April 11, 2006

This post contains more pictures of comedy-related debauchery, except this time the debauchery took place after the comedy as a celebration of it instead of as the debauchery being largely staged for the sake of comedy. (I am pretty sure that is almost the first line of somebody somewhere's Performance Studies Master's Thesis.)

This weekend the two branches of Hammerkatz (the college one and the professional one) did shows at comedy festivals on completely opposite sides of NYC. Hammerkatz NYU did a show Friday night at the UMASS Amherst Comedy Jam. Wicked Wicked Hammerkatz had a show in Washington DC as part of the DC Comedy Festival on Saturday night. Donald and I are in both groups. Needless to say, Motherfuckers Hauled Ass.

Lou of WWH was a total saint and drove us up to Amherst so we could all head down to DC the next day.

The weather was kinda shitty while we drove up to Amherst. We thought "surely this will clear up for our long drive tommorrow" and we all imagined the Capitol as a place of gleaming white domes, blue skies, and cherry blossoms. More on how fucking wrong we were later.

This and all photos that follow were taken by UMASS champ Zach Linder. Flickr album here.

We got to Amherst in time to see if our DVD would work with their projector, as a whole bunch of our set centered around video pieces. The projector or the computer or something was being mad finnicky, and we spent the hour before the shows started (the program began at 7, our show was to close the Friday night deal at 10:20) trying to make sure it wouldn't continue to do so during our show. AJ ran point and with the uber-helpful/nice tech dudes/dudettes from UMASS, everything seemed cool by the time house opened.

We sat in the back of the house coolin' our heels 'till the other HKATZNYU car (Matt/Daniel/Steve/Helen) was to arrive. The first show started. They opened with a video. Immediately after the video...well, I'm trying to come up with an onomotopeia for that sound of a lot of electrical equipment shutting down, like in Jurassic Park after Sam Jackson says "Hold on to your butts." Let's go with...BBBJJJJJIIIIIIIIEEEEWwwwww. All the stage lights and sound dies. The dude doing a voice over bit on a microphone where he's supposed to be talking on the phone to someone onstage is instead left shouting in the echo-y backstage area. Wackness.

Some of the awesome UMASS tech people who fell victim to rebellious circuit breakers.

This is Pam, the epitome-of-grace-under-pressure stage manager. She is a good example of my theory that anybody new you meet can be physically defined by combining the looks of two people you knew from high school.

Turns out all the equipment they'd brought in to the auditorium strictly for the festival ended up blowing a fuse. Once the rest of HKATZNYU showed, we hunkered down in an adjoining classroom, scrapped the part of our set that relied on video (basically everything except three sketches), put together the rest of the set with old sketches we could do with stuff on-hand, came up with a through-line, and ran it for an hour. Everybody brought their A-Game, then cracked that A-Game open to reveal an even higher-quality Game within, then zoomed out to reveal that that Game was merely a tiny node on a giant MacroGame whose finesse is beyond human understanding. Then we went to get Red Bulls and awful sushi at a nearby supermarket, then we raced back in time for the show at 10:50.

I spend most of my time performing comedy bits in basements, so I kinda have to take my Bareknuckle Excitement where and when I can get it. In my world, this was pretty close to Fistfighting With Terrorists In Mid-Skydive, and I was jazzed as hell. So much fucking fun cooking up stuff on ultra-short notice.

The show went amazing, especially considering the audience had been sitting in lecture-hall seats watching comedy for three hours plus with no intermission. We got to do a lot of playing in the audience, which is always a gas.

Then we drank at a house. Here's what that looked like.

The afformentioned Zach, Donald, some people whose names I don't recall but whose company I remember enjoying.

Me in that shirt and tie I'm never not wearing with that gangster face I'm never not making, Amy from UMASS is happy about having Lou's head emerge all surly-like from her back. Far right: Killebrew's Eddie Dunn in the beginning stages of Early-Onset Pirate-ism. Not pictured: Ben Schwartz.

If you look closely, you can see where somebody signed AJ and I up for beer pong, but misheard AJ's name as H.A., which is so appropriate for a comedy festival you kind of just want to kill yourself. Though it seemed unlikely, AJ and I eventually came up to bat. Though it seemed likely, we were fucking destroyed by some kids who go to Real College. updated: the dude in the picture's name is Roger! Whatup, Roger?

See if you can spot two and one thirds people who I will miss doing college comedy with once they graduate in May. The two people will be in an as-yet-untitled comedy group Dom/Donald and I will direct. The one thirds person just landed an awesome job at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and probably does not know how funny she is. (Answer: funnier than you.)

I'm tired now, which puts me in a good place to write the rest of the journey: Matt n' them headed off back to NY before the party was over. Donald/AJ/Lou and I got on the road at seven thirty, roughly two hours after we'd gone to sleep. Lou had tried to sleep in the car from like two thirty onward but was haunted by delerious images of a deer coming up to the window and shooting him Son of Sam style, which we later determined deer don't really have the opposable digits for. The weather was ungodly awful. Rain, then motherfucking snow. We saw cars flipped over on the side of the road. I fucked up the navigation and sent us forty miles west of where we should've been, which would've taken less time to correct if it wasn't impossible to get anywhere at faster than fifty miles an hour. We napped at a Wendy's for half an hour. Other than that I never slept because I was paranoid about dying. We rolled into our nation's capitol delirious and smelly.

The show ended up going off without a hitch and being pretty fun. I'm absolutely in love with the group that followed us, a DC improv group called Biscuitville, although we never got a chance to tell them so 'cause we missed 'em backstage and they never came to the afterparty where we were stationed for a minute. At said afterparty, I was a fucking zombie incapable of drinking or flirting with any of my usual dumb zeal. Gregor's DC-area friends hooked some of us up some retardedly good local burgers at a place called Five Guys, as well as a place to crash.

The next day was sparkling and gorgeous and it appeared Washington DC would not be so bad a place if you could afford to live in an embassy, or, failing that, a nice area with a law school.

We drove back, hungry for the skyline like you always are when you've been away for any period of time. Back at the dorm I took a twilight nap and had the weirdest dreams ever, then Donald and I wrote for the final Hammerkatz NYU show of the year, which is this Friday.

My body hates me for all the road-food and coffee but I'm not going to be able to try to win its affections back any time soon. The game don't stop.

You can't beat it and I wouldn't wanna try.

Posted by DC at April 11, 2006 12:25 AM

Thanks for being a real pro on Friday. Great entry, and not just because my face is enormous in it. I laughed out loud reading about the wackiness. You got plug over at my blog. See you in the big city in a few weeks.

Posted by: Zach

hey, whoa, weird. i was looking up hammerkatz cause yall killed it and ended up linked here, and lo and behold, there i was. im the guy with the star on his shirt. nice meeting you. had tons of fun. peace.

Posted by: roger


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