So the wedding thing took up most of the journal space over the last month and I am sure you’ve heard enough. Here’s what else went on.
The US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen was pretty much a blur, not in the usual drunken way but just in the sense that it’s a madhouse of shows and catching up with comics that you never see otherwise. I could have given a fuck less if I was going to get a deal or not. Truly not giving a fuck is a beautiful freedom that you can’t fake. It’s nice when it comes and it came in Aspen. Renee was there and we had a great time, snapping pictures of the famous types like tourists and playing whiffle ball in the snow.
I didn’t spend a hell of a lot of time worrying about what sets to do, just did what I felt like at the time. Fuck trying to impress industry. I feel sorry anymore for most industry types. They are an unusually sad breed of human being, motivated solely by money and status, and stand out in character even less than movie extras in a stadium scene. I boarded a 7 am flight out of LA to get there, 3 hours sleep and a bloated head full of last night's beer when some agent type stopped me in the aisle to say hello. I felt the familiar guilt for not remembering exactly who he was and felt worse when I realized it may be one of my managers. I still am not quite sure who he was. The rest of the festival went on the same way. Renee was perfect in spotting that look of non-recognition on my face when saying heartfelt hellos with people who I should remember but didn’t and she’d introduce herself before I could embarrass myself. Still it’s fun sometimes just to be honest and tell em you have no fucking idea who they are, especially when they walk around with the air that everyone should be kissing their ass.
It’s such a bullshit business, Hollywood. I was named one of the top ten talents to watch at Aspen by the Hollywood Reporter and was presented with an award at a party there that had less pomp and circumstance than a karaoke contest. I wanted to ask how I was selected. I’d spent the previous weeks in Toledo, Ocean Township, NJ and Midvale, Utah. I never spotted any Hollywood Reporter people in the room scrutinizing my material so as to judge against the other comics who would be in the festival. I should have asked when accepting my award exactly what material of mine caught their eye when they made the decision, just so I could stew in the glorious dead air. They have never seen a thing I have done. I got the award through hearsay or good representation. To take credit for it would be blowing smoke up my own ass but I’ll still hang the certificate on my wall next to the painting of Yakov Smirnoff that I heisted from the Boise FunnyBone.
After Aspen I went straight to Tampa to play SideSplitters, another strip mall comedy club in a shitty strip mall highway town. But the shows were fun and the staff rocked. Renee flew down for her father’s surprise 50th birthday party and boy was he surprised when later in the day she told him that we were getting married in a couple weeks. The whole party stopped short at the announcement. I don’t think he’d ever heard of me before that day, much less considered a marriage in the offing. He’s a military guy, Black Hawk chopper pilot but not the stereotype you’d think. He took it ok but his best friend Jeff, more the bonehead you’d expect for career military, took it upon himself to give me the “you’d better not fuck her over or I’ll kill you” speech that I hadn’t heard since adolescence.
“You know, we know special-ops guys who kill people for a living - so I’m just saying - if you go knock her up and leave her…”
“Oh, you won’t have to worry about that, sir,” I say with an Eddie Haskell reverence, “We practice strictly sodomy so there won’t be any children.”
What an asshole. Renee told me that after I left, he got really drunk and walked into a plate glass door and broke his nose.
Back in LA I did a pilot for Comedy Central called “The Couch," where people come on with their problems and three comics on a couch tell them what they should do. Sounds pretty dull but it was a shitload of fun. Henry Winkler produced it and he may very well be the coolest guy in Los Angeles. Nothing better in life than The Fonz telling you how cool you are. Best cheap thrill in America. Sue Murphy was the host and I think she’ll still be hot when she’s 93. The couch consisted of me, Kathleen Madigan, who is funny and I really enjoy, and Mario Joiner who is an un-fun, un-funny, self-absorbed half a prick. But the show wouldn’t work without that kind of tension. Hopefully he’s enough of a douche bag that the show gets picked up. I could use the scratch.
Omaha is always a good time no matter how much the town may suck. The staff at Jokers is consistently about the best staff in any comedy club that I work. Dr. John, my smut shop friend from the “Grim Final Appearance” story was in town that week and loaded me up yet again with a dangerous cache of sexual amplifiers. Last time I was in town he had let me use the Dr. Johns construction van with the sign “Dr. Johns - If We Build It , You Will Come” along the side. It draws quite a bit of attention in Omaha, as Dr. John made front page news quite often in that town where aiding and abetting clitoral stimulation can amount to a sizable prison sentence (Dr. John is still facing 15 months for selling porn). This time he’d got his hand on a big square-backed ambulance with working sirens, lights and screaming PA system. “Dr. John’s Love Unit #1” in bright red on the sides. He gave me the keys for the week along with two overstuffed bags of smut toys to hand out after the shows. I set the bags in the step well of the side door on the way to the show that night and headed off. About a mile from the club, a ‘door’ light on the control panel lit up and a buzzer sounded. I realized that the side door had opened and just as I started to hit the brake I heard the bags hit the street. I stopped, got out and frantically started running up and down the street picking up butt plugs, dildos, and other sodomy-enhancing funions and threw them into the back of the ambulance parked sideways across the street. The visual had to be startling.
At the club I met a guy named Nels who happened to be running the sound for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade that Saturday. He used his influence to get me into the parade in the Dr. John’s ambulance. I got up early that morning and headed for his house where I passed an anti-abortion protester standing with his signs and crucifixes like a target waiting for abuse. I circled him several times, spewing advertisements over the PA for my “Abort-O-Van”, offering semi-professional abortions in the back of the ambulance.
I never thought I’d actually be let into the parade, everyone in this town knowing exactly who Dr. John is, but sure enough we snuck right in between the Vietnam Vets and the Midland South High School Band. Parents with green-faced children stared gape-jawed as I went by, speakers blaring,
“Come to Dr. John’s Smut Emporium - 72nd and Pacific - because those kids didn’t come from Immaculate Conception!”
“The Midland South High School Has been drinking since 6 am, ladies and gentleman. I watched the tuba player puke green beer through his instrument not one hour ago!”
“Look! It’s the Grand Marshall of the Omaha St Patrick’s Day Parade, a regular customer of Dr. Johns Smut Emporium - 72nd and Pacific.”
“Oh shit, there’s a cop - hide your beer.”
Tame stuff but it was still funny as hell to see their faces.
Dr. John loaded me up with more deviant fuck toys and I had them loaded on the top of my carry-on again for the flight home. Got searched three times - everything but the bag with the toys - before being flagged at the gate. This weasel cocksucker was trying to be cute and chatty in that “Talk to them to see if the act nervous” hokey cop way. Every question he asked me was met with absolute silence and a death stare. I reek of alcohol and zero tolerance.
“Hows it goin today?”
“Guess you’re a little put off at the inconvenience but it’ll be quick.”
I sneer at him and say nothing.
“Out partying last night?”
Nothing but a evil gaze. “I’m just doing my job” went out with the Nazis. If your job is bullshit then get another job.
He went thru every pocket of my laptop bag, took off my shoes, wanded my feet and patted me down before he got to the bag o’ shame.
He opens the lid and sees a strap-on clitoral stimulator, three porno DVD’s, anal beads, liquid latex, nipple clamps, and a vibrating cock ring/anal probe combo unit that should come with health insurance. I smiled real big and he just said “Very interesting” and he shut the fucking bag.
He just shut the fucking bag.
Tell me these shitheads are doing anything worthwhile. Fucking zeros.
I’ve been driving the last four weeks and it’s beautiful. Taking as many of the two-lanes as possible and seen some great shit. Towns like Bisbee, AZ, Alpine, TX, Cameron, LA where we saw more alligators on the side of the road than we saw traffic. Saw one get hit by a truck. You don’t see dick if you stay on the interstates. Always take the back roads when you can.
A little while ago I get a call on my cell phone that comes up a blocked number. Almost every time I get a blocked call it’s my buddy Henry Phillips so I answer the phone “HEN-RYYYYY!”.
There’s a short pause, then a voice - “How did you know?”
It was Henry Winkler. Telling me the show turned out great. I never told him how I knew. Maybe if that show doesn’t fly he’ll make me the new Ms Clio.