And on the next episode of “Stuff like this only happens to EJ…”

This weekend I’m working at Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club in San Antonio, TX. The first show was last nite, and when I walked into the lobby of the club I could see that there was a silent auction going on.

I introduced myself to Ruben, who was working in the ticket booth, and asked about the event. He said the show was a benefit for a local animal shelter called Animal Friends. Cool. He then went on to explain that in between acts the staff of the shelter would be bringing dogs on stage, telling their stories and asking people in the audience to adopt them. Cool… Wait. Dogs are gonna be here? In the showroom?

So… yeah, in addition to that being a bit awkward I’m also severely allergic to dogs. Like Will Smith in “Hitch” allergic. Having the dogs in the showroom, having the host hold them and then sharing a mic with him… All very bad things. I can’t blame management because this kind of thing happens once-in-a-never. It’s not like “Hey, you’re not allergic to dogs, are you?” is a standard question when booking acts. And when I told the manager he felt awful and immediately did all he could to make sure I was comfortable and that if I wasn’t we had a backup plan. They swapped out the mic for me and I hung out in the back office for most of the show. I didn’t shake hands with anyone after the show, but I made sure to address it while I was on stage so people didn’t think I was being anti-social. I started to get a teeny bit itchy near the end of the nite, but I bolted and was able to avoid any real issues.

The worst part of being allergic to dogs is that I really like them. And sometimes I’ve stayed around a dog when I know I should leave just because I heart it. But it usually takes me about two days to recover and I didn’t have that kind of time since I’m here working. I’m even more allergic to cats and probably wouldn’t have been able to continue working the weekend if there were cats anywhere around.

Wonder if they would have paid me…

Anyway, it was a cool event with some adorable dogs and the people seemed to be really nice and really care about the dogs. It’s a no-kill shelter and some of the dogs there last nite had been at the shelter as long as three years. Hope they raised tons of money and that all of those dogs find homes.

Seeing Double

Two grown men dressed identically — I hope they’re either in a singing group, or I was hallucinating one of them. Do you see two different people? A friend suggested that perhaps they were playing a real-life version of one of those “spot the differences” games… Perhaps, but whatever the reason, I think we can all agree they’re a little too old for this. Remember back in the day when folks would coordinate their outfits for day trips to Six Flags?

Something tells me they do too.

Beats and Rhymes and also… Life

On Wednesday I went to see “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest” — the Michael Rapaport-produced documentary on my FAVORITE hip hop group of all time. It was playing at the indie movie theatre in DC and I’d heard so many great things about it from my friends in NYC that I couldn’t wait. It followed the guys for approximately two years from the time they reunited in 2008 to some time in 2010. I bought my best friend Rock The Bells tour tickets for her birthday in ’08 the year they reunited and joined that tour. We went to the Jones Beach show, and put in over 12 hours that day but had to leave before Tribe… I KNOW. I don’t even wanna talk about it. Damn day jobs… Anyway, there were tons of hip hop and radio greats featured in the film — faces and voices I haven’t seen or heard much since I left Jersey (and more importantly, NYC radio). I’d read several articles about how some group members (Q-Tip) weren’t happy about how they were portrayed, but you get that with any “reality” project. Plus from what I know about those guys from following them on wax, in print and digitally for over two decades, I think it was pretty true to who they are.

Sidebar, what ever happened to the other Leaders of the New School? My cousin suggested Busta ate them. But I told her that was mean… after I caught my breath.

If/when this movie comes to your town, please support it. Whomever profits from this film deserves your dollars — even if it’s that annoying ass Michael Rapaport. If you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s and you had a radio, chances are you loved Native Tongues and ATCQ in particular. This is what hip hop was… Is. It doesn’t get much better than this:


In Your Dreams

OK, so Dream Water is a “relaxation” shot that tastes like blueberry and pomegranate?

Yeah… No.

If I’m gonna pay $7 for a shot that supposed to make me sleepy, it’s gonna be bourbon. But I do love how it’s sitting at the register right next to the 5 Hour Energy shot… Do you wanna be knocked out or dangerously awake?

Only in America. Snoozeberry… I guess.

Getting to know you

“Being an actor is the art of becoming other people; being a comedian is the art of learning who you are.” Jerry Seinfeld

Simple distinction, but it’s a very profound quote.

Over the course of the past 8 years I’ve learned things about myself that I’m not sure I’d ever have learned were it not for comedy. I’ve learned what I am and am not willing to sacrifice for my career. I’ve learned how to lean on people. I’ve learned who not to trust. I’ve learned how other people’s belief in me has the power to propel me through the toughest of situations. I’ve learned that I work best with my blinders on. I’ve learned to do what feels right to me, and that what other people would do if they were me is irrelevant. I’ve learned that “Que será será” isn’t a cop out; it’s a universal law, the acceptance of which is integral to my continued sanity. I’ve learned that I’m way more motivated by the successes of untalented people than I am by those of the talented.

I’ve learned that the “Real Erin” is both hopeful and cynical. Not intentionally offensive, but not politically correct either. Often lonely, yet not crazy about inviting new people into her circle… And I used to be afraid of being all those things. On stage at least. I worried that if I let people see all that, they wouldn’t like me. But I now know that this job is 100% about saying, “Hey, this is who I am. You’re either along for the ride or you’re not.”

Life is 100% about that too.

This journey hasn’t been/isn’t/won’t be easy, but it’s been an invaluable (albeit sometimes unprofitable) one that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Thanks guys, for reading and for riding with me.

Stand-up, WorldPeace, and the streets

So, LA Laker Ron Artest is now a stand-up. His Ron Artest Ultimate Comedy Tour kicked off Friday nite at the Melrose Improv in LA. And I so wish I could have been there. I know a few comics who went out to catch the shows, and I’m anxious to hear how they went.

I like Ron Artest. I think at the core he’s probably a really good dude. He’s made some mistakes, been through some tough stuff, and seems to be dealing with his issues in a very healthy way. He’s become an advocate for mental health. He sponsors summer youth basketball leagues… And he’s damned entertaining. He consistently makes me laugh — though I’m not convinced he always means to.

A Twitter friend of mine asked me last nite if it made me angry when stars with no comedy background decide to foray into stand-up. I told him no. Because the stage is the great equalizer. For self-destructive actors. For professional athletes in a lock-out year. Even for great comedians. I’m really paraphrasing here, but in his documentary “Comedian,” Jerry Seinfeld says something like: Being famous gets you maybe five minutes of leeway with the audience. After that you have to be funny.

Can I get an “AMEN” Charlie Sheen?

At least Ron Artest realized up front that he should just host the show and pack it with established stand-ups. He’ll tell some prepared jokes, I imagine. And he’ll probably do some off the cuff, stream-of-consciousness stuff. And I’m sure people will laugh with/at him. Because he doesn’t take himself too seriously. I mean, have you heard him rap? He can’t be serious about that, right? And the name change thing… Here he is talking about it on PTI:

Oh, Ron. At least you’re not going completely “Ochocinco” with it. But I’m not sure you can call yourself WorldPeace and still be “the streets.”

Tee hee. I heart it. Live your life, Ron Ron. I’m a fan. #NoSnark