Tuesday, November 28, 2006

permission to speak frankly?

...i am bummed lately. i don't know what is going on with me. though thanksgiving was very nice, i think not seeing my fam and going home really affected me. i have really been in the dumps. unmotivated, down. sleepy. bored.

everyone is allowed times like this, but i really pride myself on being pos and upbeat most the time, even in the face of adversity or whatever. so why now?

something that has really affected me this week is something sort of small, but big to me.

recently, i've joined two things that i'm super excited about joining. armando - a long-running improv show on monday nights featuring monologists and a montage of scenes, with several of chicago's top improvisers in it. i've also recently joined baby wants candy for their current run - they do improvised musicals from beginning to end with a live band. very talented cast as well. these two things were two of the FIRST shows i ever saw in chicago and was yearning to be a part of. and now, i am.

there's something full-circle about it. before, i felt honored and electrified to sit in with both and do my best and play - and i still do!, but now, something about it is getting me down. many of these people are real veterans - people i saw when i came and laughed at. i guess i'm just having doubts about things right now. am i really good enough to do these things? are there other things to look forward to, now that those resolutions have been achieved (or started)? what am i fucking doing? is there anything out there that you've felt like that about?

my hope is that - well, whatever little gray cloud is hovering above me for whatever reason - it will clear and i will know that i'll feel competent and excited again. i feel so lucky... but other important things to feel in performance is the desire and self-worth to be able to actually do the shows you looked up to and watched, even if you have to fake the confidence for a bit.

xtreme suburbia

you may have seen this, but it's worth revisiting. and if you haven't, check this shit. someone marry me and build this dreamhouse.


assassin continues, but i am dead. for those who don't know, i can't tell the details of my sneaky death until the end, but i'm happy to report i got one solid kill in before i met my maker.

to make things more exciting, rance has made a webpage of people dying. it's terrifying to see your headshot reddened, emblazened with the word "DEAD" at the bottom. DEAD!

at this point, i have a relatively complete list of who is after whom. i may like being dead better.

come on, part II

now that i said that, check out a wonderful baby: i snapped this on my camera phone at a wedding we were all at. my friends veronica and mike had this beautiful girl, graziella, only months ago.

come on.

Monday, November 27, 2006

breakf is back

i can hardly even bump that pic out of the way, that puppy pic, but there's updates.

surrounded by kids a bunch lately on this past weekend. i've always been more attracted to cute things like puppies than kids in my life, though i could always acknowledge that kids are kickass, and at some point, i'll want some. this weekend, i got out easy, though, because most of them were brats. see, it's breakfast with santa time at (now) macy's. sam super and i are paired this year and comedysportz folk are - gasp - playing actual elves. some of you that have followed the blog before and seen what we've been stuck in - so, being elves is a big deal. the script, however, sucks one, and we wake up at zero o'clock. i'm over it. around the second week of december, it'll be worth it - that's when the kids treat santa like a celebrity, and they get really wide-eyed and adorable. i'll love them all at that point.

until then? wipe your nose, assholes.

come on, part I

mondays after holidays are hard to get though, so i'll give you a little boost. this is my brother vince's new dog, wrigley. he named him in honor of chicags, even though he doesn't live here, but his li'l sis does. this dog should be president.

Friday, November 24, 2006

singing the blues

apparently, a finnish/german couple decided to do something positive with negativity. they took hundreds of complaints and turned it into a song about Helsinki. ridiculous. smart. smart & ridiculous.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

...and Deathsgiving.

comedysportz is playing assassin right now.

for those of you who have never played, it's about the most fun, nervewracking thing in the world. everyone is assigned a nickname and a person to kill, and once their kill is killed, they assassinate the next in line. you can kill by weapon (a spoon or nerf gun), or letter bomb (people are getting creative and smart about this). many stipulations apply (like, spooning has to be in the torso; you have to open your own letter bomb for it to go off, etc.), and there are only a handful of safe-zones. it's fun to try to work the rules to work for you, and think of kills that haven't been done yet.

because csz is full of friends, lots of people are dying quickly. we have gone from trusting each other with our lives onstage to thinking all are psychokillers. last night, there was an karaoke outing at the holiday club. you could tell who the CSzers were, because while holding a drink and continuing to booze, they each clutched a spoon in their other hand.

this is me, seconds before a kill.
please make up a bond girl name for me.


Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

It's my first T-Gives in Chicago. I hardly know how to handle it. I made sure I woke up and did the same thing I do every year - checked in with the Macy's parade to watch Santa come down the lane. Every year, my mom and i while cooking (who am I kidding? while she's cooking...) watch the Santa cap the events, and then we leave for relatives houses. I have a sort of superstition about it now, like, if I don't see him, my year will be ruined. So, even though I'm here and my fam is all over the place this year, I watched him just to be sure. It was sorta sad to watch it here without them, but I know they know I love 'em even though we're not togeth.

I'm thankful for all of you, friends. Love you a ton.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Comic Relief, 2006

So - I think I can finally say - we're here on behalf of Ford Fusion. It's been a really fun, goofy week.

Klepper and DeFran - the new Nichols and May.
...Stretching it - but c'mon.


go bucks. i'll be watching as much as i can! keep me updated over text, friends.

All you need is

...we saw Cirque du Soliel's/Beatles LOVE tonight. Shad, Chuck Malone (MD) and I went, as our SM Josh had connections to get us some seats for a reduced price. This reduced price was about the same as seeing 15 movies, but holy shit. It was worth it.

Holy shit.

This show caused Yoko and Paul to hug a month ago. That's really something. Shad cried at LintheSwithD. That's something too, 'cause he's dead inside. He's super high right now.

Friday, November 17, 2006

things we've seen

-----the bellagio. pretts.

our new pals, the lampshades. -----

and most importantly, shad kunkle. (this is not a posed picture.)

there's also a couple of polaroids of all four us with caesar's royal court, and me touching a showgirl's boobo. vegas.

the verdict is in: on margaritaville

overwhelming response - yes to marg.
i really can't believe it, i just can't.

i think you guys misunderstood my question - you seriously like the enterprise of all things buffett?

i guess i do too, now.

thisss guyyy knows what i'm talking about!

i feel like being surrounded by stand-ups might be what hell is like. sorry stand-ups... or, i should say, amateur stand-ups... they are always marketing their bits. here, there are lots of contests to win free tickets to shows and stuff, and all the entrants act like nice civilians, then get up on-stage to enter and do a tight seven as their being pulled with a cane offstage. i have become the kind of person that borders on booing these people, only to cheer normal, well-behaved folk. events like these - the comedian being shecky hambone - this is why people always come up to improvisers & sketch writers and ask if we'll do some jokes, or if they're going to be in our acts.


it has, however, completely changed my delivery here at the comedy festival. jordan and i have a great thing going. he's super funny. inside our event tent, there are other companies being sponsored. this has led to a flood of misnomers and bits of the like, which the other sponsors actually laugh at. we've been calling the sierra mist tent squirt/shasta/7up/sprite/diet rite/mr pibb extra all week. i also called aol simply aol.gov, which jordan liked a ton. jordan, also on the first day, said that we were here to support Hurricane Katrina. I then stopped him to let him know that we actually were there for the relief efforts, a crucial part he left off the end; this mistake has led to a flood of "We're from Second City and we're here to support Hurricane Katrina... ... relief" bits. I like the bits a lot. at points where no one has been watching, kleps has actually laid on the ground as a dead man and waited to see who notices, often for minutes at a time. This feels like what working a telethon or something must feel like. The bits, per usual, are what make the time pass.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Comedy Fusion

the comedy festival.
i'm really determined to get some pictures of this thing, because it is ridiculous. something i actually feel kinda good about is - well, we're definitely earning the money we are making. we have written scenes and stuff that are occassionally sprinkled into our presentation, and we get to do improv, which is always fun, but essentially, we are carnival barkers that get people to our section to support a product. i'll tell you more about the actual gig later, because it's worth posting about. it is, in not so many words, exactly what i expected. no one else did, and that makes me laugh. our voices are scratchy with recycled air, as we jump up in our rotation every half an hour to draw attention for the duration of 10 hours. something about me likes it. it's a sick thing to like. it feels like being a bad comic.

the best thing is that because of conditions, we have lost it at different points, one by one. shad lost it bad yesterday and chatted with a roving puppet for almost 20 minutes, never looking at it's puppeteer. i ripped on him for it until the dragon came over to me, and i could not deny the magic of this thing. i don't even love puppets or anything, but this thing was for Real. apparently, the puppeteer works for Disney and stuff too, so it's legit, man. this Dragon is real. Klepper, my tag-teammate, lost it yesterday when he realized he was talking about how much money he placed on the OSU/Michigan game this weekend while on mic. i lost it (hardest - i had several) when i picked up a mic and started singing an improvised music montage about the car we were promoting to the tune of 5 morphing songs (courtesy of MD, Chuck Malone). we all started crying, including me, who tried to sing through serious giggles while a crowd looked at us like animals in a zoo.

nicest part of the day is that the act right next to ours is there with Sierra Mist (delicious), a lounge act that does mash-ups, essentially. It's very well done and funny - sorta like Velvet Tom, for you Chicago folk. I stared at them for a few minutes and recognized the guy because I was sure he was from iO. then i thought the girl was familiar, and then found out it's the woman who plays Meredith from NBC's Office. his name is Scott - also in Anchorman and a teacher at iO west, and she's Kate. they were very warm and nice, and their act is called "The Lampshades". since they have lots of cross-over with SC/iO chicago, we knew a lot of the same people, and we made a pact to hang at some point this week. it was 50% nice to know they were doing the same thing we were.

new friends, lost voices, ridiculous days. more. more to come.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

you decide: margaritaville

jimmy buffett's margaritaville is next door to the flamingo, where Second City is housed. i have a distaste for Parrotheads and sort of the music, but I don't hate Jimmy Buffett, the man. I actually think he's quite funny.

Buffett enterprise: friend or foe?

[votes tallied friday morning, so i know whether to egg the place before i leave.]

really?, part II

on a billboard here:

"rita rudner
comedian of the year"

what year?


today's day off in vegas became more of a workday for me, as there were some loose ends with a csz gig lying about for this weekend. after several hours of finagling, i finally had to get out of the casino and away from my laptop. i went on a walk-jog for about two miles of strip. it's pretty here, sort of because of and in-spite of itself. it's phony pretty, but pretty nonetheless. i like it right now. i like that everything is lit, fountains are spewing, everything is magically green... right in the middle of the desert. it's weird and garish and beautiful.

when i ran past the bellagio, which i can also see to the left in my window at the flamingo as well, the water show started. i stopped, because that shit is tight. tonight, it was to "meat. it's what's for dinner." that's what the song is called. for sure.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


can someone explain to me why you wouldn’t electively take a window seat?

the night was super foggy as i flew to vegas, but below i could still see storms and flashes and bursts through the clouds as we went.

the only possible reasons i can think of are two:
you go to the bathroom a lot and want an aisle. yes, i get this, but you can crawl over people. that’s what happens on flights. and if you’re the aisle guy, you just get crawled over. might as well see some junk and not get clocked by the cart.

you hate flying. makes perfect sense. why look down on everything below you since being so far above scares you? well, counter that – because you HAVE to. what’s the point of flying if you can’t see what you’re rising above?

it might be hard to look, but it’s worth it.

a friend of mine once went to see a performance artist play a piano in a black box studio in nyc. the performer only hit one solitary note, for the duration of more than an hour, at varied speeds. first off, yes, horrible. but the artist argued - art isn't supposed to make you feel good, it's supposed to make you feel something. and you did. and it was hard and strange and new, unfamiliar.

one of my favorite songs of the past year is Casmir Pulaski Day on the Sufjan Stevens album. i like it for several reasons, but the main reason is simply because it’s hard to listen to. i like watching Six Feet Under because every time the show starts i feel a bit uneasy. one of my favorite books of 2005 was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, because it was raw and sad and serious and curious about itself. i like doing what i do for a living because along with the immeasurable amounts of fun you get to have, it’s risky and hard to do sometimes. i don’t mind difficulty in relationships, friends or otherwise, because i believe to build the best ones, it takes some work.

sometimes you have to listen, or look, or see, or jump, no matter how difficult it is; because if you don’t, what’s the fucking point?

get a window seat. but don’t take mine.

verdict is in: chicago winters

i love them, because they make me strong.
you guys are right. this is how i feel now.

do i still get to whine a litts? i ordered a big ol' puffertown coat today. maybe it will gently cup my strongness.


Hey, you know what, United? Probably not on Lady in the Water as the in-flight.

Festival of Follies

Just found out our first day of work tomorrow in Vegas is cancelled because the Comedy Festival is having trouble assembling it’s huge trade floor, so we have a free day in Vegas! Come on. I’m getting paid a pretty awesome amount of money for this gig I’m on, so although the check is pretty much being signed over for medical debt, I’m making it a priority while I’m there to enjoy it and not deny myself the shows and stuff. Shad Kunks, Rebecca Fox and I found out in our limo ride to the airport, so we cheered by having a celebratory margarita at Chili’s to Go at O’Hare, which honest to god, obliterated all of us. What’s up, Chili’s? Matt Elwell is losing his shit right now. (Hi, Elwell!)

I’m not usually super anxious to leave Chicago unless it’s for Columbus, but this time, I was really itching to get the hell outta there. I will miss pals and LKid and CSz/iO this week, but as much as I didn’t necessarily feel like going, I needed a break. Though there’s about four 10-hour comedy workdays in my future, I’m making it a priority to do fun & healthy things while I’m gone with the other time… hang out with the SC crew, drink a little, work out a lot, sleep well, visit friends from the SC Vegas cast, see some ridiculous spectacles. I’m determined to see at least one illusionist, one Cirque show, or one Rich Little… and maybe all three.

also, boobs.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

the bears are doin' it to feed the needy

it really couldn't be better.

"you're lookin' at the fridge, and i'm the rookie/
i may be large / but i'm no dumb cookie."

c'mon. c'mon! that and willie gault's high-steps are worth everything. pick your fave. here we go, bears!

you decide: on vegas gifts

i'm soon spending a long, hard, yet rewarding several days in Lost Wages (barf) at the Comedy Festival. i sure will bring something back for any friend who wants someth!

what do you want?:
c*cold hard winnings
d*thimbles and/or spoons
e*dane cook (fraternities love him!)
f*kathy griffin (fraternities love him!)
g*a catalog of ladies of the night
h*actual ladies of the night
i*a combination of all

you get until wednesday night on this, foolz.

dear extreme home makeover,

we get it.
...you're killing me, man.
it's too much!


italian temper: gone, but not forgotten

i'm in an angry place. maybe it's good. i rarely get fired up, but i am now.
you wanna piss me off? mkay. do any combination of these:

*do nothing proactive in your own life, but constantly complain
*cheat on the person you're with, only because you're too much of a baby to talk to them
*ask me to write something, then continually change the event/staff/concept
*have road rage - it's dumb and outdated, get over it - people own guns, don't you care?
*masturbatorily make an improv show run over it's slated time with bad bits
*honk/scream/assault a shit-ton after leaving barleycorns, but just outside my window
*remix or redo any song from high-school years; i'm not old enough yet
*tell joey bland he looks like sean astin, esp. by yelling "Ruuudy!"
*make it colder in my room
*say something isn't a spoiler and then say you were, however, surprised at the twist ending
*ask me if my act will be at the funny bone soon
*don't be just plain old thankful, ever

Saturday, November 11, 2006

you decide: chicago winters

yep, this is a series of things i feel indifferent about, or have had difficulty deciding on. sometimes, you need friends to help you out.

chicago winters:
do i love them because they make me strong, or hate them because i feel so weak?

votes counted until monday night.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

roach motel

hey! you really wanna scare me?
like, beyond almost anything?

put me face to antennae with a roach.

i saw one crawling in our family room yesterday and i froze. this fear is my biggest, biggest fear (even over racism!). for some reason, i have a truly gutteral reaction and have like, sweaty palms and terrortowns.

luckily, i've never seen one before in the two years i've lived in my apt, so it's probably a fluke. a fluke, right? right guys? an exterminator came tonight and sprayed the S outta the joint, so i have high hopes.

also, since i was alone, what did i do? i turned a glass candle upside down over it and trapped the poor little guy. i then begged my roommates to do something with it, via whiteboard, since i was running out the door. this maintains my longstanding era of not killing any bug since i was 8.

putting a hit on a bug via roommates doesn't count.

verdict is in: on incense

...i apparently like it, with one write in of "damn hippies".

there's absolutely no reason this shouldn't be a series. look for another tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

you decide.

do i like incense? or do i hate it?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

star-crossed slumbo

i really couldn't be more excited about a night with the csz ladies tomorrow. we are having a slumber party and doing super goofy and exciting things. molly is doing our charts, something i have never had done before, and one of stacy's pals is coming over to do tarot readings. it's no dong party, but i'll take it.

right now, i'd love for someone to tell me which end is up. i'm trying to figure it out but several turns have seemed like the wrong one.

come on, tarot!

one time when i was litts, i went to a halloween fair at the Ohio Historical Society with friends. it was neat - there were tents set up everywhere, and as dusk fell, they did this re-enactment of Ichabod Crane and the Headless HorseMo. anyway, i went to a tent where there was a fortune teller. she decided to read me my tarot cards, and the first card she flipped over was Death. as a kid, that's pretty daunting, even if it doesn't mean traditional death. i don't give a fuck.

if that's the card i get first tomorrow, i'll piss on those cards.

the year of a thousand breakups

what is going on this year?
why is everyone breaking?

what is it?

Friday, November 03, 2006


i have been dreading writing this for a long time, but i knew i had to do it. it's a big part of my life, after all. it's the most notable news.

this is me and niles.

at the risk of writing this and sounding like crazy cat lady, let me explain. this cat - this cat... amazing. this little guy came into my life about 6 years ago, when my girlfriend and i decided we wanted a pet. having pets all my life but being severely allergic to kitties, i sneakily told her i couldn't handle it, then decided to get shots until the holidays. by then, we were ready for little kitters mcchristmas.

amy and i decided that we wanted an unusual case - not some cat from petco, not a kitten. a cat that wanted a home, one that needed us. i worked at a coffeeshop here called intelligentsia on broadway as a barista, and one day, a frazzled vet named nikki came in and ordered a drink with a thousand shots.

does anyone here want a cat?, she asked, half joking. she had flyers in her other hand with cutouts of a small tawny guy on it. i sort of perked up and said that we were in the market, but i didn't know. well, i should warn you - this cat has feline leukemia.... so he's sort of special needs, she said. he got hit by a car and someone brought him in, and i tested him. we're going to have to put him down in the clinic if no one takes him, but i can't bring myself to do it. he's the best cat i've ever met. i have seven days to find this guy a home.

my warning bells went off and i looked at his face. i loved it. he looked awesome. super cute, three years old. i promised her i'd come in and meet him and see for myself.

i drove to the burbs to go see him, and by this point, i'd seen a lot of cats. i walked into a vet's room, standing and waiting, cold steel tables and sterility surrounding me. someone brought him in and placed him on the table. here he is, he said, niles. i'll give you a few minutes to get acquainted while nikki is coming.

i smiled at the kitty and liked him right away. i sort of pet him a bit, and turned around to start reading a book on feline leuk that they had left for me in the room. niles saw me turn, and jumped from the cold steel table to the countertop and stood, looking over my shoulder to seemingly read with me. i loved him. he was playful and fun - smart, cordial, but not a lap cat. just cool. this cat was nothing but cool.

we decided to take him.

we were warned and warned again. leukemia cats die fast, they are sickly, they have hard lives, he'll only live a year at most... we knew. we didn't care. it was a true case of giving in, yielding to love for no matter how long. a year of good life is better than never knowing any.

niles lived six years.
six years beyond the time everyone thought, said, and "knew" he could.
he has been my only constant in this city. he has been through my sickness, through breakups, through moves and successes and dramas and loneliness and in every case - he was a friend. like, not just a pet, but a real, real friend. every time i've been alone he never left my side. every time i felt sad he'd do something super funny. and every time i didn't know what i needed, he figured it out and gave it.

about a week and a half ago, my roommate jon called and told me niles wasn't doing well while i was flying back from columbus. niles had recently been diagnosed with cancer as well, and even though he was strikingly healthy to the naked eye, he suddenly experienced rapid weight loss and couldn't eat much. he was on a thousand drugs, and since he wasn't a good candidate for chemo, we knew the end was near. i rushed home and skipped everything that night, and prepared for the worst and hoped for what seemed to be his 54th life. we stayed up together and i cried a lot. amy and i talked on the phone incessantly and knew even though we aren't together like we were when we got him, we wanted to finish it together. the next day came and niles became weaker by the hour. i called the vet to tell her i needed to do something, and she said to make him comfortable and as long as he wasn't breathing funny, that i should just wait. within minutes, he began to wheeze. she said it was time.

barring whatever or whomever it is for, playing god for anything seems like a real mistake. i sat on my coffee table staring at him with two friends. i don't want to do the wrong thing, i said. how will i ever know what you want? i just didn't want to give up on him without him saying yes. yes. now. he began breathing harder. i grabbed my towel from the bathroom and wrapped him up. thinking about putting him in some fucking carrier seemed cruel. distant. we were friends. i wanted him to see, know, and understand everything.

walking out of my apartment was one of the hardest things in the world.
we ended at the beginning - in a cold, sterile vet room on a chrome table. only this time, instead of guessing i'd love him, i knew that i did.

i held his paw.

i've seen a lot of things die. it doesn't matter how much you see.

we walked out of the hospital past what seemed like a million healthy pets, leaving him behind. we stayed in the room with him for a bit and were all emotional, switching between tears and laughter of how great he was. it felt bad to leave him there. i told the vet assistant who came in to ask what we wanted to do with remains that i was determined not to be craisins old lady, so i had decided that we wanted his ashes put into a precious moments figurine. she laughed. we've seen it all, she said. she had a great disposition of being just jokey enough to make us feel better, and still so respectful and kind as he laid there. i just didn't know what to do but pretend he was in on the joke.

tara & amy came over and we watched bad tv all night because no one felt like being alone. my roommates were upset and we all sort of did bits and then busted into tears while i dumped litter boxes and water bowls into the trash. within hours, i got countless texts, phone calls, and e-mails. it seemed like everyone in improv knew this cat - and liked him. a fucking cat.

a fucking bad-ass, cool fucking cat.

i fucking hate that he's gone.

to niles.

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