Thursday, October 28, 2004


Fun show at Fresno State earlier tonight--good turnout, friendly audience. It was such a good show, in fact, I really have nothing to say about it. It's funny how I can write paragraph after paragraph about a shitty gig, but have nothing to say about the relatively good ones.

But enough about that. The important thing is that, sitting across the aisle on the plane from me this morning, was legendary crooner and national treasure Tony Bennett. I have no idea why Tony Bennett would need to take a 35 seat, coach-only puddle jumper from Los Angeles to Fresno, but there you have it. Even cooler, he was nattily dressed in an expensive suit, with a ruby red pocket square and slightly-too-large-for-his-face tinted sunglasses. I like it when celebrities go the extra mile to be who they "are" in public, even if it means sacrificing a bit of comfort. You think Tony Bennett, you think classy suit and pocket square--to see him farting around in sweat pants and a Cookie Puss t-shirt would just seem...I don't know, not right.

Seeing Tony Bennett look so "Tony Bennett" makes me think that maybe I should start to cultivate a "look". Sure, I look hot as hell in my pastiche of Old Navy and The Gap, but maybe it's time for more memorable performance-wear. Here are a few ideas for my new "look":

* Urban Pirate
* Breakdancing Satanist
* Faggy Spaceman
* Hooker with a Heart of Gold
* Native American Jello Wrestler
* Lobster Boy Chic
* Grunge Barrister
* Stroke Victim Nouveau
* "Brendan", that creepy neighborhood kid who tortures small animals

If you have any suggestions, speak now or forever hold your peace.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


As I've mentioned here on a number of occasions, I am not a Boston Red Sox fan, despite my having spent the first 18 years of my life in Massachusetts. Still, I must say that I am very happy for Red Sox fans everywhere, including my family and childhood friends. I watched the game tonight with a few transplanted New Englanders, including one dude who is easily the most intense baseball fanatic I will ever meet. And when the game finally came to an end, my friend was crying, jumping up and down, screaming to the heavens and basically having a religious experience in front of my eyes. I must say, it was pretty amazing. Of course, if I was cynical I could mention that ten seconds later he started an enthusiastically received chant of "Yankees suck", thereby proving that even in a moment of supreme glory, Red Sox fans (and the city of Boston in general) will always need feel the need to measure themselves in terms of how they relate to the Yankees (and New York in general). But I won't.

In all seriousness, congratulations to everyone from my prodigal hometown.

And on a completely different note, I should briefly mention that beloved character actor John C. Reilly told me he enjoyed my set last night. An old friend of mine from NYC now lives out here and produces a really hip monthly vaudeville show. Apparently Jay Mohr was supposed to make an appearance, but he bailed, so my friend asked me if I wanted to swing by after what turned out to be a semi-lackluster USC show. I did and it was definitely surreal in that bizarre L.A. kind of way. Apparently, people were upset because famous photographer Bruce Weber had reserved the majority of the tables, meaning that other movers and shakers folks were actually made to stand (Heaven forfend!). Luckily, they found a seat for Marisa Tomei (WHEW!) and someone named Samantha Ronson (should I know who she is?), but John C. Reilly was forced to mill around by the bar, where sightlines to the stage were extremely limited. But I guess he saw enough of my set that he felt compelled to give me props--either that, or he just felt awkward that I happened to be standing there next to him and tossed me one of those "Good Job comments that I wrote about a couple of weeks back. Still, it was pretty neat.

In other strange "celebrity" sightings, members of the seminal punk band The Misfits were staying here at the Best Western Sunset Plaza last night, and I saw some weird looking dude I recognized from "Melrose Place" (Grant Show, maybe?) sitting in the window of a shitty Mexican restaurant. Hollywood glitz, baby!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


I'm not sure how many of you know this, but last week marked the 30th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons. That's right, 30--which, incidentally, is the age at which most D&D players lose their virginity. But seriously, it's hard not to feel a tad nostalgiac. If you were a suburban teenager in the 1980's chances are you have, at some point, sat in some kid's basement with the "Monster Manual" (or "Fiend Folio", if you were more advanced) and a pad of graph paper, weilding an imaginary broadsword with one hand and a far-more-real bag of Cool Ranch Doritos in the other. Of course, the fascination for most of us lasted only a brief time--I think I lost interest after about six weeks. But for some, like my older brother (Hi, John!), D&D was less a passing trend and more an all-encompassing way of life. It seems like only yesterday that the living room of my house was filled every Friday night with my older brother's ragtag collection of greasy-haired, scoliosis-wracked, B.O.-laden friends, fighting over who was weilding whatever fucking amulet or how much damage a +3 mace would do against a neutral evil Drow Elf wearing ringmail. Ah, memories.

Anyway, there's no debating that 30 years is something of an accomplishment for a game that consists of kids sitting around a table and pretending to do shit. I plan on celebrating by coming back to my hotel after tonight's gig, buying a six-pack of Lonely Inebriation potions, using my Wand of Remote Control to flip channels and treating my penis like a melee weapon.

Happy aniversary, Dungeons & Dragons! We raise up a flagon of mead in your honor.

Monday, October 25, 2004


Alright, enough of this non-posting shit--I'm back...and as marginally funny as ever!

Rather than try and think of some grand p[ost that would somehow make up for the fact that I haven;t written shit lately, I'm just going to type for a while and that will hopefully get me on a roll for the week. I'm probably going to have a good bit of downtime this week, so I plan on posting something every damn day, even if it's nothing funny. Anyway, where do I start...

In a few hours, I'll be headed to Los Angeles. This will be second of three trips to California I'm taking over the course of three weeks. I'm doing a little mini-tour of West Coast colleges, sponsored by FHM Magazine. I still have very high hopes for the three gigs I have this week and the one or two more I have in the weeks following. But the first one, last Tuesday at Cal State San Marcos, was...well, very odd. Cal State San Marcos is a very tiny school that was founded less than a decade ago, and less than 10% of the students live on campus. Already, that didn't bode well for a huge turnout. But then, the clincher: it was pouring rain. Now I know what you're thinking: So what? A little rain never hurt anyone! Well, someone should spread the word to Southern California, because in the greater San Diego area, you would have thought this light drizzle was a biblical plague of locusts. I've actually written on this subject before, the LAST time I did a college gig in Southern California.

The upshot is, in a performance space that was designed to seat 250 people, a mere 30-35 students actually showed the fuck up. Behold, the mighty drawing power of Christian Finnegan! Oh, but wait--it gets better: the "performance space" I speak of? It was a lecture hall. Yes, a lecture hall. Now you're probably thinking, "Surely he doesn't mean, like, a classroom!" Yes, I mean that I performed a full show in a fully lit classroom, standing in front of a projection screen, playing to a smattering of kids in tiered seats with mini-desks attached. It was a truly bizarre aligning of the shitty-gig planets.

Strange thing is, I actually had a lot of fun. The situation was so surreal, I couldn't even be bummed by it. and this kids who DID show up were a pretty cool group and I ended up doing a full hour and ten minutes, which is probably the longest set I've ever done, and there was still a good bit of material I never got to. I guess you could call that a "moral victory", right? That said, I sincerely hope that this week's shows won't fall into the same category--I've had enough character-building experiences to last a fucking lifetime. I'm not even going to TELL you about the horrifying gig I did two days later, at the Columbia University Computer Science Department 25th Anniversary Banquet (no, I'm not kidding). Tonight, I'm at Cal State Long Beach, tomorrow I'm at USC and on Thursday, I head upstate to Cal State Fresno. I've been told that one of the shows (I can't remember which) is going to be taking place in a 1300 seat theatre, so I have reasonably high hopes. We shall see.

Alright, I'm going to get some shut-eye before I drag my ass to JFK. I'll have my brand-spanking-new laptop with me, so I'll be posting from sunny California.

Saturday, October 23, 2004


Jesus in a Wheelchair

Homeless Wizard

King Bloodfart

Stem Cell Manny


Spewbeard the Pirate

Friday, October 15, 2004


So I don't write for an entire week and then as soon as I come back I ask for a favor? Jeez, what a dick.

I've been hired to write this Valentines Day promotional booklet for 1-800-FLOWERS, whicvh is the main reason I haven't posted in a week. It's called the "Thoughtless Male Survival Guide" and I'm sure my girlfriend would claim it's the tome I was born to write. I know it sounds kind of silly, but I'll be getting a good deal of press for it, come February (barring unforseen catastrophes). Anyway, part of this little booklet is going to be me explaining to guys the right and wrong ways to deal with various relationship oriented fuck-ups. I'm supposed to come up with 25-30 different scenarios, and then write a little funny DO/DON'T thing about each. Problem is, coming up with the scenarios is proving more difficult than I would have thought. I was hoping you guys might have some ideas--ways you've screwed up (gentlemen), things boyfriends/husbands have to piss you off (ladies), etc.

Here are a few examples:

* You girlfriend catches you checking out another woman's ass on the sidewalk.
* A friend inadvertently reveals that you've been sharing the intimate details of your relationship with outsiders.
* You fail to notice your girlfriend's new hairdo.
* You mistakenly call your wife by an ex-girlfriend's name.
* Your girlfriend opens up your internet browser and discovers your porno habits.

Anything spring to mind? If you would be so kind as to let me know, I'd be oh-so-grateful. As an early reward, I present to you this 14 clip of a pretty amazing kids show that's supposedly been picked up by MTV. If it makes it past two airings, I'll be suprised and impressed.

Thursday, October 07, 2004


Every once in a while, I like to share a bit of wisdom with those just starting out in the world of stand-up comedy. So I offer you new comics some advice: when you bomb (and trust me, you bomb--repeatedly), other stand up comics will react to you in a variety of ways. It's important you learn to decipher these "friendly" comments, so as to determine what is well-intentioned critique and what is bitter, self-centered assholery. So I will now provide you short list of things a fellow comic might say to you after a not-so-spectacular set, followed (in italics) by what each comment truly means. Please keep in mind that I am guilty of having used all of these bullshit platitudes at one time or another, and I'm sure plenty of people have used them on me. Anyway...enjoy!

COMMENT: "Good job."

TRANSLATION: You were a forgettable part of a lackluster evening. I am complimenting you only because I have a vague notion that you performed and now we've found ourselves standing around the bar, socializing with the same group of people. I remember that you weren't offensively bad, but if you asked me right now what I liked about your set, I'd probably say something vague, like "You said something up top that I really loved," and then excuse myself to go to the men's room.

COMMENT: "The audience really sucked tonight."

TRANSLATION: I like you as a person, so I am going to help you shift the blame for what just transpired off of your either half-written or over-written jokes and non-existent stage presence to a group of people whose only crime was to spend their hard-earned money and time trying to be entertained by you.

COMMENT: "Hey, how much time are we supposed to do?"

TRANSLATION: Thanks for going way over your allotted fucking time, asshole. There are seven other comics on the lineup, you goddamn prima dona, including ME! And with every moment that passes before I go up, the chances of the already-dwindling audience calling it a night increases, thereby robbing me of the opportunity to validate my pathetic excuse for a comedy career. And don't give me that 'I didnt see the light' bullshit--I saw you acknowledge the light, and you went ahead and did another ten minutes. Just because your closer didn't get laughs, that doesn't mean you get to keep toggling through bits until you elicit a chuckle substantial enough for you to slink offstage. You went way over your time and I want to let you know it. Of course, I'm putting in the form of a questions, so as to deny accountability.

COMMENT: "You've really been getting better lately."

TRANSLATION: Despite my having written you off as someone who will do nothing for the world of comedy other than clog up the works, tonight you somehow managed to make me laugh in spite of myself. Still, because of my deep-seeded resentment for anyone trying to succeed in my chosen field, I'm unable to pay you a straightforward compliment. Therefore, I will subtly imply that, for you, being funny is not the norm, while simultaneously positing myself as someone whose respect and judgment should mean something to you.

COMMENT: "You brought out the classics tonight."

TRANSLATION: When the fuck are you going to write some new material? I just wasted eight precious minutes of my life listening to you tell jokes I heard you tell four years ago. And let's be honest, here: your 'gold' ain't all that golden, something I hope to underscore by my use of the mock-grandiose "classics".

COMMENT: "A couple of those bits I hadn't heard before."

TRANSLATION: When the fuck are you going to write some new material? The fact that I isolated a "couple" of new bits is meant to convey just how rarely you come up with anything new. Also, note that I never suggested that these "new bits" were the least bit funny.

COMMENT: "I didn't see your set. How did it go?"

TRANSLATION: I absolutely saw your set and you bombed horribly. In fact, getting a blowjob in front of my mother would be less awkward than the comedic dirty bomb you just unleashed on the audience. Luckily, I'm reasonably confident you didn't see me standing in the room, so I can get away with claiming not have seen you perform, rather than force us both to acknowledge how awful you were (and are, if you want my honest opinion). I'm also asking how your set went because I'm curious to see what your response will be. I'm kind of hoping you'll claim it went really well, so when I meet up with my friends at the bar later, we can have a good laugh at what a deluded fuck you are.

Hope this helps, Mr. and Ms. Young Comedian. Now get out there and make America laugh!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


I realize this is a tad late in the game, but those of you in the New York area should really consider coming out to tonight's installment of Sob Stories at the Marquee. It's a wicked awesome (to use my native Massachusetts-ian dialect) lineup, including DC Benny, Tom Shillue, Jackie Kashian and The Onion's Andy Selsberg. Tonight's theme is "Performance Anxieties", which should lend itself to laughs galore. That's right, galore. GALORE!

The 'deets':

PSNBC presents Sob Stories
The Marquee
356 Bowery
(btwn Great Jones/E. 4th St.)
Doors 7:30; Show at 8:00 PM
$5.00 - NO drink minimum!

For more info, click here.

Come on out and feel the love. You shan't regret it.

Monday, October 04, 2004


Who's in Bed with Mommy This Week?

Where the Mild Things Are

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Jonathan Silverman Movie

If You Can't Remember It, It Didn't Happen!

Jesus Let Your Hamster Die

James and the Giant Bee-atch

Cedric and Cindy's Kooky Crazy Custody Hearing

One Day You'll Wake Up and Feel Genuine Disgust at Who You've Become

The Protocols of the Elders of Sillyville

Everybody Poops (Blood)

Garrett Gopher and the All-Male Bookstore

Make Way for Racist Ducklings

Integrating Ivestments and the Tax Code: Using the Tax Code to Enhance Returns and Add Value

Horton Hears a Very Funny AIDS Joke

Learn How to Throw a Baseball, You Goddamn Fairy!