Fri, Oct 01
COMEDIANS OF COMEDY SHOOTING DIARY: I LIKE TO BE HERE WHEN I CAN@ 12:00 AM
I'm home, finally, from the road. 11 days wherein I filmed a 1 hour special for Comedy Central, made my first appearance on Howard Stern, and did 7 shows to near sold-out music clubs, all of which was being filmed for a documentary/performance film.
Now I'm unpacking, washing clothes, editing my special, and finishing up an intro to a trade paperback zombie comic. But ah, the memories keep intruding:
After leaving Eugene Saturday morning, we headed up to Lake Shasta for a much-needed night off. We stopped in this little mountain town on the way that boasted it had the "Best Burger on the I-5". When we walked in we were greeted by a fetid smell that reminded me of diapers on a dashboard, plus an ominous, angry Dry-Erase board bible quote. We ate down the street, and the burgers there were fine. I'm not a fan of smells.
Lake Shasta was so beautiful and peaceful. Zach expounded on comedy for a segment of the documentary, and Brian and I ran naked through the woods for another segment of the documentary. The UPN has bought that footage for a pilot presentation, they just need to add "retards with paint guns" (that's what the e-mail said today) and we've got a show.
We made dogs and burgers that night. It was a great chance to hang with the crew, none of whom I made any close friendships with because of my narcissism, self-loathing, and iPod addiction. Let's meet all the cool people who made this tour and documentary possible:
DJ was the other producer, and pretty much put the whole film together while I nodded stupidly and tried not to drool. He's a fantastic cook, a tough, motorcycle-riding Jew, and all-around mensch. I was even more excited when I got him to eat a BACON cheeseburger on Yom Kippur. Triple blasphemy score!
Henry Owings edits Chunklet Magazine, and co-produced my first CD, and is our resident Lester Bangs/fixit guy/tour manager. All the advance work, fire quelling action we left up to him. Sure, he makes me feel like I have the musical taste of an 81 year-old man, but that's because the only thing on my iPod is Dick Haymes.
Michael Blieden directed the whole documentary. He also wrote MELVIN GOES TO DINNER, and is a calming presence. He's like a human cloud of pot smoke, which was good to have around whenever anyone mentioned George Lucas around Brian.
Neil Mahoney is a bud from the MBar, and laughs at almost anything I say, especially when it involves pussy, so he's A+. Erik Magnus is a big teddy bear, and despite wiring me every five goddamn minutes (I kept "forgetting" my mike and battery pack) never lost his patience with my diva-like bleatings. Inman! Inman was DJ's right-hand man, and was really good at tricking everyone into doing exactly what he wanted us to do without seeming to ask us anything. Wow. I think he had a power crystal. I don't ever remember speaking to Mike Black directly, but that's probably 'cuz he avoided me, which shows you he's smart. Brandon Hickman kinda looked like a junkie and a ranch hand, but he was an ace DP. Dave Romano looked like Tom Savini, so he could have shot me in the leg and I still woulda liked him. And Elizabeth McDonald was another ace DP who would NOT STOP FILMING ME!!! But she appreciated old scotch, so again, A+.
The cookout went like that—shots of scotch, laughs, fireflies, and a distant train every five minutes. Zach crowned himself the King of Snacks, and we all went to bed.
The next day found the whole crew at The Black Bear Inn, further down the 5. Which town? The fuck should I know? I'm an artist!
Everything in the Black Bear Inn was bear-related, right down to the "Talk to the Paw" sign and "Almost Bear-a-dise" T-shirts. Brian thought they should have a T-shirt with a bear in a wheelchair that said, "I've Been Bear-alized" and I imagined a "Bear-ly Legal" glossy stroke rag. Zach told us, "Don't go bear". Brian ordered The Volcano, which he only finished half of, and still produced a turd which got up, went outside, and beat up three truckers. Then Brian sat next to a carved bear on a bench! 'Cause the place was called The Black Bear Inn and there were bears everywhere! You might think I'm milking this whole "bear" thing too much, but you'll just have to grin and "tolerate" it!
Then we got a flat tire, which was kind of dramatic, but then the drama ended when we still got to S.F. on time. Oh well. Maria was weirdly calm backstage before a show where she fucking CRUSHED. Zach hired some homeless street singers to sing the punch lines to his jokes.
Okay, I know, I should have taken more pics in S.F., but I was seriously burned out at this point. We all went to dinner at Andalu on the 27th, had another fun show, and then I flew back to L.A. Tuesday morning.
The last show—Wednesday at the El Rey—was a library of all the comedians I a) love and b) were in town. The day started off calmly enough, with new comics, strong tea, and a breakfast burrito. But then ominous signs were everywhere. A dead bird on my doorstep. A fucked-up movie billboard on Fairfax where it looks like Jude Law is dreaming about fucking Gary Sinese, a staunch Republican. And, worst of all, one of those inflatable "crazy arm" dudes on La Cienega—WITH HIS ARMS TORN OFF. Shuddering and trembling in the noonday sun like a sudden amputee who can't stop smiling, because the agony has pushed him past the glimmery brink of sanity.
But the show went great. I mean, fucking terrific. A lot of fun, for me to watch and perform on. What happened? Why all the bad omens but then the amazing payoff? How had I reversed the ju-ju?
On the way home, I ran over a black cat in front of a church near my house. Kla-DUMP! Dead. Darted right out, and I didn't even have time to brake. It tried to cross my path, but didn't make it. I'd crushed all my bad luck with my new radials. Thanks, Firestone!
And thank everyone for supporting the tour! See you in the spring, East Coast!