Archive for travel

The road to Portland

Posted in Beards of Comedy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2011 by Joe Zimmerman

Slacked on my daily update but Andy posted for San Francisco and Santa Cruz on the Beard site.

-Notably, we stopped by Rooftop and Annie hooked us up with Andy Wood from the Bridgetown Festival, who was randomly in Santa Cruz. We didn’t have a special guest, so it was another nice coincidence in a string of small world connectors.

The drive to Portland involved an amazing view of Mount Hood – a huge white behemoth that dwarfed everything on the horizon. I guessed that it was between four and twenty miles away, and everyone proceeded to laugh at me. They laughed right in my face. A big SUV full of bearded dudes, laughing at my poor judgement of distance. Justin (from Atlanta magazine) said it was at least 100 miles away, if not a lot more.  All I know is that ten minutes later, it was nowhere to be seen.

Sunday in San Francisco involved a bizarre two-hour radio spot.  At one point we realized there was a random Asian guy in the studio. He appeared high, and middle-age, and when the host asked who he was, he just smiled and laughed. Nobody knew who he was, as both parties had just assumed he was with the other. I’m not sure he even knew English.

(Three Hours Later)

It’s dark now, and the giant mountain is in front of us again, blocking out the moon. We must have circled back.

* **
Here we are at the Hoover Dam. Andy and I played the game, “who can stare over the bridge railing the longest without panicking from fear of heights” and we both lost.

Portland tonight is the only free show of the tour, 8 pm at the Beauty Bar with special Portland guest Richard Bain.


San Francisco Tonight at the Historic Purple Onion

Posted in Beards of Comedy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2011 by Joe Zimmerman

In the last twenty-four hours we had breakfast in Las Vegas, lunch in Barstow, CA, Dinner in Los Angeles., and breakfast in San Francisco. We drove last night after our show, and by “we” I mean “Dave.” He took the wheel, cranked up music from “Clutch,” and stared into the dark fog like a very serious man. I was in the back, jolting up in a dream panic every few minutes, thinking that I had fallen asleep at the wheel. At one point I remember saying, “Dave, grab the wheel!” and falling immediately back to sleep.

With only nine hours in L.A., we packed it in. When we pulled in, three photographers were already waiting at Julie’s appartment for a heavy duty, two hour photo shoot for the article in Atlanta Magazine. From there we went straight to dinner with friends Charlie & Laurel & Tyler (who just moved out from Asheville), followed by the show at Meltdown, post-show at the Bigfoot Lodge, and a 1 am departure that began with a traffic jam, and ended with three hours of intense fog.

The show at Meltdown was very rewarding, and the audience was filled with friends, journalists, comics, industry, and all around fun people. To have Kyle Kinane as the special guest was icing. His beard is almost as formidable as his comedy.

Okay, so a little secret promo for tonight’s show at the Purple Onion, if you’re keeping up with this blog, and have a friend in San Francisco. Tickets are available online until 5 pm (PST) Enter the promo code, “BeardVIP” for half off (seven codes left at time of post).

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.