Tuesday, November 13, 2007

To Boldly Go Where No Punchline Has Gone Before

This weekend, I got to be a road commie. Sorry, road comic. Different sameness. I went to New Jersey. Twas all that and a sack of potato skins. Anyway, what made this weekend different from other ones is that I got a comp’d hotel room. Me, by my own virtue, was bestowed “one complimentary hotel room: two beds, two nights” for the weekend.

Life goal doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about this achievement. Someone was not only like “hey, why don’t you come north and tell us some jokes?” but also “hey, and then after that, rest yourself on one of our fluffy sleep rectangles and avail yourself of our tiny toiletries and microwave(!!!) and tiny fridge. In fact, while you’re at it, write some notes on our complimentary notepad using our complimentary pen. There is no end to our compliments!” It was like a fairy tale, except more believable.


can anybody say palace?


for exfoliating her highness's face

So sometimes I ramble. So I’m going to try and keep this real. Keep “it” real as the old folks say. I don’t know what the kids are saying these days. I’m already rambling. Fuggedaboutit. And a camman for good measure.

The first night was pure sprinkles. I get to the hotel, where comedy buddy Ryan Conner meets me and we proceed to hang out in my hotel room and write “brilliant” ideas. Ok yes, we trashed the place, but yes, we also cleaned up the mess. Pillow fight? Um, rhetorical!!

The Friday show was gorgeous. The audience actively tuned out some of my jokes which I found an admirable response at a paid-entry comedy show. Also there was a man in the audience who looked like he had either just murdered or was about to murder someone (let’s call him Stoneface). I kept looking at him throughout the show to see what he was laughing at, which turned out to be nothing. But not only was he not laughing, Stoneface didn’t emote at all. But he had his arm around a nice lady who appeared to be enjoying herself for the both of them.

Then there was a comedian who went on after me who is known on the circuit as “Mr. Rubber Face.” I think the descriptor speaks for itself. He went onstage wearing a pompadour toupee and his act was a series of noises, sound effects and voices punctuated by jokes. Also I think his eyebrows are certified in contortionism. I didn’t get to meet him though. Boo. Not that I didn’t try! He arrived and left completely incognito, all normal-looking, in a baseball cap and glasses, maybe even wearing a fake moustache. He did a joke with a Indian/Middle Eastern accent though that made Stoneface exclaim, “that was perfect!” and bust a sort of grimace/smile (same thing as far as Stoneface was concerned). I was so shocked that Stoneface expressed an emotion that I watched Stoneface the rest of the night instead of the show.


Stoneface was a little more stonefaced than this guy
photo courtesy of Flickr and FurryJumperGirl

The next comedian was an extra in the Toni Collette and Cameron Diaz movie “In Her Shoes” and also did a joke about a gay midget “coming out of the cabinet” to his family. I snorted when he said that. Then I looked at Stoneface. I think Stoneface cracked on that one too.

After the show, I didn’t really talk to any audience members except one semi-intoxicated girl who sat in the front who said “thanks fer being the only comedian who didn’t pick on me.” Oh, the pleasure was all mine, buddy. I would have easily been the bigger fool in that interaction. Also, there were comment cards you could fill out about the show, and there was a line asking for your favorite comedian, and someone wrote “there were comedians?” Hyuk hyuk hyuk!

Ok. So then as I said before, I had two beds in my hotel room. So I decided to use one for this night and then one for the next night. I adjusted the heating so I was roasting nicely and then, fell asleep to the lulls of the screaming baby next door. Despite the nice booker’s recommendation to explore the exciting streets of Philadelphia, I slept until a peppy 4 p.m. so I was more than ready for a brand new day.

I watched the star-studded blockbuster “Mannequin” on my complimentary TV for a few minutes, and then I did the following: I went out on the town. It was getting dark by the time I set foot outside my hotel room, but if you get a complimentary hotel room, you make the most of that sucker. I was in the mood for a romantic dinner out (far be it from me to refuse myself) so I went to a nice Italian restaurant and asked the 3 rather intimidating looking sleekly-dressed hostesses for a table for one. They looked me up and down, raised one eyebrow each archly, and looked at their book.

“Ahem,” said one, “there will be a 30 minute wait for that.” I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm. “I’ll take it!” I announced, maybe a tad too excitedly. They looked a bit ruffled at my eagerness and took down my name with dismay. They weren’t aware what they were dealing with apparently. About 10 minutes later, I was seated way out of sight in the back of the restaurant next to the bathroom at a modest but functional table.

My waiter appeared 12 years old but capable. He managed to mask his disappointment at having to wait on one person. I managed to mask my disappointment of having to have a one-on-one prolonged interaction with a stranger. I went crazy on the bread basket, eating most of it myself, and even holding and returning some of the stares received by people on their way to the bathroom, glancing at the occupant of the black sheep table of the restaurant.


table for one = table for fun
photo courtesy of Flickr and tvol

Once one of the couples at a table near me started having a fight, I declared my work done for the evening. Victory as a loner was mine!

The Saturday night show was packed out. One of the headliners invited several of his friends and family because he was local to the area so, pro: the room was filled to capacity, con: most of the room was there to see the last act and only the last act. I, however, enjoyed my set even though I ended on groans telling my one blue joke, which the audience was not thrilled with hearing. Also, I made fun of a guy in a Viking hat, which was my first time i've picked on someone unprovoked pretty much ever (it got a big laugh!), and he told me "s'all good" after the show with a commensurate fist pound.

The other comedians all did great. After the show, I was advised by two audience members to tell more Indian jokes. The night ended with hanging out with fellow comedians and talking shop, which takes most of my acting capacity. I have to practice being a grown up and being a professional so it was good practice. Comedians are also generally friendly and welcoming sorts.

The hotel room was so inspiring to occupy for a second night that I spent most of the next morning cleaning it up and erasing all my traces. I wanted to make a good impression mostly for karma’s sake. I didn’t use the ice bucket, but maybe next time. I actually woke up to the blasting of effusive gospel music from the room next to mine, but luckily it was all my favorite songs.

So then homeward bound. Sunday might’ve seemed disappointing after traveling the world, but my parents managed to sucker me into watching a feel-good Bollywood sports flick and then I managed to sucker my parents into watching a few episodes of “America’s Next Top Model” with me, and while they appeared to be in pain from watching it, they actually got into it by the last episode. When my dad exclaimed about one girl, “I don’t think she’s going to make it to the next round,” my heart exploded. Satisfaction complete.

P.S. I forgot my Italian leftovers in the hotel fridge. Of course I did. And I rambled. Aw camman!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

RE: COMPLIMENTS OF HOTELIERS

"Sit down. Wherever you like, it doesn't matter. And eat until you've had your fill. Here's the bread. Cut yourself as much as you'd like. There's no need to hold back. Go ahead and pour yourself cups--there's plenty of coffee. And here is butter. The butter, as you see, is here to be eaten. And here's some jam, should you happen to be a jam-lover. Would you like some fried potatoes as well?"

-Robert Walser.

Anonymous said...

there was a line asking for your favorite comedian, and someone wrote “there were comedians?” Hyuk hyuk hyuk!

are you gonna try denying that that's at least as funny as making fun of a gay midget who comes out of the cabinet instead of the closet?

Anonymous said...

'took down my name with dismay. They weren’t aware what they were dealing with apparently. About 10 minutes later, I was seated way out of sight in the back of the restaurant next to the bathroom at a modest but functional table.'

NONOnonono that sounds like they knew what they were dealing with alright

Anonymous said...

'people on their way to the bathroom, glancing the occupant at the black sheep table of the restaurant. '

You better have flipped the table on your way out Aparna.

Burgos said...

free hotel rooms are where it's at! i'll holla to that!

Aparna said...

anonymous -- i always enjoy a good walser spritzer with a 4 comment chaser.

on the matter of b), there's no denial involved at all. none. zero.

on the matter of 3), yer right! caught me red herring-d!

on the matter of the end of the fourth quarter, i did better. i tipped well.

burgos -- you reappear like a wise turtleneck! i'll holler back.

inthemiddle said...

showing yourself a good tam on the road - atta squirrel!

Aparna said...

i'm nutty!

Alicia said...

I didn't realize being a comedian on the road required so many sacrifices. I am honored that there are some noble creatures out there willing to sacrifice their comfort and sanity to entertain the dull masses.

Hi, I am gonna stalk you now.