I've been jetsetting the American States United for about a week. Last Wednesday, I was in the City of Angels, California. Yester-Wednesday I was in St. Louis, Missouri (More like misery with that wind chill! Am I right, crickets?!) Not bad for an 8-day stint. Tomorrow morning, I'm headed to Raleigh, North Carolina for the Dirty South Improv Festival.
Anyway, let's recap my travels with gusto and a dash of pepper!
*puts on chef hat, also incidentally blogging hat*
I wish people in LA were only allowed to wear LA Gear. Not because it's a good idea, but because the idea amused me for three seconds. I love this city. I know it has a bad rep because of Hollywood floozies, but I really liked it when I was out there. Maybe because it's sunny there right now and it's frowny here right now. Maybe it's that. Or maybe it's because it's a vibrant and exciting city with infinite avenues for creativity.
The comedy shows I got to do in LA ran the full gamut of the stand up experience. On Wednesday night, merely a few hours after I was greeted by the waving fronds of palms, I got to do some time (sounds edgy) at the Hollywood Improv. The booker was kind enough to squeeze me on relatively last minute, and I got to do five happy minutes of punching the sky. That's a new expression I've coined for a fun set. The Improv is a typical comedy club, and there was a pretty amazing line up including Chris Porter from Last Comic Standing and a surprise appearance by Ty Barnett, also of Last Comic Standing.
I found people and other comedians to be generally friendly everywhere I went, and they came and talked to me after shows especially if they enjoyed a particular joke I did. Other shows I performed at included a place called Karma Coffeehouse, which was very similar to DC's very own deceased Soho Tea & Coffee open mic, including the appearance of memorable characters such as Treeman (a man standing 9-feet-tall dressed up like a tree - he only came to enjoy the comics, not to be one). I also attended an improv show called Cagematch @ UCB, which I would highly recommend. The two groups that performed (Convoy and Tigerpants) were both amazing.
I also did a show called Rocket Video, which was in a video store. No microphone. Just straight up in the back behind the foreign films section. Free beer and soda too! My favorite show that I got to do was called The Tomorrow Show, and it took place in a theater setting. It is hosted by three superfun dudes, including Brendon Small of Home Movies fame, and it starts at 12 midnight every Saturday night/Sunday morning and runs for a good two to three hours. This show is a variety show and includes music, comedy interviews, characters, stand up, and anything one could imagine up. It draws a regular faithful audience every week as well. I almost ended up doing my set in panda make-up. That's just the sort of thing that happens in LA.
NACA Convention in St. Lunatics, Missouri
I'll also briefly recap attending the national NACA convention this past Tuesday. NACA stands for the National Association for Campus Activities, and it's where college bookers go to choose their entertainment for the upcoming school year. Literally, every type of entertainment imaginable. Magicians, singer-songwriters, dancers, mimes, performance artists, public speakers (including Lance Bass), martial artists, clowns, exotic reptiles, improv/sketch groups, and of course, stand up comedians.
I, along with the other comedians on the Stand Up for Diversity College Tour, were part of the closing festivities of the convention. The audience for our showcase was probably a little over 1,000 people even though it was originally slated for 2,500. Still a bit of a formidable number for me to comprehend. The performance space involved two large jumbo screens next to you onstage as well as a digital clock timing you right by your feet. My set was a bit shaky, but wakka wakka NACA, what can you do?
After my set, all of us comedians went to the booth in the big open "marketplace" to schmooze with bookers and college students. It was a flurry of overstimulation, but definitely a memorable experience. It was like having to be one of the spritzer ladies in the mall except replace the perfume with pamphlets and DVDs. It was a good experience in self-promotion, and luckily it didn't involve accidentally spraying someone in the eye.
So that's it. I'll be fielding questions about my travels in person at an undisclosed time and location.