Thursday, December 30, 2004
I may be dating myself here, but I think the theme song to Baretta* said it best:
Don't do the crime if you can't do the time, yeah. Don't do it.
* Baretta was a 1970's cop show starring Robert Blake who is currently and ironically on trial for murder. Don't go to bed with a price on your head, eh Bobby. For you trivia fans out there, the Baretta theme song was sung by none other than Mr. Sammy Davis, Jr.
...Keep your eye on the sparrow...
That was my opening joke last night, which marked my return to the stage after a 13-day holiday hiatus. It was a well needed respite. My schedule this year has been quite daunting. You know you travel too much when you know the airport security guards by name.
This was also my first show at the Comic Strip since the manager, Lucien Hold, passed away. It felt a little sad walking by what used to be his office, knowing that it no longer was.
On a brighter note, the room was packed, even the Balcony; and I had a great set! It was a wonderful welcome back.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Sunday, December 26, 2004
Friday, December 24, 2004
We hope the holidays
make you feel like a kid again too!
We saw this picture in a clothing catalog and thought is was just perfect for us! To dispell any questions that may be lurking in your mind:
- These are NOT our childhood pictures.
- These are NOT our children.
Leighann & Jim
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
By JESSE McKINLEY Published: December 22, 2004
So a comic walks into a bar, does a set and still can't feed his kids. Or his pets. Or his pets' kids. So what does he do? He gets a lawyer, forms a coalition and threatens to strike.
Hello? Is this thing on?
Seriously, folks, you can't make this stuff up. Hardened by decades of low wages and even lower self-esteem, some 300 New York comedians have decided to unite to ask the city's comedy clubs for, well, a little respect. (Oh, and more pay.)
Two weeks ago, the group, the New York Comedians Coalition, sent a letter to the owners of 11 clubs around the city, asking for $120 for a 10 to 20 minute set on the weekends, up from the current average of $60. They are also seeking a small increase in weekday pay, which runs about $15 to $25 a set, as well as holiday pay for regulars. M.C.'s, who introduce acts and plug the audience for information ("So, where you from?"), would make upward of $200 for a weekend gig under the coalition's plans, as opposed to the current industry rate of $75 to $125.
"Comics have been making the same wage essentially since 1985," said Ted Alexandro, one of the coalition's founders and a regular performer on the city's comedy circuit. "And the revenue being created is outrageous.
" In particular, Mr. Alexandro and his comedic colleagues point to the clubs' practice of charging covers and an enforced two-drink minimum, a policy that makes it almost impossible for weekend audiences to escape without spending at least $30 a head. Comedians say that when you add in lucrative special shows for corporate events, proms and bachelor parties, the clubs are killing (the comics' patois for doing well).
Club owners aren't so sure. "It's an extremely competitive market," said Chris Mazzilli, the owner of the Gotham Comedy Club on West 22nd Street. "You've got clubs in Midtown handing out free tickets and pulling people in off the street. We're charging $15. That can make it tough."
But workanight comedians say the rates in city clubs pale to what they can make doing longer sets on college campuses or headlining in other cities. "I could do 30 shows in town and make $800," said Ben Bailey, a 34-year-old comic with a wife and a cat at home. "Or I could work the road and do eight shows and make $2,000. There's no comparison."
Many club owners hope there's some room for compromise, especially in a close-knit industry where tough crowds have hardened owners and comedians alike. Mr. Mazzilli, a former comedian himself, has agreed to raise his weekend rate to $75 and will meet with the coalition after the New Year to see if a bigger raise can be arranged. The Comedy Cellar, the venerable club in Greenwich Village, has added acts and also raised its rate to $75.
Cary Hoffman, the owner of Stand Up New York, on West 78th Street, which pays $60 a set on the weekends, says he, too, will meet with the comedians, but says he isn't sure how much more he can pay. "The economics are staring me in the face," Mr. Hoffman said. "My rent is up, my insurance is up, everything is up. The only thing I can do is try to find some way to raise the money so that I am viable."
For their part, the comedians say most of the city's club owners have offered to talk and Mr. Alexandro said plans for a possible work stoppage have been put on hold unless talks on pay break down. (Health insurance? No one's even going there.)
Russ Meneve, another coalition founder and a regular at clubs like Caroline's in Midtown and Comic Strip on the Upper East Side, said the increase in base pay is especially important for younger, less established comics for whom making an extra $10 an hour during the week is - here comes the pun - no laughing matter.
"For newer and development acts, that money means a lot to them," Mr. Meneve said. "But believe me, it helps me as well."
Monday, December 20, 2004
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
The highlight of the evening was Saranne Rothberg of Comedy Cures gifting me with a LIVE LAUGH LOVE pin! To my chagrin, I've wanted one for ages, but the order form is gathering dust on my desk. The ComedyCures Foundation is a national non-profit organization bringing joy, laughter and therapeutic humor programs to kids & grown-ups living with illness, depression, trauma and disabilities. To learn more about Comedy Cures please visit the website www.comedycures.org. Better yet, log on and get a pin. They're beautiful and help a very worth cause.
Other party highlights:
- Seeing the very funny and talented Billy Wade!
- Reminiscing about the old New York Comedy Club on 48th Street (Ah, I remember it well!)
- Hearing Rick belt it out. The man is funny AND he can SING.
- Talking with Laura about the joys of shopping and why every girl should have feather boa. (It's on my Christmas/Kwanzaa, Epiphany List along with a tiara.)
Friday, December 10, 2004
"Boy, I feel safer now that she's behind bars. O.J. & Kobe are walking around; Osama Bin Laden too, but they take the one woman in America willing to cook and clean and work in the yard and haul her ass to jail."
Am I right or what? This is one of the funniest things I've heard all year!
Tuesday, December 7, 2004
It was great hearing them belt out their hits: She's Gone, Smile, I Can't Go 4 That, You're A Rich Girl... The best part was no lip synching, no back up dancers; A real band, real music, real singing. No acid reflux problems for these musical veterans. I'm giddy just thinking about it. :-)
Monday, November 29, 2004
Join Michelle Buteau, Leighann Lord, Claudia Sherman, Michele Balan, and Special Guest Host: Peaches Rodriguez for GOTTA LAUGH: Four women comics & their personal tour: Life Beyond the sitcom. Sneak Preview of a Reality Sitcom Project!
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Monday, November 22, 2004
Jim and I performed to a packed house at the New Faces of Comedy Showcase at the Friar’s Club on Monday, November 22. The Friar’s Club is home to the likes of comedy legend Freddie Roman – it’s current Dean – who has been in the business for over 50 years. With that kind of tenure, Jim’s 20 years in the biz and my 12, put us firmly in the "New Faces" category. :-)
A very special thanks to Al Caz for inviting us to be on a wonderful showcase that came complete with dinner and a lovely gift goodie bag!
Sunday, November 21, 2004
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
We will be taping two shows featuring NYC favorites: Rick Shapiro, Melvin George II, Quentin Heggs, Yvonne Mojica, Brett Allen, Dante Nero, Carla Rhodes, Johnny Watson, Mike Siscoe, and Liz Miele.
Come one, come all! For reservations call: 212-614-2500.
Monday, November 15, 2004
"Thank you all again for a fantastic show. The crowd was exhausted from laughing. So many people told me a terrific time they had. I appreciate your efforts and look forward to digging up some corporate gigs for you all. Here is a link to some pictures on Boston.com:"
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Produced by Seth Earley of the Corporate Comedy Group (www.corporatecomedygroup.com) the event pulled in $6,000 for Make a Wish and featured such Boston notables as Don Gavin, Brian Kiley, Tony V and Mike Petit.
And what road trip would be complete without a stop at The Cracker Barrel ( www.crackerbarrel.com ) for a delicious artery clogging meal. What can I say? The chicken and dumplings are worth the risk!
Tuesday, November 2, 2004
This follows a very respectable showing in October at the NACA South Conference held in Winston-Salem, NC. I picked up quite a few dates for the Spring. So right after the holidays I'll be dusting off the suitcase!
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
This show is scheduled to air in January 2005. Meow!
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Wednesday, September 8, 2004
Jim (www.jim-mendrinos.com) and I did the show together, which is always a treat; especially since he drove. I've travelled around the world and yet somehow roads like the Sprainbrook Parkway and the Taconic serve to baffle and terrify me. I prefer to think of it as a healthy respect for roads that are the unofficial warm up for NASCAR. :-)