Regular readers of this column know that we here at "I'm With Stupid" take things seriously -- so seriously, in fact, that we've now won two Colorado Press Association awards for serious column writing. Seriously.
Despite that, one of our employees here at "I'm With Stupid," a stout young fellow named Todd Hartley, fancies himself a bit of a chuckle monkey and moonlights once in a blue moon (would that be blue-moonlighting?) as a stand-up comedian.
Todd's been doing stand-up with varying degrees of limited success for the past six years, and he's appeared at some top-notch venues, including the legendary First United Methodist Church of Glenwood Springs, where he had the crowd in stitches at the Mothers of Preschoolers' annual Harvest Lunch.
Given such impeccable comedy credentials, you might assume that Todd has toured all over the world, but other than a couple of sets at the Winchester Nightclub in Rifle and three minutes at a seafood joint in Connecticut, until last week Todd actually had never performed comedy outside the Roaring Fork Valley. His two most recent sets in the valley killed, though, so he'd been itching to expand his horizons a little.
A nice golf course in Castle Rock offered Todd a free round of golf after he'd been unable to play there while researching an article for a magazine back in January. Seven hours of driving just to play four hours of golf seemed a little wasteful, though, so Todd decided to kill two birds with one stone. He registered for the New Faces Contest at Comedy Works, a club in downtown Denver, and learned he was performing on May 29.
Todd knew he'd need lots of support, so he sent out an announcement on Facebook to see if he could convince some Front Range friends to come to the show. He got a pretty good response from friends in Boulder, and some very charitable Denver friends offered to let him stay at their apartment one block from Comedy Works.
The best response, however, came from some women with whom Todd went to high school and hadn't seen in 25 years. Two of them wrote back immediately and said they were definitely coming, and they claimed that they were going to bring a whole posse with them. Todd wasn't exactly sure what to expect, but he was happy for the support.
May 29 finally rolled around, and Todd headed down to Castle Rock, where he met up with an old friend to play golf in a hailstorm. Then he drove to the apartment in Denver, took a quick shower and headed out to have a drink with the ladies from his high school before the show started.
Todd expected to find two of his old classmates, but when he arrived at the restaurant, there were six of them, all female, and from the way they reacted when he walked in, you would have sworn they actually gave him the time of day back in high school. This is not to say they were snobs, mind you. Todd was -- and basically still is -- kind of an obnoxious geek, and he should have considered himself lucky that they were even friendly with him.
Todd had a drink and went to Comedy Works to register, an act that cost $20 and involved drawing a number out of a hat. Todd drew 12, meaning he'd be going dead last, which he wasn't terribly excited about. Still, he got some laughs and thought he had a good set and a chance to advance to the second round. Unfortunately, only the top three moved on, and Todd wasn't one of them.
After the show, the ladies from Todd's high school -- who'd brought a designated driver along so they could drink enough to ensure that Todd was funny -- bought him beers and showered him with hugs, kisses and assurances that he should have won. The irony of all that attention arriving 25 years too late wasn't lost on Todd, and he soaked it up like a slutty puppy at a kindergarten.
The attention was nice, admittedly, but Todd still lost, and he blames his gargoyle-like face for sabotaging his show-biz dreams. Thankfully, he has a perfect solution. Today -- possibly even as you read these words -- he's hosting the debut episode of his new radio show on a station in Carbondale. We'll see if it has what it takes to make it out of the valley.
Todd Hartley has no idea why Todd Hartley just wrote about Todd Hartley in the third person. To read more or leave a comment, please visit zerobudget.net.