Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Pretty Good Weekend So Far...

Howdy everyone!

I hope you're all having a great weekend out there in the real world. So far, mine hasn't been too bad.

After my whopping four-hour workweek, I was ready for some relaxation. I had plans on Friday night to go meet up with one of my local blog-buddies and occasional commenter, Linda Lou. Iffin' you get the chance, get on over to her site and post up some buffoonery in her comments section, just 'cause sometimes when I'm over there, I feel like I'm standing in Jerry Maguire's living room on Lifetime movie night and everyone thinks I ate the last piece of chocolate. Tell her Mikey sent ya.

Anyhow, I had a nice relaxing day, got a few things done, and dressed up in some nice clothes before heading out to the Royal Resort. What is the Royal Resort? It's one of them forgotten hotels on Convention Center Drive that has no casino. It's just across the street from the rear parking lot at the Peppermill, if that helps.

But one of Linda's many creative outlets is stand-up comedy, and word on the street was that she was doing a set in the lounge that night. So the plan was to head down and meet up, show my support, and then spend the balance of the evening telling stories over drinks.

I was running a little bit late, and when I finally got there and parked, I realized that I was dressed up to look just like my truck. I had on a wine-colored twill shirt, dark gray Dockers, and a bit of black trim going with the belt, socks, and undershirt. Seriously, I matched my truck exactly...

As I was stumbling across the parking lot (of the invisible 7-11...), I almost got run down by another car, but I recognized it as a Saturn by it's headlights (all those years of Eddie B following me home from happy hour in his Saturn taught me to recognize those distinctive lights). And Linda had written about her car a few weeks back, so I knew it was her. So I waved her down, she rolled down the window and said hello, and I told her I'd wait for her to park and we'd make our entrance together.

A few minutes later, we were sipping a few drinks in the bar, but she had to run and talk to the folks in charge. She came back and told me the bad news. One, they may not even have a show that night because the crowd was so sparse, and two, even if they did, she wouldn't get a set, she'd be hosting--trying to warm up the sparse crowd and introducing the comics. That kinda sucked.

They delayed the start time by about ten minutes so that they could round up an audience, and when it finally got underway, there were only about ten or eleven people in the room. But the room itself wasn't very big--a small space with a stage at one end and seating for about thirty people crammed in--not much bigger than the game room at my house.

Linda went up on stage and opened the show, but as a host, she can only do a couple of Jay Leno-style jokes--quick one liners instead of building her act like a story.

Her stuff was funny, a little saucy, and it sounded like she had lots of good material to work with, if only she could've gotten more stage time. But it was not to be.

The first two acts were a couple of young guys, who I thought were very funny. The first guy would've just killed in a bigger room with a better crowd, but what can ya do? It's a slow week in the slowest part of the year, in the middle of a recession, in an off-strip no-casino lounge. A very tough gig if there ever was one. I guess it was just good practice. But I got a few laughs out of the first two comedians, and Linda did a great job of hosting and making the show flow smoothly.

The 'headliner', however, was just plain awful. After the first two guys, who were actually, you know, funny, this guy just plain sucked. He had absolutely no material, a dead crowd, and his 'act' was a lot like Vinnie Favorito's, where he just plays off the audience, insults people, and screams a lot. Just horrible. First of all, he only had ten people to work with. And the couple in the front row--the husband was legally blind, and the wife was deaf! And he didn't find that out until much later... Oh my god, it was just painful to sit there and watch this guy bomb for forty-plus minutes. Seriously, it was one of the worst things I ever sat through in my life.

He tried to engage me a few times, because I wasn't laughing at all. In fact, the only laughs he got for the first half of his act were polite 'pity' laughs. When he called me out for sitting there stoically, I didn't want to be too much of an ass, so I said I was laughing 'on the inside'. He wouldn't let that go, so he kept after me. Anyhow, he said something about "Work with me here people, I've got the folks from Guinness on the line"

At that point, I just couldn't restrain myself any longer, so I said Why, you tryin' to break the record for how long a comedian can go without telling a joke?

First big laugh of the night--the whole crowd, such as it was, just busted up. Turns out, it was the biggest laugh of the show!

Anyhow, I was tempted to get up and walk out because it was just so painfully embarrassing to be there watching this train wreck of a 'comedy' act, but I stuck it out and made it until the bitter end. By then, I just felt sorry for the guy. He had to fill up forty minutes of stage time, and he didn't have a single joke. Not. one. single. joke.

Once I escaped the lounge, Linda and I headed over to the bar where she introduced me to a couple of her other friends who had come down to see the show, too. I guess her friend Lisa enjoyed it a lot more than the rest of us, but I blame that on the four glasses of vodka she had. Anyhow, the four of us sat there talking and having cocktails for a bit, and Linda asked me if I had to work that night.

I looked at my phone, saw that it hadn't rung all night, and said Nope--work hasn't called. Feeling like I was off the hook, I was able to enjoy the rest of the evening. About twenty minutes later, I went up to the bar to fetch us another round, and while I was waiting, I ditched into the men's room to use the facilities. While I was in there takin' care of biz, I heard my phone beeping, letting me know I had a missed call and had a voicemail. I checked it, and saw that the poker room had called about fifteen minutes earlier.

So I called 'em right back, hoping to pick up a shift, but it was a lost opportunity. They needed somebody immediately, and when my phone went to voicemail (I didn't hear or feel it ring), they gave up and called in another dealer. Dammit all.

Oh well--nothing I could do at that point but wander back to the bar and enjoy my visit with Linda. Her friends took off, so we sat for another hour or so, just chillin' and talking about stuff like writing and comedy and life in Vegas and such.

It was getting close to 1:00 am when we finally decided to call it a night--she had to get up in the morning, so we said goodnight. It was great to meet her, and we had a fun visit, plus we've got some tentative plans to go hit up the Omelet House for breakfast in a couple of weeks.

Once I got home, I stayed up and watched The Simpsons Movie, which wasn't nearly as funny the second time around. Still good, but maybe my comedy detector was skewed by the evening's activities.

I went to bed just about the time the sun started peeking in through the blinds, and woke up about an hour before the first football game came on. I made a few phone calls, and then realized that I was really hungry. I've been eating nothing but soup, granola bars, and yogurt all week, and was in the mood for something else (Chunky soup was on sale for a buck a can at Smith's last week, so I loaded up on that shiat, even though I f*cking hate their annoying commercials).

While watching the pre-game show on CBS, I saw a McDonald's commercial and learned that whatever animal they make the McRib out of is back from extinction, so that settled it--I ran down to the golden arches down on Valley Verde and the 215 and grabbed my own version of the Happy Meal. Yum.

I spent the balance of the afternoon puttering around in my room, moving piles of stuff around and 'organizing' the clutter while watching the Cardinals kick the shiat out of the Panthers. Good lord, who saw that coming? The books made a fortune on that game!

Just before halftime, that old familiar ringtone was going off, and the poker room needed my services. I told 'em I'd be there for the 7:30 push, so I showered and shaved and made myself pretty again.

When I got to the casino, I was amazed at how busy it was. It was about as crowded as I'd ever seen it, but I guess there was some $100,000 drawing going on which explains the mass of humanity. But we still had seven tables going, which was just fine with me.

I pushed in and did four downs straight, picking up a quick hundy. I'll take fifty bucks an hour in tips anytime! I did a half-hour break, then did another three downs, improving the average even more, and very happy that they called me in.

I got one more break and three more downs, but my last table was the best one of the night. I had a bunch of poker dealers from other casinos in the game, and there was *huge* action. I pushed one pot that was over $300, which is almost unheard of in a 4-8 game. Just to give you an idea of the crazy action, the guy who won that pot showed a Jack-Four... Anyhow, between all the dealers and big-action players at the table, I was making about six bucks a pot. That's a damn good average, so I was dealing at super-high speed, trying to put out as many hands as I could, milking that game for all I could get.

Unfortunately, the party didn't last, and a couple of other games broke up after 1:00 am, so I got sent home after just six hours. But it was a damn good six hours.

As I was standing in the men's room taking my post-shift whiz, I heard my phone beeping again. Drew from Wisconsin had called, and he's in town this weekend. If I'm not working tomorrow night, the plan is to go out and get some dinner somewhere. On one hand, I'd love to pick up another shift, because I could use the money. But on the other hand, dinner at a new restaurant would be cool too. Either way, I think my Sunday evening is gonna turn out ok, capping off a good weekend no matter what happens.


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