Monday, June 25, 2012

Welcome to Tacoma

Recently I had the opportunity to perform at the Tacoma Comedy Club.  A new and fairly successful club in the heart of downtown Tacoma Washington.  Let me first say the club is amazing.  Easily one of the best rooms I've ever performed at.  The staff was professional, the crowds were great, and I set a new record for t-shirt sales in a single week.  The shows were so good in fact that I decided to record a set on my video camcorder.  That is when this beautiful week took an ugly turn.

The show I decided to tape was the early show on Saturday.  It was a sold out show with 250+ people in attendance.  While these kind of crowds guarantee good laughs they also mean there is a good chance that someone in the audience will head to the bathroom in the middle of your set and stand-up in your shot, ruining an otherwise perfect joke.  On the advice of the house MC I decided to set up my camera on a balcony railing above most of the crowd.  The camera was near several tables of people, but out of the way so it likely wouldn't have been noticed. 

I went on stage and did my time.  Not a phenomenal set, but one that definitely had some good clips I could pull from it.  Unfortunately when I finished I had forgotten about my camera and failed to pick it up.  After the headliner finished his set we stood in the lobby and shook hands as people left the club and sold some of our t-shirts.  Then, as you might guess, when I went back to pick up my camcorder I found that it was gone.  Likely it was taken by an audience member who spotted it on their way out. 

You can imagine I was none to happy.  Not only had this person probably seen me set up the camera and then decided to steal it, but they also had to pass right past me and probably shook my hand as they left the club.  To make matters worse the camcorder had video of my son which I had yet to transfer to my computer and will never be able to get back. 

The amusing part of this story (if there is an amusing part) is that when I was asking the staff if anyone had seen my camcorder, they admitted that it had likely been stolen and then just shrugged and said "Welcome to Tacoma."  Later that night when I joked about the theft on the late show that same line was shouted out by the audience.  The inside joke being that you should know better than to leave a camera unguarded in "this city."  Only in the Northwest can my naivety with theft be blamed on my ignorance of a single city and not of all of humanity. 

For those not familiar with the Northwest, Tacoma is considered Seattle's dirty little brother.  A lot of people around here consider it a shady city filled with sketchy people.  The irony in this is that any other part of the country would consider Tacoma tame compared to their cities.  Do you think if the same theft happened in LA, Chicago, or New York people would make the same joke?  Of course not.  They would justifiably call me a moron for trusting strangers not to steal my stuff.  Only in the Northwest, where cars will slow down to let jaywalkers cross the street and strangers smile when they make eye contact would a city like Tacoma be considered a cesspool. 

Is the person who stole my camera a jerk?  Of course.  Am I an idiot for leaving a family video camera in a place where anyone can grab it?  My wife would say yes.  But is Tacoma the dark seedy underbelly that some people think it is?  Only in a perfect world would a place like this be considered the worst there is. 

As for myself I'm looking for a replacement camcorder.  One that I plan to keep a closer eye on.  And should the thief who stole my last one read this blog someday and decide to save Tacoma's "reputation" I will trade you back my camcorder for one of my t-shirts that reads "I don't care if you have small boobs, I still want to see them." 

A boob shirt for a boob move.  Sounds like a fair trade.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I'll Write This Later...

It has recently been pointed out to me that I haven't updated my blog in a while.  I have a very good reason for this... I'm lazy. 

Sure I have other reasons that may sound better.  My wife and I recently had our first kid.  I started a new job and was then fired from said job.  I've even been booked solid for months on the road and could argue that I've been doing to much travel to write for a blog that only five people read (Hi Mom!).  But in the end it's because I just don't manage my time well and it's much easier to waste time on the internet especially when it's literally just a click away. 

Comedy is a job that encourages laziness.  After all, I only work for at most an hour or two a day.  If I don't have to travel that leaves a lot of free time on my schedule.  Of course I could spend some of that doing something productive such as exercise or write comedy, but it's much easier to spend it doing nothing. 

It's amazing how easy it is to waste a day when you are on the road doing comedy.  Between sleeping in, watching TV, playing games on my smartphone, and screwing around online I am able to do less by 6pm then most people do by breakfast.  No wonder so many comics are overweight and look like they watch a lot of internet porn. 

Even comedy related projects like this blog are easy to postpone.  When you have an entire weekend free you tend to put things off knowing that you'll have plenty of time later.  The same goes for writing jokes, contacting bookers, and updating websites.  This of course becomes a problem from a business point of view. 

People rarely think about the business side of comedy, including many comedians.  Even though our job is to make people laugh, most of our time is devoted (or is supposed to be devoted) to networking with contacts, promoting ourselves and events, and working to get more bookings.  The comics who can't force themselves to spend time on these things are doomed for failure.  This is one reason why so many comedians and entertainers have agents and managers.  We need someone to give us the occasional kick in the butt and sometimes do some of the work for us. 

For those like me who aren't successful or wealthy enough to justify a manager or an agent, a nagging wife will suffice.  There is nothing more frightening then the look on you're wife face during a video chat when you explain to her that you spent the entire day in your underwear watching HBO while she has spent the day working, cleaning, and taking care of a colicky baby.  Once again honey I'm sorry your day was so rough and I promise I'll vacuum and take care of the trash just as soon as I get home.