[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.]
6am — Taking a flight to Houston. I'm a great big fat guy, and let me just say on behalf of great big fat guys, we know how much it blows to sit next to us on planes. I get terrible anxiety about it before I fly. I've walked onto that plane, seen that one empty seat, and watched as the faces of the people in that row shift from glee to what can only be described as a resigned mask of furious disgust. Look at the upside, though! I'm soft, I'm not chatty and if a huge hole gets blown into the side of our plane, you can ride my carcass like one of those sky-surf boards from Tale Spin!
Noonish — Houston's airport is named after George Bush! The original one, not the one that The Daily Show is based on. Whhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhy!? He's still alive, he was a one-term President, Dana Carvey has had a better post-POTUS career than George Bush and Dana Carvey is not doing well. It's fucking silly-boots. You're Houston, Texas. Name your goddamn airport after The Geto Boys and call it good. Shitheads.
1pm — Flying to Austin. This is my second trip to Austin this year. The first was to feature for my hero/mentor/friend, or “hermetond”, Kyle Kinane (buy his fucking album Death of the Party. Do it. Seriously he won't see this, and I don't gain anything from you buying it, but it's an amazing comedy album. You might think you don't like comedy, maybe you're only reading this so you can leave a snarky comment, go listen to his album, you'll change your mind.) This time I'm heading to Austin for the Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival. This is the festival's first year, but it's already a major festival. The line-up includes Aziz Ansari, Steven Wright, Nick Offerman, Maria Bamford, Seth Meyers, Brody Stevens, the debut of the Lenny Bruce hologram*, Hannibal Burress, Moshe Kasher (who's back in PDX later this month) and a bunch of other great comics. Really fun festival to be involved in, in a really fun city, I'm a lucky sky-surf board.
4pm — They're putting most of us up at the Radisson! My room has two beds in it, I'm using one specifically to eat cookies in, getting my Bert'n'Ernie on. There's a knock at the door... wait, I'm a comedian.
Knock-knock. Who's there? Big bucket of gluten-free snack food. Big bucket of gluten-free snack food who? Stop it, you're being a child.
8pm — Two shows tonight! The first is with Hannibal Burress, who is another incredible comedian. The guy has a cadence and delivery that makes everything funny, and then he has brilliant jokes on top of it. It's a great learning experience to watch him work over the course of an hour. When you first start doing comedy, you want to be as funny as you can be of the course of your entire set. You might have five, ten, fifteen minutes to fill — and you want people rolling the entire time. This isn't the case over the course of an hour. People don't want to be losing their shit laughing for an entire hour. The best headliners build peaks and valleys into their long sets. Learning fundamentals like this has been one of the most important parts of having Helium in Portland. You get to watch amazing headliners, and if you're smart, you also study them. Fart joke.
*J/K! J/K! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLLOL!
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