Thursday, December 30, 2004

Comedy Commentary of the Day

Former state Senator (NY) Guy Vellela turned himself in Monday to serve the remainder of his one-year sentence on bribery charges after a court ruled his early release was improper.

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...

The Holiday Hiatus is Over!

I'm very proud of myself.
I finally put up my Christmas tree today.

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

Helping The Earthquake Victims

As the death toll continues to rise in Southeast Asia after the horrific earthquake and subsequent tsunamis, my heart goes all the people and their families caught in this terrible disaster. If you're like me and you want to know how you can help, got to They have a listing of several organizations to which you can donate to help our fellow human beings in their greatest hour of need.

Counting my blessings,

Happy Birthday Daddy!

On Tues, 12/28 my Dad (better known on the "circuit" as The Comedy Dad) celebrated his 72nd Birthday! Doesn't he look Great?!? He said he didn't want to make a big deal of it, so we had a quiet birthday dinner at home. Jim, cooked a fabulous meal of featuring a stuffed cornish hen, pictured left. Yea, I know. I'm a Daddy's girl. So what!

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Quote & Mini Commentary

"One's true happiness depends more upon one's own judgment of oneself, on a consciousness of rectitude in action and intention, and in the approbation of those few who judge impartially, than upon the applause of the unthinking undiscerning multitude, who are apt to cry Hosanna today, and tomorrow, Crucify him."
-- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American Statesman and Scientist

This proves conclusively that old Ben was many things, but never a standup comedian. Nay, those who trade in the currency of the giggle, depend on the unthinking undiscerning multitude.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Seasons Greetings From Leighann & Jim

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

A Banana A Day?

I got a Christmas card from a gynecologist. I say ‘a’ gynecologist, because it was not ‘my’ gynecologist. I’ve been seeing the same GYN for years and the only thing he’s ever sent me was a bill for lab work. I’d like to think I’d remember all the people who I’ve had to pay to look at my privates. It’s a short list and not something you tend to forget. But on the other hand, it can be an experience you’d like to block out. I don’t know why I’d get a card from a doctor I’ve never seen. At first it seemed a little creepy, but maybe he’s just trying to drum up business. The card is pretty, hand signed and my name is spelled correctly. What the hell, I made an appointment.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

NYT Article About the Comedians Coalition

A Comedians' Union? Imagine the Meetings
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

Quote of the Week

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.
- Stephen King, American Horror Writer

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Jim's New Article @ Shecky!

A new installment of Jim Mendrinos' In NY column is now up and ready to be read at Shecky calls it a "must reading for any comic living in (or planning an assault on) NYC, the latest installment of IN NY is a year-end review of the comedy scene." Sheck it out.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Tis The Season!

Well, the holiday party season has begun! Last night was the very well attended Improv Comedy Club/New York Comedy Club/Boston Comedy Club party held, of course, at the Improv. Food, drinks, music, singing, dancing! A very nice start to the season if I say so myself.

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 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.)
Tonight's shing dig is one of my favorites: The Steinberg Talent Holiday Party at BAR 1335 East 13th Street @ University Place. Always fun. See you there!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Best Martha Stewart Joke, Ever!

Sadly, I didn't write this joke [insert grumbling noises here]; that credit goes to Comedian Tim Allen of Home Improvement fame [insert grunting pig noises here]. But I thank my very talented friend, Sally Lentz ( for sending it to me.

"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."
-- Tim Allen

Am I right or what? This is one of the funniest things I've heard all year!

Cool Quote

Excellence can be attained if you Care more than others think is wise, Risk more than others think is safe, Dream more than others think is practical, and Expect more than others think is possible. -- Anonymous (of course)

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Sometimes I Get 2B in The Audience

I had no show on Saturday night at the Borgata in Atlantic City, but the evening was anything but idle. Thanks to some very cool staff members, I found myself enjoying the musical stylings of Mssrs. Hall & Oates! It's been a long time since I've been to a concert. (I believe the last was Prince's Emancipation album! Dear God I need to get out more!)

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. :-)