Go West Young… Middle Aged Man

It’s Tuesday evening and my first set of the Festival was performed at Bourbon Street West.

Whenever I’m in Montreal, my first stop is always at Bourbon Street West. It’s one of my favorite rooms to play. The owners, Steve and Paul, always treat me well and they have the best bacon cheddar jalapeno soup I’ve ever tasted.

These preliminary sets are important. They provide a dry run through prior to the gala television show and they give the performers a chance to become acclimated. You have to remember, this is a different city and for many of the comedians, a different country. Even the audiences can vary from venue to venue.

Tim Nutt was hosting. We haven’t worked together in almost ten years and it was great to see him again. He’s an awesome storyteller and if you get a chance to see his full show or his Comedy Now TV Special, you won’t regret it.

After some brief reminising, Tim hit the stage at 8:10 to what felt like a very tight crowd. It felt too early for comedy. The summer sun was still out and the atmosphere was more conducive to an evening barbeque than a comedy show.

There were about five comics on the show and we each had 15 minutes to play with. Al Pitcher, Reno Collier, Robert Kelly, Tim Nutt, and myself. I was on third. My set went well but when I compared it to my last set at the Cincinatti Improv, I had reason for concern.

You’re only as good as your last set. As comics, that’s what we do. We always compare the set we’re having to our last set. You have to remember that the only set the audience knows is the set they’re watching.

Two weeks ago, it felt like my set was firing on all cylinders. Five applause breaks from a set that I had edited down to 13 minutes. With 2 minutes left to shave off, I felt very confident that I’d have a very tight 11 minute set for the gala. That is, until the stage manager dropped another bombshell on me during rehersal.

I only have 6 minutes for the gala show.

Just for Rehersal Pt. 1

Dress Rehersal and Sound Check: 5:30

Not much time. I start cursing myself. I’ve forgotten all of my trademark ties. My wife helps me pick out a few colored shirts to go with my suit. I leave all my wardrobe choices to my wife, or anyone who will give me free SWAG. I quickly shower, shave, dress myself and head for the lobby. 4:30 pick up. On the way down, on the elevator, I run into Kevin Hart, star of Soul Plane! Cool!

We have free transportation everywhere which is great because if it were left up to me, I’d be late for every gig, not to mention the higher insurance rates!

I spot Sean Cullen and his wife on their way into the hotel. We used to gig together when he was with Corky, and the Juice Pigs. The last time I saw him, he was starring in The Producers. I tell him he looks good. He tells me I look good. We both agree that we are good looking men and he wisks his wife off to safety.

Sean Meo, Tom Papa, Greg Fitzsimmons and myself are quickly carted off to the St. Denis Theatre, where our gala shows will take place. We’re already 15 to 20 minutes late.

Greg is on his cel phone the whole way, taking care of family business. Both his kids and his wife spent the day at the doctors office being deloused. This is the third time his kids have picked up lice at school. Greg tries to comfort me by telling me that it’s not as bad as tape worm. Apparently the little buggers are nocturnal and the only way you can see them is at night with a flash light up their rectum after they’ve gone to sleep. (The kids, not the tape worm.)

My head feels itchy.

Festival Week Part 1 SWAG FEST


Yesterday, my wife and I arrived in Montreal 2:30 and pretty much hit the ground running. We took VIA Rail, 1st class from Toronto to Montreal, hoping to alleviate as much stress as possible and let someone else do the driving.

This time, I’ve decided to take a different approach. My previous two times at the festival were stressful for me and I was bound and determined to just have a good time. I just want to let go and let God. Let the universe guide me and not the other way around.

We both hopped into a cab and the driver took us to the wrong hotel. So far, so good. My plan is working.

I started working on my 11 minute set at the Improv in Cleveland three months ago. I was wondering, how am I going to come up with 11 killer minutes of material? Ten weeks later, I’m wondering, how am I going to cut 8 minutes from my 19 minute set? Not a bad problem to have when you think about it.

When we checked into the Hyatt Regency, the first person I ran into was Richard Lanoie, from The Serious Comedy Site. Richard is a huge comedy fan and his whole site is dedicated to comedy. You check out his site at theseriouscomedysite.com

I remember meeting him at The Nest a year or two ago and I gave him a DVD. He told me he was a big fan and gave me a free t-shirt. Alright! SWAG!

Next, I ran into my manager, Tony Camacho who handed me my schedule and swag bag which contained an umbrella, walking wind up false teeth, a map of Montreal, an artist directory to help my failing short term memory and another t-shirt. Sweet! More SWAG! I’ve been here a matter of minutes and my wardrobe has already increased.

I’m at WEBN in Cincinatti…


Pictured above, from left to right are my good friends, Bob, Jeni, and Shroom. Eddy Fingers is unfortunately MIA. This morning when I walked through the doors of WEBN, I immediately started laughing. Anyone who listens to WEBN in this area knows that ‘Call of the Shetard’ is legendary and destined to become a classic track on one of their ‘Best of’ CD’s! When you hear Jeni attempt to replicate the sound of a Wookie, you’ll understand why it is one of the most requested bits at the station by their listeners!
Click on the WEBN link to hear my never ending quest to make George Lucas richer.