The life of an aspiring stand up comedian is a grueling one. Years of knocking around, working crappy comedy clubs, first on open mic nights before eight drunks, then being banished to "the road". Playing towns where you're the first Jew they've ever seen, waiters talking and serving during your set, hecklers, hecklers who are funnier than you, "half price beer and weapons welcome" night, retirement homes where it's hard to hear over the oxygen tanks, endless meals at Shoneys, all for little or no pay. It's a tremendous sacrifice with absolutely no guarantees. But if you're good, REALLY good, and you pay your dues, catch a few breaks then maybe -- just MAYBE you could grab the brass ring --
...and become the next Wink Martindale.
It seems that the new pot of gold at the end of stand-up rainbows is hosting game shows. Howie Mandel, Bob Saget, Louie Anderson, Elayne Boosler, Jeff Foxworthy, and now Drew Carey are leading contestants through bonus rounds. This is bad news for TV weathermen, disc jockeys, and Regis Philbin. Its yet another reason why we need to revive sitcoms because they're a much better showcase for comics' talents. Somehow I think the brilliance of Roseanne would have been lost had we known her merely as the host of The Weakest Link.
And now the Tonight Show of game shows is open -- THE PRICE IS RIGHT. Rosie O'Donnell has already been contacted but turned it down (didn't want to move to LA and be farther away from Donald Trump). I'm sure Gallagher has been calling them daily. ("How much is this smashed watermelon?")
I'm only sorry Sam Kinison isn't still alive. Couldn't you just see it?
"No, you stupid bitch! $135.95 for a Hamilton Beach 4-slice toaster? Do you live in a FUCKING CAVE?! It's $42.99. It's a fucking toaster! It cooks up bread. How much do you pay for things? That shitty T-Shirt you're wearing on NATIONAL TELEVISION, how much did you pay for that? $4000?! Jesus, even the dumb motherfucker next to you was only off by ten bucks and he couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel!"
Wait a minute. Does anybody have Lewis Black's number?
The bottom line: if you're a young comic coming up, don't worry about your material, just memorize the rules for the wet T-shirt contest and never miss a chance to emcee karaoke night.
You can read more from Ken at kenlevine.blogspot.com