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Featured, Lifestyle, Shameless Self Promotion!, True Lies

“We thought we’d leave you with a story.”

September 8, 2015
What did I get myself into?

Friday night August 30th, 2002, Laff Stop Houston, Texas

If I can’t go up on stage, I might as well catch a show and see how it’s done.

The marquee reads “Que Locos!”.

“Is this going to show in Spanish?” I ask myself.

I do my best to avoid the waitstaff’s way and catch the show from the stage right hallway. I accidentally bump into the feature act Felipe and watch the opener Armando Cosio finish up his set.

“Great job!” I tell him as he passes me by. I watch the rest of the show from the peanut gallery and head home.

Saturday night, I finish up a video editing session, head to the Laff Stop and once again arrive as Armando is finishing up his set. I congratulate him again on the good job as he leaves the stage. I watch the rest of the show from the peanut gallery again and head home.

Sunday my conscience gets the best of me, I told Armando good set, but I didn’t catch the full set and that just starts to tug at me on the inside. So I arrive early and see Armando, “Hey Mando, I got here early so I could catch your full set.”

“Oh, thanks.”

“By the way, why is the show called Que Locos?”

“It’s a show on Galavision.”

“The Spanish station?”

“Yeah and it’s in English.”

“Cool..  Break a leg”

I watch the rest of Armando’s set, then head to the bar and order a Dr. Pepper.

“Hey Al, Gabe wants to talk to you.”

Armando introduces me to his fluffy friend, Gabriel.

“You a comic?”

“Yeah, well, I just do open mic”

“So what’s your name?”

“Al, Al Bahma… Al B.”

“So Al B, how many minutes do you have?”

“Five, I’m.. ”

“You know what? Check this out.” Gabriel leads me to the side of the stage and points me towards the packed audience.

“See this crowd? This crowd is hot!”

“Yup.”

Then Gabriel points me towards his middle act, “Felipe’s not even doing his best stuff and he’s killing it!”

“Yup.”

“In fact this audience so hot, whoever goes up next will absolutely kill it.”

“Yup.”

“I believe that so much that you’re going up next”

“Yup.”

As soon as I realize what I agreed to, I then feel my heart drop into the pit of my stomach.

“We thought we’d leave you with a story.”

Armando gets up on stage and introduces me, I go up and bomb horribly.

It was craptacular, uncomfortable and quite honestly at the time, I was too dirty for the audience.

Still one joke got in there with a positive response.

“They tell you when you’re nervous in public speaking to imagine the entire audience is naked.

Well I just did that. Now I’m blind.”

Normally it would get a chuckle, this time it was a four second applause break. Feeling that roar of the crowd for the first time on stage is powerful stuff. It’s like a shark tasting blood for the first time.

I was hooked. I want, not want, I need. I need more of this. I need to get better. I need to get funnier.

Even got a souvenir too!

Even got a souvenir too!

Afterwards Armando brings me some birthday cake because it happened to be his birthday. While snacking on cake I ask, “Why me? What about the other better local comics?”

“Yeah, but you’re only one that said hello.”

Featured, Shameless Self Promotion!, True Lies

Two Comics Walk On Stage, One Walks Out

August 11, 2015
Battle Battle Battle!

How can I describe it without sounding like a lunatic*? Here we go.

"Before you go for it, you got to know the joke." -- Jeffrey Ross

“Before you go for it, you got to know the joke.”
— Jeffrey Ross

Take the Comedy Central Roasts, add a splash of 8 Mile, 2 parts Fight Club, a dash of nonsense from The Muppet Show thrown in for good fun and blend. No punches are pulled, no jabs are held back Roast Battle is verbal violence of epic proportions!  Friendships and rivalries are forged, faustian bargains are made and of course there are zingers galore.

Two comics walk on stage. One walks out victorious.

And the other just leaves.

And the other just leaves.

Did I mention celebrity guest commentary? Out of random Jeff Ross, Dane Cook, Jason Reitman, Iliza Schlesinger, Tony Hinchcliffe, Mike Lawrence, The Harlem Globetrotters**, Rich Voss, Stephen Merchant and even Joe Rogan may pop in and provide color commentary.  And it ends in a hug.

Matthew Broussard Vs. Sean Patrick Leary

Matthew Broussard Vs. Sean Patrick Leary

It’s happening tonight and I’m going up and I’m going up against Austin Texas’s own and Austin’s Funniest Chance Royce!

My opponent.  (Coach Tea please cue in Kill Bill Theme here!)

My opponent.
(Coach Tea please cue in Kill Bill Theme here!)

If you can get there early. Comics and audience will literally stew in their own juices in the Comedy Store Belly Room just to get at least a good reflection off of a reflection of a view from someone’s periscope view.

Show begins at 2am Central Time, Midnight LA Time at the Comedy Store.

For more info, here’s a link to LA Weekly Article, the podcast and the Tumblr.

Still Swinging!

Still Swinging! Photo by Anthony Rathbun

 

*Or a hyper active 7 year old talking about dinosaurs.

** They could!

Featured, Shameless Self Promotion!, Travel, True Lies

When You Arrive in Los Angeles

August 4, 2015
Don't Stop Sign

When you arrive in Los Angeles, they welcome you with a traffic ticket, a fender bender and the middle finger.

I curse this hill a lot, yet I'm greatful for the free parking and weight loss.

I curse this hill a lot, yet I’m greatful for the free parking and weight loss.

Best part about Los Angeles, the weather. What people call a bad day in LA would make a great day in Houston weather wise.

Worst part about Los Angeles, the people. They suck.

Continue Reading…

Featured, Shameless Self Promotion!, True Lies

Teddy Bear Suicides

July 27, 2015
DeadyBear

Someone or something is killing the teddy bears of Los Angeles.

Fountain & Gower

Fountain & Gower

There’s a teddy bear hanging from a power line.  Oh and here’s another and another.

Waring in between Alfred & La Cienega

Waring in between Alfred & La Cienega

I’ve been taking photos and making notes. It’s a hobby or sorts. What could it be? Artists? A childhood died here? Teddy Bear Suicides?  A Ted 2 marketing ploy? Drug related?

Fairfax and Oakley

Fairfax and Oakley

 What do they mean? A murder? Lynching of imaginary friends? Gang related? The LA Death Museum had no answers. Neither did most folks. I tell people and they look at me like I’m crazy. I might even solve a mystery. I doubt it.

Then I noticed.

Are they next?

Are they next?

Featured, Shameless Self Promotion!, True Lies

Come and Take It Comedy Hang Over

February 10, 2015
Come and Take It Comedy Hang Over Feat

Come and Take It Comedy Hang Over :

noun

The feeling of being too tired of having a great time on and off stage for an entire weekend.

Example: After hosting for the entire weekend at Warehouse Live Ashton Womack suffered a Come and Take It Comedy Hangover!

The Come And Take It Comedy Take Over was everything I expected and much more. They even wrote some nice things about my fellow Houston Comics and myself in the paper and the festival right over here.

Continue Reading…

Featured, True Lies

Sunday was big, Sunday I meet Stan Lee!

December 26, 2014
Sunday was a big Sunday I meet Stan Lee Feat

Sunday was big, Sunday I meet Stan Lee!

To say the 12 year old me was as excited was the understatement of the decade! In my hands was a tattered and faded copy of an old Captain America comic I got at the Pearland flea market for a dollar. I slowly flip through the yellowed pages study the names on the page “Art by Jack Kirby” “Written by Stan Lee”. My mom calls me, I put the book in the plastic bag and board and we head out.

Five minutes later, my mom’s 1979 brown Volvo starts to spit smoke into the vehicle and  breaks down in the middle of the road.

We  avoid getting run over and push the car to the Food-A-Rama and wait by the pay phone.

Continue Reading…

Featured, Lifestyle, True Lies

For That Full Circle Nicotine Flavor

June 30, 2014
20140630-134146-49306480.jpg

Take these away from me!”, Reed hands me a pack of Menthols as he swears to me, “I got to quit smoking these!”.

The next night I run into another friend, “Hey Landis, you still smoke?”.

Sure.

I hand Landis the pack.

Shortly after a flustered Reed appears, “Does anyone have a cigarette?”.

Landis hands Reed a cigarette from the pack that was originally his.

Featured, Travel, True Lies

You Had To Be There

April 17, 2014
20140630-134146-49306480.jpg

January, 2008 New York City, the Village Lantern’s open mic.

Weighed down with backpack and jet lag, I stagger into the Village Lantern open mic and sign up, sit down and wait my turn.

From upstairs you can hear a cover band version of ‘Hey Jealousy’ bleeding into the comedy basement.

The next comic walks up to the mic and begins to tell jokes. And he is just bombing.

Set up, punch and audience indifference. Set up, punch and still nothing. This guy is just eating it.

As the comic gets off stage, another comic is brought up on stage. As the new comic arrives and adjust the mic, the cover band upstairs finish their Gin Blossoms cover and begins to cover Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’.

One minute into the song the next comic’s act starts picking up momentum. Jokes are hitting their mark. People start laughing.

The song progresses and the song reaches the chorus of ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ the comic on stage is getting funnier. Laughter and hope begins to fill the basement of jaded pros and hopefuls.

Then the song ends.

You could hear the simultaneous applause from both floors as the comic exits stage left.

Featured, Lifestyle, True Lies

Embrace The Heckler

February 10, 2014
"School of Hard Knocks" by Brian McManus. Houston Press, January, 20-26th 2005

On a long enough timeline, we all get heckled. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a paid gig, a comedy contest or an open mic. Heckling is an occupational hazard in the ‘world’s greatest job’.

If you’re brave or foolish enough to step onto a stage and string together some jokes to a point of view, heckling is inevitable. Like everyone working on their stand-up craft, I take my lumps of abuse. My attitude towards heckling is to learn from it and move forward. What else can one do? Let the heckler win, cry myself to sleep, quit doing comedy and crawl into a tear-drenched fetal position of defeat.

I assumed I experienced heckling in all its craven forms, then life proved me wrong.

I’ve experience everything from a random punter in the back yelling out ‘You suck!’ to the misguided patron attempting to ‘enhance’ the show; from bottles being thrown at me to an internet troll posting that my act is ‘rubbish’ from a comment card proclaiming, ‘A case of herpes is funnier’ than me to the disc jockey hosting a comedy contest getting an entire audience to boo in unison.
Saturday night, I head to the local supermarket to buy some fried chicken and coffee. When I get back to my truck, I notice a hand written note on my windshield left for me to read.

You

‘YOU’RE NOT FUNNY!’ proclaims the handwritten note on the back of a receipt with a heart at the end of the exclamation point.
At first I was angry and quite pissed off. Why of all the nerve! I look around and scan the parking lot to see if anyone is watching from afar trying to gauge the impact of their personalised comment.

I flip the receipt over and learn at 11 am they spent $7 for three tacos at El Rey Taqueria, a fast food joint. They spent seven bucks of their own cash for tortillas, cilantro, meat, lettuce and tomatoes. Then I started laughing uncontrollably.

It’s hard for me to take anyone that spends seven bucks for three tacos in Houston, the Tex Mex capital of the world, seriously. That’s like paying £10 for fish and chips in Cardiff. Not only was my heckler afraid heckling me at a proper venue, they are also afraid of real Tex Mex cooked by real Mexicans/Hondurans/Salvadorans. Seriously, what a cowardly douche bag.

Then my mood changed from laughter to pride. I motivated someone. Forget motivated, I moved someone. I actually moved someone to do something beyond yelling ‘Boo!’

They took time out of their lives and noticed my truck. Then they found pen, a scrap of paper and left a personalised handwritten note on my windshield. And they used correct grammar. Great Xerxes’ Ghost! I am motivating people to learn how to read and write!
Instead of funneling their hatred onto something as random as my ethnicity, creed or faith, they took the time to hate me for who I am on stage. I feel like I am living Doctor Martin Luther King’s dream. They say the opposite of love isn’t hate, but indifference. It feels good to be loathed, loathed by cowards.