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Keep-It-Moving

March 26, 2018
Outside the Comedy Store on Sunset Blvd. Photo by Troy Conrad

“So Al, what have you been up to?”, asks an old Houston Comedy Frenemy. 

“You first, because it’s going to sound like I’m bragging.” I then stretch out both my arms back and point to the poster on the back door of the Comedy Store, “I’m hosting a show at the Belly Room.” They then walk away from me.

“But wait! There’s more!”, I declare as I hear them speedwalk halfway past Bill Hick’s name on the wall.

Filling in for Kyle Ray

“The toilet paper had a baby on it and it winked at me.”

Jay Light

“And that’s how I found out I’m not made for cage fighting”

Glenn Bolton

“The music is bumpin’ so loud, she won’t smell this.”

Rasheed Stephens

“I got an inflatable Dick costume, $65.95!”

Becky Robinson

“They were normal till they found the bodies in the basement.”

Amanda Cohen

“By the time we got home, there were 15 people protesting with us.”

Rich Slaton

“So I meet the guy with the lie detector at the Arby’s on Sunset.”

Josh Nasar

“Sometimes after a vasectomy, it fixes itself.”

Porcia Bartholomae

“That dude got the devil in his eyes. You got you into this mess. I’m sorry, but I got to go.”Nia DeBose

Top to Bottom left to right, see quotes below.

Top to Bottom left to right, see quotes above to match comic.

Kyle Ray’s Bedtime Stories at the World Famous Comedy Store: Real Life Real Funny. If you’re interested in storytelling Kyle Ray even wrote a pretty solid guide here. Kyle’s in Vegas right now, I’ll be hosting. For tickets click here…

"The Yoga Incident" Now On Funny Or Die!

Nia DeBose runs sound Pamela Walt and Steven Garza Isak Allen’s “The Yoga Incident” Now On Funny Or Die!

“So Joey (Gaynor) what side were you on during the comics’ strike?*”

“The right side.”

“And that side is?” asks “I Am Sam Kinison” director Adrian Buitenhuis. 

Top Photo by Jerry D Photography

Top Photo by Jerry D Photography Bottom right to left Q&A Panel line up, Lue Deck’s POV behind the scenes of his part of the documentary.

 

* (For more information on the strike, you can read more about it in William Knoedelseder’s book “I’m Dying Up Here”! Season 2 Premieres on Sunday, May 6 at 10 pm ET/PT. It’s Jim Carrey’s baby, starring Melissa Leo and Ari Graynor, Al Madrigal, Erik Griffin, Rick Overton, Andrew Santino, Earl Skakel and more!**

**Not a Spoiler TV show wise, names, histories, legends have been fudged enough to make your own speculations. That’s half the fun. Season 2 of Showtime Series produced by Jim Carrey gets released in May!)

Enter Ron Jeremy

Left to right Me, Joey Gaynor behind Corey Feldman, Adrian Buitenhuis, Dan Barton, Felicia Michaels, Judy Tenuda, Bill Kinison & Ron Jeremy Photo by Jerry D Photography 2017.

Some folks get to represent Houston, with an Astros jersey. Me, I get to moderate a panel at the Comedy Store’s Main Room for “I Am Sam Kinison”, a documentary about Houston’s greatest comic.

“Houston has a comedy scene?”

Every time I hear that from a fellow comic, I honestly want to vomit blood on their shoes. That goes double if they’re from Houston.

Yeah, Houston has a comedy scene.

In fact, Houston was where Bob Newhart was given his chance at recording “The Unbuttoned Mind” when Chicago wouldn’t take a chance on him. Houston also extended the chance for Mitch Hedberg, Doug Stanhope, and Louis CK and many more to record their albums at the old Laff Stop on West Gray. Houston was also the city that gave a former Pentecostal preacher named Sam Kinison a second wind as a stand-up legend.

What Snoop Dogg is to rap in Long Beach Sam Kinison is to comedy in Houston. From Bill Hick to Ralphie Maye to Carl LaBove to Rob Mungle to Slim Bloodworth to Olivia Arrington to Danny Rios to Caroline Picard to Reverend Bart to Warren Wright to many many more names who I got to tell Bill Kinison himself.

“Many more of them burn out self-destruct, goddamn do they burn brightly.” I shake Bill’s hand and he laughs.

Even though he’s been dead for more than twenty years, you can hear that primal scream in Joe Rogan, Joey Diaz, Bill Burr, Doug Stanhope, Erik Marino and so many countless others who were influenced by the man. Each comic took that intense wave of dark energy and rode it off into their own direction. And it gets bigger if you include the number of comics influenced by those he’s impacted.

To do a proper Sam Kinison doc you’d need an unlimited budget and the running length of a Ken Burns documentary series to even barely scratch the surface.The filmmakers did the best with what they had time and budget to allow.

Did you know it costs 20,000.00 to license Sam’s “Wild Thing” music video?

Ultimately the hope is that the documentary is watched by a new generation of fans and comics who decide to dig deeper. Everyone has their own Sam Story and as far I’m concerned they’ve all been toned down to be believed.

Other things of note regarding the documentary. There’s Houston Comedy Workshop Annex footage that has been hanging around in a garage for thirty plus years. I also found myself starstruck by Judy Tenuda. There’s just something about a woman with an accordion. If you’re the smartest and funniest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. I’ve never been so glad to be in the right room.

Podcast Grid

“Have you thought about doing a podcast?” Mike Schmidt asks me.

“Eh, I only listen to a few.”

“Al, as a comic, you need to expand your horizons. You work hard and I’m offering you an opportunity to expand.”

“I don’t know? What it would be about? It’s gotta say something.”

“Exactly. Think about it and pitch me something.”

I peek through the Comedy Store Original Room and catch a snippet of Argus Hamilton as he shoots out a new one political one-liner. Knod my head and wave to various comics as I duck and dodge my way to pick up drink buckets for comics to slip their names in.

Goat Vs Fish Meets Erik Marino

Goat Vs Fish meets comic and former SNL screenwriter Erik Marino

Later that night, Sarah Kenny picks a name out of the bucket.

Let’s give it up for Goat Vs Fish!

In the beginning, there was goat and fish! The Goat-Fish! And the goat versus the fish! And the fish Versus the goat! All is goat versus fish! There is no alpha or omega! No good or evil! No black or white! There is only goat versus fish! Only one question, “Are you a goat or are you a fish?” This one who calls himself, Joshua Meyrowitz, are you goat of fish! , He then points at Joshua Meyerowitz.

I don’t know!

Answer me!

I knew you were going to ask me that question.

I now produce The Goat Vs Fish Podcast every week at the World Famous Comedy Store. It’s about 20 plus episodes in and quite honestly like FLCL, I don’t get it but I enjoy the hell out of it. You can download an episode from iTunes and wherever fine podcasts are found.

And I also help produce “Andrea Loves Everybody” at Comedy Pop Up Studios with Andrea Guzzetta and Paul Anthony Verdugo. Every episode Andrea explores emotional minefields with an inquisitive mind, a sharp wit, and an open heart. Also available on iTunes and wherever fine podcasts are found.

So I’m producing podcasts I want to listen to now.

Current FOMO

Newer Asylum

And I’ve been showing up on tv shows, but that’s another set of hijinks. More to come! What and where I honestly don’t know.

Featured, Shameless Self Promotion!, Uncategorized

Looking Back Moving Forward..

June 10, 2017
Calm before the upcoming comedy storm. Little things like tape over the pens deters communal pen theft & tickets instead of slips of paper in one bucket add to the room.

Sunday night/Monday morning The Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip.

I stagger out the door, sweaty, voice ragged from cat herding, half tired and still visibly shaking from the after effects 3 cans of yerba mate too many.

“So how was your night?” asks Comedy Store door guy Deric Poston.

I laugh maniacally.

“So, it was that good?”

I start laughing maniacally again. I wouldn’t spend my Sunday night any other way.

Photo Jun 06, 10 38 29 AM

And if we do our job right, folks won’t be sure if we did anything at all.

Please stand or take a respectful Colin Kaepernick knee!

It all starts with a song, “The Official Unofficial National Anthem”. It’s not the actual national anthem. Comics with musical skills like Jeanne Whitney, Kelsey Lane, Sean Hart, Caesar Lizardo, Anna Valenzuela and more kick off the show with any song of their choice. 

For the most part, the rotating musical guests really bring up the audience in a roar. And right before the song reaches its peak, you can feel the energy level of that little Belly Room raise to levels of untold intensity.

Erik Marino and starts, continues and repeats his spiel as more comics, new hopefuls and surprise audience start to arrive throughout the night.

Photo Jun 09, 5 44 02 PM

“And that’s how we start a show! With Talent! The bar has been set high! Who can follow that! Who can follow that! Don’t ruin my show! Who can follow this right now! Who can start my show! Any takers? 

(Awkard Silence.)

Just remember when you go to sleep tonight when you have a dark night of the soul and have a crisis of conscience. Remember this moment. Remember where you had the chance and you didn’t take the chance. 

I want you to be funny! 

Welcome to Show Up Go Up LA, the most misunderstood show in comedy. And if you stay at the end of the night everyone gets a chance to work on one piece of material. I created an open mic that was fun to watch. Some people don’t like it and they’re wrong!

And if you can’t survive me on a Sunday night then you can’t survive Hollywood! We have many ways to go on stage. We have guests, we got segments. You can even create your own segments. There are so many ways you can go up. 

This is the Bucket of Destiny feel free to sign a ticket and put your name in the bucket. One time only! And this is the bucket of bar tabs buy as many drinks or non-alcoholic items, a drink, chicken fingers, a Comedy Store t-shirt. It has to be a Comedy Store Receipt from today! Not a Toys R Us, 99 Cent Store receipt from God knows when! 

Buy five beers get five chances. It doesn’t even have to be alcohol. We have joke challenges where you can compete and the funniest joke gets the next 3 minutes of stage time. We have open mic bingo. We’re going to bring out and old segment I think is a mistake. I’m going to give out my cell phone number. The best text will get 3 minutes later in the show.”

— Erik Marino

Photo Jun 09, 5 51 26 PM

Take the sensationalism of PT Barnum, mix in 2 parts Eddie Wilson from “Eddie and the Cruisers” add multiple shots of Sam Kinison, Hunter S. Thompson and whiskey you end up with an Erik Marino. Erik’s written for television shows like ‘Ellen’ and ‘Weeds’. He was even at the Olympics in Rio with Leslie Jones. Marino was also a Groundling and even was quoted in ‘The New Yorker’ too.

Say what you want about the man, he puts in his time and keeps the open mic slaughter house floor as entertaining as possible. It would be easier to just run the average mutual admiration showcase of funny friends on what excluding holidays is one of the historically slower late nights of the week in the smallest room of the Comedy Store. It would much easier, but it wouldn’t be as fun. 

In addition to Erik Marino, Sarah Kenny and Mark Stevens on sound also keep the show on track. There’s a lot of cat herding and adult daycare involved in keeping on track. With about on average about 400 viewers on Periscope, the behind the scenes of Show Up Go Up LA at the Comedy Store has a live 1950’s television show vibe to it. There’s running to make sure performers are ready, telling folks that they’re getting bumped, setting up the room, tearing the room down, putting out ego fires, maintaining social media accounts, helping with the clean up of the room, tracking down comics again and all sorts of other fun to happen.

Little things like Sarah Kenny using tickets instead of slips of paper, sign up pens with really bright tape attached to it to help remind folks not to lift the pen make a big difference. There’s a lot that goes wrong and a lot that goes right despite our best and worse efforts.

 So yeah, I went from hanging out at an open mic at the Comedy Store to Co-producing it.

So how’d you get that?

It wasn’t something that was given to me. I saw an opportunity to pitch in and I pitched in and I kept showing up, pitching in more and things organically worked that way.

And if the current team of myself, Erik Marino, Sarah Kenny and Mark Stevens on sound makes it to late July/August, it’ll be a full year we all came together and rolled up our sleeves and kept the show running on the rails. That one night in July it was like the Avengers coming together with Erik Marino as both Captain America and Loki rolled into one.

Show Up Go Up LA returns to The World Famous Comedy Store June 18th, 2017 10:30pm!

Katrina Davis

And I busted my lip while doing a good deed.

While helping a lady change her tire at the gas station, I busted my lip in the same spot I had stitches.  They forgot their tire iron, I wasn’t in a hurry and so I decided to give my tire iron a try and it worked. Well except for that last lug nut.

So I did the logical thing. I stepped on my tire iron with one leg and use my body weight to push it down. Nope, no movement, none at all. It supported my full weight.  So I did the next logical thing and stood on it with both legs, still no movement. So logically I started jumping with both feet on the tire iron. 123.. Nope. 123.. Nope.. 1..2. And bam! I ended up busting up my lip. The tire got changed. She paid for my gas before I could slide my card in the machine. Not a bad way to start a day.

Note to self, be more careful and try not to get myself killed again. How I am still alive and not missing any(more) body parts is beyond my comprehension.

Oh, if I make it to my next birthday I’ll be back in Houston 8 pm Thursday, August 17th, 2017! Woooo! I’m surprised I still have a lower lip and the use of my right foot. That’s a more brutal story. It’s “Chicken Soup For the Soulless!”

New Rudz Flyer

It’s good to be back at Rudyard’s  to reconnect with some good friends like Slim Bloodworth and Warren Wright.

August 17th, 2017 

Tickets are $7

2 for $10!

Rudyard’s

2010 Waugh

Houston, Texas 77006

Slim Bloodworth killing it at the last guest spot at the last night of the Houston Laff Stop. Warren Wright on a road trip to Cap City and the LBJ museum in Austin Texas while passing a fire at fireworks factory near the fourth of July.

Slim Bloodworth killing it at the last guest spot at the last night of the Houston Laff Stop. Warren Wright on a road trip to Cap City and the LBJ Museum in Austin Texas while passing a fire at a fireworks factory near the fourth of July.

 A bonafide “Dyke of Hazard”, Slim can out-drink, out-fight, out-cuss and out-joke any comic twice her size. She even came back from the dead after flatlining while on a gig in Ottawa, Canada.  And she’s been a part of many more crazy times.

Warren Wright is a frantic force of nervous energy balled up exploding onto insane laughs on stage and he’s also one of the hardest working characters off stage too. Not since Matthew Broussard starting his first year in stand up have I seen a comic rise so skillfully quick on stage by leaps and bounds. All around good people and phenomenal comics, what more can you ask for? Other than a Rudz burger and maybe a Shiner Bock or two.

Rudz

I have a history with Rudyard’s. It was the first room that I saw local Houston comics’ like Niki Key and Melissa Nichols take control of their careers and produce their own full comedy shows outside a club structure of any kind. People do it all the time, for me that blew my mind. Since then there have been so many moments at that Rudyard’s stage good, bad and in between. I cut my teeth on that stage, even learned how to co-book a show and promote one too. Even made the Houston Press’ Best Place For Local Comedy 2007.  

After the Laff Stop closed and before the current rise of local scene like The Secret Group it seemed like clubs were closing one after another and the Houston comedy felt kinda post-apocalyptic. Lots of talent either moving on, dropping out or just staying on the road and holding onto what little they had left. Eventually, Kevin Farren resurrected comedy at Rudyard’s after Sherlock’s Pub on West Gray closed its doors in and inner loop Houston lost another local comedy hub after the Laff Stop closed its doors in ’09. Local comic, Dusti Rhodes currently runs one of the best mics on Monday night at Rudyard’s and for more that a couple of years it’s currently still one of the best stages for music and comedy in Houston on any night. If you’re in Houston on a Monday night, Rudyard’s Comedy Mic is definitely worth checking out. 

In other news, I designed a book cover!

It's weird looking something you whipped up in physical form. Second Edition available on www.m3publishers.com!

It’s weird looking something you whipped up in physical form. Second Edition available on www.m3publishers.com!

Right now I’m heading off to perform The Great Untamed in Laramie, WY with Jose Trevizo, Spencer Kalendar & Keenan Kusnierczyk!KOTH

I’m a lucky man to make it this far. In the long run, it isn’t much to pile a hill of beans on but it’s my molehill and I had help. For starters, I get trusted to run other shows and not burn down the place when the regular host is out.

I am thankful to those who keep me running around in multiple directions and keep building up things in different directions.  I survive daily in part to friends, family, exes of days past and folks who find me not so bad a person to pass the time with. If I were to list them all would be a blog post in itself, still, thank you.

Better to be in purgatory with good company than lonely in heaven.

To still be here so far still feels like an achievement, even though at times it doesn’t feel so much.

Featured, Uncategorized

Touchee Jackson: He spoke as fast as he lived.

May 2, 2017
Touchee Jackson, to know him is to curse him out.

You might remember Donta’ Touchee Jackson from that time you wanted to kill him.

He was a mountain of a man with a voice that was a cross between Mr. T and Boomhauer from “King of the Hill”. He spoke his mind and gave you a piece of it whether you’d want to hear it or not. Once you got to know Donta, you already knew you’d want to hear it twice. You knew where stood with him and he knew where you stood with him. When we first met, we threatened to kill each other. That feeling passed as quickly as it came back. To know Touchee Jackson is to curse him out.

 Over the years, we always ran into each other for brief moments on a semi regular basis of at least once every two weeks an open mic here, a local show. Those moments between mics turned to weeks, weeks turned to months and months turned to years.  One year, on his birthday, he took the time to help me replace the water pump on my 1997 Nissan pickup truck.  As you move forward in life, you don’t spend time with someone you hate just because. I offered him some cash, he didn’t take it, but he did take a beer.

The news of Touchee’s death spread out and evolved in it’s own way. Random texts of “You talk to Touchee’?” to multiple phone calls leading to social media posts through the different parts of the city and the world. Then more frantic texts leading to frantic calls leading to frantic voicemails and a somber realization while prepping out dick jokes at a Monday night open mic at a bar.

The church service was the first time some comics actually saw each other in years. “Man that preacher’s got good stage presence! To wow! I had no idea old dude is still alive?! His son’s so big now! Man, Billy D. gave a good eulogy! You riding out to the the burial. Yea, I need to fuel up first, I’ll be right there.”

And I get lost on the way to the burial ground.

Hmm, this flower shop might have directions. I wander in the flower shop and get in line behind the two people buying flowers. I ask for directions and out of guilt, I grabbed the cheapest flowers I could find.

“$7.00! Damn that’s a lot of money for flowers.”

In my head I hear Touchee heckling from beyond, “Albee you’re stupid! Men don’t buy men flowers! Put that back fool! Put that back!” I ignore imaginary Touchee, pay the cashier and follow their directions to the burial ground.

I park my car, next to cars I recognize and head to the coffin say a few words to myself and lay flowers down. I then turn around and walk to the join the rest of my fellow mourners. I scan the mourners and confirm I don’t know anybody here. Yup, I know no one here. Most of the folks I know are at the burial tent across the way. I wave hi to Carolyn Agnew and smile awkwardly. I’m at the wrong coffin.

So, I have two choices, do I one, keep walking away and rejoin my fellow comics and let things slide. Or well $7.00 is a bit of money and I should go back and get those flowers. As I turn around to retrieve my $7.00 offering, I feel a tug at my sports coat. I turn and I see an old frail black lady who tells me, “God bless you sir.”

“No prob.”

I then walk away and head off to join the rest of the comics. Somewhere outside of space and time, I can hear Touchee Jackson calling me stupid. I curse his name one last time as I pay my respect.

Uncategorized

What Else I’ve up To..

September 8, 2014

I just finished up an interview with funny woman Iliza Shlesinger!

Read amongst yourselves!

http://comedysceneinhouston.com/2014/09/08/the-truth-iliza-shlesinger-uniting-everyone-through-hate-2/#more-2953

Uncategorized

I Yam What I Yam! Yams Don’t Pay Bills!

August 22, 2014

What a Yam! – watch more funny videos

Did a one-eyed sailor hit you wit’ ‘is fisk?

Better Call Zaul at the law offices of Arkham, Arkham & Ahriman!

He’s Strong To The Finch and He’ll Get You Spinich!

Zaul Ahriman and the law offices of Arkham, Arkham & Ahriman are fictional. Any resemblance to any persons or entities living or dead is mere coincidental. I’m not making fun of lawyers just making fictions that play in my head for all to see.

— Al

True Lies, Uncategorized

Show Friends Show Business Show Real

February 20, 2014

It’s not often true friendship and show business combine. No matter how hard you try, you really can’t like everyone. Everyone you like might like you less. Especially when it comes to work or the possibility of future work. Who needs 30 pieces of silver when you have a spot to perform at a pub? Alliances and rivalries come and go at the drop of a hat. Despite all your cynicism, and self doubt, you meet someone and you make a friend.

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