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Houston

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, Travel, True Lies

Texodus: Prequel

February 12, 2016
Trose

Note: Originally fully compiled September 23rd 2005  from made before during and after Hurricane Rita landed on the Gulf Coast which was a couple of months after Hurricane Katrina and edited around.

According to Wikipedia was “the fourth-most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded and the most intense tropical cyclone ever observed in the Gulf of Mexico”. 

When the only bird you see flying in the air is a buzzard, that’s a good sign to leave.

Hurricanes take time to hit or just strike, I can stay or go.

The stars do look good tonight.

Danny Rios, and my neighbor Brandy piled into my little red Nissan pick up truck, combined our resources together and have formed a tight knit mini tribe. The previous 48 hours I had been on phone saying goodbyes, texting friends.

I also spent the part of the day, hurricane-proofing a friend’s place with duct tape, a chipped electric screwdriver that loses it’s screw bit, 12 boards and random drift wood.

Danny Rios and Brandy take turns, walking on side the road. I’m the only one that can drive stick. Cds and a used iPod make the trip go down faster with a soundtrack by the Violent Femmes, The Ramones and The Clash.

The trip to Austin normally is about a two or three hour drive depending on which part of the city you’re leaving from. How can I make such good writing notes?

Well the entire hurricane evacuation, this Texodus has been 14 hours straight of driving, I mean crawling in a modern day caravan. I barely feel legs right now. and can do only so much to keep mind occupied. This crawling in traffic really sucks.  No air conditioning, this really sucks. Someone left their animals dead on the road. Some have just stopped, ran out of gas literally and emotionally. Hotels and motels from Eagle Lake on are maxed out in occupancy. Some gas stations and rest areas have become make shift campgrounds of automobiles.

Head is getting heavy right now. Must…. Stay… Awake….

“Eat, sleep, and shit shrimp. Head out get laid, get drunk, and head out to get laid is what I plan on doing.” that was the line to remember from the Baytown gig at the Tiki Hut. The man who said it had one leg and was bearded shrimper in a cowboy hat.

It was a fun gig with big audience of 10 people, not comics but people at bar. While a hurricane is about to hit the state. Wow. I noticed all the tvs are on the Weather channel. “That’s to bring up Drink sales.” explained the one legged shrimper. “We’re doomed, enjoy the $1.50 long neck and the $5 dollar sirloin steak and baked potato.” That’s a silver lining to the upcoming dark clouds literally ahead on the horizon. The steak was good and quite honestly that was the best tasting baked potato I’ve had in the longest time.

Wednesday morning my mother calls me, and share with me the Texapocalyptic vision she had in sleep last night. The plants in Pasadena release out a chemical which gets in the air and just kills people. Army rounds up the rest and kills everyone in the Astrodome. And that’s after the babies are raped.

We each do things to keep our minds occupied in between the sluggish pace, phone calls, and text messages to friends and loved ones. Brandy tries to takes a photo right before her battery craps out. I want to capture this moment. Must remember the little moments. Danny Rios reading the Houston Press on upcoming shows at coming into this city that have been cancelled like Hurricane at the Improv. You can’t make this up. Brandy peeing on the other side of 59 south near Sugar Land.

It’s the little moments you remember the most.

Other moments like near Sugar Creek in Sugar Land, this dude comes out passes out cups of water to people that needed or wanted it. “I live here, I just want to give water to those that need it”. Five minutes and five blocks later Danny points something out. “Holy Shit! Uncle Joey (Coco Diaz) is passing out water!” Actually it wasn’t. It was a dude from the Taqueria Arandas has people passing out water and pasteries. In the imaginary movie version or tv show it could be Joey “Coco” Diaz.  I’m surprised at all the goodwill that has been going down still. It’s been good to see the best coming out of people when the chips are down.

I just want to describe it all with my words and some times words are just never enough.

Epilogue: Hurricane Rita missed Houston and ended up hitting Beaumont, Texas. The trip really wasn’t needed, but I got time off from work and got to visit Austin, Texas. Much work to catch up with.

Featured, True Lies

And Breathe..

November 26, 2015
Photo by Troy Conrad http://www.rationalentertainment.com

Disclaimer:  

If you’re looking for journalistic integrity, politics or a moral at the end, go somewhere else.  

October 14th, 2015, 12:40ish am 

The World Famous Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip, Los Angeles, California

To say things were crazy is a bit of an understatement. Roast Battles at the Comedy Store by nature are intense experiences. Yet the verbal slugfest of Jay Light vs Kim Congdon ended up being just the cherry on top of a wild and crazy night. Somewhere in the beginning of the Roast Battle Jamar Neighbors and the Wave had just switched sides and antics with “The Haters” Earl Skakel, Omid Singh and Keith Carey. Then Roast Master General Jeff Ross had arrived with Anthony Jeselnik adding to the on and off color commentary of Joshua MeyrowitzBrian MosesJustin Martindale and Tiffany HaddishI also lost my first Roast Battle to Madison Wisconsin’s Funniest 2011 and newly christened Comedy Store door guy, Mike Schmidt. A couple of moments later that becomes the furthest thing from my mind.

Erik Myers was performing in the Original Room to fellow comics like Don Barris and David Taylor and the audience inside. The audience from the Laff Mob Show were hanging out at the Comedy Store’s front patio with the other comics like Brandt ToblerOlivia Grace, and Josh Nasar. Young 23-year-old Richard “Rick” James was standing at the Comedy Store’s front doors as an unidentified man wearing a grey hoodie and gloves walks towards him. Meanwhile fellow Houston comics Nia DeBoseMark Hurtado and I take a step towards the patio entrance of the Comedy Store.

“Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!”

“Firecrackers?” I say to myself as I keep stumbling into the chaos as Nia, Mark and various people with more sense than me start to run off into their own different directions. I see broken glass from dropped drinks, comics, patrons and staff huddled in the corners of the bar hiding for cover. Then from the corner of my eye I spot a guy in a grey hoodie pulling sideways trigger after the clip had been emptied. He turns around and sprints into Sunset Blvd down Olive St.

“Breathe in. Breathe out! Breathe.. Breathe in. Breathe out. Stay with us! You’re going to make it. You’re going to be alright.”  Josh Nasar calmly tries to console Rick as he starts to shiver and gurgle in his arms. When most folks were thinking about survival, Josh Nasar leapt in and tried help out young Rick. “Anyone have towels?!” Josh exclaims. Rose the bartender rushes towards the back to get towels as I sheepishly hand Josh stolen napkins from my linty pocket. 911 is called and it ends as quickly as it began. Rose arrives with towels and tries to stop the bleeding. Rick shivers and gurgles his last breath while in both their arms. Not all heroes wear capes, some just happened to be on “Sons of Anarchy” and work the bar at the Comedy Store. To quote another Josh“Much respect Josh. Much respect Rose”.

Police and an ambulance arrive within minutes. Comics in the Belly Room like Izzy SalhaniAnna Valenzuela, and Rasheed Stephens start to realize something is up when they see a tearful Rose running into the Belly Room followed by Don Barris. Rumors and speculation start to percolate from the back of the Belly Room. Kim Congdon delivers a savage zinger and confirmed word arrives in the form of Mike Schmidt pausing the show “I need to make an announcement.” “Oh what, someone got shot?” jokes the Roastmaster General.

The show goes on and everyone is corralled into the parking lot. It’s a tense moment. People check in on one another and ask each other “Where were you?”.  Some take photos while most start searching for a zinger that just won’t come. Maybe there might such a thing as too soon? What’s the point? Are we safe? Are less comics going to go to the Store? Or are more comics going to show up because they hear less comics are there? Will the audience still be there? Earl Skakel throws out a couple of one liners and the folks around him in the parking lot erupt in laughter.

People are only permitted to leave 5 at a time after they answer a series of questions.

“What was the suspect’s ethnicity? Did he have a beard? What color clothes was he wearing?”

Even fresh memories are weird and bendable things. Some said the shooter had a beard, while others claim he was wearing a bandana over his face. Some saw gloves and identified the firearm as a Glock. Off record everyone has their own theories. Maybe it was a hit? Gang related? I don’t know. So much went wrong, yet so much went right. Nobody else was hurt. The show went on. Ironically that cramped and sweaty Comedy Store Belly Room was the safest room in the building.

Everything around me started to mute itself and go down a couple of notches. The trek up King’s Rd with Nate Hurd and Josh Meyrowitz didn’t bother me as much as it usually did. So much uncertainty and neurotic thoughts entered and danced around in my head.

The following Thursday the Comedy Store reopened its doors. I figure I might as well show up. Once there I realize my neurotic fears were just neurotic fears. Both comics and audience were back in full force. There were hugs, fist bumps, drinks, snark and bittersweet laughs. For a moment I found myself staring at the entrance a little too long. Yeah, I’m still showing up.

So much happens at the Store at any given night. At times it can be a fantastic wonderland where celebrities, headliners, hopefuls, and unsavory characters of questionable moral fiber mingle freely. Other times the Comedy Store is a dark place where insecurities are amped up and preyed upon by those who need the pain of others to warm their cold dead hearts. Opportunities are made and dreams are crushed by the minute. What’s there not to like?

It’s still a Reece’s Peanut butter cup of crisis and opportunity coming together in a tasty bittersweet imperfect mix of silliness and madness. An open mic segment at Erik Marino‘s Show Up Go Up could easily morph into a podcast or an event of it’s own which can spread across the nation like wild fire. The Roast Battle Show is proof of that. The shows that seem to fill up the room are usually the result of comics coming together organically to make something happen. Comics see something work and someone pitches in here, someone else pitches in there and cool things happen. Cool things like Roast Battle with Brian Moses and Coach Tea, Kill Tony with Tony HinchcliffeUntil I Lose Interest by David TaylorThe Comedy Store Podcast with Rick Ingraham and The Ding Dong Show with Don Barris are proof of that. It’s still a petri dish of creative anarchy. What most folks would call a festival in Houston, Texas is what I call just another night at the Comedy Store. Changes are made and the show goes on.

Weeks later, outside the Belly Room where the roof meets the stairs I overhear Josh Nasar reveal to Melissa Eslinger what was going on in his head at the time. “You do what you do because it’s survival instinct. You can’t torture yourself with the what ifs, could of beens. You don’t think about these types of things, you just react. You do your best, move on and react to the moment.” And just like that my anxiety goes down a couple of notches. I find myself gazing at the stars and enjoying the moment.

Then Mike Schmidt taps me on the shoulder to tell me to stop sitting on the roof.

 

*Photo by Troy Conrad

 

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?

True Lies

Oh Moth..Er

July 26, 2015

Before I left town, I invited my mother to see me tell a story at the Moth Storytime at Warehouse Live in Houston. Then she signed up for a chance to tell a story.

“Son, wouldn’t it be funny if they put me up? 

Yeah.. Ma, that’d be hilarious.”

And that’s exactly what happened.

"So we have court in March!"

“So we have court in March!”

And she killed.

 

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…