UP IN SEOUL’S HA-HA HOLE

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I’m really big in Seoul.

Since I’ve come out of comedy suspended animation, I’ve seen a number of different gigs materialize here in The Special K. Most have been with a guy named Brian Aylward, another teacher who lives up in Seoul and is also a hell of a comic. He’s organized some stuff up there and we’ve also done some stuff in Busan (and Gimhae). Next month sees four more shows: one in Busan, one in Suncheon, and two up in Seoul, at the Kabinett Wine Bar. It’s all strange and rather silly. If you would have told me ten years ago that I’d end up doing standup in Korea, I would’ve asked what flavor of crack you were smoking and if I could have a hit or two.



I’m really big in Seoul.

Since I’ve come out of comedy suspended animation, I’ve seen a number of different gigs materialize here in The Special K. Most have been with a guy named Brian Aylward, another teacher who lives up in Seoul and is also a hell of a comic. He’s organized some stuff up there and we’ve also done some stuff in Busan (and Gimhae). Next month sees four more shows: one in Busan, one in Suncheon, and two up in Seoul, at the Kabinett Wine Bar. It’s all strange and rather silly. If you would have told me ten years ago that I’d end up doing standup in Korea, I would’ve asked what flavor of crack you were smoking and if I could have a hit or two.

Last weekend I did a different show up in Seoul, for these guys called Spotlight Comedy. They produced a show at a place called “Roofers,” which is essentially rooftop bar on this bizarre building top that’s surrounded by thick, concrete walls. One of the other comics remarked that it looked like we were performing “in a swimming pool without any water;” I likened it to a church basement in Oklahoma after a big tornado.

My set went well. I was nervous as fuck kept it tried and tested and short and sweet. The laughs were big and I was buzzing when I left the stage. I’ve been performing in a host of ways for about thirty years now – acting, improv, street stuff, and music. I barely get a jitter before hitting a stage, anymore, except for standup, which I find really unnverving. It definitely gets me jumpy, but again, I don’t do it that much. I remember how nervous I’d get before Theatresports shows in Seattle – but this was before I did like three hundred of them.

I’m glad I was able to do my set, since I missed my original introduction and ended up going on after the intermission. This is usually inexcusable – I felk like a donkey’s ass – but I did have an excuse: The guy before me did a shorter set than I expected and I was down in the bathroom having a piss, which was THREE FLIGHTS OF STEEP STAIRS down from the stage, well out of mike range. I was also the “opener” of the night, but inexplicably slotted second by the promoter.

The other two guys were funny and cool. They were both “pros” brought out from Singapore to do the gig. Terry Johnson was a black American guy who used to write for “In Living Color.” He had a great Jim Carrey story about how during Monday table sessions (where writers brainstorm and present new sketch ideas), Carrey would sit with his pants around his ankles and loudly grunt whenever he didn’t like a proposal. The other comic – and headliner – was a guy named Jonathan Atherton – an Aussie who did a lot of good story telling and was lightning quick with an off-the-cuff line. He does radio in Singapore and confessed to me the true horror of doing morning drive-time.

My new friend Michael came up with me. He’s a great guy to take to a comedy gig, because he’s a good laugher and not afraid to go up to any of the comics and start up a converstion, which was good, since get really in my head before shows and have a hard time talking to people, especially other comics who want to do a lot of witty banter. Nick and Angry Steve also joined me, so I had a little crew in the audience.

After the show we drank and drank and drank. Michael and I ended up at a club taking in Led Zeppelin cover band that was really fucking good, and we closed the night/started the morning at the Seoul Pub, guzzling beer and raging into the smoky air. My last memory of the evening is listening to Jonathan berate me in Malay, while I responded in my best ajosshi Korean.

The next day Michael and I grabbed breakfast/lunch, grabbed a sackful of beer, and floated back to Busan on the KTX. I was a bit poorer and felt beat up, but not a bad Saturday night, all said and done.



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