Posts tagged ‘John Travolta’

April 22, 2011

Adventures in Open Mic, Volume 1


STARDATE: Tuesday, April 19, 2011
VENUE: Funny Bone Westport, St. Louis

I can fade this shit in five minutes flat.

Tonight was the first in what should become a weekly tradition now that I’m back in St. Louis — open mic night at Funny Bone Westport. More than 30 comics showed up, and only 16 were picked to perform. I was one of them, and I’m pretty sure it was only because I wrote on the sign-up sheet that I had two to four friends coming to see me. It’s good to have friends.

The open mic comedians are corralled into the corner balcony. If you want to sit at a table with your buddies, you become a paying customer. No employee pricing on drinks, and the two-drink minimum applies. Now, I quit drinking six months ago, and I wasn’t keen on the idea of paying three bucks for a 16-ounce off-brand bottle of water or a 10-ounce mug of Coke filled to the top with ice. So I went the O’Doul’s route.

Drank up my two bottles of nonalcoholic brew and felt a little bit loopy for a few minutes afterward. It gave me the idea to play a sadistic trick on my wife — drink a six-pack of O’Doul’s, come home, kiss her on the mouth and pretend to be half-drunk, then burst into phony tears because I took a tumble from the wagon. That is, if I didn’t get pulled over on the way home and flunk a sobriety test due to sheer lack of coordination. (“Step out of the car, Beer Breath.”)

As the show’s starting each week, the FBW people post a roster of which open mic comics have been picked to perform and in what order. I was listed 14th, third to last. Open mic people get four minutes onstage. Throughout the show, sprinkled between every three or four comics, they bring professional comedians up, and it seems like they’re allowed to perform for up to eight minutes.

Not sure if it was intentional on FBW’s part, but the funniest open mic comedians went up first. Then there was a stretch of four or five in a row who sucked. Not helping matters at all was a table of four seated just off stage left. Two girls, two guys and probably 32 cocktails between them. They talked loudly amongst themselves and heckled the comedians.

I haven’t yet had to deal with being heckled — hell, at open mic at Donnie B’s in Springfield, no one can even sit close enough to the stage for the comedians to hear them — but five or six different comics told these people to shut the fuck up, in those words, and were completely ineffective at accomplishing the task. A bouncer finally went over to the table and talked his bouncer talk, and they still wouldn’t shut up.

To make matters worse, these guys heckled the funny comedians and left the sucky ones alone. I was praying for their noisy-ass intervention when a 50-year-old weirdo who’d never set foot onstage was in the middle of reciting his two-minute poem about a Boy Scout with a tick on the head of his penis.

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March 12, 2011

Shoulda Died Young: A WNF Free-For-All

edited by ANDREW HICKS

So Elton John was seriously a genius for the first half of the ’70s. Then he put out the godawful “Crocodile Rock,” became a cartoon character, started writing almost exclusively for cartoon characters, almost went bankrupt because he spends some stupid amount on fresh flowers and now is just an aged celebrity more famous for being out of the closet than anything he’s actually done over the last 15 to 20 years.

That gets me thinking, who are some pop culture stars who would’ve had more respectable careers had they died early? Would Gallagher have become a revered cult comedian had he been assassinated in 1985?

I thought Gallagher drowned in a freak melon juice accident in 2002.

I think a lot of rock stars will fit under here. Does anyone revere anything the Rolling Stones or The Who have put out in the last 30 years? Those are pretty easy targets, though.

I think “Beast of Burden” is 31 years old, so you’re probably right.

Brando, after he should've been long-dead

I’m gonna go with Marlon Brando. By the time he went toes up, he was just a crazy fat man who spent the majority of his time on his private island. Let’s say he actually died during the making of Apocalypse Now. Sure he’d be remembered as being a bit strange, but that would be far, far outweighed by his career as an actor. On top of that, Apocalypse Now (which already has a mythic quality to it) goes to a whole new level in the history of film.

Michael Jackson. I woulda loved to have seen one of the mommas of the little boys he touched just slit his throat.

MJ is another way-too-easy target, though. If I’m going pop stars of the ’80s, I’d say Madonna. I know Ray of Light and Music are solid works, but what if she had died in 1989 after putting out Like a Prayer? She goes out with possibly her most ambitious album and becomes the <a href="John Cazale of pop music. More importantly if she croaks in 1989, she avoids all the drama of Dennis Rodman, Jose Canseco and Alex Rodriguez. The Kabbalah nonsense never comes up. Her marriage to Guy Ritchie and the subsequently horrid film Swept Away never happen. No one makes any jokes about how muscled up she’s become.

A Madonna who dies in 1989 is still a Madonna who starred in Shanghai Surprise.

Well… no career is perfect. Except John Cazale’s, as he can’t help that Francis Ford Coppola raped his corpse by putting footage of him into Godfather III.

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