Archive for January, 2011

Beards of Comedy West Coast Tour Day 1 – ENMU

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2011 by Joe Zimmerman

Yesterday went as smoothly as I could have hoped. Got to Athens at 10 p.m. and after spooning a beagle for 45 minutes of couch sleep, left with TJ at 2 AM to meet up with Justin Heckert in Atlanta, where his wife took us to the airport for a 6 AM departure. We landed in Denver at 8:10 am, where we caught the 8:12 to Albuquerque by the skin of our heart attack. At 9 AM, we stood alive and on time at carousel seven in Albuquerque, miraculously holding our checked luggage.

This was my first time flying Frontier Airlines, and I must say it is a different kind of animal. That’s what the pilot said: “Frontier, a different kind of animal.” Little odd. The pilot’s emergency airbag pitch was a five minute comedy routine, and it was as tight and polished as I’ve heard. He opened with, “Alright, did anyone lose their wallet? (I panic) OKAY, now that I have your attention, please direct your attention up front (big laugh from studio audience/me annoyed).”

I tried to ignore him because I was into a suspenseful Collin Harrison novel, but he rattled off one punchline after another – all with honed timing and big laughs from a normally tough 8 AM crowd. At the deployment part he goes “Take the oxygen mask and place over mouth. Stop screaming. Now paddle.” Pretty edgy for the mandatory deployment speech. He closed with, “If you need anything, please ask Kathy, as she’s our junior flight attendant, and quite frankly, the only one who still cares.” (Big laugh/applause break). Different kind of animal.

Once at the Thrifty kiosk in Albuquerque, I am sorry to admit we were instantly up-sold from a mini-van to a luxury SUV. It’s too early to be adding expenses, but we now have a spacious Chevy Tahoe, along with an insurance waver none of us understand. Apparently, New Mexico is “just one of seven states” where personal car insurance doesn’t help if you get in an accident (more jibber-jabber about paying crazy fees for any days the vehicle is at a repair shop). So we were “hooked up” at $14.99 extra per day for upgrade + insurance waver “thrown in.” No more soccer mom mini-van. We are now in a big black suburban that could pass for CIA.

From Albuquerque, we drove four hours back east to our first show in Portales. This was my first time to New Mexico, and we dove into the subculture with lunch at Subway. I’m not sure I knew tumbleweeds were real things, until I hit the brakes for something I thought was a boulder coming at me, before realizing, “oh, just a tumble weed. Wait, a tumble weed?” Apparently they are more than just metaphors for western ghost towns.

The show had a final audience count of 342 students, and despite sleep deprivation, it went great. It helped that Red Bulls were waiting in the green room to give us wings.

After the photos and autographs, and feeling like we did something right, I received the kind of email that you imagine powerful management companies would send, if you were doing a west coast tour in a fictional movie, or Rockband. It read, “I heard you did well in Portales. Give my office a call.” This was coming from one of the biggest managers in the industry, from one of the largest companies (if not the largest).

Who would have thought Portales, New Mexico would be the place to be “discovered.” Apparently, there is someone in the audience, who immediately after our show placed a call: “Hi, this is Betsy… yeah, sleeper agent stationed at ENMU. Beards of Comedy/great show. Email Joe Zimmerman – he appears to be their leader, based on body language and charisma.”

I imagine I’ll call the office and bumble, “Hey, so is such-and-such in today?”
“No. Of course not. May I take a message?”
“Oh, well she said to call her, because I had a good show in New Mexico.”
“What? You sound stupid. I don’t take down messages from idiots.”

Ideally, it will go more like, “OMG? Joe Zimmerman?! From the Beards of Comedy? Do you mind if I transfer one million dollars into your bank account?”
“Oh, um…well the Beards require 1.5 million as our minimum bank transfer /partnership deal, thingie.”
“How about 2 million?”
“Deal, but we’re not signing any long term contracts, and make it 2.5 million dollars.”
“Sounds great Joe, I’m glad you called.”

It’s 6 am on Thursday and we’re about to drive eleven hours to Scottsdale, AZ to do the Martini Ranch at 9 pm, with guest Mike Kennedy. Looking forward to more literal tumble-weeds.


Beards of Comedy West Coast Tour Blog

Posted in Beards of Comedy, Humor Column with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2011 by Joe Zimmerman

I’m leaving Asheville in six hours for a massive west coast swing with the Beards of Comedy tour – twelve shows in twelve nights, in ten different cities. We are flying into Albuquerque, where we pile into a mini-van rental, and cover 3,000 miles before flying out of Seattle on the 31st.

My plan is to document the fun/anxiety/panic/exhaustion/claustrophobia/disasters with a daily blog. While I travel a lot, this trip involves more than usual. People have been asking if I’m excited. I wish that I could be excited, but right now I’m just worried about the layover in Denver. There are so many logistics to figure out – the driving, the shows, the parking, the hotels, the radio interviews…and all in markets where we’ve never been. We have at least two drives through the night, AFTER we just did a show, to get to radio/TV the next morning. I just mapped it out and fainted. I was then revived, and after three hours of research, figured out how to do a screen shot (on my new Macbook Pro!):

Lots of Driving in a mini-van

I think you can click on it to make it bigger, but if you can’t see the stops, they are: Albuquerque, Portales, Scottsdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Reno, Portland, Kennewick, Seattle.

Several folks have also been asking how the hell we put this trip together. Well, it was entirely our publicist – Julie Seabaugh, who is based out of L.A. She started with a few bookend gigs, and then filled in every single day, and even created good routing. Then our college agent was able to add the college gig at Eastern New Mexico State up front.

The only thing we have to do, is get there, and then hope that we get big enough crowds to cover the cost of airfare, van rental, hotels, gas, more gas, food, tolls, luggage fees, more food, more gas, speeding tickets, coffee, gambling, trivia prizes, dessert, parking, parking tickets, breakfast, snacks, gas, and things I’m not thinking of. The Beards are like Hobbits, in our five-six meal-a-day regiment.

Also, it won’t just be four Bearded dudes in a soccer mom van rental, it will be five. Joining us is Justin Heckert – a journalist from Atlanta Magazine who is writing a long form article on the journey. It will be awesome to have him along. It will also be a long-ass length of time for me to be on record. All sorts of embarrassing things could come out. So perhaps to quell my fear, I’ll say some embarrassing things right now:

-I listen to nothing but Hootie & the Blowfish
-I wet the bed regularly
-My favorite movie is every Ashton Kuchar movie
-I’m gay
-I’m super gay

Okay, so whatever I reveal to Justin, it can’t be worse than this right? Perhaps one of my daily blogs will be an interview with Justin, where I ask him what it’s like to be a journalist from Atlanta Magazine, traveling with the Beards of Comedy tour. It’d be like, an interview within an interview – pretty meta right? Right guys?

Eastern New Mexico State College tomorrow night. We’ll be at the airport at 4 am, and then have a three hour drive after we land at 9 am, so if you plan on attending, please bring energy drinks. Also, I’m not really gay.

Attainable Resolutions

Posted in Humor Column, Lists with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2011 by Joe Zimmerman

I read once in a magazine called “Motivational Science Digest” that I just made up, that the key to achieving your goals is to make them attainable. If your New Year’s resolution is to go to the gym three times a week, every week, you’ve set yourself up for failure. Life throws too many curve balls to beast out fifty-two weeks in a row. What happens when you take a vacation to South America and get kidnapped by Columbians who lock you in the back of a poultry truck for a week, and that poultry truck has no free-weights or elliptical machines? Now you’ve copped out on your resolution, and that makes you a bad person.

In order to practice what I preach, here are my realistic 2011 New Year’s resolutions.

-I will not build a fort

-I will not insert the word “diphthong” into any conversations regarding 911 conspiracy

-I will not read War & Peace in the original Russian translation

-I will not point at a Peregrine Falcon, and incorrectly identify it as a Wyvern

-I won’t cuss at any babies, even if they start it

-I will always wear clothes in public, with the exception of Aeropostale

-I will not start my own organic marshmallow cafe, with fire pits in place of tables

-I will not be hit on the head by a meteor, while driving through the Lincoln tunnel

-I will not invent anything in the field of medical technology

-I will not hunt or kill any Komodo Dragons, unless using bow and arrow

-I will not lock myself in a wine cellar and write reality TV show pilots based on Gary Busey, Sarah Palin, and Kate Goslyn being stranded on Alcatraz island with nothing but three copies of “Lord of the Flies.”

-I will not play the board game Monopoly, unless I can be the shoe or the terrier (or maybe the boat).

-I will only eat rhubarb in pie form, and even then rarely

-I will not give candy and liquor to pigeons

-I will not purposely search for David Hasslehoff videos on YouTube

-I will not eat cereal using a Cutco steak knife

-I will not use fresh coffee to help swallow vitamins

-I will not give a lecture on horticulture that’s open to the public

-I will not run as an Anarchist for political office, under the name Able Honestgood

-I will not compulsively sign into my old Friendster account and check for new messages

-I will not participate in any form of illegal cage fighting

-I will not claim to have adopted a Ukrainian child named Boris, who maintains my website