13 02 2012

I just finished a weekend at the DC Improv with local masher Tim Miller and headliner Jim Jeffries (the other white guy). It was an interesting weekend with an interesting crowd. In many instances, a crowd will be a mix of ages, ethnicities, sex, and tastes but such was not the case this weekend. Each show was sold out and each crowd member was there to see one person…Jim Jeffries. He has a loyal fan base and it is comprised mostly of 20/30 something white guys who enjoy drinking.

However, the crowds were pretty tame for the most part except for a boisterous Friday late show. I mixed up my jokes a little bit to accomodate for the crowd’s taste and had fun on the shows. Tim Miller was great as usual and it was nice to have a buddy on the show. Jim Jeffries is a fabulous story teller and a seasoned performer. He was also a gentleman offstage and easy to talk to in the greeenroom during and after shows.

Usually, I hang out a bit after the shows but this week I was feeling particularly drained and left the club after my last set of the night on both the Friday and Saturday shows. I did hang around after the Sunday show and made the poor decision to make myself available for unnecessary conversation with a particularly annoying drunk girl. I knew she was trouble the minute she walked over to me. Almost immediately I sensed her comedic critique of my performance looming over our conversation. To paraphrase, she said something like, “You started out really slow but then made me laugh and you should be proud because it’s really HARD to make ME laugh.”

I thought about replying with, “Oh wow, had I known YOU were going to be here I would have stepped up my game at the beginning of the set.” But, her glazed over eyes and unintelligent disposition told me that the sarcasm would have flown over her greasy head and she would have instead begun patting herself on the back for somehow contributing to the show. So instead I told her that “…I perform at my own pace, not hers” and walked away.

The ridiculous thing is that she was not nearly pretty enough to be that annoying. If she was a 10, she might have bought herself an extra 45 seconds…but a 10 she was not. A drunk, annoying 5 1/2 gets you less than a minute with this guy.

Jon, that’s mean and mysoginistic! No, its not.

A sober and interesting 3 gets you a pleasant conversation with me for as long as you’d like.

Jon,  you’re being arrogant.

Again, you’re wrong. I didn’t go up to you to start the conversation. Not once have I ever intentionally picked out an audience member to discuss the participation in the show. “Hey man, I noticed you didn’t laugh much at the beginning of the show but then later you seemed to laugh more….just wanted to let you know.”

Jon,  you’re being sensitive. You think? Probably, but I’m trying to make you laugh while reading this and if I don’t take extreme offence to the situation I dont’ feel like it will be a funny read.

Also shocking was the fact that this annoying girl’s boyfriend was standing right there and didn’t put his girlfriend in check. Unnaceptable. I hope that girl reads this, becomes offended, tells her boyfriend and then he dumps her. Your welcome, guy.

Last weekend I traveled to New York to audition for the Montreal Just For Laughs comedy festival. The venue was the Creek and the Cave and was definitely a unique atmosphere. I’ve performed at a lot of different place (see my bio for the short list) but typically I perform at clubs and bars. The Creek and the Cave is more of a tiny, black box theatre that probably seats about 30 people comfortably. I was fairly happy with my set although performing 6 minutes sets in definitely not my strength. If anything, performing there showed me that I need to prepare myself better for short showcase sets because it is nothing like performing a feature or headlining set and you should really perform completely differently.

New York City is very depressing to me. I’ve only been there a few times and it always gives me the same feeling of gloom. The only way to describe it is Frodo and Sam’s journey to Mordor in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I know exactly why I feel this way too…lack of plant life. My wife can confirm this. Either I have some type of condition or I am just really country because if I go more than a day without seeing trees and plants, I get depressed and angry.

Upcoming stuff: This Thursday I’ll be performing at the Arlington Drafthouse Lounge and on Saturday I’ll be headling a CoolCow Productions show in Fredericksburg, Va. Finally, next Sunday and Monday, daddy is going to skiing and is hoping to not damage his old, frail body.


Please David….please

13 01 2012

Last Saturday night I performed on an audition showcase for the Late Show at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse. The lineup was really good and some of my personal favorite local comics were on the show. Additionally, the show was well attended and the crowd was great. I thought all the comics did well and Herbie Gill did a nice job hosting. I was happy with my set and enjoyed my 6 minutes of stage time. Am I going to be booked for Letterman anytime soon? No. Did I think I would be? No. But, I did get to talk to the Late Night comedy booker and received some nice feedback from him afterwards. Without going into details, apparently, I’m funny but with only several new comedians booked per year…I’m not cracking the lineup. I’ll take it.

I also performed at the Drafthouse’s Friday night showcase in front of a medium energy crowd of 14. The show was alright…there was some fun to be had with the crowd. There was a tall, white, d-bag standing by the bar during the show and I did not care for his face. He tried talking to the other comics a time or too and he definitely fell into the “I’m gonna play with the comics a little and impress the girl I’m with” guy. It didn’t work. He never really engaged with me although I was secretly hoping he would. His face was annoying and I was a little surly that night. It’s probably for the best though…I didn’t feel particularly funny that night and I’m nearly positive that “surly Jon” wouldn’t have won the crowd over.

Happy News: I received a callback audition for the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival in February. I’m very excited about this. The JFL Festival is a holy grail of sorts to young comics and being invited to it would definitely be a nice landmark for my career. Honestly, I’m pretty happy just to receive the callback invitation because it shows I’m progressing. Plus, it’s an excuse to spend a weekend in New York City and catch up with some old friends. This guy…excited.

I’ve got some cool shows coming up so check my schedule page for the links. I am at the Arlington Drafthouse yet again this weekend featuring for Ian Bagg on Friday and Saturday night. I was on a showcase many, many years ago at the Hollywood Improv and Ian was hosting that night. I guarantee he doesn’t remember me but I remember him. He talks to the crowd….a lot. And, he’s very good at it. If he can see you, he will talk to you and he will make it funny. I’m also headlining the Avalon Theatre in Easton, MD next week. My good buddy, Mike Way will also be on the show and working with him is always a pleasure.

I’ve got some fun projects coming up but I will save that news for future blogs. I have been writing quite a bit lately and will be checking out locals shows more often over the next couple months to work on the material….so, check out Ri Ra  bar and grill or Topaz hotel if you want to witness the evolution of a mediocre joke.

Look at me. I’m ranting.

4 01 2012

“I don’t want to debate with you.” This thought runs through my head at least once a day. Local DC comic Brian Parise has a hilarious joke about divisive social issues and how he will agree with whatever someone says just so he doesn’t have to have a conversation about it. So true.

The biggest offence for me is politics. I don’t like politics. I don’t understand politics. I don’t take enough interest in politics to have an intelligent conversation and gladly admit it. I am also annoyed that you care so much about it and want to convince me of something you believe in. “What are you, Democrat or Republican?” I am neither. I don’t really see the difference? I am anti-dirtbag. Show a politician who is not a scumbag and I’ll vote for him or her. Can we talk about something else?

Religion is another one. I am a Christian. I try very hard not to be an obxoxious one. If you ask me what I believe in, I am happy to tell you and will tell you why I believe it if you ask me. However, please don’t ask me what religion I am just so you can open the door for conversation and thus try to convince me Jesus doesn’t exit. Or, start droning on about how organized religion has started every war in the history of the world. Ummm, you’re probably right but what does that have to do with me? Am I starting wars because I go to church on Sunday. Ahhhh tricky! You’re sucking me into your agenda….and I’m out.

Sports. I follow NFL football and not much else. I also love NFL football and generally enjoy talking about it. However I don’t want to debate issues that cannot possibly be proved with quantitative analysis. Example: “Dan Marino was the greatest quarterback ever because he passed for the most yards. No, Joe Montana was the greatest quarterback because he won four Superbowl. Yeah, but Terry Bradshaw won four Superbowl too. Yeah, but Joe Montana passed for more yards. And….I’m out.”

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy discussing a mutual topic of interest with anyone as long as you don’t try to prove something to me. In the history of conversation, how many times has this actually worked? Where two people totally disagree on something but miraculously, after an hour of discussion, one of them totally agrees with the other’s point of view.Like….never. So why even begin the debate?

So how do we deal with this issue without coming across like a jerk. I suppose I could just say politely, “I’d rather not debate this with you, could we please talk about something else?” That’s not too jerky but I feel like it comes across as a little smug. I’m also not sure if I used the term “smug” appropriately just now. I’d prefer to skip all of that and just change the subject to food. Who doesn’t like food? Who doesn’t like to talk about food? If you don’t like food, than you’re probably a bad person who doesn’t have many friends. Think about it, if someone says to you, “dude, I ate the best burrito yesterday!” Immediately I wanna know more. Try this, people, I encourage it.

Boring, annoying debater: “What’s your take on Obama’s foreign policy because this is what I think…
Me: “Hey sorry to cut you off but have you ever eaten bacon? I think its amazing.

There you go, folks. You’re welcome. I try to do good things.

Best Regards,

Boring blog….Incoming!

19 12 2011

Seriously, how scared are you right now? That’s Alonzo Bodden and me playing bouncer at the DC Improv. I’m fearless. Mostly because Alonzo is a large man with an intimidating presence and he’s standing next to me. I was considering smack talking strangers just to see how they would react…I’m pretty sure that as long as we appeared to be friends, there would be no back talk.

My week with Alonzo was an absolute pleasure. He is a true veteran of the craft, a gentleman, and extremely funny. He attracts a fairly diverse audience of race, age, and sex which typically makes for a good audience. We did six shows and I had fun on every single one of them. The audiences were pretty tame and most of the shows were sold out. I did experience a new type of heckler on the Saturday late show. Periodically throughout my set, as I was telling one of my tales, an inebriated woman in the front row would say to me, ” Not true, didn’t happen,” and then she would lean back in her chair with her arms folded and stare at me condescendingly. I actually found this hilarious. I’ve experienced all types of hecklers; the belligerent drunk, the jealous boyfriend, the attention starved socialite, the obnoxious bridal party, the “I’m funnier than you” guy, and the incredibly rare “I have a mental disorder” person. But, this lady changed the game. I’m not really even sure what to call her….the “I don’t believe you” heckler? I’m not sure that she completely understands what happens at a standup comedy show. It’s not a conference or a briefing which is primarily based on facts and research. Maybe she would have preferred if I pulled up a Powerpoint slide deck and bullet pointed my punch lines to clarify things a bit. Ridiculous.

Last night was the Montreal Just For Laughs audition at the DC Improv as well. It was nice to catch up with some old friends that I don’t see too often anymore. I didn’t see all the comics perform because the room was packed and daddy gets uncomfortable when he’s smashed up against other people. So, I just kind of popped in and out of the showroom until my time slot. Each comic performed 5 minutes of comedy which can been tough because that’s no a lot of time to build up the energy of the room. So, it teaches you to get to the point quickly and find the funny as fast as possible. I did get to see Mike Way perform because he went right before me and as usual, he was great.

I remember when I first started doing standup, the comedy scene was so competitive and at times this annoyed me. In my opinion, competition can be a good thing in that it motivates you to continue writing and challenging yourself on stage. But, I also thing it can stunt your evolution because you find yourself being too affected by others performances. Last night was pretty awesome in that the show didn’t seem like a competition, just a bunch of comics hanging out and having fun together. I believe the word I’m looking for is camaraderie.

I’ve got a couple of weeks off for the holidays and then I’ll be back onstage at Magooby’s Joke House on January 13-14. Happy Holidays, eggnog face!

Comedian…animal lover

28 11 2011

I just checked my stats and I’m averaging well over 5 hits per day on my fancy new website. So….either mom has some time on her  hands or I’ve acquired several new fans. Either way, sorry for being MIA for the past month but daddy’s been busy. I made my annual trek to Ohio to engage in warfare and as you can see, this guy won. It was a fun trip and I got to hang out with some hunting buddies and partake in some overall redneckery. I love it so much.

The drive to Ohio is actually pretty interesting. I’ve made quite a few trips to the midwest  over the years for various reasons so I certainly have my opinions on which states are “interesting to the eye.” Here is my assessment, starting with Maryland:

  • Western Maryland – I typically always take the western Maryland path to head west and I always look forward to it. Washington and Garrett counties are awesome. Beautiful. Many Marylanders will say the eastern shore is the most beautiful part of the state and they would be wrong. I’ve been to both places many times and yes, the eastern shore has its charm but western Maryland is better.
  • Pennsylvania – Ahhh my  home state. I love her so much. Sometimes I’ll dip into southern PA to take the turnpike out west. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what part of PA you are driving in, its great everywhere…especially in the fall.
  • Michigan – I’ve made many a trip through MI and it’s always  underwhelming. What do I think when Michigan is mentioned in conversation? Hmmmm…..let’s see; ridiculous amounts of snow, lots of ugly trees, terrible casinos, and poor road conditions. Yup, that pretty much covers it.
  • Ohio – I’ve been to Northern Ohio, Central Ohio, and South Ohio and they could pretty much be three different states. They look different, they feel different, and they smell different. Southern Ohio is pretty Kentucky and is by far the scariest. It’s also where I go hunting. I also love it. However, I’m not a big fan of driving through the state…not very interesting or pretty.
  • West Virginia – I almost forgot about this jewel. Much of West Virginia  is exceptionally scary…particularly southern WV. That being said, I’m a big fan. The roads are treacherous and poorly maintained, they have scary buildings that look like sheds until you realize people live there, there are beautiful mountain ridges and dirty coal mines….basically, there is much to keep you occupied. Unlike….
  • Illinois – I haven’t been through this snooze fest as much as the others mentioned but I will say this, southern Illinois is by far the most boring place to drive. There is nothing to look at, the road never changes, and it lasts forever. Not a fan.

I could head further south but then I would be discussing the south. I could go further west but that would require more typing and I’m pretty sure  you already stopped reading this. Yes, you guessed it…I’ve run out of material.

So, here’s what’s coming up; I’m at the DC Improv Dec 8-11, featuring for Alonzo Bodden. Very excited. I’m also performing on Sunday, December 18th at the DC Improv Lounge on the Montreal Just for Laughs audition. I’ve done this 2 or 3 other times and its always a lot of fun. Finally, I’m performing at Kloby’s Steakhouse this Wednesday. I know what you’re thinking, “Steak and comedy? That sounds awkward.” Well, that’s exactly what I’m thinking too. But, you know what…I’m not scurrred and I’ll be there screaming at tables, “look what I can do, look what I can do, please pay attention to me!” So, bring it, Kloby’s! If that’s even your real name.

Check out the schedule page for more details on the shows. Ok, cool.

Idaho and ramblings

7 10 2011

I just got back from a weeklong hunting, camping, backpacking, canoeing, wilderness trip in Idaho. The majority of the trip was spent in the wilderness with my bro (notice the sweet stache to the left). It was awesome. Seriously dude, Idaho is totally underrated…beautiful country. We hiked anywhere from 4-8 miles per day, up and down mountains, while lugging around 30-60 pounds of gear on our backs. I pretty much complained constantly throughout the journey. The great thing about Idaho…very few bugs. Sure, there is the occasional bee or fly but its really not that bad.

One amazing part of the trip was being completely unreachable. I literally had no satellite signal for 5 days so for the first time in years, I had complete focus. When the only thing to think about is starting a fire or finding a water source, little things become so satisfying. Just sitting around a campfire at night and looking at the stars was amazing. We were drinking up to 8 liters of water per day so we were constantly running out of water. Literally, in one day my priorities were minimized to basic survival needs; water, fire, shelter. Pretty incredible. I wonder if people in the 17 and 18th century had lower blood pressures? They only had a couple of things to worry about…right? I’m totally making sense right now.

Anywhoodly, my bro and his wife have lived in Idaho so this was my second trip there and I hope there will be many more. One thing I learned about Idahonians is that they hate Californians because apparently they are buying all the land and jacking up home prices. I’m not sure I completely buy this or even understand it but I was just happy to not have to take any guff for being an east coaster.

While visiting, I watched the Eagles collapse..yet again, in the second half against the 49ers. I’ve been an Eagles fan since I was 8 years old. I remember when Wes Hopkins played safety and Ron Jaworski through interceptions. Honestly, I had WAY more fun watching them back then when there was little hope for the franchise. You were never dissapointed because you never really expected anything from the franchise. For the past 10 years, there have been expectations every year which makes their failures that much more painful. Right now, I hate their team. No clue what they’re trying to do on defense. Why are they running those super wide splits on the line? There is a reason why no other team in the NFL does that. Because it doesn’t work. You stop the run first, THEN you stop the pass. Clueless. On offense, I’m even more bewildered. Scott Baio could block better than their two tackles. The playcalling inside the redzone has been atrocious. I think Andy Reid has been huffin glue just like his two kids. I’m done….until next Sunday when I watch them again.

Shows coming up: I’m headlining the Bethesda Hyatt on this Saturday and headlining the “Drink til we’re funny” show on Sunday. I am not headlining the DC Improv next week but will be opening for Guy Torry. Just out the schedule page for the deets.


We talked, we laughed, we took pictures….

24 08 2011

I just wrapped up a weekend of shows at the DC Improv. The headliner this week was Dov Davidoff who is hilarious and as humble and gracious as any comic I’ve ever worked with. His style is unique and he has incredible comedic range as his jokes vary from silly to insightful. I enjoyed watching him perform.

I had fun on every show and even had a few co-workers come out. In fact, my superivor showed up on Friday with his lovely wife to see me in action. I am always extremely cautious about co-workers coming to shows, not because I’m afraid of bombing in front of them, but because I’m always afraid of being judged. I don’t care if strangers judge me but co-workers….yes. Outside of being a stripper, I can’t really think of too many occupations where a person is completely exposed in front of a crowd of people who are fixated on them. I realize I just compared stand up comedy to stripping but I’m standing by the analogy. I think my co-workers had fun and it was cool to see them.

I also saw an old acquaintance on the Sunday show. Jim Rossell and his girlfriend drove over 2 hours to see Dov and just happened to recognize me from high school. I’ll be honest, I would have never recognized him because it had been 18 years since we last saw each other and my memory is pretty much horrible. Nevertheless, there we are, from left: Jim, Dov, Jim’s gf, and yours truly with my giant bright face.

I’ve got a pretty busy fall planned so I don’t have a ton of shows scheduled but I have added some local stuff. Its been a busy August and I’m glad for a little break. A lot of comics “need” to be onstage and feel weird if they haven’t been onstage in more than a week, I am not one of those comics; I probably start getting anxious around week three. So, I’m taking this weekend off from comedy to hang out with the wife and by hang out, I mean perform home improvement projects. This weekend….lighting. Apparently, we need to update our lights which is kind of like replacing a working refrigerator. Yes, it still keeps your food cold but it just doesn’t look nice. Yes, our current lights are effective at lighting the room but they don’t look “nice.” I’m actually looking forward to it…nothing makes this guy feel like more of a dude than when I install something.

This blog gets a B –