June 2010

I bought a ticket, but then I saw the Sign

I was beginning to think that the comedy potential of June was about as murky as a deep sea oil spill.

And then, I’m suddenly faced with a double whammy of shows.

Call it a “Laugh More Tour” Within a “Laugh More Tour.”

You could look at it as a “Spend-More Tour,” too, but, hey, what’s $15 bucks, really.

I don’t know what it is, but usually these shows happen to coincide with some aspect of my life, that’s just the way it seems to work out. Take this for example. Last night, I go ahead and get a ticket for this weekend at Harvey’s, the comedy club in Portland. I apparently waited too long for the Aziz Ansari show at the Aladdin on the 23rd, because the dang thing is sold out. Ansari is supposed to be the next big comedy deal, but since I don’t watch a whole bunch of TV, it’s not like I know a whole bunch about him.

The next day, I do like I usually do (and I admit to being a creature of habit) I grab the “How We Live” section of the Oregonian and head to lunch. You see, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been reading the comics. And I mean, every day. It’s become second nature.

In fact, when I go to the library, out of all the books, magazines, and periodicals (wait, aren’t magazines and periodicals the same thing? Oh, no, wait, that’s right, a periodical is that thing that I work for, a NEWSPAPER. Oh, wait, is that right? What was the phrase: books, magazines, newspapers AND periodicals? NOW I CAN’T REMEMBER. SEE, THIS IS THE BASIC KIND OF INFORMATION THAT SOCIETY WILL LOSE WHEN THE LIBRARY CLOSES)

Anyway, when I’m at the library, I’ll grab some non-internet based reading material, namely the Sunday Comics, and lament that there’s several comic strips that should be in all papers, but that’s another story.

So, anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, lunch. I’m about to read the comics, and there on the front page is a preview of an upcoming show.

An upcoming comedy show.

This weekend.

Like, this weekend, as in tomorrow.

So I read the title of the group that’s doing the show. Hmmm. Sounds kinda familiar, but I can’t quite place it.

And then I read the first few paragraphs. And a phrase stands out like a sore thumb.

“Don’t Crush the Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers.”

My brain reels. I immediately think of something.


The album cover is Orange.

By now, you know me well enough to know that I’ve got a few hundred records. And it turns out that, of course, that I’ve got this album, strangely titled: “Don’t Crush the Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers."

But, you know, since I dug this relic out the thrift store a few months ago, I haven’t even had time to place it on my state-of-the-art turntable.

But that’s OK, because if I just wait just two more days, I’ll be able to say:

“Man, I saw those guys before I even listened to their 40-year-old album.”

Firesign Theater group

June 11, 2010

Winningstad Theater, Portland

Not Worth Mentioning

I’ve got to interject here – and tell you that I wrote what you just read a few days before this show. You see, I was expecting to go to this show, have a great time, and come back and fill in the rest.

Well, I did go. But the show, was terrible.

I mean, to me, it flat-out wasn’t funny. And for the $50 they charged, it made it all the less funny.

What was even more disappointing, was that these 4 guys stood in front of mics with notebooks in their hands, and read material that they had been doing supposedly for something like 40 years. And one guy kept losing his place. The microphones weren’t even at the same volume.

The “material” ranged from unfunny game shows, to a pair of strange high school colleagues that discover that their high school has disappeared. To top off the evening, we were treated to a “lost work” of Shakespeare, that tried to touch on recent world political events.

According to the article in the Oregonian, this troupe was supposed to lay the groundwork for Saturday Night Live and long-form comedy records, and all that.

Well, I really can’t see that connection. At all. What a joke.

So in a last-ditch effort, I went home, found the album that caused me to go to this thing, and gave it a listen.

And it was the exact same crappy thing. I mean, they must have covered ¾ of the “material” on this record, but I think, although I didn’t think this was possible, that the album was worse!

In the paraphrased words of a famous band: “The progress of this so-called comedy troupe cannot be charted.”

And I hereby recommend avoiding them, at all costs.

So, we’ve got a real turkey here. What to do. As I mentioned in the beginning, thankfully, I had a ticket to Harvey’s, for the next night.

And for $15, I saw 2 comedians that kept me in stitches for probably 90 minutes. I mean, upbeat show, topical, great sound, a room full of people totally enjoying, the works. Above all – truly funny. So, thanks, Roger Rodd and Leslie Henning, for saving my comedy butt. Their material will be mentioned here, unlike some other so-called comedy troupe’s material.

Roger Rodd/Leslie Henning

Harvey’s Comedy Club Portland

June 12, 2010

Roger Rodd (You might say he was topical)

Opening joke: I know what you’re thinking. It looks like Bon Jovi and Bruce Jenner got together and had a baby.

Halloween in LA

I’m tired of being Politically Correct

Why Rhianna really wears Make up

Job Qualifications

Inter-racial Dating

K. Reeves can act?

Black people don’t even watch ER

Las Vegas

Tiger Woods

Golf is not a sport

Elvis is alive?

Heaven has a recording studio

Michael Jackson

Princess Dianna

“These are some of the jokes keeping me off the tonight show”

Bald Heads

Mexican Radio stations are the strongest

My dad had to change his name

Home Depot

Women in LA

You’re surprised I’m Single?

Blind Dates – they’re like a get well card from a Funeral Home.

Internet Dating


We don’t need any more White Rappers

Techno Dance

What Women Want

What Men should do

OJ Simpson Reality Show

Public Service announcements

50 is the new 30

Dress Your Age

Politically Incorrect Questions

Stand Up Comedy is the Second hardest job in the universe. The first has to be being a sketch artist for the Hong Kong police department.

Let’s End Racial Profiling

Leslie Henning

Celebrating birthdays.

The family reunion. You can’t have enough booze.

6 yr olds are a buzz kill.

Where babies come from.

My son shops at the $1 store

The first thing you notice about getting older.

Difference between men’s and women’s bikes.

I lost my sense of smell in an accident.

Making Telemarketers hang up

Can I manage a High Speed Copier?

Receptionist at a sperm bank

I bought a car, but the horn isn’t too good. When I use it, it sounds like I ran over a sheep.

A new service at Jiffy Lube

What to wear at the OBGYN

5th grade special film subject revealed

Women’s Development

Mammogram’s Don’t arrive in the mail

Men’s Development

Lorena Bobit

A Man invented the Bra

Carhart’s is coming out with a Thong

Viagra commercials

Special CD Bonus. Since you’re such a special audience, all proceeds from my CD will go to me.

Natural childbirth isn’t the way to go.

I’m divorced, can’t you tell?

Portland Sun. Last time I was here, the sun didn’t come out for 5 days. My skin was getting so bad, I thought I was getting yeast infection. Turns out it was just mold.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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