Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Casino Royale

This past Friday found me on a bus heading up to Connecticut with Mr and Mrs. Mike Britt to open up for him at the Mohegan Sun. It all felt surreal..getting my 25 minutes together..talking with Mike..the Indian guy sitting on the bus in front of me slamming his seat into my knees. Barely a half an hour on the road and I'm trying to hold myself back from killing this dickhead who either doesn't realize or care that he's got the knees of 6' 2" Black man directly behind him soon to be implanted in his asshole. But I don't want to mess up this trip and my money by getting arrested while still in New York, so I continue to play Grand Theft Auto while commenting on how badly I want to choke the daylights out of this guy in front of his ugly ass wife. He eventually gives up and changes seats and the rest of the trip to Connecticut is uneventful save for when the battery to my PSP eventually died.

We get to Connecticut and go through the check in process. Mohegan sun is a beautiful, opulent place made even more so by the fact that smoking is not only allowed by practically encouraged there. All around us I hear the sounds of winning and loosing, and smell the smoke of tobacco in the kind of place. A lady at the concierge desk brings us into a back office where we check in. One of the staff members remembers Mike from a previous show and offers us a few glasses of sparkling champagne before we head up to our rooms. In the elevator we see a picture of Mike Britt with the information for tonight's show. It appears that Lionel Richie is also playing at the Casino that night, albeit for much more than what they are asking for the comedy show.

After dropping off our luggage we collect our meal and drink vouchers and look to get something to eat. Its only about 630, and we have almost five hours before showtime. We checked the menus at a few places including one Chinese restaurant, but when we saw that General Tso's chicken was 25 dollars and knowing we could get that in the hood for 6.95 with a soda, we decided to go cheap. We settled on a Native American themed restaurant that served Pizza, sandwiches and quasi traditional Native American food with funny names like the "Dances with Wolves" Burger. I figured they should take the names all the way and include items like a "Gin and genocide" or the "Small-pox Salad". Whatever.

We eat and then gambled for about a half-hour. I lost twenty bucks on the slots and went up to my room. I'm not a gambler at all as the whole thing felt like I should have just crumpled up a twenty and thrown it on the floor instead of being teased at the slot machine. It was 11'o clock before I knew it and time to head down to the showroom. The room was huge, seating about 300 with comfortable lounge chairs surrounding a massive stage. We went in through a side door and chilled in the backstage area where they had drinks, sandwiches and couches set up for us. A full bathroom was also included with a shower although I cant imagine why anyone would need to shower minutes before stage time.

The stage manager comes out and introduces himself to us. He asks me to write down my into which was completely unnecessary as I don't have any credits, plugs or anything else worthwhile mentioning. I went with the generic "plays clubs and colleges" bullshit and waited for the "voice of god' to introduce me.

I came out to a full room which was very diverse. I felt dwarfed by the stage and smothered under the house lights that were beaming on me. We didn't do a sound check so the Mic amplified my voice a little too much causing me to step back about 3 feet from the Microphone so as not to shatter anyone's eardrums.

"I know what some of you are thinking...wait is this the Lionel Richie show??" I got the laughs I needed and just jumped into my material. I hadn't been on stage for a few days so I didn't feel comfortable improv-ing right away. It felt strange going right into material with no MC or warm up comic before me but minutes into my set things started clicking, I got comfortable and they started dropping applause breaks. Right at the point when I started to really feel myself I look down into the front row and notice a women passed out on her table. Putting your audience to sleep is great for your ego and your crowd work so I spent a little time ragging on her before going back to the jokes. I closed strong and on a nasty joke which felt good and introduced Mike to the crowd who absolutely killed. At the end I got to sign the wall of fame in the backstage area and although I wrote something hacky and cheesy it still felt good to see my name next to the likes of Bill Burr, Tony Wood and Judah Freidlander.

We ended up chilling after the show with a group of people who caught our act and loved us. They bought us drinks the whole night, which in Connecticut means until 130 when they have last call and bring in the State Police to shut the place down. Back up to the room for two hours before catching the 5am Greyhound back to New York.

Mike Britt is not only an amazing comic, but all around cool as shit guy. It meant a lot to me for him to invite me to do this and it felt good to deliver. It was one of those moments where I got to take time to slow down from all the hustling, complaining and stressing to reflect on the progress I've made over the past few years. Yeah I got a long ways to go, and lots to improve on but as of last Friday I felt things starting to click. Could just be my knees.