Hold on to your kids—it’s here!
This is my list of every film released in 2012 that I saw. 44 of them! I have no life! Those are the facts. They are in a semblance of order. Ask me tomorrow, and I may disagree with this list. Vehemently disagree, even.
But its in the wind now. There is no going back. Goodbye, sweet list, be strong.
I also wrote small caption reviews for each film. Most of these are pointless. Vague musing written months after I saw the films, grasping in the dark for any relevant thought. Some may actually find some real critical thought. Don’t get your hopes up.
To my mind, there’s only one glaring omission, a film that has been very hard to find. That film is called Holy Motors, and from what I’ve heard and read, it may have challenged for the top spot for me.
So, yeah. My top 2 are unquestionably my top 2 films, though the order may shift by the minute. There’s a drop after that point. Is anyone reading this? No? Cool. That means I can say anything I want here and not get in trouble or judged. John Lackey is my favorite baseball player.
That felt good.
Comedy Studio Diary Day 18
I took advantage of the rare opportunity to sleep in on Thanksgiving Day. I didn’t mean to but my body had other plans for me. I woke up at the regular time I normally do (7am) and started to watch an episode of Dexter (season six) but kept falling asleep. Bad acting and clunky dialogue cause drowsiness. I’ve been aware since the first season but the lead actor/story lines/obsessive compulsive nature of my completist brain keep me hanging on. The frequent nudity is a nice touch as well. Even if sometimes it’s in an ‘inappropriate to enjoy nudity’ setting.
I eventually got through the episode at around noon. I cleaned myself up a bit, talked to my roommates about their delicious vegan feast preparations and invited them to The Comedy Studio later. I headed out to Medford to go to my Aunt and Uncle’s side to see my Mom’s half of the family for a little bit. My cousin Mike picked me up at Oak Grove and I ate a lot of hummus and pita chips while seeing the relatives and my Mom’s two energetic pugs running around. I didn’t stay too long, it was more of a subliminal appearance where I watched some of the Lions game before my Uncle Dougie dropped me off across town to see the other side of the family.
For the first time since my childhood Thanksgiving was being had at my Uncle Brian’s house, where my Dad and his brothers and sister grew up. I lived there for a few years on a whim. I had just got into Emerson, and like most things relating to my academic career at the time, I didn’t do much planning so I started attending classes with no place to live. I had planned to crash on couches until I figured it out and that soon grew old to my friends (of whom I had only a few who had the means/couch to help). My Dad suggested I ask his brother (and my Godfather) I did, with no real concrete plan for the future and he let me stay. And keep staying. And stay a little longer after graduating, and cleaned up the random junk I left there to demonstrate That I can be a real inconsiderate person. I vividly remember being amazed by the big, vast house when I was young and always liked going there. I knew I wanted to live there one day, too but I always thought that all my neighborhood friends would be there too and it would be a good place to lay low between making hit movies.
What a cruel twist of fate that I lived there alone, with no friends while trying to learn how to possibly get into the movie industry.
I made the rounds, saying hello to most people in my family, poked in to watch more of the Lions game (which refused to end but eventually did conclude with a Lions loss, so Thanksgiving was saved for everyone.) My cousin Dave is vegan and his Mom is a real good cook so I helped myself to a big plate of the eggplant lasagna she made.
It is now Dec 7th. Back on the train again in the morning. The third Game of Thrones book has been VERY good and a more appealing option than playing ‘catch up’ with the blog and recapping more and more minutia. I had no plans to abandon the rest of the month’s events but I wanted to focus on just living my life for the rest of it and not stress myself out with documenting all the details. Plus, dragons and battles and reading things in British accents in my head.
Thanksgiving continued with good food, catching up and kidding around with my relatives and my Dad dropping me off at Sullivan station. I went home to change and got a text that two of my roommates were planning on attending the show that night and that made me feel good. Ryan hadn’t seen my act in a while and his girlfriend Thera not at all, so there was a little added pressure to get me going. I got home and had someone with them and shared some funny stories of house related hi jinx over the years, our various fridges and some epic fuck ups of mine. As I was retelling the tale of the time I brought the police into the house at 2am while I ran downstairs to get money today for a cab I couldn’t afford I realized that I was probably putting on a better show than I would later that night.
I also thought that I should tell that story on stage more.
I stowed my leftovers in the fridge, hung up my shirt and headed out to Harvard Sq. The show was lightly attended but those who did turn up were a great crowd. DJ Hazard hosted and did some admittedly weird shit, very rarely used the microphone and at one point broke the top of the stool off (and in half) while doing a deep sea diver act out/riff. He gave me a very kind and complimentary introduction and I went up. The first thing I mentioned was how DJ “destroyed.” (followed by a motion towards the stool)
My set was fairly loose, I did some different material partially because it was Thanksgiving and also I wanted to do stuff that DJ hadn’t heard on Tuesday, Ryan hadn’t heard whenever he last saw me and a bit I hadn’t done in a while that was inspired by another roommate (but one I still think is good, of course. By no means was it an inside joke. (Although it didn’t work as well as I would have liked so it may have had the same reaction as a joke nobody was in on.)
I watched the rest of the show and was glad to see Danny Kelly back on stage after a long absence. He was the first headliner to do my podcast and a guy who has always been helpful to me. He’s had some scary health issues in the last year so I’m glad he’s improving and back out again. Rick Jenkins did a spot and spent most of the time telling an epic, hilarious story of a road trip to Vermont with DJ Hazard that will hopefully be retold on the live episode of WTF in Boston on February 8th.
Almost all the comics that ca,e to hang out got up to do spots and it was a good show and atmosphere to be at. Of course because the bar didn’t make much money it is most likely the first and only Thanksgiving show at The Comedy Studio. I’m thankful to have been a part of it.
(Freeze frame. Theme music plays. Credits roll. ”Sit Boo-boo sit. Good Boy.”)
Comedy Studio Diary Day 17
At the time of this writing it’s Monday Morning. I have a very long work ay ahead, a show in Gloucester at 9 and then back to work until the early hours and to sleep on the couch to get more caught up. I’m already tired from staying up late to watch The Walking Dead and Boardwalk Empire (and then more of the Kevin Steen DVD to fall asleep.)
The day before Thanksgiving was fairly uneventful. A small but happy crowd turned out to The Studio to either forgo or precede the usual loud crowded barroom traditions of the season. Although that was the kind of crowd that I intended on doing my best (often referred to as ‘standard set’ in this blog) I wanted to do a different set, to feature the Spike’s joke and some newer stuff that I had written recently and had been working. I changed my approach shortly before going on stage when Pete Holmes entered the room.
For those of you who are not comics reading this, Pete Holmes is a young headlining comic originally from Lexington, MA who currently lives in California. He’s done multiple late night appearances, had a half hour Comedy Central Presents, just taped his hour special and recently shot a pilot for a talk show. He also does a podcast called “You Made It Weird” released an album called “Impregnated with Wonder” and most likely has a Wikipedia page with all this info and more. Most importantly he is also very, very funny.
I had no reason to think that he would come by The Studio, but I know he did a spot the last time he was in town so I hoped that he would. I don’t know why but I didn’t expect it to be so early in the show, but there he was. I got a little nervous, not unlike when all of the visiting comics last Thursday were around and I wanted to prove myself as a funny person, but with slightly more “at stake” in my head because I had no prior relationship/record as being funny or at least (“on my way” to being funny perhaps) so I wanted to make a good impression. I also know from listening to his podcast that he doesn’t often watch other comedians and he was sitting down in the back.
Rick did more time while I fidgeted and pretty much brushed aside the alternate set I’d planned and talked myself into doing the standard set not just to make a good impression but also “for the small audience” in the room. I went up and did my set, I got a very distinct laugh from him early in, but he moved into the green room/closet soon after since he was going next. Getting that laugh and also not having him watch the rest made me feel loose and more comfortable and the rest of the set went like it should. I am PRETTY SURE I got one more big laugh out of him as he listened from the closet BUT it could have just synced up perfectly with someone in there talking to him (but it was a good line, so…)
I had never seen him live before and it was a lot of fun to watch him riff with the crowd and on his few ideas he brought with him. Gary Gulman showed up later and closed it out as only he can. I hadn’t seen him in a while but he is one of my favorite comics to watch on stage, especially if I’m able to see multiple sets in a night or over the course of a few days. The way that he writes and tweaks and ad libs lines to bits is a very interesting and engaging thing to witness.
I hung out at The Cellar for a while after the show and went home.
Comedy Studio Diary Day 16
*in lieu of my own snappy blog title, I thought the title given to The Mystery Lounge was sufficient.
It’s Sunday morning as I type this. Still way behind. My orderly fashion of blogging has been torn asunder by minor fatigue, taking Thanksgiving and (most of the) weekend off from blogging (although I did go into work on Black Friday to organize that chaos and get make up the ours I missed on my dental adventures.) So all of these memories may be blurred together and glossed over.
Starting with Tuesday. I went directly to Harvard square and wandered around a bit for about two minutes then I got a text from Matt Watson asking if I’d want to meet at Dosa Factory in Central Square for Indian Food and to go over a couple of ideas. I got on the T to save a little time (and sneak some reading in) and grabbed some mulligatawny (spell check out it that way but it doesn’t look right) soup and some vegetable pakoras while we plotted trying to put together a future event and him and his video colleague ran off some old ideas.
I left myself enough time to walk back to Harvard and get to The Studio in time. I was happy to see Steve Kradolfer on the show, he was on the lineup for next week which I was going to not be around for. Rick had also let me know it was being hosted by Dr. Magogo, a morbid character created by Mike Bent and there were raffle drawings at the beginning of the show for a “real dead body” giveaway.
There was a good crowd, filling all the seats and most of the bars tools and all drinking HEAVILY (lots more mid week scorpion bowls than I’m used to seeing) throughout. I went up third after Steve and had a very good set. I crossed my fake crowd work into reality when I riffed on a guy’s reaction to my opener and shut him down by saying that I looked like someone who interacted with the crowd and immediately regret it. I had a loose fun set tied up with a miniature Wizard of Oz bit at the end done slightly different and more in the moment.
Sasha told me afterwards that she thought it was maybe my breakthrough set of the month, which was nice. I don’t know if I totally agree with it but it could have been. I mixed elements of things I had only been doing separately and added more improv/confidence behind the delivery. Plus did I mention the audience was REALLY drunk. I did make sure to hand out flyers after the show for people to put their gum in. There was one couple sitting p front who were sitting in those exact seas just two days before for my show on Sunday. In my bit on television I mentioned that it probably felt like they were watching a rerun (for that bit, one of the only ones that I repeated from Sunday, which was in a way FOR them, and it gave me the challenge of doing different stuff.)
I walked back to Central to The Middle East Open Mic knowing full well that I was in danger of making the classic “not enjoying the feeling of having a great set long enough before entering into a soul crushing open mic” scenario. John Paul Rivera was hosting solo, sans Rob Crean. I watched a few comics and then caught up a bit with Sean Wilkinson who had just got back into town and guest hosted Roggies earlier that night. I wrote up a set list since I wasn’t going up right away, of some old/new ideas to try to work on and develop/still get laughs from. I did what I had planned (although I couldn’t read one of my scribbled titles) and finished with the Spikes story to get it under my belt a couple times before bringing it out of storage onto The Studio stage soon.
I left at around midnight and went to sleep soon after.
(Away from) Comedy Studio Diary Day 4)
Last week’s dip into the world of storytelling had me seeking out some more opportunities. I found out about The Moth at Oberon and bought a ticket minutes before it sold out. I also heard that there would be a MassMouth event earlier in the evening right down the street in Harvard Square at Club Passim. I decided to attempt to double up. Both events were of the SLAM variety and a random drawing of names with ten storytellers total all speaking on a common theme. I had never been to something like this and both were run the same way and it felt really awkward.
Here’s how it works: Everyone that attends buys a ticket (The Moth was slightly cheaper but not by much, it was $8 with fees and Mass Mouth $11) and those who want to tell a story fill out a form and give their name to whoever is in charge. That person then waits a while for the show to start, does some announcements and housekeeping and then draws the first name. At Mass Mouth they had someone (in this case Abhishek Shah, a newer comic to the scene who has also taken to storytelling) be a “sacrifice storyteller” which is the standup comedy equivalent to someone taking the bullet in a contest just to get the crowd/judges ready. They didn’t have this at The Moth but the host was a local WMBR Radio personality who was funny and warmed everyone up sufficiently. After each person they are graded numerically by judges and it’s posted on a white board. I think this is the worst thing to do. I’ve done and been to a couple of standup contests where feedback is given after and that is also horrible but something about it just being a number with no explanation may be worse. The performers are chosen in sequence by random draw.
The room was filling up quickly and eventually sold out, but it was after 7pm and it still had not started yet which was making me anxious. A staff member asked if anyone was sitting in the stool next to me and I said “No. But I might leave before it starts if I can get a refund to free up an extra seat.” She told me there were no refunds (and there’s a big sign that confirmed it) so I stuck it out and felt kind of shitty for asking. I was feeling pretty anxious as the room filled in and little things were annoying me. One of the co-hosts kept putting his beer on the ledge over my head, apologized for it and I suggested kind of condescendingly that he use the stool in the corner. I also got annoyed that his last name was Iceland (then thought oh yeah my last name is also a place that is an island, but at least I know how to use a stool.) I tried to swallow he negative feelings and potpourri of different kinds of anxiety (social, performance mixed with a bit of claustrophobia) and see what happens.
The theme of the night was “foodie” and Abhishek talked about his first experience using chopsticks and it was great. My name was picked first. I set my video camera up on the ledge after moving Mr. Iceland’s beer and went up. I used his microphone (so it wouldn’t obscure the camera shot) and was immediately reprimanded/directed to use the other mic in the middle of the stage where the Mass Moth camera was stationed to tape a DVD of our performance if you chose to buy one. I told my Spike’s story under the allotted time and it was fun, the room was great. I then packed up my bulky jacket and bag and walked to the back, following Abhishek who asked if I was leaving. I told him my plans and he asked me if I at least wanted to see what I scored, so I did (8.1) and I watched the next guy tell a pretty sweet story about a sentimental falafel stand in Israel (but did not stay for his score) and went to Oberon.
At the box office was Cassandra, the audience participant storyteller from the week before at Bare! Stories. She worked there and didn’t remember where she knew me from until I told her that I gave her a drink ticket that’s he said counted as buying her a drink. When I got into the main room (which was very nice, it was my first time inside) I saw Chris Duffy, one of the brains behind Paperweight Magazine, a new iPad comedy periodical (that I will be contributing to in some capacity) and we talked for a while before things started.
I enjoyed the show (but not the ‘Am I next?’ anxiety or the judging people’s stories (this theme was ‘unintended’) with numbers. I didn’t get picked (nor did Chris) but Cassandra did and she told a different story than the week before, more personal but with some great moments of honesty and humor sprinkled into it. I had a great conversation at intermission with a couple who were friends with Jenny Z and had seen me before at Grandma’s Basement. I told the a story about how I got on the Spanish Channel that gave me some hopes of telling that at some future event.
At the end they invite everyone who did not get picked up to say the first line of their story. I was hesitant because mine doesn’t really have a catch opener. I tried to think of something. I thought about something very Noir-ish (“I should of known she’d be trouble since we met playing ‘cock ring-toss”) but instead opted with a line that is a detail of the story that I never tell because it’s sort of irrelevant, but I thought it would be funny. I was wrong. I was also the last one in the line so the mediocrity of it lingered.
“Hi. I’m Matt Kona. I do standup comedy. Nobody had ever had sex with me because of my comedy, and then someone did until I learned later that she hadn’t seen my set.”
Ugh. I got the fuck out of there, part of me wondering how long it would take me to make it to the Green Dragon to possibly get on stage and earn back a sense of redemption, the other part of me wanting to eat some dinner. I elected to walk to Central and go to Falafel Palace. I didn’t have enough cash on me so they have a weird policy where they only accept cards if you bought a $25 gift card. Fuck it, I thought. I eat there enough. I ate and went home and fell asleep to reading results of Monday Night Raw, a nice compromise between reading Game of Thrones or watching a wrestling DVD.
Comedy Studio Diary Day 15
I’m still playing log catch up! You don’t need to know that! Here we go! I woke up on Sunday morning already thinking of my hosting night. I was looking forward to it, maybe more than I thought. I’ve hosted a lot of shows, but I knew that it would be a little different. I wanted to do a good job in all facets, look professional, be welcoming and funny while interacting with the crowd a bit, structure the lineup in the best way and of course have fun while doing so.
I knew I was going to dress up a bit, but I didn’t lay out my outfit on the bed. I did commit to wearing a suit by tweeting a pic of me also in the suit as a teaser to potentially entice people to come out based exclusively on my wardrobe.
I wrote out the lineup early, putting some thought into it, texted Wes Hazard that I chose him to take the bullet, double checked with a potential special guest if he could make it (he could not) and then tried to not over think things too much after that. Game of Thrones proved a worthy distraction. I ate a can of soup (with noodles from a ramen package added) and some crackers at some point. I eventually got suited up and left the house. The bottom of my suit ( just the jacket, i opted to go with jeans. OK, I opted to give up on looking for the pants after a while) leaking out under my flight jacket is not a good look, but it wouldn’t be for too long. I got to The Studio after grabbing an ice coffee from JP Licks and copied the lineup onto paper to post for the comics. I found out after that James Nixon dropped off, so I sharpies his name out of the fifth spot. There weren’t too many people there but it was enough and the front wasn’t abandoned. the table closest to the round door was empty to start the night but a couple of stragglers came in eventually. I was sitting at a table with Doug Guertin, I got up to tape the lineup order on the wall and as soon as I sat down Doug was sipping from my coffee and had a disgusted look on his face. he evidently got it confused for his cup of water with no straw in it. It made me laugh and the memory of the moment still holds up, so I had to include it herein.
Sasha recommended I get XXXX the door guy on the 2nd floor to do the announcements to bring me up to the stage and he did a great job with his smooth deep voice. It took me a minute or two to find my hosting footing at first, but I got into it, doing more topical monologue-y jokes off the top, shitting on myself a little bit and even throwing a “guess who died” joke in there (if you’ve never seen Rick Jenkins host he has 147 of those and counting) before settling into some regular material. I didn’t ask before going on stage how long I should do, I know that hosts usually do at least ten, sometimes twenty minutes. I kept it to 15 and clipped it there before going further into the chunk I ended with and brought Wes up.
I had a good time hosting, there were some awkward moments, Matt Chaves ended his set with a joke about Nazis and the history channel/ genocide that kind of tanked and then said “speaking of people who are no stranger to killing, back to Matt Kona…”. Rick Jenkins did a guest spot later and my intro to him was getting a little rambling so I tried to cut it short by saying “If you’ve seen him before, you know what to expect.” and then immediately realized how shitty that was. There was about a half hour left before 10pm and only two comics left so I did my “Bare! Story” and it went over pretty well. Doug and Ted Pettingell closed it out then a few of us went over to Central square to Mick Greenwood’s house to watch the main event of Survivor Series (and another match that Mick kindly rewound for us after) before Ted drove me home.
Comedy Studio Diary Day 14
Weird dream update off the top. I’ve been recording myself describing weird vivid dreams as soon as I wake up but I didn’t do it for this one, so I may be missing out on some of the details but here’s the gist of it. Bill Bellamy was my doctor (but also still the standup comedian because we talked comedy a bit in the Doctor/patient small all portion of the visit) and he showed me a number of big cards in sequence that ended with news that I had leukemia. I had some trouble with that upon waking up at 4am. When I woke again at 7 I was pretty sure Bill Bellamy misdiagnosed me.
I’m still a little behind on catching up on detailed bloggings. Here’s an update from the present. I just came from a dentist appointment in Rowley. I had budgeted my time to walk from one end of town to the next in order to make a train to get me to work in Salem. About half way there an old familiar face pulled up and asked if I needed a ride.
It was my friend Brad. I’m not sure if it was the last time he gave me a ride somewhere but just after high school I was working as a bus boy at a very fancy restaurant called The Eagle House. On Halloween I went to work dressed up as Billy Idol. I didn’t bother to check with the manager to serif that was Ok but because they were slow that night and because I “looked cute” it was deemed acceptable. Although the looks on the faces of the patrons who came out to a nice dinner to get AWAY from all things Halloween told a different story. They begrudgingly accepted my rolls and cups of water and I continued working. That is until about an hour later when my friend Matt and Brad stormed in wearing Skelton masks and physically removed me from the middle of the restaurant and tried to shove me in a car. I actually had to fight them off to get back inside. My manager said that I could go if I wanted, so I did. I was weary of the NEW dirty looks I’d get when I went back to give that couple a refill. We went to Salem and I had a very fun Halloween. Twelve years later and Brad has helped me get back to Salem again.
Back to being behind on blogging! Ironic to be written sitting here on the curb of the Rowley MBTA stop and given extra time to catch up that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I kind of glanced over it in the previous post but I spent pretty much all of Saturday and Sunday reading Game of Thrones (finishing book 2, starting 3) after beginning Friday with a viewing of the movie “Fear No Evil” made by the director of ” Lady in White” and it was very campy and bizarre. It would be a good candidate for “Shitty Movie Sunday” at Grandma’s Basement. I did take a break to make a chicken sandwich and watch the first two of The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania matches on Netflix (on Sunday I ate a PB & J and watched match #3 where he won by disqualification over The Giant Gonzales, who wore a spandex muscle suit and used a rag doused in chloroform)
I ventured to Harvard Square around 7:15 and it was a bustle of activity because of the big Harvard/Yale game. I saw a lot of intellectuals with painted faces acting crazy, their equivalent of Salem on Halloween, in a way. I bypassed J.P. Licks again because it was packed with smiling faces and I wanted a coffee the color of my soul. So I went to Panera Bread, where they understand personal darkness. Also they make you do it yourself.
I went over to a nice and sold out room full of on time people at The Comedy Studio. I mixed in some new bits (including one I wrote on stage the night before at Grandmas,that worked) and a couple older lines that had been in storage in my brain, ending again with drug puns. I watched RA Bartlett and left soon after with Jess Axel to go watch (and me, open for) Ken Reid at Grandma’s Basement. We rode the T and the shuttle bus weekend at Harvard (which didn’t affect this trip) reminded me of a whole bunch of T horror stories to tell on the way over. The Green line was delayed a bit and the “Religious Handout Guy” that is recognizable to most people in Boston was on the train and an obnoxious looking teenager decided to start an annoying argument with him for everyone to not enjoy. I tried to let it not get to me that much, there may be a bit there to come.
We arrived at Grandma’s (again, a nice little crowd packed in and sitting close to the front of the room to boot!) while Alex Edelman was on stage. I went p a few comics later and opened with my Spike’s story which was fun to tell, and closed with topical jokes. Ken did an almost all high school experience themed set and it was a thing of beauty. The fact that it was all mostly cobbled together earlier in the week made it even more impressive. It could be another one man show. Everyone sort of scattered once the show was over, a pretty uneventful T ride home and I don’t remember what I fell asleep to.
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.
Comedy Studio Diary Day 12
I had a fun night. I drifted off to sleep (back to the Kevin Steen “Descent into Madness” Wrestling DVD) at around 3am. A wild night at Grandma’s needs a bunch of steel chairs and scaffolding savagery to calm my brain down. I’ll start from the top, I just wanted to share my good mood for the time being. or at least before I crash from lack of sleep in the very near future.
I finished work and went direct to Harvard square to reenact my routine of soup and a sandwich and an hour of reading Game of Thrones. The soup (sweet onion) was decent despite the fact that it was a bit lukewarm (ideal crotch spilling on temperature I would imagine) and not a pretty looking dish. The sandwich took a while longer to make but was perhaps the best BBQ seitan I’ve had there. Game of Thrones of course is really “cracking” at this point to use the only British sounding adjective I cold find.
I stopped at JP Licks to get a coffee, not enough ice and made by a dude with serious assistant manager visions and headed to he studio. I did not do an interview with Sean Sullivan because there was nothing specific to talk about and it was a great lineup of old friends and I would rather talk to them than smell my onion and coffee breath in a closet as well. I talked with Ryan Darmody a bit and the show started soon after.
Following Sean Sullivan was one thing that a lot of the former CIR’s did not enjoy or look forward to in their months. We have talked about it on previous podcasts (that you most likely already know about if you’re reading this blog) and I can now see why. The jokes that he tells off the top are usually deconstructed or weaved in between talking to and judging the room and then talking about new stuff in his life and building towards a frenzied riff that may go back to the joke he started or into something else.
I was a little unsure of what I was going to do. I wanted to do a story that I have told a lot in the past but want to bring back to do at a storyteller show coming up this Monday (it’s about food and an experience I had with Spikes’s Junk Yard Dogs. It’s not about eating six and getting a T-shirt and a polaroid on the wall although I have attempted (and FAILED) at that before. I chickened out on doing that because in a way I wanted to do my best stuff for the somewhat light crowd and also for the comics visiting from L.A. (although they’ve all seen me before, I still wanted to show them something I guess)
I started with my standard beginning, it was kind of lukewarm at first and parts of the act that had been home runs on most nights died on the warning track (excuse the baseball reference but it’s pretty good, right? Also earlier in the day I renewed my Red Sox season tickets and I expect a lot of warning track related disappointment next year as well) I didn’t close out how ai normally would if they were more on board for me. I shifted gear into my ziplock baggie of drug puns instead, in a slightly different order with an old one thrown in.
In the closet afterwards Pincus and I kind of deconstructed what happened, or more accurately dissected the parts they were dumb not to laugh at, etc. I felt fine about it, what can you do? I was looking forward to watching the rest of the show. I’d never seen Jay Larson before and he was fantastic. Brian Moote and Chris Fleming also crushed it and made me laugh a lot, something that I’ve always been hard to audibly display. I saw a kid who I used to run into on the T in the audience. Initially I met him and his friends on the red line because I was drunk and chatty and had stickers of myself and proclamations of my chosen path to pass onto them. The next time was on a green line train during the day while sober, hearing from him about how we met before. He gave me a kind of sympathy endorsement. ” Well, you had ME laughing.” After the stairs were sufficiently stacked I walked with Moote, Andrea and Jenkins for a block before Marc Basch pulled up and whisked me away to Grandma’s Basement.
We arrived at the same time Benny was getting out of his car. For some reason I thought it would be funny to ask, in a townie voice, “Were you just jerking off in your car?” and it may not have been, but I’m going to start doing that to friends I see leaving their cars alone from now on. I lingered to talk with some of the smokers out front before my bladder called me in. Despite my earlier meal I was hungry and got some vegetable tempura. I signed up on the list, around number 37. Joe List was at the other end of the bar which made me happy to see. I knew he would be in town for The Studio tomorrow but I always enjoy his presence, on or off stage (and he’s become a regular on Robert Kelly’s You Know What Dude podcast and rightfully so.)
James Creelman, Kenny Nardozza and RA Bartlett came up from the ocean state and I took RA into the hallway and did a very fun podcast. He will be a CIR in 2013 so I’m going to do some preview episodes but we had an interesting talk, surprisingly in depth at times as well as inappropriate.
We returned to the show room and there was some audience. A party of three very attractive ladies and two dudes (surrounded by mountains of Chinese food) although they didn’t seem too into the show. I asked Gary Petersen (who was hosting) to delay my spot a bit while I figured out what to do. I didn’t really pick out a set, just debated telling the Bare! story or just interact with the people. I decided on the latter, doing crowd work to lead into my porn joke since they looked like they could be actors and actresses in the industry.
It ended up being real fun and although they went back to not enjoying most aspects of the show later on after Guitler’s set (getting real awkward at times, way to go, Mike O’Brien) they liked me and I gave them flyers/agreed to let one of them braid my beard and lose for a pic. We hung around and bullshitted for a while before a wild ride home with Pat, John Paul and Guitler, racing Dan Melick and shouting weird shit out the window. I had a lot of fun and didn’t want to go to sleep. Some nights comedy is more fun than it ought to be.