Tales from the Road: A Gonzo Review by Hugh Murray
I figured I would start with the ending destination. Here is a picture of Terry McNeely and myself with some fans that wanted to chat us up after the show. I’m pretty sure that Jewish girl was trying to act like she was a Latina from “New Yawk” and was butchering our accents. The tall fella reminded me of some kind of gay/Jewish Tony Soprano with a Mr. T starter kit.
The story starts late Monday night, early Tuesday morning. They picked me up at midnight. We weren’t stopping until we hit Youngstown, Ohio where our first show was at a place called O’Donold’s. I knew the trip was going to be awesome by the fact that George was already a few beers deep. 7 shows in 7 days. I have never done anything like this before, but this is the norm for pros like Terry and headliner George Gallo.
George passed out early so I felt it was my obligation to occupy Terry’s mind during the red-eye trip to Ohio. It’s always nice getting pearls of wisdom from an older, more mature man. For example, “Cardio is for queers and women. Its like salad.” or “You know, the handicapped have it a little too fucking good with these parking spots.” and “Don’t have sex with virgins, bro. They cry. Then you are supposed to talk to them and they got a mess on their back and I have shit to do.” After very few short stops we made it to Youngstown. Where we were staying wasn’t a shithole, yet the town of Youngstown is a notorious one. It’s the halfway point between New York and Chicago. An infamous crime stop. There was actually a pool indoors, so Terry and I got to go swimming for a bit. That was fun. Those two decided to go get coffee and terrorize the town and I had to catch up on some sleep.
At about 7pm we went over to the venue. It was packed with people. The suspense was killing me. I wanted to charm these Buckeyes out of their socks. We waited a few hours for more of a crowd to roll in and talked with the owner and some staff. The show was supposed to start at 9:30PM anyway.
It was cool, the venue owner also owned the hot dog joint next door which was also hopping with people. Eventually we started the show to silence. A crowd that sat there with crossed arms and an expression on their face that said “Make me laugh, clown.” I was the host and MC (short for master of ceremonies) for this road trip, so it was my job to crack open their senses of humor. I think I did a marvelous job because the rest of the night I was dodging
requests demands to “Do a shot of Fireball with me!” I always love the crowd that was so tense and stuck up, until they heard us tell our cute little jokes. I love watching their faces turn. Laughing in spite of themselves. It’s like their eyes are saying “I don’t want to be laughing at this but damn was it funny.”
Usually it is those same stuck up jerks that make the night awesome. Hanging out after the show, the rest of the night consisted of bar jokes and story telling to anybody that would listen until it was time to go back to the hotel and crash. Not just us telling jokes and stories, we love to hear from the audience members. I know that this is usually where I write my best material. Messing with people after the show.
One question…What the fuck do people do between the hours of 2AM and 4:30AM in any place besides New York?
Next stop was Reilly’s in Michigan City, Indiana. We packed our shit into the car and started driving. Apparently there is something called a “Flash Snow Storm” and this is when the sky opens up and dumps 2 feet of diarrhea-snow on to your dumb, unsuspecting face. The result?
We didn’t move for 6 hours. The result?
Well that wasn’t the only result. George recorded a video where he made funny faces for 2 minutes. They also got out of the car and made friends with everyone around them. I caught up on sleep because why the fuck not?
I was told when I woke that the next place we were hitting had a cool bunch of dudes. Apparently every time George and Terry walk into Reilly’s of Michigan City, Indiana the guys there are like “Hey, the comedians are here! Lets try to kill them!” Rather then using something productive like an axe or a 12 gauge shotgun, their weapon of choice was Jameson. So I was curious to meet this crew. If I was still a drinker, they would have attempted to give me alcohol poisoning. They would have realized the results would have been like hitting a mogwai with a Super Soaker.
Due to the time-space continuum, we weren’t that late for this show after a 6 hour traffic jam. A small pocket of Indiana actually follows a different timezone then the rest of it so we were only about an hour late for our show. We literally got out of the car and started the show. I changed in the bar bathroom to something somewhat presentable. A hoodie and jeans with a fitted LA Dodgers hat. My typical travel gear was a hoodie, sweatpants and my Ugg slippers with a Northface skull-cap. It was like a Cinderella transformation!
Alas, the show must always go on. So we performed for a small, intimate crowd and had an awesome time. I loved the fact that we could smoke on stage. Terry had an orgasm over that same fact. We had fun with the boys over there until close. One of them actually hit $250 on some weird lottery machine they had. I didn’t rob him because I am a gentleman. Then it was time to find a place to sleep. The place in our budget had hard wood floors and no cots, so I sprung for my own room and caught some solid sleep on an actual bed.
In the morning, next stop was Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 5 shows at The Comedy Cafe. The crown jewel of our little Midwest tour. No atrocities on the road this time. Just old fashion hung over driving and cigarette smoke. Thursday we had one show at the club so we had very little down time at the awesome condo that the club put us up in for the weekend. We grabbed some cheeseburgers at a bar down the block and jetted to the club.
Thank God that this was the only show where we felt uncomfortable. It did not set the tone of the weekend at all. A small crowd who hated us and we were out for the night. Everyone was a little tired but the condo was above a nightclub so you couldn’t even get to sleep until the House music simmered down for the night. A little note on this club… it was the darkest place I’ve ever been into (and I don’t mean the lighting). It was like when the Animal House crew bumped into Bubba Smith at the club every time we walked into this place. Thank God no one wanted to dance with our dates.
We packed it in for the night because we found out that we had to do a spot on Milwaukee’s 1250AM sports talk-radio in the morning. You can listen to that spot here. It was a lot of fun and you can hear what we set out to do and what our personalities are like on the air or stage. We play off of each other very well. I mean, this is my 4th road trip with George and Terry (5th with Terry). Plus the countless shows we have done in Long Island and NYC with the tons of hours conversing at the bar and making each other laugh. Our chemistry would be great for a podcast, but who doesn’t have a fucking podcast these days? Actually, just us 3. That’s it. In the entire country.
Friday was an awesome night for us. We had two shows at The Comedy Cafe. The first one was almost sold out and I crushed. It felt amazing to host such an awesome crowd. They followed me everywhere I went. I brought up Terry who then continued the crushing and it all ended with George bringing the show home, knocking the night out of the park. The late shows are never as great which sucks because it takes away from the buzz you get from the early show. However, we didn’t let that stop us from rocking a more intimate crowd and having fun.
Saturday was another awesome day for us. The city of Milwaukee started celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. So what do 3 jerks from New York do? Start causing mayhem. George “starts interviewing dogs and talking to strangers” as Terry puts it. Complete bedlam. And oh hey, a familiar face.
After this, we had to get the pictures developed so that was another adventure. Hearing George scream at gigantic black women at a Walgreens because they closed at 7PM and it was 7:15PM was one of the most hilarious moments of the weekend. At any given time George will start talking like an old man or a Pakistani soldier or even Gilbert Gottfried. The chaos never stops. Everyone is a target.
Earlier, we decided to stop by some museums and walk down by the water. Why? Because these two fucks are lunatics. It was 20 degrees and they decide to take a winterly stroll down by the water to look at science and art. It’s amazing how complex these two comics are. One minute Terry is getting high blood pressure because of gas prices on RT-80 or guzzling scotch by the gallon and the next he is taking pictures of a mellow sunset while listening to a Wings song. Or George riled up some St. Bernard looking dog to practically murder the owner then he’ll take pictures of power lines or a water tower for inspiration for his day job as an architect.
I have to admit that the architecture was impressive and the science museum was dedicated to Nikola Tesla (one of my personal heroes) which I would have loved to see but it was closing in 45 minutes so we hiked back to a Starbucks to have some words with a drunk, bitter comic talking shit about us back on Long Island followed by some showers, dinner and heading to the club.
Saturday was becoming our funnest day by the time we got to The Comedy Cafe. The fact that the Saturday night early show was sold the fuck out rocked the scales. Standing room only. Check it out.
This was the type of crowd comedians dream of. This was the type of crowd that makes you remember why you tour the country getting paid in potato chips and Scotch. This was the type of crowd that you are glad to have when you are on your first tour with some good friends.
The night ended early because of our looming drive back to New York. 9AM and it was wake up time. Sunday we had to drive home. Terry was all excited for St. Patrick’s Day on Monday so he wanted to “Mad Dog it” home. On this ride we heard classic phrases like “Bi-polar ghouls” “dumping the map of Hawaii on her back” “Anti-Jew tactic” “Mr. Snoozels” and other various terms that might be used against us in a court of law one day.
The only times we stopped were to smoke or shit. 18 hours of driving from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Levittown, New York. We hit a coffee spot at the last available Starbucks where George pretended to be a 82-year-old shovel murderer. The barista asked me “How do you travel with those guys?” and I had to reply with “They’re my bosses.”
The 18 hours consisted of tons of 70’s music where Terry belted out some Barry Manilow solos. I started reading the book “John Dies At The End” which is fantastic so far. Then we stopped off in New Jersey to smoke and we found this. I don’t know if it was the sleep deprivation but this was the funniest thing in the world to us.
Well, this turned out to be a fun post for me. I hope you enjoyed our antics on the road as much as we did. To any person who came out to our shows along the way, thank you. Also thank you to Terry for the hustling and driving. I would never have been able to do it without you. You know, because of the DWI. Thanks to George for booking me on the tour and believing in my talent as a comic. You two are great friends and co-workers. Keep up the hustle, boys!