Saturday, May 29, 2010

Media Roundup

Man, it has been a long week of promotion for the MDA event.  Flyer posting, emailing, blogging, phone-calling, and dealing with radio, TV, newspapers, etc.  It was a lot of fun, but it's nice to be able to just kick back and relax on a sunny Saturday without running through a checklist of contacts needed to be made.  So I'm blogging this on my laptop on my patio, enjoying both the gorgeous weather AND the second cigar that the MDA gang gave to me at the show.  I am officially in chill mode.

Thought I'd put up some links to the other media that happened over the week, besides this "Insight" radio interview I already linked for you.  Let's take a look, shall we?
There were two articles on about the event.  The first came out about an hour before the Bobby Slayton news went down.  So a second follow-up article went up about the Slayton stuff.

Pre-Slayton article here

Post-Slayton article here

Always a big fan of, and big thanks to Steve Bloom over there for the coverage.  This is always your best place to head to to find out what's happening in the Sac comedy world.  Well, there and this blog, of course...

I'll go ahead and repost the link here to my "Insight" radio interview, just to keep everything in one handy place.  Again, host Jeffrey Callison and all the folks down at Capitol Public Radio (KXJX 90.9 FM) made the whole thing a lot of fun to do, and were awesome to get me on there so quick to pimp the event.  Thanks again, guys.  Sorry we didn't get the Bobby Slayton news until AFTER your show wrapped. :)  My interview is the last segment on the show, so it's about 37 minutes in.

"Insight" radio interview (pre-Slayton)

My second radio interview was done with the show "Radio Parallax" on KDVS 90.3.  I met the show's host, Doug Everett, at the Will Durst show at the Crest, and he took my card and said he wanted to follow up with me to come on and do some comedy talk.  When he heard me on the "Insight" show, he gave me a call and wanted to know if I wanted to come on his show and plug the Tommy T's event.  Uh, you THINK?  Funny side story - my comedy partner Vladimir and Doug are good friends, and Vladimir has been on Parallax several times as he's their official aviation correspondent.  And yet, Doug and I met and then hooked up for an interview, all without realizing we both knew Vladimir.  Great of Doug to throw this together for me!  Sounds like I'll be going back on Parallax to chat with him for longer pretty soon, so I'll keep you posted.

My interview is about three minutes long, and starts at about the 11 minute mark.  Go to the link, look for show #415, and you'll want segment #1 there.  You can either click on it and listen to it right there in the browser, or right-click on it and choose "save link as" and save the MP3 file to your hard drive, or you can click on the "iTunes" button on the left-hand side of the screen.  If you choose the latter, your iTunes software will come up and take you to a list of Parallax podcasts.  You'll want to go to the 5/27/10 show and listen to/download "Segment A".

"Radio Parallax" interview (post-Slayton)

Now this is pretty exciting stuff to me.  Quest Magazine has been on my radar since I was a kid, since this is the official Magazine of the MDA.  I still get it in the mail.  After my comedy stuff started and word started getting around the national MDA office about me, Bill Norman called me up (after getting my info from the local MDA office) and asked if they could do an interview with me.  This one's about me and not about the event, but it posted online the day after the event so they added a blurb about it at the end.

Quest Magazine interview

That's it for now.  If TMZ starts following me around, I'll be sure to link you up on that when it goes down.  Why can't these people give me a moment's peace?!  And why did they have to publish my cottage cheese bikini pics?!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Tommy T's MDA Fundraiser Rocks the Hizzouse!

Now THAT was a night.

Back home now from the MDA Fundraiser at Tommy T's.  Still wired.  I wanted to get the facts out while they're still fresh in my head.

So, in case you missed the lead-up, this show has been planned for a while, and up until two days before the show, I was the only real selling point.  This was a show to raise money for the MDA, set up by Tommy T's.  I was the featured act, and other comedians were going to be doing it with me.  As the date got closer, I (and my awesome support team) have been busting humps to get the word out.  Cynthia E. Jones put together some beautiful flyers for me, and Vladimir and I got them posted up all over midtown.  Oh, fun story about that - I was in a Mexican restaurant down there, asking if I could put a flyer in the window, and the guy behind the counter recognized me and had seen me perform before.  He was a bartender at La Casa when I opened for the first comedy showcase there.  Cool.

So flyers were flown, and not just be us but by other helpful "flyer buddies" who downloaded the PDF and put it up in their offices and other locales.  I also got on two different radio shows to promote it (and allllllmost on a third, but got bumped by American Idol.  Long story...).  Tried for a couple of TV options, too, that didn't pan out, but gave it a shot.

But things changed on Tuesday as soon as I finished my first radio interview at Capital Public Radio.  I went outside just after getting off the air, and my cell rang.  It was Lou calling from Tommy T's.  Lou wanted to know if I wanted to know who was going to be doing the show with me.  I said sure.

Lou said Bobby Slayton.


I'm a big fan.  This is BOBBY SLAYTON, man!  The legend!  He's been around doing this for over 20 years.  He's a comedy TANK.  Suddenly, this benefit had just gotten a WHOLE lot more juice.  And all I could think of was...I couldn't have gotten this information BEFORE I went on the radio to plug it?!  No, I couldn't have, actually...Lou found out while I was in the middle of doing it.

So this was really exciting, not just for how much more this could mean to the fundraiser, but that I'd get to do a show with BOBBY SLAYTON.  Now I was really psyched.  And better yet, the show now kind of sold itself.  All I had to do now was let people know about the Slayton thing, so I hit the web, the phones, the texts, and the radio (for interview #2) to do just that.

So today was miserable and stormy and rainy, and I thought, great, THAT'll encourage people to come out.  But the rain stopped and things cleared up before showtime, so WHEW!  I got to Tommy T's about a quarter after six.  Some of my people were already there, having dinner and watching the Laker game (Tommy T's has two big screens they can let down, and had the game on while people waited), and my support team had just arrived - Tim, my "lifter", and Vlado with the tee shirts, and Arianne on the camera.  Vlado went upstairs and get the tee shirt sales area set up.  I had a bunch of shirts made up (thanks going out to my pal Aaron for hooking me up on the deal through his guy) and shipped in, ones with my logo and my web address on the front.

I hung outside for a while since we got there so early, and greeted people of mine as they came in.  Pretty soon, as I chatted, Bobby Slayton came walking up with his comedy partner (the name is escaping me, and I'm feeling terrible about it) and an armload of his DVDs for post-show sale.  He spotted me and asked if I was "the guy", and I said that I was.  We shook hands and I thanked him for doing this for the cause.  We talked for a couple of minutes there and then he headed up to the club to set up his stuff.

Soon the awesome folks from the MDA office came by, as I knew they would be.  Andy Sheehy and Chastity Madison from there have coordinated with me and Tommy T's on this show.  Andy even brought me the gift of two cigars!  Sweet!  See what your MDA donations go to?  Jerry's Kids get tobacco, dude!

After finishing chatting with some more arriving guests, I headed back upstairs to talk with Lou and with local comedy master Ruben Mora, who was there to assist Lou for the evening (Ruben runs the open mic room at T2's on Wednesday nights).  I found out I'd be going first, then Bobby's opening act guy, then Bobby.  Cool.  I could get my set out of the way and then order some dinner, because I hadn't eaten all day and was feeling it.  I went to the bar to order a Guinn, at least, and hung out there for a bit with Bobby.  I NEARLY had a drink bought for me by Bobby, in fact, as he was ordering his.  He asked me, "You want something, kid?", and then someone else started talking to him, so I paid for my own drink and felt better about that.  But still...kind of cool to almost have a celeb pay for your booze.  And Bobby Slayton called me kid!  I felt like I was in Vegas in 1962!

Really fun crowd there.  We had a good showing.  I had a good number of friends and family there, some of whom I hadn't seen in quite some time, so I was having a ball just rapping with everybody.  But soon it was time for the show to start.  I grabbed Tim and we headed backstage, where he got me up the steps.  I waited there.  Tommy T's has this video that plays on the screen before big name shows start (I didn't know this because I'm never at Tommy T's for any of the weekend shows), so that went on.  Bobby came backstage, told me good luck, and headed up into the green room for a bit.  Lou came up and waited with me until the end of the video, then went out on stage and did the bit they do where they bring people up on stage who have birthdays (or are close to birthdays) and make them dance or do other stuff to get free Tommy T's tickets.  He also brought Andy up (who's the executive director of our local MDA office), and Andy said a few things about the MDA and thanked everyone for showing up and supporting the cause. 

I hit the Twitter one last time to let folks know I was about to go on, then I got my intro.  Went out and did my set, a mixture of old and new stuff (I wanted some new stuff for my people who were coming out to see me again and had heard it all before).  Had a great time with it.  Did my bit and headed for the bar and ordered food right away, as I was really feeling the lack of energy.  Hung out back there with Arianne and Vlado and watched the guy who's name I can't remember (I suck) who was really awesome.  Crowd loved him.  And I loved my burger.  It was all a big love-fest.  I hung out with Bobby a bit more at the bar, and got some compliments and good advice.  He felt I had "killer" stuff.  I told him how I'm trying to get on the MDA Telethon, and he felt that my stuff would "kill...KILL" on the show.  I'm passing that info along to the MDA, thank you very much.

After that, Bobby went and took the stage.  In typical Slayton fashion, his first words up at an MDA fundraiser were insulting both the MDA and Jerry Lewis.  And it was glorious.  As was watching him work.  Like many of the great ones, you get the idea that he has about ten minutes, maybe, of set material up there, and the rest is all just working the crowd.  And he did.  His set ran somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour, and it just flew by.  He ripped it up, worked every corner of the crowd, offended all equally, and had everyone in stitches.  The audience loved it.  And I loved watching and learning from someone who's do this so well and has been doing it for so long.  I'm telling you, if you're in Sac and you weren't there tonight?  You ought to grab some tickets and catch him there over the weekend.  He's playing Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

After the show was, I think, my favorite part.  That was when I got to hang out and meet people and hook up with friends and family that showed, and got to get pictures taken with a lot of folks.  While I did this (with Arianne working the camera), Vlado was working his arse off at the tee shirt table selling off fine Michael O'Comedy fashion.  Vlado also wisely brought a Sharpie for me, as people did come up to me and ask to have their tee shirts signed.  Sadly, no bosom signings.  I'm not THAT big yet.

Bobby was at a table greeting fans on their way out and selling copies of his DVD (and five bucks of every purchase (as well as a portion of his payment for the night) was going right to the MDA).  I got some photos taken with him and I there.  They were interesting.  Bobby's a unique individual.  Bobby's also one hell of a classy guy, and really showed it all night (off-stage, of course...).  He bought one of my shirts and put it on, too.  He also gave me one of his DVD's with this signed on the front:

"Mike -
You were great!
Good f***in' luck!
Your pal -
Bobby Slayton"

I also got a pic with the whole MDA crew, and was really glad they were able to make it out to share in this.  I was also happy that so many of my people were able to break free on a Thursday night (right before a holiday weekend) to be there for the benefit - some of whom drove here from as far as Redding and Modesto!  Very, very grateful to everyone who showed, not just for being there for me and for me having the pleasure of their company, but for helping raise some solid cash for the MDA.  This mission was a success.

So thanks to them, thanks to my awesome support team, thanks to my fellow comedy peeps who made it out (like Ty Anderson, Cheryl the Soccer Mom, Queenie TT and Samantha Hickey) when they could been somewhere else getting stage time instead, thanks to Bobby Slayton for bringing the power cred to the night, and thanks to Tommy T's Comedy & Dinner Theater, the folks who came to me with this idea in the first place and let us use their club to bring it to life.  Once again, Tommy T's is in my corner and has got my back.  You guys are the bestest.

And now...I am done with comedy.  For a while.  Surgery is Tuesday, recovery comes next, so I wouldn't expect to see me in the month of June (unless I recover quicker than I think).  But I'll be back before you know it, and you'll probably be hearing plenty from me online in the meantime.  But I'll probably be so doped on painkillers that I won't be making much sense.  See you when I see you, Sac comedy scene!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bobby Slayton and Michael O'Connell Join For MDA Fundraiser


The big news today regarding the Tommy T's MDA Fundraiser ("Comedy Made Accessible") taking place this Thursday, May 27th, can be summed up in two words.

Bobby Slayton.

The legendary comedian/actor known worldwide as the "Pitbull of Comedy" will be joining the benefit Thursday night to help raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  Slayton is booked to play Tommy T's all this coming weekend, but has added an extra night to take part in the MDA event.

Slayton will join Sacramento wheelchair comedian Michael O'Connell in a show where 100% of ticket sales will be donated by Tommy T's to the MDA.  Michael O'Connell tee shirts will also be sold to raise monies for the charity, a charity near to O'Connell as he suffers from Muscular Dystrophy himself.

Per his bio, Bobby Slayton "has been performing his own intense style of stand-up comedy for over 20 years, becoming one of the best known, respected, and energetic comics working today. Audiences around the country may recognize Bobby from his scene-stealing roles in movies such as 'Get Shorty,' 'Ed Wood,' 'Bandits' and most recently 'Dreamgirls.' He's been seen on dozens of television shows including 'The Tonight Show' and 'Politically Incorrect.' Bobby's many appearances on HBO have included 'Comic Relief '& his own stand-up special. He was a series regular on the HBO series 'Mind of a Married Man,' and played 'Joey Bishop' opposite Ray Liotta and Joe Mantegna in the critically acclaimed film 'The Rat Pack.'

Slayton's distinctive gravelly voice has often been heard on animated shows like 'Dr. Katz' and 'Family Guy,' as well as many popular radio shows across the country including Howard Stern, Kevin & Bean, and Tom Leykis.

The NY Daily News called Slayton 'Armed and Dangerous' and the Las Vegas Review Journal pointed out that 'Slayton's refusal to comprise his art has always made him worth a special trip.'"

Michael O'Connell is a comedian new to the comedy scene, but has achieved much notoriety in his young career for his unique disability-themed humor.  After winning an open mic night at Tommy T's his first night on stage, he went on to compete in the Tommy T's Talent Search Finals, advancing to the final round and finishing second overall.  He's gone on to play clubs and comedy rooms all over Sacramento, has been featured in the Sacramento Bee and local radio, and is in talks to appear on the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon in Las Vegas.  His comedy has caught the attention of such celebrities as comedian/singer Dan Finnerty (of "The Dan Band") and actor Adam Baldwin ("Chuck", "Firefly"), both of whom have linked his videos on their Twitter pages.

Tickets for the event are $10.00 and are available at the door or through the Tommy T's web site.  The show begins at 7:30 PM.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Insight" Radio Interview

Had a great time this morning doing my interview on Capital Public Radio, KXJZ 90.9 FM, for the show "Insight", to promote the big MDA Fundraiser show on Thursday night at Tommy T's.

Got up WAY too early for this today.  Well...early for me.  And it wasn't so much that it was early as that I was a bit ill last night and didn't get to sleep until late.  So after about 3.5 hours of sleep, I was up and ready to launch!  Groggy, but ready to launch!

I went first and picked up Vladimir from his place, as he was coming along to take photos.  After getting ourselves a little lost, we made it to the station in time, and even found out I was to be the last segment, so I was plenty early.  We got guided back to the green room (how many times in the average human life to you get to be in someone's green room?  AWEsome), but were offered pink cupcakes along the way by station employees who were having a birthday party.  Do pink cupcakes and green rooms mix?

In the green room (after I signed the "Insight" guest book per request), we met a writer by the name of Eric Volz.  We asked about what he wrote, which he described as "memoir and true crime" (?).  After getting more info, we found out he wasn't a fiction writer, but wrote a book about his experiences being framed and jailed in Nicaragua for the rape and murder of a local girl that he'd been involved with.  This is a messed up, all true story.  And it turns out Vladimir had read about it in a magazine around the time it was all going on.  It's an incredible (and horrifying) tale, and I, myself, can't wait to read the book.  You, too, should try "Gringo Nightmare", and you can order it up right here

As as we sat in the green room, comedian Nick Brunner dropped in and joined us.  I'd totally forgotten he worked at the station!  We got to rap for a while and talk about "The Wire" (greatest TV show EVER.  Yes, fellow "Lost" fans, I said it!).  Good seeing him outside the walls of Luna's Cafe.

They called me in to the booth soon enough, and Vladimir went into the sound room to watch through the glass.  I got to meet the show's host, Jeffrey Callison, a fantastic (and Scottish) guy who made me feel right at home.  We got started, and I got to talk about the benefit, about Muscular Dystrophy, about my comedy, and about wheelchair living in general.  I even got to name drop a little (threw in plugs for Ellis Rodriguez, Keith Lowell Jensen, Luna's Cafe, and, of course, a lot about Tommy T's.  I was hoping to be able to pimp a lot more folks and comedy joints, but you can only force that stuff into a 12-minute interview so many times).  Really enjoyed the experience!  And very grateful to Jeffrey, and to show producer Jen Picard who set the whole thing up for me on such short notice.  Thanks for the help getting word out on the event, Capital Public Radio!

If you missed the show, you can listen to it right here:

When you click on the "Listen" button, a media player window will pop up, and you'll be given the option of playing it through that or right-clicking the link to download the MP3.  I highly recommend the latter, so you can enjoy it right on your iPod.  My interview begins right at 38 minutes in.

So I finished up, rolled outside the building, and my phone rang.  It was Lou with Tommy T's.  Lou had some pretty big news for me (that of course had to happen AFTER I got off the radio).  What was it?  Read the next blog for details!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

5/27/10 MDA Fundraiser needs your help, comedy fans!

This is going out to all my peeps in the 916, yo!  Sac fans, check this out!

Okay, the big MDA Fundraiser at Tommy T's - you know, the one where I'm headlining? - is coming up THIS THURSDAY, 5/27!  As you may recall, 100% of ticket sales (and tickets are ten bucks) go right to the MDA.  So to make the top dollar for the MDA, it would help to sell this monkey OUT!

This is where you can help.

Of course, you showing up is a fantastic start, and I'm dying to see you there.  But to make sure we hit the big numbers, it would help if some other folks came along, too.


We've got a couple of promotional flyers for this show (designed by photographer Cynthia E. Jones), and it would be a HUGE help if you could take one of those and paste it up in your office...or in the window of your favorite coffee shop...or on the windshield of every car at Arco Arena.  Whatever works for you.  The more people that hear about this event the better, and with your help, we can make that wee dream of sellout dolla come true!

There are two versions of the flyer.  The first is the standard one, and comes in both color and black and white versions.  The second is the awesome fancy one, which you can use if you don't mind using more of your color ink (it's much more colorful).  You can find the PDF of each one at these handy links:

** Click on the text link (not the thumbnail) to go to the full-size PDF **

Just choose whichever your printer likes better (not everyone has a color printer.  Many offices are still way too cheap), pull up that PDF, print it, and stick it somewhere where folks can see it.  With any luck, Operation: Flyer Buddy will be a spectacular success, and there will be happy comedy fans wall to wall at Tommy T's!

Thanks, everybody.  This is a really good cause, and I really appreciate your help on this.  Let me know if you have any questions or problems.  And seriously...I hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Countdown to Assimilation: the Cardiac Adventure

I've been trying to fit in as much comedy as I can in the month of May.  Because as of June 1st, I'll be taking a little break from the comedy world.  For kind of not-really-much-choice reasons.

At 7:00 AM on Tuesday, June 1st, I'll be wheeled into an operating room at UCD Med Center for some heart surgery.  Specifically, to get my pacemaker replaced/upgraded.

I've had a pacemaker since 2001.  Heart problems are one of the fun things that come with my particular kind of Muscular Dystrophy, and it was pretty much understood that one day I'd end up getting a pacemaker.  Well, that day came kind of all of a sudden.  Things started going wrong one evening with my heart (I could clearly tell), so I got into my van, drove myself to the emergency room, and found out my heart was basically slowing down and trying to stop.  I was checked in immediately, and 24 hours later I had a pacemaker in my chest.

At the time, the pacemaker was top of the line.  Really snazzy tech, this stuff.  It has a computer chip in it that records everything my heart does, and I go in to my cardiologist every three months or so so they can put this wand thing over my chest, and that wand pulls all the data (in a very wi-fi kind of way) and puts it on a computer that they then review.  It also shows them how much time is left on my battery in there.  The estimate for battery life was about seven to eight years.  I've managed to make it for almost nine.  But it's now down to less than two months left, so it's time for a replacement.

While they could just replace the battery in it, that's just not going to cut it.  Think about the cell phone you had in 2001.  How many generations removed is it from the phone you have now?  Think about how much the technology has changed since then.  Now apply that thought to my pacemaker.  I can't even text with my pacemaker!  It doesn't surf the web, doesn't have GPS, you can't play Tetris on it...  It's now old and lame.  So it needs replacing anyway, but now I'm also in need of a combo pacemaker/defibrillator unit.  Which, unfortunately, is quite a bit bigger than the one I have, so it's going to be sore as HELL when they cut my shoulder open on the 1st of June and jam the thing in there.  I am officially geared up and ready to start my prescription painkiller dependency.  THEN I'll really feel like I'm on the road to celebrityhood.

This is what I will look like to Superman.

I'll be in the hospital for a couple of days, then home recovering.  The recovery part is mainly just recovering from the wound itself.  Hopefully that'll be mostly handled within a couple of weeks, but then I'll have the added time needing to not move my left arm very much, because the leads that go from the pacemaker into the heart aren't really locked into place (there's a certain amount of scarring needed) for about 8-10 weeks.  Not sure yet how down I'll be for this period of time, but hopefully not out of it completely for the WHOLE time.  We'll see.

So that means a break from comedy for a while as the summer begins.  But hopefully I'll make a triumphant return soon after.  But that's the final step.  First step is getting the surgery done and getting the new cybernetic implant up and running.

And to that end...

Prayers and happy vibes are, of course, welcome.  But as a special boost of good will, I have a request.  It is this.  On June 1st, at 7:00 AM (when surgery is scheduled to begin), I would like as many people as possible to play a song.  MP3, CD, record, whatever.  The choice of song is up to you, with this condition: it needs to have the word "heart" attached to it.  For example, any song from the band "Heart" will do.  You can even push it and play something by Corey Hart.  You can find heart-titled songs, such as Don Johnson's big 80's hit "Heartbeat", or Don Henley's "The Heart of the Matter"...or Stacey Q's "Two of Hearts" if you roll that way.  I won't restrict you on the song (I just had to stop myself from banning that song from Titanic), whatever floats your boat (or in the case of Titanic, sinks the #$@% thing), as you'll be the one listening to it, not me.  I'll be quite unconscious at the time.

And after you've played your song, I would ask that you please post up somewhere what you played, just so everyone can see where everyone went (so creativity and obscurity is encouraged).  That can be either here on this blog entry under comments, or on the Facebook event page (I'm about to make one of these when I finish this entry), or right on my Facebook wall.  This will make it fun.  In my opinion. 

So the countdown to my assimilation begins!  Hope to see all of you in the comedy world a couple more times (definitely at the big MDA Fundraiser at Tommy T's...right?) before it all goes down, but after that, I wanted you to know where I disappeared to.  And when I return, I hope to have a whole slew of hospital/surgery/pacemaker jokes ready to drop on stage.  This is the great thing about being a comedian.  The more things that go awry during my hospital stay and the recovery after, the better the jokes.  Woo hoo!

Again, your last chance to see me make jokes powered by the old pacemaker is Thursday, 5/27, at 7:00 PM, and your 100% of your ticket money will go right to the MDA, thanks to Tommy T's!  Hope to see you there!

And thanks, all.  From the bottom of...

I can't do it.  It's just too obvious.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Me and Joey G at Luna's Cafe Wednesday night!

The reunion that Tommy T's Open Mic Finals (Season 1) fans have DEMANDED!  DEMANDED, I say!

It'll be a dream come true this Wednesday, May 19, at Comedy Night at Luna's for those happy souls.  Joey G and I will be rocking the same mic again for the first time since the Final Four round at Tommy T's, as we appear with other comics (some of them even almost as funny as us) and host-having-the-most Keith Lowell Jensen.

Show starts at 8:00 PM, and it's six bucks at the door.  That's only three bucks for each of us, and you get all those other comedians and a headliner for free!  What a deal!  So join the fun at:

Luna's Cafe & Juice Bar
1414 16th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Bring a friend!  Especially if it's a hot female friend.  Please note that Joey is married, so the friend is strictly for my benefit.  Bonus points if she wears glasses and likes Cameron Crowe films.  Thank you.

Monday, May 10, 2010

This Week in NorCal Comedy (week of 05/10/10)

It's a brand-new week in Northern California!  One wonders what kind of opportunities for comedic delight this week to come might bring.  Well, funny you should wonder.  I just happen to have some suggestions for you.

(Again, this is not meant to be a comprehensive list.  Just a few highlights I'm noting for y'all...).

MONDAY, 5/10

PO' BOYZ BAR & GRILLE, Folsom, 9:00 PM - Considered by some to be the best-kept secret in Sacramento area comedy, the Open Mic Night at Po' Boyz draw in the best comedians from Sacramento and the Bay, with out-of-towners carpooling together to come up to Folsom to try our their latest stuff on the local crowd.  Hosted by Cheryl the Soccer Mom (best known of late as part of the highly successful "Real (Funny) Housewives of Rio Linda"), this is a room with no cover and no minimums, and a great place for comedy fans to check out the up-and-comers, and even the occasional big-name special guest dropping in.  Come hang with the Boyz.


TOMMY T'S, Rancho Cordova, 7:00 PM - It's not only Open Mic Night at Tommy T's, but also Taco Tuesday!  Comedy and tacos...that's a magical combo, kids.  Comics of the brand-new and on-the-rise varieties will be hitting the mic for a shot at getting into season 3 of the Tommy T's Talent Search.  If you think you have what it takes, head down to Tommy T's and put that money right about where that mouth sits.  And if you just like to watch (you KNOW you do...), you and your tacos will witness a fantastic variety of comedians lightin' up that mic.  Two-drink min.


Wow.  Big day.  Take a deep breath, and...

VICE ULTRA LOUNGE, Walnut Creek, 7:00 PM - Well, comedy is hitting Walnut Creek in a BIG way.  Ambitious comedy nights going on at Vice, folks, and they smack of "can't miss" to me.  Comedy JAM Wednesdays include Open Mic and Showcase from 7:00 to 8:00, then the Headliner (with openers) from 8:00 to 9:30.  This particular Wednesday looks awesome for the listed Showcase comedians alone, because that list includes my boys Willie Mac, Mac McDonald and Roland Mothershed (as well as Melanie Bega, Jesse Elias, Tamarah Masdon and Chris Schiappacasse)!  As if they weren't enough of a draw ALONE, the Headliner for the eve is Candy Churilla, she of the Last Comic Standing fame and one painfully funny lady on stage (as I witnessed at Luna's a while back).  Opening for Candy are Susan Maletta and Liz Grant.  The show is run by TV's Mark Roman and comedian Kelleen, and celebrity guests are brought in each week representing their favorite charity.  This week, the celebs include Jacqueline Williams (Miss 2010 California Gold Coast) and Frankie Simmons-North (Mr. US, former Armani Model of the Year).  Did I say ambitious?  Do you get why now?  The party's in Walnut Creek, ladies and gents!  No cover.

TOMMY T'S, Rancho Cordova, 7:30 PM - Season 2 of the Tommy T's Talent Search continues as the next finalists take their shot in round 1 of the competition.  Which ones will advance to round 2, and which will go home?  Got to show up at Tommy T's to find out!  Finalists in this round include Jake Ward and Queenie TT.  And for all you stalkers out there, this is where you'll be able to find me Wednesday.  Five bucks at the door, two drink min.

LUNA'S CAFE, Sacramento, 8:00 PM - It's another fantastic Comedy Night at Luna's, and state-hopping, dangerously funny comedian Jason Resler is headlining the fun.  I just worked with Jason last week, and have confirmed - you're in for a big treat with this show.  The usual quality selection of local comics will be cracking you before Jason hits the stage, hand-selected by your host, Keith Lowell Jensen.  And as it's been standing room only lately at Luna's on Wednesdays, you might want to show up early to get a table.  Six bucks at the door gets you mucho comedo.  That's not a real Spanish phrase.  I just made it up.  I think.  It might be right, for all I know...

PUNCHLINE, Sacramento, 8:00 PM - Assuming they can manage to keep the parking lot from flooding this time (last week's busted fire hydrant at the Howe 'Bout Arden center yielded awesome Noah-like pics), Punchline is set to knock you OUT Wednesday night.  It's that time of the month (not THAT time...), and that means Sacramento Comedy Showcase!  Seriously, if you look around you on Wednesday night and notice you can't seem to find any comedians in sight?  Chances are that's because they're all HERE.  This is always an amazing night, bringing the best in Sac and the Bay on stage together.  And your host is one of California's funniest, the amazing John Ross.  Ten bucks will get you through the door.  Two drink min.

T2'S, Sacramento, 9:00 PM - Itching for some Wednesday night open mic action, Sacramento comics?  Then why the hell aren't you at T2's?  Maybe it's because you're used to that open mic being at Trino's, and you haven't figured out yet that it's the same building but with a new name.  Come toss your best punchlines with Sac-Town faves at the room hosted by Ruben Mora.  No cover.  Many laughs.  Good times.


TRE NIGHTCLUB, Sacramento, 7:00 PM - After its big debut last week, the funny continues at Open Mic Comedy Night at Tre, Sac's newest open mic alternative.  Tre is quite posh and comic-friendly, with great service and really rockin' food (the burger is to die for), and Sac's favorite boys and girls of ha-ha will be hitting the mic on the Tre dance floor (don't dancers until after the comedy, so the comics will not be injured).  Host Jennifer Rutherford will be making it all happen, and rumor has it I'll be there dropping some comedy my damn self.  Sign-ups for comics start at 6:00 PM, show starts promptly at 7:00 PM.  No cover, no minimum.  And hang around for the after-party and dance (and drink) the night away at Tre!

TOMMY T'S, Rancho Cordova, 7:30 PM - Originally from Detroit but a Californian now, Tony Roberts has been all over TV comedy - from HBO to BET to his lastest Showtime special.  One of the funniest guys currently in the biz (I have seen him live and speak the truth), he'll be bringing the roof down at Tommy T's on both Thursday (7:30 show only) and Friday (7:30 and 9:30 shows).  Tickets fifteen bucks.  WORTH it.

FRIDAY, 5/16

SACRAMENTO COMEDY SPOT, Sacramento, 9:00 PM - Your Friday night comedy needs are handled.  In fact, here's MORE than you can handle.  It's double improv action!  The Comedy Spot improv shows start at 9:00 PM with the Anti-Cooperation League ($8 tix).  Then, at 10:30 PM, you've got the 3 On 3 Improv Tournament ($5 tix).  You can save some scratch and increase your chuckles by spending $10 on an all-night pass and catching both shows.  Local comics...crazy make-em-ups!  Check it out!


CAFE NOSTRA, El Dorado Hills, CA - Holy smokes, what a lineup!  Appearing this weekend at Comedy Night at the fantastic venue at Cafe Nostra is a trio of comedy KAPOW!  Your headliner is the aforementioned Jason Resler.  Your feature set is the amazing Joey Gonzalez, who's been lighting it up around the state since his Final Four showing at the Tommy T's Talent Search got him so much notice.  And your special guest host for the evening is the woman who's bringing sexy back to comedy, Jennifer Rutherford.  This is worth the trip up the freeway, people!  What a way to spend an S-A-T-U-R, D-A-Y, night! No cover, no minimums, just good times and one tasty-ass sandwich.

SACRAMENTO COMEDY SPOT, Sacramento, 11:00 PM - Oh, it is finally HERE.  You've heard the rumors.  You've dared to dream.  And now, finally, The David Lew Experience premieres at Comedy Spot.  This late night event described as an "R-Rated Variety Show" will happen every Saturday night, and will be a different show each week.  Hosted and enabled by the amazing David Lew himself, the "Experience" will apparently involve contestants winning cash and prizes.  So you could be going home with some fetti if you check this show the big question in your mind should be, "What am I going to have to DO to win that cash?".  It'll cost you five bucks to get in the door and find out.  Be there and be able to say you were at the first David Lew Experience EVER!

REVIEW: Keith Lowell Jensen - "To the Moon" - Comedy CD

He is Sacramento's own Keith Lowell Jensen.  We embrace him with a kind of pride usually only reserved for the likes of Tesla...Cake...or Molly Ringwald.  But while all of those just mentioned can sing, Keith, instead, croons a song of sarcastic mirth.  Comedy is timbre of his vibrato.  His lyrics are the observations and experiences of his life that speak to the shared existence of us all.  And through his serenade, we find that there's a little bit of Keith in all of us.

Or at least those of us who are consistently mistaken for being gay, like to watch our porn backwards, and don't get along very well with our imaginary friends.

You might know Keith as the Atheist on the Coexist Comedy Tour, or might have seen him back when he toured with Spike & Mike's, or might have even see him on Lopez Tonight and asked, "Why is that skinny white boy on TV impersonating Chris Rock while standing next to Chris Rock?".  But those of us in the Sacramento comedy world know him best as the founder and host of Comedy Night at Luna's, the every-Wednesday comedian showcase that takes place in Midtown at Luna's Cafe.  It's fitting to us, then, that Keith chose to record his newest comedy CD - "To the Moon" - at Luna's.  He performs all over the country, but if anywhere is his comedic home, it's Luna's.

What makes this CD such a pleasure, even before Keith takes the stage after the introduction, is the audio environment.  The recording perfectly captures what an evening of comedy at Luna's sounds like, a small but enthusiastic venue that many Sacramento comics find to be their favorite room to play.  The CD takes on the same personal, more intimate ambiance one finds on any given Wednesday in this artsy juice bar, as opposed to the impersonal overwhelm of a large club.

Jensen connects immediately with his audiences, and does so once more with this taping.  His particular charm is a combination of boyish enthusiasm, indignation, and subtle self-deprecation.  His years of experience at the game have taught him how to come off as speaking with the audience, not to it.  There's a genuineness in his performances, which is helped by drawing much of his material from his own life history, as the best in the comedy field always do.

Leaving his Atheism material behind (that which delights crowds on the Coexist tour or local shows like the recent "Ha Ha Heathens" night at the Sacramento Comedy Spot), Keith focuses, instead, on a range of subjects from touring stories in small towns, fatherhood, computer tech support, high school nightmares, his own oft-mislabeled sexual orientation, the history of pornography, Jenny McCarthy, dumb people, and his own evil, evil brother.  The crowd is with him, and loves it, with numerous laughter and applause breaks.  Once more, the familiar sounds of Luna's are captured, including the distinctive (and always appreciated by us comics) laughter of Babalou (she who takes the money at the door) and even the barely-heard ringing of the Luna's phone.  I like to imagine that the call was from someone asking, "What time does Keith Lowell Jensen go on?" halfway through Keith's set.

I had a number of laugh-out-loud moments during my listening of this CD, which is unusual for me, as I'm more of a laugh-on-the-inside kind of comedy fan.  I noticed this mainly because I was listening on my iPod out on my patio, and each time I laughed I surprised myself and looked around to make sure none of my neighbors were walking by and thinking I'd gone mental.  I've seen Keith on stage many times now, and was pleased to find most of "To the Moon" was material I'd not heard before.  And it was really good material.  Keith's writing and comedic timing sync together perfectly in this hour-long set, with all the right surprises, expert pauses, and inflections of his voice that he wields like a sword (if swords made people laugh instead of bleed and die).  Keith is the journeyman comedian who knows his craft and knows his audience, and exudes a confidence that never comes off cocky.  It's the confidence of a comedian who's seen it all, who's played every kind crowd on every kind of stage, and lets nothing shake him.  He carries just the right dosage of fearlessness that makes his words and tales impossible to ignore, and makes us grateful to be on the ride he's taking us on.

"To the Moon" is a winner, a perfect starting point for the KLJ-uninitiated and a treat for long-time fans.  It's available on Amazon for $14.99 for the CD, or an $8.99 MP3 download.  If you're up for an auditory trip to downtown Sacramento, an evening amongst close tables and friendly company (and a very tasty turkey melt, my personal favorite on the Luna's menu), and a lot of laughs at the expense of a man who truly knows how to pull them from you, then pick this one up.  Keith Lowell Jensen, the pride of Success High, is saving you a spot up front.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"GET WELL SOON" ALERT: Carlos Rodriguez

If you're in Sacramento comedy, you know comedian Carlos Rodriguez.  Carlos is all over the state in his performances, and it's not hyperbole to say he's easily one of the funniest comics in the California scene.  And one of the coolest, too.

Last night Carlos ended up in the ER after apparently losing a fight with a spider.  A bite on the hand led not to him gaining super-powers and webbing his way across the city, but to him getting a GIANT EFFING HAND.  It hurts just LOOKING at the damned thing. I can only imagine what it feels like wearing it. 

Whatever they did in the ER clearly wasn't enough, because by today, Carlos reported via Facebook that he was back at the hospital and about to go under the knife, so some kind of surgical remedy was needed.  Hopefully that'll be the thing that returns his hand to normal instead of the giant red sausage monster it transformed into.

So if you're one of Carlos' many Facebook friends and/or fans, why not drop in and post a "get well" to the man on his wall?  Or at the very least, a joke about how much this injury is going to affect his sex life.

Deflate soon, Mr. Rodriguez, and we'll see you on the mic.

This Week in NorCal Comedy

I'm always keeping an eye on what's happening in the comedy scene around Northern Cal, just to see what all my other comedy peeps are doing, and I like to point these things out from time to time so others might share in the fun.  I thought this week I'd just put all these in one place to reference.  Note that this is not meant to be a comprehensive list - just the stuff I've found, and mostly stuff involving folks I know.


TOMMY T'S, Rancho Cordova, 7:00 PM - the second season of the Tommy T's finals has just gotten started (congrats to Sunday night's winners who moved on), so now's the time for the new hopefuls to hit the Open Mic Night to try to qualify for the season three finals.  It's Taco Tuesday at Tommy T's, so good eats and up-n-comin' comedy hopefuls showing their stuff.  If you think you got it in you, get up on the stage at Tommy T's and find out!  Limited to 12 comics only, so show up early if you're hitting the mic.

LAUGHS UNLIMITED, Old Sacramento, 8:00 PM - It's time for Shane Murphy's Funky Mad Fresh Comedy Show, the once-per-month open mic host by the Irish car bomb himself, Shane Murphy.  And it is ALWAYS full.  Lots of comics, new and vet, all hitting the mic and blowing the roof off the place.  Oh, and a special 21st birthday celebration will be happening for local comic Anthony Zimmer.  If you want to hit THIS open mic?  Show up and sign up early (signups start at 7:00), and bring people with you - "bringers" get priority on the list.  You want to try doing comedy in this town, Tuesday night's your night!  Double open mic ACTION, baby! 


TOMMY T'S, Rancho Cordova, 7:00 PM - Oh, baby!  A comedy BOMB is dropping on Rancho!  And just in time to rock Cinco de Mayo!  The Real (Funny) Housewives of Rio Linda are bringing it to Tommy T's!  You might want to call for reservations, as this group has been known to sell out shows.  Watch Cheryl the Soccer Mom, Kristen Frisk, Stephanie Garcia, Sinderella and Kimmy Kay work their domestic mojo and rock the joint.  DAMMIT I wish I could make this one...

LUNA'S CAFE, Sacramento, 8:00 PM - This is where I'll be (to witness, not to perform).  The Comedy Night at Luna's weekly show, brought to you by Keith Lowell Jensen, will be headlined by Brendan Lynch this time around, and will feature a selection of awesome comics including Caitlin Gill, Miles K. Stenhjem, Nick Brunner and Zack Parrott...and the usual tasty Luna's chow (I'm partial to the turkey melt).  Six bucks gets you in the door.  Hilarity then ensues.  If you drink too much, Keith will be happy to drive you home.  He's just that kind of host.

T2'S, Sacramento, 9:00 PM - Speaking of open mics, here's your Wednesday option.  At the lounge formerly known as Trino's, host Delfino Reyna brings you the special Cinco de Mayo Comedy Competition.  Lots of comics (maybe you!), including Willie Mac and Joey G.  Winner gets a bottle of tequila, AND gets to host next month's comedy night at Delfino's comedy room (Club Evolution) in Los Banos.


TRE NIGHTCLUB, Sacramento, 7:00 PM - The newest open mic in town premieres this Thursday at Tre (on Howe Avenue), hosted by Jennifer Rutherford.  Signups start at 6:00, the show at 7:00.  Come to watch hot young comedians (that sounded sleazy, didn't it?), or get on the list and try your game.  Be here for the opening night!

PUNCHLINE, Sacramento, 8:00 PM - Big hitter playing at Punchline Thursday night...none other than Ahmed Ahmed, world-touring comic seen in film (Iron Man, Swingers, You Don't Mess With the Zohan), on TV (Roseanne, JAG, Tracy Takes On, Jay Leno) and on stage (The Comedy Store in Hollywood, The Comedy Cellar in New York).  He's bringing it to Sac this week, and it should be a hell of a ride.


THE STATE THEATER, Modesto, 7:00 PM - Heads up, Modesto...there's some MAJOR comedy going down at the State!  The 1st Annual Modesto Comedy Festival lights it up and brings the megafunny.  Headlining will be the amazing Mike E. Winfield (as seen on Showtime, BET, Last Comic Standing and Comic Unleashed), one of the fastest-rising and hysterical comics in the biz (I know...I've both seen him and shared the stage with him).  Is if that wasn't enough, the night's going to get warmed up with some amazing local comedy faves - Kabeezy, Cheryl the Soccer Mom, Anthony K and Chris Teicheira.  You're a lucky, lucky town, Modesto.

SACRAMENTO COMEDY SPOT, Sacramento, 8:00 PM - Okay, IMMA be in the crowd to watch THIS one.  The Stand-Up Shoot-Out goes down Friday night, where local awesome comics are going to be facing off in competition.  Ben Shields, Nick Pettigrew and Noel DeWitt are going tear the Comedy Spot a new one!  Assuming it has an old one to begin with...  Doors open at 7:30, tickets eight bucks.

CLUB EVOLUTION, Los Banos, 8:00 PM - Seriously, if I wasn't spoken for and I could afford the gas money right now?  I'd be in Los Banos Friday night.  The Los Banos Comedy Night (run by Delfino Reyna) is not only hooking you up with headliner Ngaio Bealum (seen on BET, Comics Unleashed, The Sarah Silverman Show...and by me at Luna's Cafe a while back), but some of my favorite guys in local comedy - Chazz Hawkins, Ray Molina and John Ross.  And not only all this, but the show's being opened by none other than my fellow Tommy T's finalist Joey Gonzalez!  I KNOW how many Joey G fans I have among my peeps.  So if you're going to be near Los Banos, check these brothers OUT!


THE CREST THEATER, Sacramento, 8:00 PM - The New York Times has called Will Durst "The best political satirist working in the country today".  This legendary performer is hitting the Crest for what's sure to be a night to remember...and not only this, but opening for him is our own Keith Lowell Jensen!  Wotta deal!  Go, and you will thank me!

BAY TERRACE THEATER, Vallejo, 8:00 PM - My man Raj Dutta (of Tommy T's Finals fame) has been working his mojo all over NorCal.  Saturday night he's doing a feature set at the Bay Terrace Theater, along with Ryan McFadden, Emmanuel Baja, and headliner Kevin Munroe.  If you're down Vallejo way, don't miss the Raj!

So that's the scoop.  So get out there and enjoy some local comedy, folks!  If you don't think NorCal's got the goods in the funny department, you need to check out more of these shows.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Michael O'Connell Headlining MDA Fundraiser Show at Tommy T's

Just got the official word today.  On Thursday, May 27th, Tommy T's Comedy & Dinner Theatre will be putting on a night of comedy to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association, featuring Sacramento's favorite Muscular Dystrophy comedian (and there were so many to choose from) the headliner.  This is like the easiest job I've ever had to apply for...

Start time and full details will follow, but want to get the word out as soon as possible so we can fill this place UP for a good cause!  Tickets will be $10.00 each, with 100% of the ticket proceeds going to the MDA, courtesy of the awesome folks at Tommy T's.  It'll be a great night of comedy, with delicious food and tasty beverages to choose from, and you'll be doing your part to help out the MDA, an organization that's been there for me the whole of my life.

So don't wait for the telethon to get your altruism on!  Come on down to Tommy T's and get a lot of laughs - and possibly an impressive hangover - for your buck!  Hope to see you there!

Stay tuned for more details...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Michael O'Comedy Store is officially open!

Did somebody say "swag"?

For all of you who have been (I like to imagine) begging for it, your wish has come true.  There's now a whole store filled with merchandise that has my logo all over it!  The Michael O'Comedy Store is now open over at

Goodies within range from tee shits to hoodies to hats to magnets to buttons to mugs to mousepads to lots of other stuff!  If you like what I do and want to turn yourself or your fridge or your car into a billboard for me, I am, like, TOTALLY behind that idea.

Zazzle has been really good for me in previous times (in my Dr. O's House of "T" store I ran), and ordering is nice and easy and shipping is really fast.  A couple things I'd advise, though, if you're ordering tee shirts or hoodies - make sure you select the right size for you (I think I have XL on the default for dudes, L for the ladies), and be careful if you decide to start customizing and changing colors.  This stuff was made to work on white tee shirts.  The white you see within the logos is actually just transparent, showing the color of the shirt its printed on.  So if you decide you want a red tee shirt, you'll get it, but that little wheelchair guy will be all red, not white.  Just warning you so no one's disappointed.  Besides, it's almost summer!  White tees are cooler!  Woo hoo!

You can click that link in the text above to get there, or you can use the new link over on the right-hand side of the screen that will now always be there.  Hope you all enjoy!  Still time to get Mom that Michael O'Connell beer stein she's always wanted before Mother's Day if you hurry!

One Week in Comedy

Hit the stage five times in the last six nights.

MONDAY.  Po' Boyz Bar & Grille.  Good set, good crowd response.  All good.

TUESDAY.  Tommy T's, Open Mic Night.  Iffy set, just so-so, less of the "all good".

WEDNESDAY.  Luna's Cafe.  Killed it, great crowd, new fans converted, offer for possible future comedy job.  Awesome night.

THURSDAY.  Sapporo Grill.  BOMBED.  Horrible.  Not so much disliked as almost completely ignored.  Tanked badly.  Crickets brought their relatives.

SATURDAY.  Cafe Nostra.  OWNED the room.  Big win, huge response, management informed me at the end that I'm "the funniest guy we've ever had in here".

One night it's, "Man, how come you're not on TV?".  The next night it's, "Why did they even let you up on this stage?".  Yet each of those nights?  It's the same comic, and the same jokes.

Welcome to comedy, boys and girls.

Why would I want to be anywhere else?