Tuesday, March 30, 2010

653-3*** / Geordi

So in case you missed the news on this today (and if you're not a big nerd like me, you might have), actor LeVar Burton, best known as Geordi La Forge from Star Trek: The Next Generation (do I really have to write that out as if someone out there DOESN'T know that?), apparently meant to send a private message via his Twitter account to someone--a message that included his cell phone number--and accidentally posted it on his public Twitter page.  Did I mention that LeVar has 1.6 million fans on Twitter?  D'oh!

I got this news via a retweet from a buddy of mine, and sure enough, there was the number.  And after JUST a moment's decision regarding my self-respect, I asked myself which I'd regret more in life - having LeVar Burton's phone number and calling it like a fanboy, or having had my hands on his number and NOT calling it?

I'm a big fan of the guy and his work, so I figured what the hell and gave it a call.  But, of course, when I did call, his voice mail box was full (remember that 1.6 million figure I mentioned?).  LeVar had quickly removed the tweet with the phone number on it (and my buddy, I should mention, removed his retweet right after that, too), but the number was out there.  So, figuring he'd be changing that number real quick, I figured I'd at least send him a quick text, letting him know how much I appreciate what he does.  He's one of those genuinely awesome people in Hollywood, and has more than earned his 1.6 million stalkers and more.  I'm sure my text was one of hundreds, if not thousands...but I was happy I got it out there, anyway.

And so, Mr. Burton, in honor if your giant internet "oops" today, I wrote you a little song about it.  Works better if you actually listen to the music while reading it.  Hope you enjoy.  And thanks again for being awesome, LB.  We dig you always.

653-3*** / Geordi
by Michael O'Connell
(to the tune of "867-5309 / Jenny" by Tommy Tutone)

Geordi, Geordi, tell me is it true?
You hit a button you didn’t mean to
Next thing you knew your phone got hundreds of calls
You’d Tweeted your cell number on your wall

Geordi, I got your number
As do your fans worldwide
Geordi, don’t change your number
6-5-3-3-*-*-* (6-5-3-3-*-*-*)
6-5-3-3-*-*-* (6-5-3-3-*-*-*)

Geordi, Geordi, answer my hail please
You don’t know me but I’m such a big Trekkie
I tried to call you but your voice mail box was jammed
So I sent an SMS text – please don’t think it’s spam

Geordi, I got your number
As do your fans worldwide
Geordi, don’t change your number
6-5-3-3-*-*-* (6-5-3-3-*-*-*)
6-5-3-3-*-*-* (6-5-3-3-*-*-*)

I got it, I got it, I got it!
I got your number off a Tweet!
I got it, I got it, I got it!
Please don’t turn my ass in to Starfleet

Can we get one more number?
How ‘bout Seven of Nine’s?
Loved you on Reading Rainbow
6-5-3-3-*-*-* (6-5-3-3-*-*-*)
6-5-3-3-*-*-* (6-5-3-3-*-*-*)

Geordi, Geordi, thanks for all you do (6-5-3-3-*-*-*)
It’s because of our love that we’ll keep on stalkin’ you
6-5-3-3-*-*-* (6-5-3-3-*-*-*)
6-5-3-3-*-*-* (6-5-3-3-*-*-*)
6-5-3-3-*-*-* (//fade out//)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

La Casa Comedy off to a powerhouse start!

Last night was the first official night of comedy at La Casa Restaurante, and it looks like the newest spot for Sacramento comedy is here to stay.

With the weekly Open Mic Nights set to begin this Thursday (April 1st), the room launched with the first of its monthly Comedy Showcases, which will feature both local comedian favorites and out-of-town talent, hand-picked by the room's founder and host, comedienne Jennifer Rutherford.

Jennifer has already proven her ability to select only the best and brightest, because she wisely chose ME to open for the first Showcase.  It was quite the honor, not only because I got to be the very first act at the new room, but because I'd get to share the stage with three of my favorite comics in town - Jennifer, Kristen Frisk, and Cheryl the Soccer Mom.  I'll be the "Charlie" to their "Angels" any day.

Turned out to be a fun and fantastic show.  I had a few of my folks show up who hadn't gotten to see me perform before (who've been waiting for me to finally book a Saturday night show, so I was grateful to Jennifer for that as well), and that was really awesome.  And in an interesting twist, a former co-worker showed up with a date who had just seen me perform at Luna's Cafe last Wednesday.  She had no idea we were connected.  Small world.  We all got there nice and early, so we had plenty of time to relax, hang out, socialize, drink, eat, and enjoy the fantastic restaurant/bar experience that is La Casa.  For the record, the staff there couldn't be more fun and gracious, from the servers all the way up to the owners.  They made us, and everyone who showed up to see us, feel right at home.  Top notch.

 Cheryl the Soccer Mom on the mic

The show itself was a huge hit.  After Jennifer warmed things up in her usual spectacular Jennifer way, I got up and did my set.  Jennifer doesn't really "time" your sets like a lot of comedy rooms (fewer comedians in a show means that's not as important to do), so I'm not sure exactly how long of a set I did, but I think it was right around 15 minutes.  Had fun with it.  And then came Kristen and Cheryl.  Wow.  Both totally brought the goods.  I'm big fans of both of them and have seen/shared a stage with them before, but it was serious out-of-the-park time for both.  The room acknowledged that...quite loudly.  Jennifer kept the levels high with her between-comics bits, and the end result was a glorious inauguration night for the room.

Jennifer Rutherford.  HOSTIN' it.

And the party didn't stop there, as the after-party moved to the bar for karaoke.  We packed the place.  Everybody knocked 'em back and belted out the jams.  Big fun, and a fitting celebration for the beginning of what's sure to be a must-hit spot for the Sactown comedy community (I predict a very big line for the open mic this week).

 Kristen Frisk tellin' it like it is.

My thanks to Jennifer, again, for letting me be a part of the whole experience.  Thanks, too, to Budweiser for sponsoring the event for us, and for sending the friendly and really hot Heather out with her bag of cool freebies for all.  Thanks to Eric Tillotson for all his organizin'.  Thanks to the Brothers Jin and the whole awesome staff at La Casa Restaurante for making it all possible.  And thanks to all my peeps who showed up and made the night so much fun!

 Oh, yeah, and I was there, too.

Comedy fans: please take note that the next Showcase night, on Saturday, April 24th, is going to feature David Lew, one of my FAVORITE dudes on the stand-up circuit!  All KINDS of hilarious, so if you missed this first showcase, do yourself a favor and be there for the second!

Comics: Thursday night, April 1st.  Let's bust the cherry on this open mic right!  Be there!  (Oh, and we'd like it if comedy fans showed up for that, too...)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Budweiser Presents: Spring in to Spring at La Casa Restaurante

Your official reminder!  Tomorrow night (Saturday, March 27th) I'll be the opening act for the first official comedy showcase at the newest room in town - La Casa Restaurante.

Not only will I be opening for three of the funniest ladies in town (Jennifer Rutherford (pictured), Kristen Frisk and Cheryl the Soccer Mom), but turns out the show will be sponsored by Budweiser, who will be on hand for free samples and prize giveaways throughout the night.  So laughs AND Bud!  Win!

Show starts at 7:30 PM (I'd be a little early were I you), and again, the joint can be found at:

2310 Fair Oaks Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 641-8880
So be there and brag to the world that you were present for the very first comedy night at La Casa EVER!  Oh, the many verdant shades your friends will turn...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Upcoming Shows

Thought I'd put my upcoming stuff in one convenient post, for those who don't feel like digging through old ones.  And really, who has the time to do that while we're all busy either cheering or cursing our health care legislation? 

MONDAY, 03/22/10
9:00 PM
9580 Oak Ave Pkwy #8
Folsom, CA 95630
(916) 987-2886
Going to be doing open mic night here tonight, dropping a 5-minute set.  If you've never been to this open mic, you're missing a hell of a good time.  Loads of the funniest comics in Sac (and quite a few from Fairfield) show up every week to test out their latest stuff.  Always a blast.  Consider it!

WEDNESDAY, 03/24/10
8:00 PM
1414 16th Street (16th and N)
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 441-3931
I'll be doing 10 minutes, one of a small handful of us that will be opening for headliner Natasha Muse.  Never a dull comedy night at Luna's.  Awesome, intimate atmosphere for some up-close-n-personal comedy.

SATURDAY, 03/27/10
7:30 PM
2310 Fair Oaks Blvd (right near University)
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 641-8880
I'll be the opening act for the first night of comedy EVER at La Casa Restaurante, the new debuting comedy room hosted by comedienne Jennifer Rutherford.  I'll be doing 10-15 minutes, and then will be quickly forgotten as the crowd is overwhelmed by the comic genius of Jennifer, Kristen Frisk and Cheryl the Soccer Mom.  But at least I'll always be the very first comic to ever play the soon-to-be-legendary La Casa room.  They can't take that away from me!  Mine!  Mine!

MONDAY, 04/05/10
7:30 PM
Open Mic Finals, Round 3
12401 Folsom Blvd (corner of Folsom and Hazel)
Rancho Cordova, CA 95742
(916) 357-LAFF (5233)
And, of course, there's the BIG night!  That's me in Round 3 of the Open Mic Finals.  I, along with five fellow funny folk who've made it this far in the competition, will be doing my best 10-minute set in hopes of being one of the three finalists to move on to the big final round.  What will my fate be?!  You just have to show on the 5th at Tommy T's and find out!  Well, okay, you could also come here and just read the results in this blog...but no one's serving you drinks and tasty appetizers while you're reading this blog, now, are they?!  Or are they?  Seriously?  Where do you live?  Are there any vacancies?

SATURDAY, 05/01/10
9:00 PM
Cafe Nostra
3907 Park Drive
El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
(916) 933-3110
Just found out that I'll be doing a feature set (20-30 minutes) at Cafe Nostra's comedy room!  It's comedy night every Saturday night there, and the room is run by none other than Sac's own Willie Mac.  I've heard nothing but great things about the venue from every comic I know who's ever performed there, so I've been itching for a chance to try it out.  Now I will.  Will update when more info is known (like who else will be performing that night).  So for you folks up the hill, here's your chance to check me out without having to take that long freeway drive!

More dates to come.  Tuned, you must stay!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

See Me Saturday, March 27th, at La Casa Restaurante!

Here's how fast things move in comedy.  I just finished blogging about the new comedy room at La Casa Restaurante, and mentioning the "Spring In To Spring" showcase night, and now I just got a call from the room's host, Jennifer Rutherford, asking me to be the opener for the evening.  Man, is my arm sore from all the twisting she had to do...

So, yeah, looks like I'll be doing 10-15 minutes there on Saturday, March 27th.  The show starts at 7:30 PM, and can be found at:

2310 Fair Oaks Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 641-8880

There's no cover charge or drink minimum.  Just show up, order what you want and enjoy.  And you WILL enjoy, believe me!  What a lineup!  First you'll be getting it from the room's host and Tommy T's Open Mic finalist Jennifer Rutherford, and then your featured comediennes are none other than Cheryl the Soccer Mom (know both around these parts as one of the Real (Funny) Housewives of Rio Linda and as the host of the popular Po' Boyz Comedy Night every Monday up in Folsom) and Kristen Fritz (pictured with me above, another one of the Real (Funny) Housewives of Rio Linda and another finalist at Tommy T's who'll be squaring off with me in the semifinals on April 5th).  That's wall-to-wall comedy GOLD, baby!

So if you're one of those folks who's wanted to come out and see me perform, but have been unable to because I've always played on weeknights, here's your chance to try me on a Saturday night.  Hope to see y'all there!

My Next Round - Monday, April 5th

Remember when I said I was in the final round of the Tommy T's Open Mic Finals?

SLIGHT adjustment to that...

Short version is this - an extra round has been added.  Where originally it was supposed to be one semifinal round over two nights, with ten finalists being voted down to four, there's now one more semifinal round.  The ten have been voted down to six.  Now the six of us that remain - Willie Mac, Sam Key, Jake Ward, Kristen Frisk, Joey Gonzalez and myself - will be all on stage in one night - Monday, April 5th - to do our best 10-minute sets.  There will then be voting (I believe with judges this time), and three of us will then move on to the FINAL final round.  That's where you'll have three comics doing 30-minute sets and seeing which one will walk away (or roll away...) with the big win.

So mark those calenders now if you want to see us all battle it out.  There's gonna be a LOT of funny on that stage!  Contact me if you have any questions about it.

And congrats to last night's winners, Willie, Sam and Jake!  I was there for it, and everybody did a great job - a big hand for Jennifer Rutherford and Ty Anderson, who both ROCKED it but didn't get to advance.  But they've both got bigger stuff ahead of them.  And Jennifer does right away, by the by - just found out she's now hosting a new comedy room in town.  Thursday nights will now be comedy night at La Casa Restaurante on Fair Oaks (near University), and it's a full open mic - show starts at 7:00, sign-ups for comics at 6:30.  So for those of you in the Sac comedy crew who hadn't heard yet, now you know!  There will also be special weekend comedy nights there on the last Saturday of each month - starting with the "Spring Into Spring" event on Saturday, March 27th, featuring Jennifer, Kristen Frisk and Cheryl the Soccer Mom!  There's another good one to mark on your calendars.  Give the La Casa room a try.  I sure plan to.

So, okay, gang, April 5th!  Would love to have your support there, and would love for each of you to see the magic everyone on that finalist list can do with 10 minutes on stage.  Come one, come all! 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tommy T's Open Mic Finals - Round 2, Group 1 is history!

The Tommy T's Open Mic Finals continue---d!

I'm a little behind on my blogging, but yes, last Monday, the 8th, was the big night for me in the semifinals of the competition.  I'd drawn group #1 for the two-evening event, which meant I'd be hitting the stage with an amazing bunch of local comics - Kristen Frisk, Boogee, Joey Gonzalez and Delfino Reyna (misspelled in the photo above).  It also meant that, assuming I advanced to the next round, I'd get a full three weeks to work on my stuff for the FINAL final.  This pleased me.

After spending a very long weekend getting my first-ever 20-minute set put together, I arrived Monday night nice and early to Tommy T's.  I didn't want to feel rushed, and unlike the previous week, I wanted some extra time to hang out and talk to people of mine that were showing up to see me.  Some of those folks from Round 1 I didn't even get to say hello to with all the craziness going on.  So I got there to find Boogee already in the house and coming up with some last-minute additions to his stuff, and Joey dropped in a few minutes later.  Then my people started to trickle in, so I took a spot at the bar where I could see folks coming through the door and said my heys to them before one of the helpful Tommy T's folks guided them to my reserved section.  Once again, I was really pleased to see some long-time friends and supportive family members show up to see me perform.  Some had seen me on stage previously, but others never had, so I definitely wanted to give them a good show.  And with that lineup of comics, I knew that even if I choked, there'd be four other people up there guaranteed to show them a good time.

Kristen got there as well, and the place started filling up.  Delfino, however, was nowhere in sight.  Delifino is from out of town, so that wasn't totally unexpected with the distance he had to come.  So we went ahead and did the drawing for stage order.  When I say "we", I mean that I sent my representative (Fist Officer Vladimir) upstairs with the rest once again to do my drawing for me.  I don't expect we'll see an elevator backstage at Tommy T's anytime soon, so Vladimir's my proxy).  After a few minutes, he came back down to fill me in, and to let me know that I'd drawn the third spot.  Score!!  Right in the middle.  Just what I was hoping for.

Soon enough our host Raj Dutta (remember him from Round 1?) got things started.  Kristen, for the second round in a row, had drawn first place, so she got us started, and got the room totally lit up for her 20 minutes.  Next in the draw was Joey, who was not only a perfect, crowd-pleasing lead-in for me, but provided me, unintentionally, with a nice add-on to one of my opening jokes (the previous comic callback!  Extra level of difficulty!).

And then came I.  Like I said, this was my first time doing a 20-minute set.  Know what the hardest part of doing a 20-minute set is?  Remembering your 20-minute set!  I have this thing where I refuse to use notes on stage, but for the first time, I did have a cheat sheet in my coat pocket just in case.  I had 10 minutes of material never tested on a crowd before, which had me a bit nervous, but the bigger nerves were from all the mixing around and changing up I did on my existing stuff.  Would I remember it all, and in the right order?  Well, there were a couple of moments where I had about a half-second of panic on that subject, but it all came together.  I was really pleased to find the new stuff playing well (whew!), and I liked how it mixed with the old.  The set felt really good, and I was happy to find that I didn't feel clock fatigue (how much time left?!!) at all, but instead very much enjoyed the extra time to work with.  Had a ball.

Boogee drew the next spot, and I was totally happy when he came out throwing wheelchair jokes!  He started with a "Man, how am I supposed to follow a guy in a wheelchair?" bit that let into a couple of awesome chair jokes in my direction, and the crowd loved it.  I keep encouraging other comics to use me for that!  Boogee, a good comedy buddy of mine, definitely did so, and it was awesome.  As he worked through his set in his typically brilliant Boogee style, Delfino finally made it there (woo hoo!).  Luckily, he (by proxy) had drawn 5th place.  So he rounded out the evening with tales of outdated cell phones, laying down the Los Banos comedy style.  And I was happy to see that we all avoided disqualification - I forgot to mention that while these were technically 20-minute sets, you had to reach a minimum of 15 minutes (which the flashing light at the back of the room signaled when you had) or you were automatically out!  No one came up short.  Whew!

Next stage was the voting, always the bittersweet part.  The great part is when you're all on stage together before any winners are decided.  The suck part is that only three of the five can move on.  So after a good amount of re-voting, as things were way too close (when it got down to the final two people going for the three-spot, management had to make the call because the vote-by-applause was just going to continue being a tie) , those going on to the finals ended up being me, Kristen and Joey.  It was a great night of comedy, man.  I was glad to be a part of it.

So that's it for group #1.  This leaves group #2 this coming Monday night (3/15), a group made up of the hi-larious cadre of Willie Mac, Jennifer Rutherford, Sam Key, Jake Ward and Ty Anderson.  I, for one, will be there to watch it all go down!  So if you're itching for some comedy on a Monday night and feel like joining me, that'll be at 7:30 PM at Tommy T's in Rancho Cordova.  Once that night is done, we'll know who the group is for the final round.  Will keep you updated, as ever!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Updates comin'...

Sorry, things have been a little crazy this week with the semifinals and all, so I haven't gotten around to any bloggin'.  Will get you the full story on Monday night's Round 2 excitement at the Tommy T's Open Mic Finals as soon as possible.  For now?  I nap.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Look, Ma! I made it past Round 1!

The third and final group in the first round of the Open Mic Finals at Tommy T's hit the stage last Monday night...and I was part of it!

In case you're new to this blog, here's what's up with the Tommy T's Open Mic Finals.  Every Tuesday night is Open Mic Night at Tommy T's in Rancho Cordova.  At the end of each night, management selects a winner (or sometimes two).  Those winners are then entered in the Open Mic Finals, and get to come back and compete with all the other winners from that period.

My first open mic there was January 5th, and I won that night.  So the finals finally began a couple weeks back, with groups of comedians each Monday night facing each other with 10-minute sets to see which ones advance to the next round.  When names were drawn, I was lucky enough to draw group #3, which meant I got to relax and take my time working up my set...AND get to watch the first two groups and see what each did right...and wrong...and learn from their experience.

As this first round of the competition was based on audience voting to see who advances, I learned fast the importance of bringing some of your people along.  So I got the word out, and got a great group of friends and family to come on out and cheer me on last Monday.  A couple of the others did the same (we all had free tickets given to us to give away), and between us all, we managed to near-fill Tommy T's.  This would end up being the biggest crowd that I've played for yet.  Very exciting.

So Group Three ended up being me, Raj Dutta, Kristen Fritz, Sam(antha) Key and Jake Ward...all of whom I've either shared a stage with or watched on stage before, all really funny people.  My boy Jason Tate was plucked to be the host for the night, and it was great to see him get a shot at that.  Knew this was going to be fun.

We drew order numbers before the show began, and I drew #2.  Whew!  Not #1!  I hate going on first.  Kristen was the lucky winner who got to pull THAT duty.  After her 10 (where we learned about cats and breast-feeding...no, not with cat breasts), my buddy Tim did his wheelchair-lifting duty and got me up the backstage stairs.  Jason did my intro, I got up and did my 10.  Was very happy with it, mostly with the fact that the new stuff worked.  Felt like I gave a strong showing.

After that came Sam Key (who taught us about aging rock stars and Slurpees), followed by a guest set by none other than Mr. Willie Mac (woo hoo!).  Raj came up next ("How about Gandhi...?"), and finally Jake Ward closed things out (with some words on threesome etiquette and a song on his guitar about boners).  And then it was time for all of us to get back on stage for voting.

Audience voting in a case like this doesn't involve ballots or any kind of meters.  We do things the old-fashioned way at Tommy T's.  Lou got up on the mic, and had each of us in turn step forward to receive applause.  He did this process twice juuuuust to be sure.  In the end, Sam, Jake and I advanced.  However, there was also an "alternate" spot that had opened up along the way that management had the selection to fill, and Kristen ended up chosen for that, so she's going to the next round as well! 

The drawings have been done for Round 2, and they break down thusly:

Monday, March 8, 2010
Boogee, Kristen Fritz, Joey Gonzalez, Michael O'Connell, Delfino Reyna

Monday, March 15, 2010
Ty Anderson, Sam Key, Willie Mac, Jennifer Rutherford, Jake Ward

Yeah...I've my work just a LITTLE cut out for me Monday night...

Thanks to everyone (no matter who you came to root for) who showed up Monday night and cheered us on!  Packed house, great crowd, lots of laughs all around.  Thanks to my fellow finalists who braved the night with me.  Bye bye, Round 1!  Here comes Round 2!

If you're reading this and thinking about coming this Monday night...stop thinking and DO IT!  What a lineup!  And what a chance to come and cheer for me...ME, you hear me?!  I can't stress this part highly enough!  Would love to see if we can pack Tommy T's to the walls again.

Support local comedy!  Know what the best way is to do that?  Come out and cheer for ME!  This will benefit local comedy in ways I'll have to explain to you at another time, after I've given it some thought...