The past few weeks, I have had a blast on my Northwest tour. Shows every night. Great crowds. Headlining new rooms. I'm ending this tour at one of my favorite club, Harvey's Comedy Club in Portland, Oregon. Great town. Great club. I've been coming up to the Northwest for 2-3 years. Each time I work here, I get even better gigs than I had last time. I love the Northwest!
One of the main reasons I do so well up here is several years ago, I did a contest in Colorado. It was the first annual and last annual somethingorother Colorado comedy competition. I can't remember what that contest was called. What I do remember is I briefly met comedian Susan Jones. I had no idea how important that quick meeting was. Susan has great advice. She has helped open doors for me.
Susan is a killer comedian, on the verge of some really big things. She's a great friend. She's helped me out a bunch. So here are 3 Things I Am Thankful For because of Susan Jones:
1. Susan & Larry run a comedy bed & breakfast.
Most of the gigs put me up in a hotel or comedy condo. In the rare instance I have a night without a place to stay, my friends Susan, & her fiancee, Larry put me up on their couch or in their guest room.
It's a blast! Besides Larry & Susan, there are always a ton of people in the house. Susan's nephew, cousin, & another nephew pretty much reside there. Great people. There are always comedians at their place. This time, Sam Demaris was in town. Killer comedian from Houston. Great storyteller. Sam is actually staying at my place in Austin next week. James Milton popped his head in a couple times. He's quiet, but when he speaks, that kid is funny.
Every time I'm there, it's a different mix of comedians. We write, workshop material, exchange business ideas, exchange business contacts. Mostly, though, we go on adventures. Midnight karaoke. Crash an open mic or two. Stuff our faces with Seattle cuisine like dim sum, sushi, pancakes. Five full comedians stuffed in a 4-person car, riffing. It's a great time. It's like going to a comedy festival but nobody charged me a submission fee. I've gotten more business & material, & I've had more fun during one stay at Susan's & Larry's than all the comedy festivals I have ever done - combined! I'm thankful for that.
2. Susan Jones is connected.
So, Susan & Larry constantly host out-of-town comedians. Comedy comes to them. Susan is also an integral part of the Seattle comedy scene. She used to manage a prominent comedy club. When she isn't on the road, she's constantly onstage in town. To say she's funny is an understatement. You should see her level an audience. Check out a clip here.
Partly because she's a strong comedian & partly because she's just a nice person*, she's a great resource when your schedule up here is a little light. She knows everybody. A high percentage of the gigs I get up here are due either to her information or to her direct influence. "My friend Jake is in town next month. Can you get him a gig?" We're sitting in her living room, me on the couch & her in "the command chair." She says "Okay, so what dates do you have open again?" We make calls, send some e-mails. We fill the dates. Usually, it's pretty tough to get a hold of the clubs & bookers you want to work for, but bookers call her!
She's fostering talent, building a community of comedians who help each other get work. Usually when a comedian helps another comedian it's kind of like a "you scratch my back I scratch yours" kind of deal, but Susan's a lot farther in her career than I am. I've gotten her a couple shows here & there, but nothing compared to how much she has helped me. I don't know if I'll ever be able to completely pay her back. As I told her recently, I pretty much just need to get famous- just so I can hook her up someday!
These days, I know enough folks up here I can usually book most of my gigs on my own. Susan helped pave that road for me, though. Most of these gigs are repeat business- but before I could repeat that business, Susan helped me get in. If you haven't worked in show business, you probably don't have any idea how important that is. There are millions of new comedians taking gigs every day. Even if you're super funny, it's a rough business. Doors don't open themselves. So, I appreciate the help!
3. Susan Jones has a Ragnar.
I never thought I'd like any poodle. When I think of poodles, I think of high maintenance, fancy pants, snotty owners who give their dogs doucheface haircuts & parade them around on TV because that's easier than being an interesting person.
Susan has a toy poodle named Ragnar who goes absolutely batnuts when you come to the door. His tail wags faster than a hummingbird. It practically lifts him off the ground. You'd think you were his best friend who miraculously came back from the dead.
Ragnar doesn't have a stupid haircut. I didn't even know he was a poodle till somebody told me. He's just a happy little goof. Plus, he has a couple buddies. Lady is a sweet little dachshund. Dozer is one of two or three cats on this planet I actually like. Most cats suck, not dozer. Now that I'm engaged, she might be the only female my fiancee will let take a nap with me.
Anyway, Susan & Larry have exposed their animals to a multitude of us vagabond comedians, so they are social, super chill. Along with Susan, Larry, their family, & all the comedians, these pets make you feel at home. When you're on the road, sometimes you're just in a crappy hotel, eating ramen. So, feeling at home is pretty cool. I'm thankful & honored to be part of that cast.
There are a lot of great things I can say about Susan. I barely scratched the surface. I haven't even begun to tell you how great Larry is. Super chill dude. He puts up with comedians in his house, constantly. Believe me: that's a big deal. Comedians are high maintenance! He takes us to the airport & the ferry....
Anyway, I'm thankful I know Susan & Larry. Make sure to check out her website, wannarollafatty.com/ . If you're in the area where she's performing, go to a show.
I'm also really thankful you read my blog. Until next time...
Bye! I'm Jake!
*Susan is a super nice person. It's probably not a good idea to screw her over though. She does know everybody up here. :)