The following is my “what I did on my trip to New York” report for the class. Those of you who are bored by all but comics snark may wish to skip it, but I had such a good time meeting my readers that I feel obligated to memorialize the experience.
On Friday the lovely Mrs. C. and myself drove to New York, as is our usual M.O. It’s cheaper than the train and more convenient than the Chinatown bus. Plus, her brother lives on a little side street in a part of Carroll Gardens that’s on the edge of an industrial area, so we’ve traditionally been able to park right in front of his building and just forget about the car until it comes time to go back home. Over the last year or so, some new apartment buildings have opened nearby, making it more difficult to find parking, but when we arrived Friday afternoon we were able to snag a remarkably large spot just a block away, and so we gathered our stuff and headed over to my brother-in-law’s apartment, leaving the car behind and thinking nothing of it (FORESHADOWING FORESHADOWING FORESHADOWING).
That night, we arrived at Joe’s Pub for the ROFL show, and I was pretty nervous. In fact, I had been growing increasingly nervous ever since I had agreed to participate. I had been so overjoyed that someone liked me enough to ask me to do it that I had temporarily forgotten my total lack of any kind of on stage comedy performance experience. Anyway, while my wife and friends were enjoying the pricey drinks at their table, I was sequestered in the backstage “green room” (note: not actually green) where Mandy Moore and her band had been livin’ large only 24 hours previously. Here I met the other ROFLers, as well as faithful reader HBGlord, who was friends with both the impresario who was running the gig and my competitor Cintra Wilson, so he managed to sneak back stage. Here’s the two of us:
I know we look really angry at each other, but we’re not, honest. Cintra Wilson took this picture, perhaps in some kind of attempt to psyche me out. It’s better than the other one, trust me. At least we’re both kind of facing towards the camera.
Anyway, soon we were called up on stage to do our schtick, and I was the last out of eight called, with my anxiety increasing all the while because of the hilariousness of my rivals. Still, there was quite a gratifying amount of hooting when I was introduced. And, just as I was about to start, the most amazing thing happened: a young woman with long brown hair and a groovy shirt stepped up to the edge of the stage and handed me an origami crane for good luck! It was really heartening! I did get to talk to her a bit later, and she said she would be at MoCCA artfest Sunday, but I never saw her. Where are you, mystery origami crane lady? Make yourself known, I beg of you!
Days later, Josh was still contemplating the crane and its meaning.
Anyway, I was really pleased with how my routine went over. We were supposed to present funny things we found on the Internet; I had a slideshow of my favorite spam e-mails, which meant that I got to tell a bunch of dick jokes. If you’re wondering what an ill-lit pic of me on stage telling dick jokes looks like, this it:
Here’s a better picture of my wife and brother-in-law in the audience. You can tell they’re having a good time because they have such a funny guy in the family!
Victory in each of the rounds was decided by audience reaction, and while my litany of penis humor got what seemed to me to be an excellent response, the judges determined that intensity counted for more than duration (something all those spam messages only reinforced), so I got booted. Which was fine, as I got to sit with my friends and drink rather than continue to sweat onstage. I do regret that I didn’t get to unleash my “Spider-Man Gets Molested” opus on the world, but I plan on putting both it and my spam collection on this site at some point soon for those who are interested.
After the show came the best part, though, as I was immediately beset by an awesome group of well-wishers. You’ll note that I don’t have any pictures of them. Why? Because I’m a moron. I beg of anybody who ever meets me in real life — get me to take a picture of us together so I can put it on the damn blog. But you’ll have to take my word for it that these people were all awesome and good-looking and funny and pleasant. In addition to the aforementioned HBGlord and mysterious origami lady, there was faithful reader loudfan and her husband. It was great talking to her not least because she was one of my very first readers … she was linking to me way back in September of 2004, when I was still on Blogger. Also present was a host of people whose names I forget because I am absolutely terrible with names, especially if I’m given a bunch of new ones all at once. But there was a fellow who wore his white cardigan because it looked like something Dr. Troy would wear, and a nice young man with a blue shirt and glasses, and pleasant bald fellow who said he posted now and again with a nickname that contained the word “cowboy” and … others! If I’m forgetting you, please let me know!
Sunday it was time for the MoCCA artfest. I met up with faithful reader Mademoiselle Hepzibah (aka Emily Gordon of Emdashes fame). Just as I was about to launch into the fray, I got a call from my wife: our car was no longer where we had parked it! Amber and Emily and I all made some phone calls (mostly Amber, to be honest), and just when I was really on the verge of thinking I should go back to Brooklyn to help her find it, she called to announce that the car has been towed to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where all we had to do was go and pick it up some time before 7, which seemed like it would be a trouble-free exercise (FORESHADOWING FORESHADOWING FORESHADOWING), so we agreed to stick with our current plans.
Slightly delayed, we plunged into the crowd, and after a little nervousness, I began to encounter more and more people who recognized me — or, even more delightfully for me, recognized my Finger Quotin’ Margo t-shirt. Again, my complete inability to remember names will make this report lamer than it ought to be, but faithful readers I encountered include Lorinne and Francis, who asked for a picture with me (which is the only reason I have this one … I reiterate the picture-taking request above):
Also encountered were a very nice man who writes young adult novels, and his Australian wife who said “So did you tell him how obsessed you are with his site?”; a nice lady named Sumana who wants to interview me (and yes, I have your card, and yes, I am going to e-mail you soon!), and, totally bizarrely, a guy I went to high school with, who I really was planning to double back and chat more with but was unable to find again (Dave, e-mail me!) And … many others! Please jog my memory if I have left you out! It was a very overwhelming day, and everybody was so nice!
On the note of comics creators, I got to chat with Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics, who is very tall; David Maliki of the amusing Wondermark and the amazing Comic Strip Doctor who was selling, among other things, t-shirts that read “Garfield isn’t funny”; Richard Marcej, who gave me a free copy of his hilarious Bastard Tales comic books; and, most exciting for me (no offense, Ryan, David, and Richard!), Alison Bechdel of longtime Dykes To Watch Out For fame and recent Fun Home acclaim, and with whom I got another pic:
People who I really tried to find but couldn’t include Julia Wertz of The Fart Party and Jeffrey Rowland of Overcompensating (sniff!). Maybe next time? Also, I heard a rumor that a short young lady and her aunt were looking for me, but I didn’t find them … apologies!
This was the first time that I actually told my readers where they could find me, and I’m pleased to announce that you’re all exactly as funny and good-looking and nice as I imagined you to be. I can only hope you think the same of me!
After a subway ride back to Brooklyn, Mrs. C. and I headed over to the Navy Yard to get our car back. First, I should say that, despite my previous gripes, it was totally a legitimate tow job. We were parked in a bus stop. I ride the bus a lot here in Baltimore, and when there’s a car parked in the bus stop, it’s a pain for both the driver and the passengers trying to get on and off the bus. Bus riders have as much right to get around conveniently as car drivers, so we shouldn’t have parked there. End of story.
Of course, the bus stop sign was awfully tall.
And partly obscured by a tree.
And the stop was in the middle of a block rather than at the corner.
And the curb wasn’t marked.
I’m just saying.
Anyway, we arrived at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, feeling entitled to indulge and go by car service rather than subway. As we headed for the
well-appointed office trailer that housed the people we needed to see — the office was charmingly called “Redemption” — we were feeling kind of smug:
But the trip to redemption is never easy. I won’t go too deeply into the details of the next 18 hours or so. Let me just offer this warning: if you move out of state, and then back into your original state a year later, when you re-register your car, you’d better make sure that they actually put your newly issued license plate numbers on your registration, instead of just finding your old registration in the system and reactivating it, old license plate numbers and all. If it weren’t for an incredibly nice woman at the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration who was able to cut through the Gordian knot of bureaucracy (and who will be getting flowers from us, by the way), in all likelihood we would have come home on the train and been touring auto dealerships for the rest of the week. This picture of Amber pretty much shows how we felt by the time we were redeemed:
Believe you me, we’re getting a They’ll Do It Every Time entry out of this, as several of you suggested.
But now we have the car back, and we’re going to hug her and kiss her and love her for as long as we have her!
And now I’m back in my natural habitat — wearing my pajamas, sitting on my ass in front of the computer. But I loved my trip into the big scary world to meet all of you! Hopefully I will do it again soon! And if I’ve forgotten anybody, please let me know and I’ll update things.
UPDATE! The mysterious origami crane lady has revealed herself as faithful reader targemq8, aka Margaret Cross! She says she often makes birds in bars so as to have something to do with her hands and thus drink more slowly. Because I was so touched by her gesture, I provide links to her professional site and MySpace page.
Also! Another person I encountered at MoCCA was faithful reader Cornwacker! I’m embarrassed that I forgot about her, because she was a comic artist selling her wares and handed me a charming, miniscule pamphlet featuring sketches from her sketchbook. Cornwacker, send me a link to your work and I’ll put it up! UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Faithful reader Cornwhacker is the genius behind Fridge-Mag.net; the pamphlet she gave me was The beasts of ballpoint.
Also also! I can’t believe I forgot to re-pimp the new round of Margo!Boxcar!Saturn shirts and mugs!
We need a minimum order to make a run, people, so head on over to faithful reader willethompson’s site to buy yours today.