Top Ten Bombs (So Far)

Jeff | Uncategorized | Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

Top Ten Bombs (So Far)

I love asking fellow comedians about their biggest bombs. To me there’s nothing more entertaining than a great bomb story, so with that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of my top ten bombs over my first four years as a stand-up comedian. With stops in B.C., Nova Scotia and all over southern Ontario, I’m proud to say I’ve shit the bed all across this great country. Without further ado, here’s my best of the worst.

#10 – The Yellow Griffin – Toronto, Ontario – Summer ‘04

After my first three jokes died, a bald guy with a goatee started to heckle me. I countered him with the line “Shut up Stone Cold Steve Autism” which earned me my only laugh of the night. Too bad I’d ripped the line off of my buddy Tyler Morrison. After another two of my jokes bombed I told Stone Cold “If you want me to get off the stage give me a hell ya.”
“Hell yah.” slurred baldie. With that I ended my 90 second set.

#9 – Fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Ajax – Yuk Yuk’s Ajax – April 2006

If I would have known the average age of an Ajax Rotary Club member was 87, I never would have agreed to this gig. The only laugh I got out of the sea of grey-hairs was when I told the crowd “The only reason you’re not laughing is because I remind everyone in this crowd of their unemployed grandson.” Things got so bad I even sang Stompin’ Tom Conner’s The Hockey Song in it’s entirety, which was by far the hackiest thing I’ve ever done on stage, until I did it again at another terrible stand-up show in Acton. The song has grown on me however and it’s now become one of my bombing staples. If you’re ever at one of my shows and I bust out “The Hockey Song” (a.k.a. pissing on Richard Pryor’s grave) realize that it’s too late for me and save yourself. This show was so bad I cancelled all of my Yuk Yuk’s gigs for the rest of the month and didn’t do another set for three weeks.

#8 – The Stelco Fishing Awards and Comedy Night – Hamilton, Ont. – April 2006

This was the most fun I’ve had at an absolute hell gig. I owe it all to the show’s emcee, whose atrociously hacky act had headliner Peter Anthony and I in stitches. I felt better and better about myself with every outdated impression this guy did. That night I discovered that the only cure for tanking in front of 400 drunken fishermen in a church basement is watching a middle-aged man put on a toilet paper turban and belt out a song parody of Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” entitled “He’s Buying a 7/11.”

#7 – Yuk Yuk’s Kitchener – June 2nd 2007

Don’t ask me why, but Yuk Yuk’s always sends me to this fuckin’ barn. I’ve played Yuk Yuk’s Kitchener far more than I have any other club (excluding the downtown Toronto club) and up until this night I had always done fairly well there. On this night though, my set went down the drain after getting into a verbal sparring match with a couple of trailer hitches in the front row. The feud reached its climax when one of the trailer hitches gave me a backhanded compliment.

Drunk Chick From Kitchener – “Hey! Hey! Your last joke was funny. I laughed at THAT one.”

Me – “Oh thank you dear that’s the validation I’ve been searching for. I’ve won award after award but I’ve never had some bitch in Kitchener drunk off of three Mike’s Hard Lemonades…

Drunk Chick From Kitchener – “I’m not drinking Mike’s Hard, I’m drinking white wine.”

Me – “You’re not classy enough to be drinking white wine. Hey Buddy (pointing to her husband) get’er a Laker (a popular Ontario beer) and go fuck her in your truck.”

#6 – The “Concert for Etobicoke” – Etobicoke, Ontario – Summer ‘04

Don’t ask me how but my uncle Todd convinced me to do some stand-up in between bands at a rock show he was billing as “The Concert for Etobicoke.” Seeing as how I only had about four jokes at the time, I recruited fellow Humber students Steph Tolev, Andrew Chapman, Bredan McKeigan and Tyler Morrison to perform at the show as well. When I arrived at the venue, I was surprised to see only about 25 elderly people in the audience. Eventually, I tracked down my uncle and inquired about the crowd. “Hey do you know anybody in the audience?” “Yah most of them go to my church.” It’s at that moment that I realized this wasn’t just a rock show, it was a Christian rock show. I decided to keep this knowledge to myself at the risk of pissing off the other performers. Steph didn’t want to be there anyways so she sped through her set and took off. Andrew Chapman and Brendan McKeigan fared pretty well, but my offensive jokes were greeted with stern silence. I angered the church elders so much when comedian Andrew Evans (who stopped by to do an ill-fated guest spot) did a fairly tame joke, a woman shouted “Clean it up!” They had know idea what was about to hit them.

The last comedian of the night was my buddy Tyler Morrison who was (and still is) one of the funniest / most offensive comics I’ve ever met. During a short intermission, I warned Morrison to take it easy on the conservative crowd. “I saw a chick in a wheelchair. I won’t do any of my wheelchair jokes.” Tyler assured me. I sat nervously in the crowd while Morrison took the stage and launched into his dynamite opening joke. “I got hit by a drunk driver last week, yah my dad drove home from the bar and punched me in the face.” Just then an old woman who was seated next to the girl in the wheelchair,  stormed up to the sound booth and tried to get Tyler’s mic cut off. Guess how the girl ended up in a wheelchair. It wouldn’t be the last time I’d disappoint my uncle.

#5 – The Office – Peterborough, Ontario – Summer 2005

About a year after pissing off the elders at his church, I coaxed my uncle into driving me and Dan Dunn (the emcee) to my first professional Yuk Yuk’s show. When we arrived at the venue, a run down bar in Peterborough, I saw at least five women wearing jean jackets and then watched as Dan Dunn tried unsuccessfully to use his comic status to get a free hotdog. Yes, after two years in the minors I’d finally made the big time. I only wish my debut in the bigs had gone better as I ate a shit sandwich for twelve minutes and then watched talented headliner Rob Ross destroy for over an hour.
On the drive back home, my uncle and Dan Dunn split a joint and talked about ZZ Top while I stared out the passenger’s side window and tried not to cry.

#4 – Opening for Wilmot – Yuk Yuk’s Toronto – December 2005

A week after winning the Tim Sims Encouragement Award, I got a chance to middle the Saturday shows at the Yuk Yuk’s Superclub in downtown Toronto, Headlining that weekend was Mike Wilmot, who many (including myself) consider to be the best in the business. I saw this as my chance to prove that I could hang with the best.

After dying the first show, I managed to convince myself that the crowd had simply been too old to relate to my material. As a much younger crowd filed in for the second show, my confidence grew back and I told Mike Wilmot “If I don’t kill this show, I’m quitting stand-up.”

“Time to apply to teacher’s college Jeffo.” I thought to myself after tanking for the second time that evening. Knowing Wilmot like I do now, I’m surprised he didn’t verbally tear my shit-talking rookie ass apart after the show. Instead Mike simply offered his condolences and I went home, drank a mickey of Alberta Premium and puked in my shower.*

*This bomb actually has a happy ending. The very next night I was up at Yuk Yuk’s again and killed. Afterwards, Wilmot and his friend the hilarious Lewis Black (who had also performed that night) both complimented me on my set. To this day it remains one of the highlights of my career and to this day fuckin’ Wilmot still rips on me for almost shitting my pants after meeting Lewis Black.

#3 – Big Leagues – Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia – August 5th 2007

As soon as I stepped inside the ironically named “Big Leagues” Sports Bar in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, I knew I was fucked. The interior of the bar hadn’t changed since the 1970’s (patrons included.) Twelve minutes and zero laughs later, (even The Hockey Song died) headliner Chuck Byrn came to my rescue and I spent the next hour wandering around, taking in the sights and smells of downtown Cole Harbour. When I returned to the bar, I was astonished to see Chuck still on stage. For the first time in a long time, I felt like a total amateur.

#2 – Can’t Remember The Name of the Bar So Let’s Go With “Satan’s Asshole” – Williams Lake, B.C. – November 21st 2007

The patrons of Big Leagues seemed cultured compared to the barflies in this hillbilly shithole. This was every comic’s worst nightmare, with tv’s blaring above me and a group of drunk loggers playing pool directly beside the stage, I lasted fifteen minutes and then closed my HBO special by saying “Thanks guys I’d like to stick around but if you’ll excuse me my belt has a date with my neck.”

#1 – Master of Ceremonies at my Cousin Bob’s Wedding – Caledon, Ontario – Fall 2005

Oh God was this a nightmare. I’d been dreading emceeing my cousin’s wedding since the day I’d foolishly agreed to do so. Thankfully the eccentric Japanese wedding photographers Bob and his wife Lindsay hired took forever setting up and I was told to cut my “little comedy skit” short due to time restraints. I only told one joke and even that proved to be too many as my zinger only elicited three slight chuckles out of a room of well over 200 people. All I had to do now was introduce the wedding party and conduct the speeches. Well I forgot the wife’s parent’s last name and the mic cut out on me 700 times during the speeches. I was so brutal not one family member complimented me afterwards. Instead one of the eccentric Japanese wedding photographers shook my hand and said “Great job Jeremy.”

The humiliation didn’t end there however. Immediately following the reception came the dance, where every member of the wedding party was forced to take part some complicated line dance. Having no coordination whatsoever, I angrily clusterfucked my way through four minutes of “Boot Scootin’ Boogie.” At the end of the song, the smart-ass deejay pointed straight at me and announced “Looks like somebody needs to work on his dance steps eh!” which garnered a bigger laugh from my relatives than my one joke had just hours before. “Shut up and play ‘Butterfly Kisses’ asshole.” I mumbled as I stomped off to bed well before 10pm.


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