“3-for-3” or “Why Is It Always Rangers Fans?”
Shows, like people, take on various sizes, shapes, and manners. For every person that dotes on you, pours you a nice cup of coffee, and tucks a warm blanket around you, there is another that will punch you in the stomach, steal your wallet, and sue you for resultant pains in their punching arm because your gut wasn’t as flabby as they had originally estimated. This weekend was all coffee, no punchy.
Friday I was at the Last Laugh at Xavier’s Lounge. The crowd was small and animated and decently responsive. Had a rocky start trying to parlay the lead improv act “Orange Jews” obviously Jewish references to a sign I saw at the Jewish Community Centre. If there is a joke there, its absence was noted Friday by silence and stares. That out of the way, the rest of the set went nicely. Stupidly, it was nice to be able to dig a hole and see if I could get out of it. I did, but that’s not something that you want to try frequently.
Pat Burtscher hosted where normally Martha O’Neill would have, but as she had a show elsewhere, Pat covered off greatly. I wish I’d been able to see more of him and the other acts, but I pulled the cardinal show sin of ditching right after your set My excuse? 10 hours of driving through possibly snot weather to do a show on Saturday booked through Absolute Comedy in Ottawa. The show was in Crysler, Ontario. Yes…live the dream.
Saturday, drove into Crysler to meet up with Ottawa pal Jeff Tanguay, and Montreal act Massimo. I was an hour early even with a full-on accident detour on the 401 and another brutal accident-related slowdown around Kingston. So when I arrived, I grabbed some gas at the gas station, parked in front of the general store, and walked into the town pub (The Flood Zone) to kill some time. Odd moment from this? Every one of the places had a poster hanging in the window with Jeff’s and my ugly mugs on them. I’ll freely admit it’s weird when you’re walking into a store or something and see your face on a wall. Yet another reason that you don’t see criminals hanging out in post offices.
The show was part of Crysler’s winter carnival, so we were half of the entertainment followed by a dance, all in the community centre, which had among its various amenities, a large Bingo number reader. Well, if I tanked, at least I had a back-up plan. Break out the cards, dabbers, and good-luck trolls. They were also having a raffle for prizes which included a cooler filled with tools and liquor. No recipe for disaster there. The good thing about having the cooler is that you can fill it with ice, drop your freshly shorn-off hand in there, and they’ll stitch it right back on for you in Winchester.
Each of us got 30 minutes of time with Jeff splitting his up in the hosting role. First time I’ve seen him do a longer set since his days as Rock’n’Roll Rick Pressley. He delivered the goods as I figured he would, as did Massimo. I had the middle spot and had one of those nights where the laughs keep rolling (thankfully!). I hit what I thought was about the two-thirds mark of the material I was set to do, looked at my watch, and realized I’d done 27 minutes of my 30 minutes. Eep! So it’s hack&slay time to the end of the 30 looking for those jokes that’ll bring big laughs. Found ’em and left just after the 30 minute mark. Feels nice to know that you can go long instead of scrambling for more filler. Talking with the organizers, they had a great time with us, so hopefully this means more bookings for Absolute Comedy. The folks in Crysler were wonderful as most small-town crowds are. I’d do the room again in a heartbeat. Small town equals home.
Sunday had me substitute hosting for Jason who was hosting at Absolute Comedy that weekend. For once there was a smaller turn-out of comics so the ones that showed up all got sets. I love doing that instead of watching them pin their hopes on a lottery. Good show overall with kudos fired at Will Weldon for firing up the first pack of three comics, John Ki for explaining how his girlfriend will probably be leaving him in the not-too-distant future, Bobby Mair for getting the most physical contact from a woman since he was slapped on the 504 streetcar, Matt Lyons for porn, John Avery for opening the stage for us both to courageously use the n-word, and Dave Merheje for, well, being Dave and sticking to his time.
So how do you cap off a night like that finishing around midnight on a school night? Go home quickly? Clean up a bit? Slide into bed and get a good night’s sleep in? No. You do what everyone else does. Find that the Scottish guys by the bar are all Rangers fans and talk to them for about another hour saying things like “I like Stevie Smith best in the squad, actually”, “LeGuen misunderstood Scottish football”, and “Okay…this is DEFINITELY my last shot before I go…”