Comedy Studio Diary Day 13
I could have kept to my morning blogging routine. I made a decision to relax on the weekend days instead. Maybe my routine is best done on the commuter rail train, anyhow. So here I am on Monday morning. It is chilly outside, but I had a warm and fuzzy weekend, and not just because of the pajama pants material worn on my lower half as I tore through the second Game of Thrones novel in a heap on my couch for most of the day on Saturday and Sunday.
I went direct to Harvard square Friday night but holed up in Peet’s Coffee and Tea instead of the usual J.P. Lick’s to avoid various date night dessert eaters/reminders of my crippling loneliness. I read for a while and then considered my set list for the night. I wanted to tell the Spike’s story but it had been a while and I wasn’t sure exactly how long it was, so I didn’t want to risk putting it in the middle and it’s too much of a risk to rely on the end of it to be a proper “pop” to end a set with, so I decided to hold off. I still had the bad taste of last week’s set in the back of my throat (well two parts of last week’s set, I know it wasn’t all that bad) and wanted to A.) have a good set and B.) do those jokes again and have them get the reaction they deserved. I didn’t end up opening like I did the week before because I wanted to play off something that Ken said in his intro for me instead. I did do the ‘drug pun marathon’ and Boyz In the Hood reference (correctly, no Boyz II Men slip ups this time.)
Before I got to The Studio I remembered something I wanted to do. It’s no secret at this point that Ken Reid is one of my favorite people to talk to. Not only do I get along well with him but I find a lot of what he does and the habits he has fascinating (hence why he has been on the last seven, coming up on eight podcasts in a row.) One thing I asked him about is his claim to not write material down. He told me that’s true, but had some recollections of some childhood stories he’d never done onstage down and sent me a few word documents.
One of those stories is about an adolescent obsession with Janet Jackson’s album “janet.” that I really got a kick out of. I really resonate with stories of specific musical connections anyway and the juxtaposition of that album (and all it’s sexiness) and how I picture a high school era punk rock/80’s sitcom/horror movie obsessed Ken Reid made it all the more entertaining to me. I was emailing back and fourth with him earlier in the day about our last podcast and how much I enjoyed it (the last half hour of Episode 60, go download it.) We talked about his Dad’s pet Tegu, a story that I first read, then encouraged him to do on stage and was later mentioned in the podcast. I then brought up “janet. ” and he told me he had never told that one.
Walking from Peet’s to The Studio down Mt. auburn street I ducked into “In Your Ear” a cool record store hidden away underground. I searched through shoeboxes full of 3.99 CDs for about five minutes before one of the people working there asked if I was looking for anything specific. I said, “Yes. I’m looking for “janet.”” He helped for about three minutes while I glanced at the smaller selection of cassette tapes behind a glass security case (adorable!) before he said “Hmmm, We have a lot of CDs.” and gave up. I understood. There’s only so much time a person may want to invest in assisting what appears to be crazy person digging for a Janet Jackson cd to MAYBE make $1.99-2.99 (and probably be paid in change.)
I pressed on, undeterred. It had been a long time since I searched the bins at a record store for something specific (and even longer when it comes to CDs, that require more work, lifting and looking under other boxes, most of which are not alphabetical like vinyl and cassettes are). I was also up against the clock. It was close to 8pm. I felt like I was on some kind of lost 80’s/90’s game show like Supermarket Sweep or Legends of the Hidden Temple, scouring for a specific item in a sea of stuff. After going through every CD box (except the soundtracks boxes, I just assumed those would be grouped appropriately)
I gave up, but something in me insisted that I was close. That record store fever that makes sane people spend hours searching on sunny Saturday afternoons, or Friday nights they should be going out for ice cream cones. I went back to the cassette case. It was technically an alphabetical set up by genre but was A-Z from bottom to top which was a little weird. I took a longer look at it this time and saw it. Right by an 80’s Whitney Houston tape, in the spot where the two glass panels overlap so it would be tough to access from either side, was “janet.” I played it cool and not as giddy with triumph as I actually felt. I reached my arm inside the case, moving Whitney and some other titles I paid no mind to aside and I had it. I brought it up to the counter, subtlety triumphant. I paid $3+ tax, whatever it was.
I brought it to Ken, he told the story on stage. I didn’t think it went that bad, nut he said to me in the closet. “They didn’t like that janet story. ? You know who else didn’t like it? Rick.” That’s my fault, but I blame it on record store fever.
I watched more of the show, I was glad to see Joe List do a set although he was almost upstaged by a drunk couple thinking the green room/closet was the exit and walking all the way to the end of it in an attempt to get out.
I left to get to Grandma’s Basement. I got there while Marc Basch was on stage. There was a nice little crowd there, and things seemed to be going well. Benny went up next and because of a couple cancellations I went last and did a slightly longer set, about 17 minutes, including maybe my best telling of the “story” yet and closing with it. I hung around the bar with Ted and Christa Weiss for a bit and they dropped me off at home.