Ain’t Nobody Got Time Fo Dat
If you ever hang around comedians enough, they try to avoid the word “tour” unless you’re famous. It’s usually referred to as “The Road.” Mostly because you’re driving.
When you’re new, it’s a magical place where dragons are slayed and jokes are paid for and girls will finally sleep with you because they don’t know you’re not famous.Tto a comic who’s never been out before it can seem exciting and mysterious. I always get random messages “How’s the road, man?” – I never know what to say. It’s… exciting and magical and depressing. It’s slumming it in a cheap hotel for $50 a night and for some reason being really excited about it.
I woke up at 5am today to catch a 7:10 flight from SEA to LA to do some free shows on a weekend off. You rarely make money doing comedy in LA. but you come do shows here, hoping that somebody sees you and makes you famous because of your tinder joke. I landed, waited for the rental car shuttle to come. Got my car drove 40 minutes to my hotel, grabbed chipotle, ran some errands and got to my hotel at 1pm exhausted. They said check in was at 3pm and I’ll have to come back in 2 hours. I say “Isn’t there anything you can do, or shuffle?” – “Sorry. It was sold out last night. We’re still working on departures.” *looks at mostly empty parking lot of shitty motel that nobody would stay at on purpose.* “ohhhh k….”
I go to a movie to kill some time. Come back at 3:15, check in. Set up my wifi, get some emails and work done. At about 4:15 I say “I gotta nap before my show.” Show is at 8pm, but I’m 40 minutes away with no traffic. Meaning I’m an hour and 40 away in Los Angeles. Meaning I have to leave at 5 to try to get there at 7 so nobody worries and I’ve got time to relax before the show. I shower, and I’m guessing 4:30 I rumble to the bed and am out in a blink.
I set three alarms (I’ve been known to turn alarms off in my sleep. Or wake up, turn them off and go back to sleep.) All of a sudden I’m JOLTED awake by the sound of a knocking at my door and someone speaking spanish. “No thank you. I’ve got enough towels. Or whatever.” *pound pound pound* “spanish yelling noises” – “I’m fine. Thanks.” *pound pound* “More words in a different language.” – “WHAT DO YOU NEED?” I get up and sit in the bed thinking they can’t hear me. *pound pound pound* “WHAT!!!!” I decide to get the door and am looking around for my pants and the the door opens. A spanish gentleman says “Sorry. The building is on fire. You gotta get out.”
I’m too tired to care. My room is not on fire. I’m still looking for my pants. Plus it’s one of those crappy hotels where your door goes outside, not to a hallway and it’s first floor. So as long as my room isn’t on fire, I’m pretty sure I’ll get out ok. I find my pants, I start packing my laptop because I don’t know if it’s gonna get soaked in water or something. I start packing my clothes while I’m at it. I couldn’t help but laugh at the lack of fire alarm in the hotel. There’s a guy yelling spanish at me.
You could just said “FIRE” – Granted it’s a tough language barrier but you coulda yelled “Caliente” or “Fuego!” or “GET THE FUCK OUT!!!” and I woulda figured it out.
I walk outside and the roof above me is smoking and I’m like “Well shit. Glad I grabbed my stuff.” Go to the parking lot. Get in my car. My alarm goes off. Great. I woke up 5 minutes before my nap was supposed to be over. 5pm. 3 fire trucks are blocking the parking lot, so I go the other way only to find it’s a dead end. I ask to squeeze by the fire trucks putting out a tiny fire. At this point it looks like they’re mostly hacking away at a wall that was on fire? I’m not sure. Maybe they felt they came all this way, they should fuck something up. It doesn’t seem to need to be a 3 truck job, but I’m not a fireman. You could tell that already.
Who decides how many fire trucks to send? Do firefighters get paid per fire? I had a friend who was a firefighter. I wonder if he still is. My understanding from movies was it’s a lot of sitting around the fire station playing with their hoses and taking calendar photos. Maybe I’ll ask him questions. Does the call come in? “Cat in a tree?” and the other guys are like “We’re gonna come just because we’re bored.”
I drive an hour and 40 minutes to my show. 7:10 arrival. Meet my friend for dinner. There’s close to 200 people in the audience and I’m starting to get a little nervous. I down a redbull, that doesn’t seem to help the fatigue. I go on stage, I have a really good set, but still felt sluggish and not up to my potential. I eat a tuna fish sandwich. Drive 40 minutes back to my hotel.
Aside from the fire. This is the things you deal with every day. Fatigue. Traffic. Real Life Situations. Maybe your cat died. Maybe you got food poisoning. Maybe you discovered you’re lactose intolerant all of a sudden on your 30th birthday when you eat a pint of ben and jerrys and puke and shit liquid for the next 2 days straight. The show must go on.
As soon as you step on stage. You can’t go “I’m really not feeling it tonight guys, just go easy on me.” – I’m sure if they could, they would. But that’s not how laughter works. It’s an involuntary response. If they think too much about it. It won’t happen. If they feel bad for you, the laugh won’t come. It will be an “awww.” Fuck that noise. The audience doesn’t care and yet that’s what happens probably every single day. Imagine a cross country flight where you’re not at the hotel at 1pm. You get there at 6pm. No time for a nap. Time zone changes. Rental car problems. Even if they’re making you wait 15 minutes, that adds up. Now you’re in bad traffic instead of no traffic.
I guess what I’m saying is “The Road” is a lot of fun.