Tag Archives: Chicago

Rat Fighting in Chicago; a Rant, a Riposte, and a Rahm

The city Chicago is beefing up its rat fighting detail. Because in Chicago, rat fighting is big business.

And that is sensible, I mean, rats don’t pay taxes, how are they contributing? They live off the generosity of others, trawling through our garbage, they’re uneducated and they don’t have health care. By rat fighting, they get to give something back. The city captures the rats and puts them in rings. They then charge admission and also take a commission from betting. And so the rats on the streets help pay the wages of rats in City Hall.

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Writing 1 at iO, with Nate Herman, day 2

If you are wondering why I’m not getting as many of my notes onto here as I was previously, this class is one of the reasons. It is a fantastic class, but it, along with Writing 2, is a massive amount of extra work, and I am discovering I am in need of sleep every now and then damn it! My first day off of this whole trip is today, so I am getting some of the writing done, I’ve done some sightseeing and I’m off to watch what is supposed to be the best improvisers in Chicago tonight, TJ & Dave.

In fact, I will soon be doing an entry covering the day off and it will even have some photos. Nice.

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Standing Up in Chicago

Tonight I performed at an open mic night. A microphone attached to a small amp and speaker, in the back of a bar with loud music and chat leaking through. As the last act on on a night with 20 plus comics, I was not surprised to be playing to a room with only 6 in it, however I was surprised that 3 of them were genuine audience.

Making the best of a bad lot, I chatted bollocks to them and had fun. Lots of laughter, a couple of moments where I discovered a line through having crossed it, and the evening organiser was happy. The audience were too; it had been a long night, but the couple from Oklahoma were effusive in their praise, I was their favourite act and worth the wait. I hope that was thanks to my comedy rather than purely my being exotic.

All I did was chat to the audience, riff on an idea or two, comment on the room and on some of the other things that had been said. I did no material at all. What I did do was to have fun, and I had fun with them.

I suppose what I take away from this is that I can harvest laughter out here just by playing, possibly even more easily than at home; the wordplay and the improvisation of ideas on the hoof are both skills I’ve worked on and developed at home, but out here this style seems to be less of cultural standard within stand up than it is at home. If I can build material into this, I will have a reliable set that will wow a local audience, while at the same time feeling very natural.

Maybe I should find myself a room to run a night in and compere. Maybe I have enough on my plate already. But it is tempting…

The Chicago low rider

Here in Chicago, motorcyclists don’t bother with crash helmets in general. They love to cruise around on massive, low riding beasts, their arms are curved up to the height of their ears to grip their handlebars. Arms bowed like the legs of a cowboy, his firm, gentle hand easily dominating the fierce steed. With a slight twist, the machine growls; the saddled mans hands, wrists, arms tighten, he pulls with his chest and is carried comfortably forward on the wide wheels.

The decorative leather tassels on the handle bars flow in the wind, dancing like the rider’s rough, salt and pepper beard, past rippling tattoos of symbols of power. Music blares out like a flag, to let all the passers by know.

And the fanfare of this knight of the road.
Is James Blunt.

ComedySportz, Level 202 with Mel Evans

Today I had my first class at ComedySportz, a very different affair from yesterday’s call at the Annoyance. Whereas Annoyance is about looking after number one in order to look after everyone else, ComedySportz is all about short form games.

This morning I got up sprightly and early, finally well rested and in the right time zone. I wrote up some notes this morning, some emails, got my life in order. There is an immense freedom of having very little here to encumber me, just a few clothes, a fair amount of electronics and very few admin tasks except go to classes and ensure that my life is suitably hacked into simplicity.

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