gigs

Picture This! NYC 4th Birthday Show!

#NY 4th year anniversary!!! SAT 4/20 7p at Union Hall (702 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11215)

COMEDY BY: Josh Gondelman, Larry Owens, Clare O'Kane, Karen Chee, Calise Hawkins, & Robert Dean! ANIMATION BY: Bryan Brinkman, Dan Pinto, Jason Chatfield, Patrick Hosmer, Victoria Elena Montes, Rachel Gitlevich & James Sugrue! HOSTED BY: Ian Fidance!

$8 online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/picture-this-tickets-571204417…or $10 at the door🚪

TICKETS:
https://www.unionhallny.com/event/1832420-picture-this-brooklyn/

Is There Something In This? LIVE with Mystery Special Guest Tue // APR 09 // 09:00PM

New York-based Australian comedians Scott Dooley and Jason Chatfield return for their first live podcast for 2019. The guys will be joined by a HUGE special mystery guest: a Hollywood movie and TV celebrity to be revealed on the night. Other Live Podcast guests have included Comedy Central/Netflix’s Roy Wood Jr and long-time New Yorker Cartoon Editor Bob Mankoff.

Come along for a show full of jokes, live cartoon drawing on the big screen and deep rumination on New Yorker cartoon ideas over a couple of beers, along with cartoon live idea suggestions from you, the audience. 

Doors 9:00 PM, show 9:30 PM.

Tickets $10 Presale at bit.ly/ITSITApril9 or $15 @ Door
21+

This event is mixed seated and standing room. Seats are first-come, first-served.
REFUND POLICY: Tickets maybe be refunded up to 24 hours before the event. Within 24 hours we may take exchanges for other events at our discretion. No refunds after the event.

Road Diary: The Jewish Community Centre in Sherman, Connecticut

Last weekend myself and 6 other comics were booked on a show up in the remote woods of Connecticut.The venue was a local Jewish Community Centre in a small, remote town called Sherman. 

The booker of the show, also a comic, was generous enough to let me hitch a ride with him up to the show. It was about a 2-hour drive, which of course included my obligatory stop for clam chowder and coffee.

We arrived at the venue for soundcheck to find a small hall with a raised stage with a baby grand piano and a Japanese divider screen, and one single old man sitting asleep in the front row. I guess he wanted a good seat.

The other 4 comics trickled in as the hall filled up with elderly patrons. We surveyed the sea of blue rinse and baldness with growing concern about what material we might use in the show that would go over with this octogenarian crowd. We were told to work 'clean'.

Once everyone was seated, a voice from behind us said "5 minutes to showtime!"
I slunk over to my friend and fellow comic, Neil Rubenstein to say hello and prepare for my inevitable spectacular bomb.

The lights were dimmed as a small, bespectacled lady in her 80s shuffled out in front of the crowd, now adjusting their hearing aids, and addressed them with a warm welcome.

 

But then...    she said,

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I froze. This could not be good.
She continued...
 


Dumbfounded, I turned to my left to see Neil's reaction...

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I turned back to the old lady as she continued with her welcoming address...

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A wave of audible gasps could be heard rolling around the now mortified audience. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Was she being serious?
I turned and grabbed Neil's arm to find him stifling a laugh, convulsing in an effort to suppress a gig-ending guffaw.

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Neil and I briefly excused ourselves from the room as we breathed out and conferred with each other in the break room -- "Is this really happening? Is she honestly doing this right now?" He replied, "This is going to be a bloodbath."

We composed ourselves and snuck back through the doors to see that our hostess had now decided to bring out a brochure, showing a series of old violins from a museum in Connecticut.

We caught the end of her sentence...

 

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At this point, Neil was giggling uncontrollably and trying desperately not to make any noise, but it was too late. The only two young audience members (in their 40's) in the audience had spotted Neil laughing and it had become contagious. They began stifling their own uncontrollable chortles.

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The hostess added, "And you would be able to see those at the Museum of Recovered Art..." whereupon Neil leaned over, and after three attempts finally got the words out,

 

"... but, sadly, the museum burned down."

 

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at which point I burst out laughing, along with the rest of the back row of comics, sick of mind and bereft of soul.

Then, just as we thought it was all over, there was one last addition to her devastating spiel...

 

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Because of course it was.


She then straightened up, looked to her left and said...

 

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I did not do well.

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UK Sketchbook: Lakes International Comic Art Festival

That's right, this week I decided that instead of recuperating from the severe sleep-deprivation incurred by the most intense 4 days of non-stop insanity at New York Comic Con, I’d immediately fly to the UK for an even more intense 4-days at an international comic art festival.
 

Because of course I did.
 

 

Long-time subscribers will remember earlier in the year when I popped across the pond to Manchester to lend a hand planning parts of this festival. It was a long 48-hours, during which time I slept a total of 4 hours. 
 

 


You’ll remember my flight over on that occasion was with the infamous Thomas Cook airlines; a company that provide little more than a seat and a fart-filled fuselage. I sat next to a screaming baby that entire trip.

This time was no different.

 

On Wednesday afternoon, I got a haircut, pulled on my crappy suit jacket and (over)-packed my bags for another Thomas Cook flight to the motherland, and sat right in front of — you guessed it — another fucking inconsolable baby.  

I swear it was the same one. This baby has been following me around the world. It screamed the entire flight. Don’t believe me? Click here.
 

 

Already sleep-deprived, I desperately tried to get a wink of rest on the 5-hour flight… to no avail. Screaming baby was having none of it. By the time I landed in Manchester, I was greeted by the lovely Karen, a gardener from Kendal, who waited patiently while I ingested a year’s worth of caffeine to reanimate my lifeless, zombified body. It was 9:55am.

You see, I was to go straight from the plane and be driven 2 hours directly to Kendall College to teach a full theatre of engrossed students a slew of invaluable tips on using a Wacom tablet to create your art. I struggled to put two sentences together, but managed to cover the most important advice.

 

The lovely Karen patiently drove me through the centuries-old town of Kendal, educating me on the local wool industry and many lakes* of the Lakes District. *There’s one lake. I was so tired I barely retained any information but enjoyed hearing all about the history of Cumbria.
 

 

I had now been awake for 24 hours and desperately needed sleep, so she dropped me to my lodgings for the duration… Stonecross Manor Inn. Or as the locals call it “Fawlty Towers”, or "Flowery Twats"... or something.

This place was built in the Cretaceous period. The creaky walls burbled with sounds of boilers and snoring septuagenarians. The power sockets buzzed and cracked whenever anything was plugged in, and the Wifi was only available if you sat on the bottom of the staircase and held your laptop up at waist-height— Oh, and did I mention it was haunted?

Yeah. It was once an infamous girls orphanage.
Because of course it was.

This hotel was not the festival’s first choice for guests. The main hotel in town usually housing the VIPs was being used for a wedding this weekend, so we were relegated to the edge of town in this haunted old boiler-factory. I checked the guestbook to see who had previously stayed here.
 

 


After a brief nap, which was interrupted by a screaming baby in the next room (yes, actually) I spent a good hour trying to figure out how to use the shower. Like most hotels, they appear to have come up with their own wacky twist on ‘tap that turns on and water comes out.’  I had to solve a riddle and answer three questions to a troll before I could get a slow stream of warm, off-brown water to bathe in.

I ambled downstairs to be welcomed by my fellow National Cartoonists Society compatriots; Steve, Luke, Joe and Deb McGarry, Tom and Anna Richmond, and the inimitable, legendary Sergio Aragones. We stood around waiting for the shuttle bus to the Mayor’s welcome party, sharing horror stories of our first encounters with Fawlty Towers. We’d all been invited to the VIP opening night dinner and were to be received by the Mayor — a man of few words.
 

 



After a couple of complimentary sparking rosés, we were ready to mingle with the rest of the Festival guests and sit down to a welcome dinner in the aforementioned theatre.

 

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I did fanboy out when I met Manchester-based New Yorker illustrator Stanley Chow. If you’ve ever seen my social media avatar (above), you’ll know what a huge fan I am of his style.

You’d have seen it at the top of every single online New Yorker article next to the writer’s name. he somehow manages to defy the conventions of asymmetry in caricature and create these perfectly symbolic illustrations, perfectly encapsulating the person and their entire aura in the process. He’s a wizard. With a Manc accent.
 

 

I found my place at a table with Graham Dury from VIZ (UK’s equivalent of MAD), along with Stan Sakai (Ninja Turtles / Usagi Yojimbo) and Sergio Aragones (Living God.)

After mains, there was a 26-question quiz for each table to compete in. The questions were projected up on to the giant screen right behind my head. At one point there was a question about me. Every other table got it wrong.

Because of course they did.

 

 

At the conclusion of the quiz, we filtered out into the night and down the streets of Kendal, to a local pub at which we’d be spending a lot of time this weekend by the name of Ruskins Bar. There, we sang karaoke and drank locally brewed ales until the wee hours, because body clocks be damned. I sang Drops of Jupiter by Train. I reckon they liked it.
 

 



After a lengthy wait in the rain, we were shuttled back to our haunted lodgings in seemingly the only cab in town for a nightcap and a spooky few hours of sporadic shut-eye.
 

 

The next morning after a quick English breakfast of baked beans on toast with sausages, we were whisked away to the Mayor’s Parlour at the Town Hall, to be taught all about Kendall’s history and its rare, priceless artifacts. 
 

 

We sipped our cups of tea in fine china while a tall gentleman by the name of Simon hovered about the parlor, nervously holding centuries-old relics with his white cotton gloves. At the conclusion of his session, he offered for us to don our own pair of gloves and hold the various shiny things as Simon told us fun facts about them.
 

 

From there, we walked through the rain, across the bridge to the local tap house for some local ales and ham sandwiches. They loved their beer very much in this town and had even specifically brewed a number of beers for the festival itself. For dessert, we had chocolate cake. Made from beer.

 

Another nap was in order before the big live drawing event in the Festival Hub: The Brewery Arts Centre (I told you they liked their beer.)

Steve McGarry and I co-hosted a night of live-drawing with two artists hooked-up to giant screens, working on Wacom Cintiqs, while Sergio Aragones drew by hand, with a live camera feed from overhead lit up the stage with his drawings. 

The theatre was completely full, and the demand so high for viewing that they ended up simulcasting the event to an adjoining venue for more people to pile in and watch.
 

 

Seeing Sergio draw live is like seeing all seven wonders of the world at once. I would implore you to look it up on YouTube. The man is as prolific as he is hilarious — and the most generous, charming person you’ll ever meet. That night we awarded the inaugural Sergio Aragones Award for Excellence in Comic Art to Dave McKean. You can see his work here.

We also officially announced the UK chapter of the NCS and inducted our first batch of new, British members. This has been in the works for years, so it was nice to be there when it finally came to fruition.


The rest of the weekend was a blur. I attended events, moderated a talk with Canadian cartoonist, ex-NCS President, and Pulitzer prize nominee Lynn Johnston on her comic strip For Better or For Worse. I demonstrated on the Wacom tablets at the ‘Wacom café’ and met a tonne of insanely talented comic artists that all made me feel welcome, and at the same time like a hobbyist, dabbling in the scribbling arts.
 

 


I was booked to do a ‘cartoon-a-room’ event to teach kids how to draw, not realising of course that I was following the famed comic artist for The Walking Dead, Charlie Adlard. Lovely guy. Tough act to follow!
 

 


The biggest highlight of the weekend for me was getting to sit and do signings next to Sergio. I only sold about 5 cartoons, but I was spending most of my time leaning over watching him draw and sign all his collections of books and prints. We chatted about cartoons — and about the fact that in spite of his appearances, he is 80 this year.

He said he liked my Wacom video which made me smily like a goofball for the rest of the day. I didn’t get to see him for the rest of the weekend. I’m glad I got to spend that time with him.

 

 

One big event that I’d been looking forward to was the so-called “Knockabout Cabaret” event on Saturday night — a variety show of music, comedy and humorous slides from all corners of the globe. I was asked to do a 15-minute comedy set, about which I’d been quietly nervous all day.

I re-jigged my set to tailor the jokes to a UK audience but got the sense as I saw the MC “warm-up the crowd” that no amount of re-jigging would help. It was futile. I was walking onto a beach of gattling gunfire with no weapon.

I did my 15 minutes to varied response… they liked the Smiley bit, but I lost them when I started ragging on the queen. (Bad move). I think by the end of the set they couldn’t have been more nonplussed by my lack of local references and verbose stories in jaunty dialects.

I left the stage dejected and sunk my sorrows into a couple of local brews, sinking into the shadows to avoid the glares of Her Majesty’s subjects, as the following, baffling act took the stage.

 

 


The MC called him onto the stage but alas, the act was nowhere to be seen… he was out the back of the room somewhere. As the MC figured out where he was, the enormous gentleman ascended from the shadows to reveal he was wearing a skin-tight unitard, a mask, goggles and was holding an electric guitar.

The audience clapped once again as he slowly took the stage, plugged in his guitar and leaned into the mic. What happened next was 30 minutes of jaw-dropping bewilderment and a stony silence from the audience that rivaled even my performance.

 


The performer screamed mercilessly into the mic while violently strumming his Fender until the strings broke, and he had to stand on stage to re-tune it. He asked the audience to take a beer break while he tuned his fractured axe. It didn’t end well for him.

The final night’s farewell party at old Ruskin's Bar consisted of a comedian by the name of Gavin, who unfortunately shared my comedic fate from the night before. After the Bohemian Rhapsodies and the Britney Spears medleys of the karaoke encore, the show came to a close as we cabbed it back one more time to trusty old Stonecross Manor Towers Gaol Institute for the Daft for one last nightcap.

We were treated to some old English folk songs from old English folks until eventually, we turned in around 3:30 in the morning.

I got 3 hours sleep before stumbling down the stairs with my suitcase only to find my ride to the airport had gone to the wrong hotel. Not to worry… it was only a swift 2.5 hours to Manchester at 6:30am in peak-hour traffic. At this point, my brain had gone into suicide mode and was thinking of quick and convenient methods of ending it all. After arriving at the airport and taking 1 solid hour to get through security, it made me wish gone through with it.

 

 

By the time I got to the plane I was an exhausted husk of a human, collapsing into my chair and passing out before we left the tarmac. Not even the screams of the baby in the next row could keep me from my coma. 

And yes, I’m pretty sure it was the same baby.

 

 

Picture This!

I couldn't think of a better pairing than yours truly and the incredible Matteo Lane and Sean Patton for this Saturday night's Picture This! at the FINAL Eugene Mirman Comedy Fest!

Also featuring: Reggie Watts, Sean Patton, Clare O'Kane, Mehran Khaghani & Dulcé Sloan with animation by Bryan Brinkman, Dan Pinto & Rachel Gitlevich!

Matteo is one of my favourite New York comedians.
Check him out on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2S-DqC0HtY

___________

SATURDAY 9/16 4:30pm Doors, 5pm Show
$15 online at https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1531141
at Union Hall, 702 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Event Detail http://www.unionhallny.com/event/1531141

A Botched Audition, A Hand Dryer & The Hunt for Piña Colada mix.

Friday, 10th June 2017

 

Dear Diary,

This morning I awoke with a throbbing frontal lobe, the after-effects of an extended evening of copious imbibement at The Boathouse with my pal, Anthony. I cursed the glorious sunshine streaming through the windows as I limped to the bathroom. My right heel is still riddled with plantar fasciitis, so I now resemble my 97 year-old grandfather when I first wake.

I had to shower, badly, but not before re-recording a voice audition for a TV commercial for Paul McCartney's Australian tour. I sounded a bit scratchy, but they asked for 'a bit more gravely' so I think I pulled it off -and in my pyjamas no less!

Post-ablution, I wandered down to Remedy Diner where my dear pal Ethan Hall was sitting in a booth, scrawling madly in his journal (No doubt about how late I was to our weekly 12pm Friday coffee date we've held for the last 2 years and counting.) I had texted him while I was walking, asking if he could order my usual, but with a side of sausages.

He texted back, "What's your usual, Sweet Yoghurt?"
I replied, "I told you not to call me that."

I'm the funniest guy.

I sat to find he'd ordered precisely what I usually get, but with a side of sausages. If I could marry this man, I would. But sadly, I'm already taken. And I'm sure same-sex marriage will be outlawed by Thursday if Trump/Putin has his/her way.

We discussed mostly politics, as is our usual agenda. I'd met the head of PR for the Hilary 2016 Campaign the night before and had some fun stories to regale him with. We both admitted we'd been listening to Sam Harris' The Path To Impeachment episode of Waking Up, for comfort.

The Comey hearings had held the nation captive the day before, and we'd both watched in anticipation of some definitive articles of impeachment. No dice. 
Speaking of dicey, I ate all of my sausages. Immediate regret consumed me, and my digestive tract.

We meandered back towards our neighbouring apartments on 3rd street, taking in the sun and the accompanying smell of ripe dogshit. Summer in New York is a wild symphony of stenches.

I realised I'd left little time to do anything else but panic, as I was running late to head to the depths of Brooklyn to record the Let's Talk About Sets podcast with Jeff McBride and Harrison Tweed.
I drew their podcast artwork.

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At the conclusion of the 1.5 hour recording, Jeff hit the 'save' button only to be met with a frozen laptop screen. His face mimicked the screen, frozen in an expression I can only describe as sheer terror, as he waited for the progress bar to move past 4%...

After what felt like the length of an entire Comey hearing, the progress bar kicked back into gear and saved the episode. Jeff, however, had shaved years off his life from stress. The giant vein on his temple was still throbbing, adding an extra 2 inches to the circumference of his skull.

With the poor fella now 1 part relieved, 2 parts pure cortisol, we shared a car back across the bridge to Manhattan while I learned my sides for a commercial audition.

We hit traffic on the FDR, leading to me now taking over as the stressed-out, vein throbbing sweat gland with a face. The audition was in the Financial District, but this car was headed up to the East Village, and Lyft being Lyft, I wasn't able to change the final destination.

Jeff jumped out at my apartment and started walking the wrong way down 3rd street. He reappeared moments later with a gunshot wound to his leg, realising he had ventured towards Avenue D instead of Avenue C. It happens.

I asked my Lyft driver if I could request a job and see if he could accept it, with me standing right by the car. He said he didn't think so.
(Isn't technology marvelous.)

So I just flagged down a passing cab and hurtled South back down the FDR towards Wall street.

I checked in for the audition and filled out my particulars. A small Asian woman pulled me aside, pushed me against a wall and took my photo with the flash less than 10cm from my face. Now permanently blind, I wandered into the audition room.

The director was reclined on the couch. He'd had a day, and I was between him and happy hour. Perfect conditions for success.

"Just be yourself." he said. "But, you know, be the character we wrote."
"Oh... yeah, of course. Totally." I nodded, not understanding what the hell that meant.
"I mean, don't Act, but when we say action, act out the things we wrote."
"Got it." I said, confidently.
"And... Whenever you're ready."

"Sorry." I stopped. "I just - one thing before I.."
"Yeah." He said, annoyed.
"I'm Australian. Do you want me to do it as me, or me as an American?"
"You." He said.

"Okay. So, okay. Good."

He paused. Sighed deeply then said, "Aaaand... whenever you're ready."

I took my time reading the sides, attempting to memorise them on the fly.
I stared down the barrel and said,"Hi." being careful not to act.
"I'm Guy, and I... hate soda."

"Okay, stop." The director interjected.
"That was a little too "Big". You know?"
"Oh, yeah. Totally." I said. Not knowing what the fuck he meant.
"Just, do it again, but not so "Big."
"Okay.   Cool."

"Aaand... whenever you're ready."

I took a breath. Sat down and looked at the camera, then at the cup sitting next to me. Then back at the camera.


"Hi." I said, less Big, "I'm Guy, and I hate Soda."
"Okay, we're good. Thank you for coming in."
"We're done?" I asked. "I can do it differently if you want?"
"No, we're good. Thank you." he said, anxiously wringing his wiry grey beard and adjusting his transitions lenses. "Have a nice night."

I walked out, realising I'd blown $14.13 on a cab to come and look like a gormless moron in front of a frustrated director who certainly didn't envision his career directing soda commercials. I needed a drink.

Luckily for me, my trusty companion, Sophie, was just finishing work and also in need of some refreshment. 
"Drink?"
Almost immediately, she texted back, "See you at the Ludlow Hotel. 30 minutes."

I zipped up to the Ludlow on the packed, terminally delayed subway and arrived 45 minutes later. Sophie still hadn't appeared, so I ordered a Negroni and a Gin, betting both ways on what she'd want.

She arrived and ordered a gin martini. 

After a couple of rounds, I said it was probably time I went home and showered before running out to do my 8:30pm spot at Dangerfields. I was wearing a hat, you see, and had chronic hat hair. I looked like I'd stuck my head in a food processor.

We closed out our tab and made our way toward home. On the way, I mentioned I needed a coffee to perk me up before my 8:30pm show at Dangerfields Comedy Club. We were just passing Yerba Buena on Avenue A when Sophie said, "Oh! We can just go in here. They have coffee."

We walked through the door to find a bar full of gentleman who had enjoyed a few too many happy hour lemonades, waxing lyrical about the wonders of green energy and the evils of high fructose corn syrup. Between our ordering two espressos and receiving them, the German man at the end of the bar had begun a TED Talk-style lecture on American organic food and how the FDA is the devil.

The stress of the situation led us to exit the building and immediately push the door open to 2A; the bar next door, to wash away the crazy with a whiskey.

As we sat, swilling the devils drink, a lanky old man sat behind us at the window, listening intently to his walkman and downing copious amounts of booze. He looked like he was made of wind and sinew.

At this point, time was creeping up on me and I didn't think I'd have time to get home, shower and get back out to head up to 61st street for my Dangerfields spot. Sophie said, "Why don't you just use the bathroom here to wet your hair, dry it, and style it using the product that's already in there!"

"Genius!" said the whiskey.
I jumped up and headed to the bathroom as Sophie ordered us another round.

I turned on the moldy old tap and shoved my birds-nest of a head under the water to soak it, before turning on the hand-dryer and attempting to find an angle where I could get my head under it without breaking my neck. I cupped my hands to redirect the hot air towards my hair, like some kind of Macgyver pro hairdresser.
I styled it with my hands and strolled out of the bathroom feeling like I'd gamed the system.


I knocked back one more whiskey before whistling for a cab and zooming North towards the club.

I walked in to the club with 10 minutes to spare, fist bumped the owner and was immediately asked by Chario, the waiter who'd been working there for 47 years (not making that up), to come and help him carry a bunch of bottles of piña colada mix from up the block back to the club.

 

We went searching up and down the Manhattan streets for a liquor store that would stock piña colada mix, but to no avail. Chario grumbled about how much the neighbourhood had changed, and finally settled on buying one bottle from a random store before marching back in to the club, plopping the bottle on the bar and saying "There. Thassit. Thass all they got!"

I then put down my bag and walked on stage to do a 20 minute set to the Friday crowd that consisted mainly of people who had got lost coming in from Jersey. I did fine, but then Patty Rosborough arrived and showed us all how it was done. A masterful set to watch at the oldest comedy club in the world.

It was then that I was informed by one of the waiters that the entire time I'd been on stage, I'd been sporting a gigantic birds nest on the back of my head, courtesy the blowdryer at 2A.  

 

'til next time,

 

Jason.

The Sounds and Sights of Hasbrouck Heights: Part 1

The Sounds and Sights of Hasbrouck Heights: Part 1

"You British?" the man at the table in front shouted. "You limey fuck!" he added, as the audience erupted in rapturous applause.

I looked down, still gripping the mic like a police baton, and tried to think of something clean, witty and funny to come back with. I snorted, then opened my mouth to respond, but all that came out was a small puff of dust.

 

This was going to be a long weekend...

Gig Sketches: The Buddha Room

Gig Sketches: The Stand Comedy Club

 

Fear and Loathing in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Fear and Loathing in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

I don't remember taking any of these photos...

My head throbbed as I squinted at the clock to see it was 11:20am. I'd just realised I'd left my drivers license in New York, and I had to pick up a rental car 20 minutes ago   ...in Pennsylvania.