15 Minutes in Spokane
Amber Scalzo and I are hitting the road. Santa Cruz, Coos Bay, Seattle, Spokane. Maybe Boise, Grass Valley, San Francisco and Bakersfield on the way back. It's a long haul for only a couple of shows and whatever open mics we manage to get on. Is this a tour or a very long drive?
I feel bad about it, but it wasn't for lack of trying. I've been down many rabbit holes the last couple of months, searching for mics and shows, trying to put the puzzle pieces down and creating a schedule that makes sense. Hitting up bookers and friends of bookers. Some of my LA friends tried to help and they came through. Some bookers asked for our stand up clips and never got back to me. Damn. It hurts that we don't have stand up clips that are current, I think it's blowing our opportunities. Then my new laptop died on me, so now I can't even edit the recent stand up footage I got of us. Great timing. When I load up my Macbook Pro it looks like an 8 bit video game that gets stuck on the apple boss.
I think the uncertainty of the trip makes me nervous too. We have two shows that are spread out and a lot of breathing room. Will we hit this mic, can we make the drive in time, should we just go here instead and meet up with these people or power it out and drive through the night? Boise or Everett? Portland or Grass Valley?
Fuck it all. This is what I love. To go on the road. This is an adventure. I'm super lucky to be able to do this. I'm unemployed and my girlfriend is letting me take her car so I can drive 2,400 miles. She knows I have to do this and she understands the difficult world of comedy that I've chosen.
So why feel bad about it? I'm already going on my 2nd trip, with only 4 years into comedy. I'm going to see some cousins and Amber and I have multiple places to crash. All we have to do is drive, try to get some sleep and do some stand up comedy. Yeah, there are some nights where it's just impossible to get to a mic without killing ourselves to get there, it's not worth it, we need our sleep. Sometimes the days and mics are not going to align perfectly. I guess that's when those pop-up mics come in handy, I gotta get my own setup like Johnnie Flowers.
Claire is carpooling and taking the bus while I'm gone. She lives close to work, but I still feel like I'm leaving her life in shambles. She's totally fine with it and only encourages me. I started feeling lonely last night and I'm missing her already. There's always Facetime and consoling emojis I suppose.
I'll be able to feed our cat Tune with this handy Kittyo app that I have on my phone. We have a Kittyo machine (it looks like a blender) that shoots kitty treats and has a laser pointer- so I can interact with the cat remotely. You know, the necessities in life. It barely works, but it gives me a cheap thrill. It was a Kickstarter project that was 2 years late on the delivery date and then it took me a year to get the damn thing working. Some things are worth waiting for. Now I can shoot treats at Tune's dumbfounded face!!!
I told my mom about the trip and when she found out I was going with a woman there was a long pause.
"Oh...that's nice. So Claire is okay with that?"
"Yeah... I mean Amber is a comedian too, we're just friends."
"Does she have a boyfriend?"
It was pretty uncomfortable and I even started to question myself. Wait, am I doing the right thing? Is there something wrong with this picture?
Claire was listening and she quickly pointed out that my mom must think I sleep around. Yeah...what the fuck? It's not like we're getting motels together or sharing a fucking sleeping bag. We're crashing on friends couches and driving a couple thousand miles to do less than an hour of comedy. And what does that say about Amber? Single people just hopelessly fuck out of desperation? It doesn't matter with who, where, or when, as long as it's a "plump delicious cock"? That's a Norm Macdonald description, sorry.
I'm no skank and besides, Amber likes men, not comedians.
The last time I hit the road was almost a year ago. Tom Allen, John Parr, and Casey, our video guy, hit Arizona for 5 days. We were extremely lucky. We had 7 booked shows and a couple of open mics thrown in the mix. A paid hotel, courtesy of my Aunt Dorise and Uncle Marty- incredible gesture. I was expecting to crash on their floor with a bunch of cats next to me, but they were happy to do it. To top it off, my Uncle passed away after the trip, so it was the last time I got to see him.
Casey filmed nearly all of our sets and some great behind-the-scenes footage, but we never saw it. Weeks after the trip, he said all the stuff he filmed was lost and then he abruptly moved back to Colorado. It's really a shame, our first comedy trip lost, so we'll just have to go by memory:
We did a backyard show, a dive bar, an upscale restaurant, a pizzeria, a blackbox theater and a comedy club. Every night was totally different and kept us on our toes. I had my first drunk woman rush the stage and blather at me,
Tom had the lights go out in the middle of his set at the Firehouse space. The outdoor crew rushed to fix it and 5 minutes later the spotlight came back on and Tom picked up right where he left off. We also watched Tom go into a sports bar no less than 3 times to ask a bartender out, but he would make a B-line for the bathroom every time because he was nervous. He would return to the parking lot, looking defeated, and John would start to build him up again until he reluctantly caved in and marched right back. Goddamn it was funny. We got invited to a coke party after a show. We ran into Arizona's Mike Enders EVERYWHERE. He almost became a parody of himself- the shit-eating grin, the warm greetings around the room, drunker and drunker every time we saw him. I'll have to write about Arizona in a separate entry.
Anyway, I guess we'll never see that footage. I'll just have to film these experiences myself from now on. Arizona was one of the best experiences of my life and now I have another trip to look forward to....tomorrow!
Got some good playlists. Going to have the blackest coffee, blacker than the souls that frequent The Blacklight District Lounge. I've got the right partner in crime. We have shows. There are mics to be had. No swanky hotel this time, just couches and floors and maybe a bed, but I might as well thank everyone in advance.
You want to do this some day? Here's Ron Babcock's helpful guide:
Something that really helped me is going through my Facebook friends and writing down a list of every state and linking my friends to the state and city, so I could map out a trip and know where my contacts are. I asked for places to crash or just invited them out to a show. No shame in it. I have family all over, so this is a good way to connect, even if it's incredibly brief. We gotta hang out when we can and help eachother out!
I also wrote down all my phone numbers in a notebook in case my phone decides to die on me. I guess I could write down all the directions too, but I'll just trust that one of us will have a working phone. Or use a handy Thomas Guide! (blows the dust off) *cough cough*
Oh and the day after we get back from this trip, I'm doing a show in Phoenix. Bad scheduling on my part.
I'll be back kitty. I should take that Medieval Times crown out of my suitcase.