Drinkin’ in the New Year.

New Year’s Eve is the biggest night of the year for stand up comedy. Tonight there are over a dozen places you can go to have a fancy dinner and watch people tell jokes at you. I personally suggest this one –



I will tell jokes at you.

I will tell jokes at you.





It’s nice to be able to have a New Year’s gig close to home. When I was younger my options for New Year’s show’s were always in some far flung Iron Range town and while I do love going out and making with the jokey jokes, New Year’s is my favorite holiday and I enjoy spending it getting completely hammered with my loved ones. Here’s a little story about my drunkest New Year’s Eve ever.



About five years ago I took a New Year’s show in some town about 20 miles west of Saint Cloud. If a show is less than a two hour drive I don’t expect to stay in a hotel but this was New Year’s. I figured one would be ready for me. I called the guy who booked the show on my drive up and asked where I’d be staying. He told me that he didn’t get a hotel room since it was so close to the Twin Cities.



My heart sank. I figured that if I couldn’t get wasted with my friends on New Year’s at least I could get wasted. I said “but… it’s New Year’s. This is the biggest drinking night of the year!” The booker said “sorry, I’m an old guy. I don’t really think about that.” but I wasn’t an old guy and I did. I needed to figure out a plan B.

There was one show at 8PM. I was the opening act so I would be offstage by 8:30. I felt like a dick but asked the booker if I could just be paid out right after my set and leave so I could drive back to the cities and party with my friends. It was poor form but this was New Year's Eve! It's the only holiday that actually matters to a single guy in his mid 20's! I told my jokes, got off stage, collected my pay from the bartender, apologized profusely and ran to my car and drove back home, calling up friends to find out which parties I could hit.



I ended up at the Independent in Uptown. Not my favorite bar by any stretch of the imagination but it had friends and it had booze. After waiting in line (one of the reasons I don’t like that place) and paying a cover fee (hey look, another reason!) I finally found my friends at the bar at 11:15 PM and they were all drunk. I, on the other hand, was stone cold sober since I just drove from Saint Cloud. I decided to play catch up.



Here’s the problem with playing catch up. I drank at a much faster pace than everybody else trying to “catch up” to them and after “catching up” to them I quickly “ran right the fuck past” them and eventually “lapped” them. What was once the only sober guy at the party was now the drunkest.



This became clear pretty quick. All over the bar were giant helium balloons. I plucked one off a railing, bit a hole right by the tied-off end of the opening and sucked in a big lungful to do the always popular “hey look at how high my voice is” gag (party classic. Second only to the “lampshade hat” bit). After nearly draining all of the giant balloon one of my friends points out that all the balloons seem to be filled with glitter. A couple minutes later I cough into my hand and see a few flecks of mucous covered plastic glitter. I briefly contemplate going to the ER for my possible case of sparkly lung but decide to ride it out and keep drinking.



As the bar closes everybody pours out onto the street and I’m standing on the corner of Lake and Hennepin waiting for a friend to pull up with a car. I see a few people cross the street on a red light and scream out “HEY! THAT’S JAYWALKING! I AM PLACING YOU UNDER CITIZEN’S ARREST!” The criminals proceeded to keep walking without even acknowledging my authority. I turn to the police officer that’s standing right next to me and slur “Nobody respects the law anymore, man.” He just rolled his eyes and probably silently prayed that I didn’t take a swing at anybody so he wouldn’t have to haul my drunk ass in. I screamed “CITIZEN’S ARREST!” at a few more jaywalkers and eventually just started trying to place random innocents under citizen’s arrest. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.



I eventually pile into a car with my friends and we all end up at my friend Mitch’s apartment. As we spill out of the car into the alley I slip on some ice and fall right on my ass. I proclaim that I am placing myself under citizens arrest and then puke a bunch of glitter behind a dumpster.



The next morning we all went out for brunch, I had the worst hangover of my life and I haven’t played “catch up” since.



God bless us, everyone!

Use This One in Your Next Show!

Any comedian can tell you a dozen stories of some drunk coming up to them after a show and offering jokes they can tell at their next show.  I get that these people are just trying to be helpful but no comedian has ever told a joke onstage given to them by an audience member ever.  Comedians either write their own material or steal from other comedians, give the material a Latino perspective, get a show on Comedy Central, get called out onstage by Joe Rogan, have a video of the confrontation go viral and disappear from the public eye.  

 

If comedians started using material that drunk audience members offered after shows, stand up comedy would be a lot less coherent and a lot more racist.  Like, seriously racist.  Why do so many people tell me such racist jokes after shows?  Is it my shaved head?  

 

Just this week I was at The Monday Night Comedy Show and a guy came up to me and offered up some material I could use the next time I was on stage.  It wasn’t racist (incredibly rare) but still incredibly fucked up.  When I got off stage this wild eyed, gray walrus mustached man grabbed me by the arm and bellowed “Man I got some REAL FUNNY shit you can tell next time you’re up there and it’s ALL true!”  I told him I’d love to hear it sometime (lie) but kindly asked him to keep it down while other comics were onstage.  

 

He flagged me down during the intermission.  Here’s his story, unabridged, as best as I can remember it.  

 

 

“Okay so back in 69 I was 19 years load, right?  Got a fuckin’ Dodge Dart.  Fastest fuckin’ car I ever been in.  Step on the gas? Forget about it.  So I got this girlfriend and I’m livin’ in Ham Lake and me and my friends load up the car and head to Anoka for a party.  Back then you could fill up the tank, get a carton of smokes and a case of beer for fifteen bucks.  We’d drive around with a boat hooked up on a trailer and guys on the boat would throw empties at people’s mailboxes and shit.  So we get to this party and I start betting people I can drink a twelve pack in 3 minutes.  So I start cracking beers and pokin holes in the side so I can drink ‘em faster.  Cracking beers and cracking beers.  Did it in 3 minutes.  I won 20 bucks!  After that I’m burping and my buddy bets me I can’t shoot tequila faster than him.  Listen, I was 19 and fuckin’ stupid, alright?  So I do six shots of tequila and I’m feeling pretty sick so I tell my buddies I gotta go home.  We all pile in the car, they’re gonna drive me home and go back to the party, right?  So we’re driving back and I gotta take a shit real bad.  I tell ‘em I gotta shit but my buddy driving tells me to hold it in and I say ‘I can’t!’ And it starts coming out, right?  Just this soft brown shit coming down my pant leg and the smell hits me!  I got a sensitive stomach, right?  So when that hits my nose I gotta puke but I can’t get the window down in time so it hits my buddy and it hits me and then pow!  Car right in the snow bank!  So they’re all ‘get out!  You smell like shit!’ so I get outta the car and I take my clothes off ’cause they’re covered in shit and puke so I’m standing there buck naked in the middle of the winter and this farmer comes up on his tractor and says ‘what the fuck?’ And my buddies say ‘he shit his pants, man!  You gotta help us get outta the snow bank!’  So he gets the car out and he gives me a blanket to wrap myself up in and he’s just shakin’ his head.  The farmer’s just shakin’ his head.  The farmer’s just shakin’ his head.”

 

So yeah, I totally have permission to use that joke next time I’m on stage.  

 

A Story Where Some People Get Terribly Lost.

Sometimes, as a joke, before googling something on my smartphone I’ll shout the question I want to google like it’s a computer from a ’80s TV show. “Computer! Tell me where to eat!” “Computer! What’s this rash from?” “Computer! How do I get out of an awkward interaction with a homeless person?” etc. etc. This weekend I found out that’s actually the preferred method of googling for some people. Here’s what happened.



I was featuring at the Joke Joint this weekend and hanging out after the Friday Late Show. Late shows are typically smaller, drunker and rowdier than the early shows. As a rule, people who come to the 8:00 show start drinking at 8:00. People who come to the 10:30 show usually started drinking around noon. The largest group in the late show, I found out, actually came to the club by accident.



Well, they wanted to see comedy, they just came to the wrong club.



See, they wanted to go see Bill Dwyer headline at the Skyline in Appleton, Wisconsin but the person in charge of navigating just googled “Bill Comedy”, skimmed past the pages of the two dozen guys named Bill who do comedy and are more famous than me (including Bill Dwyer) and clicked on the Joke Joint’s website. Knowing that they were supposed to go to Appleton, they set off in the complete opposite direction and drove an hour and a half more than they should have.



Here’s how to get to Appleton from Wassau.





Here’s how to totally not get to Appleton from Wassau.





That right there is lost. That is Christopher Columbus lost.



I don’t want to give them too much shit about this. They were a little rowdy but overall a great crowd and they really seemed to enjoy the show.



Also, they might find this blog post if they google “how to successfully go to a place you intend to visit”, find me by googling Bill Dwyer’s address and then accidentally kick my ass while trying to apologize or something.



Oh, Wisconsin.

Canadian Porn

So I went up to Canadaland last weekend to tell some jokey jokes for the Canadiaites of Thunder Bay. The shows were fun and the town was super chill. I spent Saturday driving around eating all the candy bars that aren’t available in the States and checking out their many, many doughnut shops.



They seriously love doughnuts up there.



When I got back to the place I was staying I parked a block away due to parking restrictions and I saw a porn store.



Either in Canada they use four “x”s instead of three or there was already an “EXXXtacy Video” and they couldn’t think of another name.





I had to check it out. This was my second time in Canada (the first was on a family camping trip when I was in high school) and there was so much about their culture I didn’t know. Maybe Canadian porn was different? I didn’t know. A part of me was hoping to walk in and find something like “Lesbian Lumberjacks!”, “Maple Syrup Sluts!” and “Mounting Mounties!” (alternate name for Mountie porn: “Dudley Do-Her”).



So I step into the store and of course it’s pretty much like a porn store in the States. A bunch of videos, magazines, toys and a giant case full of glass pipes that are “for tobacco use only”. My work here is done but I figured it would look weird to just step into the store for two seconds so I start looking around at the…merchandise. I start looking at all the pipes and bongs in the back of the store because I figure I’d rather be seen as a stoner than a perv. While I’m browsing their wares the manager comes up and ask if he can help me with anything. I tell him that I’m just browsing but he says if a customer’s looking at the pipes he has to be there with them.



We start chatting. Just various small talk stuff. Even the porn shop owners in Canada are super polite. When he asks where I’m from I tell him I’m from Minneapolis and I’m doing comedy shows down the street. His face lights up and he starts talking about how he loves comedy so we talk about that for a little bit.



We make our way back up to the front as we’re talking about stand up and he starts telling me a story about how he saw Andrew “Dice” Clay in Vegas a few years back.



“So Dice is up there on stage, right? He looks down to the audience and sees this couple up front and says to the guy ‘That your wife? She’s got some big tits.’ He’s so good at workin’ the crowd, ya know?”



At this point a middle aged couple walked in the door. They haven’t heard any of our conversation before this point. The manager keeps talking.



“SO HE’S JUST GIVING IT TO THE GIRL WITH THE TITS FOR, LIKE, FIVE MINUTES STRAIGHT! Oh, man! It was brutal!”



The couple looks at me like I’m the biggest perv in the world. I don’t blame them. It pretty much looked like I was asking the porn shop owner to describe one of the videos to me in great detail. I laughed and said “Andrew Dice Clay said that at the comedy show!” and the owner gave me this confused look like I was some weirdo that just shouts out what the other person in a conversation is talking about.



I make my way out and he tells me I can feel free to talk about his shop on stage that night and I tell him I might stop by the next day after I get paid to pick up a toy for the wife or something. I didn’t come back, though. Partly because they didn’t open until 11AM and I had to get on the road but partly because I had to spend all my pay on Canadian candy and ketchup flavored Lays.

They’re actually pretty good.

While the Cat’s Away…

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, I took the week off of work to play home-maker and facilitate my child’s education while my husband drinks coronas and tequila with a bunch of 12 year olds posing as comedians in a heated pool on the rooftop of their Mexican villa, all under the guise of doing a “comedy festival.”

 

 

 

 

Jealous? Why would I be jealous? It’s not like I spend the rest of my time working my ass off to support my family so that Bill can go chasing his dream job of stand-up comedian while staying home with my son so he can do online schooling, thus fulfilling *his* dream of spending as many hours on a computer as humanly possible.

Oh wait. It is exactly like that.

But I get to spend more time with my son, who is my world. I mean, unfortunately, he has state testing and school keeping him busy most of the week. And he’s just shy of 12, so every time I go to hug him, he backs away with a horrified look on his face, and I run after him with my arms out-stretched, shouting “don’t look at me like I’m frickin frankenstien. Give your mother a hug!”

 

 

 

 

Well, at least Bill promised to bring me back something. It’ll probably be something kitschy, like a bobble-headed donkey, or an anatomically correct grass doll, or maybe something made out of coconut.

I’m allergic to coconut. Sigh.

 

 

Whatever. I’ve decided to make the most of my time off. My plans for this afternoon include cleaning out and re-arranging the bedroom, going through old papers in the desk, and organizing the bathroom closet.

… the sad part is, I’m kinda looking forward to it.

Shower Cap Adventures!

Hello, friends and weirdos searching for that girl from the “one weird trick to stay asleep all night” ad (we get about 10 search engine hits a day for this one now)! I’m back from my first of three casino shows this month. Wednesday night I was at Black Bear Casino opening for the hilarious Paul Hooper (who you kids in the twin cities can see at the Joke Joint Comedy Club this weekend). Yesterday morning, as I was getting ready to leave the hotel and stealing everything that wasn’t nailed down including but not limited to tiny bottles of shampoo, scratchy towels, single serving packages of coffee and Gideon Bibles –



Placed by the Gideons. Stolen and eaten by Bill Young. That's right. I eat bibles.




I noticed that this hotel provides shower caps. Even before I started going bald I never had my hair long enough to require a shower cap. Frankly, I don’t even know if you can buy these in stores. Maybe shower caps haven’t been used in decades but nobody bothered to tell the hotel industry.


Whatever. I don’t care why they have them but whenever a hotel does provide a shower cap I promptly make sure to wear it.


Why wouldn't you wear a shower cap?




As I packed up my remaining items and got ready to leave, Mr. Hooper knocked on my door. I opened it and told him it’d be just a second. He asked why I was wearing a shower cap and I told him “uhhh… because it’s funny? (see above photo. It is). He agreed but told me he asked in case I had lice or something (which I don’t!). He then dared me to wear it in the casino as we checked out and left. I agreed.


We walked to the front counter, dropped off our key cards and then went to the coffee shop inside the casino. Plenty of people saw the bald guy in a shower cap but nobody batted an eyebrow. I’m not sure if it’s because people hanging out at a casino at 9AM on a Wednesday aren’t exactly self aware or if people think I have a weird medical thing and they’re making an effort to not stare. Either way I’m not getting any the attention that I’m quite plainly craving. I ask to stop at the diner to grab some food to go and we walk all the way to the back of the casino. While we’re at the diner, Hooper ups the ante by suggesting I cry as we walk through the casino back to the car.


I dismiss the idea at first, thinking it’d be too much of a hassle to fake cry for three full minutes but when I get the food and we start walking back I start weeping softly. Squinting, misty eyed and a few sniffles. Hooper is walking a few steps ahead of me and doesn’t even notice I’m crying until we pass a group of people and they just stare at me. He asks if I’m okay, playing along and I say “I just… *sniff* I just, can we go home? I wanna go home”.


Now fully aware of what’s going on, Hooper starts snaking through the casino, trying to walk by as many people as possible as I follow behind, sobbing softly wearing a shower cap and carrying a breakfast sandwich. When we get to the front entrance a double decker bus is parked and and a stream of senior citizens walk into Black Bear, their first sight of their casino journey is that of a grown man walking out crying and wearing a shower cap. Once in the parking lot Hooper looked back and said “Okay, we’re in the clear. You can stop. Seriously, man. Stop it. Please stop crying.”


I’m method. Once you’re in character it’s hard to pull out.

The Casino Buffet.

Since writing about what a goddamn pig I am last week I’ve made some healthier choices so I can get myself back down to “husky” or “stout”. I’ve been doing some cardio most days and yesterday I even chose carrots when I could have just as easily made a giant peanut butter and jelly sandwich and eaten it in the pantry so the wife and boy wouldn’t witness my shame. My stomach growled like a dealer growing impatient with a junkie coming up with excuses on why he doesn’t have any money but I ate those carrots. I ate them and told myself that was enough.


These are baby steps but I had a dozen people tell me after that blog that I can’t go on a diet, I have to change my lifestyle. This isn’t about temporarily cutting something out until I’ve lost the desired amount of weight but actually rewiring how I make decisions regarding food and exercise. It makes sense but changing the way one thinks about something as fundamental as eating isn’t the easiest task. To make it even harder I have three shows in casinos this month.



Casino gigs are usually pretty rough. I’ve done shows in a half dozen casinos and the set up has always been the same. You’re usually performing in the “lounge”. A bar in the middle of the casino that isn’t separated from the casino by any walls so the maddening electronic beeps and dings of slot machines assault you from all sides. The only people hanging out in the lounge are the ones that lost all their money already and are waiting for their friends to finish or the bingo bus to arrive or the cyanide capsule to kick in or whatever. It’s pretty much like that episode of Louie but I don’t get to bang Joan Rivers at the end of the night.


You can't tell by looking at it but in this photo I'm telling jokes at a comedy show. Somebody paid me to do this.




The above picture was taken at a casino bar in Wisconsin. The bar was in the middle of the casino and the walkway was the only way to get from one side of the casino to the other. There was no stage and no stage lights. There was no speaker system in the bar so they hooked the mic up to the PA system for the entire casino. Three people were in the bar my entire set and one had his back turned to me, watching the TV that the bartender didn’t turn off for the show. It was the second worst casino gig I’ve ever performed at.


While casino shows are usually an uphill battle and I normally don’t get my hopes up, sometimes they turn out well. For example, any booking agent for any of my upcoming casino gigs googling my name probably has the best show ever. Whether the show itself is good or bad, there’s always one thing to look forward to performing at a casino. The free buffet –


I feel like I died of a heart attack at a young age and went to fat people heaven!




I normally treat the “all you can eat” suggestion of a buffet as a command to eat until I physically am unable to eat anymore and the casino buffet is no exception. Even the smallest casinos usually have a huge buffet with a giant selection. When eating at a buffet the fat part of my mind and the poor part of my mind get together and I eat as much as possible because the more I eat, the better use I’m making of the money I spent and when the buffet is free it’s like I hit the jackpot. They say the house always wins but I’m fucking Rain Man in the casino buffet. I’ll down three plates before I even hit the dessert and when I do get dessert it’s cake, cookies and ice cream. Maybe a slice of pie, too if they got french silk.


I should mention that when I down three plates of food, these are plates arranged fat guy style. When heaping food onto your plate at the casino buffet you have several options –


Regular People:
A normal person will get a few things at the buffet. Maybe even start out with a salad plate and put salad on it. Then they go for a second trip and get food, something that makes sense like turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy and why the hell not a slice of pizza (these people normally wouldn’t have a slice of pizza with a turkey dinner but it’s a buffet!). Third trip they’ll get a dessert.

Overeaters (people like me):
Salad bar? Fuck that. The only time I’m going to the salad bar is to get some chocolate pudding or ranch dressing to dip my chicken fingers. First trip is to get a sampling of as many things as possible on the plate. Foods that were never meant to touch are plopped right next to each other and if a little gravy gets on the spaghetti, so be it. Second trip is for anything that got left out and a second helping of the favorite from the first plate. Third plate is the cool down round. Something light and maybe something weird that I’ve never tried before. Then as many desserts as possible.

The Vacuums:
There are always people at the casino buffet that make my eating habits look normal. These people probably didn’t even come to gamble unless it’s a metaphorical game of Russian Roulette where the chamber’s their aorta, the bullet is a hunk of fat and the trigger is a pile of honey glazed ham. These are the kind of people that have mathematically worked out how much food they can get on a plate to minimize trips and the energy spent walking. One time I saw a lady balance two plates on the front basket of her Rascal scooter while she held a third in her hands. Another time I saw a guy cover a plate of food with pizza slices and then put food on top of the pizza slices. He used food as a plate to put food on top of other foods. These are the champions. The kind of people whose ranks I could one day join if I make the wrong choices.


Like I said, getting healthier is about changing the lifestyle. If I refuse the casino buffet I’ll probably just end up there in the morning eating 50 sausage links for breakfast. I need to make the decision to go there and not eat “all I can eat” otherwise I’ll end up like pizza plate guy, trying to avoid eye contact with the chef as he cuts up the roast beef. The chef, having seen this plenty of times in his career asks “should I just put it on top of the pizza, sir?”


First casino gig’s tomorrow. I’ll let you know if I used the salad plate for salad.