The Thrill of Victory–15 Minutes Later–The Agony of Defeat

During the Pre-show glow with comic Matthew Alano-Martin

Did a show at an Elks Club in Iowa last weekend. Most comics that have done a Legion or Elks Club will tell you they are great gigs because the audience sees the show as an event. Add to this that I’m from the state of Iowa and I say with no modesty, all truth, I killed the room. This was because/despite having such a bad sound system that I did my entire show without a mic. I have mentioned this before here, but if the sound is distorted, you are generally better off just projecting your ass off. By doing that you end up projecting and performing better than if you did have a mic, though some bits will suffer as they might need sound modulation.

The ride to and from the gig was good as I brought my new friend, Matthew Alano-Martin. Not only is he a funny guy, but he’s a smart dude who  lived a really interesting life before becoming a standup, as he was a traveling musician/tour manager, so the company was a bonus.  As I mentioned, the gig left me feeling like a winner…winner…chicken dinner, as I got a decent paycheck, sold a good amount of merch, and actually got a free chicken dinner, too. So I’m leaving the triumphant hero, the best comedy show many of these people had ever seen…and I end up in a fender bender driving back to my hotel.

It’s a small town that I’ve never been too. Street I was on was not illuminated well. I plant all 4 wheels at the stop sign and I think it’s a 4-way stop. It wasn’t. I go forward about 5 feet and boom, I hit a pickup truck barreling through. I smash my front bumper up pretty badly. Mother of Pearl!

Now here’s the strangest part about it. The Dodge Truck I hit showed no sign of damage because it was up high enough and I directly hit its tire. The other driver was named Tracy and he reminded me of Iowa’s version of Kenny Powers (Eastbound and Down). You know a blowhard who was looking to make anything of this opportunity. I told him of course it was my fault and I would give him all my information, but he wanted to call the cops. Not sure why they were needed, as there was nothing wrong with his truck that either us could see, but I wasn’t going to flee the accident.

The police get there and Tracy Powers proceeds to say his son in the backseat of his Pickup somehow hit the window with his face during the collision (I was going 5 mph) and that my car had scratched the rim of his tire. I just shake my head, which is basically what the cops did too. I then get a bonus 192 dollar ticket for Failure to observe traffic control device. I told the officer could he just write it up as State of Iowa piles on to my 500 dollar deductible–ticket? The cop was just doing his job and he told me he knew it was steep, but he didn’t set the price. I told him I appreciated that and told him thanks when he handed it to me, though it was about as heartfelt of a thanks as the one I give my doctor after he gives me a physical.

Without including the time and money spent taking the car to the shop to be prepared or the hike in my car insurance rates, I’m still looking at being down about 300 bucks for the night just adding the 500 dollar deductible to my 192 buck freaking ticket. At least my car was drivable, as I can remember the time my transmission went out 8 hours from my house and I had to rent a car to drive home and then drive it the 8 hours back to return the rental, then drive the 8 hours back home with my repaired car. (Phew, did you follow all of that?) In 20 years of comedy, I’ve only had one other accident on the road.  It was very early on in my career, so I was on a 16 year streak of escaping my fate. Considering the amount of miles I put on my cars, plus driving around lost a couple times a month trying to find the gig in an out of town place, I guess my track record is pretty good.

Just another night in the up and down life of a touring standup comedian. Just so you new comics know, being a standup is not just playing IMPROV’s and recording Comedy Central specials. It’s a grind, filled with peaks and valleys. Sometimes they happen within 15 minutes of each other.

Post-show Reality
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9 thoughts on “The Thrill of Victory–15 Minutes Later–The Agony of Defeat

  1. I did a show at a VFW hall in suburban Detroit Friday, killed it completely, and then took over three hours to drive back to Toledo in a snowstorm, doing 30 on the interstate the whole way, with the remnants of a stomach bug kicking up and making me feel like I was gonna have a heart attack and/or pass out. But I didn’t wreck, so I’m happy to have lived the junior-league version of your weekend.

    1. Nauseous driving are some of my best road stories. Look back into my tales at Comedy Fly Over to see my story of not finding a bathroom during a blizzard in South Dakota and the shameful decision I had to make.

  2. Reminds me of DJ’n a wedding dance for cheap and coming out to load up and seeing my 2 week old Chevy Silverdado smashed by hit and run driver. $500.00 deductable later and loss of my truck for a week I broke even I think. I hope your travels are smoother this year.

  3. Fingers crossed that he doesn’t try to sue you for your liability (auto) insurance. My other half was hit by a large truck while leaving a DD parking lot in 2009. The truck crushed his trunk end, blew out the back glass but thankfully he wasn’t hurt. Now the driver of the truck is saying he can no longer work and is suing for permanent disability. The driver never bothered to look before pulling out of the parking lot and had no damage to his truck. He filed the suit 3 years after the fact, three days before the statute of limitations would have made it impossible to take to court. Some people are real pieces of shit. I’m glad you’re okay but watch out for that guy that states his son was injured. Document everything now, just in case. :\

  4. Iowa’s Kenny Powers sounds like a nightmare until I realize I grew up in Oklahoma and the KP prototype makes up a sizable portion of the population. I’ve never been to a show at a VFW, Elks, or American Legion and I feel like I’m missing out on life.

    1. It’s better than doing some club shows. Now it isn’t as good as performing at a great comedy club like Columbus Funny Bone or Tempe IMPROV, but it beats a club where the atmosphere is stale.

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