams Road, Dallas, Texas 75214.

Billy had invited us to a poker game that Sunday.  On Sunday, he told us the game was cancelled.  No problem.  Pretty much all Curt and I did on Sunday was sleep.  We slept, bought groceries, ate food, and watched TV.  Also, we went to Melissa's place.  I just talked to her on the phone a second ago. She reminded me that we came over and watched a couple movies.  I had forgotten which day we did that. Also, she told me something profound that I had previously told her: "A Colorado midget is a Texas dwarf."  We had been arguing about the differences between midgets and dwarves. This was probably due to the fact that I had just worked with a midget or dwarf.

Anyway, Curt and I took it easy that Sunday. We were both pretty wiped out from our travels 2 days prior.  We had been going non-stop since then!

Curt and I were each working a Hyenas club later that week. He was working the Fort Worth Club with our good friend, Matt Golightly. I was working at the Dallas club with Shane Mauss.  Shane and I had worked together a few times before.  He is a super-cool guy.  The 1st time we met was on a one-nighter run back in 2008.  Or was it 2007?  Back then, he had turned me onto some good movies, The King of Kong, a Fistful of Quarters, and Confessions of a Superhero.  Both highlighted how lame people can be when they put their minds to it.  Check them out.

Curt and I had a few days off. Hyenas usually doesn't put up their features, but Randy was cool and let us stay in the condo till Wednesday. The club needed to clean it Wednesday before Shane got there Thursday.  During that time, we made a video for Shane.  Watch it.  See what kind of jerk I am.

Anyway, thanks for letting us stay in the condo, Randy.  Sorry about the butt, Shane.

Years back, I worked with headliner Jason Russell. He lives in Fort Worth.  Curt stayed with him when he worked that Hyenas club. Jason, his lady, and his 2 kids came to the mall near where Curt and I were staying in Dallas.  He was looking for boots.  He failed.  He was super frustrated about that.

We ate lunch at the mall's food court.  Food courts are typically a rip-off.  This food court was no different.  However, I did find a decent sandwich at Which Wich.  It was fully loaded with meats and condiments. Also, it had a buffalo sauce.  Tasty.  I even got to use a fake name when I put my order in. Then, when the sandwich was ready, they called out my fake name.  Sweet! Too bad my sandwich cost $11!  I usually get great sandwiches elsewhere for about $6- if that. Glad I could help pay your mall rent!  Good news though: when you place your order, you write what you want on a brown paper bag.  They supply a red permanent marker to help you place that order.   I wonder if they know that their overpriced sandwiches come with a free permanent marker? I have been graffiti-ing with that thing for a couple weeks now.

Our entourage went to some boot stores and some clothing stores.  The mall was closing at 6.  Jason raced ahead of the group to see if he could find boots.  He was clearly frustrated. I get that way when I don't get what I want, too.  He loaded up his family into the car, drove 45 minutes from Fort Worth to Dallas, came to the mall (a horrible place to be) and now it was almost closing time and he had nothing to show for all that.  Plus, he still had to drive home.

So, yeah, he was racing ahead of the group, checking out each store's boots, and we caught up to him typically by the time he was on his way out of said store.

At 1 of the stores, they had really expensive sunglasses.  I tried on 10 pairs.  As I put them back, I smudged the lenses with my sandwichy fingerprints.  Take that you rip-off artists!

I was hoping to make it down to Austin.  My friend Nancy Reed is from there.  Shane lives there. Matt Golightly lives there. Also, I have heard a lot about their comedy scene and I really wanted to check it out.  

The thing is, I wasn't driving the 4 hours without at least 1 booked show.  I don't even mean a paid show.  I just wanted a guaranteed set. Cap City usually has a Sunday open mic, but it was cancelled because it was New Year's weekend. Cap City also has a Tuesday show, PUNCH!, but it too was canceled. 

The cool thing is while I was arranging my potential Austin excursion,  I got to talk to the PUNCH!'s organizer, Matt Bearden.  We talked on the phone for about 45 minutes.  I picked his brain about the Austin comedy scene versus the Dallas scene.  Cool guy.  Also, I got to talk to former Denverite, Roxy Castillo.  She lives down there too.  She recently got to work at Cap City.  Funny lady.

Since none of the shows I wanted to do in Austin were available, Curt and I found ways to fill the time in Dallas. 

On Tuesday, Melissa took us to a Maverick's game. Sometimes, her company has free tickets for its employees. However, since Curt and I did not know our plans for Tuesday until Tuesday, it was too late to get those free tickets.   So, Melissa paid.  Nice lady!  I bought her a soda there, but believe me, even at inflated sports venue beverage prices, the drink did not equate to the price of a Maves ticket.  Thanks Melissa!

The game was awesome!  I had never seen a pro-basketball game before. There was a lot of fanfare.  They even had a midget.  He wasn't on the team or anything, but he was there.  He was part of the Maniacs, a group of fat dudes/ fans who dance at all the home games.  They have a reserved section at the American Airlines Center. 

Also, we saw the Mavericks Dancers. They are basically cheerleaders- but for basketball.  They are so fat!  Kidding.  They are not fat at all.  You'll have to find another reason to judge them.

During the halftime, these Russian gymnasts danced around for a bit.  So, there were fat guy dancers, the Maves Dancers, and now Russian dancers?  That sure is a lot of dancing for a basketball game!  What's that line from Full Metal Jacket? 

"Only steers and queers come from Texas, Private Cowboy. And you don't look much like a steer to me so that kinda narrows it down." - Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, Full Metal Jacket.

Whatever. The basketball game was super-close the entire time. At the last minute, the Maves ended up winning by 3 points. It was awesome. I can't wait to see them again!

Tuesday really was awesome. That afternoon, I got a call from Randy, the owner of Hyenas, called me up. 

Randy: "What are you doing this weekend?"
Me: "Working for you in Dallas. Why?"
Randy: "What? Let me check my notes..."

To the best of my knowledge I was booked I to work with Shane Mauss that week at the Dallas club. However my records and Randy's records did not match- and that turned out to be a good thing.

Randy: "You want to headline Arlington?"
Me: "Totally."

The Arlington Hyenas is the 4th club I have headlined. So far, I have 2 more on the books for this year. Sweet!

Just because I was headlining that week, doesn't mean I am a rockstar, staying in a fancy suite with poolside hos. I needed to find a place to stay.

On Wednesday, I had to leave the condo. The Hyenas crew needed to clean it before Shane got there. They told me I had till about 4pm to vacate the premises. That sounds much harsher than it was. I thought I needed to leave that morning and they told me I could chill till 4. So, I edited and posted that video for Shane. Then I left.

My plan was to stay at Billy's. Billy, the manager of Hyenas in Dallas, is also a comedian. Like me, he has put a lot of comedians up. Unfortunately, though, he had the flu or something before New Year's. Right after New Year's, a comedian, Patricia couchsurfed at Billy's and got really sick. She caught the flu or whatever he had. So, that place wasn't going to work for me.

Fortunately, the last time I was in Dallas, I made some friends on couchsurfing.org.  They put me up, took me swimming and rock climbing, and showed me a good time. I messaged Jen and she said no problem.  She is a chef. She has a super cool book out called "Gourmet Meals in Crappy Little Kitchens."   Buy it. It's awesome!

Jen had a softball game that night.  She invited me to come, but I wanted to hit up the open mic. 

Good news, though: Jen and I went to an awesome restaurant called Little Mexico, at 8424 Park Lane, Dallas, TX 75231-6308. Here is a link.  I've found if you are looking for good, cheap, Mexican food, you only need to spot only 1 thing: horchata, a Mexican beverage made from rice, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Horchata is usually bubbling in a plastic tank next to 2 other beverages, jamaica (pronounced Heh-My-Ick-Uh) and melon (pronounced mel- own). Sometimes you also see tamarindo instead of melon. Only real Mexicans ever sell those drinks.  Pepsi and Coke is for suckers!

Naturally, the horchata was awesome.  Little Mexico's food was awesome too!  It was $1 taco night.  I ate 4 different tacos and I was full!  I can't remember what 3 of the tacos were, but the 4th kind was lengue, tongue.  It was so good. I expected it to be squid-chewy, like the cow tongue I had eaten a long time ago. However, it was soft and quishy, like squash or, boba.  It was delicious!

Fun fact: Little Mexico shares the rent with a Korean restaurant.  You can use either of their doors to enter the same space.  They both have their own menus and their own entrances, but they share a cash register in the middle.  A Korean lady took my authentic Mexican order.  Cool.

Every Wednesday, Hyenas Dallas has an open mic. My plan was to go to the open mic, work on some new jokes, watch Erick Earp's and some other comedians' sets, and then meet up with Jen and her roommates.

However, Jared, the manager of the Fort Worth Hyenas, runs the Wednesday open mic at the Dallas Hyenas.  As I came in the door and said hi to a couple people, he invited me to go next door to the artsy movie theater and watch a movie. I said I wanted to see my friend's set and hang out a bit.  He said the open mic would still be going on when we got back and he would put Erick on later. 

I told the cashier at the movie theater I worked for the comedy club.  I got in free.  Jared did not realize he could do that.  He had already bought a ticket. He tried to get a refund.  The guy said he could call his manager.  Jared said "Nevermind."  When you are trying to get the hook-up, it is best not to involve the manager. That could screw it up for next time. Keep it simple. So, yeah, Jared did not get in free. Sucker!

We were there to see "I Love You Philip Morris," a movie about a gay con-man and his inmate boyfriend.  Yep. It was 2 dudes watching a gay movie. Jared bought us popcorn. We shared. Even gayer.  Steers and queers! Fortunately, he put the popcorn down in the seat next to him so we had a seat separating us.  Good: less gay.

Turns out "I Love You Philip Morris" was fricking hilarious!  Check it out!

I went to the open mic. Had a fun set. Did some ad-libs.  Erick had a fun set. Jared asked me what I thought about a couple of the comics.  After a brief discussion and watching 1 of the guys have a fun set, he offered that dude a chance to emcee at Fort Worth later that week.

I texted Jen to let her know I was still at the mic. I asked her how the game went.  Her team won!  She told me which bar she was at and invited me over to do some karaoke. Cool. Sounds like a plan!  I don't drink, but I totally wanted to hang out.  Plus, I love karaoke.

I didn't see most of the open mic. I watched a movie.  Instead of going to the bar with Jen, Jared and a couple of the comics and I went out for tacos. I had a lot of tacos that day!

Here's a rule for all you comics: if you ever work the road and someone offers you a ride to a bar or a house or anywhere, DO NOT TAKE IT!  You totally lose control of your transportation, your agenda, and your time. You leave when they are ready.  Plus, the people driving you might kill you.

Jared offered me a ride to the taco place.  It was nearby, so I went along.  That was cool.  I trust him.  No problem.  However, I should have gone home at midnight. I was pretty tired and I wanted to hang out with my couchsurfer host before going to bed.  Don't get me wrong: hanging out with Jared was awesome.  He is a funny dude. Plus, it was cool to see the other comedians.  However, I stayed out too late.

I got to my host's place at 2:30 a.m.  I had originally said I'd be back between 10 p.m. and midnight. Jen and her roommate had already gone to sleep.  I used the key she gave me to open the door.  However, I could not open the door. I tried a couple times.  Wtf? Turns out they have a 2nd deadbolt that can only be unlocked from the inside. It was locked.  Oh crap.

I went around to the front of the house.  I got that door open- partially.  However, that door had a chain.  It was 2:30 a.m. I was locked outside. I called Jen.  No answer.  I texted her "Hi. Just got back. Sorry so late.  Went somewhere and somebody else drove.  Was stuck.  Anyway, I think the top lock is locked. Could u let me in?"  No answer.

I texted her again.  "I didn't want to wake you up and I have a sleeping bag in my car... so, if you get this message before morning, please knock on the white Honda by your garbage cans/ driveway. :)" It was 3:14 a.m.

I have a tent and a sleeping bag in my car.  I always do.  I thought about setting up camp in Jen's yard.  I should have. I was too tired, though. I did my best to sleep in my car.  I couldn't sleep. I texted Billy and Jared. "You up?  My couchsurfer friend accidentally locked me out for the night." No answers.  It was 4:17 a.m.

At 4:30 a.m., I went to Tom Thumb, a Texas grocery store. I bought a toothbrush.  I had a spare toothpaste in my car, but my toothbrush was in the house.  I have a hard time falling asleep if I don't brush my teeth 1st. I brushed them in the Tom thumb parking lot.  Spit on the pavement.

At 5:15 or so, I fell asleep in my car, in front of Jen's. At about 6:30, I heard the knock on my window.  It was Jen. Turns out her roommate had come home a bit drunk and accidentally locked me out. Jen must have apologized like 10 times. I told her it wasn't a big deal. It really wasn't.  Yes, I was tired, but I had Thursday off.  Plus, truth be told, I was the freeloader who came home super-late. So, really, no big deal. Jen said she'd give her roommate some crap and make her fix me breakfast. I don't mean the crap was used in the breakfast.  The crap was metaphoric. Anyway, I crashed on the couch and slept until 11 or so.  The next day, her roommate, a sweet little blonde, made me eggs.  Cool.

This is part 2 in a 3-part series of entries about my Texas trip.  Check out Part 1, I Want to Shoot All the Snowmen, Traffic Bumblers and Deer. Then, come back again and read the conclusion in my next entry, Texas, Part 3: There's So Much Blood!

Bye!  I'm Jake!