November 4, 2017 (Saturday)

This was a little gazebo-type thing outside the theater itself, which was great because it was POURING rain...   

This was a little gazebo-type thing outside the theater itself, which was great because it was POURING rain...


Tonight’s show was at a place called the Funhouse Theater, which was another cool space. They clearly do plays there, so there were lots of props in the greenroom, and an obscene John Mullaney quote on the greenroom mirror, and a set with a fireplace and a clown painting and fake bookcases.  I did a great riff during my set where I looked at the bookcases and said something along the lines of , “Ha! Look.” Pretty brilliant. But the show, which is called Imma Leave You With This, was great, despite being a midnight show that started about 35 minutes late. Ouch! My cousin and his wife, with whom I’m staying here in Portland, came out for the show, and I always feel like a jerk when normal people end up having to stay out wayyyy later than they ever would (these guys have 3 young kids, and probably ended up finally going to bed around 3). But the show was really fun. And I got to meet a #loshopo fan, which is always fun. I won’t say who it was but he has written us several times.

Vintage Mullaney, which I didn't know until somebody pointed it out to me later on IG.

Vintage Mullaney, which I didn't know until somebody pointed it out to me later on IG.

            Another cool thing I did today was I went on a walking tour of Portland. Ario Lynch, another #loshopo fan who has literally been my guide to Portland, also gives walking tours for the Portland Historical Society, whose name I am undoubtedly getting wrong. But we walked around Old Town Portland and learned a lot about some of the dark stuff in Portland’s past. Did you know that in 1923 there were 35,000 registered KKK members living in Oregon? Did you know that starting  in 1844 it was made illegal for freed slaves to settle in the Oregon territory? That Portland took great pride, at the time, that they were the first American city to intern all their Japanese citizens after the start of World War II?  We also learned about crimping, which was a 19th century practice of tricking guys into signing contracts to be sailors for 4 or 5 years. They’d get guys passed out drunk, strip them naked (so they could sell their clothes), bring them on board ships and throw them in cells. When the guys woke up, they’d be told it would be no problem getting out of the cell if they just signed a piece of paper- which of course was a contract guaranteeing them $400 or $500 if they completed their length of service,  usually about four or five years. Nothing before then. And if they didn’t complete the term, they got nothing.  Crazy. But the craziest thing about it was that it was all considered legal and aboveboard, because there were contracts involved. Everybody had realized that sailing was, as Ario said, “… the worst job in the world…”- filthy, dangerous, poorly compensated,  exhausting, no health benefits, tiny 401 k donations…

On my way home I stopped to get toothpaste at a 7-11, because I am such a good and well-prepared traveller that I always remember everything. It was 2:30 AM, freezing cold, pouring rain, and there was a guy right inside the door of the store. he saw me coming and opened the door for me, with a hearty greeting, which I returned less enthusiastically. "Good. How are you?" "Aw man, I been waiting for my ride, he said he would be here half an hour ago but he hasn't showed yet." "That sucks," I said, using a phrase that was absolutely not allowed in my house growing up, I suppose given that it implied either "cock" or "shit" or "the poison out of a rattlesnake wound." Then he went and stood right outside the door, almost as if he were waiting for me. I found what I needed, then headed outside. My new friend was right there. "You headed south?" he asked, having seen me drive up to the store heading south. "Sorry man, can't help you." As I unlocked my door, he softly, angrily shouted "I was gonna give you five bucks!"


Next time lead with that. 


November 3, 2017 (FRIDAY)

Tonight I got to perform at Fly Ass Jokes, Portland’s longest-running comedy show. I’m not sure how long that means (I feel like at one point my old pals at Chicago City Limits touted themselves as “New York’s Longest–running Show!” and of course The SWARM takes pride in the fact that many years ago someone thought it would make good copy to refer to us as “The UCB’s oldest and most dangerous improve cadre”- a quote we’ve slapped on everything since. Not funny, hilarious, amusing- not brilliant, inspirational, otherworldly-  just "oldest and most dangerous").

            The show was in a space called the Brody Theater, a small theatrical room with a stage and bar (and a bunch of chairs). It was a great space, and the show was really fun. But the best part was that my old nursery school buddy showed up and watched the show.  Gregg and I used to carpool to nursery school together every day when I was 3 years old. We both look different. Though the show was really fun, it was definitely what used to be called an “alternative” comedy show- in other words, not at a comedy club. And there was a crowd, and they were into the show, but it wasn’t a huge crowd. Like, last weekend both shows I did at the Tempe Improv had hundreds of people in the audience. But I was glad Gregg got to see a show that was more in line with my career- weirder, more experimental, and less focused on the business in show business.

Gregg and his buddies used to push me around a little when I was in 7th grade (they were all 8th graders). 

Gregg and his buddies used to push me around a little when I was in 7th grade (they were all 8th graders). 

            Then we went looking for a place to grab a drink. In Portland. Harder to find than you would think! The first place we went into had a cover charge, and as we waited on line, I realized that a) it was a drag bar, and b) perhaps because of that, or maybe it was unrelated, the terrible dance music was unbelievable loud, which would have had an effect on our conversation. Finally we found a shitty sports bar and caught up on the haps since the last time I saw him, 37 years ago.

November 2, 2017

The tour begins.

I headed out of Los Angeles this morning in my stuffed Toyota Corolla, knowing there were lots of things I hadn't remembered to pack, and lots of things I hadn't taken care of before I left, but also knowing that it was at the point where it didn't matter anymore. Hit the 5 and headed north for Sacramento. The great Tony Camin had seen my Facebook post about heading to Oregon and asked if I wanted to stop and do a guest set at the Sacramento Punchline, which, yeah! The headliner was Mark Normand, who I'd met years ago and didn't really remember anything about except that I remembered he was funny. And I was right! So, fun show.

Tony Camin: "Childless? How about fun- MORE !"

Tony Camin: "Childless? How about fun-MORE!"

Then I went to Starbucks to grab a coffee for the road. I went to use the bathroom. There were two guys waiting on line (yes, I'm from New York). Both of them went in and neither of them locked the doors. So both doors still said "vacant." Another guy walked up and immediately brushed past me and went to open one of the doors. I told him there was somebody in there, and he started to disagree based on the sign, then he realized that he recognized me as an employee of the Starbucks. "You work here, right?" "No." I recognize you. You are the guy from over there.." "Nope, not me." "Yes." "No." "Well, you look like that guy." OK.

Then I drove a couple more hours and stopped in Redding. A Motel 6 with a very bustly desk clerk. Seems like not a lot to do as a desk clerk, but that's not how she looked at it. "Are you okay staying on the freeway side?" "I guess... I mean-" "THat's all I have so you better be okay with it." I guess I am then. 

DIdn't realize til the next day how glad I would be not to charge into the Mt. Shasta National Forest at midnight, where Interstate 5 turns into The Cyclone in Coney Island. Glad I didn't do that at night.