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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Comedy Tour: The Ian Karmel Diaries—Day One

Posted by Ian Karmel on Thu, Apr 5, 2012 at 11:29 AM

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[Portland's funniest funny guy IAN KARMEL has graciously agreed to allow Blogtown a peek into the life of a touring comedian with this new series, "Comedy Tour Diaries." Travel along with Ian as he brings laffs to some lucky people in Philly, Minneapolis, Austin and more!—eds.]

Philadelphia Tour Diary

Tuesday, April 3rd, 4am PST — Awake for flight, bummed out about it. I'm usually going to bed at four in the morning. I don't like running into it like this, it's jarring. It's like starting a new job and finding out your boss is some dude you used to get drunk with in high school. How dare he wear that tie unironically?

6am — On a plane to Chicago, for a layover. Some old guy has the window seat, I have the aisle seat, and we watch as passenger after unacceptable passenger stream by and fill the seats all around us, hoping that no one is 34B. The wait is unbearable. This is my Vietnam.

6:15am — The middle seat remains empty! I celebrate by saying “Hell yee-uh” like Ice Cube.

Noon CST — Did you know Chicago's O'Hare Airport leads the nation in me buying a hot dog in it?

2pm — I'm on a plane to Philadelphia. There's an Orthodox Jewish family on the plane (as opposed to an Unorthodox Jewish Family, starring Tony Shaloub and Stanley Tucci as two Rabbis exploring a very un-kosher love in Crown Heights in the 1950s.) I'm a very casual Jew, I have a beard not because of God's covenant with Abraham, but more because of Iron's covenant with Wine. Sometimes friends will ask me how I feel about the Hasidim — you know how you went to go see the Star Wars movies when they were rereleased in theaters, and a bunch of people showed up dressed like Star Wars characters? You know how you and your friends made fun of them, but when a truck full of backwards hats drove by and flipped them shit you got all defensive? That.

More after the jump!

5pm EST — My buddy, and fellow comedian, Pat House picks me up from the airport. He takes me to the home of Megan and Mike, a very cool couple who are letting me crash in their spare room. They immediately take Pat and I out to dinner. Add hospitality to the list of things I immediately think of when I think of Philadelphia, joining hucking batteries at Santa, Questlove's Afro (capitalized out of respect) and hanging' out maxin', relaxin' all cool.

You depend on this kind of hospitality when you're working the road, especially when you aren't a headliner. The clubs don't buy your plane tickets and many of them, especially the really good ones, don't put you up in a hotel or condo. I guess they figure if you don't take the gig, somebody hungrier will take it—it's shitty, but they're right. Portland's Helium doesn't put you up, neither does Philly's, nor does Austin's Cap City Comedy Club, Minneapolis' Acme, the list goes on. Because of this, it is nearly impossible to make a living being a feature comic on the road. I'll be paid roughly $600 this week, my plane ticket was $372, if it weren't for Megan and Mike I would have definitely lost money on the week.

8pm EST — No show tonight, so we have a beer on the roof. Megan tells me that Philadelphia has a problem with huge flash mobs of teenagers who steal mopeds and beat people up and vandalize shit, so... you know, next time you're bummed about some doofus taking up a whole lane with his fixed gear bicycle, remember Philadelphia, and how awesome it would be if you lived here, because the teenage flash mobs would probably kill and eat that dude on the bike. Portland's the best, folks, but it doesn't mean it's perfect.

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