The Best Punch I Ever Threw: Part 1

Posted: March 1, 2011 in Nonfiction

Being on the road’s a crazy thing. You live a life that isn’t normal and maybe isn‘t safe. It’s a lot like being a bartender or a good looking waitress. Every night is blast for somebody, but rarely you. I understand how so many entertainers struggle with drugs and alcohol and violent pussy. It’s hard to maintain interest, it’s hard to feel alive when your default setting is acting like a fool. You alternate between sleep and mania. And you learn to hate everything that isn’t one of those two. You encounter people when their volume is all the way up, and because of that, you kind of go deaf to normal human behavior. I realized that the other night while I was sitting around drinking with some friends. They were telling me stories about their “craziest” nights. I almost fell asleep. Those weren’t “crazy” nights, they were just nights. The following is the first part of a road story, not the craziest, but crazy. I’m going to finish it up over the next couple of days. I don’t tell it a lot, but it’s good. And in the end I punch a guy in the face.

About a year ago I was on the road with my good friend Mike Malone. He’d booked us a show. I hate booking. I hate scheduling shows, I hate worrying about hotels, I hate talking about money, and I hate having to check in with people who aren’t even there. I just want to tell jokes. So I frequently travel with Mike, who’s a booking machine. I know he screws me over a little on the money, and I don’t even care. It’s worth it. I will go anywhere and do most anything to not have to talk to the bar owner or club douche bag. I also like traveling with Mike because he’s funny, and we have a good time. We’ve traveled all over the country and we’ve worked some amazing rooms, and some awful ones. A general rule of thumb, to those interested or to new comics; the better the pay, the shittier the bar. This show paid great.

We were booked in a room in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I had never been to the U.P. before, I had no idea what to expect. People in Michigan always refer to where they are by holding up there hand and pointing to it like a map. Well, if that‘s the case, the U.P. would be the gnarled, V.D. riddled penis that the hand was reaching up to jerk off in a men‘s room. It’s a weird forgotten no man’s land of snow and depression.

Mike and I left from Indianapolis early in the morning… like 10 A.M. The drive itself was fun. We worked on bits and talked about who we hated most in the world. (Me: A kid named Austin Holcomb, Mike: Squidward) We drove through Chicago and a bit of Wisconsin without incident, but as soon as we passed into the chunk of America that was Michigan again… things took a weird turn. The people, and the demeanor changed. As we got further and further north, the people we encountered got progressively drunker and drunker. I know that sounds silly, but I’m being completely honest. The last two hours of our trip we didn’t encounter anybody who could have passed a sobriety test. Drunks on Sno-mobiles, drunks in fast food joints, kids making forts that were obviously wasted. At first it was funny, but then it got to be a little concerning. We pulled into a gas station and the woman behind the counter was clearly boozy. I’m not great at identifying people when they’re drunk or high, I’m just not that attentive, plus I assume everybody’s an idiot, and I really can’t tell the difference between drunk and stupid. So for a second I just thought the U.P. was dumb. But I was pretty confident in my suspicion this lady was drunk when she offered me a pull off of her Jack & Diet Coke. I thought that was a risky work practice, but her boss didn’t seem to mind. He was right next to her, slumped into a booth where people eat microwave pizzas. He was wrecked. Just trashed. Like, “who wants to see my nipple rings?” drunk. (I like to rank drunkenness with the Annoying Stereotypes Scale, for those of you unfamiliar with this system, Fat-Party-Lesbian is just drunker than High-School-Sports-Guy and not quite as drunk as Continually-Shake-Your-Hand-Man.)

We drove through the Upper Peninsula one little isolated, inebriated town after another until we reached where we were going. A dirtberg identical to the one’s we’d been passing through, except further along, so I can only assume, further into their bottles. The entirety of the town stretched about two blocks off of the road in either direction towards woods, or into lake Michigan. It was a series of dilapidated buildings and neon beer signs. I commented on one we passed that had both a PBR and a Barq’s Rootbeer sign.

“What else could you want dude?“ I joked pointing at the signs.

My buddy Mike looks at me and says,

“yeah… uh… I think that’s where we’re going on tonight.”

“But that’s a bowling alley Mike?” I say.

“Yeah… I…  I think we’re going on in a bowling alley.”

“Why do you think that?”

“Well…” he says looking at his print-off directions,   “it’s called The Torch Bowling Alley.”

“I hate you Mike Malone.”

I’ll put the next chunk of this story up tomorrow. It’s really too long for a blog piece. Plus. I like closing with; “I hate you Mike Malone.”


  1. sara flores says:

    I cant wait to read the rest . . .

    • DJ Dangler says:

      I’m glad you’re digging it Sara, the couple of stories on here are my first endevour Ever in creative writing. So having people read them is an incredible thrill. I feel like this last post, (number 3) got a little wordy, but I hope it won’t turn you off. Thanks again for the support. It means more than you know.

  2. jason says:

    Austin Holcomb huh… nice

  3. jason says:

    Ya he was a super douche

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