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!


  1. Slayton's opening guy? You forget a guy named DuShane? How long did we talk about that? I didn't realize you were that drunk!

  2. Michael,

    Steven (the hubby) and I had a blast. As we told you, we really love you, for real. And you already know I have a special affection for Irish lads and by the spelling of your last name, I do believe you qualify! Be blessed and I'll be praying for you to have a successful surgery and a speedy but well medicated recovery!

    Queenie TT

  3. This is about as good as it gets! I've got my songs picked out for Tuesday morning, by the way:

    (W)Hole Hearted - Extreme
    Change of Heart - Hardline

    Thought those worked nicely. =)

    Loves ya, man! Grats on what was an amazing night!