A little bird recently informed me that she’d heard Tom Martino -- aka the Troubleshooter -- on his radio show going on about how he would like to try stand-up comedy. I didn’t know how to take this. Lots of people say they’d like to try stand-up sometime, but I usually consider these statements just so much nervous placation: Most people don’t know what to make of the fact that I spend so much of my time in front of strangers telling jokes, so it’s what they say to me to get me to go away.
It’s like if you met John McCain, and he shook your hand and stared at you all freaky and skeletony and said, “You know, I spent five-and-a-half years in a North Vietnamese prison camp and was tortured, right? You understand that, goddamn it, don’t you?” You would nervously shrug and rub the back of your neck and say, “Gee, that sounds amazing, I really would like to try that sometime. I’ve really got to get going, though, Mr. McCain. Can you please let go of my hand, now? Your grip is destroying my knuckles and your eyes have turned red as the sun!”
So I e-mailed the Troubleshooter to see if he was serious. He responded with this:
I have made my desire to do stand-up comedy known more than once on my show. I have always thought that stand-up has to be one of the most difficult jobs in the world. I truly respect the people who step in front of a crowd and dare to be funny. Being funny once in a while in everyday life is not so difficult, especially when people aren’t expecting it. But to venture onto a stage with the sole purpose of making people laugh – that is another story!
I have attended “new talent” nights at various clubs to study the art. I believe my experience in radio and TV gives me tons of material. Now, I just need to make the commitment and start writing the stuff down. That is not easy.
I would welcome any tips and help you can offer.
Well, hot damn, Tommy boy, here we go.
First tip: The only way to get good at stand-up is to do it as much as possible. Perform as often as you can on any stage that will have you. You’re a local celeb, so you could probably get up on Comedy Works’ stage a fair amount. But me and my friends at the Squire Lounge -- a really popular open-mike, albeit a tough one -- will happily have you whenever you want to appear. That I can promise. Just barge in there on a Tuesday night sometime past 10:30 p.m. and scream, “The motherfucking Troubleshooter is here, now let me tell some jokes before I shut this whole place down!” And like that, we’ll put you on.
Second tip: Don’t take any other advice. But if you’re still soliciting ideas, here’s another one: Bring back the ‘stache.
Tommy Terrific’s desire to do stand-up got me thinking about other people I could extend the dick-joke olive branch to. What local celebs would I like to see hop up on stage and try stand-up? Glad you asked.
Lionel "SAE Pledgemaster Three Years in a Row" Bienvenu
Lionel Bienvenu: For some reason, my friend Nicole is obsessed with this idea. She comes to the Squire frequently, and often will inform me that she’s just watched a Channel 7 newscast and that Bienvenu was hilarious. Personally, I haven’t watched that station since a cameraman filmed me and my sister as elves on a Parade of Lights float back in ’86. The cameraman, who was probably a fucking drunk, said they were going to use the footage and then they cut us out. And I don’t forget that kind of snub. So I will have to take Nicole’s word for it. I do remember Bienvenu from FSN, where he covered soccer, and I will say that he was capable of a clever line or two. And he’s a football fan, too, so he’s got to be a pretty good dude. Come on down to the Squire, Bienvenu. I’ll buy you a pint, we’ll talk footie, and then you can get up on stage and tell a few jokes. What do you say?
Kirk "You'll Never Guess Where I Hid Your Easter Eggs" Montgomery
Kirk Montgomery: If you’ve ever watched 9News at, oh, I don’t know, 4 p.m., then you have seen the feisty little elf-boy known as Kirk Montgomery talking Hollywood. He’s catty, he’s irreverent, some might say a little rrrrrr, and a quick www.imdb.com search shows that he’s got acting experience: Days of Our Lives, Passions, General Hospital, etc. Good work, Kirk, you’re obviously comfortable in front of a camera. So why not take those skills to the stage? You don’t even have to write material. The Squire attracts all sorts, and something tells me you just judging and critiquing them from the stage would be hilarious. Come on, Kirk! Do it for that episode of Ed where you played the bowler.
Bazi "Japanese Anime Superhero" Kanani
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Bazi Kanani: Okay, I don’t think this Channel 9 reporter would be good at stand-up at all. I just like saying Bazi Kanani. Hey, who ate all the 7-Layer Dip? Bazi Kanani. Who’s going to drive us to the park today? Don’t worry, Bazi Kanani is on her way right now. Hilarious.
Rick "If You Look Directly In My Eyes You Will Turn Into Stone" Sallinger
Rick Sallinger: Last and certainly least is Rick Sallinger. The Channel 4 reporter would do the type of stand-up that’s so bad, it’s good. He’d either a) try to tell jokes, and come off as really disturbing, or b) lecture the entire audience on what is wrong with them like your embarrassing uncle, which would be the type of funny that is soooo super-awkward at the time, but when you tell people about it later would sound hilarious. Dude, do you remember when Rick Sallinger got up on stage and became absolutely unhinged? The type of humor that you don’t really want to experience – but you’ll later brag to everyone about how you were there.
So there you have it: My top five requests of TV types to see spitting jokes at an open mike near you soon. Tom, Lionel, Kirk, Bazi, Rick, you know how to get in touch with me. Let’s make this dream a reality. Your audience awaits. -- Adam Cayton-Holland