I'm not one to make sentimental posts but alas, in lieu of recent events I feel compelled to. Last night was the first time I've felt really good since this shit happened. I'm still beaming today about how much fun was had.
To give you a bit of backstory, on November 17, I awoke at my friends house to find that my vehicle, which I practically live out of, was stolen out of his driveway in Apopka, FL. At first, in classic comedian fashion, I immediately thought my buddy was pulling one over on me, and in proper comedian fashion my buddy thought I was messing with him. Then the sheer panic set in. My house was gone. Then the realization that all my shit that was IN my car was gone too. See, I'm a comedian, of the professional variety. I make a living slinging jokes all across the country. Up until a few months ago, I haven't had a proper residence in 4 years. I've been couch surfing like a gypsy from town to town keeping all of my belongings in my car/house. My not even a year old MacBook Pro, my Nikon DSLR camera and 6 additional lenses, clothes, toiletries, merchandise, practically everything I owned and used on a regular basis was in the vehicle. All replaceable things. Sure. The worst part was what I couldn't replace, my external hard drive which contained every picture I had taken in the last 10 years, every set I ever recorded, my notebooks with jokes and ideas, all my promotional materials... The list goes on. All gone. I felt violated. It was like being emotionally raped. Some stranger had a rather large portion of my recorded life. All my music, memories, my work, even my favorite dick pix! I earned those! I even had this ridiculous fantasy where the thieves just returned the hard drive and my notebooks, kept the rest and I'd be fine with it.
When I announced what had happened people immediately came to my aid. Fellow comedian Julie Scoggins, was posting on social media about people donating funds for me. I hadn't even thought about it and I as unsure how I felt about it. Pride has a funny way of stifling your ability to accept help. People I didn't even know personally were donating, people who had only seen me perform were donating, family, friends, friends of friends. All of these people were coming together to help me out. I couldn't understand why but was overwhelmed by it. Being on the road as much as I am, being alone as often as I am, the world sometimes seems small and isolated. It's easy to be cynical. This was quite the reminder that people aren't shit, there just are shitty people.
A few local Orlando comics had the idea of putting on a benefit show to help raise money to help replenish the things I'd lost. And what a show it ended up being! It's fascinating to me what you find out about people in times like these. So many great comedians, including some nationally touring headliners donated their comedic talents. (The line up included: Carmen Vallone, Myke Herlihy, Larry Fulford, Dean Napolitano, Pedro Lima, Alex Luchun, Adam Murray, Nick Pupo and Clayton Anderson) My friend Pedro Recio, graphic designer badass, donated his time and artistic ability to make the poster for the show. THE Wilt Chamberlins performed some killer fun tunes. Tommy Mot, owner of Spacebar, let us hold the event at his venue. Cesar Fernandez was not only a stellar bartender but also set up the room to accommodate the large crowd. My dear friend Dave from David J. Photography took photographs of the show. Countless amout of people shared the event, spread the word, even made their own promotional materials. Local comedians came to show their support. Joe Chlapowski worked the door for me. So many people helped and I couldn't be more greatful. Pedro Lima, fellow comedian who performed at the benefit, had the brilliant idea to have a "Not so Silent Auction" where we'd auction off stuff I owned and things people donated (some of which included a video camera, gravity tobacco pipe, pornography and venom toy from 1994). This ended up being one of my favorite parts of the show. We had no idea how it was going to go considering Pedro had never auctioned anything off and gave eloquent descriptions of the items like, "Some stripper doll" and "A camera thingy for your iphone, or any phone in existence." By the end of it he was trying to auction off the records that were being displayed on the wall. The kid crushed it.
There ended up being over 90 people attending the show over the course of the evening. Every comedian who performed did well. The audience got quite a show for $5. I was quite pleased as was everyone involved. It was awesome how something so fun came from something so shitty. I can't thank everyone who was a part of this enough. You made this daffy broad feel like people give a shit. I appreciate it it all so much. Hugs all around! Now don't tell anyone I was being this mushy.