This isn’t really comedy related, but it is what I’m going through right now and I’m sure there will be jokes about it.
Hope you’re doing well, hope the Summer isn’t burning you up. Holy shit, what a weekend. I just got home from a weekend of shows in Cocoa Beach. Which is in Florida. Which is very strange. I spent the weekend featuring for the wonderful Sally Brooks who you should all go and see.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably my mom or someone else close to me that knows I’ve had my ups and downs with booze for a long time. I got sober last year and relapsed afterwards, and that’s a fucking bummer. Sobriety was good to me! I didn’t hate sober me! Anyways, I feel like this weekend was the final bottom of a long series of bottoms for me to get my shit together. I don’t know why I’m typing this, this isn’t really for you. I just need to have a reminder I guess. I don’t know. Anyways, you don’t have to spend obscene amounts of money for beach shit that you’re going to lose on a drunken 2 am ocean swim because I did it for you. There’s help.
Anyways, I’m going to post a set from the Saturday show at the club, it’s audio only, but it was a blast. Just know that as a room full of people, we found out together that Catholics don’t work on Christmas Eve and that most Mall Santas are Jewish. I love you.
Hey gang. I’ll be in Colorado next week, and after Laughing Skull Festival in Atlanta, I’ll be heading out on the road for the month of May. Here’s a poster done by the incredible Lawson Chambers. If I’m in your city, let’s hang out. It’ll be fun!
I’m typing this from a Starbucks in Montgomery, AL. I just finished brushing my teeth in the store’s sink while in a town I swore I’d never come back to. It’s two hours until showtime in a venue that has changed twice over the last 72 hours. I’m exhausted. It’s day 10 of a 27 day tour that will leave me in New Orleans for a week. At this point, I couldn’t tell you the difference between a floor in a dusty house or a soft bed in a 4 star hotel. I’m counting down the minutes until showtime when I pick up a microphone for hopefully a handful of people. This is my communion- and every night I recommit myself to the Gods that pay me in checks, loose cash, or a plate of medium rare chicken wings at a redneck bar outside of Asheville, NC that I pretend to enjoy through a forced smile while watching my friend who is being called a “homo kike” as he does his best to quell the crowd of angry drunks.
Last week in Charlotte, NC I met an investment banker that swore he hated the idea of live stand up comedy until he saw our show. I thanked him and he gave me $15 for a t-shirt. I folded my measly excuse for merchandise and as I gave it to him, he said “you must like what you do, man!”
Do I Like What I Do?
At 20 years old, I had my dream job, my dream girl who I thought (and most days still do think) I was going to marry, and a roadmap to what I thought success looked like. I was in college, determined to finish and go to law school where I would become the GA congressman who would change the state. I’m currently sipping a watery coffee hoping that I make enough to pay off the minimum on my credit card this month.
I haven’t slept much, I keep waking up to the idea that I’m not alone on a semi-stranger’s couch, but back home with the dream girl that left me when I chose to pursue an almost impossible career. I’m a shell of who I used to be, a drunken ego hoping to be stroked hard enough that I can one day tell myself “You did what you needed to do, now go home.” I’ve probably smoked 300 cigarettes in the last week. I sit in silence with my friend Dave Losso as we traverse the highways of Alabama behind a truck with a swastika bumper sticker. This is my penance for dropping out of school and letting the one get away.
I’ve performed comedy in roughly 20 states. I’ve cried on the L train in New York, I’ve gotten robbed in Pensacola Florida, and I’ve thrown up in a Burger King inside of Kansas City, MO. I’ve gone weeks without seeing my bed and I’ve gone longer while drinking myself to sleep every night. I used to be happy. I used to be proud of myself. Ryan Singer told me that we have the best job in the world, and he’s not wrong. Bringing joy and laughter to strangers is rewarding in ways that I couldn’t put into words. But is this sustainable? Am I going to be there to take care of my dad when the Parkinson’s progresses? Am I going to be able to take care of myself?
“The worst thing I ever did was get good at comedy.”-Dave Waite
Last night in Huntsville, AL I performed in a craft beer brewery that was converted from an old high school gym. The irony of not graduating high school was not lost on me. I was pat on the back, hugged, and one person quoted jokes to me that I haven’t done since performing in Huntsville two years ago. My ego was swollen to points that mirror my toe when I get a gout infection from too many cheap fast food burgers on the road. What these people didn’t know was that I was inching to the door to sit quietly in a smokey bar for dollar beer night. What these people didn’t know was that every centthey gave me for a button or a t shirt was my dinner. What these people didn’t know was that I needed them so much more than they needed me. I miss feeling loved outside of 5–30 minute increments. I miss feeling like I did more than give a few people a few chuckles.
Do I Like What I Do?
I can’t tell if it’s the fact that this is my third cup of coffee in thirty minutes or if it’s the lack of sleep. Maybe it’s both. I’m still counting down the minutes until I go looking for a venue that may not draw even two people. The last time I was in this town, I was almost taken out by a Mack truck when the kid driving told us that he had flipped two cars and watched one explode. 86 minutes. I haven’t had a home of my own in almost 6 months. I’ve found catharsis in something that may force me to stay isolated for as long as I continue to do it.
I spend most days scribbling on napkins or typing on a phone screen that’s shattered but I can’t afford to replace. This is the birthplace of my ramblings that I hope get misconstrued as humor. I text my ex girlfriend almost every day to tell her that I miss her and that I love her. I hope she’s happy. She hasn’t responded since Thanksgiving. I incessantly check my e-mail every few seconds hoping to hear back from bookers or festivals, validating my ego and abilities. I look at Dave who I’m on the road with. He has the luxury of sleeping most drives. I grit my teeth and keep my eyes on the road. “You wanted this, you wanted this, you wanted this” I repeat to myself. I wish I had the natural talent of my best friend, Ben Cramer. He’s touring Europe next week with his band. I wish I had the level headedness of the person that introduced me to standup in an abandoned shed, Michael Rowland. More than anything, I wish I didn’t feel so compelled to keep doing this.
Do I Like What I Do?
I love this. I regret every choice I’ve ever made, but I couldn’t imagine not doing this. My coffee is getting cold and I feel the beginnings of a migraine, but I could not even for a second consider fixing iPhones and computers behind the “Genius Bar” again. I can only hope that it pays off. I can only hope that soon I’ll at least have an air mattress on a semi-stranger’s floor. I can only hope that this is worth it, because at this point, I’m so fucked if it isn’t.
I’m not patient. I don’t like to sit around and wait.
I’m in a really strange place right now. I’m incredibly happy with what I’m doing on stage, but beyond miserable outside of comedy. I try and be present and active in the stand-up community to keep my mind off what’s going on outside of what has become so important to me.
It’s strange to me that some of my close friends are starting to make waves in their respective fields of work, be it music, corporate jobs, or comedy. I recently got off the road with one of my best friends, Yedoye Travis. I’ll document each city.
Alton, IL- We didn’t have a show here, but we had a hotel. It was halfway from Atlanta to our first destination and we found out that there is nothing to do outside of hanging out in a hotel bar. Watched a Chris Farley documentary and got too drunk on margaritas.
Lincoln, NE- This took me by complete surprise. Lincoln is amazing. The town is beautiful, the people are kind, and there was a homeless man on an electronic unicycle. We did a show at a really fun bar called 1867 through a local comic named Jimmy Putnam. Jimmy is the sweetest and his show was incredible. He let us stay with him and his wife, Mary, where we poorly played music in between spewing off different SABRE statistics (really nerdy baseball stuff). Lincoln rules.
Omaha, NE- Omaha really is one of the prettiest towns I’ve ever been in. It’s also built almost entirely on antique malls, which Yedoye and I found out are just buildings to cleverly hide any and all knives a city can get their hands on. Our show was pretty rough, only one person came out, but we got to hang out in a tiki bar and that made up for it. We were also introduced to Absinthe. I can’t tell if it’s my favorite thing or my least favorite thing, but I drank it. We ate some very mediocre pizza and went on our merry way.
Kansas City, MO- I didn’t really know what to expect going into this part of the country. I had never been to Nebraska or Missouri and I figured it was all cornfields. I was wrong. Kansas City is huge. Overwhelmingly huge. The city is so cool, though. We walked through the downtown area, saw a beautiful skyline and a store called “sex+ice cream.” Before our show at The Tank Room (which was a blast, thank you Evan Goldt), we went to the most upscale and perfect jazz bar. Following our show, I watched my friend, Aaron Naylor, get drunk and eat beets out of a can. Long live the trash.
Springfield, MO- I had booked us to do an off night at the Blue Room Comedy Club in Springfield. Springfield is a small town but it has what seems like a pretty lively nightlife scene. The club is beautiful and if the show had been promoted properly, would have been incredible. We still had fun and wound up getting to see a band called Bella Donna. Check them out. We fought with bo staffs.
Indianapolis, IN- This last leg of the tour brought us to cities I had been to before. Last Summer I went to Indianapolis, made some friends, but had a very subpar show. I was excited to see everyone but I wasn’t sure what this was going to look like. If you know me, and maybe you don’t, then you know I’m a huge fan of house shows. I’ve produced them in Atlanta and any chance I get, I hop on to do them. They are in my opinion, the best way to see live stand-up. We did a basement house show in Indianapolis that could not have been more fun. The scene there is amazing. The people are sweet, the shows are so much fun, and the food at Yat’s (Thank you Alex Price) will hurt you for hours. Indianapolis, I love you with everything in me.
Louisville, KY- I’ve always had a good time in Louisviile. The fellas that take charge of Laff Fest (Dan Alten) really do a great job of taking care of me when I come to town. We had a show in a cool coffee shop called Gallery K, which is an amazing space. But most importantly, I got to go to my favorite bar on Earth, Zanzabar. Zanzabar is a pinball bar where I’ve spent upwards of $100 in quarters over the last few years. I love it there. What I didn’t expect was to meet one of my favorite songwriters, David Ramirez, who played a show right before I got there. A huge dent in what was otherwise a great time. This is where my air mattress popped.
Knoxville, TN- Knoxville has let me down time after time after time. This was the best surprise I could have asked for. The first time I went to Knoxville, was to perform at Blue Slip Winery. I happened to come up on the same day as a massive ice storm which essentially kept everyone at home. No one’s fault, but it wasn’t fun. In Summer of 2015, I went to perform at Sassy Ann’s. The booker forgot about putting us on the show and we did much less time than expected. Again, things happen, not a big deal. Dave Losso and I went this Summer to perform at the Pilot Light. A show that was booked months in advance that had ample time to promote was not. I want to say 2 people were there and it was an absolute nightmare. Against my gut, I booked a show in Knoxville to close out our tour. Shane Rhyne set us up at Saw Works Brewery and we got to perform for roughly 100 people. It was incredible. I couldn’t get over how great of a job Shane and the team at Rain Shine Comedy did. Please please please check them out and support their efforts, they’re great dudes.
It’s nice to be home. But I’m impatient. I see my friends doing well and I want what they have. I’ll be back on the road for a bit with my sweet Chicago prince, Dave Losso, all January culminating in my participation in the Orlando Indie Comedy Fest. I’ve got some very exciting things coming up in 2017 and I can’t wait to get there.
Last night wrapped up my run of the south with Denver debonair, Dave Losso. Dave is hilarious and one of the most consistent comics I’ve ever seen, please go look him up if you don’t already know him.
To say this run was trying would be an understatement. Dave was a treat to travel with, but this was my first time leaving Atlanta sober. Oh yeah, I got sober, y’all. I had been to a few of these cities before, but never without a drink in my hand. Essentially, this meant that the highs weren’t as high, and the lows were lower than I could’ve imagined.
For those of that don’t know me, I’m a fun drunk, until I’m not. I’ve spent the better part of the last decade in a haze, which is pretty wild considering I’m only 24 years old. I can’t remember the last three years and that started to terrify me. I started comedy drunk and was nervous about how being sober would affect my confidence on and off stage. I’m pretty nervous around other people, and I know that that seems to be a trope a lot of creative types use to justify being the weird guy at a party, but it’s totally true. Alcohol (among other things) was kind of my ticket into being a cool guy. The last time I was in Nashville, I had to leave my friend’s girlfriend’s apartment to drink myself to sleep just so i could comfortably exist in the space.
As it turns out, I’m much more comfortable on stage in cities that I don’t live in than I am my own. That may be another post for another time, but for the first time in my life, I’m truly grateful. I should’ve had gratitude previous to this, but I can be pretty self centered and forget how amazing it is that I get to do what I love almost every night. Some shows were flat out bad, some were unbelievably perfect. Regardless, I don’t think I can ever take for granted the fact that I was able to do stand up comedy to mostly people that have never seen me before and that’s really cool.
Additionally, I got to show Dave Fuck Party, which some of you know has been the baby I’ve been incubating out of my living room over the last year. As we’re all moving out of the house, Fuck Party is moving as well. It was such a treat to cultivate what I think was the most consistently great house show in Atlanta. I was excited to bring back Old Sea Brigade to close it out, just like the first time we did the show, and it was a ton of fun. I’m very excited to say that the show will live on as Michael Rowland and I find other people’s houses to welcome neighbors in for free booze and comedy. If you’re reading this, we’d love to have you on August 13th for comedy’s Ron Babcock (will post details sooner to the date).
I’ll be back on the road again in October hitting a few cities in the Midwest before prepping for my long tour in November with one of the first people I ever got to meet in comedy, Yedoye Travis. Yedoye is hilarious and once watched 50 Shades of Grey with my mom. He’ll also be on Hulu this month.
Thank you to everyone who’s ever come out to a show that I’ve been on, or even if you haven’t but still found a way to support live comedy. I love you.