Posted by Steven Alan Green
Twas the week before Christmas, and all throughout Geary,
Not a creature was trippin’, ‘cept Mr. Leary.
I’d like to share with you something I wrote the day after the horrific school shootings last week:
Yesterday was another tragic day in America. Twenty innocent children and ten innocent adults lost their lives. Thousands of people directly affected. Millions of the rest of us pretending not to be. Some of us have the courage to cry. I see it again and again and again. Something like this happens and people get all up in arms (as it were) and demand something be done about it. The anti-gun lobby finger points at the NRA-run gun arm of government which has been aiming at us Peace-nicks from the bushes since Kent State. Let’s face it. We live in a gun culture. And, if we don’t soon take heed, we will die in a gun culture. They are everywhere; we just can't see them. Hiding in the safe or under the seat, burning to be put to use. One of the things I loved about living in London is that the street police don’t carry guns; they carry something much more frightening. They carry threat. The London street bobby is armed with a little microphone and a button in his pocket. He or she is very polite and calls you, “Sir” or “Madam”. They try and make you feel welcome in your own neighborhood, not the other way around. However; should you prove a potential threat to them or to the local citizens, they will slightly push that button in their pocket and within just a couple of minutes, a van screeches around the corner and four special unit police with flak jackets and Uzies, and maybe a couple of dogs show up. That is governance by the art of subtlety. "The Cops" are viewed in many of our major cities as the enemy, especially in Los Angeles where police have much more to be cautious of. The post office and the police are the only two "branches of government" the average American citizen ever has human contact with. You got one profession who responds too slowly and one profession who responds too quickly. No wonder, we are so confused in this country.
The day after the horrible shootings in Connecticut, I posted a joke on Facebook. The joke goes like this: “Hey, here’s a new one…. 2,000 students walk into a school. 1,980 walk out. What? Too soon?” Most of my sick Facebook friends loved this one. Some got offended. One actually got it. I wasn’t at all joking about children getting shot at school. I was commenting on it happening again so “soon” once again. The joke was built on the double-meaning of the phrase, “too soon” and what it has come to mean in the current comedy lexicon. “Too Soon” (in stand-up comedy terms) means, “I know it is offensive to joke about the tragedy so soon; that's the joke and fuck you if you don't get that!” At least that’s what The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as. It's Tragedy + Time = Comedy. Its etymology comes from JFK jokes. And of course, the ultimate in “too soon” jokes are Christ jokes. How much time has to pass a tragedy before we are allowed to make jokes about it? But the real emotion its dealing with is: "How much time has to pass before we can heal?" That's what "too soon" really means. Here’s my theory. If a joke is intelligently constructed and delivered with precision and accuracy, and the listener is extremely knowledgeable about current events and varying cultures is offended, it is the listener who is not listening correctly. The most common occurrence going on when a joke misfires is the audience and comedian are simply not on the same page. Clarity is everything.
Last week, I answered a critic of my foundation with more words than I care to remember. It really hurt. It just seemed so mean, and people have accused me of this before: Running The Laughter Foundation towards my own ends. In any case, two weeks ago, I found myself in a bad situation. I was two weeks behind in my rent and had no money. The two grand coming in from England from the TV commercial was delayed again and I haven’t found or looked hard enough for that day job. My street campaigning seemed to go nowhere and I just got caught up in things, ideas and writing. I was hoping for a comedy and writing gig that didn’t come through, and was expecting that check. I was up against it. So, I thought about what this critic, calling himself, “Geri Luis” said: that I had set up the foundation just to help myself. I thought; why not. He’s right. So, I posted on Facebook that I had to raise my rent, and within 18 hours, through PayPal I was able to raise all my back rent. It’s amazing how generous people can be. I thank you all. Inspired by everyone’s generosity, I have begun work on putting together four new programs through The Laughter Foundation, that surely will help other comedians in need.
Joining The Heckler Fund (our emergency grant program for comedians) and COMEC: The Comedy Museum Exploratory Committee, is our “One Niter Program”. Sponsored by The San Francisco Guest House , comedians who – for whatever reason – find themselves temporarily homeless, now have an emergency place to stay for one or two nights. The San Francisco Guest House is safe, clean and quiet. Another program we’re developing is the, “Eat Something Program”, which is being sponsored by a few local restaurants and will premier in the new year. Each restaurant will provide a dozen or so meals a month for a select number of comedians. I’ve even got a local barber who will provide free haircuts. We call that the, “Cut-Up Program.” Plus, I'm working on finding a San Francisco based therapist to be "on-call for appointments". I know, from personal and anecdotal experience, how important therapy is for many comedians, funny or not, successful or not. In exchange for providing meals and beds and haircuts, these businesses get a sponsorship on the Laughter Foundation website and at the benefit at the Castro Theatre, April 1. Any stand-up comedians in need of any of these services, please contact me for details and qualifications. firstname.lastname@example.org
Each comedian applying for assistance will be taken on a case by case basis by impartial committee of experts in the field of professional stand-up comedy. If you're a long standing local comedian doing open-mics, you may qualify. If you've been on the road for 30 years and are now in need of a good talk with a shrink, we're here to help. We’re there to fill in the gaps, when you’ve had a great set, but are too broke to eat and are just feeling shitty about yourself and everything. Come to us. These four new programs should be fully operational in the new year, perhaps by the middle of January. The One-Niter Program is up and running now. We hope to one day have a full service system set up so that whatever comedians may need, they can get from us. We at The Laughter Foundation want you, the comedian, to concentrate on being a comedian, developing your material, having a good time and paying close attention to your craft. So, stay tuned for more info on these programs, as well as the upcoming benefit show for COMEC & The Heckler Fund at The Castro Theatre on The Laughter Foundation website and this blog. Thank you for your continued support of The Laughter Foundation. Because when you support The Laughter Foundation, you support the comedians who make you laugh.
A lot going on this week, including another edition of Tales from the Comedy Crypt with Ritch Shydner and a review of Denny Dench’s Comedy Show at the Bazaar Café as well as a linked contribution from the one and only Paul Krassner! But first, a special ETV event. An interview with a true comedy fan. Brian Sontag.
Brian Sontag is a dyed in the wool Groucho Marxist, who loves butter and steaks. He worked for the same company for 24 years. He loves as much freedom as it takes until you invade his life, and thinks laughter is the cure for everything, we need more studies. Brian hosts the PA Podcast, which is dedicated to interviewing and highlighting all comedians. Alongside Brian Sontag are Brian Kilpatrick and Jenny Coe. Brian Kilpatrick does freelance work for The CIA during the week, which when quizzed, he answers, “What can I say, it pays the bills!” In his time off, he enjoys sky diving, working as a street mime, “screwing with Tag” (Brian Sontag), day trading, listening to David Allen Green (I think he means me) Comedy skits on Acid and, of course, being part of The PA Podcast with Brian "Tag" Sontag and Jenny! The third wheel of this mad comedy caravan is Jenny Coe, a housewife from Pennsylvania who designs beaded jewelry and, only since joining up with the podcast, discovered a natural talent and ear for audio editing. She and Mike, her husband of almost 13 years, have no children, save for their cat Buddy who is most likely to be seen gracing Jenny's Facebook profile shots. Probably the shiest of the three, she hopes to one day write a novel worthy of publishing.
I recently sat down with Brian "Tag" Sontag for a quick interview, as he was being called to duty to be staff sergeant for the Petaluma National Guard, who were desperate for his unique parachuting abilities having to do with a last minute emergency run on both pets and lumas. Apparently, there was a scarred kitty cat up a tree. I stood by the tree, looking up at “Tag” (That's Brian) trying to beckon the frightened feline into his arms, armed only with a pith helmet, half tin of tuna and a litter box with the image of Simon Cowl. Brian is one of The Laughter Foundation’s biggest supporters and even went as far as to hock his grandma’s iron lung to make a very generous and timely donation.
SAG: Thanks, Brian. And, thank Grandma. I really needed to buy that Maserati, which, because it’s a stress reliever, is a write-off by the way! Thanks for coming through, Bri. How you doing?
TAG: Fine, fine, Steven. Let me catch my breath. Here, hold this.
SAG: That’s a very wet and scared cat! OUCH!
TAG: Quick squakin’.
SAG: I guess you’re right. So, you ready for the interview?
TAG: Yeah, hang on. Let me remove my bee-keepers outfit.
TAG: I SAID LET ME REMOVE MY BEE-KEEPERS OUTFIT!
SAG: I CAN'T HEAR YOU, WHY DON'T YOU REMOVE YOUR BEE-KEEPERS OUTFIT!
Brian Sontag removes his helmet, now his protective tin-foil suit, and now he's dressed as a a Mayan god.
SAG: Brian, given recent tragic events in Connecticut, is this a time we should abandon or embrace humor and comedy?
TAG: We should never abandon comedy and humor, however there are times a pause is called for out of respect.
SAG: When is it "too soon" to make jokes about tragedy?
TAG: There is no hard or fast rule there... for some, a year can be too soon to hear a joke about anything, and others a lifetime.
SAG: Of all the comedians you've interviewed, who has the best perspective on life as we know it?
TAG: Without a doubt Tom Dreesen, just an amazing person and he has it right. One listen to my interview and most will agree.
SAG: I have and you're right. Who would you like to interview if you could get anyone?
TAG: Bob Newhart or Dick Van Dyke. It's a tie. Both big influences in my childhood.
SAG: I once spoke with Dick's publicist, Bob Palmer. We should talk.
TAG: That's how we roll!
SAG: Which of your questions to comedians seem to be the most probing and thought provoking?
TAG: Well the simple one. Why did you go into comedy? It opens up the flood gates of emotion and story. And they are all great stories!
SAG: Interesting. Are the funniest comedians the best interviewees?
TAG: Comedy is so subjective, so there is only the funniest to me or you. But for me, if I enjoy their humor, it will be always be a good interview.
SAG: How long you been running your podcast?
TAG: Since fall 2011.
SAG: Please tell us about Brian Kilpatrick and Jenny Coe. I understand, like Jake Giddes in Chinatown, you can't do everything by yourself.
TAG: Do you know the saying "Things happen for a reason"? BK is like a brother from another mother and a truly kind and caring guy with a great sense of humor. Jenny is the ultimate den mother and one of the sweetest people I have known. She keeps us level and sane. I couldn't have started this without them and their help and input.
SAG: Tell us a little about your FaceBook groups Pokaholics Anonymous, Thinning the Herd, and Exaggerators Anonymous. How'd they get started and which one is the most fun to run and why?
TAG: PA started this madness... as a fluke by myself and BK one late night. Then we did improv events on our group and had so much fun. We brought Jenny in then, she was a stand out! Hence papodcast.com. Well then a comment on PA light bulbed the Thinning the Herd, we all need some of that right? Then someone posted a pic, I think Don McCleary. Then Exaggeraters happened. They all are fun to be part of I have no favorite. Each a different niche and that is cool, some people cross over and very cool. I enjoy them all and the members.
SAG: From all you've been able to glean, do you think comedians can make the world a better place?
TAG: Without a doubt, yes! Carlin made me laugh and taught me critical thinking. Jonathan Winters and Robin Williams taught me about being silly and letting go. I can go on, but they charge by the character here right?
SAG: Two characters are enough, you and me!
TAG: That's how we roll!
SAG: Are there comedians you'd rather not see on television, some that might offend you or make you feel are denigrating the audience?
TAG: Nope, all should be free to express, the people will judge that.
SAG: Did you ever have the desire to be a comedian yourself?
TAG: Yes, if I wasn't so scared of public speaking.
SAG: But, you sky dive! You're not afraid of that!
TAG: That's how I roll.
SAG: Are you funny every day?
TAG: No one is, but I try to make myself laugh everyday. If others enjoy it, that's the icing on that cake.
SAG: Do you think when times get tougher, the comedy gets funnier?
TAG: Not sure if tough times make it funnier, but surely people need it more during those times.
SAG: Do you validate?
TAG: Yes, if you are a decent human being.
SAG: How often is there a new PA Podcast interview with a comedian?
TAG: I wish every week, but we roll with the flow of our schedules and lives. Ideally I want one per week. I pledge for 2013 to make that happen.
SAG: If you could interview Lenny Bruce, what 3 questions would you ask him?
TAG: Strange you should ask that. I named my cat LB BTW. Aside from that. Why the hate? You still smoke? What would your mother say?
SAG: As not just the Enjoy the Veal interviewer for The Jewish Journal online, I am President & Founder of The Laughter Foundation. I'm really curious. Tell us what it means to you to give to a cause you truly believe in.
TAG: I have always had a deep respect for comedians and the art of making people laugh. I feel they put their heart out there and give us that needed laughter that can help us make it through the day. They are important to society and truly under respected.
SAG: What is it that fascinates you so much about comedians?
TAG: I would guess their ability to influence someone's day or life, with just words. And laughter is healing and that is a proven fact, so they can be healers.
Just the then the cat I was holding the entire time of the interview, clawed deep into my flesh, I heard bone, I screamed and the cat took off, its ass flashing in front of my face just for effect. I turned to thank Brian for the interview, but it was too late; he was already paragliding off over the rooftops and into the mysterious and moody clouds, where a little by-plane picked scooped him up. His red jumpsuit and greying beard, only made me shake my head even more when I swear I heard him say from the echoey sky, “Listen to the PA Podcast...Ho...Ho....Ho...Ho...Ho....”
Enjoy the veal,
Steven Alan Green
RITCH SHYDNER’S TALES FROM THE COMEDY CRYPT!
One of America's greatest stand-ups in the last 50 years, Ritch Shydner co-created, "I Killed: True Stories from the Road from America's Top Comics" (Random House)
In 1962, when Johnny Carson made his debut as host of the Tonight Show there were three channels on the TV. Pick one, read a book or stare at each other. In no time Carson was The King of Late Night, and for the next thirty years the most powerful man in the world of stand-up comedy. Cable TV started to bite into the broadcast pie in the late 70’s and early 80’s, but nobody touched Johnny’s slice. A young stand-up comedian of this era heard the overnight success stories while learning joke structure. Carson's show was the launching pad for stand-up stars like Joan Rivers in the 60’s and Robert Klein in the 70’s. Johnny’s Midas Touch was still there in 1982 when an unknown Steven Wright went from a killer first Tonight Show, to a stunning second shot only days later, and into packed theaters. Do not stop. Pass Go and collect a career. At the very least, an appearance on the “Johnny Carson Show” was a marker of show business success that even a comic’s worried family recognized.
My first Tonight Show with Johnny Carson was on August 30, 1984. As a stand-up, this date was more important than my birthday. This birth I did. This birth I remembered. This birth I sweated. The comic’s mid-wife was the Tonight Show talent coordinator, Jim McCauley. He decided when the new Jester was ready and what jokes to present to the King. Whenever Jim McCauley entered The Improvisation or The Comedy Store, the room became electric. Doubt disappeared, hope materialized and the push for the stage resembled the Oklahoma Land Rush. After several successful minor league stints on The Merv Griffin Show and Evening at The Improv, Jim declared me ready for the majors in the summer of ‘84. He cherry picked jokes from my act. I then fashioned segues to stitch up the disparate pieces and practiced those five minutes night after night, word for word, until it became part of my DNA. I even managed to stop drinking and drugging two weeks before my scheduled date. However, the pre-show stress caused painful shingles blisters to break out on my right hip and thigh two days before my due date. There’s no crying in comedy.
The day of the shot my message machine filled with well-wishes. My acting coach, knowing my tendency to speed talk my way to incoherency said, “Speak slowly. If you’re worried you’re speaking too slow, then slow down some more.” Jerry Seinfeld said, “You already hit the homerun. Just don’t trip rounding the bases.” When the applause began after my final joke that night, I did as instructed and looked to Johnny for my next move. He had three basic signals for a new comic. The first was a wave to come do panel, a sign of total love and acceptance. The second was an outstretched hand with the forefinger and thumb forming a circle, meaning a passing grade, nothing special, but you lived to fight another day. That’s what I got. At least Johnny wasn’t tapping his pencil on the desk, while smiling and nodding to the music. That was the third option, the equivalent of a trap door opening beneath the comic. Few survived the execution after the pencil drum roll. A very happy Jim McCauley greeted me behind the curtain. Jim lived and breathed with the comics he brought to the Tonight Show. His job was on the line as much as yours. As the Show ended, McCauley positioned me along the path Johnny took every night from the set to his office. For my efforts, I got the standard reward for most first time comics, a handshake, a photo op and a second appearance. I was relieved, happy and soon on my way to drunk. My second Tonight Show shot was scheduled for February of 1985. This time I decided I wanted more say about the material. Spending a lot of time with Jack Daniels, Peruvian Product and Sam Kinison gave me a blurred, but intense vision of a need to be edgy. My idea was to end it with two jokes about suicide which were working in the dark, boozy clubs. Jim knew the difference between night club funny and TV funny. A couple of relationship jokes were Jim’s choices for my closing. I agreed, but soon became obsessed with new jokes about Barney Clark, the world’s first artificial heart recipient, and the lifesaving technique of Defibrillation. The Barney Clark joke was a reaction to a doctor’s assertion that, “Mr. Clark would lead a pretty normal life.” I complained that it would at least hinder his bowling game, and ended the bit by mimicking Clark trying to pick up a spare while dragging the two hundred pound heart-pump. I then pointed out that the Defibrillator caused the patient’s body to jump off the bed. Some sadistic doctor was sure to turn up the juice in an effort to set a record height. This bit ended with doctors using two sets of paddles to volley a patient back and forth in a game of tennis. To me there was nothing wrong with this material. I was getting laughs by complaining and pointing things out. That’s what stand-ups do. Almost every night I practiced with a different closer. The drinking and drugging was by now a daily chore, a tedious job. It was a huge effort to abstain the night before the show. It was not so much as a sober night as the start of detoxification. I placed a post-show gram in the pocket of my show suit, an addict’s security blanket.
The night of the show, I begged Jim to let me do the heart material, arguing it was a perfect fit with the rest of the set’s jokes of broken bones, doctor advertising, and brain storage capabilities. McCauley was reluctant, doubting if it suited Johnny’s taste. I was a crazed comic begging for his artistic soul, which at that moment meant being the first on TV with a Barney Clark joke. The Devil was bargain shopping. Jim finally relented. The set went fine; the laughter coming at all the right places. I closed and looked for my signal. Johnny was tapping his pencil, smiling and nodding to the music. Jim met me behind the curtain and hustled me straight to my dressing room. Jim was pleasant. He gave me a beer, but offered no pretense as to my situation. There was a problem with my set. Although all the blame clearly rested with me, Jim was the one apologizing. “I should have known Johnny would hate that heart stuff. He smokes three packs a day and worries about having a heart attack. We better stay in here for a while.” It took me two more months of bad decisions to finally quit alcohol and drugs. Thanks to Jim McCauley’s advice and support I did a third Tonight Show in late 1986. It probably didn’t hurt that Johnny Carson stopped smoking during that period. Jim helped me through nine more Tonight Shows before Johnny finally retired. I regret never fully thanking him for what he did for me and all the other comics in his 25 years at the Tonight Show.
Rest in Peace, Jim. If there is an afterlife, please tell me there are no pencils.
Danny Dechi’s Comedy Show @ The Bazaar Café
One of the things I love about my job here at Enjoy the Veal is that I get to explore various comedy venues in new parts of town for this writer. The Bazaar Café is a little artist’s consignments shop in the Outer Richmond, with a tiny little stage “area” and upright piano on the side, with a sign overhead warning of “doing covers”: only original songs are encouraged, which is probably not so much an artistic enhancement, but indeed, avoiding paying song performance royalties is a fiscal one. A 7pm show scheduled start realized into a near 8 start, as the performers waited and waited for the audience to show up. Who forgot to book the audience? “Finals” is what host/producer Danny Dechi told me as to why his usual packed college audience locked themselves in their dorms. Nevertheless, nothing wrong with performing for yourselves and save for one miserable live comedy reviewer from The Jewish Journal online, who also happens to be a stand-up comedian himself, the show simply went on. I, the reviewer for the show, seemed to be - other than the other comedians, the only person in the audience. The rest of the breathing souls around the sides and in the back shadows of the room were the comedians waiting to go on. Maybe a real customer, I couldn't tell. And, of course, the cafe employee behind the counter, but I think she was paid to be there. Let the awkward evening begin.
“Welcome to the Bazarre Café!” Danny explains the show is every 3rd Wednesday, there’s food and drink, which leads to his first joke of the evening about preparing beer battered fish and deciding on using either a full bottle in the recipe or an empty one. “There was a river so full of mercury, I could take my temperature with a salmon.” These are not just the jokes, folks, and they’re not just fish jokes, no, this is Danny Denchi, a San Francisco pillar of cutting-edge traditional comedy performance art and I-did-the-best-I-could considering promotion. Danny runs at least three comedy rooms I'm aware of and don't get me wrong. I know his rooms pack out. Tonight, though, not. Danny explains he was released early from jury duty for eating his shoe and that he learned today that there is no crying in yoga. “Honey Boo-Boo….Who is her father, Yogi Bear?” Danny, in spite of some of his gawd-awful material, is hill-LAR-ious. Did ya’ hear me? Danny is very funny. Not his jokes. Him! “The big announcement of the week? The end of the world! Presented by the Three Stooges Marathon!” Even when he writes to culture, Danny is a throwback to the post-Carson era of keeping the fun in the joke itself as the preeminent comedic discipline. His new movie category for the Oscars is “Best film without Liam Neeson”; His 79 Oldsmobile’s hood ornament is a Smart Car, which he splurged with a car wash and a Brazilian wax: “Looks good, but my carpets were wrong. I’m here all week!” fully acknowledging his jokes aren’t not only not always funny, but aren’t always even meant to be funny, which doesn’t exactly fit in with today’s personal confessional rant style of comedy. No. Danny is doing something more. He’s simultaneously operating on two levels. One is on the face of the material itself. Is the joke funny? What if you read the joke? Would it still make you laugh. That’s the first level. The second level is that Danny is able to get laughs not just on the jokes themselves, but on the idea that he is completely unflappable; a conscious hapless fool, Peter Sellers clumsily finding his way round a dark room, choreographed down to the Nth detail. Anti-comedy. Imagine Roberto Benigni were he a stand-up. Dechi’s secret? He’s having fun and he doesn’t really care, but he wants you to think he does. It’s a brilliant one-man double-act. During his presentation, his phone rings, he answers it: It’s his cat, who wants him to bring back whip cream and anchovies, was both completely surreal and believable. And, his optometrist ordering in a Chinese restaurant is classic Ed Sullivan. Then, he played The Nutcracker with a pencil repeatedly hitting his cheek. Yes, folks. Danny Denchi is the “World’s Number One Number Two Pencil Musician.” And, he’s also the emcee, so on with our show, and did a great job keeping the show moving right along all evening.
Next up was Rebecca Ward, who introduces herself to us (well, me), “You probably know my parents, maternity and psychiatric?” She explains she’s Native American Indian, her hubby isn’t: “he tries to get me drunk and steal my properties.” On dating much younger men – who use her just to get into R-rated movies, she asks us (again, just me), “Do you ever think of something that you think is very funny, but nobody else does? That’s my act.” Not what you call a good saver; and not that she even needed one. According to Ward, her kids have the nerve to “complain” about a 1 inch splinter and have yet no idea what real pain is like; so she holds up her thumb as if there's a splinter there, and say, "Was it a 9 pound, 8 ounce splinter? Was it eleven days late coming out of you? Did you spend three hours trying to push it out of you? No? We'll talk when you do..." You tell 'em, mom! Her birthday being 2 days before Christmas, she would get presents wrapped in Xmas paper, along with the admonishment, “This is for both.” On Obamacare, “Good thing we didn’t have Bush-Care….a waxing facility”; her car, which is a two-tone of rust and primer is really like a girl, always demanding attention then breaking down. Meeting Madonna she wanted to say something she probably never heard before and lays on the Vogued One, “I really like your movies!” Hill-AIR-ious! Rebecca Ward is an adult doing comedy with a truly youthful perspective, proving it’s really quite a feat to grow up, and yet still be able to pretend. I liked her and can’t wait to see more and in front of a proper audience.
Mike Capozzola, a stand-up comedian and talented cartoon artist, who seems like a comic caught between generational warps. His attitude seems to come from a smarmy guest character dating Mary or Rhoda, but his material is classic Modern Awkward in the true vein of Rickie Gervais, one half the original creator of NBC’s The Office and the progenitor of The Modern Awkward Comedy Movement. Mike’s the kind of comedian who is certainly well trained and armed for blood, but that’s not his thing. (stand-up material unavailable for this review)
Jill Borque’s culture is moving forward: “we are embracing diversity, but where are the Norwegian Latinas?,” left me a little unsure in which exact way was she anti-racist. But when she explained “we” don’t have any parades or holidays, I get it. She’s talking about her cultural heritage. DOH! “I can't even get a decent Lutefisk enchilada. There's no one to fix my low-rider Saab. No radio stations that play Death Metal Mariachi. Nothing. It's tough to be a Norwina.” But, then the comedy lights momentarily went out. We lost mental power. I think this is where I saw bravery in performance. After what seemed like endless incoherent ramblings for about ten seconds, this beautiful comedy mind suddenly found her place and hatched the brilliantly simple notion we all have to learn to compromise. Dems and GOP’s, both have to come together and then she explains in simple human terms, “Look! I can’t have everything I want at the same time! I can’t have carbs and boobs! I don’t have wet dreams, I have wheat dreams, doing a 3-way with a bagel and cream cheese”. This Dorothy Parker of Pillsbury then took the spotlight from her ideas to her; absurdly standing alone on an imaginary comedy stage, doing her comedy soliloquy, knowing fully well she was being reviewed and there was virtually nobody in the audience, but her comedy mates and friends in the back and me, the comedy reviewer reviewing her. Ironically, this is exactly why I’m there.
“You can get amazing alone time on this stage” is one of the greatest comedy save lines I’ve ever heard; unfortunately, in the venue that night, it only made things worse. Jill Borque feels connected to us and her list of highlighted accomplishments begins and ends with being married 12 years. Offering up relationship advice, Borque defines the Mason/Dixon between monogamy and monotony: “Victoria’s Secret and you’re haggling at Cosco for big panties.” Each week, she and hubby have a special communications session, “Known as a fight.” She doesn’t fight in front of her kids, she and her husband, “fight with our eyes” is a great cinematic visual. She’s not a “housewife”, more of a self-proclaimed, “house-bitch”; and did some “Hard Time” in dating in San Francisco. “Stringles” – the few straight men you have to date outside your hetero comfort zone in this Craigslist world. Her 10 year old talks to them like adults, like a Tenderloin wino, “Just one more book, momma!” Jill Borque is The Jane Jetson of Modern Stand-Up. Her dilemma is most relatable. How does one deal with whiners and complainers when you’ve got enough trouble dealing with your own problems. I’m smelling HBO series.
Charlie Ballard is warm and invites those in the back of the room to “come up!”, but of course they wouldn’t because they were other comedians. (Actually, regular audience members rarely move up.) He’s happy to be “back here 10 years later; the crowd hasn’t changed” made me think he was up the river, but I suspect if he was, it was on a River Boat entertaining Mel Gibson. “I made love to a woman for the first time. It was cool. I’ve been gay all my life. It was okay, but she wanted dirty talk. ‘Where do you want me to stick this penis?’ That joke was a total lie, by the way.”
Cut to me.
Then. He talks to me. The reviewer guy. He tells me, a Jewish Joke. After all, “you write for The Jewish Journal!”
Ballard did a classic “baby shaking” joke, following up with pointing out that I was clicking my pen and putting my hat on and off. Referring to the Berkeley cupcake sliding scale social experiment, Ballard gloated how he tricked them by claiming he was Native American and therefore, offended, so they gave him the cupcake for free. Following that up with, “That was a great joke!”. Being Indian, and only bringing two people to the show (did he think it WAS a bringer?), “well, if your people hadn’t killed off our people….”, seemed like a stock joke within his culture. Charlie closed by grabbing one of the guitars in the window, singing, “I’m not really a musician….”, leaving the mean guy in me, changing one word in that lyric. Again, I would love to see Charlie Ballard perform in front of a real crowd one day. I get the feeling, he’s secretly great. And, in a good way.
“Welcome to the Fear of Large Crowds Workshop!” was the first huge laugh of the night and brought on by comedy powerhouse Bobby Salem, who arrived late. About twenty years late. Bobby is the classic throwback to the East Coast Club and Borsht Belt Resort Comic. I’ve worked with many guys like Bobby on the road and they are the true keepers of the Hidden Secrets of Comedy. Only they know the difference between a red velvet curtain and a red velvet cupcake and we are mere comedy mortals in their presence. This is the kind of guy who probably grew up in the Bronx and literally had to survive on his wits and comedy talents. He’s asked by a citizen of San Francisco if were a “bear” (which is a fat hairy bloke who is gay) and it bothered him; he’s not even gay. Funny. His same sex marriage joke of having the same sex every night is a winner, but his outta nowhere impression of Bill Cosby as The Wizard of Oz talking to the Tin Man was almost as good and enlightening as his impression of the late black comedian and Oceans 11 movie star Bernie Mac, were he Jewish. “Israel, Oh, Lord!” His non-sequitur, “Kim Kardashian is a whore!....(that’s the joke)” is caboosed by, his Taylor Swift joke, “Taylor Swift is a whore!”; his cat awakens him at 6am so he “broke her of that habit” by waking up at 5:45. This guy is funny. Daffy Duck singing Village People and a great story of a guy sneezing in the elevator only to confront Bobby with, “Well, aren’t you going to bless me?” are topped off by his impressions of Tom Jones and Jerry Lewis (“She’s a laaaa-deeeee!”); he dovens as Neil Diamond, Bruce Springstein and Queen (“We will rock Jew!”) and his closer Middle Eastern George Costanza, “I invented Habbib!” is Hill-AIR-ious…! Danny kept the show rolling along, bringing on a boom-box and a kid’s joke and then introduced our final two acts for this very strange evening at the Bazaar Café.
Mr. Mystic wears a top-hat a tux and a hypnotic swirl as a pendulum hanging from around his neck. As Holly Jolly Christmas plays, he informs us he is going to levitate us, the audience, and we must do as he says. Bringing some balloons to someone in the front row (a late arriving customer), he warns us to, “Focus!”, then space-disco music plays and nothing happens. Of course. And then he offers the man in the front row a $100 bill to testify he indeed levitated. The man says he did levitate, but Mr. Mystic tells him to scram, sending back tail-between-his legs to the audience. Other weird background music serves to soothe and calm as Mr. Mystic tries to get everyone to do strange things with their hands, clasped, twisted and otherwise. Puff Puff the Psychic Bunny is his assistant puppet, whom only appears when Theme from a Summer’s Place is on. Asking for a number between 1 and 1,000, he admonishes the guesser with a premade sign, “No!”. He reads The Night Before Christmas and his book literally catches on fire, which was even funnier when you consider he claimed to have actually burned his hand. I liked Mr. Mystic; he's a throwback to Vaudeville and every weird after school local TV host every assembled. And if I were a child and he came to entertain my party? I’d have entered therapy several decades earlier.
Closing out this exercise in the surreal was Rollie Moe. I first saw Moe in London, at a show ten years ago we were both booked on at a now defunct comedy club called Ha Bloody Ha. Dressed like a bow-tied college professor, he holds a beer and talks in a very high voice, a strained voice, a fake voice. A monotonic continues flat-line whine. “We’re swimming in the ocean, you see a shark, your life passes before your eyes – Why did I eat so many Skittles? Why did I trust Mitt Romney? When taking communion wine in church, never ask for a second round; worm in an apple? Robins, robins, they’re not so sweet if you’re a worm!; consider Ross Dress for Less as no way to sell clothing: How about a matching can-opener or frying pan with that dress? ; chaos implies value: our marketing plan!” Rollie Moe is definitely nuts. Or wants us to think he is. From Brady Bunch aliens to why was Hitler so angry: (and let’s find out with him visiting an Ikea); to feeding penguins cheese; to great one-liners such as, why the KKK spells “clan” with a K ("they didn’t finish 5th grade"); Rollie Moe’s closer is a reenactment of Martin Scorcese’s “Taxi” acted out solely by Barbie and Ken dolls.
When the evening ended, I thanked Danny and he offered me a gig. But, he also told me about another comedian who needs help with some medical bills. Danny is a man who cares about comedy and, more importantly, cares about comedians. I think the show I saw tonight was awful in so many ways, and mostly not anyone's fault. A comedy show needs an audience. On the other hand, in many more ways it was truly the greatest comedy show I saw (and unwittingly participated in) all year. Long may Danny, the World’s Number One Number Two Pencil Musician, stand-up comedian and local San Francisco comedy promoter reign. I’m a big fan and I’m glad I went. I only wished I didn’t have such a large laugh. Always points me out in the crowd.
I give Comedy @ The Bazaar Café 12 Days of Christmas out of 8 Menorahs!
Enjoy the veal,
Steven Alan Green
I finally got me a job. I am housekeeper/maid service and on-staff duty at The San Francisco Guest House three days a week. In exchange, I get free rent. So, that’s my life. Cleaning toilets and reviewing comedy shows. Redundant I know. If you want to come see me perform comedy live, I’ll be at Danny Denchi's Cup O Comedy @ Emma's Coffee House TONIGHT! (Dec 27) 5549 Geary Boulevard, (415) 933-6632 FREE! Map. Start time: 7pm. Come and say hello. (Just not during the show.) In the meantime, I just want to thank everyone, my bosses over at The Jewish Journal, including my inimitable editor, Jared Baker. The comedians I’ve met over the last few weeks since coming up to San Francisco. Laughter Foundation supporters alike and in particular Mimi Smith, whose been a much needed friend and educated ear. And of course, Brian “Tag” Sontag and to Jenny Coe for maintaining The Laughter Foundation website so well. Special thanks to Enjoy the Veal contributor, Ritch Shydner. Ace Reviewer for LA, Tamsin Hollo, will be back after a short break. Two of my favourite blokes. And thank you everyone who donated something last week to save me from eviction. I know who you are and I know some of you who helped out, are struggling as well. I'll never take for granted that just because someone helps, doesn't mean it's always easy for them. I am deeply moved and now have to live up to my word and make The Laughter Foundation a reality.
And, thank you, my fine readership. You’ve given this miserable misanthrope of a poor excuse for a comedian, some much needed and valued hope. I’ve been so inspired by it all, I’ve started writing a novel and I guarantee you this. Whether you know it or not, you are indeed all characters in it; as an artist’s work is his life, you are indeed characters in my life. Love to you all. Except of course, Geri Luis. The real Jerry Lewis remains a mystery.
Try not to shoot one another, people.
And, if you're in San Francisco tonight, I'll be on Danny Dechi's comedy show tonight at Emma's. Come on down.
Kim, the woman who runs the San Francisco Guest House also has a music charity, a school that teaches little kids to play violin and piano. And, her school, has a hint of yellow, my mother's favourite color and many of you know my mother went from real hard times and nothing, to building Glendale College of Business and Paramedical into a $10 million business, graduated 35,000 students, helped a lot of people, and had the highest placement rate in the nation. If you went to her school, and buckled down and did your work, when you graduated, you'd have a job waiting for you. I miss Gloria Green. She was an amazing lady, an amazing person. And, I look up to her. I want to be like her. So, maybe one day, I too, can walk down the street and people see me and will go, "There goes an amazing lady."
And, if you can afford to, please donate a little to my blog here, so that I can know that I'm entertaining you as much as I think I am.
What? Too soon?
Enjoy the veal,
Steven Alan Green
FACEBOOK TWEETS OF THE WEEK:
Most conversations I eavesdrop on are extremely fascinating until I figure out exactly what they're talking about.
I suppose, in the case of working for a medical marijuana dispensary, random surprise drug testing is simultaneously a good and a bad thing.
Unpaid bills are like high school bullies; you gotta distract them, make fun of them, then kick them in the nuts.
Shallow person looking for a deep relationship. Willing to pretend to care. Good at nodding head when feigning interest. And, can cook like there's no Mayan end of the world. Drawback: I am a monster in bed. And, what I mean by, "monster" is when I get turned on, two metal bolts pop outta the sides of my neck, my skin turns green and I sleepwalk with a limp. No weirdos.
I love cocaine. It's like heroin to me.
NARCISSISTIC DIRTY PHONE CALLER: "What am I wearing?"
The Mayans (a nice Jewish couple from Great Neck, New York) sincerely apologize for any negativity.
Why do drivers who almost mow you down, apologize with the Heil Hitler sign?
This is exactly how it felt the last time I had Deja Vu.
Every time I'm on the 43 Muni bus from Haight to the Inner Sunset, and the prerecorded announcer lady says, "The next stop is Frederick," I want to stand up and shout, "It's FRO-derick!" And, when another bus announces, "Hyde", I crawl under my seat.
Every once in a while, a great visionary and savior like Jesus Christ, Mahatma Ghandi, and Martin Luther King, arrive in our world and fuck everything up.
THIS WEEK’S COMEDY RECOMMENDATIONS:
Los Angeles: Friday, Dec 28, BILLY THE MIME LIVE IN LA @ The Upright Citizen's Brigade @ 8pm. For more info click here.
San Francisco: Comedienne Sandra M. Risser, Dec 28, 800pm, $8, The Stand-Up Show, Sacramento Comedy Spot, 1050 20th St, Sacramento. More info.
Tuesday, Jan 15, Danny Dechi's Comedy Stars Pro Showcase at Neck Of The Woods! - Great line-up! (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
"What Would Jerry Seinfeld Do?" on Salon.com. Written by Andy Cowan. an award-winning writer, producer and performer, whose credits include "Cheers," "Seinfeld" and "3rd Rock From the Sun." He can be reached through his website, upanddownguys.com.
RIFF-erendum - The Steven Pearl and Al Clethen Interviews
ODDZ 'N ENZ: Next week, review of Nato Green @ The Punchline. To have your comedy show reviewed or hire: email@example.com. Hollywood film or TV writing jobs for Steven Alan Green, contact: Noah Jones @ The Gersh Agency (310) 205-5836. Follow Enjoy the Veal on Facebook, and The Laughter Foundation & on Facebook. Never take life too seriously, you'll never get out of it alive!!! SAG, SF, 12/27/12
10.11.13 at 1:51 pm | Steven Alan Green back from the comedy dead.. . .
5.23.13 at 2:31 pm | On the occasion of my old pal and nemesis Jerry. . .
5.16.13 at 12:22 pm | A great new opportunity for our favourite. . .
4.7.13 at 5:32 pm | It seemed like an impossibility before, but I am. . .
2.20.13 at 1:09 pm | My long-awaited review of Nato Green @ The. . .
1.15.13 at 9:49 am | My public appeal to the director of Duel, 1941. . .
10.11.13 at 1:51 pm | Steven Alan Green back from the comedy dead.. . . (21)
9.26.12 at 3:32 pm | I hereby call upon the powers that be in. . . (19)
1.15.13 at 9:49 am | My public appeal to the director of Duel, 1941. . . (6)
December 9, 2012 | 3:34 pm
Posted by Steven Alan Green
“It’s pretty telling of your character as a person when you describe the ladies who gave you 20 dollars for you foundation 'unsuspecting victims'. You should rename the Heckler Fund what it really is: The Steven Alan Green Fund. There wont be a show at the Castro Theater. It’s a false pich just like the Hollywood Bowl show or you riding your bike to Vegas for a show. Just more hype to get money in your pocket. Folks who don’t know you (like the old ladies who gave you the 20) give you donations because you pitch them on your pie in the sky ideas and they believe you. They probably are fooled by your fake sincerity, which is as real as you awful British accent.
Enjoy the fail.”
Comment by Geri Luis on 12/02/12 at 8:35 am
Yeah, folks, that’s the thanks I get. A nasty comment on last week's blog, replete with typos and misspellings and sent to me by someone calling themselves, “Geri Luis”. Look at that. “Enjoy the fail” Geri says. And, in case you’re wondering, ladies and gentlemen, I did not post this comment at The Jewish Journal; nor did I have a confederate do so in my stead. I swear on both my parents' graves I did not post this negative comment. I just woke up, checked the popularity count on the blog and had to read this vile nonsense. And, I’ll admit, even though I was warned to ignore it; it got to me. I tried to email firstname.lastname@example.org, but the email bounced back; meaning the account was probably closed. So, in an effort to set the record straight, I’d like to take this time to address Geri Luis directly through my blog, Enjoy the Veal.
Dear Worthless Scum:
You are an idiot. First, of all, let’s start with how transparent you are. The very fact that you even know about my attempt at a show at the Hollywood Bowl, or riding my bike to Vegas or my “awful British accent” means, by definition, you read my blog, and read it with great frequency. So, the first question I’ll ask you, Mr. Luis (assuming you are a man; and actually, you’re probably not in any sense), I ask you first off the bat: Who taught you how to read and write? ‘Cause you ain’t a very good one. You’re passionate, and I like that, but you’re lazy. Typos and syntax errors aside, I felt your letter lacked a certain….let me think…a certain “spark of resonance”. There was nothing revealing in your letter, which would inspire anyone else, but you – an obvious semi-literate with too much time on your hands (are you currently incarcerated?), to join arms with you and rattle their burning torches at Comedy Frankenstein. Nothing. You sound to me like a child who never grew up, which of course, makes me think of the real Jerry Lewis, but I don’t think this is him. Jerry Lewis – perhaps the greatest comedian and comedy filmmaker of all time (and my former best buddy) has conveniently forgotten me. So, "Geri Luis", I don’t know who you are, what you are, who you think you are, who you may be. And, frankly, I don’t give a rat’s fuck. But, you do bring up some good points and I’d like to address those points and I thank you for writing in and keep reading Enjoy the Veal. Glad you’re enjoying it!
“It’s pretty telling of your character as a person when you describe the ladies who gave you 20 dollars for you foundation “unsuspecting victims”. You should rename the Heckler Fund what it really is: The Steven Alan Green Fund.”
Okay, let’s take it psychotic paragraph by psychotic paragraph. (again, a typo: should be “your” foundation, not “you” foundation) The implication from your opening paragraph is that I’m a scam artist. You’re right. I am. But, not in the way you are implying. I not only run a tight ship, I am the ship. With the exception of a few very-busy-with-other-things, but dedicated people, I not only run The Laughter Foundation, I am the Laughter Foundation. It’s all me. The ladies who gave me the 20 bucks were helping a cause I convinced them to help and every smart person out there knows, that when you give money to street campaigners, those campaigners are doing it as a paid job. I know. I once worked for a company that sent us out, soliciting unsuspecting shoppers as they exited Whole Foods to help Amnesty International because, “There is a woman in Iran who is going to be executed tomorrow morning unless you help right now!” It was fairly easy to get people’s attention with that kind of international emergency in their face. But, it was my second day at work and third day at work, when I noticed we were still supposed to say, “There is a woman in Iran,” etc., etc., “who is going to be executed 'tomorrow' unless you help right now!” By the fifth day, I was asking myself and my bosses, “How many women in Iran named blah, blah, blah, are going to be executed tomorrow?” And, of course, I was actually pissed off they didn’t execute the woman, even though it meant I’d be out of a job. Nothing personal. So, that was a lie and a scam to get people’s attention. Do I think Amnesty International does good, great and important work? You bet your ass I do. I wasn't working for Amnesty International. I was working for a company that was contracted to supply street campaigners. Let’s be clear about that and when I have money again, I will support Amnesty International financially as best as I can. I think they are the heroes of conscience of the day.
Do you think it’s easy going out there in the street and pitching perfect strangers like this? It’s not. People are downright assholes about it, they don’t want to be bothered, and I don't blame them. I learned long ago, that I cannot pitch or sell anything I do not fully understand and fully believe in. One of the day-jobs I applied for in LA was to sell water purification systems to film studios. In the recruitment meeting, they said they had, “…the exclusive rights” to sell their product. They emphasised this point. I raised my hand. “Uh, when you say, exclusive….just so I can answer the customer, should they ask, do you mean exclusive for Southern California? California? The entire US?” They didn’t invite me back. I asked too many questions. Because most of what's out there these days are scams of some sort. But, I believe in The Laughter Foundation. The Laughter Foundation is not a scam. We have a proven track record. Historically, The Laughter Foundation has saved a comedian and single mom, Aubrey Kapree and her little kid Sklyer, from eviction. We started an online campaign through our Heckler Fund to raise all her back rent and legal fees. We were only able to raise her legal fees, but that was enough to delay and then stop the eviction. We saved a single mom, someone I never bet beforehand, and her little 8-year old boy from eviction. How's that for a slice of fried gold? We’ve given cash to TV personality and comedian Suzanne Whang, who has Stage Four Cancer and cancer meds are expensive. It wasn’t a lot of money, but Suzanne was brought to tears when she accepted the money on stage at a benefit in Los Angeles, because there was an entity there that cared for comedians. And, let me be very clear. Jamie Masada, who runs The Laugh Factory, has an open-house Thanksgiving dinner for stand-ups and he’s been doing it for years. Jamie helps a lot of comedians in many ways and doesn’t publicize it. And, Budd Friedman, although he and I have a negative history, I would guess with all my heart that Budd, and his former partner Mark Lonow, have helped numerous stand-ups. Over the years, I’ve personally given many stand-up comedians meals and places to stay, whether it’s in my apartment when I’m out of town or on my couch when I’m there, those comedians have had a place to sleep for the night. I’ve given several of them cash. Thousands. (when I had it) This is what comics do. We help each other. I’m a comedian too. Let’s not forget that. For 30 years, I’ve toured the best comedy clubs and universities, performing stand-up comedy, all throughout North America and in Great Britain. I was on television at least 3 times in the UK and was employed by the BBC. So, yes, Geri, when those two lovely ladies gave the 20 bucks, I went and had a nice meal. I was hungry. I deserve help too. I've paid my dues.
Have you ever built something? Have you? What have you ever created or built in your life? Anything? Because if you had done, then you would be admiring what I’m trying to do, not attacking me. It’s hard to do what I do. I’ve produced four Laughter Foundation benefits in LA, and after production expenses and replenishing our Heckler Fund to help specific comedians, I’ve been in the hole financially every single time. But, that doesn’t matter. I’m building a brand. I’m trying to get people’s attention. Ask me why I started the Laughter Foundation. Go ahead, Schmucko. Ask me. Was it only because after going through a literally life-threatening situation – all because I didn’t have health care in America (but had it in the UK from the UK government!) and wanted to help provide health care to all comedians? No. Was it because I envisioned a world-class museum to study and exhibit the art, history and science of Comedy. Nope. Was it so I could schmooze with the greatest modern comedians around? No sir. The answer is a lot more cynical than that. I needed a job. A job I could get to because I no longer had Los Angeles driving privileges. A job that was essentially a sales job, but not a scam. I made loads of money in the 1980’s in telemarketing. Office supplies. We all know that scam. But, I was not a scammer. Unlike my employers who offered one thing and did another, I was honest. I made big sales and livened dead accounts. I wrote a quarter-million in 1981. I was damn good. And my company delivered quality guaranteed merchandise; although at a very inflated price and at enormous unnecessary volume. That was the Office Supply business. I didn’t create it, I just worked there and I was amongst the best of them. And, I took the job seriously and opened my own company and helped friends and family. High On Laughter is another of my brand. “HOL” benefits a drug and alcohol charity launched by Princess Diana. Turning Point Scotland takes average teenage kids, who by sheer bad luck, happened to have been born and raised in one of the heroin capitals of the world, Glasgow, Scotland. Ken Blackie and Netta McGiver do great work, although my understanding is that Netta has moved on. (Hi Ken.) Turning Point Scotland, unlike you, is real. Take the time to see this short video. It's background and show clips, including George Wendt, "Norm" from Cheers and a pre-famous Zach Galifianakis, both of whom I brought to the UK. I produced three HOL shows, from August, 2,000 to September 2002, which was the end of the line for HOL when Jerry Lewis busted the bank, sabotaging the show. Jerry cost me a quarter of a million dollar business, which eventually toppled over my home, the only home I ever owned. And, after going through a lifetime of family turmoil, a home of my own was my literal sanctified church. We all see the contemporary old Jerry Lewis. The fragile man who must be shielded from "nut-jobs" like me. What you don’t see is what I not only saw, but dealt with ten years ago. When I asked Jerry to help me save my home from repossession three years ago, he laughed at me. I was only asking, maybe 1/10th of the money I doled out to him, on the understanding that he was to “give me two weeks of publicity” and then to appear on stage, sing three songs with the orchestra I provided, and accept an award from Hollywood comedy star Bobcat Goldthwait and Pierre Etaix, whom I flew in from Paris. Instead, Jerry reneged on any and all publicity, pulled out of the show four times (which made me look like an idiot for taking him back each time), didn’t bring his sheet music, screamed at me in front of everybody, locked himself in the London Palladium dressing room, had alcohol going back there, tried to have me thrown out of my own theatre and then “collapsed” just at the perfect moment, never going to the hospital and flying back to America the next day, never to contact me again, not even to say thanks. Four days in London and that son-of-a-bitch not only cost me my business, but my home, which was financing it. Read more from the BBC. So, I’ve never done anything for a comedian? How about flying over a dozen American comedians to London, including unknown-then-but-now-he’s-a-star-Zach Galifiniakis? Zach did two of the three HOL shows; and I'm greatful to him. Zach was great.
Much like life, Show Biz is one big lie. “I’ve got so and so attached to my film!” Fuck you, you don’t and who cares. And this is where I come in. I’m the real deal in a land of confederates. I actually have produced big things. A live comedy show at The London Palladium, starring Jerry Lewis and a cavalcade of British and American stand-ups, including big-time movie-star Zach Galifiniakis and touring stand-up big-wig Jim Gaffigan, which was partially broadcast on Bravo UK. Here, check out the 5-min HOL III highlight reel of what was a great show, in SPITE of Jerry Lewis backstage, acting like a big unprofessional diva baby. (And, by the way, word up, Hollywood Big-Wigs, I still am sitting on over 3 hours of broadcast quality, never been broadcast great comedy show. 15 British and American comedians. Call me!) When my car first got towed away, I was trying to raise money to get it out by bringing my friends together for a benefit show, just to help me. It was called, "High On Laughter Four Me". And, a lot of them came through. Rick Overton, Wendy Liebman, and ten others. I called up the manager of one of the comedians whom I brought to the London Palladium. This comedian was now a rising star in the world of stand-up comedy. Don’t remember the name of the manager and don’t care. I’ll never speak with him again. I told him that I had brought his client (not Zach) to London a few years earlier and now that he was a famous comedian, I am asking for help to get my car out of the tow yard. You know what the manager told me? He told me that I couldn’t have his client because his client appearing in my benefit, would (and I quote), “eat into his client’s Los Angeles market”, meaning that if I were to get the client and then marquee his name, on a show with a dozen other comedians, then when his client plays another nearby venue on his own, those people who already came to see him on my show, would not come to his show. What bullshit. And what thanks. And, yet, I still want to help comedians? I must be nuts.
There wont be a show at the Castro Theater. It’s a false pich just like the Hollywood Bowl show or you riding your bike to Vegas for a show. Just more hype to get money in your pocket.
The Hollywood Bowl was reserved for April 1, 2011. My co-producer, Marc Weingarten, and I put together a plan and worked tirelessly for seven months, booking the show, putting together a budget and searching for sponsors. Starting with Roseanne (who came on board because she hates Jerry Lewis so much and had sympathy for me), I was able to get “soft commitments” from Penn & Teller, Margaret Cho, Bill Maher, Tim Allen, Dane Cook, Robin Williams and Conan O’Brien”. Nobody was committing or allowing me to use their name publicly. It was simply a polite, “Yes, sounds like a great cause, and should you get the money together, please contact us again and we’ll see if our client is available then.” Do you know what that even means? They fucking responded to me. They (the managers and agents I now have to go through) don’t know me and they get hit up every single day from this person and that person who wants to use their clients. Their job is to say “No”. That’s their job. The fact that I got a bunch of “maybe’s” is a great accomplishment. We just never got the production money, which I had hoped would be an insurance company, because it was about health care for comedians. Same thing with the show at The Smith Center in Vegas, but with that one, we couldn’t get the names. And, I was trying to make a film. “Peddling to Vegas” was going to be three weeks of me pedaling my bicycle 305 miles from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, culminating with the big show at the Smith Center. Having to suddenly take up bicycling as my main mode of transportation in car-minded Los Angeles in my mid-fifties was very daunting, but I did it, peddling as much as twenty miles a day. The plan for the film was for me to ride 30-50 miles a day, stop off somewhere, have a little adventure, meet a desert mystic (played by the great Rick Overton), meet this lost tribe or whatever and just contemplate the moon as to how I ended up here; and all of it culminating in the big show at the 2,000-seat Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas. Don’t forget, I had a very serious nervous breakdown and wanted to kill myself. When you get to a place like that? The only way to survive is to keep on pedaling. Create something. Something good that will benefit other people, as well as yourself.
The problem, my very stupid friend, is that you seem to not just be forgetting the facts, but in fact, have no clue as to how ShowBiz works. Though some might disagree, in my opinion, the bigger word is “Show”. Producing is basically like throwing a party at your house. You don’t call each potential guest up and say, “Hey, I’m having a party this weekend and I haven’t invited anyone yet, you’re the first person I’m calling. Anyway, would you like to come?” Obviously, that wouldn’t work. So you send out dozens of invitations, hoping that a percentage will even respond and some of those can make it. You are giving the illusion the party is gonna be jumpin’; that’s what a producer does. The only thing stopping me from reaching my goal for the establishment of The Laughter Foundation is when I pay too much attention to nitwits like yourself. Yes, I am currently benefitting from The Laughter Foundation. After all, I am President, so there is my salary. And, I’m a client. I’m a comedian. For the show at the Castro Threatre, April 1, 2013, we are going to be replenishing The Heckler Fund to help three specific comedians (other than me) who need help. It’s gonna be a great show and a sell-out. Everything’s looking good at time of publication of this blog. I already sold two sponsorships. One to a mobile app company and the other to a 30-year San Francisco Comedy tradition. Mobile app “Court-O-Rama” and San Francisco’s Comedy Day, which is a decades old tradition, where a hundred thousand people celebrate comedy in Golden Gate Park. Please check out our Sponsorship page, you douchebag. Plus, I am applying for national corporate sponsorship and will be launching a Kickstarter program. And, if we get lucky and have a big sponsor, I'll probably have to drop the use of the perjorative "douchebag"; therefore, I'll use it up while I still have time. Douchebag. You, "Geri Luis" are a first-rate douchebag of the highest order.
I don’t know about you, Geri Luis, by I, like many people I know, have dreams. And, what is a dream? A fantasy that hasn’t happened yet. Like you getting laid. I was able to envision High On Laughter at the London Palladium, a night honoring Jerry Lewis. I pulled that together, all except Jerry Lewis making it the few extra feet to the stage. But, 15 great comedians performed and many of them got broadcast on television for the first time thanks to me and my efforts. All I know is that I’m gonna do my best. And, it's a learning curve, for sure. I’ve got great people surrounding me and the idea of The Laughter Foundation is a great one. But, you know what? You bring up a good point. I’m broke. I’ve got money “coming in”, but right now I’m two weeks behind in my $185/week rent at the cold guest house and I don’t know how I’m gonna even pay for food in two days. Not exagerating. In fact, if I don't get some money soon, not only am I gonna be out on the street, but there's gonna be a woman executed in Iran tomorrow morning. So, yeah, I’m gonna hit the streets and I’m gonna sell my guts out. And, if you’re so inclined, if I’ve turned you around and now convinced you of my worth, both as Enjoy the Veal blog writer and as folk hero Laughter Foundation dude, then please make an online donation to me directly. Not to The Laughter Foundation this time. Help me directly. 5 bucks. 50, if you want. And thank me and pay me for writing a very entertaining blog. You, are the ligger. You are the parasite, enjoying Enjoy the Veal and not paying for it. In fact, to my entire worldwide audience, please, show me you love me. Please make a small donation. (Info on how to donate at the end of my rant.) It really would make me feel a lot better about assholes like the one I’m writing to. Plus, I really could use the money!!
Compliments are flowing in on how good a writer some people think I am. Here are just a handful:
“You are ONE funny writer----Everything I read of yours makes me laugh and think---Not just the kind words about me....But the insights you have for the Comedy racket...You’re Barbara Hersey---we are beaches.” – Taylor Negron; comedian and actor
"SAG is a maven of comedy. He makes stream of consciousness look easy. He makes belligerence fun. He makes taking comedy seriously lighthearted. He makes me laugh." -- Beth Lapides; creater and producer of Uncabaret (and Sex Goddess, IMHO)
"Thanks, Steven. Great reviews! It’s so refreshing when someone actually listens, cares, and articulates." – Cathy Ladman, stand-up comedian, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, HBO, Craig Ferguson.
"Entertaining, informative, honest and hilarious! Keep up your sumptuous banquet of delectable observations, insights and obsessions. Each blog delivers a veritable cornucopia of surprises. Your writing is more than just comfort food — it’s an array of morsels that can satiate even a glutton’s appetite for guilty pleasures! More, more, Mr. Green!" –- Julian Krainin, Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe and BAFTA winning film producer of Robert Redford’s “Quiz Show”.
"This is absolutely inspired stream of consciousness! Hysterical, funny, biting, insightful, grandiose. A surreptitiously diplomatic narrative smart enough to sanely and ultimately further his own self interests. Greene is a brilliant but fatefully undisciplined comic genius, grabbing the baton, (i.e. QWERTY keyboard in this case) from the likes of J. Hunter Thompson and Norman Mailer (Think “Fire on the Moon”). Even if you don’t follow it all, its a wonderful run-away train ride consisting of his painful life experiences, his attitudes, observations and especially his misgivings. Kudos and hosannas!! About THAT, there are no misgivings on our part!" -- Danny & Joe (I don’t know who Danny & Joe are, but I LIKE them!)
"Nice writing!" – Martin Olson, Disney Animation Studios Head Writer Phineas and Ferb.
"Brilliant review of Ms. Karam's tour de force, sir." – Bill Zehme, Esquire, Vanity Fair, Playboy, Rolling Stone contributor and writer of the New York Times bestseller, “The Way You Wear Your Hat: Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Living.
"Steven Alan Green possesses the kind of writing that reminds you of when better writers were in the fore. He has a twist to the twist of phrase, that is his own. I am a big fan of his words." – Rick Overton, comedian & actor, HBO and Soderbergh's, "The Informant".
"SAG is better than a union of thousands of actors. He's a one-man army of unrelenting enthusiasm, humor and grit." – Hank Rosenfelt; author of "The Wicked Wit of the West".
I’m still struggling financially, but that's Showbiz. I need work done on my teeth. I’m worried how I’m gonna pay my rent, my phone. I’m searching constantly for day jobs. I’ve applied everywhere. The only thing which brings me consistent money is The Laughter Foundation. It’s a business. Yes, it’s helping me now, mostly. But, that’s okay, I’m a comedian. I’ve accomplished a lot and deserve a hand. I’ve helped many people in the past. When we produce an event, such as the Castro, it goes through our Fiscal Receiver, because we’re not an official 501(c)3 just yet. We pay a 10% fee for that service. And, one of things we want to raise money for is for "admin", and specifically the $1,000 or so we need to apply for our own 501 status. If people want to give directly to me (as they have) I'd be very greatful. And, if anyone donates to me personally, through my PayPal account, $25 or more, you get a free ticket to the show at the Castro April 1, 2013. This is a limited time offer. Did those two old ladies get tricked by me? Did I lie to them that I was helping comedians? I don’t think so. Because, even if the money I got I used to feed myself and not anyone else, that’s helping other comedians, because it keeps me, the person running The Laughter Foundation, alive, so that the company can grow and one day help hundreds of comedians. That’s why I’m producing the show at the Castro. To help launch the foundation into reality. I’m not ashamed, nor should I be, for “lining my own pockets”. I’m doing good work. Why shouldn’t I be paid for that work? Then again, maybe it is all a scam. After all the show, "Comedy: The New C Word" takes place April 1, 2013 @ The Castro Theatre in San Francisco. But according to the Mayans, there will be no show. All comedy shows cancelled due to the upcoming End of the World. I hope I’ve explained and answered your stupid unfounded accusations, Geri Luis, whomever you may really be. When you accomplish something great in your life, you let me know. In the meantime, let me leave you with some words of wisdom I once learned from my Gramma Anna.
“Go fuck yourself.”
And, Merry Christmas to the real Jerry Lewis.
The Great (and a little late) Steven Alan Green, at your service!
(Donation info at end of blog, just before Facebook Tweets.....THANKS, SUCKERS!!)
Dan Dion is a world-reknowned rock n' roll and comedy photographer, who happens to keep his long lens where he lives, in the Bay Area. Dan is internationally reknowned as the world's most prolific portrait photographer of comedians, and is the long-standing house photographer at the legendary Fillmore Auditorium, here in San Francisco. Dan's snaps have been featured in Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Playboy, Spin, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire and Variety. In May, 2010, his first book was published by Harper Collins, a collaboration with comic and filmmaker Paul Provenza, ¡Satiristas! was met with high critical acclaim. Dan's portraits wrap the walls of the finest comedy clubs in the country, including San Francisco's Cobb's and the Punch Line, and Gotham Comedy Club in New York City. I connected with Dan, when I was still in LA, plotting and planning my San Francisco adventure, reaching out to anyone I knew or could connect through Facebook. As a former stranger to me, Dan was very friendly and helpful, leading me to believe, since I was hailing an attitude cab from LA, he wasn't the genuine article. However; to my delightful surprise, Dan is more than the genuine article. He's the entire newspaper. Creative, prolific, calm and a true orginial. That's how I would describe him to the police. And, though I don't like to lift the veil completely, in terms of whom I know, who is my friend and who hates me nearly as much as I hate myself, I am proud to say openly that I am gay. Not true. But, were I gay, I would be openly proud. Where was I.... Oh yeah! I am proud to say Dan is a friend. So, given that you trust me, and I'm not just out there to boost and network (anymore than I am here to attack and tear-down) please allow me, with great professional pleasure, to introduce to you, The David Bailey of Comedy, Mr. Dan Dion.
SAG: What made you get into photography and when?
DD: It seems I've always been "into" it- when I took my first photos of family and friends I got the bug. Professionally, I began work at a portrait studio when I was 18.
SAG: Who are more interesting to shoot, Rock n Rollers or Comedians? - and why?
DD: For me, I like comedians because I understand their art in a different way. While I'm not a musician, I think that comedy is a part of my life every day, even though I'm not a stand-up. The musicians that I shoot are at such a high level, that while I have access to them, they're not really "accessible" in the way that comedians are. And I think that I can represent comedians in an image the way that musicians can't be.
SAG: Who are more easy to deal with? - and why?
DD: Comedians are easier for me because they trust me- I have a different kind of reputation with them. Famous musicians have levels of gatekeepers that you have to get through, and by the time you get there, the subject has his own walls up. That said, with my work for The Fillmore for example, I'm often getting them right before or after they get onstage, so I get a more honest portrait, as opposed to a magazine shoot, for example, with a makeup artist, wardrobe stylist, etc.. And comics want to work with me, whereas most musicians feel that photo shoots are a necessary annoyance.
SAG: What qualities do you try and draw out of any subject?
DD: I want my portraits to be honest, and represent who that person really is, not necessarily their stage persona. Shooting Lewis Black, for example- my shot is of him smiling and flipping the bird, not looking angry and rantish. He says it's his favorite photo of himself, which for me is the greatest compliment.
SAG: Without naming names, who was the most difficult to shoot?
DD: The self-image issue with some women is sometimes tough to deal with. I may think a shot is perfect, but she doesn't like the way her eyebrows look. I find women lovely in so many different ways, that it's disheartening to hear the way they think about themselves sometimes. It's so unfortunate that so many women can't see their own beauty.
SAG: What's the weirdest shooting scenario you've ever experienced?
DD: Perhaps the Jim Rose Circus. That's pretty weird. But then there's GWAR, the Genitorturers, and other erotic novelty acts. I did once have to shoot 25 Irish wolfhounds in a bar, so that was...different.
SAG: Who would you like to shoot more than anyone? (aside from the bill collector)
DD: Undoubtedly, a portrait of Tom Waits is at the top of my list.
SAG: When working on ¡Satiristas!, you were shooting a bunch of contemporary intellectual comedy rebels; modern day folk heroes. Was there a special challenge there, whereby you may have felt extra pressure to get the essence of the subject, without making it look too friendly, funny or just damn commercial?
DD: Thankfully, it already suited my style, because I rarely go out to take "funny" pictures, unless it's a concept shoot for CD/DVD or specific promo. I usually go for a smart look and that perfectly suits satirists, who get annoyed when photographers portray them as clowns. You can't shoot P.J. O'Rourke, Paul Mooney, or Marc Maron as joke monkeys.
SAG: You have snapped nearly a 1,000 comedians in your day. Over how many years is that?
DD: It started in 1992 when I worked at the Holy City Zoo and has been pretty much non-stop ever since. It just kind of snowballed- once comics saw my shots of their friends, more and more of them wanted to shoot with me, to the point where I don't have to bring my portfolio around anymore- which is nice.
SAG: How have comedians changed their looks or the way they want to be seen?
DD: Ten years ago we were still in the age of black and white 8x10s. That has changed dramatically. Color is the name of the game now, and comics have gone way beyond headshots. I like to think I had a small hand in that, as they've gone more towards portraits with personality.
SAG: Who are more concerned with image: comedians or musicians?
DD: Musicians expect to look cool. Comics are grateful if you make them look cool. Musicians are confident, whereas a lot of comics are insecure about their image, so if you can make something that dispels that insecurity, you've got a friend for life.
SAG: If you could go back in time, which comedian (living or dead) would you like to photo?
DD: Bill Hicks, Richard Pryor, or Peter Sellers.
SAG: Explain why a good photo is so important for an artist?
DD: Well, different photos do different things. At a crass level, as a selling tool, the right photo can get you a lot of press coverage. If it's your DVD cover, the image is HUGE, because you're concerned about what will make people pick it up at Wall-Mart. For a touring comic, a great image will get published in the calendar section of newspapers wherever you're playing, which makes the difference between a tiny listing and a featured selection. That's some concrete money shit right there.
SAG: What makes an iconic shot?
DD: Honesty, spontaneity, context. Those all help. And it seems to me that people feel portraits of artists when they're younger seem to have more value. Or rather, lesser-known. Before they're hugely famous.
SAG: How much of what you do is by accident?
DD: Nothing. I'll sometimes get surprising results from musician performance shots, but accidental shots just aren't how I work.
SAG: How has working strictly digital changed your work?
DD: The conservation of film is a thing of the past. Digital greatly impacted concert photography. Whereas I may have shot three rolls of chrome film before, now I can shoot the equivalent of 30 rolls in three songs. Plus before, when shooting slide film, you had to nail your exposure. If you were a stop off, your image was garbage. Now you can use all kinds of digital tricks to salvage a poor exposure.
SAG: Tell us about your future plans and projects.
DD: Survival. I'll let you know how that works out.
SAG: What's the biggest mistake you ever made photographing somebody?
DD: Besides not loading the camera with film? (R.E.M.- figured it out about a song in to the concert.) Early in my career, probably around 1994, I was doing a quick portrait of Ray Romano, and had to use the available light. I used a footlight that was on the ground and he said "Isn't that going to look terrible?" I said no- it would be fine. It looked terrible. There's a reason uplight is called "Frankenstein Lighting".
SAG: Does a comedian have to be naturally good looking to be a good photo subject?
DD: Absolutely not. "Naturally Good Looking" is boring to me. Character is interesting and beautiful to me.
SAG: Do you try and set the comedian in a shooting locale and a set that reflects or enhances who they are?
DD: That's the essence of what a location portrait artist does.
SAG: If you had to choose between photographing John Lennon or Lenny Bruce, which one would you choose?
DD: Can't say on that one. How about some kind of hybrid clone? John Lenny Bruce?
Dan Dion has the soul of a comedian; his microphone is his camera and in a very real sense, Dan's been on the comedy stage, performing through his photography, anthropologically documenting not only stand-up comedians and rock musicians, but in a very real way, he documents us; the audience. Because after all, who we watch, who we listen to, who we laugh at; they are indeed a reflection of our dreams, our thoughts, our beliefs, our suspicions and our paranoia. Comedians, as Dan Dion continues to prove, are an exact reflection of who we are, as people. And, no matter how you frame it, that's the funny truth.
Enjoy the veal,
Steven Alan Green, 12/9/12
Catch The Musical Image - Recption for 20-Year Music Photography Retrospective by Dan Dion @ Madrone Art Bar, 500 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, California 94117. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO & Dan Dion's website.
ENJOY THE VEAL PHOTO GALLERY LEGEND:
Zach: Backstage at the Fillmore after his big closing number. Such a fun night. Perfect after-show vibe.
George Carlin: When interviewing with Paul Provenza for our book ¡SATIRISTAS!, George said it was the photo he wanted to be remembered by. Three weeks later he died. So bittersweet.
Seinfeld: Backstage at The Paramount in Oakland. Jerry said he loves this photo because it makes him look like Buster Keaton.
Mike Meehan: Back in 1992 at the Holy City Zoo- the first time I took a shot of a comedian that I felt showed how photography can convey what comedy really is, and not just the artifice or the act. It's haunting, I think.
Russell Brand: After a show at Cobb's. Aesthetically speaking, it has all the elements of a great shot- light, shadow, composition, mood, pose...sex. But I also love that his set list is written on his hand.
Tenacious D.: Clown princes of acoustic hard rock, and supreme humorsicians, The D. rules the land.
Lewis Black: Look closely and you'll see the ghosted bird being flipped. That's on the original black and white neg- not Photoshopped, and not by accident.
Greg Proops: A portrait befitting "The Smartest Man in the World" and quite possibly the funniest. I'd stack his stand-up against anyone's. I was looking for a Hollywood glamour shot, and managed to get the smoke just right.
Spinal Tap: I will never....ever.... be cooler than I was at that moment- hanging out with Tap.
Photo credit of Dan Dion's portrait: Alex Shonkoff.
And, now a new section to Enjoy the Veal....
TALES FROM THE COMEDY CRYPT! -
With Ritch Shydner
"Shyde" has done it all. One of America's greatest stand-ups in the last 50 years; only, he's not that old. Ritch Shydner (along with fellow stand-up comedian Mark Schiff) created, "I Killed: True Stories from the Road from America's Top Comics" (Random Hosue) Shyde shares with Enjoy the Veal one of his own incredible showbiz stories. Take it away, Ritch!
In 1986, Robert Palmer did an industry show for his hit single, “Addicted to Love,” at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go on Sunset Strip. Industry crowds are notoriously difficult to please and engage, so someone at William Morris thought it a good idea to have a comic lay on the barbed wire for Mr. Palmer. There was no pay, but the gig was sold to me as a favor to the music depart-ment and a great opportunity to be seen by some of Hollywood’s Boozers and Fakers. No one greeted me at the crowded club that night. After a frustrating search for someone in charge that matched Martin Sheen’s in Apocalypse Now, I approached the sound man. He told me to stand by the stage for his signal. A few minutes later the sound man waved for me to go onto the stage. Thinking he wanted me in motion for the introduction, I walked slowly while he waved me forward. This continued until I stood behind the microphone. I stared at him. He stared right back at me. After a very long moment he thrust both hands toward me, and nodded his head vigorously which I interpreted as the international rock and roll signal for, “What are you waiting for, idiot?! Go! Go!” No introduction, no lighting change, but I dutifully launched into my first joke anyway. It got nothing, neither did the second, third or fourth; not a laugh, a chuckle, or a groan. My amplified voice bounced off a solid bed of loud conversations. Right in front of the stage stood Jack Nicholson, whispering into the ear of Whoopi Goldberg. Everywhere I looked there were stars, all talking to each other. It was a big show biz cocktail party and I was the carved ice sculpture in the center of the room. The most I got was a glance while they sipped from their drinks. I dipped into my deep well of self-doubt and ladled self-deprecating jokes to the crowd. In an effort to protect the future of my material, I created imaginary dialogue for the conversations happening all around me. The savers and the improvisation got a single laugh here and then another one over there. Whenever there was a laugh, I aimed my next joke in that direction hoping to build on that tiny success. It was a futile game of comedic whack-a-mole.
It had been years since my last bombing, but here I was experiencing a major ass-kicking. I entered that vortex where the chill from the lack of laughter eventually freezes time. I think Einstein called it, “Stagengefucked”. Then with no warning, and while I was still talking, the sound man interjects with a booming voice, “Let’s have a hand for comedian Ritch Shydner.” For a brief moment the whole room went silent, everyone looked at me and then returned to their conversations. The guy skipped the intro, but made sure everyone got the name of the ship they just witnessed burning and sinking. I left the stage as I took it, without one bit of applause. The crowd parted for the leper. Eyes averted mine. Bodies recoiled from any possible contact. Hollywood always treated failure like a communicable disease. I was a carrier, a career killer. Before I turned onto Downer Road to begin the long drive to Depression Gorge, a young man with a brilliant smile stepped into my path. “Hey, that took a lot of courage to do what you did up there.” Donny Osmond shook my hand and then disappeared into the crowd. One person offered one bit of acceptance, and the lame was healed. I ran to the Improv stage and let fresh laughter wash away the stink. (RS 12/12/12)
That's about it this week, folks, I hope you've enjoyed Enjoy the Veal this week. And, many many great things ahead, including my exclusive interview with Comedy Podcast Hero (and Laughter Foundation supporter) Brian Sontag! Plus, many more reviews of the San Francisco Comedy Scene while it still welcomes my sorrowful soul. You know, I hate to drag anyone down. I know I'm belly-aching, and it's true, I am. But, I'm not just hurting financially. I'm hurting down to my very soul. All I ever wanted to be, ever since I was a little kid was a comedian. I've pissed a few people off along the way and have had my great Icrarusian adventures. And, yet, I feel like I'm just geting started. I don't know if I'll ever get an apology from Jerry Lewis; probably not. Everybody tells me what a bastard he is. Good for him. I hope he lives out his remaining years loved and respected. I do. That's because, no matter what, I care about comedians. You know why? I'll tell you why..... Because I care about Comedy. And, you want to know why I care about Comedy? I care about Comedy because I care about the World. Thank you to all my readers, in 6 countries around the world and the combined total of approx. 3,000 people who follow Enjoy the Veal and The Laughter Foundation monthly. Please help me raise a little money until the TV commercial money comes in about a month. Here's me, Steven Alan Green, playing "the obnoxious American". A role, I was born to play. Shame on you Geri Luis. At least the real Jerry Lewis had the courtesy to yell at me directly.
Good night, folks. I'm outta here.
Enjoy the veal,
Steven Alan Green, San Francisco, 12/11/12
FACEBOOK TWEETS OF THE WEEK:
This is why I love San Francisco. Two cops just gave a homeless guy a $175.00 ticket for smoking in the same square they completely ignored two buck naked men.
Whenever I want to feel like I'm back home in England, I listen to BBC Radio 2. When I lived in England and wanted to feel like I was living in America, I listened to BBC Radio 2.
I'm as broke as Back Mountain.
I know invisible angels are helping me achieve my dream, I just wish they'd introduce themselves; they're starting to creep me out.
I pledge allegiance to the bills of the United Debt of America. And to the high interest, for which it demands, one nation under water, insurmountable, with bankruptcy and high taxes for all.
Joe Biden looks like a 1970's TV cowboy actor. Doug McClure, Tina Louise and Joe Biden in....The Outlaw from DC. Tonight's episode. Injuns: From VP to TeePee.
Forming rock band. Looking for guitar player with a hook or an eye patch. Musicianship not a criteria. Drug habit or mental illness a plus. Firearms license required. Satanic worshiping a bonus. No weirdos.
Santa is a redistributionist commie.
In the Afterlife, as in Life, whether you get to Heaven or go to Hell, is mostly a matter of office politics.
THIS WEEK’S COMEDY RECOMMENDATIONS:
Highly Recommended (I was high when I recommended it....JOKE!): The AMAZING Beth Lapides' UnCabaret show on Sunday! Great bill, including Jake Johannen, Tim Bagley, musical guests conniekim, The Goods, Marcella Detroit. More info on Facebook & Ticket info.
Highly Recommended - Sunday, Dec 23rd @ 730pm, Rick Overton & Friends @ The Improv on Melrose. Great line-up includes: Chris Pina (host), Kelly Carlin, Rick Shapiro, Gary Shapiro, Chris Bonno, Suzzane Whang, Bob Dubac, Dylan Brody, Carrie Snow. More info on Facebook.
SPECIAL RECOMMENDATION: Now through Jan 31 @ Madrone Art Bar: Top Rock n' Roll and Stand-Up Comedy Photographer Extraordinaire Dan Dion's The Musical Image, showing & retrospective, ongoing now thru end Jan. Don't miss the official reception Thursday Dec 13! More info on Facebook.
Cup o' Comedy at Emma's Coffee House hosted by Denny Dechi, Wed, Dec 13 @ 7pm 5549 Geary Blvd (corner of 20th Ave) (415) 933-6632, www.DannyDechi.com
The Comikaze Lounge: Dec. 19 @ 8PM at Cafe Royale, It's Free. The lineup includes Ron Funches, Ray Molina, Eloisa Bravo, Nick Palm, Cara Tramantano, Greg Asdorian, Stefani Silverman, and Kate Willett. More info on their website.
Nato Green headlines The Punchline, Dec 19 & 20th @ 8pm. Tickets: $15 at 415-397-7573 or thru the Punchline website.
ODDZ 'N ENZ:
To have your comedy show reviewed or hire your humble and always incredibly charming comedy writer or to complain about anything: email@example.com. To hire Steven for any Hollywood film or television writing jobs, please contact Noah Jones @ The Gersh Agency (310) 205-5836. Follow Enjoy the Veal on Facebook, and The Laughter Foundation and on Facebook. And remember, Never take life too serioiusly, you'll never get out of it alive!!!
Steven Alan Green, San Francisco, 12/12/12