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Comedy

Featured, True Lies

J. Fred Has Left the Building

September 30, 2021
Fred

To say J. Fred was intense would be like saying the Rolling Stones were just a garage band. If you met J. Fred, you had a J. Fred story. He was that memorable. Fred stood 6 ft 2 inches tall and larger than life. With an announcer’s inflection, Fred boomed instead of speaking and he played a mean six-string.

On stage J. Fred was high energy, subversive, and the perfect way to open a show. Fred crafted one-liners sharper than a mosquito’s pecker and played that guitar till he super glued his fingertips to prevent further bleeding. On stage, the song parodies blended seamlessly with one-liners into something that had to be seen to believe.

When I first met him, he was the only comic that left 2001’s Houston’s Funniest Person contest with an agent’s card. He opened for Lewis Black, Mitch Hedberg, Norm MacDonald, Louie Anderson, Lahna Turner, and Ralphie Maye. He was a fixture of both the Houston comedy and music scenes. You’d catch him everywhere from the Improv to the Laff Stop to Last Concert Cafe to Rudyards to Fitzgerald’s to the Mucky Duck to Avant Garden to wherever you could find a stage.

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He played the road, taught Comedy Defensive Driving, and also remembered what was it like before the Comedy Boom went bust in the early ’90s. He was one of the few comics that started at the Comedy Workshop Annex where Bill Hicks and Sam Kinison started.

He’s one of my oldest, nearest, and dearest friends I’ve made in stand-up. He was the Lenny to my George, the Rick Sanchez to my Bird Person, the Oscar to my Felix. Fred taught boundaries, mostly by stepping all over yours. Whether he was eating your food without asking, speaking so loud your right ear was getting deaf, or waving a spatula at my face angrily. You’d eventually learned to step up back at him when he stepped on you. Sometimes he’d back down, other times not so much. Eventually, things would come to a head and you’d have to have to take a break.

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He was far from perfect and would fall into moods and spiral into darker periods of self-destruction. Periods of going for shocks and awe instead of laughs. Playing songs on his head with a mallet. When Fred was in a dark place, he wanted to bring everyone down with him. The applause of the audience and playing his guitar and being with his German Shepherd dog Shephra soothed his soul. He still ruined the illusion of Flashdance for me.
Still, if you needed a helping hand, (or a helping kick or two.) Fred would roll up his sleeves and pitch in. It’s still hard to stay angry at someone with a good heart who heralded your name in song. He had songs for us all. When he played you couldn’t help but listen.

Occasionally he’d listen to what’s on your mind and give some seriously solid advice. He was a voice of wisdom and madness. I still find myself repeating sayings like “Don’t expect A work from a D student.” “Your emergency is not my fire drill.” “Haunted comics are comics who hear ghost laughs that aren’t there.” “Riot the time is now!” “Quack Quack!”

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He loved books and fishing. There were plenty of fish frys and Simpsons marathons. Up until his vision started deteriorating his bookshelf was filled with true crime, horror, and rock and roll biographies. He also tended to lose keys, cell phones, and bicycles. He loved Led Zepplin, Rodney James Dio, Rob Halford, Judas Priest, The first song he played was Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head. He’s one of the reasons I have a soft spot for musical comics.

He is survived by his brother Graham, his Methodist minister mom Sister Sarah and the many friends he made performing comedy and music inside and outside the Houston, Texas scene.

Featured, Shameless Self Promotion!, True Lies

Behind the curtain looking for my glasses,

January 8, 2020
Yes it is..

But this, this I type isn’t a dream. For the most part, I’m still surprised I’m still standing more or less.

Here are a few upcoming little victories this month.

Dirty Friday

Pepitone

Yes, Eddie Pepitone! If you want tickets get them here!

Jeff Garlin

Also you can curb your enthusiasm and catch me working with Jeff Garlin at Sycamore Tavern in Los Angeles. And get your tickets here!

That's me waaay in the back sticking my tongue out photo-bombing a Troy Conrad pic at the Comedy Store.

That’s me waaay in the back sticking my tongue out photo-bombing a Troy Conrad pic at the Comedy Store.

The current Hollywood Shuffle has been a zig-zag path of daily randomness of jumping from one thing to another. I get ‘hired’ for one thing and find myself doing more than I signed up for. Then again, I signed up for a lot. Still, I find myself replacing lights and mics. Lots of notes, rewordings, rewrites, reedits and remixes.

Here are some cool moments happen here a few of them I’m proud of.

Argus stage Lue Joey

Argus Hamilton prepping jokes for The Comedy Store Tonight with Argus Hamilton with fellow comics Lue Deck and Joey Gaynor on the Comedy Store Main Room a few hours before the club opens its doors.

With more than 40 years in the stand-up game “The Comedy Store Tonight with Argus Hamilton” breaks the late-night mold Johnny Carson perfected and gives it a Comedy Store twist.

And it all starts out off with a well-worn note pad. A news piece evolves into a premise here, a phrase there. From there Argus starts sandwiching them in between tried and true material on the Comedy Store stages. By the Sunday before Emma Leigh Rivera and I are recording promos. Argus’s already has 15 solid punch lines written out from premises from the week whittled down to five premises and hours before showtime he’s still working on it. He’ll change a word here, a phrase there or sometimes he flips a premise. And then Tuesday afternoon in the writers’ room he whittles it down some more. The man has had more than 42 years of international audiences of stage experience at the Comedy Store to adapt, sandwich in new jokes in between tried and true. Each week there a lot of folks running around, Starts and restarts, drop-outs and surprise drop-ins. It sincerely feels like it’s 1950’s live tv.

I’m glad to contribute to a show with the creative likes Brett Erickson, Josh Gibson, Dan Madonia, Mike Schmidt, Joey Gaynor, Sandro Ilocolano, Todd Walker, Lue Deck,  Petey C, and Emma Leigh Rivera. There’s a satisfaction seeing some really cool moments happen online and in that studio. And if I’m lucky Argus will use two tags I wrote.

Bill Burr Wide shot Use

I actually didn’t ring in 2020 at The Comedy Store. (Like 2019, 2018 was rung in on what turned out to be the last Show Up Go Up at the Comedy Store Belly Room. Or 2017 when I was hi-fived in the face by Melissa Eslinger or 2016 driving Uber.) There are are no photos because I was busy hosting my own show at Sycamore Tavern. You ain’t lived till you seen an entire room sing along with Glenn Bolton… That memory will be one of my favorites.. A perfect way to kick off a show and the new year. Thank you Trevor Keveloh for the opportunity.

NYE SC

LAst SUGU

LA is a constant cycle of going from zero to hero and then back to less than zero within 5 minutes. Moments of victory are fleeting and so are the moments of misery.

2018 I had gotten texts from family and friends congratulating me because they saw me on Orville. And right after sending thank yous, I continued to work the dish pit at Flappers. Feeling low, I ran into Sam Tripoli and thought, “Aw Crap! I’m going to get my balls busted.” Instead, Sam gave me a pep talk and offered me a spot on a show at Sycamore, Tavern. From there I stuck around, helped out, filled in for hosts and other responsibilities. And then the show ended. And then they decided to do an open mic. So I asked Erik Marino’s blessing to resurrect the Show Up Go Up LA. And We’re back!

SUGU The current roster of Show Up Go Up LA hosts, Mark Stevens, Victor Martinez Jr., Sarah Fatemi with guests Sean Hart and Bird Vs Bear. Currently missing Mia Mars.

That first night at the Dojo of Comedy with coproducers Sarah Kenny & Mark Stevens.

That first night at the Dojo of Comedy with coproducers Sarah Kenny & Mark Stevens.

Every Monday, I spend at Sycamore lying to myself that this open mike will be the last one. This is it this is the last show. It’s drop-ins, drop-outs, fit ins, making good on promises for folks that didn’t. Keeping the energy going between performers melting down, bombing on stage, killing and trying to get everyone up. Butt Luckily I got a good crew of coproducers/cohosts to back me up.

SUGU Woot

Solving a murder is the new American dream, that’s why true crime podcasts are so popular. Most folks are, “Why should I pursue social justice when I can get some real justice.”

I’m proud of my research on “Criiime with Rich Slaton and Jon Shefsky”. The research is extensive that went behind each episode is a series of rabbit holes in the darkness that is the human condition. I gotta hand it to Rich for maintaining the meticulous research for as long as he did. I’m surprised the stories don’t run as long as Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. But Slaton, Shefsky and guest just keep the stories and laughs going. It rude, crude and damn funny stuff.

Punching the Cow

The Hills Have Guys with Candice Thompson

Punching the Cow

Luke Short the Undertaker’s helper, The Pete Best of the Old West.

Bonnie and Cuck

Bonnie and Cuck: Cooneys Never Die! with Keith Carey and Tom Goss

When Criiime pays...

When Criiime pays..

How I just celebrated my first research writing gig. Half price pizza and half-price beer! Woot!

Rich had to take a hiatus from Criiime. You can catch him doing sport commentating for Clash Royale. He even showed up on TBS.

Fantasy House with Jon Shefsky is “HGTV on Acid”. Each week Jon “The Only Realtor in Southern California” Jon Shefsky is the blessed guest of some of the funniest people on earth Fantasy Homes. Quite honestly, these are modest homes in modest places. Modest places like in the clouds, a lighthouse on a volcano or the moon or Montana inside Jon Shefsky. There are ghost-butlers, attack chimps, miniature dinosaurs having business meetings, a room on trampolines, zip line, fighting pits and a puppy room. It’s silly and sometimes not safe for work fun and each episode makes you wonder “What if?” Lots of talented and funny folks all around.

And of course, I gotta plug Jon Shefsky. I spend a lot of time listening to Jon Shefsky. He’s funny imaginative and riffs in his sleep. I help out some behind the scenes duties.

fantasyhouse-cover-art

So what’s next? What’s the end game?

That Hill

I don’t know? That would imply the fun ride would end. I must be doing Hollywood wrong, because I’m enjoying this ride.

Featured, True Lies

TBT-Requiem For A Comedy Club

August 30, 2019
Don't Stop Sign

December 19th, 2009, the Houston Laff Stop closed its doors.

Here are some facts for those of ya’ll at home keeping score.

Last open mic night: December 9th, 2009

Last host and emcee: Barrett Goldsmith

Last feature act: Mike Vance

Last guest spot: Slim Bloodworth 

Last headliner: Carl Faulkenberry

Last club owner: Don Learned

Last general manager: Scott Garrett

Last doorman: Frank Garcia

Last bartender: Michael “Roach” Duran

Last winner of Houston’s Funniest Person Contest: John Gard

Marley2

Here’s a link to the Houston Chronicle’s Retrospective

http://www.chron.com/entertainment/photogallery/Laff_Stop_19812009.html

Here’s ace reporter Dusti Rhode’s account

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2009/12/laff_stop_houston_closed.php

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I told a friend. His response, “The Laff Stop is closed? I thought it closed years ago.”

Others still have millions of questions.

“So what happened?”, they all ask.

Some people claimed to read the writing on the wall way earlier.  Some go as far back to ten years ago. One person said the first domino fell down the night management changed and Larry The Cable Guy was booked to a sold-out crowd.

Others point out allegations of embezzlement, a double shot of alleged managerial incompetence mixed with a bad economy.

Older faces quit, new faces appear with the consistency of a revolving door, lackluster crowds, perks disappear, new rules and times for open mics, goodwill gets lost on all sides of the club dynamic and locations changes, loss of local showcases, apathy to comics, apathy of comics, beer sold by the bucket, Gilbert Gottfried having trouble to fill the venue, comics feeling no longer welcome, comics moving forward in life, comics falling out of life, comics being banned from open mics, comics being forced to choose performance space. And that’s before the Laff Spot bought the Laff Stop.

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Yes, the copy, the Laff Spot bought the original, the Laff Stop. It’s weird and confusing. Like Coca Cola being bought out by Koko Coola.

During that time club owner, Don Learned was given a chance to buy the Laff Stop, he was already planning to move his club, ‘The Laff Spot’ from it’s Willowbrook location to it’s Louetta Road location.

Most likely that change of venue didn’t do as well as planned. With enough resources to run one comedy club at a time, Don Learned was forced to make a decision. Which club do I keep? Do I keep the one in my name? Or do I keep the one with the better reputation and location that’s not in my name? In the end, he chose to save the one in his name. Faced with the same set of circumstances’ Do I save my kid or the adopted kid?’ many people would do the same.

For many weeks the inner knitting circles of Houston comics were buzzing rumors.

“Did you hear about the Stop? Keep it a secret don’t tell anyone.” gets repeated over and over, leading to Friday, December 18th, 2009 comedian Scott White posts the Facebook status update which sends ripples across the internet.

Leading to Shecky Magazine.com posting Laff Stop closing in 14 Hours.

http://www.sheckymagazine.com/2009/12/houston-laff-stop-closing-in-about-14.html

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What I didn’t understand. Why the secret? Wouldn’t it make better sense for comics to know? Wouldn’t it make sense marketing-wise? The Chronicle and other media venues could have gotten involved. More people would have come, filled out the club and give it the send-off it deserved. For many folks their time at the Stop was magical. It should of ended with a bang, it ended on a whimper. It was a third show on a Saturday night with 50-60 people in the audience and a gathering of knitting circle comics who haven’t hit a stage in a long time, taking photos and snatching keepsakes when nobody was. It could have been grand, instead, it was meh.

“Feels more like an execution than a goodbye,” Staci Komp tells me as multiple comics take their keepsakes as a reminder of times past. Rob Mungle tells everyone about the impromptu Irish Wake at the original location which is now the Sherlocks on West Gray.

What did I get myself into?

What did I get myself into?

Here are some of the things overheard at the Eulogy.

I remember hosting an open mic and a headliner bumping someone off the list. So I said, ‘This next act calls himself an Entertainer. If you have to use the word Entertainer in your name, you’re probably not one. Give it up for Cedric the Entertainer.’

–Martin Walsh

Sarah Tollemache, Diane Cups and Kristin Lindner team up and rip on each other a new one. Billy D. Washington recounted his one side abusive love affair with the club. And reminded comics to look beyond the cliques. Rob Mungle thanked everyone in a speech that made even most hardened bastard get misty-eyed. It was a bittersweet night which ended with little baby getting on the mic.

Even got a souvenir too!

Even got a souvenir too!

Gone are the Wednesday night open mic lines that start at 3:30 pm. Gone are the nights hanging out comics, staff, and fans after a show. I remember seeing Mitch Hedberg rock the mic. Don Irrera giving advice. Doug Stanhope recording “Die Laughing” right after 9/11. Gabriel Iglesias, Felipe Esparza, and Armando Cosio giving me my first guest spot. Interviewing Dane Cook in the green room. Shooting sketches with the Boscos sketch comedy troupe. Watching the Brassy Broads and Black and Blue shows. Driving Daniel Tosh to his hotel room. Hanging out with Bryan Hurzie, Niki Key and the many talented cast of characters that populated the Houston scene. Witnessing Dave Attell doing a  sold-out show and living up to his reputation. Chuckling to myself knowing every show started with 2 video shorts Mark Babbitt had me shoot. I remember the Open Mic on 9/10/2001.  I remember taking a bus to sign up on a Monday night after my car died a painful death. Albert DeLeon and Larry Simon teaming up to disturb people. Monday nights were spent learning to make strangers laughs. So many characters, so many memories, joy and pain, it was a good time. I’m glad I made the most of it.

Later at the Comedy Showcase, Annual Christmas Party / Cajun Queen Birthday Bash. Caroline Picard makes proudly displays the chaffing dishes that go back from her old restaurant from way back.

“It’s just like the time before, back when the comedy boom of the 80’s went bust. Time to get off the pot or shit. A lot of ‘comics’ are either going to continue on or get a new hobby. Take a look at today’s big names. They’re the ones that kept on going.”

Ultimately that is all we can do.

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*Montage photo of Houston Laff Stop Comedy Scene Regulars by Steve Ryan more can be found on www.Marley.net

Photo from 2006 Houston Comedy Festival by Marc Katz

Currently as of 2019 there are only 2 comedy clubs in the greater Houston area, The Secret Group & The Houston Improv.

Featured, Shameless Self Promotion!, True Lies, Uncategorized

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, Shameless Self Promotion!

To Be Continued…

July 14, 2016
The 12 Steps to The Comedy Store's Belly Room, only 12 steps most comics have completed.

“For tonight, our best hope is that both battlers have learned from past missteps, and are ready to make adjustments and come out swinging. It’s a fight for Roast Battle legitimacy, and we’ll see who the last man standing will be. “

Dan Nolan

Verbal Violence Roast Report 

So how did the Roast Battle go?  

Roast Battle photos by Troy Conrad Top left Joshua Meyrowitz, Coach Tea, My Roast battle against Cody Morley with host Brian Moses

Roast Battle photos by Troy Conrad
Top left Joshua Meyrowitz, Coach Tea, My Roast battle against Cody Morley with host Brian Moses

“Just as we saw in the first battle, the jokes start out with strong reactions from the audience and quickly dip in quality, but the energy of the room never goes off course.

Cody‘s Orlando joke works very well until he tries to tag it, and neither contender hits much of a pop after that. Yet, the mood remains light, and a draw is declared which means neither battler really loses.

In a room where booing performers off the stage is a completely viable option, there are far worse fates then a tie. “

Dan Nolan Roast Report

I flubbed a line, didn’t enunciate my words in a spot there and missed out on an opportunity for victory. Got zinged good by a Sklar brother and Earl Skakel. It went from the audience from chanting “One More Joke! One More Joke! One More Joke!” to chanting “One Less Joke! One Less Joke! One Less Joke!” to Coach Tea playing out the audience to Queen’s “We Are The Champions.”

For those keeping score at home my Roast Battle record is 2 Wins, 3 losses and now one tie. It’s not the win I wanted, yet it’s not the loss I dreaded. Not bad with six days to practice from confirmation to battle. Thanks again Cody Morley for being a good sport.

Alex Duong Triumphant Against Nick Petrillo Decreed by Brian Moses photo by Troy Conrad

Alex Duong Triumphant Against Nick Petrillo Decreed by Brian Moses photo by Troy Conrad

Also kudos to main event winners Alex Duong and Pat Barker for your well earned wins. Alex was the one who introduced me to Roast Battles and got me into this mess in the first place. Roast Battles at the Comedy Store are brutal, nerve wracking and at times down right despicable. My soul is tainted and I am ruined beyond redemption, from the bottom of my heart thank you Alex! You bastard!

And now Roast Battle is going to be on Comedy Central! Kudos to all the LA comics that got spots on the commercial!

So what now?

How About Some Shameless Self Promotion Followed by Semi-Sentimental Musings On Los Angeles?

SHAMELESS PLUGS STARTING IN 5.. 4.. 3.. 2… NOW!

Saturday July 23rd, 2016

9pm at Oddville, It’s HOLLA FOR A DOLLA!

See Me And Other Comics Perform!

And Get Paid!

Like Strippers!  

Make It Rain! Make It Rain! Make It Rain!

IMG_2478 (1)

Oddville. A Creative Space

734 S. Main St

Los Angeles, Ca 90014

Saturday July 30th, 2016

I’m hosting the Comedy Asylum Show at the Amaro Winery in Las Cruces, New Mexico!

Hosting @AmaroWinery Las Cruces, New Mexico!

Hosting @AmaroWinery Las Cruces, New Mexico!

Amaro Winery

402 South Melendres

Las Cruces, New Mexico 88005

Also I’ll be at the Comedy Store Sunday, July 31st, 2016 telling Bedtime Stories! 10:30pm

UnOfficial Temporary Poster, You Get The Idea,,

UnOfficial Temporary Poster, You Get The Idea…

The Comedy Store

8433 Sunset Blvd.

Los Angeles, Ca 90069

 

First Saturday of Every Month It's Food and Show in North Ridge!

First Saturday of Every Month It’s Food and Show in North Ridge! All That Fun For Ten Bucks!

This show has Empanadas! Yup Empanadas! Hell Yeah! Shout to Mrs. Excellence and Tuna for putting together a fun show at a most non traditional venue!

Gigs come gigs go. A venue may close a booker may decide that they want to go with someone else. At any moment the moment you prepare yourself for could just end. Still at any moment another opportunity presents itself. I’ve been finding myself impressed by the sheer number of non traditional shows! Comics in this city find a way to make shows happen.

One of my favorite spots on Sunday is Bomb Mic

BombMic

Some of the faces you see at Bomb Mic in Silverlake Jordan Perry, Omid Singh, Rena Hundert, Jeff Carrisalez!

Bomb Mic at Food Not Bombs is quite honestly one of my favorite mics on a Sunday. Comics pitch in together bring food, drink or throw a couple of bucks in the hat.

It’s called #BombMic because they record the show and then release it 5 years later via Podcast, a Time Bomb.

Sign ups at Sunday 12:45pm
Show starts at 1pm
Finishes at 3pm

1069 Sanborn Ave,

LA CA 90029

Word of Advice: Bring your own cup.

Here with the closest thing I can have to a dog right now without being evicted from my Harry Potter living conditions. Photo by Raab Russell

Photo by Raab Russell @A1Raab

I haven’t downloaded it, I can’t start a new video game at least until I finish Final Fantasy 6. Quite frankly the Pokemon Go phone App makes me feel like I’m in an episode of the Twilight Zone. GPS mixed with augmented reality and multiplayer in a video game is quite unsettling ?!  The full impact of this probably wasn’t even predicted by Rod Serling, Robert Heinlein or Ray Bradbury. Maybe William Gibson, Norman Spinrad, Warren Ellis or Philip K. Dick figured this out? Between Robot Bombs taking out snipers in Dallas, penis transplants and sending people to Mars, anything is possible. I find myself reading old school Science Fiction to make sense of today’s news.

On the bright side Pokemon Go has made me feel safer. I was walking home from the Comedy Store 2 am in morning and I was greeted multiple times by random folks trying to catch Pokemon. Nice folks who encouraged me to join them catch a Psyduck. It made me feel safe. I figure if someone’s more likely to get robbed it’s them. Just keep speed walking and make no eye contact with no one. Get close enough and Uber home the rest of the trip.

How are you doing? No seriously how are you doing, good, bad, Meh?

Depends on where you decide to end the story. Right now, it’s to be continued.

 

 

 

Featured

Catching Up

April 9, 2016
Yeah so that just happened.

Cops found a 125 lb tortoise this afternoon in my neighborhood. “It’s walking to that house!” “No lady I think it’s crawling to get away from us.” said one cop. Surprisingly the phone number was scrawled on what looks like whiteout was non working. “It would make good eating,” commented the other LAPD officer.  I beginning to wonder if the LA in LAPD is short for Louisiana instead of Los Angeles. The turtle also had a (surprise) non working number painted on it’s back to call in case it was lost.

Oh and I achieved my New Year’s Resolution and bought  myself a new pair of pants. Keep the expectations low, mark it off the list and move on.

Speaking of keeping expectations low I’m back in the Roast Battle Ring against Wub Savell!

IMG_8255

So far I have two wins two losses it can go either way. Wub knows kung fu.. No, seriously, his battle against Brandon Brickz was legendary and his Harry Moroz battle was one the first battles I remembered seeing.

You can get tickets here.. And check Out the Verbal Violence Podcast here. Also congrats to Brian Moses and everyone else involved for taking roast Roast Battle to the next level. Wow..

Got another storytelling thing at the Store coming up in May and a college show later this month too…

New Comedy Stories

*Details and Line Up Subject To Change!

“In the meantime, you can catch me at the laundry mat next door opening for the dryer.” No seriously that’s how I have it planned.

I bring laundry and wash my clothes at the laundry mat next to the open mic. I sign up and go up right after the wash is done so is my set. While it dries I catch watch other comic’s sets and meet new people or make the opportunity of matching people to online characters that show up in my social media feed. There’s a method to this madness. That’s what I keep telling myself.

It’s been one year later, I still can’t believe that I made it this far.

Featured, True Lies

Delusions of Adequacy

February 25, 2016
Houston Skyline

*Names have been changed to protect the delusional.

SANY1113

Houston, Texas

The Laff Stop December 10th 2008.

“Someone is humping the stool on stage!”,  yells a comic to the outside bar signaling the peanut gallery of characters to run inside and see what’s going on.

On a long enough timeline, every piece of furniture in a comedy club will get sexually molested. Both the mic and stool on stage have seen more action in the last few months than all the comics have had their entire lives. Add alcohol with free speech and stool humpings are bound to happen. 

G. Martinez approaches the stage, lines up his crotch up to the bar stool and asks the audience the all important question, “Does this make my dick look small?” .

A few uncomfortable chuckles later, G. rhythmically thrusts and grinds his pelvis on the bar stool like a cat in heat who’s meow mix had been dosed with ecstasy.

“Women like it when you fuck them slow!” pearls of wisdom that have been repeated by every drunk who has a story to tell at 2 am in the morning are imparted to the jaded open mic audience.

“Sometimes women like it rough!” G. increases his thrust speed as he grabs the stool and stage dives off into the audience. A few drinks go down with him as he thrashes about in the front row, humping, beating and jumping. He then simulates orgasm thrusting the mic forward from the his hands as it almost hits the audience members and crashes with audio feed back that made ears bleed.

The mic is dented and a few tables and chairs are knocked around.

“Your time is up”

With one minute and a half of his three minutes of glory are left on the clock Scott Garrett , the Laff Stop’s manager, cuts off the mic and informs G. Martinez.

J. Fredrick Rhetoric ends ups going on stage early and starts playing a couple of chords of his guitar while a new mic is found.

‘You don’t go around, break furniture and a two hundred dollar mic!’ Scott informs G. Martinez. 

‘You don’t understand! I’m a misunderstood Comedic Genius!’ G. declares before he storms out of the club comedy club.

Later that week both the Laff Stop and Laff Spot receive calls from an ‘anonymous source’ asking, “When are you going to book that amazing new talent G. Martinez?”

IMG_2648

Featured, Shameless Self Promotion!, True Lies

If You’re Going To Get Your Balls Busted…

September 14, 2015
Green Room Hallway Life — with Erica Mills, Al Bahmani, Jeremiah Watkins, Ahamed Weinberg, Chance Royce, Brian Moses at The World Famous Comedy Store. Photo by Troy Conrad http://www.rationalentertainment.com

Late Night, Comedy Store I find myself pacing near the parking lot.

“You alright?” asks Kyle Henson.

“I’m not being antisocial, but it’s like a dragon’s claw is squeezing my gut. I’d rather be socially awkward than shit myself. Cause shitting myself would be even more awkward and…”

Kyle stops me mid-sentence, “Just breathe, inhale and exhale.”

I take in Kyle’s words, “inhale, exhale” and the grip in my stomach loosens.

“Inhale, exhale” anxiety leaves the pit of my stomach. “Inhale, exhale..”

Suddenly Tony Hinchcliffe stops, pauses and says to me, “Whatever you’re doing, it’s not working”.

Then my stomach makes an audible grumble and I feel a dragon claw tear at my insides.

Bastard.

I shake my fist at the sky as realize the podcast is called Kill Tony for a good reason.

Well, if you’re going to get your balls busted, get them busted by the best.

"I'm a Houston comic, I thought the nerdy Mexican was going to lose." -- Ralphie May Photo by Troy Conrad 2015 http://www.rationalentertainment.com/

Photo by Troy Conrad 2015 http://www.rationalentertainment.com

Ralphie May, Steve Rannazzisi, Jeff Ross, Pete Holmes and Mike Lawrence get to bust my balls too!

Now on to the Roast Battle!

Austin Vs. Houston!

Al Bahmani Vs. Chance Royce!

"Let's Roast!" -- Brian Moses Photo by Troy Conrad 2015 http://www.rationalentertainment.com/

“Let’s Roast!” — Brian Moses Photo by Troy Conrad 2015 http://www.rationalentertainment.com/

Funniest Person in Austin finalist Chance Royce’s insults hit hard. He delivered each insult with the conviction of a snake handler mid rapture “Al’s had the same glasses for 10 years. The only thing he’s used longer…are his jokes.”

Yeah Chance hit hard., I just hit back harder with“ Chance Royce is an environmentally safe comic, he uses 75% recycled premises.” and won.

“I thought the nerdy Mexican was going to lose”

Ralphie May

For a full play by play check out the Roast Report. Thank you Brian Moses and everyone at the Comedy Store from the Haters to the Wave who’s name I’m still learning for creating one hell of an event. Listen the Podcast Here! Thanks again to Troy Conrad for the great photos! Much respect to Chance Royce for representing Austin and being a good sport. Also Congrats to Austin comic Michael Monsour for winning his first Roast Battle! He dedicated his win to memory the late Monty Seitz.

"The Alamo Wins Again" -- Brian Moses Photo by Troy Conrad http://www.rationalentertainment.com

“The Alamo Wins Again” — Brian Moses Photo by Troy Conrad 2015 http://www.rationalentertainment.com

So I’m 2-0 at Roast Battle!

It’s a great feeling that came to pass.

My next Roast Battle is October 13th, 2015 at the Comedy Store against Mike Schmidt!

No not the Phillies 3rd baseman from the 1970’s!

This Mike won the title of Madison’s Funniest Comic 2011!

So has anything changed?

Other than the comics at Show Up Go Up Variety Show singing me Happy Birthday and a beautiful woman walking up to the stage to kiss me. I normally don’t make grand events out of my birthday, damn that was awesome!

Thanks again Erik Marino and Kenny Lion for running a good show in a bomb proof room. In fact thank you Lahna Turner, Amber Lynn, Dinah Leffert, Tuesday Thomas, Brian Moses, Jose Trevizo, Frank Yi, Dick Williams, Clarke McMakin, Burt Teplitzky, Fielding Edlow and the gang at Canter’s Deli Kibitz Room and everyone else I forgot. Thank ya’ll for the opportunity to entertain folks and hone my voice at some fun at really interesting venues.

Follow @ShowUpGoUPShow on Twitter, Instagram & Periscope

#SHAMLESSPLUG

Off stage the next morning following a night of great comedy arrives with reality of a hangover. You wake up and are reminded of your place in the scheme of things.

I still park at up that hill when I head to The Comedy Store. I still put my name in a bucket for the chance to sharpen up old bits and work on new bits at the open mics I go to. I still stumble into Bellyroom and sweat to watch the Roast Battles from a reflection like most comics. I still get stuck in traffic. Progress is slow. I can do only so much in twenty four hours. I can only push myself for so long. Pace myself, put in some work and pay my dues. Write, rewrite, organize, edit, record myself, submit to festivals, make and take opportunities when I see them. I’m still one car wreck, sickness or broken smartphone away from real hard times.

Recently I delivered a six pack of beer to a gal who was crying, “I’m sorry I’m not usually not like this.” she says to me as she wipes her eyes and tries to surpress another sniffle.

That’s alright, this too shall come to pass.

She smiles and perks up wanting to hear more.

In fact there are three sayings that are true for all times.

And they are?

“What is is. This too shall come to pass. And because Fuck You! That’s why!”

She snorts, laughs and gives me a fist bump.

It’s a good feeling, I’ll enjoy it while I still can.

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!