“I’m starting to date a woman who’s black and Samoan - who’s not fat! - bold that bitch when you write it out.. She’s really beautiful, she was quiet at first - which, I knew the crazy was coming. Cause if you have a woman who’s quiet, she is hiding the crazy. She’s like a soldier in a…
Like the original Rambo, I think I’ll like the second Rambro the best.
Onion Juice: Countdown to the Purple Onion (Build Up, Slow Down)
10 DAYS FROM MY SHOW AT THE PURPLE ONION: 0 tickets sold. I have people claiming they are going to come but I’m not sure about a few of them. I have a lot of broke/young friends. I still have a lot of people to ask and enough leeway for them to say yes. When money and tickets start exchanging, then I’ll be a little more at ease.
My problem has been a combination of preoccupation and a fever to write. I’ve been hustling this new bit I started writing when Jabari gave me the show date and I’ve been keeping up with the scene on here. Thus a lot of time inside and not enough on the street rallying like I want to. That will change soon though.
I think what’s bringing me down a bit about the show is that my mom said she wasn’t going to be there. My mom has been to a few of my shows before but this is the big one. I can’t even pretend I’m not bummed by her absence, I do/did most things in my life with my mom in mind. Just wish she could see the hard work I’ve been putting in.
And if anybody who reads this blog just wants to buy a ticket, out of donation or mere curiosity to how I perform, please let me know. I’ll find where you are and bring the ticket to you. I’ll probably be in running attire. I don’t know who reads this blog but it’s worth a shot eh?
Today is Abbey’s birthday. Over the last couple of days I’ve seen this lovely lady comically rip on and off stage and enjoyed every minute of it. AND I WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO ENJOY ABBEY JORDAN’S BEING HAD SHE NOT BEEN BORN. So with that.. Happy Birthday Abbey. You’re a super spy.
Open Mic Comedy @ McGrath’s Pub. 1539 Lincoln Ave. Alameda, CA. Sign-Ups: 9:00. Show: 9:30. Free. (I’m back at the helm. Last time was really energetic, and full of talent. Open-Mics are like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re going to get, BUT I’m also bringing chocolate)
Stud Comedy. 9th and Harrison. San Francisco, CA. Sign Ups: 8:30. Show: 9:00.
Ladies Night @ The Brainwash. 1122 Folsom St. San Francisco, CA. Sign Ups: 7:30. Show: 8:00 (Approximately).
Zach Chiappellone @ The Purple Onion. (Jabari Davis and Associates). 140 Columbus Ave. San Francisco, CA. 8 PM. $20.
Jericho @ SF Improv Festival. Eureka Theater. 215 Jackson Street. $15. 7:30PM
Business @ Dark Room Theater. 2263 Mission St. San Francisco, CA. $5.
The Business, San Francisco’s best alternative comedy showcase, is proud to welcome three fantastic out-of-town guest stars for our August 18th show. From Los Angeles, we have comedians - and accomplished actresses - Jodi Miller and Stacey Scowley, and from New York City, we have comedian - and accomplished clown - Jeff Seal. It’s a homecoming for Ms. Scowley and Mr. Seal, so the shows will be extra special. So special, we might just crown a king and queen at the end.
Along with these amazing special guests, we’ve got the usual Businessmen you know and love - Chris Garcia, Sean Keane, Alex Koll, and Bucky Sinister.
The extravaganza gets started at 8 PM at the Dark Room, 2263 Mission Street in SF, between 18th and 19th Streets. Admission? Just five American dollars.
Jodi Miller is an actress and writer with over twelve years of standup experience. A native of New Jersey, she’s appeared on a wide variety of TV shows, from “Law & Order” and “The Sopranos” to “Chelsea Lately” and “Rob and Big.” She’sthe co-host of the award-winning “The Damage Report” on LA Talk Radio.com, and her book, “WTF College: How to Survive 101 of Colleges Worst F*#!-ing Situations”, is currently a featured choice in bookstores nationwide and on Amazon.com.
Stacey Scowley is an actress and comedian, born and raised in Danville, CA, and currently living in Los Angeles. She’s made guest appearances on a number of TV shows, including Nip/Tuck, My Boys, Cold Case, Come To Papa, Monk and Alias, and she has a recurring gig on Family Guy. She has also appeared in the movies Walk Hard with John C. Reilly, Eagle Eye with Shia LaBeouf, and Loveless in Los Angeles.
Jeff Seal is a graduate of UC Berkeley and the Clown Conservatory of San Francisco. He’s an improviser, actor, clown, and comedian who has appeared on “The Late Show With David Letterman.” He’s performed with the California Shakespeare Theater, and at the New York Clown Theater Festival. In 2009, he co-wrote and starred in, “Kill Me Loudly: A Clown Noir,” a brutal comedy about desire, betrayal and murder - done by clowns.
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The Business: Four comedians (Sean Keane, Chris Garcia, Bucky Sinister, Alex Koll) each curate one quarter of two hours for five bucks. Professionals doing more bang for less buck. All forms and styles exploited; The comedy equivalent to an “Everything Bagel”. We regularly welcome special guest stars, ranging from standup comics to spoken word performers to authors to burlesque dancers.
SEAN KEANE is a comedian and writer who performs at all the finest clubs and colleges in the SF Bay Area, and some of the mediocre ones, too. His sportswriting appears all over the Internet. He’s a three-time Iron Comic champion, a three-time performer at SF Sketchfest, and won the 2008 Twisted Biscuit competition. He’s contributed to McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, ESPN the Magazine, and the “Fantasia In Best Show Minor” DVD.
CHRIS GARCIA performs all the damn time at the SF and Sacramento Punch Line, Cobb’s Comedy Club, and has been part of SF Sketchfest, the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, the Aspen Comedy Festival, and The Onion Comedy Series.
BUCKY SINISTER describes himself as a misunderstood literary genius, a middle-aged comedian and a reluctant self-help guru. He has written three books of poetry, one of which also contained some short stories. His latest book is Get Up: A 12-step Guide to Recovery for Misfits, Freaks, and Weirdos. Bucky came out with a comedy CD before he ever did a gig at a comedy club.
ALEX KOLL is a San Francisco based Funnyman and Entertainmenter of variable power and speed. In 2009 he performed in the “New Faces” showcase at the prestigious Montreal Just For Laughs Festival, garnering a “Best of New Faces” nod. He appears on Comedy Central’s “Live At Gotham” 2009 season, and has also performed at the SXSW, Vancouver, The Bridgetown Comedy Festival, SF SketchFest and the Bentzen Ball. As a filmmaker, Alex has created award-winning videos for IFC.com, SuperDeluxe.com, Revision3, and Rooftop Comedy. Alex is also the two-time winner of the San Francisco Regional Air Guitar Championship; No kidding. He is currently flightless and unable to lay eggs.
Back in April I started writing a bunch of puns based on hipsters/superheroes/nerds. Cleverly named “superhipster”, the concept went far considering my nerdom has been faltering and my hipster knowledge is pretty basic:
Wonder Man: Simon Williamsburg
Street Figther: Julian Casablanka
Clap Your Hands and Say Yeerks
Batmans for Lashes
Bright Eyed Lizard: Doctor Curt Connor Oberst
Cletus Kasady: Street Carnage
Collab with David Wiswell: The Incredible Sulk, Ray Banner
From David Wiswell : Batman’s nemesis: the Coker
From Monica Ekabutr: Rogue’s Wave
From Dave Thomason: Captain America Apparel
Street Fighter: Arguile socks
Collaborated with Jerrod Hazelwood: Yo La Tengo Go Power Rangers
The Skinny Jeans Grey
From Christopher Slater: The silversun surfer pickups
The comedy gods look down at my misfortune. Tons of great comedy happening all over the Bay Area and I can only attend one event. Sadness…
Sylvan Open Mic Improv @ The Dark Room. 2263 Mission Street. SF. 7:30-10:30
Bust Me Up Tuesday Comedy Night @ The Parlor. 2801 Leavenworth Street. San Francisco. $20. 2 Drink Min. 8PM. (Good cheapish drinks, good show, good venue, and some times… comp tickets. Depends on the day/crowd)
Alex Koll CD Recording @ The Punchline. 444 Battery St. San Francisco. $15. 8PM. (I’ve never been to a CD recording. I’ve never been to a full Alex Koll set. It’s a double whammy of disappointment if I don’t make it.)
Layover Comedy Night. 1517 Franklin Street. Oakland. 8:30 PM. Featuring Shawn Robbins, Jesse Elias, Sammy Franco, Front Row (sketch), Mike Spiegelman, Ivan Hernandez and Mary Van Note. (This is especially sad because this features friends, favorites, somebody whom I’ve been told I have to meet, Mike, and somebody I haven’t seen in a really long time, Mary).
800 Larkin is a bar located on 800 Larkin. Up there the ghosts of blowjobs whisper through in the air disguised as fog. It is located in the Tenderloin, crossed with O’Farrell, neighbored by crackheads, pizza parlors, playgrounds, and strip clubs. Moving pass the curtain that took away Sirius Black, the club opens to a romantic, mahogany Hamburg log cabin. It is furnished by well-worn love seats, arm chairs and stained, wooden drink tables. Alma, a low-lid, long raven-haired bartender serves dim drinks in the low lights as a DJ burrows in and out of the cramped booth in the corner. The lounge gives way to the pool table, which gives way to a smoking room of various aromas and flavors. Overlooking the sultry affair are bare breasted beauties, sitting suggestively behind glass; they were captured in a flash a long time ago. For a time this perverted Elks Lounge hosted an open microphone and while laughs have subsided in the Playboy bomb shelter, the ghosts of blowjobs still linger.
Tall, Black, Crackabetic
Travis Curry organized open-mics at 800 Larkin. Travis is a bit of an enigma on the scene. He’s a standard ‘set-up-punch’ comedian who speaks about crack cocaine and misconceived linguistic practices (Black eyes aren’t black: they’re yellow, they’re purple, but never black”) all in a voice tinged with heavy, sarcastic, reverse racism. Currently Travis runs two rooms, and is very self-reliant. He believes that comedians are born and exudes a class clown mentality.
-At an undisclosed hour, persons of authority would bring up the two platforms that made the stage, up a rickety set of (people under the) stairs from the stage’s initial home: a condemned wine cellar.
-6:30to7:00 : The list would drop. Ravenous, hungry, Romeroesque comedians would scramble to scrawl the thin outline of their name. Crows fly out of the ensuing mosh pit.
- 7:30 : Newcomers enter a ghost town to find a long list of names all ready signed up. (SFStandup.com listed sign ups at 7:30). Stragglers either place a star next to their name to express a desire to go up early despite arrive late or decide to skip the whole ordeal all together.
- 7:45 : Travis flies into the building on his bike to do sound check and lighting.
- 7:55 : The Godfather of Bay Area Comedy, Tony Sparks, strolls in to help prep and gets ready to host.
- 8:00to8:12 : Show starts as comedians start to trickle back in.
- First Hour: Middlers and sporadically paid comedians work it out. Response is apathetic or mildly amused. Talent and potential are grand. Drinking begins.
-Second Hour: Up-and-Comers, hobbyist, bumpers, well-traveled open microphoners, and sideshows. Either eerily quiet or distractingly drunk. Earlier comics hang out where they can smoke or make motions toward home.
- Third/Final Hour: Masochistically patient open mic green horns and passing through established workers. Energy near nil. People talking. Stretching out the night on hopes and dreams and hops and barley.
Inner Workings (Dynamics)
The paradox of each 800 Larkin opening came from an empty room with a list of people committed to perform. The source of this paradox was the Deco Lounge on Larkin Street, three blocks down from 800. At the time both 800 and Deco had open-door policies, the shows running concurrently with an hour difference. In theory and practice this allowed comics to parasitically touch two mics in a three-block distance. Twas a priceless scenario for many comedians (especially the cheap ones, you know who you are).
800 Larkin lacked a permanent disc-jockey, meaning Travis Curry had to run the sound boards. This gave Mr. Curry a microphone in concurrence with Super Host Tony Sparks. The result was some of the most hilariously antagonizing banter I’ve ever heard. The experience is akin to taking the old man Muppets (Statler and Waldorf), turning them African-American and making them fight. Audience members slumped in seats as “milk dud” and “pregnant” jokes flew overhead. “Ima kick yo ass” was delivered with such lovingly bitter repetition. Two aging brothers slap fighting each other between acts. The most common source of discontent came from Trevor.
Trevor is a puppeteer with frightening sensibilities. His act consisted of grotesque, malformed, (usually black) puppets dancing in a deviant scene, performing lewd sexual acts while old jazz songs play in the nether recess of a boombox. The whole production seeped weirdness, bordered on disturbing, and with enough squinting could only be considered ironically entertaining. (As entertaining as Tommy Wiseau’s The Room). It also took more than 5 minutes to complete due to its set up time, it took energy away from the crowd, and sometimes would occur more than once a show.
Trevor was Travis’ friend, Travis liked it, Tony tolerated it but eventually the matter of sideshow distractions and stand up status quo came to blows. These blows manifested in verbal jousting and everything: the insults, the weary well drinks, the giggling on couches and the disturbia all collaborated to the uniqueness of 800 Larkin.
The room was my first taste of real late night open-mic shows. Tony always encourages the comedians at the Brainwash to go to other open-mics: “Because not every place is like this… most places don’t give a shit about you jack!” The 800 atmosphere was very junkyard Neil Perth: There’s a pulse but a general sense of apathy. It was the medium room between the Brainwash and showcases at Bruno’s or Medrone. The time spent at open-mics like 800 are priceless, much like bench-pressing over your max. It feels impossible but it’s building through destruction. The crushing nature of the typical open-mic can be seen in lines: lines on paper, lines on faces, lines on mirrors, lines through jokes, lines, lines, lines.
It was also my introduction to the deep talent pool in SF Comedy. 800 didn’t even have all the headliners or East Bay residents stopping through but regardless, the talent on any given night was immense: Greg Edwards, Conrad Roth, Donny Divanian, Cameron Edmonson, Nicole Calasich, Colleen Watson, David Wiswell, Will Hatcher, Mimi Vilmenay, Melanie O’Brien and others. Legitimately funny people who daily hone their craft in front of dead or invisible crowds. Very deserving talent without a shred of appreciation.
Well I say fuck that! I’m going to laugh!
I have a reputation for having too much energy and over-laughing at comedy shows. Questions arise frequently about the legitimacy of my fan faire. I’ve been to shut up due to laughing too hard. I’ve been accused of using laughter enhancement drugs. It has severely ruined my reputation as a sourkraut.
To set the record straight: I love comedy. I listen intently to every performer and respond to what I hear according to my sense of humor, psychology, and experience. If I get a reference, have had a similar experience, or see the cleverness, I will laugh. My aural appreciation has a gauge based on freshness, threads of intelligence, design, delivery, and variance. I will snicker to be involuntarily polite, chuckle if I like the idea, louder if I love the punchline, spit-take laugh if the joke sideswipes with an unexpected conclusion, belly laugh is the joke is golden and tear-up/asphyxiate if the joke speaks to me intimately.
Trainwrecks are enjoyable as well. 800 Larkin had a few of those. The carnage was quaint.
800 Larkin also started the tradition of “comedy pals”; individuals with the same amount of experience that felt the need to band together. Josh Orr, Steven Lebeau, David Cairns, Andrew Moore and Roman Leo all stood out as the time as individuals with tons of potential but still developing their voice and technique. We were all trying to find how to fit in the paradigm of comedy, struggling to get validation of progress from nearly empty rooms in the 3rd hour. Those were fun times to watch and to experience first hand.
Then there were others who blew smoke in the face of comic convention, and were lovely in their disregard. Two usual suspects in this regard: Sammy Franco and Darien Black. Sammy is guttural, intellectual ejaculate and Darien is sloshed cunning. Both represent a segment of scratching, spitting, sexual, snarling, raw, ugly, beautiful comedy. Take the anime film, Akira and fry it on the brain of a performance artist covered in glitter and you might get what these guys are saying. They’re demolition comedians, in the same vein of Chris Schiappacasse and Ricky Luna. A deadly, deadly brand
This triangle of performers created the eye of a hurricane as the winds of chaos whipped around 800 Larkin. Crackheads literally reeking havoc. Fights breaking out on a regular basis. A Jeffrey Dahmer look-alike attempting to attack Anton Inara over a sheep joke only to be dragged out by Travis while confusedly saying “Where are you taking me?” Sex on the brain, and on the fingers, friends, free drinks, crew work and suganasties.
Nobody was there that final night, just a few hap(less)hazard comedians and a slew of new staff inside the bar. A whispering voice beckons me outside: it’s Travis Curry. He informs me that there had been a coup detat. The manager of the bar canned Travis and hi-jacked the show. She brought in a new M.C. and DJ on the still rotting corpse of Travis’ baby. Mr. Curry asked me to not perform and I complied on ethical grounds. Open microphones in the city are as much about supporting as performing. 800 Larkin had a special blend of personalities that enriched the scene. It had soul and you can’t get rid of the heart and expect the body to survive. And that was the night that comedy died at that establishment’ the scene moved on and new rooms emerged. On my way to such other venues (like Nick’s Crispy Taco/Rouge, Mondays @ 9 PM) I see the shell of 800 Larkin and feel a little wistful as the ghosts of blowjobs pass by.
Shawn Robbins, Walt the Cat, Largo Inspiration, a laundry list of cool bands, Chris Duncan Clothing, Justin Gomes, Andrew Moore, Sylvan Talk, Andrew Improv History, Aretha Franklin cover, Emo song, Ricky Luna Talk, Travis Curry, OJ Simpson, Robert Keith, Parlor talk, Mikey from Atlanta, Clyde, Florida Talk, Death Row Comedy Jam, Rape Out, Chinese, Travis Curry History, Born Comedians, Chris Duncan’s Mother,
Onion Juice: Countdown to the Purple Onion (Tickets)
I have tickets!
There’s a lot of work to be done now. No excuses, I have physical evidence that people can physically buy from physically me. Time to hustle.
I thought about working the system to benefit the people coming out, taking a bit of a personal hit ala friend/partner/confidant Roman Leo but then something struck me…
I’ve always wanted to do a show at the Dark Room Theater starring: Roman, David Cairns, and I (as the Burrito Continuum) featuring Ivan Hernandez, Jesse Elias and headlined by Donny Divanian. I drew sketches of this show poster as a child (it’s a long-running dream). Now, with these tickets, I have the opportunity to make that dream come true as well as other improvements upon the comedy kit (new business cards, new web domains, etc).
with that in mind if I seem extra persistent in selling my wares when you see me/read me, know it’s for the cause of great comedy and most importantly (DREAMS).
Hope you believe in my dreams. Or like to spend money. THE ONION HUSTLE STARTS NOW!