Competing with a Jackass

Steve-O and Scott outside the KFAN radio studio in Minneapolis

A lot of the time when I think about where I am at in my career, I start to feel kind of low. Why I am not working bigger clubs? Why am I still doing hell gigs? To combat this I then think about how at each club I perform at there is only 40-50 comics from across the country that perform at that club.  (some acts are brought in every 6 to 9 months) So for me to be one of those 200 or so people in this country that regularly headline somewhere each week is something I should give myself more credit for. That 40-50 headline spots is starting to dwindle down a little bit, though, as more celebrities are booking themselves at comedy clubs.

Just this week, I filled in at Crackers in Indy on Wednesday, as Thursday through Saturday they have Jennifer Coolidge coming into town.  Who is that? Well, she’s the MILFy woman who is best known as Stifler’s Mother from the American Pie movies. She seems like a talented enough actress who I know has a strong improv background from her days in the Groundlings. What she isn’t is a standup comic.  Now, the front desk person at the club told me that had already sold-out most of the Saturday shows, so she is a good business deal.  The front desk person told me that it seemed like a lot of frat-type guys getting tickets.  I’m glad these Cougar-lovers are excited to come to the show, but it also seems like these are the same guys who go to strip clubs and think the dancers want to fuck them.

My buddy and awesome comic, Dan Cummins, was discussing this celebrity/not standup performing at the clubs.  {I’m paraphrasing Dan here} His problem with it is that while it might bring in some new people to the comedy club, their experience quite likely might be a negative one, as someone without a lot of experience as a standup just won’t be very good at it. Will that hurt the club in the long-run. I think he makes a good point.

Thursday through Saturday I’m at one of my favorite clubs, the Joke Joint in the Twin Cities.  When I’m in town, I always do the Power Trip morning show on KFAN.  The host’s of the show are great and they make me feel like I’m part of the show when I’m on it.  This week, they told me I would be on between 7 and 8 AM hour, as the following hour, Steve-O from Jackass fame, would be in-studio.

Now I want to begin this part of the rant by saying, I am a huge fan of the Jackass.  Some of the hardest laughter that has been elicited out of me have come from their stunts. OK, now that this disclaimer has been posted, let me also offer that I think it’s a load that Steve-O is now doing standup comedy clubs.  The guy can barely string a sentence together, as all the substance abuse and physical abuse has left him speaking like a punch-drunk fighter.  I don’t know for sure, but my guess is he will do some stunts and tell some crazy stories, but I just don’t see where this adds up to 45-60 minutes of quality entertainment.  I guess my view on a Steve-O is have him come in for a special Monday or Tuesday show, but don’t bring him in for the weekend when you are purporting to be a standup comedy club.

I think anyone who reads this blog knows that I’m not a comedy snob. I have no problem with variety stage shows from prop acts to ventriloquists, as they are all going for the same thing as what I do,  getting consistent laughter through jokes.  I very much want comedy clubs to make a profits, as that is good for me and all other of my comedian friends.  What I do think is a bad precedent is for a comedy club to have someone there doing 2 shows on a Saturday night that aren’t really about making people laugh.  Hey, I like to watch a dude staple his bag to his thigh as much as the next person, but I just don’t like the idea that I’m in the same business as that.  Now, I will admit that some of my bits are the verbal version of stapling my balls to my thigh, so maybe I should ask myself…who am I really to complain?  My response to that would be, complaining about things is what I do really well, so I feel like someone needs to standup for standups.

NOTE: It is a little disingenuous for me to ask Steve-O to take a photo with me to put above a story where I’m taking shots at him.  Sorry on that front, but I’m protective of the art form of standup comedy and I worry that acts like him will not help the biz in the long run.

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2 thoughts on “Competing with a Jackass

    1. Don’t know if you are playing devils advocate, but I have no problem with Gallagher busting melons. The only time I met him he was a complete dick, but he does do standup comedy before the shit at the end. Hell, David Lettermen has busted stuff like that on his show for decades. My beef is someone coming to the weekend stage who doesn’t have headliner chops. Those spots are pretty limited as it is, as you know, so I just don’t like the precedent.

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