I’ve seen a few of my friends and colleagues post words of advice or tips for beginning comics. I’m not going to do that for a couple of reasons; one, because I don’t know anything, and two, because I don’t want any of you buttholes copying me.
That being said, I have learned a couple of things from my year or so on the road, that if somebody told me, I’d have pretended to listen to while I thought about bugs, but might have been useful. Here they are: 11 things I know about. (yes I realize the first three are all about weed)
Finding Weed on the Road
People ask me how I do this, and it’s really an easy formula. I ask for it, and it shows up. That being said, don’t be an idiot and ask the manager or anybody who signs your checks. Look for signs like resin on the bottom of a lighter or dreadlocks: but the easiest rules are these; if you’re looking for weed, ask the most professional looking black dude at the club. Most black guys won’t get offended, and it probably won’t be them, but they’ll know who it is, and they won’t tell the manager, because they’re not bitches. Black guys also keep it business, even if you’re friends, they’re not going to make you watch them play video games for 40 minutes or introduce you to their “truther” friend. This formula also works if you’re looking for other drugs too. If you’re looking for coke, do the same thing but with the most macho gay guy. If you’re looking for pills, ask the comic who’s telling jokes about sobriety.
Smoking Weed on the Road
You probably shouldn’t, but if you do, roll joints. Glass on the road is a stupid mistake that has gotten me in trouble, hurt my wallet, and could have hurt my career (they tried to take my license!) You can’t eat glass, or at least you shouldn’t.
Smoking Weed in the Hotel Room
You probably know to roll up a towel and stuff it under the door, but pop up some popcorn or brew a cup of coffee as close to the door as possible as well. Also, if ever possible, take that outside. It really is easier, and safer for everybody. Find a place secluded, but legal to be in, the top of a parking garage, or a side outside stairwell is good. Most people who yell at you for smoking pot are mostly mad at you for being where you shouldn’t be, not what you’re doing, plus, you might be messing around where they smoke weed. Seriously, get the fuck out of the pool shed or whatever weird place you’re hiding. You’re much but off being alert in the open. Also, carry cigarettes with you. Even if you don’t smoke. Lighting one up and looking off in any direction intently is a perfect excuse to be almost anywhere.
Eating in the Car
Simplicity is key. Avoid sauces, and order like a little kid. I LOVE vegetables on my sandwiches, but on the road, it’s way easier to get egg and cheese on a bun, and way harder to fuck up your shirt with it. On long drives, I recommend labor intensive foods; oranges or pistachios take a long time to eat, and are a nice way to kill a few miles. Avoid too much sugar at the start of a long trip, and pack up on protein (most hotels have free breakfasts, set your alarm and load up on free terrible eggs.) 8+ hours in a car’s a weird type of lazy exhausting. Stay hydrated, that might be more important than staying caffeinated. As far as caffeine goes, I swear by it. I have recently switched from soda to coffee, and I recommend it. It’s a more satisfying drink, and drinking enough soda for the stimulant to work, made me have to pee all the time. Which brings us to…
Peeing in the Car
It’s trickier than it looks. It’s dangerous, and don’t do it, but chances are, as you travel further and further out, you’ll find yourself stuck between exits or without the time or whatever, but if you should, it’s best to know what you’re doing. First off, stand up as much as you can in the car and set the car on cruise, adjust your pants as best you can, and pull your junk out through your fly. Don’t lop it over the the top, the extra denim will get in the way. Secondly, slap it around a little bit, chub it up some. It’ll feel weird, but working with an extra inch or two will really come in handy. Finally, and most importantly, pee into something big. A road pee’s more than 20 ounces. I’m also talking about bottle lip. Use a coffee cup or at least a Gatorade bottle. Get something you can fold yourself into (utilize the extra chub.) Don’t pee into a soda bottle. It won’t work. You’d be better off just peeing into your hand and paddling it out the window, at least then you’ll just look crazy, not stupid. Ladies, I don’t know what you should use, maybe those big round sleds poor kids sled on in the winter.
*when ditching the evidence, roll your window down about half and put the bottle out leaning slightly forward like you’re proposing a cheers, then toss it back quickly. Don’t dump down, you’ll ruin your shirt sleeve.
Getting Free Drinks
Most clubs provide them, or should, but when people offer to buy them for you, take’em. It’s profit for the club, and more importantly, it’s them trying to be nice. If you don’t drink, or aren’t drinking, give the drinks to staff or comics who aren’t getting free drinks. If that’s not an option, I love telling the person offering a drink I’d rather them tip their waitress an extra buck or two. It’s a polite way to say thanks, and they get to be part of something friendly.
Drinking and Driving
Don’t do it. There is Nothing funny, macho, or romantic about it. It’s a terrible decision. It can’t just ruin your life, but maybe your career. Most of you folks’ lives are awful, but your career’s might be decent someday. Don’t not find out because you’re stupid. Find a ride.
Getting Pulled Over
You’re going to go to a lot of lousy little towns with pissed off stupid cops who are So mad that you don’t care about how good they were at high school football. They’re bored, and they’re angry and you’re an out of towner leaving a bar at weird hours, so do your best not to have anything for them to pull you over for. Make sure your tail lights and everything else work. When you’re pulled over, put your dome light on immediately, and wait for the cop. When he asks what you’re doing, say, “I had a show at (wherever you were) and I’m heading home.” Home is either your hotel/condo or the address on your license, not a friend’s or a girl’s or where you’re actually living, it’s the hotel/condo or address on your license, that’s it. Don’t say you’re a comic. If they ask what type of show, then tell them, but volunteer nothing about yourself other than you’re done working and going home. Always Know where you were, and where you’re heading. Fudging for names makes you seem interesting, and that’s the worst thing in the world to a small town cop.
Remember The Staff
Names are hard, and you’re exposed to 5-10 every week you do somewhere. It’s impossible to remember everybody, but it’s really nice to try. It means a lot. To Every Body. Local comics too. If you have to, make a list of folks, put it on the other side of your set list or notes from the night. It can be thorough or simple, but make sure you do it. If nothing else, write down the names of the folks running the place, and maybe the person you spoke to the most. For years a now good friend was “Brandon-Mohawk,” scribbled in my liner notes. But it was good enough, and it was super helpful being able to ask Mr. Mohawk what the staff’s names I’d forgotten were.
Tipping the Staff
It’s always a good move. The only time I don’t, is if the guy or gal behind the bar is also signing your check. I think it seems a little cloying, but aside from that, every time, even if it’s just a little, it helps. I know what it’s like to make nothing on a show, but five dollars out of your check can make the staff think you’re not a scumbag, even when they know deep down you are.
Sleeping with Waitresses
I have no idea. Work on your jokes. If you get funny enough, the whole world will want you to fuck it.