My Arizona Comedy Debut

Well it’s come and gone. Well sort of, because I’m still here. My first comedy tour in Arizona is complete! Now its time to sit back, relax, take in more of this Arizona sunshine and visit with the family. I grew up here; born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona. It’s really important to break into this scene as I come down here a half dozen times a year. It would be really nice to be able to do comedy when I do, and then I could write off the flights as a “business expense.”

The tour has been great! I love calling it a “tour” cause that is everything that wasn’t. It was two shows in two nights. Last night in a bar, tonight in a video production studio. I’m totally moving up in the world.

Last night, after flying in and getting a quick meal with my parents, I made them drive me (cause I like feeling like I’m 14) into downtown Phoenix for my first gig at the Hidden House. This show was recommended to me by a fellow comedian in Seattle that got his start in Phoenix. The “Red Room” at the Hidden House is a room next to a bar that serves $6 steaks on Wednesdays, has $7.50 mini pitchers of beer, and could hold about 40 people without the fire marshal getting upset. Last night there were about that many people. I went up sort of near the end, so I was able to get a good feel for how the room was going to behave. Man, that was a trained audience. No hecklers. They’ve done a good job making a fine comedy audience at that Hidden House. My set was pretty good, but I thought I saw the light too early and bailed, which was the professional thing to do, but I was still pissed as I passed up time in front of a good audience. Still trying to work on my competition set, so I got some good mileage out of that regardless.

Tonight I performed at the “Thursday Night Funny” show at the Arizona Visual Arts Studio. This is actually a pretty cool place where local businesses can go to get anything from commercials made to 3-D animations for presentations. Oh, and on the first and third Thursday of the month, they also have free comedy on Sound Stage B. It was a pretty cool stage. The audience could have held around 30 people, so its a pretty intimate showroom. It was “very” intimate tonight though. I did get a free Miller High Life Light. See, now I didn’t even know that they made that beer in a “light” form. The more you know… Did about eight minutes and some of the jokes I didn’t get to do the previous night. I wish I could do some of my newer jokes that I’ve been writing, but for first impressions down here I didn’t want to open mic it.

I’ve learned a bit about the comedy scene down here and I’ve found there are some interesting differences and similarities to Seattle and Phoenix comedy scenes. This opinion is formed after doing only two shows here, so bear with me, but it still deserves documentation in blog form:

  • Phoenix comics like to say “fuck” a lot, especially at the Hidden House, whereas Seattle comics like to say “shit” a lot, basically everywhere.
  • Comedy personalities transcend state borders. I’ve found doppelgangers of a couple Seattle comics that I really want to introduce to each other. It would be old Doc from “Back to the Future II” seeing past Doc, and one is freaking out because the other guy stole his premise.
  • No matter how creepy you might be, having an t-shirt with your head on it usually ups you on the creepiness scale.
  • My Dad loves trainwrecks.
  • Some of the coolest places to do comedy, not a lot of audience members come to. It all comes down to the most important thing in show-business, parking.
  • I have too much hair for some of the people in Phoenix. That, or a need a haircut. Probably both.
  • If you see a guy in the lobby with a guitar case, chances are, he is going to play it. If he plays it, you will feel awkward. There are no chances there, it’s just a fact.
  • In Seattle people complain about the rain. In Phoenix people complain about Seattlites visiting in the winter because of the rain. In this situation, no one wins, except the comics. Even then, it’s a viscous cycle of hack material.

Vanity Series: Interesting Links, part I

Do you ever Google yourself? You know, just to see what’s out there on you? I do, and just did. This post series will be dedicated to the weirdest places where I found links to things about me.

Tonight’s winner goes to “Jew Station”.

To think there is actually a website out there called “Jew Station”. Jesus…

It features a comedy time video I did over a year ago which has been picked up by a crapload of websites that don’t produce their own content. Comedy time, freakin best thing I did ever. Next time I’ll wear a better shirt.

Seattle Comedy Competition Countdown

Friends and various blog readers, I’ve been away from the blog for a while. I’m sorry. Who would have thought an epiphany would be so time consuming. It’s been a combination of things really, but needless to say I’m really happy right now. Which is usually bad for comedy, but I’m doing ok. This month will prove to be a very exciting month filled with some interesting gigs and writing I’m sure. Next month it gets even more interesting…

Starting the first week in November, I’ll be competing in the 30th annual Seattle International Comedy Competition. Check it out here to see my mug on the page of comics (new picture taken just for the comp). I’m in week one of the preliminaries, which means I’m doing six back to back shows all over the greater Seattle area that first week in November. I’ll be scored in a bunch of different areas like originality, likability, and stage presence. I’ll be competing against 16 people in my round, with the top five moving on to the semis. The second prelim week will bring in another 5 out of 16 for a total of 10 in the semi-finals. Then it’s whittled down to the final 5 for the last round. The final show is at the Moore Theater in downtown Seattle in front of multiple hundreds of people. The winner gets a CD deal (among other things). I hope to do a short blog post about each night as the experience unfolds. Let’s hope I get to do more than six posts. 🙂

I think at this point I’ve figured out the jokes I want to tell for my first round set. It has to be somewhere over three minutes to score but under seven to stay qualified, and all of it has to be really funny. Especially the last part; closer has to be solid. That is where I think I’m the most shaky but have the most potential for improvement, so I’ve been hitting the shows and working on my competition set. I don’t want to question anything about my set when I get up there and do it. I just want to go up and give the best performance I can six times in a row. That’s all I can do. Hopefully if I’m not worrying about my set I can also enjoy myself just a little. That would be nice.

I’m also looking forward to meeting some of the comedians that are coming from all over the country (and Canada?). This year, Seattle only took nine locals, which is quite few when compared to previous years. It’ll be good for both the audience and the competitors as it should be a pretty varied field with lots of different styles. I’m anxious to get some new comedy acquaintances that I can meet up with if I’m ever in their respective home towns. I hope they like me.

Many of the past competitors have been bending my ear on what a mind-fuck the competition will be and giving me tips to survive it. I’m really encouraged by the advice for the most part. I think that being able to deal with the mental (non-comedy) part of the competition is going to be the biggest part for me getting through this on many different levels. It can really do a number on you to take something subjective as stand-up, especially my stand which I have written is truly important only to me, and then try to apply a measure to it. Well Brian, your material is original, but your charisma is a three. WTF? These are the kind of things one has to be ready for when comedy competes.

Most of all, I’m really surprised (in a good way) of all the well wishes (in their various forms) towards my performance in the competition. Thank you to all my friends and colleges that have wished me well so far. You make me think I have a way better shot at this then I thought I did, and for that, I can’t say how much I appreciate it. Good luck to everyone, but especially to yours truly.