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Houston Comedy

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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.

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.”