School of Hogwarts
I live by a school. I never had many friends in school. Maybe that’s why I became a comedian. How do you like me now? Still no? oh ok. But I always had a pretty good imagination, so I think that helps when I write crazy stories. I live near a school, I think it’s elementary, but I’m not sure. All I know is all the girls look too young to sleep with, so there’s that. I live by a school. I’m allowed to, by the way, don’t take that joke out of context. I’m allowed to live by a school. Not all comedians are sex offenders, just most of them. Anyway, sometimes in my neighborhood I see a nerdy kid walking home by himself in his own world, and I get really sentimental because I used to be that kid. I just want to run up to him and be like “Hey. I’m you from the future. Go make some friends, dipshit! Things don’t work out well for people like us. Do I look happy? And drop that stupid stick you’re not a wizard.”
I remember one time in high school. I had homeroom next to this girl who was cute and popular. I sat next to her and I mostly ignored her because … I wasn’t either one of those categories. I wasn’t unpopular (yet), I wasn’t one of the loser kids with a nickname like “pees his pants andrew” or anything, I just wasn’t in any category. I think I said in a previous blog something about if I died, nobody woulda noticed. “They’d be like oh I think we had homeroom together.” I was in band class and I was really good at the saxaphone, I had a good ear. “Which is a weird compliment. “Good Torso” (c) Brian Regan” because my parents gave me private lessons. I ended up quitting because I resented my teacher for catching me in a lie. Every morning we’d take roll call by the teacher calling out names, you’d say “present, 10 minutes of practice.” and if you forgot your instrument at home you’d say “No instrument.” One day I thought I left my saxaphone at home, but I actually left it at the back of the class. So I called out my practice time and then said no instrument. and he goes “Your instrument is in back. Amazing that you can practice while it sat here overnight, but I will write it down.” So I hated him from then on because I was embarrassed. I also resented practice.
Going back further, one time in I think 7th grade or something. At music class we had slips that parents had to sign to say we practiced, we had one slip for every 30 minutes of practice I think. Some interval. Whoever had the most practice at the end of the semester got some prize. I don’t remember what it was. All I remember is I practiced all the time. I got really good. I practiced more than anyone else and I enjoyed it. There was some song that I remember had something to do with Kansas and I played it a lot. I even started riffing at the end and had my own version of the song. I was pretty comfortably in the lead. All of a sudden some girl started coming out of nowhere with her practice slips, catching up to me. Then she took the lead. Unbelievable. I went home and I practiced a ton. I asked my dad to sign a bunch of slips. He signed one and wrote a note on the back that said something like “Andrew practiced lots of times but I’m too lazy to sign all of these slips because I’m super famous and I sign autographs all day.” Ok I’m exaggerating. but he only signed one slip and wrote a note. The teacher only gave me credit for one slip and I ended up losing the contest by a mile because I resented that teacher also. The thing about this girl, I was convinced she was forging signatures. I don’t know why, but that’s what I made up in my head. I had no proof, I don’t remember if she was very good. All that mattered was she won.
Anyway, back to that chick. I overheard her telling her friend that her and some guy just broke up in homeroom. A few days later in band class, her friend Rachel came up and asked me if I would be her boyfriend. One of the biggest mistakes of my life. I said “I don’t really know her that well.” I don’t know what that was about. Needing to know who someone’s personality to see maybe if we’d be a good match first. WTF. His parents must be still married and taught him about successful relationships or something. Weirdo. If a presidential candidate calls me and says “You wanna be my vice president?” I don’t go “ehh… I don’t really know much about politics.” You go “fuck yeah!” and hope you can figure it out on the fly. Like Sarah Palin. I dunno. All I’m saying is you don’t often get a chance to change categories. My whole life could have been different. I would’ve been dating a hot popular girl and followed in my brothers footsteps. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy now, but I’m a smart kid. I’m sure I would’ve figured it all out eventually.
By the way, speaking of famous dad. I got back home today and went to open mic at laughs comedy spot. I was immediately crowded by some friends and a couple comics asking about my trip and asking stories. I felt kinda weird about it. Like someone important. It felt cool to be important to somebody or looked up to. It’s hard to say they shouldn’t. I’m doing well. but I feel weird doing it in front of lots of comics, because that’s how resentment will build. This comic Mike Cummings who used to give me a lot of crap at giggles was banned from Laughs for a while. He didn’t give me shit about my dad, he just gave me the old fashioned shit. Your typical hazing plus some and it used to be a running joke that he would tell me to quit in the most unique way possible every day. One day, his friend was on stage and Mike thought of a tag for his joke (tag: an additional joke to the end of a joke.) and he wrote it on a napkin and handed it to him while he was on stage just to be funny. The guy tried the joke and it bombed. He went back and got another napkin and wrote “Andrew Rivers Should Quit” and handed it to him to read outloud. It was pretty funny.
Anyway, he is allowed back at laughs and I joked that I was going up right after him, so if he could tell the audience that I should quit before I go up, it would make me feel more comfortable. He went up, did his set and then gave me an introduction: “Your next comic is headlining all over the country thanks to his famous Dad. Please welcome Andrew Rivers.” which got a huge roar from the comics and some laughs from the audience. Which tells me maybe there’s more tension there than I would guess. Whatever.
I laughed and went on stage and said “well that was interesting” and it felt awkward for a minute. My first joke didn’t get as big of a response as it usually does. (I sometimes burn an old joke up front at a open mic to gauge the audience’s reaction to new stuff and sort of give me credibility “Hey I write funny, pay attention, ok here’s a crappy one.” not every time, but if I can remember to order it that way I usually will) but I had a good set with my new jokes. Including the one about living by a school that I wrote today when I saw a goofy kid walking home alone. I wonder if someone had done that to me, if it would even matter. Would it change me? Who knows. Anyway, the point in bringing that up is I always think of the funny comebacks an hour later when I get home. Mike came up to me after and said “Why don’t you just say ‘At least I know my dad?’ That’s an easy comeback.” I kinda shrugged. I had thought of something before “Yes, my dad supports me. I’m sorry that your dad didn’t care about you after he nut in your mother. That’s not my problem.” but that’s really awful and dirty to start a show with. It’s more of something I would say in private if I wanted to be a dick. but next time I want to start a show by saying “Does anyone know who my dad is?” and have nobody applaud. So I can be like “Yeah. Super famous.” and immediately end all the bullshit. Of course that probably wouldn’t do anything. People are going to find their excuses for not working as hard as they know they should. I’m cool with it. My sets usually speak for themselves.
I did walk into a joke about middles with local radio credit getting more than they deserve. I was talking about a club in California that I MC’d and the booker said she needs tv credits for me to be a middle, but the middle when I was there didn’t have a real TV credit, but she was a local radio host. I’m glad he called me out on it. It’s nice to get caught complaining when I shouldn’t. Although in my defense, I never said she wasn’t funny or deserving of the middle slot. I thought she was great. I was just saying the club should just tell me I’m not good enough yet, which I’m fine with, as opposed to quoting a policy about needing comedy tv credits. I’m not where I want to be either. That’s an answer I’ve gotten plenty of times from clubs and will probably get all my life no matter what level I get to.
I do get approached once in a while at shows from fans, not usually at open mic, and usually it’s “We didn’t know you were going to be here tonight. What a surprise.” I have plenty of facebook friends that I’ve stolen from him. I know that they’ve been talking about me when I wake up and have a few new friend requests. I have to check the podcast and see if it’s good or bad. I’ve got it down to a science. Anytime they have a comedian on. That usually brings me up. Anyway, here’s a photo of my super famous nerdy dad on a little show you might have heard of. STAR TREK. He’s the one on the left. 😉 Maybe that wizard kid will turn out alright one day after all.