Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Hella Comedy Monday! Tommy T's Plus Po' Boyz! BAM!
First, the competition continued at Tommy T's as group #2 had their night to shine in the Open Mic Finals. I had told you before there were supposed to be six of them. Well, due to some of kind of issues, there only ended up being four. This part kind of sucks for the comics, because three comics advance each night...which is all fine and good unless you're that ONE comedian out of four that doesn't. Hmmm.
I hit the competition solo tonight to check it out, and took my regular table (yes, I've been there enough that they actually ask me if I want my regular table). I hooked up with one of last week's competitors, the amazingly funny Aaron Shine, who missed advancing to round 2 by Olympic-level closeness on the voting (not to start any talk, but I heard someone in the crowd gesture toward him and tell someone else, "That's that guy that should have won last week") and who I didn't realize was hosting tonight. Awesome cool. And he did a fine job of keeping the crowd pumped. And it was a BIG crowd.
See, during this first round, each competitor gets a stack of 50 tickets they can give to others to come support them. Considering that audience voting is what decides if you move on or not, getting as many people behind you as possible is the no-brainer move. Some comics don't make the most of this opportunity. Others...well, others are Boogee.
Boogee made full use of those tickets and helped pack the place. Ironically, Boogee doesn't really NEED the crowd in his corner, because he's one of those comics that can get ANY crowd in his corner. Lots of folks from Team Boogee filled the joint and made the whole thing more fun for everyone. So you had Boogee as one of the four, and he drew the first slot. He was followed by the man known only as The Nasty Polack. Joey Gonzalez hit the mic next, and Delfino Reyna hit it last. And as an added bonus (and to fill some time, since we were a couple comics short), we got a visit from the very hilarious Carlos Rodriguez, who I'm a really big fan of.
Then Lou came up on stage and brought the hopeful foursome with him, and the voting began. Sadly, as I said, one did have to go, and it ended up being the Nasty Polack (perhaps just a bit too nasty for this crowd? Or perhaps too Polish?). So with killer sets that earned them the right, Boogee, Joey and Delfino won the night and will be returning for the semi-finals. Excellent work, gentlemen. Way to own it.
This, of course, now means there's only one group left for round 1 - and that's next Monday night, March 1st, and that's MY group, people! So do puh-LEEZE make your way to Rancho next week and help a brother out with this - and enjoy what's sure to be another amazing crop of up-n-comin' Sacramento funny people (I don't have the list, so I don't even know who they are yet!).
After this, I decided, like some other people I was there with, to head on up the hill to Po' Boyz in Folsom to catch the open mic night there. This choice was made even easier by the fact that fewer comics meant an early end to the Tommy T's night, and the Po' Boyz open mic doesn't start until around 9:00 PM. I pulled in there about 9:20, and they hadn't even gotten started yet and were still setting up. Sweet. So I talked to that room's always-gracious host, Cheryl the Soccer Mom, and got myself on the list. There were 10 comics on it ahead of me, but hey...I had nowhere else to be. One of the joys of unemployment.
Kicked it on the patio and hung out with some of the regulars, like Willie Mac, Shane Murphy, Deshawn Robertson and Ellis Rodriguez, among others. Oh, and Brian Diamond, a guy I haven't seen in a while who gave me some really great advice back when I was just getting started at this. I sensed right off that it was a good crowd inside. Po' Boyz is always a fun room to play, but this time there was an extra helping of people, and these people were all wound up...in the good way. These weren't just drunks looking to be amused or to heckle. These were people that really came to see comedy, and were very into it - and that's a surprisingly rare thing at a comedy show (go figure).
I followed Ellis and did my five minutes, taking the chance to work on the new material going into my 10-minute set for next week (so if you were there tonight, and plan to be there at Tommy T's next Monday, just pretend you didn't hear it), and I really liked how it went. It's good to hear one of your new things really slay...there's that "Oh, thank God" moment, when you now know that it wasn't just funny in your own head. Everybody was doing great in that room. Part of it was the crowd, but everybody was just really on their game and having a good time. Willie Mac particularly nailed his stuff tonight. Chazz Hawkins did his usual bringing down o' the house. Anthony Thomas got it done in a bow tie, no less! Jason Armenio killed, as ever, in his brilliantly low-key style. Matthew Byrd was all Matthew Byrd, and that's all he ever needs to be. But Sean Peabody really started something special. There was a table with a couple of girls who just kept talking through everybody's routines. I didn't really notice that so much during my set, except when I heard somebody else do a big "shush" in that direction. Well, Sean was getting pissed prior to going on, and decided to have fun with them. And he did. Most of his routine was just messing with this one girl, and it was one of those just perfect moments, because she was into it, and kept giving back at him, and in doing so just gave him more ammo. Everyone loved it. And then most comics that went on after him had to bring her into things, too. Great stuff.
And the perfect ending to the night was the surprise drop-in by comedian Mike E. Winfield to try out some new stuff. Mike's a NorCal guy, but really jumping up in the national comedy scene. He's been on Comedy Central, Showtime, Last Comic Standing and Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen. He's insanely funny. He got up there with his notebook and just started trying out untested jokes, and it was amazing. The crowd was totally into it and playing back at him. The crowd, in fact, was not letting him leave, and kept wanting more. Keep in mind this is after damn near three hours of comedy when most crowds fizzle out and just want to go home. Not this crowd, baby. I didn't even time how long he was on, but it kept going for some time, and it was just really organic and connected, just this perfect magical little moment of comic-to-crowd. Mike's played a lot of crowds, and you could tell he was being very sincere when, near the end of his set, he talked about this being one of the best ones he's every had. I was glad I was there to experience that. As I said, perfect end to a near-perfect comedy night. Got to meet Mike after. Swell guy.
And I really appreciated the crowd, myself, for all the post-show handshakes and "great stuff" smiles and even a couple of hugs. That always fuels you to keep going on, that's for sure. How much do you think it would cost, you think, to hire a particular crowd and have them follow you to all your performances? Let me do some math and get back to you on that.
Said my good-byes to the gang and headed home. Not a bad way to spend a Monday night in Sac-Town if I do say so myself. Sacramento comedy kicks ass.