Wednesday, April 28, 2010

VegFest and Lil Jon

Last weekend was a lovely combination of many of the things I love in life: vegan food, activism, laughter and, of course, Joey McIntyre. Oh yeah, and songs by Lil Jon about boozing it up.

I worked at Connxtions Comedy Club in Lansing, Michigan, which is one of my favorite places to work. Not only are the audiences usually fun, but they have one of the most kick-ass staffs around!

That’s Tom Slovinski (also a comic) acting out the official dance for the weekend. I’m calling it “the shot” after the song “Shots” by LMFAO (featuring Lil Jon). If you haven’t heard the song, picture Lil Jon screaming the word “shots” over and over again over loud thumpa thumpa music. Brilliant, no?

I also worked with Richie Holliday. Or as I prefer to refer to him as: Joey McIntyre’s doppelganger. These pictures really don’t do the resemblance justice, but let’s just say I had a hard time calling him by his actual name. And when he showed on Friday with a fedora, it took everything in my power not to demand that he sing “Please Don’t Go Girl.”



Does having two fans on his arms make him look more like Joey? Insert your own “yes, because Joey only has two fans left” jokes here.


Another shot of Joey, ahem, I mean Richie. This time with headliner, Mike Lucas, in their “let’s take this show on the road” comedy duo pose.


The crowds were nice all week, although I learned that crowds comprised of bikers aren’t generally too receptive to women’s studies and PETA jokes. Who would have thunk it? And I also got to host my first fake orgasm contest. I was just thankful I didn’t have to be in it as I like to save my fake orgasms for the privacy of my own home. Or the privacy of my own pay-by-the-minute phone sex line. Ah, I kid, I kid. But, yes, hosting the contest was definitely better than being in it.

On Sunday, I volunteered at VegFest in Ferndale, Michigan. If you haven’t been, you really must go next year. The annual event features cooking demonstrations, speakers, workshops, tons of exhibitors and lots of yummy food samples. This year, I was given the duty of escorting John Salley (former Detroit Piston and NBA Champion), who was one of the featured speakers. I showed him around the event and led him to the auditorium and area where he signed autographs. Not trying to brag, but I think my menacing and intimidating look is also why I was selected for this job. After all, if stalkers showed up, I think they wanted someone who means business. And nothing says means business like Kate Mother F’ing Brindle. Am I right? I really think I have a future in event security. And if that goes well, perhaps they’ll do a remake of The Bodyguard staring yours truly. Although I’d like to politely request that Whitney Houston be replaced by Justin Bieber as I’d so much rather guard and protect at a Teen Beat convention than I would at a crack house.


That’s John and one of the event organizers/VegMichigan members, Peter Fulda.

I saw a lot of old friends at VegFest, and it was wonderful to catch up with them! Plus, being at a huge event full of other vegans and activists was really inspiring. Oh yeah, and I got to hug a cow!

That’s Bessie, er, I mean, Daniel, another VegMichigan member. Daniel and I know each other from Veg Ann Arbor, so it was nice to catch up…and discuss the joys of wearing mascot costumes (especially ones where people feel entitled to grab your udders).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pole-dancing and Ali G.

On Tuesday, I performed at Snappers in Fenton, Michigan, and what an adventure it was! How can you not love performing at a place with a stripper pole in the middle of the stage? Plus, there were lots o’ comics on the show, and it’s always nice to see multiple funny people that you know, and meet new ones that you don’t.


I worked with headliner, Fred Potter.


I also worked with Aaron Campbell Dunlap (who did a guest set) and Jimmy and Jason from Penis Philben (the MC’s). Sidenote: Penis Philben and I are hitting the road in the fall, when I’ll be known as Kathie Lee Vagina.


That’s Kevin, the awesome DJ who honored most of my cheesy music requests (Although he drew the line at “Hangin’ Tough.”).


Penis Philben, Fred Potter and a frightened woman who was trying to adjust her rings and exit the bathroom anonymously without entering anyone’s pictures that will later appear on a blog and/or facebook. Drat. No such luck.

The show was a lot of fun! Midway through the show, Fenton’s equivalent of Ali G. walked in and sat in the front row. Picture Ali G., only blonde, and wearing a red winter vest instead of a vinyl track suit. I wish I had a picture of him in his get-up as it was quite brilliant.

Also, as I was entering my closing bit, a woman got dragged out by security (kicking and screaming) for confronting what I presume to be an ex-boyfriend in the front row. I don’t mind people going psycho, in fact, I kind of enjoy it. However, it’s ideal when they can throw tantrums within the first15 minutes of my act as opposed to during my last joke. So flail, punch and claw until your heart’s content, just not when I launch into my dating material (my last couple of bits). Because if I don’t get a laugh on those, I resort to telling knock-knock jokes to close the show out.

The real fun started when I got off stage. Upon walking back to my seat, I was approached by a gentleman who told me his wife just passed away, and that he was out for one of the first times since her death. He told me that I made him laugh and got his mind off of her for the evening. When I shook his hand, he slipped a fifty dollar bill in it! That was super nice of him (especially since homegirl is mega-broke right now), but the compliment meant more than the money. He then invited me on his pontoon boat this summer. Hellz yeah! One of my goals for the summer was to make friends with a boat-owner, and it looks like I already accomplished that one by April. Now I only have getting better at rollerblading, meeting Joe McIntyre again and learning Spanish to check off the old listy pooh.

Not only did he give me a tip, but he bought several rounds of drinks for all the comics. I followed Penis Philben’s lead and drank rum and Cokes. Holy Mother! I’m way too used to Bud Light, as I was feeling no pain about three drinks in. Proof that I was a bit toasted? I tipped blonde Ali G. as he pole-danced.

Nothing says sex appeal like dirty socks! Hot dayumn! Unfortunately, this picture was taken after he ditched the Ali G. garb.

And I danced. Not only did I dance, but I persuaded strangers to do the lawnmower with me. And I showed some fellow dancers the dental floss. Good Lord, I’m sure we looked ridiculous! At least we only did the shopping cart for a minute or two. Even I have some standards.

I also requested nearly every song on the Top Ten Songs White People Love List. How sweet that Kevin indulged my terrible taste in music and actually played most of them.

Here's hoping that the good people of Fenton will remember my set...and not my atrocious dancing!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

BG

On Tuesday, I performed at Grumpy Dave’s in Bowling Green, Ohio. It’s one of my favorite places to perform. I dig the young crowds, supportive regulars, nearby bars (where long islands flow for two whole bucks) and yummy vegetarian restaurant (named after a hamster). Plus, there are always a lot of Toledo area comics who show up to hang out.

I enjoyed my set (which featured impromptu references to porn and prostitution), and I had a blast watching the other comics on stage too (Bill Bushart, one of my favorites, headlined).

Sheila and Ashley came down from Connxtions Comedy Club to check out the show. It was great to see them (and their adorable hair).


The whole Toledo comedy crew (and one fake-tanned, honorary member from Ann Arbor).


Scott Putnam and Kevin Serres (who MCed the show).


Comedy 101: learning to mug for the camera to create the illusion of spontaneity and/or having a blast (this skill comes in particularly handy after bombing or when there are three audience members at a show).


Demonstrating a rear-naked chokehold on Steve Sabo. He tapped out 2 seconds later.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Oh, for North Dakota!

Last week, I hit the road with Steve Sabo, and we did a run in Minnesota and North Dakota. After a 17 hour drive, our first stop was the Black Cat in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. No pictures from that night, but our show was the last one of the season so there was a great turn-out.

Next up? The Ramada Inn in Grand Forks. Ooh la la, Mama loves performing in the same place as she stays (especially when generous audience members keep the shots-a-flowin’). The highlight of the night: Steve calling me on stage during his set and forcing me to tell a three minute story about pooping my pants (and sitting in it for 8 hours). I am now officially shameless. If you’d like to hear said story, come to a show as it’s quickly becoming a regular bit.

We met a couple University of North Dakota students (including a woman who was also named after Katharine Hepburn, like yours truly), who we ended up hanging out with for a while after the show. We also met local celebrity, “Flower Lady,” who gave us very natural-looking blue carnations (sky-colored flowers occur in the wild, no?).




Thursday-Saturday, we worked at Courtney’s Comedy Club in Fargo/Moorhead.

A sign from inside the club. It was completely adorable to hear people say phrases like, “Oh, for funny” or “Oh, for cute.” Oh, for North Dakota accents!

The audiences were so great! They were wonderful laughers and really nice people too. We hung out with several cool people and watched the post-show karaoke nearly every night (My favorite rendition was a version of “Because I Got High” performed by a man that looked like the combination of the Unibomber and a college professor). We even met a Canadian hockey team, who we eventually leg-wrestled (I would like to state for the record that I beat one of them twice. Sure, he was drunk, practically falling down and an amputee, but I still beat him! Okay, okay, so the amputee part was a joke and he probably let me win, but I’m still going to gloat away.).


Despite the flexed muscles and graffiti background indicating otherwise, this is not a post-street fight victory shot. That's headliner Steve Sabo, MC JD Provorse and me with two audience members after one of our shows.

Courtney’s is yet another comedy club that’s attached to a hotel (score!). The hotel also features a mini-golf course, which Steve and I took advantage of.


Is the “squatting-like-you’re-taking-a-dump” stance legal?

Despite me being in the lead until the 9th hole, Steve ended up beating me. Rather than putting his way through the last hole, he decided to chip (another questionably legal move) and beat me by 2 strokes. Grr. A rematch is definitely in order.

While North Dakota has beautiful skies and nice people (with cute accents), it wasn’t the most vegetarian-friendly state I’ve been to.

Check out the heart attack roll at a sushi bar we went to:


And I actually saw this on the shelf at a gas station:

Potted meat product? Oh, for disgusting!

But, despite having to hunt for veggie options (no pun intended), it’s still a pretty fun place that I’d like to go back to soon.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lovin' on Asheville

A few weeks ago, I returned to the south for the first time since moving back to Yankee country in January. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, and it was definitely nice to be back in a town that sounds like an obscenity depending on how you say it (I’m referring to Norfolk, Virginia, or Nawfick, as the locals say). I swear, it took me a good three months to tell people where I lived without sounding like I was dropping the F bomb.

I spent St. Patrick’s Day at a bar on the beach with the Reverend Warren Dean. Greenies, the bar we went to, did not live up to its name as they ran out of green beer in the morning. I guess if you want to get drunk on booze and food coloring, you’ve got to show up early. They still had Bud Light on tap (thank everything holy!), which I enjoyed thoroughly.

The Reverend.

P.S. If you like to watch videos of people getting tased, check out his website, where you can see him get pumped full of electricity.


Laughter and/or prayer: what happens upon drinking beer on the beach at 1 pm on St. Patrick's Day.



At the end of the week, I traveled to Asheville, North Carolina to work at the Funny Business Comedy Club. What an amazing city! I think I fell in love with it upon exiting my vehicle. Well, in fairness, first, I probably peed and stretched my legs, but after that, nothing but smitten city for me.

The town reminded me a lot of Ann Arbor, only with more mountains and less crap weather. It seemed really LGBTQ-friendly, had a delicious veggie restaurant and even had a progressive kids clothing store (that sold t-shirts that said, “Anarchy in the Pre-K”). Plus, there was a peace rally that took place directly across the comedy club.

And…another reason it’s the shiznit:


Yet another reason:

In case it’s unclear, that’s Drew pulling a Vanna White and displaying a vegetarian starter kit stand on one of Asheville’s streets (All contestants who walk by receive lovely parting gifts in the form of free vegetarian recipes and information on the health benefits of going vegan).

The shows at the club were a lot of fun! Smart, lefty crowds, which are always enjoyable. It was a whirlwind trip as I had to get back to the Midwest for shows in North Dakota the next week. But, I wish I could have stayed longer. It was such a beautiful, relaxed place, and I didn’t want to leave. I contemplated throwing a fit in the middle of the hotel parking lot, but decided against it as I really didn't want to get picked up, shoved in the car and told that I’m not allowed to watch Dora the Explorer for two whole weeks for pulling such antics. So instead, I sucked it up, drank a boatload of caffeine and helped make the drive back to Virginia.

Asheville, I’ve got your number. So be expecting a call…and a second date.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I heart hooded sweatshirts

In mid-March, I did double duty in Lansing, Michigan. By day, I was a protesting animal cruelty fighter on the street, and by night, I was a joke-slinging comedian at Connxtions Comedy Club.

My friend, Mitch (who runs Students Promoting Animal Rights at Michigan State University) informed me that the Royal Hanneford Circus was scheduled to perform on MSU’s campus. This circus has been cited numerous times for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and in previous years, there have been major demonstrations against them bringing their cruel show to the university. So I was eager to get involved and let people know how the circus really treats animals. The circus rips animals from their natural habitat, forces them to live most of their lives chained inside of trailers that are trucked across hundreds of miles, and then forces them to perform under the constant threat of punishment. For more information, please visit: http://www.circuses.com.

We held a demonstration outside of a local elementary school, where we gave away coloring books that educate children about the sad realities animals face in the circus.



Depending on the availability of food, tigers in the wild secure a territory of 75 to 2,000 square miles. A circus cage is about 4’x5’. The only exercise tigers get is when they are forced to perform. The acts tigers are forced to endure do not mimic natural behaviors.


Circus elephants are kept in chains for 95 percent of their lives and tigers are kept in chains 22 hours out of the day.

Later in the week, we held a protest outside of the Breslin Center on opening night. Two news stations went live from the event!



The unstoppable Mitch Goldsmith.



One of the highlights of the evening was turning a family of four away from the circus. I approached the dad, politely asked him if he wanted a leaflet, he looked it over and asked me what I’d like him to do. I explained that we’re asking people to help put an end to animal cruelty by boycotting circuses that use animals in their acts. He read more of the leaflet, gathered his family together and headed back for their car.

A small, but sweet victory!

After the protests, I performed at Connxtions Comedy Club all weekend.

On stage (most likely mid-sentence).

Power blazer in full effect, yo!


Hanging with fellow comic, Amaru (and modeling the sweatshirt he sells).


More modeling (this time with Jim Holder, the headliner).

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lobbying and snow protesters

On a snowy day in February, I traveled to Michigan’s capital to take part in Humane Lobby Day (a day organized by the Humane Society where constituents meet with their elected officials to speak about bills that affect animals). There, I met with my representative and senator and asked them to support two pieces of legislation: one bill that would make it illegal to own primates as pets, and another that would regulate puppy mills. Luckily, I have a supportive senator and representative, so speaking to them about these bills was not a tough sell at all. To get involved with these two issues (or other animal issues in your community), please visit: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/

While I’ve traveled to the capital before to meet with my elected officials, I had never watched a session of congress. So I gladly accepted the opportunity to observe. It was a lot less formal than I thought it would be. And certain members of the house appeared to be more interested in consuming their lattes and text-messaging than they were in actually making laws. Perhaps I am mistaken though as there might have been a bill that sought to regulate the number of text messages one can send while sitting at Starbucks (I would be in full support of this, by the way. After all, could it be more annoying to be reading or writing at a coffee shop while your neighbor’s phone is constantly blowing up?). I also pictured more podiums. And more members having Mitt Romney-esque hair. The whole process seemed a bit like organized chaos, but it was still quite exciting to see how laws are actually introduced and passed.

And now, onto the pictures.

The capital building. Duh.


And some views from inside the joint:




Congress in session.


Who doesn’t love a protesting snowperson? Even if they are scary and angry-looking and carrying signs with spelling errors.