I’m discovering that there are certain key attributes to being a road comic. These include, the ability to sleep absolutely anywhere, a tolerance of fast food and at least one good overflowing toilet story.
I’m certainly on my way. In Amarillo this weekend I ate some dubious egg and cheese combo item from Whataburger, fell asleep in a chair and broke the lavatory in the friend of a friend’s house I was staying at. Excellent. It’s always interesting to see how you react to ‘crisis’ situations at different points in your life. Apparently, I react like a panicky big girls blouse. As I later noted to the heroic Kristin (she knew how to turn the water off. amazing), had it been the London Blitz of 1940, I would have been brilliant. Probably brewed up a nice cup of tea and got all the neighbors round for a bit of a sing song. As it was, I faffed about with a mop and bucket for a bit and sighed and whined ‘oh god why me’ a lot. It’s not like I ruined the place, but neither did it require my shit makeover technique. My Britishness prevents me from sharing more of the story, but I suppose that like toilet water coming through the living room ceiling, the details will seep out.
Yes indeed I had fun in Amarillo, despite some comics smirkily telling me that wouldn’t be possible. Much as I like to complain about not fitting in, sometimes it feels good to go to a place where I stand out like the proverbial dick on a fish. A very clever and well-spoken dick. Amarillo was like the Texas I’d imagined before moving here, a bit scrubby, flat, howdy-friendly and a little old-fashioned. Half-expected to see horses tied up outside stores, but then the joke was on me because they have statues of ‘quarter horses’ in the downtown area. Painted quarter horses. The one I saw had bluebonnets all over its face and bright orange flames licking up its legs. Amarillo has no racetrack, so I’m assuming the painted design is actually in tribute to some terrible meadow/horse/fire related accident. Also discovered Waffle House for the first time, not that there’s any correlation between eating there and burned quarterhorse flesh. Not that you’d care if you had my stonking great hangover.
The more I travel around, the more I realise that Austin is a Texan anomaly. Liberal, relatively wealthy, educated and a largeish out of state population. A great place for me to start doing comedy, the audiences generally go along with my ideas and if there’s bits they don’t understand or like, I imagine they just hum along to the lovely accent and dream of PBS. The first place I played outside Austin was San Antonio. With audiences heavily skewed towards the large hispanic population and the military, they get a bit shifty if you talk about religion, politics, kid-hating or books. I discovered though that you can make fun of mexicans, drunk midgets and lesbians, until the cows come home. Not that they’d want to come home, cows hate mexicans.
Next month I’ll be in Corpus Christi and Laredo. I’m excited to see what happens. Surely every road comic needs at least one good murder-witness story.