Fuck I’m the worst. So I’m in the SLO (San Louis Obispo) Comedy Festival which I’m very happy about but I’m such a lazy fuck I’m just posting about it now when my first show is, like, 4 1/2 hours away. Come see my shows if you live out there. I’m headlining the 8′oclock show tonight, which I obviously don’t deserve. Ok. Here’s the link.
So its been a pretty great last few weeks of 2014. I featured for my good friend Kevin Camia at the Punch Line right before Thanksgiving, did Jason Mack’s Real Live Comedians last week, and had a great time dropping in at the Punch last night after having some pre-show drinks at the soon-to-be closed Empress of China. Did I post any of this stuff to my website beforehand? NOPE. Its how I roll: lazy-as-fuck style. So to change that how about promoting my only New Orleans show of the year, Andrew Polk’s Comedy Beast. December 30th, 8:30pm, the special guests are going to be sick:
Then I’m lucky enough to be back in SF Sketchfest to start off the New Year. I have three great shows that I’m really excited about – SF SKETCHFEST SCHEDULE
So I won’t be on a couple of shows I had intended on doing this month (one I had to cancel, the other was cancelled by the headliner) but – I will be doing some great spots at the new Doc’s Lab in North Beach in September (18th) and October (11th). For those who don’t know, Doc’s Lab is taking over the former space of The Purple Onion, a historic venue for comedy in San Francisco that sadly closed down not too long ago. Make sure to like these guys on Facebook – there’s a lot of awesome comedy being planned for that place.
I’ll be back in Sacramento this week featuring for Tom Segura and I can’t fucking wait. The Punch Line there is the best. Here’s a picture of me thoroughly enjoying myself last year:
See you guys at the Arden Fair mall bookstore where I’ll be having my usual pre-show anxiety attacks.
If you missed me at the Cynic Cave last night, well, you missed out. It was a great show with great comics and Trevor Hill did a hall-of-fame worthy job of hosting/running it. You’re life could have changed.
Good news – you’ve got a second chance. The Cynic Cave is having their 2-Year Anniversary show on Saturday and I’ll be there for the 8-10pm show. The best part is that this is a marathon/fundraiser for Lost Weekend Video, so you’re ticket goes to keeping the venue alive and the show lasts until 4am (I’ll be in bed by that time, but only because I’m old and lame). Tickets are available here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-cynic-cave-tickets-7809154391
I’m on a ridiculously stacked show this Thursday at the Cynic Cave with Dave Thomason, Casey Ley, Scott Capurro and at this point probably some great dead comics coming back to life just to do this gig.
I’ve also got plenty of stuff coming up in the next few weeks including a week in Sacramento. Check out my calendar page, which now uses LaffQ, or as I call it “Richard Kiss doing the Lord’s Work”.
Its May 6 and the NFL draft still hasn’t happened, making the offseason just a little more unbearable. Fortunately, bloggers have picked up the slack and are really starting to add more to their draft coverage/soothsaying/crystal-balling/hyperobole by coming up with some pretty insightful articles. My old comedy friend Ralph Marlborough recently wrote a good one here that suggests a bolder draft strategy for a team in “win-now” mode. Which got me thinking: what happens when we aren’t “win-now” mode? Its a popular discussion amongst Saints fans. When will the dark days return? Or, more specifically, when do Drew Brees and Sean Payton leave us? I’ve thought about this a lot myself, probably to an unhealthy extent. I even have a clear, detailed vision of what might happen. So, in honor of draft day still being 2 days away, here is my Book of Saints: Revelations. That’s right, its FAN FICTION. This is what happens when you move the draft back 2 weeks.
In 2018 the Saints win Super Bowl LII, making Drew Brees the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl at 39. Brees had been impressive the entire year, posting his best season statistically and breaking records that had to be made up by the NFL during the year just to keep pace with all the record-breaking. Ironically, his play was fairly average in the Super Bowl, as the win over the Patriots, dubbed “The Geezer Bowl” as Tom Brady is still New England’s QB, was mostly due to Rob Ryan’s suffocating defensive scheme. When asked if he would retire following the victory, Brees comments that he feels like he still has plenty of football left in him and notes that Payton Manning only recently retired at 41. Thoughts of Corey Wootton standing over Brett Farve’s lifeless-grandpa body briefly pass through the New Orleans fan base’s collective consciousness and then quickly fades.
Unfortunately, father time takes its toll on Brees and he has a disaster of a season in 2018. The Saints go 6-10, mostly due to poor QB play, and Brees tearfully retires at the end of the season. New Orleans Saints fans watch the press conference as if they were watching Christ be crucified on the cross right before them.
Brees initially tries to go into sportscasting following his retirement, but the most coveted job has already gone to Payton Manning, who replaced Al Michaels following his own retirement before the 2018 season. Manning is often and irritatingly compared to Frank Gifford, and even more infuriating are the calls for Eli Manning to replace Collinsworth after he finishes his career. In 2021 this becomes true, leading to mind-numbing Sunday Night Football commentary that has Payton doing all of the relevant talking and Eli either agreeing with him or asking if he can use the bathroom. Brees briefly contemplates returning to football and then even thinks about politics, but eventually he decides to pull a Joe Montana and quietly reign over his Jimmy Johns empire. Aside from the occasional NyQuil commercial, he is rarely seen. Much to Saints fans consternation, he moves back to his home state of Texas, albeit the Dallas area.
Sean Payton had always intended on leaving the Saints at the same time Drew Brees retired, but Mickey Loomis convinces him to stay for one more year. The 2019 season is even more of a disaster than the last, largely due to a quarterback carousel made up of veterans and a 2018 mid-round dual-threat draft pick Randall Cunningham II. Rob Ryan’s ever evolving defense continues to impress, however, and it keeps the team from falling below 6-10. The season collapses late, keeping Payton from pulling a Mora and leaving early, and he retires at the end of the regular season.
Multiple teams offer Payton huge contracts to coach but after seeing what life was like during his bounty gate season Payton decides to pull a Gruden and go into the more relaxed broadcasting life. Payton has little success in this arena, however. Gruden is intent on being at ESPN until he dies, leaving Payton to take a smaller gig at NFL Network. He isn’t very good despite regularly bringing a bat with him on set to pump himself up, and quits after a year. For a few months he becomes a CrossFit instructor and in 2021 Jerry Jones finally dies and Payton gladly takes the position of General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys, following in the footsteps of his mentor Bill Parcells. He is regularly seen golfing with Drew Brees, which Nola.com reports on as if it were actual news.
Fans applaud the supposed long-overdue appointing of Rob Ryan as head coach of the Saints in 2020, the dumbest of whom talk about the return to a “power-running” game despite the fact that NFL running backs now only amass about 500 yards and 5 touchdowns a year. Most people do feel especially lucky that the transition of power happened at all as Ryan had been offered several head coaching jobs, especially after the Super Bowl win. Ryan’s love for New Orleans, a handshake guarantee from Mickey Loomis that he would become coach after Payton retiring and an ever-rising salary keeps him in the Big Easy, however. He has immediate success, going 10-6 behind a much-improved Randall Cunningham II. The media laps up the Ryan/Cunningham pair and old Eagles videos are shown next to current Saints highlights on Sportscenter. Unfortunately the two subsequent seasons prove to be less than stellar. In 2021 Pete Carmichael becomes head coach of the NY Giants and Ryan’s lack of offensive game-planning becomes the same Achilles heel both his father and brother both suffered during their tenures as head coach. After going 7-9 and 3-13, Ryan is fired. A considerable amount of dumb fans think that its premature and that the team is doomed but they later feel better when watching several undrafted free agents “look awesome” doing 7 on 7 drills in training camp the following year. None make the team.
Ryan initially goes into a historic binge at Miss Mae’s, depressed from being the third Ryan to fail as a head coach (Rex still unsuccessfully coaches the Jets, for reasons no one understands). He is eventually approached by NBC to replace Eli Manning on Sunday Night Football, who has resigned due to a severe learning disability. The Peyton Manning – Rob Ryan tandem is a huge hit with viewers, with Ryan being regularly compared to John Madden. Electronic Arts jumps on the trend and has Ryan replace Chris Collinsworth as the voice of the Madden video game series. This leads to Collinsworth’s second suicide attempt, his first being after Eli Manning replaced him on SNF. Ryan embraces the Madden image. He over-uses his yellow graphics pen and eats turduckens on the regular. He dresses as Madden at Mardi Gras by merely wearing a wig and shaving off his goatee. Despite becoming a TV star, he remains in New Orleans and in 2030 he celebrates his 10th straight year as King of Zeus.
Saints Fans and The Organization
The Drew Brees withdrawl hits an all time high when the Saints eventually draft all of Brees’ sons over a four year period. As holes begin to wear through the fan base’s Superbowl 44 shirts most wonder if they’ll ever see another championship in their lifetime. The continued lack of success is popularly believed to be a long-term conspiracy put in place by Roger Goodell. As the sun begins to burn out of the sky and the universe starts to retract, one fan turns to another, Abita Amber in hand, and says, “Hey, it could have been worse, we could be from Cleveland”.
I freelance edit and design motion graphics when I’m not consumed with death anxiety or chronic IBS and sometimes I get to work on some really fun projects. Below is my most recent, a pilot for Travis Irvine’s Overbite Pictures called “Congressdude”. I designed all of the Fox News style graphics that you see at the beginning. Check it out:
Less than 24 hours after getting back to San Francisco from New Orleans I found myself watching the Saints win their first road playoff game in team history against the Eagles (apologies to Joe Tobin, no apologies to Kevin Shea). Exactly what I expected to go wrong in the game went wrong: Drew Brees threw two interceptions against a team that leads the leauge in takeaways. Despite this, the Saints still won because exactly what I didn’t think would happen did: the Saints defense showed up HUGE and Mark Ingram suddenly became an (almost) every-down back.
To celebrate the Saints season lasting at least one more week, I’d like to share with everybody my takeaways from a few new restaurants I tried while out in New Orleans. If you know me personally you might be aware that I have a Google Doc of about a dozen or so things to go see and, most importantly, eat in New Orleans that I gladly hand out to people who are visiting there. Some of these might make it onto the doc, but for those that don’t its less about how good they were and more about their location.
These are in order of when I tried each.
Don’s Specialty Meats
If you ever find yourself driving from Houston to New Orleans you’ll notice several signs off the road for boudin and cracklins, mostly near Lafayette. I usually drive right by them because I always stop at Prejean’s restaurant for a mid-trip meal. Its perfectly situated halfway between the two aforementioned cities and they have the best gumbo you’ve ever eaten. This time, however, I couldn’t help myself. I still ate lunch at Prejean’s but I bought a cooler and some ice and stopped at Don’s, which is just within a mile or so of Prejean’s anyway. Don’s isn’t a restaurant but rather a pit-stop with, according to locals, the best boudin and cracklins in town. Oh, I should probably explain that boudin is a type of sausage made with pork liver and rice and cracklins is basically Louisiana’s version of pork-rinds. I bought some cooked boudin for the cooler and a small bag of cracklins, just to try a few before lunch. Cracklin’s are amazing, fried pork skin with cajun/creole seasoning bursting with hot fat. I ate about three pieces until I had to stop to keep my heart from exploding. I ate the boudin the following morning with eggs. Its harder to describe the boudin because it looks like sausage but when you cut into it shredded pork and rice fall out. It’s really, really good and something you have to try if you get the chance. Just don’t sacrifice the trip to Prejean’s to make it happen. Pro-Tip: Since Don’s knows people are just passing through and will need to store their boudin in coolers until they get to their destination they sell a variety of cheap styrofoam ones at the store.
This place is in Mandeville so I don’t imagine anyone reading this outside of the North Shore will go there but I have to give this place some credit. Its in the city’s old downtown and has the type of food and atmosphere you’re more likely to find in a sought-after New Orleans establishment. Finer, Brennan’s-style food is on the menu (think grilled redfish with lump crabmeat) and its unbelievable. The restaurant itself looks great, with an old bar that is made out of finely carved wood. My old man took me and Steph here for dinner, and we were very grateful.
Lüke is a restaurant that I found out about from Tom Fitzmorris’ food show. Its a John Besh restaurant, whom you might recognize from Iron Chef. What makes this place unique is its inclusion of German-themed food, apparently inspired by a forgotten era in New Orleans cuisine. There’s plenty of French food on the menu, though. We had crab bisque to start and the California-forbidden foie gras, which came in a ridiculous deck-of-cards sized portion. We split an entree, the pork shank with sausage and pigs belly, which I’d recommend. The prices aren’t cheap but the portions are huge so it winds up being a pretty decent deal if you split the main course. Everything was amazing, its probably the best German food I’ve had. Even better, its in the CBD which is a quick stroll from the French Quarter but doesn’t attract the regular onslaught of tourists you see a few blocks away. If you find yourself in Nola and you’re more of a meat-and-potatoes guy, definitely come here.
I always tell everyone who is going to New Orleans to hop in a cab, go Uptown and eat breakfast at Slim Goodies. Now I believe I’ll tell everyone who is there for more than one day to also hop a cab to the Bywater and go to Elizabeth’s for their other morning meal. The Bywater is located in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, formerly a very poor and notoriously sketchy neighborhood that is now inexplicably gentrified and often referred to as, wait for it, “hipster”. I’ll give you the gentrified part, for sure, but maybe we just have bigger hipsters in San Francisco. The people at Elizabeth’s look just like that, people. And even if it was crawling with moustachioed dudes from Brooklyn I’d still eat there. Its delicious. There’s poached eggs on fried green tomatoes and eggs with fried chicken livers topped with pepper jelly. All kinds of awesome. The portions here are huge and the caloric alchemy is diabolical (the fried chicken livers come with a heaping portion of buttery grits. I mean, come on). You may want to walk back to the French Quarter after eating here, and apparently nowadays you can.
On first glance, this restaurant reminded me a lot of the places we have in San Francisco. Lots of wood, very dark, romantic lighting, a hip, attractive staff. The menus used old-timey font and have smug, asshole phrases like “Daily Soup Preparation”. The big difference, however, was that the food wasn’t overrated. Unlike those shitheads in the Mission who charge $25 for fried chicken the folks at Sylvain actually put together a meal that’s worth your money. The selection wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for a restaurant of this tier in the French Quarter: redfish, shrimp with popcorn rice, quail. Really nice stuff, and with decent prices: some entrees go lower than $15. And way nicer food than you’d get at the Mission restaurant at a greater cost. I mean fuck me, do you want quail with cornbread stuffing, creamed mustard greens and warm tasso vinaigrette for $25 or fucking fried chicken? Fried chicken is delicious but it isn’t $25 bucks. Honestly, the only downside to Sylvain was that I couldn’t stop thinking about the bank robbers in SF while I was enjoying a much better meal with the same ambiance and lower price.
Anyway, sorry, I digress. I don’t want to takeaway from Sylvain here. If you are in New Orleans looking for a nice, candle-lit meal with your lady or guy and you don’t have a ton of money to blow, go here. Like I said, you can get an entree for under $15, that’s a killer deal for a nice place like this in the Quarter. Sure, that will only leave you with a choice between their three sandwiches, but throw another dollar on the table and you get pappardelle bolognese. BOOM. Guess what $16 gets you at Maverick? The ol stink eye.
Hey everybody, I’m here in Slidell, Louisiana, clacking away at Dad’s computer. I’ll be in my favorite place to be for New Years Eve tomorrow: New Orleans. Its my 3rd year in a row celebrating the New Year in that city and it still hasn’t become old. Usually I leave the Big Easy to head back to San Francisco on January 1rst but since things fell mid-week this time around I’m staying until the 3rd, which means I’m in town for Leon Blanda’s show at the House of Blues on Thursday, January 2nd!
Show starts at 8pm and will be in the Voodoo Garden unless it rains. Then it will be at another part of the House of Blues. Just ask someone when you get there. Say something like, “Hey, were da comedy show at?” And they’ll point you in the right direction. Just show up at 225 Decatur St in New Orleans at 8pm on Thursday night and you’ll figure it out.