Ms. Palin If You’re Nasty

Like a lot of Americans, I am intrigued by the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin. I honestly don’t know enough about her, though. What I do know is that she’s from Alaska, which isn’t saying much. I don’t even think they have tivo up there yet. I heard they just got the first Harry Potter movie.
We know her daughter’s a whore. Although to be fair, getting pregnant at seventeen is actually late for an Alaskan girl. It’s like frontier times up there, anything goes.
We know she’s a self proclaimed “hockey mom”. Well, how about a goalie for your daughter’s poon? He shoots! He scores!!!
And, of course, the biggest thing we know about Palin is she’s pretty hot. Lost in all the talk about “historical firsts” in this election- first black candidate, first woman candidate- is the first Vice-Presidential candidate guys can legitimately masturbate to. I know the Walter Mondale people will disagree but it’s true, she’s the first. Not since Sonny Bono was mayor of Palm Springs have we had a politician we could even consider masturbating to.
So I will continue to listen and keep an open mind. As I’ve said many times, I hope to see a black president in my lifetime. More importantly, I hope to see one in John McCain’s lifetime.
But if on the eve of the election, Ms. Palin strategically lets down her bun, takes off her glasses and, in sultry tones, asks for my vote on a late night infomercial, I will have to take that into account when deciding what direction I think is best for my country.

What a Difference a Day Makes

Last night, while driving home from my 10:25 spot at the Comedy Cellar, I heard a loud rumbling. I turned the radio down and realized that I was driving on a flat tire. Shit. Luckily I was about seven blocks from my apartment so I parked the car and walked the rest of the way home.
I woke up this morning feeling unmotivated. I hit the snooze button five or six times and finally got out of bed around 10:30. I wasn’t in the mood for much of anything, it just felt like one of those days where you wake up annoyed. I knew I had to get my flat fixed but that seemed like such a big production. Perhaps I wouldn’t even bother. Maybe I’d just leave the car there all day and take care of it the next day.
My friend Jon Fisch texted me around noon asking if I wanted to meet up for sushi. Perfect. I hadn’t seen Jonny in a while and this would be a good way to ease into my day, fish with Fisch.
I mentioned that I had a flat and Jon told me about a place nearby that fixes flats fast and cheap. After a nice lunch, talking comedy and life as we always do, I decided to snap to it and take care of the tire.
Sure enough, when I got there an old Greek guy popped out like a NASCAR pit crew and immediately started unscrewing the lug nuts on my tire.
“Wow”, I thought. “Jonny wasn’t kidding”.
Ten minutes and a hundred bucks later I had a brand new right rear tire and I was back on the road. Sometimes things aren’t nearly as overwhelming as you anticipate them being.
Tonight I was once again scheduled for the 10:25 at the Cellar. I only recently started working the Cellar again after a few years away, partly my own doing and partly circumstances beyond my control. It has been fantastic being back there, a real shot in the arm and reminder that things happen on their own time (the right time) as long as you keep doing your thing. There is something about that club and that location. It’s pure electricity.
After last night’s tire incident I decided to bike into the city tonight, about seven and a half miles from door to door. I left my apartment around 9:25, leaving me an hour. The late summer, early autumn cool night air would be perfect for a bike ride and I wouldn’t be a sweaty mess when I arrived.
I rode over the 59th Street Bridge, from Queens into Manhattan, and then down into the village, arriving around 10:20. I locked up my bike a few blocks from the club on a quiet side street and walked over from there.
Nick DiPaolo was onstage finishing up his set. The show was running a little late, which isn’t unusual. Keith Robinson would follow Nick and then I would go on. William Stephenson, the emcee for the evening, ambled over to me. “Robin Williams might be stopping by. He’s supposed to be here any minute.”
“Okay, cool,” I replied.
I had mixed feelings. I was excited because Robin Williams was going to be performing and I’d never seen him live. But the comic in me was thinking “I hope I get on before he gets here”. When a celebrity stops by you either get bumped off the show or they do a long set and you have to go on after them in front of a crowd that has already orgasmed, comedically.
Although, sometimes it’s fun to try to follow a celebrity on stage. Coming up in NY I’ve had that experience countless times and it’s always challenging, exciting, unpredictable and interesting. I’ve had to follow the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Ray Romano and Dave Chappelle, with varying outcomes. Once you’ve followed comics of that caliber you’re pretty much ready for anything.
Keith finished up his set and still no sign of Robin Williams so I would go on now. William gave me a heads up “I’ll light you when Robin arrives”, meaning the signal to wrap up my set. I did about seven or eight minutes and
felt a distinct energy to my set because I knew Robin Williams would be arriving any minute, which provided an extra shot of adrenaline. Soon after, I noticed the unmistakeable silhouette of Robin Williams in the back of the room. Very cool.
I was doing some political material and saw William giving me the light so I wrapped it up and got off stage. I walked over to Robin Williams, who was standing in the hallway, and shook his hand. “It’s a pleasure”, I said.
“Thanks for letting me on. I’m sorry if they cut your time,” he said.
“No, no. No problem. It’s great to see you.”
“We’ll see”, he said. And with that he was off to the stage.
He did about a half and hour and it was a real treat to watch him work, especially at the Cellar where the audience is so close it can be like trench warfare.
Sometimes he lapses into his “stock voices” and his “Robin Williams things” but the man has a sweet, inventive, funny spirit and really works it hard up there. He’s fantastic. At one point I was reminded of the scene in “Good Morning, Vietnam” where his character talks to the soldiers from the back of a truck. You could tell that they just rolled the cameras and let him go and the soldiers’ reactions were all genuine. I was watching peoples’ faces tonight as they were laughing and smiling, enjoying a special surprise moment in their lives, watching a comedy legend perform. I felt lucky, too.
I left the Cellar, got back on my bike and started my ride home. The song “What a Difference a Day Makes” came into my mind.
“Twenty-four little hours”.
Rather than driving home on a flat tire like the night before, I pedaled home on my bicycle, my spirit buoyed by the gift of my career and the magic moments it provides. Keep getting out of bed, Teddy. Keep showing up because you never know the miracles that await.

Important Message

I have tried to keep this situation private but it is apparent that that is no longer possible. I initially thought it was best to ignore the rumors and let people think what they want, but I now realize it has taken on a life of its own and I have no choice but to address this matter. I would like to state, unequivocally and for the record, that I am not pregnant. Furthermore, the fictional fetus is not half-black, as has been rumored, nor is it a quarter mestizo indian, which has not been rumored.
Shame on those who started and perpetuated these rumors for their own amusement or gain. Peoples’ lives are affected and forever changed by these nefarious fabrications. I don’t know how these people sleep at night or what their sleep schedules are, for that matter. Perhaps they are up all night concocting these ridiculous lies and they sleep during the day. No matter, I will not stand idly by and let my character, or that of my fictional baby, be falsely attacked.
To my family, friends and fans, thank you for standing by me during what has been one of the most difficult periods of my career/life. I will never forget the cards, letters, emails and texts I received. I didn’t receive any pages because it’s 2008 and if you still have a pager I don’t want to be your friend. But seriously, you (and my sense of humor) are truly what has kept me going during a dark and difficult period. Again, there is no baby so please stop sending stuffed animals or baby shoes. While small and cute, I have no use for them at this time.
I have learned a lot and grown stronger from this and I promise to return more determined than ever. If and when a baby comes into my life you will be the first to know as I will alert you through the appropriate outlets, my website or blog.

Show Business, Baby

I was thinking about the many gigs I have played along the way at some of the more interesting or odd venues. I would imagine if someone sees you on television or at a top notch comedy club they don’t realize the checkered road you took to get there.
Among the venues I have performed at in my fourteen years as a comedian are a laundromat, donut shop, Chinese restaurant, bowling alley, churches, synagogues, someone’s living room and countless bars and restaurants.
The laundromat was a show that a couple of comedians put together in NYC. It was bizarre and interesting and makes for a better story than show. Imagine trying to make people laugh while they’re doing their laundry. It’s the very thing I would expect to see on a reality show and the reason I refuse to do those shows, yet when I was asked to perform there I jumped at the opportunity. As long as nobody documents it, I’m okay with losing my dignity.
The donut shop and bowling alley were similar situations. Comedians are always looking for a stage time and, in that endless quest, they wind up putting on shows anywhere they can. Then they ask their friends to perform on the show and the next thing you know you’re headlining a bowling alley. That was actually pretty fun, as I recall. Hot crowd; very attentive despite the clamoring of falling pins in the next room.
The church and synagogue gigs were adequate. Obviously, you rule out certain material at those types of gigs. The Jesus abs/Jesus would work the balls bit didn’t make the cut for those shows, nor did the Mardi Gras/prison rape bits. At those gigs the goal is “get through it, don’t offend and get the check”.
The show in someone’s living room was probably the weirdest. About ten years ago, I got a call from some agent to do a bachelorette party, which may sound fun in theory, but it was for a woman in her forties on her second marriage and the show would be in her living room. I took it because when you’re starting out you take any gig that comes along.
I drove out to the house, somewhere on Long Island of course, and the next thing I knew I was in this living room surrounded by a semi-circle of older women, performing my act. I remember it going reasonably well under the circumstances but we were all aware that this was probably a bad idea. I felt like, had I been a stripper, it was probably the perfect set up but for a comedian it was less than ideal.
Performing was uncomfortable but not nearly as uncomfortable as waiting to go on. Usually at a real show there’s some sort of backstage or green room so you can be alone before you go on and collect your thoughts. But with this, I was hanging out in the kitchen with the lady’s grandmother and aunt or something. There was a painfully awkward exchange about my being “the comedian” and then it was showtime so I had to take my leave of them and head to the living room.
All of these gigs were worthwhile in their own way and I wouldn’t change a thing. The early years are all about survival and passing each test as it presents itself. A friend once told me that, eventually, it all weaves into the tapestry of your accumulated experience. Like a tapestry, when viewed from a distance rather than right up close it makes a lot more sense and can appear beautiful.
That said, I’m glad the days of living room gigs are behind me. At least, I hope so.