Onwards and Upwards — Monday, April 2, 8:30 a.m.
"You're a writer?" some guy asks me, noticing that I'm busily writing into my laptop, cracked out though I am from lack of sleep.
"Yeah," I say.
"Well then you and I need to talk," he says with a slow, creepy nod. Then he quickly points to his head, causing me to flinch. "Because I've got some real-deal ideas up here, broseph."
Did this guy really just called me broseph? No time to ponder because with that, he gives me the international hold-on-a-second finger and a wink, then answers his cell-phone with a heartfelt, "What the fuck is going on, man!"
I'd forgotten what big douchebags most comics are.
In Denver, I've been able to carve a nice little niche for myself in the stand-up comedy scene, separate who I like from those I don't and, for the most part, only hang out with the good ones, successfully avoiding all the what-can-you-do-for-mes. But I'm in Tempe, Arizona, at a strip mall that makes Highlands Ranch look innovative, in line to audition for Last Comic Standing, and right now, everyone's got something to sell.
For example, currently some Hispanic guy is standing directly in front of me, talking at me. I kid you not, he's two feet away from me, talking as I'm typing with really no sign of stopping. I'm not giving this man any encouragement — no eye contact, no return dialogue — not even acknowledging him, but his lips keep flapping and the drivel coming out forces me to sigh internally, which I've heard gives you gas. He's from Tucson, he's married, he wrote the best screenplay ever, it won an award, have you heard of it? You haven't? That's okay, because there's some Viking Publishing reps who are pretty hot on his tail over a book he's writing, but comedy, man, comedy is his passion. I know how he feels. Comedy was at one point one of my passions. But right now what I'm most passionate about is rudely ignoring this fucker into leaving me alone.
I know I can outlast him. Three years of navigating the local comedy scene has made me an expert in ignoring.
We started out of Denver at 4 p.m., Sunday, March 1, and drove through the night into New Mexico, then to Arizona, I-25 to I-40 to I-17 on into Tempe, the City of Beige, arriving just now to find twenty or so people waiting in line outside the second-floor Tempe Improv, nearly thirty hours before the reality TV jackals from Last Comic Standing descend on this city and allow us two minutes of audition time to tell them something funny. We've stolen chairs from an Einstein's Bagels downstairs, laid down newspaper on the nasty cement behind the club — it's the Phoenix New Times, our sister paper, and it feels oddly comforting sleeping on "Savage Love" — and are now waiting here, enduring these awful people who will NOT SHUT THE FUCK UP AND LET ME WRITE ALREADY, GUY FROM TUCSON for a shot at presenting a watered-down, PG-version of our comedy that we will hope will bring us fortune, fame and all the drugs we can dream of.
Right now all is pretty much quiet, but boy howdy, our road trip down here was sure eventful! It started out with a bang, with myself and fellow comedian Andrew Orvedahl, Andy to friends, having to break out our third-and-final road-trip-member Harrison Raines from Canyon City, where he was holed up after a wacky illegal immigrant trafficking scheme that landed him six to ten.
"I know human trafficking is wrong but I never in a million years thought I would have gotten in any shit for Dutch people," Raines says. "I mean, don't we all like their little-boy paint?"
We do, Harrison, we do, but we just don't like it when they suffocate to death in your Dodge van because you forgot to poke an air-hole in the back cabin. After springing Raines, things sailed smoothly for a while but once we crossed the border into New Mexico, Andy took a turn for the perverse, declaring that it wasn't cheating on his girlfriend if he was out of the state.
Says Andy: "My girl ain't EVEN mind if it ain't in the CO!"
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And apparently she doesn't mind if they're transient, adolescent boy-teens that Orvedahl murders after he violates them, either. While it is true that Harrison and I certainly did overlook certain events that took place that evening, I will say — and for the record, mind you — Harrison helped him dig. (Accomplice much?)
Next we had to make a stop in Las Vegas, New Mexico where Harrison knew an importer/exporter with the fatty hookup on some wooden shoes and 14K windmill necklaces. Check them out at www.harrison14ktdutchboy.com if you're interested in a real sweet deal, but please, no cops. After personally losing a cool thou in six of the seven Indian Casinos we'd passed — the last one was too depressing to enter — both Harrison and Andy thought that I'd had enough gambling for the evening, even if I was about to turn that streak around. But nay, they said I would have to subsist on mere $1 scratch tickets alone and so from there all the way to Tempe, that was all she wrote. I swear I've never had a 156-ticket losing streak in a row and I hope it isn't a sign of things to come here in Tempe. Instead, I choose to interpret a shooting star we saw awhile back, bright as a comet over the desert, as the harbinger of our fates. It was heading south, just like we were and I'm going to take that as a sign. A sign that I'm going to be camping out on the sidewalk like some American Idol jackass for the next longer-than-I-care-to-think-about.
Ain't it all so fucking glorious? — Adam Cayton-Holland