Monty wore a big, dumb straw hat lined with 420 buttons and positive affirmations. It was his comfort blanket, but as he gained confidence he began to take it off and hang it on the mic stand. His sets were exactly as he was off stage, filled with bouts of nervous laughter and catchphrases like “Where my Outlaws at?”and “If you don’t like my jokes I’ll smoke you out in the parking lot!” Always with a genuine sun baked smile.
Monty loved comedy.
In many ways it was the only thing keeping him together after the car wreck. Years before we met he had lost his wife in a crash. Though she survived in the most literal sense, she – from how I understood it – was frozen in time. A shell with no spirit. However, Monty refused to accept that. Knew she was still in there. He believed it and held on to her like you would your absolute closest and best friend. He saw light in her eyes, talked everyday about her and the day she’ll wake up to anyone who would listen. The magnitude of that kind of devotion overwhelms me too much to even try to write anything more about it.
Monty had a lot of terrible ideas about starting comedy shows. Laundry mats, metro rails, his front porch, the restaurant near his house that he could just walk to… He would assemble anyone willing to join him on these terrible ideas and call everyone else who had the good sense to avoid that nightmare – cowards. In many ways he was right.
The “Where’s my Outlaws at?” was as silly as the straw hat, but it meant the world to him. The ‘Outlaw’ tag itself is an old stand up term from the early 1980’s that Houston Comics still can’t seem to shut up about. It included two of standup’s biggest legends – Bill Hicks and Sam Kinison – and was a tag Monty cherished greatly. One time after doing a gig in Houston, Monty got to meet one of the original Outlaws, Andy Huggins. For weeks he bragged how Andy gave him the blessing to carry on the name. It was a small gesture, but one that meant the world to Monty.
Everything he did successful or not he wore as badges, like the buttons that lined his big dumb straw hat.
However – nothing made him more proud than his kids and who they grew up to be. He loved them so openly, hailed their every accomplishment and looked upon them with happy wonder. Monty was very self aware of the kind of father he must’ve of appeared like so I think the fact that his kids grew up to be more normal than NORML came as an immense relief. Sometimes Monty would talk about them with a lost look in his eye, like a Captain slowly going down in the ship, sad, but also happy that they were at least safe in lifeboats paddling to shore. It always unnerved me.
Monty certainly had his dark days. Sets filled with anger and frustration. Occasionally creepy when you knew he needed to get some, but no one ever felt unsafe. He was a big goofy puppy and rarely held grudges for long.
Everyone that met him loved him, got annoyed by him, avoided him, put up with him, got excited to see him, and most definitely smoked out with him. It was genuine. We all worried about him, we all talked about his weight loss and occasional binges in moods, but none of us could’ve stopped this. That is also genuine. If you’re looking back trying to find a way you could’ve stopped this from happening, quit. He was his own self made Outlaw, fiercely set in his ways. All you can do now is say goodbye and try to carry on the best in him that he showed to us.
It’s common to hear things like “this isn’t about you” or “you didn’t really know him that well to speak about this”. Don’t buy into that bullshit. The fact is – it really is about you and the people you are around. That’s how death works. Monty is gone so these questions aren’t his to worry about anymore. It doesn’t matter if you met him once or hung out every day, it’s ok to take the time to personally and openly reflect what this means to you.
How else do you really celebrate or honor the meaning of a life?
I don’t know.
One time Monty let me try on his dumb straw hat. I was going to fuck around with him and do my best Montgomery Wayne Seitz impression, but the pins from all the buttons stabbed painfully into my skull. I realized quickly how that pain is what Monty felt every day he wore his favorite comedy hat. He didn’t have to wear it, often we’d make fun of it, but he wore that pain with a smile because it made him feel good trying to make everyone else happy.
I wish I appreciated that small sacrifice more when he was alive.
A GoFundMe Page has been made to help cover funeral expenses.
When I discovered SNL for myself, “my cast” included Dennis Miller, Dana Carvey, Jan Hooks and the power-duo of Phil Hartman and Jon Lovitz. Growing up as a fan of the show and almost everything that that crew would go on to do – I was the kid who dragged his poor family to the theater to see ‘Mom and Dad Save the World’. I never thought I would ever get a chance to meet any of them.
I got my opportunity when Jon Lovitz headlined the Addison Improv five years ago this very week.*
When you start out, it’s enough just to get work at the club. You don’t get much say in who you work with. You don’t get much work, period. Sometimes the headliners bring their own supporting acts, but mostly the club matches up who they think would make a decent fit for a great show. As a newer comic, your job is to be the best version of you you can be while somehow also being as “decent a fit” with as many different comics possible (more flexibility gets you more stage time, and more stage time makes you a better comic which gets you more stage time and so on).
I didn’t campaign for many specific headliners (again, I just appreciated the booking), but I campaigned for Lovitz. You want to meet your heroes, and you hope that they’re not dicks.
I got the booking and was super-psyched. Without sounding too much like a fanboy, I was hoping for ANY kind of interaction (some headliners keep pretty guarded). I was also hoping I could get him to sign my NewsRadio caricature (already signed by Dave Foley and Stephen Root). It featured Phil prominently, and I thought he might appreciate it.
Mr. Lovitz was a bit aloof when I first met him, and I worried that he was going to keep his distance the whole weekend. I quietly introduced myself, told him that I was looking forward to the shows, and left the green room.
After my first set, I was surprised to see him waiting to talk to me in the back. While the host was making announcements on stage, he was excitedly whispering some heavy-duty compliments. Some headliners don’t even watch the show, and I took for granted that he wouldn’t have watched me. I nodded politely on the outside. On the inside, my inner-fifth grader was jumping up and down. Between shows the next few nights, we talked about comedy and art. I shared my caricature with him.
“You know, Phil did both too.”
“Yeah, I did.” and I almost cried.
It was a great weekend. When it’s gone well, there’s sometimes an awkward “end of the date moment” after the last show…something along the lines of, “Well, this was fun. We should do it again sometime.” The hope is that a headliner takes SUCH a liking to you, recognizes your comedic genius, and decides that you NEED to be their permanent opening act on the road.
The reality is usually a handshake. Maybe exchanging email addresses.
Jon Lovitz asked for my card.
Puzzled, he tried reading my name, “Aryanpur?”
After all of the shows and our conversations, I guess things like my name and my background didn’t quite sink in yet.
“Yeah, my dad’s Persian.”
Then he dismissively, Lovitz-ly handed my card back to me with a fake disgusted “Oh.”
He was messing with me, and I played along. Out of mock-desperation, I protested, “But my MOM is Jewish.”
And he just as quickly took the card back with a delighted “Oohhh” as if to say, “That’s better.”
Then he clapped a little Lovitz clap and said, “Okay. I’m going to ask for your card, and you’re going to hand it to me, and I’m going to say, ‘Aryanpur?’…”
He was giving me direction for a conversation we JUST had.
“…and you’re going to say, ‘My dad’s Persian.’ And I’m going to give the card back and say,
There was no one else in the green room.
“…but then you’re going to say, ‘But my mom’s Jewish.’ And I’m going to say, ‘Oohh.’ Got it?”
So we replayed our conversation, and it was still funny. After the third time – just us in there, mind you – it was downright surreal.
I realized I was rehearsing and then performing a “sketch” with Jon Lovitz for no one but myself and Jon Lovitz.
There were some other remarkably wonderful and bizarre things about that weekend, but the business card exchange is what I’ll always remember about my time working with an SNL alum.
And maybe because he always seemed like a such a Simpsons/Critic cartoon of a personality to me anyway, I thought the story could use a visual.
You really need to hear the story in his voice, but the comic strip might help a bit.
Funniest Comic in Texas 2012 Winner, Aaron Aryanpur was also recntly voted one of the Top 100 Creatives For the Dallas Observer, and just recently made his national TV debut on FOX’s Laughs. And he’s currently headling the Hard Rock Cafe this weekend August 28th & 29th with Houston’s own All D. Freeman.
*Originally Posted July 17th, 2015
What Kind of Stand Up Are You?
By Jay Whitecotton
With so many different POV’s entering the world of stand up comedy, it’s getting harder and harder to describe what kind of performer you are. Not sure yourself? No problem!
Here’s a quick list of the many budding new genre’s in Stand Up Comedy you can typecast yourself as!
Comedian: A person of any race and gender who cares about the art. Wants to build an act that will carry them forward based on originality, but still relatable. Prone to taking themselves too serious on occasion, but only in the hopes of getting better.
“I need to start opening with my closer so it doesn’t become a crutch.”
Comic: Usually a failed musician or former “funny” guy at work. Can’t wait to hit the road. Constantly dismisses themselves, but secretly desires to be seen as a true ‘comedian’.
“Where you from? What do you do? Who’s dating?”
Open Micer: Novice. Trying to figure it all out. In the middle of losing all their past friendships, while forming new one’s in the open mic community. Has immediately posted photos of themselves holding a microphone as their social media profile pictures.
“Anyways… um. Do we get paid?”
Hack: Unoriginal, but safe. Gets work quickly, but doesn’t move past host or ‘that guy who can drive us to the gig’. Commonly introduced to the stage as “heard on XM/Sirius satellite radio.” (Not true.) Teaches a ‘Comedy Workshop’.
“It’s a Honda Civic… (waves middle finger to the crowd)”
Road Hack: A Hack with their own car payments and the ability to talk for 45 minutes. Notebook filled with jokes that could sell T-Shirts.” Commonly introduced to the stage as “Seen on Last Comic Standing.” (Waiting In Line) Occasionally teaches a ‘Comedy Workshop’.
“Is that a Tribble run? I can totally work an alternative audience!”
Boat Hack: The crowning achievement for the Hack. All the atmosphere of a good Road Gig, but with none of the wear and tear on the car. Commonly introduced to the stage as “Seen on Last Comic Standing.” (Was on the show, but you didn’t see it) Considers themselves too good to teach a ‘Comedy Workshop’.
“The only thing that sucks is they won’t let me sell my “Fuck It Bucket” shirts because their too ‘edgy’.”
Hobbyist: An Open Micer who occasionally hits the stage to do a contest or an open call network audition. Self-described as ‘aged out of the business’ when they reach 30. Repeats what Road Hacks say as if it were the industry standard.
“I submitted for that, but they probably want a young woman or a minority.”
Fraud: A Hack who works every angle of professional comedy accept the actual working on their act portion. They instantly have TV credits out of nowhere, thousands of “fans” on Facebook, and an endless array of egg shaped people following their twitter accounts. They take pictures with random people and post them as “hanging out with some fans after the show” – even when not performing. They always “just killed to a packed room” on every status they’ve ever posted. Complete with a picture of said crowd, but at angle that does not show the 300 empty chairs. They had merch before they wrote their first joke and a store on their web site if you want to ‘support their comedy’. A Fraud has never failed on stage or any audition ever. The crowd was always “crappy, but I turned them around despite” and the network show “wasn’t a good fit for me at this time and even though they LOVED me, I decided I’d rather not be seen by millions on some TV Show that doesn’t give me creative control. I’d much rather keep it real and do my OWN thing right here in (Who Carestown, USA)!”
“Tickets are going fast! Near capacity already, but I have a block of 100 tickets for sale only $20! HURRY!”
Goon: Formerly known as an edgy comic. Act filled with references to Rape, Racism, and Sex. Gets unreasonably upset when a sexy female musician gets too much “undeserved” exposure on the radio. Also gets upset when sexy women get too much “undeserved” exposure on TV. Has strong feelings about comic book movies casting black actors. Can’t handle it when people don’t get the ‘joke’.
“Can you believe that Cunt? What a Faggot!”
CHUD: A Goon WITHOUT the imagination and DOUBLE the addiction to meth. Often homeless. Would be banned from performing if everyone wasn’t scared of being murdered.
“You have a smoke? Can I get a ride?”
Prog: A progressive comedian who takes stands against white males. (99% of the time is usually a white male) Seems to develop strong beliefs on Facebook immediately after reading a Salon article.
“When are we going to have an African-Latino Gay Transgendered President already?!”
Proggo: Same as a Prog, but way more focused on women’s rights issues. Immediately was offended because I used the word ‘Guy’ in the above description for Comic – instead of something gender neutral.
“Check your privilege! This blog/post/comment is part of the problem!”
Drunk Slut: Self-described “Hot Mess”. Topics usually cover: Self-Esteem, Semen, Vodka Soda, and Parents not liking her Facebook posts.
“People want to fuck me, isn’t that weird?”
The Status Girl: Started comedy 6 months ago. Already has 450 mutual friends on Facebook and liked all their statuses. Saved a collection of dirty desperate messages sent from half the Comedians, Comics, Hacks, Road Hacks, etc that talk bad about her publicly.
“Comedian Jane Doe Comedy likes your Post.”
The Not Anonymous Enough Alcoholic: Former Drunk Slut, Goon or Prog, but finds that by insufferably talking about their ‘struggle with addiction’ they can create a false sense of empathy with the audience and still get to do their ‘party bits’.
“I had a beer when I was 17 and broke curfew, but now (fights a tear) now I’m 7 years sober (breathes deeply waiting for applause break).”
Nerd Comic: Standard variety comic book and movie references. Not making it in the clubs because the ‘audiences aren’t cool’. Does a great Werner Herzog impression, but its “cool even though it’s an impression”. Wears hoodie to look slim and youthful, but everyone can tell they’re chubby.
“You know what’s weird about Batman?*”
(*Werner Herzog voice)
Hipster: Nerd Bully. Aggressive entitlement. Constantly pointing out how it’s everyone else who’s the Hipster.
“Val Kilmer was the superior Batman, if you weren’t a Hipster you’d KNOW that.”
Bloggo: A Hobbyist, but with a blog. Has strong “heroic” opinions about Dave Chappelle not being sensitive enough towards gender issues, but completely ignores Jeff Dunham’s blatant awfulness.
“I’m offended.” (Presses Send)
The Actor: Uses comedy as a way to either develop their one man show, as a window to get into Hollywood, or a last chance to regain notoriety after the sitcom is cancelled.
“I’m also taking an Improv class!“
The Cleaner: A hack who insists on their importance by their ability to be completely ball-less and uninspired. Half start out as Goons, but transition over in a desperate plea to get opening work. The other half start out ball-less and go to great lengths to let everyone know they can “work clean”. They are also the absolute creepiest people off stage and their web browser history is filled with German Sexual Nightmares.
“You don’t need to say ‘fuck’ to be funny.” (inserts ball gag)
The Chosen: A Clean Hack who calls himself a ‘Christian Comic’. Replaces ‘Fuck you’ with the far more pretentious “Blessed”. They’re constantly doing it for the Lord, but by doing it – they mean trying to market themselves to Church’s so they can get that easy non-taxable money. Also – its easier to have a shitty act if you only perform to audiences brainwashed into thinking of judgment as a sin.
“I’m like… God Bless it, man. We’re all trying, but sometimes…. IT’S HARD, RIGHT?!” (points upward)
Sit-Down Comics: Whole act centers around their handicap. Lots of puns. Has an original point of view about the current state of… no… wait…yeah no, it’s right back down to their handicap.
“Look Ma, No Hands!” (Waves Nub)
Pimp Walk: Same as a Sit Down Comic, but with some sort of Palsy.
Sweat Stains: Same as a Sit Down Comic, but Fat and “has to move the mic stand away so you can see them better.”
Uptown: Black Comic who doesn’t need the “white clubs” because “they aint ready”. Expert use of graphic arts to create flashy flyers. Often accompanied by slam poets, a DJ, another DJ, a photographer, 32 Sponsors and 27 more Uptown comedians on the same bill.
“Nah man…It’s pronounced D-Ray. You thinking of Dray. He’s on another show.”
Black Comedian: Just wants to be known as a comedian, but does only jokes about what its like being Black so white audiences will laugh.
Black Nerd: Same as a Black Comedian, but Nerd.
Latino Comic: Same as a Black Comedian, but Latino.
Asian Comic: Same as a White Comedian, but Asian. (sometimes Black)
Filipino Comic: Same as a Black Comedian, but Filipino. (sometimes Asian)
African Comic: Same as a Black Comedian, but not that kind of Black.
Woman Comic: Same as a Black Comedian, but won’t shut up about it.
Gay Comic: Same as a Black Comedian, but sometimes a Woman.
Terrorist Comic: Same as a Black Comedian, but Middle Eastern and insists they’re not actually a Terrorist.
The POD: A Hobbyist with a Podcast. Finds validation easier by staying at home and making the “audience” come to them.
“It doesn’t pay, but you’ll get exposure!”
The Stay at Home Dad: Used to write and perform jokes, but now owns a club/room or runs a festival to be closer to their roots and family.
“We don’t need New York or LA, we can do it right here in (Who Carestown, USA)!”
“It doesn’t pay, but you’ll get exposure!”
The Coward: Anybody who writes a list of labels, but at the end turns it around on themselves as if to say ‘Hey, I’m not immune – see I can turn the joke on myself! This way you’ll think I’m self aware and don’t mean any actual malice towards anyone what-so-ever!’
“I’m Drunk. I’m Lonely. Fuck You.”
* CHUD coined by Andrew Rosas. Drunk Slut category pushed hard by Mike MacRae. Fraud demanded by Andrew Polk.
Jay Whitecotton is a Stand Up Comedian from San Antonio, TX now living in Austin. He’s written columns for magazines without any journalistic credibility – toured professionally as a guitarist, despite no lessons – and sold a script that was never made into a movie… – He likes dragons
Originally posted with permission of Jay.
The story of a man held hostage in a small town by the worst possible mistake a comedian could ever make.. If You
Benny finished his oatmeal and a few slices of apple cured bacon; it was unusually good for a Hampton Inn, so he went back for seconds. He wanted coffee but knew that it would trigger the urge for the cigarette and this was the cycle that he was trying to avoid, especially on his first day of quitting. What Benny could not avoid is the attempt to instigate conversation with beautiful women, so as the interviewee sat in the hotel lobby chair preparing her employment pitch he said “good luck”. “Thanks” she said in a manner that hinted of frustration but genuine nevertheless. Benny wished he had washed his face and smelled a little more like cologne, he knew that she was well out of his wheel house but still engaged her further. “Are you applying for a sales position?” “How did you know?” she replied. “Well you’re too smart for the front desk and too cute to drive the shuttle van”, “Ha” she said walking over to the coffee. The girl, not the coffee motivated Benny to start the cycle again, he stood next to her pumping decaf as she loaded her coffee with cream and sugar, he could smell that she was a smoker and saw a washed out club stamp on her hand . “Where are you from?” she asked him and he was pleasantly shocked that she would engage him but realized that it was merely small talk between 2 strangers. Benny was actually from a small town in Texas but told girls that he was from Vegas because chicks love to talk about Vegas. She told him a brief story about the last time she’d gone there and how fucked up she’d gotten, he listened and laughed to himself at how consistently effective this tactic was. Just as it was Benny’s turn to talk, a small woman walked up behind them and said, “Madeline Conner?”, and just like that she was off to the interview. “Nice talking to you”, “You too, and good luck again…Madeline”. He pointed to himself and said, “Benny”. She smiled briefly and was off to the next phase of her life as Benny blew breath in his hand just to make sure she hadn’t smelled anything foul. SportsCenter was on the lobby flat screen and the ‘Not top 10’ segment was just beginning, this was a segment about failure, and although frustrated artists thrive on the misfortune of others Benny was in it for the sheer entertainment value. He checked his text messages around the number 5 entry into the countdown and noticed that the club owner had messaged him. The radio interview for the day had been cancelled. Although he was happy to have another few hours to lay around, he wondered if the cancellation was due to his lack of popularity, age or something else more depressing. Laughters was the only comedy club in town and was once one of the top clubs in the country, but the recession had taken its toll on the club and they were down to 3 nights of the 5 that they filled consistently years before. On Wednesdays there was now karaoke and on Sunday a Baptist church held their services there. Scrappy Roth was the club owner and Benny had seen him through good and bad times. Scrappy had done well financially with the club in the 90’s but was struggling to keep the doors open. He was well into his 50’s and married to the hottest Mexican socialite in El Paso, however he still enjoyed sharing exaggerated tales with comics of how much pussy he’d gotten in the years before. Benny listened to these stories because he’d known Scrappy for years but routinely made up reasons for not staying after the shows because although Scrappy was a good story teller, a local bar usually called his name. Benny was grossed out at how much Carl’s wife was eating, she still had on her pajamas. It was past 10am and they still had waffle batter leaking from the hotel’s iron. They had eaten the last slices of bacon and had filled cups they brought down from their room with orange juice and milk. Just as he was about to say something snippy to them, Madeline walked from behind the front desk in a huff. “Fuck these people”. She reached in her purse for a cigarette and had it lit by the time she stood just outside of the door. Benny’s cigarette was now a conduit to more conversation. He checked his breath again and walked outside. “Got a light?” “Sure…” Madeline rifled through her purse for a small blue lighter similar to the one he had in his pocket and handed it to him. “Everything ok?” he asked cautiously. “I just don’t get it. I have a degree, I’m smart, I’m cute and I’m white…why can’t I find a job in this town?” Before Benny could answer she asked, “You wanna go grab a drink? I know a bar that opens at 11”. Just then Carl’s wife walked outside to smoke and the waffle syrup glistened as the morning sun met her lips. “Sure!” Benny replied. “Let me just go upstairs and grab my wallet”. “Don’t worry about it, I’ll pay, and I’m sure they won’t ask YOU for ID”. She laughed as Carl’s fat wife looked on sucking cigarette smoke up into her nose. Benny briefly felt like he’d bitten off more than he could chew, but still he thumped his cigarette across the parking lot and followed Madeline to her car. Carl’s wife looked on in disgust. He looked at her and smirked to himself, “Enjoy the gravy muffins, Lard Ass”.
Billy D. Washington is a former Harris County Deputy Constable in Harris County, Texas (Houston) turned international touring headliner. He’s been seen on “Last Comic Standing” and “The Late Show With Craig Ferguson” and the movie “Arlington Road”. He is also an accomplished musician and playwright.