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Stand Up Shots: May 6th

Comedy For Charity

StandUpComics can be a bunch of infighting, bitter, “I-can’t-believe-he-got-the-big-break” jerks…

…but they can also unite and support one another like nobody’s business.

Meet Martin.

Martin is an open microphone comedian in Iowa.

A few months ago, his ex moved to South Carolina with their daughter. Neither of them can afford a lawyer, so everything being done is under the guise of handshakes and kept promises. One promise made was that Martin would get to see his daughter again. That promise is being kept… but Martin doesn’t have the financial means to just up and drive to South Carolina and back.

When Martin created his Go Fund Me page, he did so on the small scale; it was for friends and family. His message was short, “So we all know…” He wasn’t reaching out to the world at large to support his cause; he was just hoping a couple friends could throw in a buck or two.

He also wasn’t asking for thousands upon thousands of dollars. The campaign wasn’t designed to fly everyone around the country in first class seats, just enough for gas and lodging at the local Motel 6 along the way.

So how about this?

Help Martin and his daughter stay at a Hampton Inn on the drive back.

If bigots can support Memories Pizza in Indiana to the tune of $800K, then maybe comedy lovers around the world can support Martin to the tune of $1,000.

$1,000 would pay for gas, lodging, meals… and maybe a special day for Martin and his daughter on the way back. Dollywood? Cedar Point? Who knows? Who cares? Just donate because you want to do something good.

If you have $5 that you can spare, that makes a huge difference to a Dad who misses his little girl.

(And you earn karmic brownie points, too)

Donate Here.

Live Comedy: Week of April 27

StandUpHey, you.

Yeah, you.

Sitting at home, on line, watching comedy without the full experience of seeing it live.

First of all, it’s fantastic you’re supporting comedy. Kudos to you for that. Now it’s time to take it one step further. Dust those Cheetos off your crotch (that’s where all the crumbs congregate), stand up tall, and march out the door.

Get to your local comedy venue and witness joke-telling the way it was supposed to be seen: live, in person.

Here are some options, but if you don’t live close to any of these, see what’s near you.


andy dwight greg Scott

Stand Up Shots: April 29

StandUpHump day, when everyone sees the horizon and it somehow looks a little closer than it should.

Either way, the week is half-way over, so enjoy this giggle.

Follow some new comedians.

Unknowns, those who are immensely popular…

Just follow.

See you next week.

Inside The Mind of a Comedian 2.0

StandUpYou do it out of love.

There is no other reason to become a comedian. No other reason to drive the countless hours in your car, a toilet paper “manpon” wedged in your ass crack to catch sweat the best it can.

(Truckers may be the assholes of the highway, but they do hold certain wisdom)

You arrive at the hotel to find there is no reservation in your name. Why? The comedy club has double-booked comedians, meaning they scheduled two comedians for the same week in the same slot. Unfortunately for you, the other one checked in first. You shake your head and roll your eyes, not understanding how double booking happens; ever go to a football game to discover three teams have shown up to play? No. When the NFL sets their schedule, it’s two teams per stadium. Yet somehow, booking two comedians for the same slot happens more than it should in the world of stand up.

Things eventually get worked out—“you’ll share the week!”—and you make your way to your room. Though January weather is pounding the Midwest city you’re in, it is colder in the room than outside the building. Oh well, at least you weren’t sent packing.

Might as well shower, get some steam going. A pungent rusty waterfall exits the faucet as the pipes bleed free a confession of their rarity of use.

Let it run; things will work themselves out.

(Would that it were this easy in life)

Water goes clear, lift the tab to start the shower. An over-calcified nozzle shoots streams everywhere, like a penis with a morning-after-sex cum clot sending hot piss to the floor, not the intended target.

(That’s what happens, ladies, it’s not our fault)

Showtime arrives; the crowd looks nice. You take the stage and wave after wave of smoke hits, chokes you, and gives you images of coal miner’s black lung. Why some Goddamn states still allow spoking makes no sense, but what can you do? It’s either this gig, or an empty date on your calendar.

You inform the audience, “If Madonna can say ‘a cigarette is a disgusting thing to put in your mouth,’ and she’s had Dennis Rodman’s rod in hers, that tells you a thing or two about how awful smoking is.” They laugh, but don’t extinguish their cancer sticks.

For the entire time you’re on stage, you smile a genuine smile. It’s somewhat meditative, empowering and relaxing at the same time; audience laughter sounding like a chant, “Ohm…”

The show ends, so you head to the door and shake hands as the audience shuffles past. Eventually, an overweight white guy with a beard and confederate hat offers a racist joke.

“You can use that in your act!” he suggests, laughing.

You force a smile through gritted teeth and wonder what the hell went so wrong in the person’s life that they thought it appropriate to approach you with such hate.

Head back to the room; it’s still cold, but at least now you smell like an ashtray. Like any drug, the stage is a high that offers little in the way of lasting effect. The alone becomes palpable.

Turn on the television and Queen Latifah is on Letterman, the pinnacle of all talk shows and your dream. A dream growing ever further out of reach with his retirement approaching at breakneck speed.

The Queen says she likes skydiving; your mind immediately spits out a zinger: “That’s brave, trusting a parachute to hold that much weight. Then again, the army drops tanks out of planes.”

Fair, but nowhere near funny enough for an audience.

Oh well.

You do it out of love.


You can read more of nathan’s nonsense on his website.


Live Comedy: Week of April 20

StandUpThe weekend, it’s for giggling.

Get out of the house and support live stand up comedy.

You know you want to.

From Ann Arbor MI to Akron adjacent Cuyahoga Falls OH, there’s something for everyone.

Well, something for everyone near the 5 venues and comedians being promoted this week.

But there’s probably live comedy near you!

Go see it!

BonnerKulow tabari tomJanetimu

Stand Up Shots: April 22

StandUpIt’s Wednesday, which means fast and funny giggles for you.

Spread the wealth, share the word, and follow the funny people on Twitter.

(And check back every Wednesday for more giggles)

(And check here every week for more comedy posts on the Rooftop blog)

The Woodshed

StandUpIt’s amazing how something obvious can take you by complete surprise.

When the Foo Fighters arrived in 1995, I was as stunned as anyone. Here was the drummer from Nirvana fronting a band. Not only was he fronting it, he played all the instruments on the debut album, having written every song. And those songs were pretty fucking awesome.

Jaws were agape; minds were blown.

The. Drummer.

I didn’t give much thought to Dave Grohl’s backstory; most people assumed he watched Cobain write great songs and learned how to write himself.

Which is only partially true.

Nirvana was his university, but his life before that was a 24/7 path to success. Watching the TV series Sonic Highways, a discovery was made: Dave Grohl wasn’t just a drummer. Since childhood, he had been playing guitar and composing. Dave described owning two cassette players; he would hit record on one, and play guitar. He would then rewind the tape, and hit play while simultaneously hitting record on the other. Dave would then sing along to the guitar, creating a two-track recording.

Basically, Dave Grohl has been writing songs his whole life.

While on tour with Nirvana, he would sit in his hotel and work out the melodies and ideas bouncing around his brain. At tour’s end, he would go to a friend’s studio and record those songs, building up an inventory. By the time Nirvana was no more, a backlog of over 40 songs existed. Dave Grohl was constantly putting in his Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hours.

As a comedian, I look at success stories like that with crossed fingers, hope, and resolve.

My “career” in stand up comedy began when I was in the neighborhood of six years old, at Interlochen summer camp in the mitten-shaped state of Michigan. For the talent show, I donned a paper bag and did a set as The Unknown Comic. He was someone I had seen on Laugh In and The Gong Show. I was too shy to show my face, and didn’t yet understand the concept of thievery—I probably thought taking his shtick was OK because I was a kid. In my defense, I did perform original material, making fun of the counselors, and camp food. I did well, too, because I was talking about things the other campers could relate to.

From that moment forward, I was interested in comedy. I spent my time listening to George Carlin albums and seeing Richard Pryor stand-up movies. In school, I was a gifted class clown, with smartass remarks rolling off my tongue with ease. Years later, when I started down the path as a professional stand up, I went to the local comedy club every week to watch every person gracing the stage. I went to as many open microphones as possible, and comedy was nothing short of an obsession.

To this day, I hope I’m always learning. I watch every comic I work with. Sometimes I learn, sometimes I judge. It is what it is. But I’m always putting in the effort, always trying to refine and better my act. I’m putting in the hours, and working toward originality and funny.

If—or when, if I’m trying to be positive—I get an opportunity, I want to be able to take hold and not let go. Just like Dave Grohl did.

Do I think I’ll achieve his kind of greatness? I don’t want to answer in the negative, but I’m not cocky enough to answer in the positive.

But either way, I think I’m on the right path.

And I think that’s important.


Nathan Timmel likes to write.

You can read his weekly scribblings on his website.

Live Comedy: Week of April 13

StandUpYou know it: live comedy is the best thing you can do with your weekend. Get off the couch, get outa the house, giggle.

Alvin Williams, Beth Stelling, Johnny Beehner, and Nick Griffin all have CDs at the Rooftop Store.  You can go download them. Right now! Really! Nathan Timmel blogs, podcasts, and posts more videos than you can shake a stick at.

(He’s even written a few books)

If they’re not performing at the club near you, request them.

(And then get out of the house and go see the comedian in your neck of the woods. Go. Now!)







Stand Up Shots: April 15