Hi! I'm Jake!
I haven't written in awhile. I have been a bad blogger. Lately, I have just been so unfocused. I got so used to traveling and I just didn't know what to do when I stopped. Also, I literally have 54 things on my to do list. So, instead of accomplishing any of them, I watched two seasons of Dead Like Me, two seasons of the Sarah Silverman Program, and a bunch of violent movies. Check out "Mesrine: Part 1: Killer Instinct." It's about a French gangster. Rough movie.
Comedy has been going well, though. I am working a lot of clubs this year. I am adding a lot of dates right now. It is going great. I am also, currently pursuing a college agent- in my car. They are driving so fast! Sign me up for NACA and I'll drive home!
I'M GETTING HEAVY
Lately, I have also been trying to get back in shape. I have a small gut right now. It all started because I got sick.
I recently had the shingles. That really sucked! Anybody who has ever had chicken pox is a candidate. For some people (me), shingles is stress activated. Basically, the pox hangs out in your nervous system and then one day, when you are stressed, its like "I'll show you stress, sucka! Enjoy these blisters and randomly shooting pain spikes!" Fortunately, I got down to the clinic right away. Unfortunately, because I can't afford health care, the doctor visit (to confirm what I already knew) was $120. Also, my prescription was $180. That's $300- that I didn't have! So much for stress.... Thanks, shingles!
Cholesterol Shopping Spree
Fortunately, I got my prescription at Sam's Club. They said if I paid $65 to turn my membership into a plus membership, my prescription would only cost $100. $100 + $65 = $165. I saved $15! They told me I'd get some extra savings on my future groceries, though. After a couple visits, they said I start noticing discounts on the things I bought regularly. That turned out to be false. I never got any discounts. The customer service people told me that's because I was an add-on to the original Sam's Club account. The Plus membership did not apply to me. They gave me a $65 gift card to cool me down. Sweet! I bought sour cream, wings, corned beef, brie, and basically every fat and unhealthy thing I could think of. Some call it comfort food. Some call it a cholesterol spike.
Have you ever had a gut that extended over your pants?
Exercise Is The Answer.
So, anyway, I am starting to excercise again. I did yoga regularly for awhile. Then, sometime last year, I stopped going to my yoga class. Basically, I started a traveling a ton again and lost my routine. I still do yoga at home, but it isn't the same. I think my form is suffering (both my yoga form and my body form). Also, the weather has made it difficult to keep up with my cycling. Later this year, I am biking across Iowa (see RAGBRAI). When I did the MS-150 in 2009, I did a 175-mile, mountainous ride. I barely do 20 miles at a time right now. The weather isn't helping.
So, weather, plus shingles, plus a gift card equals a Jakegut.
Enough about fitness. The other reason I call this episode Heavy Weekend is I got to hang out with some of comedy's heavies last week. Specifically, I opened for David Alan Grier. He crushed. Also, he was a super nice guy. Also, I got to see my buddy Billy Wayne Davis open for Ralphie May. Billy Wayne took 2nd in the Seattle Competition last year. Cool guy.
David Alan Grier
Last Thursday, February 24th, David Alan Grier crushed. He had high energy- and a lot of things to say about his ex-wives. Afterwards, there was a huge line of people wanting to take pictures with him. Some of those folks took pictures with me, too. I loved that audience. There were a lot of black chicks. If you know me, you know I love black crowds- and I especially love my black chicks. What can I say? I love mouthy ladies. I might get in trouble by stereotyping here, but I have met a lot of mouthy black chicks- and I am a big fan! That's part of the reason why I love doing shows in the South.
Tangent: mouthy and disrespectful are 2 different things. Mouthy is fun. Disrespectful is ign'ant
Anyway, after the show, I got to talk to David Alan Grier a bit. He was really laid back and a genuine guy. That is refreshing. Some famous people buy into all the hype and are full of themselves. They order people around. They don't talk to civilians. David was chill.
Ralphie May, Billy Wayne Davis
Ralphie May had 2 really full shows. The 2nd show sold out completely. He is really innovative about marketing. He rented a bunch of billboards around town. I have never seen a club comic do that before. He is huge now. He is about to be even more famous, I think. If I ever get enough money to rent billboards, I will do the same thing!
I first worked with Billy Wayne back in 2006 at the Tulsa Loony Bin. Seems like whenever he introduces me to people, he tells the Captain Jesus story. Basically, after Billy Wayne, Shane McConaughy went to Sam Kinison's grave, I had the urge to go to a Army Surplus store. I had been meaning to buy a utility belt. I once had the opportunity to buy a leather police utility belt and I passed it up- a decision I always regretted. So, I bought a nylon utility belt- and I wore it onstage the whole week. I did not address my utility belt even once. People noticed the belt, and I just did my act as if nothing was out of the ordinary. At the time, I looked like Jesus. So, Billy Wayne spent the first few minutes of each of his sets calling me Captain Jesus and talking about my belt.
Anyway, I have hung out with BW in a few times since then, mainly in Denver and Seattle. I watched his 1st set last Saturday, February 28th. Even though he was opening for Ralphie, he crushed like the headliner he is. While Ralphie was on stage, I hung out with Billy Wayne and Steve (Ralphie's tour manager) in the green room.
At one point, Steve and I talked about how it's always easier to manage stuff for other people than to use those same skills to help ourselves. For example, I am also a video editor- and I still haven't edited a demo for NACA (National Association for Campus Activities) yet. That has been on my to-do list for 2 years! With a tone in his voice, he told me I should get on that. I know. I know. As I said before, I am totally unfocused right now. I need to get over that.
At the end of Ralphie's set, Billy had to go back on stage and outroduce him. For just a minute, BW was on stage and Ralphie and I were in the green room. I don't usually like to hang out in a headliner's green room unless I know them. Here he is coming back into his fortress of solitude and then there's me: a stranger. "Hi! I'm Jake! I know your friend!" Awkward.
When he came back into the green room, BW made an official introduction, but that is still a weird way to meet someone.
Another Weird Thing Happened....
Before the next show, Wende, the owner of the club, came into the room. I always get a little nervous around her. She exudes strength and power. I can barely afford my rent.
I was eating a reuben from Lucy's, Comedy Works' restaurant. They have amazing reubens there! Wende is picky about her reubens. Me too. If you want a good one, check out Lucy's.
Out of curiosity, Wende asked what I was doing there. My mouth was full, so I pointed at Billy Wayne. Then I reacted to myself. "Wow. That came out wrong. I am not here doing Billy Wayne." Awkward!
I can make things really weird. I'm sure nobody else remembers that moment, but I feel like I am always doing awkward stuff in front of her.
QUICK NOTE BOUT SATURDAY
I was super-tired on Saturday. I went to my parents' house and watched 2 movies, "Seraphim Falls," a good movie with Liam Neeson and "The Confessor," some crappy murder mystery starring Christian Slater. Slater must have really needed the money. That movie was BAD! I kept almost falling asleep, both because I was exhausted and because that movie was BAD! My brain was like "putting up with this bad of a script is exhausting."
After going to my parents' house, I did a show at Jake's, a bar named after some other Jake, not me. That place held 100 people- and had 95 people. It was packed! That's really good for a weekly bar show- or any bar show!
8 comics did showcase sets before me. 6 of them rocked, including Alicia Jacobs and Stacey Roquemore, both of whom are finalists in the amateur portion of this year's Great American Comedy Festival. Someone is calling me on the phone right now. I am not answering. I am trying to focus.
Jake's Paradigm Shift
I did about an hour. During that time, I worked on my new bit about extras. As a bonus, I improvised a new bit about the word "retarded." Lastly, I was able to work in my political set. Basically, I am doing The Nightly Show at the Laughing Skull Festival this April. That's the festival's political show. I don't know if you have seen my act, but I am more goofy than political- on stage. Off stage, I am a disgruntled citizen, angry at our government. I just haven't ever brought my political views to the stage. Now I have a deadline.
So, for the next month, I am working out as many angles as possible. I take my views pretty seriously, I don't want to accidentally cheapen them with jokey-jokes. That's probably why I have waited so long to do any material whatsoever about politics. I want to make sure I craft them so they are both smart, and funny. I don't like preachy comics. I don't like simple "Republicans (or Democrats) are stupid" jokes. I am trying to avoid that schlock. If you know me, that is not necessarily an easy thing to do. I make jokey-jokes all the time!
SUNDAY, RISE AND FALL
On Sunday, I went to 2 shows, a musical show and an open mic.
My Roommate's Unnamed Band.
The last thing I want to talk about is I got to see Melanie Karnopp and Matt James do their first live performance together. She places the vibraphone, snare, some sort of bass drum and a couple of cymbals, and he plays guitar, electric violin, and vocals. They began practicing at my house 3 weeks ago. I have been there at most of the practices, listening.
They performed at the Vintage Theater under the name "Murder of Crows." Turns out that name is already taken, so they are still looking for a name. I suggested "Murder of Seagulls."
The Vintage Theater is not a typical concert venue. It's a black-box community theater. The stage was corralled by a western-style wooden fence. They opened for a play- which I did not see. The set indicated it was a period piece- no blood, just a flashback in time.
Matt and Melanie rocked it. They have a really cool, mellow sound. The vibraphones vibrated. Matt crooned. During one of the songs, Melanie played the snare like trains on a track. They only did 4 songs- maybe 5. Matt joked that they were doing a short set because some of the old people needed to go to bed. Musicians don't usually get comedian laughs, but that got a good laugh.
Basement Is Better.
After their set, I said my goodbyes. I didn't stick around for the play. Instead, I headed off to Kinga's to work on my political set.
I was super-excited when I got there. I have been to Kinga's about 5 times and each time it has been a weak open mic. They had this weird, main room upstairs where the audience is at least 20 feet away from the "stage." The stage was just another room right next to the main room. Very few people ever came to see the show. Only comedians showed up.
I started walking up to the place and a couple of the comedians were hanging out in this stairwell smoking cigarrettes. They looked kind of shady down there. What are you guys doing? They told me they moved the mic downstairs. I didn't know the place even had a downstairs. I have been on 2 of the patios and in 2 of the rooms there where they have tried to do their shows, but it turns out this gigantic bar has a basement room too.
I got down there and was blown away! This was way better than upstairs! I don't remember the exact wording, but Nathan Lund told the crowd it was like being on one of the worst places ever and then finding out they had been hiding Disneyland downstairs the whole time! Plus, there was a crowd- for awhile.
That mic starts at 8. I got there at 8:45. I didn't get on until after 10:30. At 1 point, I asked Jordan when I was getting up. He told me in in 5 comics. 5 comics later, I asked again. He said in 3 comics. I don't mean to sounds like a primadonna, but I got bumped! Usually I get bumped the other way.
Typical Me: "When am I on?"
Typical Them: "When do you want to go on?"
Typical Me: "Before the crowd leaves because they are tired of wiener jokes."
No biggie. I ended up doing a 10-minute set. That's what you get!
After my set, Jordan cleared up the mystery. "I'm probably drunker than I should be right now." Oh, okay. Der! Silly me. Why do I take things personally? I got bumped because of beer, not because of any kind of strategy or personal slight.
Complicatedly put, I fell for the old Fundamental Attribution Error! According to "
I have to stop writing now. I need to get ready for my set in tonight. I am playing at the East Coast Bar, 75 minutes away in Fort Collins. Plus, I might hit up an open mic first.
Bye! I'm Jake!