Where does the time go? I have in my schedule I'm supposed to blog, at least once a month. But I haven't. I keep getting caught up in my life. Had I blogged in April of 2009, you would have learned that I was recording my 1st comedy CD at McCurdy's Comedy Theater in Sarasota. Had I blogged in May, you would have learned my beloved cat of 15 years died. Had I blogged in June, you would have known a Florida booker bounced a check on me, made the check "good" with another bad check, paid me in cash, then shorted my pay. I won't be working for him any time soon. At least I had a good time at Snickerz Comedy Club, in Fort Wayne, Indiana! In July, you would have known I held a CD release party for my CD "Tinkle Tinkle Little Star," at McCurdy's Comedy Club. I even got to headline, and made the cover of Ticket magazine, published by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. I'm one of two local comedians in the last 15 years to grace the cover of Ticket...Les McCurdy is the other. In August, you would have known I traveled to Texas with The Disgruntled Clown, and almost didn't get out of Mexico due to a little friendly banter with border patrol that went horribly wrong (The Clown did the talking, as you might imagine). In September, you would have known my husband and I took a much needed vacation to Mexico (and got out of the country just fine that time), and that I had a blast at Connxtions Comedy Club in Toledo. I even got to sign the buns at Tony Packo's, the famous hot dog place, made famous by Jamie Farr when he played Klinger on MASH. In October, you would have known I turned 40, and went to New York City for a long weekend. And had I blogged around Halloween, you would have known I had a great time at The Huntington Funny Bone in West Virginia. Had I blogged in November, you would have known that I took my mother to the Emergency Room and almost lost her. She's pulled through, but had I blogged, you would have known I spent Thanksgiving in the hospital. And had I blogged in December, you would have known how heart broken I was to cancel my dates at The Funny Stop in Cuyahoga Falls, and you would have known I celebrated my mom's birthday, and Christmas in the hospital too.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Posted by Traci Keychain at 8:43 AM
Monday, March 30, 2009
March 24th - 28th, 2009
The Disgruntled Clown, Pete, Nidal, and POP!
Funny Stop, Cuyahoga Falls, OH
All I can say is WOW! What an experience to perform in your hometown…or really close to it! I grew up in Berea, Ohio, and Cuyahoga Falls (where Funny Stop Comedy Club is) reminded me a lot of Berea. Cuyahoga Falls is a suburban community, with well maintained 2 story homes. The neighborhood is delicately sprinkled with family owned pizza shops, groceries, dry cleaners, and taverns. The neighborhood taverns are the most fun, because they are full of the “locals.” “Locals” often have known each other since grade school. They’ll punch each out and knock over a table for an unfortunate lunch room incident that happened in 1982. Before you know, they're driving home together. Because you gotta look out for your own.
The comedy condo is located in between 2 such neighborhood taverns. I met a local, an Irish musician, who asked me where I was from, no less than 4 times in our 8 minute conversation. (An alcohol related question, obviously.) The poor bartender recently had his face stitched up due to an unfortunate bar brawl the previous night. Cuyahoga Falls sent 9 of their finest for a special guest appearance at 1AM to break up the fight. Not sure how I slept through that one.
The Funny Stop Comedy Club is owned and operated by Pete, wife Nidal, and brother Tony. Pete, Nidal, and Tony are also Lebanese…which means they had no choice but to adopt me. At least the half of me that’s Lebanese! I lost touch with whatever was left of my Lebanese family in 1977 with the death of my grandfather. The Italian family took over, but I have always had these unexplained cravings for kibbe, grape leaves and baklava, and unexplained aversions to tiramisu, cannolis, and cement trucks. But the thing I found cool about Funny Stop, is that it's a fine tuned comedy machine. The smallest show had 100 folks (Tuesday), and many of the nights I had difficulty finding a table so I could sell merchandise. The wait staff is very friendly. Carl, the bartender, was an absolute delight to get my bottled waters from. John does an exceptional job with the sound.
I opened for The Disgruntled Clown this week, and of course, as you would expect, he is an absolute trip to hang with. At times it is difficult. I've spent the last 3 years losing 85 lbs., and The Clown loves mayonnaise, and Chinese buffets. One of the Clown's fans, whom I started calling Ms. Nickels (for Nickel's bakery), brought him 3 grocery bags of doughnuts, bread, chocolate delights, and banana flip pastries. Of course I knew The Clown couldn't eat ALL of those powdered doughnuts by himself...I had to help him. But I must admit, the weirdest part is traveling with The Clown, is knowing he's heterosexual, yet has more make-up and wears higher heels than I do.
The highlight of the trip was a visit to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. I wish we could have spent more time there…but my mother had a little emergency involving a washing machine. She asked that we buy her a shop vac to help pick up the water, only to get there and discover she really needed a water extraction company…and her carpet removed…and holes punched in the walls so they could run air blowers for 4 days to dry them. My favorite exhibits at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame are the costumes the entertainers wore. They are so cheezy up close, yet looked spectacular on TV.
As for The Funny Stop - all 7 shows were great. I can’t thank everyone enough for coming out to the show.
Here's some special thanks to the folks that came out:
My new best myspace and facebook friends forever: JoAnn Sparano, Liz Kwan, Brandi Godfrey, Andrea Bozigar, Scott Kail, Steve Buzash, Dana Millard Bryant, Angela Brown, Tonya Klausing-Kuzmik (who is holding out for panda, bless her), Kelly O’Connell, Jim Husseini, S.B., Ryan K.I., Ben Shriber, Steven, Chris Lahman, A.K. (Amy) Rowdy, Steven Lee, Crystal Kerr, Dana Bryant, Kevin Bryant, and Chooey. Thank you for your comments - and for not sending me stupid shit.
Big thanks to the emcees, Chuck Costanzo & Oliver Grey.
From The 1987 Graduating Class of Berea High School:
Any Anderson-Aylward (below), a diver turned audiologist, you look great, I hate that.
Sherry McCartney – Thanks for letting me sleep over your house, whatever grade that was.
You look great too. I hate that.
David Gubics (below), also a fellow alumni of Fairwood Elementary, thanks for coming and for being a good sport about Joe Hannum bailing on you. And thanks for sending me a picture of you wearing the shirt! I wish I had remembered to get your picture when you were there. Next time!
Nancy Wharton (below left), an organic cellist and ace of bass, glad you found a ride home, and a ride back to the club to get a shirt 2 days later.
Melissa Barber – the catalyst for my comedy career. Had I not seen you in Tony & Tina’s Wedding in Cleveland, I might not have found my way into comedy. I wish I had remembered to get your picture too.
Eric Fletcher (below, right) I can’t believe you drove up from Columbus. You are crazy. And another thanks for letting me crash at your place last fall. Remember when you made me cube steak in college? Sphinx!
From the three years I worked at Suburban Clock:
Alan Rue (below, left) Thank you for coming out. I still remember joking with you about putting mirrors on your shoes so you could look up my skirt…and how you were not at all interested. Were you working with me when that lady walked in and said "It smells like Dick's in here?" (The woman was referring to Dick's Bakery, next door to the clock shop.)
From my family:
Bob (below left) and Cousin Stephanie (below right), you’ve seen a lot of my shows over the years, and I can’t believe you STILL come out and support me. Tell Aunt Rose I will still love her, even if she doesn’t come to my show in Niles next week. In fact, let’s plan to discourage the entire family from coming. I don't think the Catholics can handle much more bad publicity.
Mom – thank you for flying down to Florida to help me with Mike and his health issues. Thank you for driving with me from Florida to Ohio – it was a fun trip. I still feel kind of bad you spent all that money on piano lessons so I can sing songs like “Winkie” and “Teabag.” Hey...at least I didn't do drugs.
Posted by Traci Keychain at 6:48 PM
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I LOVE the Why Not Lounge in Altamonte Springs, Florida. It’s an Orlando institution, been around for at least 20 years. Some of the regulars have been coming to the Why Not Lounge since their early 20’s…and still go there to party in their 40’s and beyond.
The regulars are very friendly, like family, looking out for each other. It’s a meat market…with benefits. And it’s the best place to watch people. I get more material from 10pm – 2am in this place in one night, than a month in Wal-Mart during Christmas season. I LOVE the Why Not Lounge!
Friday night show – I was on! One of my best shows ever. Saturday night show - I was seasick having to look back and forth between the right and left sides of the audience. A table of 20, seated right in the middle didn’t show, splitting the audience in two. It was still a great show, even though the audience was kind of tight with their laughs.
This weekend, I worked with seasoned headliner Mike Rivera (Everybody say Oooo!) who is high energy funny. Mike’s comedy career began when he entered an America’s Funniest Teacher Competition and won it. I work with Mike again in March and I'm looking forward to it!
Altamonte is all about the people…so here we go…
Mike Rivera, NO WAY! Great working with you again!
Katie Hughes, keep up the great work, and what a trouper stepping in as the emcee on Friday.
Mike Lemont, great job as emcee on Saturday. Thanks for letting me hang with your friends Friday night!
Why Not Lounge Staff ...thanks! You’re the best…and you know it.
Jodie, Happy Birthday, and glad to know you still wear my shirt when you spank people.
Why? Not Patrons
Kevin, I enjoyed talking with you. You’re a good soul, keep doing the right thing!
Marisa, you’re a sweet girl, and a lot of fun. Please try not to leave future parties being “carried away.”
Saturday, February 21, 2009
February 13th & 14th, 2009
This was the perfect combination of romance and comedy. I got to perfect my craft in a new (to me) comedy club, Gypsy Comedy Club, while spending quality time with my husband. It was a win-win for everyone!
Mike and I stayed at a beautiful Bed and Breakfast, the historic Inn on Charlotte.
Please check out their site at http://www.innoncharlotte.com/, and if you go, tell Lynne The Princess of Parodies sent you. Our room came with a dozen roses, thanks to my wonderful, thoughtful husband. We had been to St. Augustine 4 or 5 years ago and loved it, but didn’t get to The Fountain of Youth, which tops on our agenda.
I love tourist traps. If you’re going to do it…do it well. Disney over does it, by putting mouse ears on the sewer covers. Dinosaur World under does it in a fun, cheesy, Velveeta way. It’s American, it’s family friendly, and gets the job done. But it's still cheese. The Fountain of Youth…they under do it, in a BIG WAY. It didn’t suck “ass,” but it did suck. Here’s what you get for $8, per person:
As you come in, you can’t help but notice the advertisements of Ponce De Leon on a SEGWAY. What better way to capture the flavor of how Ponce De Leon spent his first few days in Florida, way back in 1513, you know, riding around on his SEGWAY.
Once inside The Fountain of Youth, your tour of the first 3 buildings could have been conducted by actors or actresses in the costumes that Spanish Explorers wore when they first came here and pillaged. Oh no! You learn about Spanish exploration from a Florida cracker dressed in an embroidered polo and shorts. He runs from building to building, locking up each building behind him because God forbid, you end up the Planetarium and screw with the 7 Christmas tree lights that make up The Big Dipper. The second building houses The Globe of Discovery, hidden behind a middle school theater curtain. It’s a 2 stories high globe of the earth that turns with the help of a hamster wheel. You can’t help but admire the cutting technology used in this presentation; the laser pointer. We could smell Cracker Boy’s cigarette while we were watching “this presentation.” The last building contained The Fountain of Youth, with typical museum mannequins of Indians, adorned with genuine silk flowers. The Fountain of Youth water did not taste very good either. I've gotten more youth from a shot of Jaegermeister at a biker bar. The other 15 acres you’re free to explore on your own. You can torment any of the 6 peacocks or THE emu. You can also browse the gift shop, which had ashtrays that said “Alabama” on sale.
Nothing has been done with The Fountain of Youth tourist trap since it’s inception, except for some occasional lawn maintenance, and the low bid won that work too. St. Augustine just experienced a cold snap that killed several plants in the area. Not at The Fountain of Youth! There was no landscaping, so what could possibly die? The Fountain of Youth could have made it up to us with the live cannon firing…
but alas…they didn't have the balls.
Traci with Justin and Peter Hefty
Jim and Hala, my long lost Italian/Lebanese sister – thank you!
Deon (Jackie’s husband) – thanks for your help with the sound!
Jackie, YOU are the Glitter Goddess, and my new idol!
Jackie’s family – thank you for everything and supporting Jackie like you do
Susie – great job getting all those people seated Saturday night
Amanda, Mary Kay, Nick, Marlena, and Shauna – best waitstaff and bartenders ever. Thank you for all you do (and I hope I didn’t forget anybody!)
Shout outs to:
Andre Holloway – great seeing you again, best of luck in Rochester
Lori – thanks for the drink, glad you loved the show
Nikki – you are my other long lost sister, wish I could wear gold like you
Our new friends we made at the Inn on Charlotte:
Lynne at The Inn – loved breakfast…thanks so much for a great time!
Judye, Judye’s sister and husbands – hope you got back to TN safely (please email me your names), and Judye – best of luck on those bracelets
Sarah and Nancy – nice meeting you! Have fun camping! Remember no A.C., no Traci
James and Michelle from Orange park, (if I forgot your names, please correct me) and make sure you tell everyone you sleep with famous people
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
February 11th, 2009
To show just how slowly things can move in comedy…I did a show at B.C.’s Recovery Room in Sarasota on May 1st, 2008. I did really well, sold some shirts, thought nothing else of it other than I had a great show and met some great people. October 24th, I get an email on my blackberry from a woman named Debby who saw me at B.C.’s Recovery Room in May, thought I was funny, and wondered if I’d help out with a fundraiser for Alzheimer’s…in February of 2009. I’m always a little skittish about doing charity work. If you’ve seen my show – it’s not a post-urban pottie mouth show, but it’s definitely not for kiddies either. I always have to run through my checklist when I take on non-comedy club work: 1) Where is the venue? 2) Do I need to bring sound? 3) Will all children be in another building, in another county? No problems, so I took the gig and asked comedian friend Gid Pool to emcee and feature.
In the months preceding the gig, I’m healthy, I exercise, I take care of myself. But the night before the gig, I start having flu and cold like symptoms. I take 2000 mg of Vitamin C every 2 hours, Emer-Gen-C shots whenever I get a sore throat. I rest all day, plenty of fluids including a pitcher of water before the gig – and I’m good enough to go.
Debby kindly pays me before the gig. I put the money in my back pocket, and forget about it. Show time comes, and when Gid is onstage, I run back to the rest room to change into my princess outfit. When I come out, I reach into my pants pocket to pull out the money, and it’s not there.
I run back into the restroom…the money isn't there. Debby sees me panicking, and I finally break down and tell her I can’t find the money. We’re in the restroom pouring through my stuff…when Gid calls my name to come on stage. I don’t hear him.
I finally tell Debby I’ll worry about the money later. I reappear from the restroom, and hear Gid say “There’s Traci!” Once I’m on stage, I forget about the money – it’s all about the audience. I put everything I had into the show…and it was a great show!
While I’m on stage, Debby continued looking for the money. She asked the bartender is anyone turned in some money, and the bartender said a woman found some money, but wouldn’t say how much. Debby got it straightened out right away…and once she did she tried to hold up the money so I’d know she found it. Of course, I didn’t see her…
When I got off stage, Debby introduces me to Melody, the honest soul who reported finding the money. Whew! What a relief. So…the moral of the story is…remember to put your money in a safe place at an Alzheimer’s fundraiser!
Big thanks to Debby, and everyone at The Sarasota Eagles who helped with the event.
My cheeseburger was delicious. Like Gid said, when your burger is shaped like the state of Oklahoma, it’s going to be a good burger.
Thanks to my new friend Tina who offered me some Jack Daniel’s…err…cough syrup for my sore throat.
Hello to Vince aka Houdini…may we not be working at the same time some day!
And most of all…a big thank you to Melody…your story of honesty was music to my ears (and wallet)!
Of course…I had to tip Gid extra for that “where the hell is she” moment.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Snapper’s Comedy Grill
Palm Harbor, Florida
January 30th & 31st, 2009
Snapper’s Comedy Grill has a shorter tradition of comedy, but each time I’ve performed there the gig has been memorable. Before the renovations, the only thing separating the comedy club from the bar was a curtain. You could hear the TV’s and the patrons in the bar screaming obscenities at the basketball game during open mic, while at the same time a guy from Naples, with slicked back hair, white socks and sandals was telling his favorite poopie jokes. One night, the local hottie, Angelia, took a liking to fellow comedian Steve Baird, and she loudly flirted with him through my set. Just a week earlier, I saw Angelia do the same thing with another comic, Johnny O. Only she hit on Johnny O while her date (not Steve, but some other guy) went to the restroom. When he came out, she was all over Johnny O. The other guy patiently waited until Angelia was done “prospecting for new business.” But I think my favorite Snapper’s moment, was when Steve Baird took the stage with a cigarette, and he blew smoke came out of his ears. He didn't mean to...it just happened.
The owners of Snapper’s Comedy Grill are Egyptian, which is about as close to Lebanese as I’m going to get in Florida. I think of the owners, Sherif and Nabil (Nabil pictured at top), as my cousins. New to the family was Bob, the sound guy with tons of comedy club experience. And of course there is the Emmy nominated actor, Artie Fletcher, who was quick to point out that I have "a nice rack." He is the first Emmy nominated actor to admire my rack.
I got an email a few days before the show from a woman named Candi Stripe. She was taking Artie’s comedy class, and was debuting her stand up with a co-worker the weekend I was working. Candi – ironically – was born in Hershey, PA. I was looking forward to meeting Candi, who in real life is a dispatcher for the local sheriff’s office.
We did 3 shows, one Friday, two on Saturday, and they were all great shows. Headliner Keith Purnell (above) was very funny, in a white way. I wrote that, because we talked about him doing traditionally “white” material for these shows, while admitting he didn’t know how to “Soulja Boy.” (And if you’ve seen my show, you know I Soulja Boy, uh huh.) One of the shows I got a partial standing ovation. I made sure I sent a text message to The Disgruntled Clown about it. (The Disgruntled Clown is a headliner that I work with quite a bit.) We did a show in Dothan, Alabama last September, and I got a standing ovation there. I remind him about it, every time I see him. Sometimes I casually bring it up in conversation. We could be talking about bowling, and I’ll say “You know, getting a strike feels just as good as when I got that standing ovation in Dothan, Alabama on September 16th. Oh that’s right. You were the headliner that night, and I was featuring!” Other times, I’ll just start singing “Sweet Home Alabama.” He hates it.
Anyhow…here are the Thank yous…
Big thanks to Snapper’s Comedy Grill, Nabil, Sherif, and Bob. It was nice to be back!
Thanks to Artie for booking me...always fun hanging out with Uncle Artie.
Thanks to the wait staff…I always had a water when I needed one!
Keith Purnell – great working with you. Free Soulja Boy lessons next time, on me!
Thanks to Rose Mucklo Curry and friends. I went to high school with Rose and had no idea she was in Florida. She looks just as good as she did in high school. I hate that. (See pic below)
And big thanks to everyone who bought t-shirts and bumper stickers!
I’m already looking forward to my next performance…July 3rd & 4th. See you then!
Sunday, February 1, 2009
January 24th, 2009
I’ve been performing at the Olde World Restaurant (OWR) in Northport, since 2004 or 2005. The owners, Christine, Joe and Teresa, have put together a great restaurant and lounge, with remarkable food and service. I have yet to be there when the parking lot isn’t full. And they even manage to put on a pretty good comedy show!
I owe this gig to the very funny Valarie Storm, a Fort Myers based comedian turned bona fide road dog comedian. I headlined the room last August, and was stunned to see so many familiar faces this time! The show sold out 3 days prior…that makes me happy. Word is getting out The Princess is coming to town.
Gid Pool was the emcee. Gid and I worked together on the E-Man Nation Radio Show last year. He and his wife were also my sidekicks on a float in the Rubonia Mardi Gras. When I get the chance to bring an opener Gid is on the short list. Gid, as always, did a great job warming up the audience. Rock N Roll John kept them going…gotta love the story about the towels in the hotels…and then I took over. All was going well, until this elderly crazy woman, empowered with 6 rum and cokes, started shouting “You go girl!” “I love you!” The flood gates of weirdness opened. She’s a heckler, but she loves me. So I can’t be mean to her. But I should have! She put a huge dent in the momentum I had built. Some people just don’t get it.
Big hugs and thanks to Christine, Bart and Robin!
Thanks to all who attended the show…again…
And a Florida Howdy to Mary Jo & Bill from Mavis Winkle’s in Cleveland.