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I just returned from performing at Marietta College in Marietta, OH. Marietta has a very unique space – it’s a converted market turned into an activities building with pool tables, table tennis, a snack bar, arcade and one of the strangest backdrop murals on the stage I’ve ever seen.

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Here is recent footage from the live segments I did with Johnny DiLoretto in December. This was a challenge for me, because in addition to battling an awful head cold, I had to come up with 7-8 bits that were mostly 15-20 seconds each and I wanted to do all stuff that I hadn’t done on ABC6/FOX28 before. Some of the bits worked out great, others came off a little rushed. Directly after the shoot, I performed two shows at the Franklin Park Conservatory and then went home and slept for an entire day.

The best part of the video is when the meteorologist, Dana, reacts to Amy’s mention of Johnny having “two balls in his hand.” He loses it throughout the entire forecast.

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More photos, videos and more at:

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Walking in to the American Legion Hall in Ft. Jennings, Ohio, I knew it was going to be a fun one! I was scheduled to perform with Hypnotist and friend, Bill Gladwell. The event was an Annual Comedy Night Fundraiser for the Ft. Jennings Volunteer Fire Department. There were more people in the American Legion than there were houses in Ft. Jennings and the alcohol was flowing.

Photo from Lake Superior State University

When I tell people that I tour colleges, they often assume that I perform for drunk people a lot. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In the case of 95% of college performances, my show is brought to campus as the alternative to going out and drinking. And many of my shows occur on weeknights anyway (I know, since when did that stop college students from getting flagrantly hammered on four loko!?) In any case, It’s the corporate events that I do where I encounter the drunk audience members. Both the Chicken Trick Volunteer and the Money Trick Volunteer were pretty damn drunk at the Ft. Jennings show.

The volunteer I used for the Chicken Trick was all over the place. I had to really reel her in. After the show, she told me she took it easy on me. I wish she would have let me have it! The volunteer for the Money Trick had a killer line that brought the house down.

Me: What if your $20 bill was back together, still had your name on it…and was in THAT box?

Her: Better than MY box!

Wow. Just….wow. The show was very rowdy and went way long because we were all having so much fun.

The previous night, I had been in Ft. Wayne, IN performing for one of my favorite corporate groups there. It’s a small group of 35-50 therapists – all women. They have a good time and get rowdy in a different way than the Ft. Jennings crowd. While in Fort Wayne, I had a few minutes to visit Dick Stoner’s magic shop, “Stoner’s.” Dick Stoner is a friend who has come to see my show in the past. He’s a legend in the world of Comedy Magic. Dick has been doing this so well and for so long that he’s got clients that have had him perform for their event for upwards of 45 consecutive years. After my show, I also had some free time to visit Dominick at Donny Manco’s New Republic Tattoo Studio and get a tattoo I’ve been wanting:

Before heading to Ft. Wayne (not sure why I’m doing this blog post in reverse chronological order), I got to perform in my hometown of Urbana, OH. Photos here! I talked about Urbana in my previous entry, so I won’t get into it too much here. We got a good turnout for a small (900 people) school! The night before that, I was all the way up in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. Sault Ste. Marie, or “The Soo,” is on the Canadian border and has a bridge shaped like a moustache. I got a tour of the city and got to see the famous Sault Ste. Marie Locks.

The TSA played a trick on me on the way up to The Soo. I had something like 200 promotional microfiber lens wipes in my luggage in one of the pockets. The un-nested my nest of boxes and put the lens wipes in the smallest box – as many as they could fit…along with the little TSA “we went through your shit” note. It was funny and I laughed, but TSA really pisses me off sometimes. They put the boxes back inside one another incorrectly and could have damaged them. I once tried to file a claim when the TSA incorrectly re-packed a case and damaged it. It went nowhere. When you file a claim with the TSA, they just blame the airlines. And because I will launch into an angry rant that will make me sound like a crazy Libertarian (I am not), I won’t get into the TSA’s use of invasive and potentially dangerous back scatter X-ray scanners or groping pat-down procedures.

Regardless of the TSA’s antics, they didn’t stop me from having a killer show at Lake Superior State University and after the show, the students took me out for bar food! Also at the last two college shows, I wore a fun new purple jacket (as seen above).

Wednesday night I head to Pittsburgh, PA to perform at Duquesne University then I finish out the year with a couple more colleges, trip to the middle of nowhere (near Fargo!), a show in Brooklyn and a handful of local corporate events! Looking forward to every one of them!

peace, love and drunken chicken choking,

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Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.

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In my job, I’m occasionally asked to perform a “showcase,” where I do a small bit of my act for talent buyers so they can decide if they want to hire me for their events. They’re incredibly stressful performances, knowing that you’re doing your act full of a room full of people who’s job it is to judge you. It’s like being on America’s Got Talent, except without the red X’s. I’m happy to say that all of the showcases went well – especially the last two – and I made it through without Piers Morgan saying anything particularly nasty about me. I know 2010 isn’t over yet, but I’ve already got some fun & exciting things planned for 2011. I can’t remember a year in which I had so many DIFFERENT types of events already on the calendar for the upcoming year at this point in the previous year. We’re talking Workshops, Weddings, Summer Camps, Motivational Talks, Colleges, Theaters, and more!

It also never fails that at this time of year, I start getting bombarded with emails and calls for performances on every Friday and Saturday in December (Christmas/Holiday Parties). I still have just a couple December dates left!

In other news, I recently attended the Ohio Arts Presenters Network Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio along with fellow Fresh Variety Artists Jonathan Burns, and Mark Hayward. On Monday night, we were asked to collaborate with other OAPN artists to come up with some entertainment for dinner. The only rules were that it had to be something Fresh, new and collaborative. Jonathan and I put together a fun bit in which I made orange balls multiply, then disappear and reappear in Jonathan’s mouth. We did this to the accompaniment of Jason Farnham and Mark Dvorak on Toy Piano and Banjo. A lot of fun! The kick to the routine was making one of the orange balls appear in the banjo player’s mouth! The audience loved it, and I really enjoyed the pressure of putting together a 4 minute collaborative performance between 4 artists in under 4 hours. I hope to have blurry, shaky video of the routine up soon.

This week, I have a performance in East Lansing, MI at Michigan State University, then I’m actually HOME for Halloween. This is the first time I’ve been home for Halloween (my favorite holiday) in at least 5 years. I’m pretty excited!

peace, love and orange balls,

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Thanks to Evan Young of the Showoff Show for the awesome photos!

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Family weekends at colleges are always interesting groups for a few reasons. My show has to change a bit, because I want everyone to be able to get the jokes – not just part of the audience. Also, students often “clam up” when they’re in front of their parents. A joke about sex or booze might get a crazy “woo” with just college students, but only gets applause when their parents are present. And during those family weekends where there are also children – those jokes are obviously out of the show altogether. Some of the lines change.

Performing the Wallpaper Gag in Wisconsin

One example from the show is the following line while I’m rolling up a little piece of paper in demonstration of a gag that you can pull on your friends.

(As I’m rolling the paper)
“I learned this part in college.”

But I found that college students will pretend they don’t know what I’m talking about when Mom is sitting next to them. So I added the following line.

(As I’m rolling the paper)
“I learned this part in college….
And if you’re not laughing because Mom and Dad are sitting next to you – guess what? They learned it in college too!”

Two of my last three shows were Family Weekend shows and I had an awesome time at each one. I performed at the Family Weekend for

Teaching a little guy some magic after a show.

University of North Carolina Pembroke, where I performed after an Italian dinner. The show was okay, but the best part was hanging out with people afterward. I had a small child ask me if I could teach him how to do magic, so I showed him a quick trick that he could do at home. I taught him the first card trick I ever learned. Even gave him the deck of cards so he could practice on the way home.

Then at the same show, I found a table of folks sitting and laughing together long after the rest of the audience had gone. They had a lot of questions about my tour in Korea, as a couple of them were veterans. We shared some stories about Korea and had a good laugh. It was really nice. Here are some more photos from UNC Pembroke.

Line of students at U of L waiting to get into the show

Then I headed up to Louisville, KY to perform at The University of Louisville. It was really nice to perform on a large campus like the one I went to. From the get-go, the people in charge of my show at U of L were cool. The vibe was fun and they all had smiles on their faces. Unlike the previous show, this one was for students only – a homecoming performance to kick off U of L’s 2-week long homecoming celebration. They told me they were expecting about 250 students for the show. We were all pleased when 470 students showed up waiting to get in. We had to delay the show by half an hour just to get everyone seated! Quite an awesome surprise. The crowd was nice the loud, too. I really can’t wait to make it back to the University of Louisville now. Here’s a slideshow from Louisville:

Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.

From there, I traveled home to Columbus, OH to perform at Columbus College of Art and Design’s Family Weekend. I have performed several times before at CCAD and it’s ALWAYS a good audience. They’re smart and they laugh a lot at things that not all audiences laugh at. I really wish every audience had this mentality. I don’t have any photos from CCAD, but hopefully will soon. Another thing that makes Family Weekends fun is the challenge of changing up the show for being appropriate for children. I really wanted to make sure that the show was kid-friendly for this one, so I went to plan B on the “Yellow Trick” in which I called a 9-year old a brat. She ended up being a good sport and ended up with the invisible cards at the end of the show, too!

Next up, I’ll be performing at Aurora University, then flying out west to Northern Arizona University!

peace, love and parents,

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