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Episode 59:
Gareth Reynolds
Notes: Released Jul 21, 2014
Sketch Comic / Writer / Podcaster Gareth Reynolds talks Bears / Packers, growing up in Milwaukee and making the move to LA. Also about hitting that LA low and how he pushed through it and all the great stuff that's happening for him now!

My New Comedy CD is here!

Fri Jul 25, 2014

I can’t tell you how amazing this whole experience was. A year ago I told some stories in Chicago at Sean Flannery’s Blackout Diaries and here we are recording a full hour live comedy album. INSANE! It was recorded at Timothy O’Tooles on Saturday July 12th, 2014 at 8pm in front of a standing room only crowd. I don’t want to charge anything for this. I only ask that if you like it, you take a few minutes to forward the link to family and friends who might like it as much as you did. I can never say it enough – THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! See you soon, Mick

Here is link to stream it for free on your computer or mobile device - http://blackoutdiaries.info/mick/

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My many fathers…

Sun Jun 15, 2014

My father was 16 years old when I was born. He dropped out of high school and got a shitty job working for shitty wages to be a father and take care of his kid. He had no real examples of fatherhood or any role models. We were poor with alcoholism and abuse around every corner. One day my father came home from work visibly upset. He looked sad but he’d never say anything. As a matter of fact, I never knew how he was feeling. This was Chicago in 1974. Men did not talk about feelings. They were viewed as a liability. He was always covered from head to toe with black grime from factory work. He worked on machines, repairing them, so that they could whine, roar and manufacture. But this day, something broke inside him that he could not fix. So he went out and bought the one tool he knew would work – a case of beer.

My father is the guy on the left.

We walked in silence down to the liquor store on Chicago avenue. I tried a few times to say something but he wouldn’t even look over. We strolled out of the store with a case of Old Style under his arm and headed over to the corner. He cracked open a beer as the CTA bus pulled up. We jumped on and walked all the way to the back.
We rode that bus to the end of the line. Then waited for another, taking it in the opposite direction, the case of beer getting lighter and lighter with each pass. The old ladies stared at us with a smug look of disdain. The look old ladies give when you’re clearly doing something wrong. They are old and frail but their looks pack the punch of Silver Back gorillas. My father turned away and looked out the window, towards the magnificent giant sky scrapers reaching toward the sky.

We reached the end of the line. I’ll never forget the look the bus driver gave my drunken father when he told us we had to get off and my dad couldn’t stand. He leaned on me to walk, then fell off the bus onto the sidewalk. The bus driver looked at my father with sheer disgust. Chicago is a tough city. The bus driver looked over at me and said “Good luck. kid”

My father slumped against a building and passed out. I sat next to him as the wind slithered off the lake through the buildings and licked our feet. I looked over to my right and noticed we were at the base of a bridge that ran over the Chicago River.

I wondered if that was his original idea. It couldn’t have been to take a drunken bus ride with his six-year-old son and then pass out on the street.

Maybe he crossed this bridge once and it was so beautiful, he knew he had to bring me here and show me.

Maybe he wanted to walk me over the bridge, hand in hand, and show me this magnificent city. Maybe he was going to take me to City Hall and explain politics. Or maybe he was going to walk me over to the Board of Trade, where millions are traded every second, and explain finance to me. This is how you save for your future son. This is how to invest in stocks. This is what money is and how you deal with it. Maybe he was going to walk me over to Wrigley Field for a game. We’d sit in the bleachers and he’d explain the game of baseball to me, what each position was and how you play it. This is how you swing a bat son, you swing from your hips, not your arms. Head down and swing right through the ball.

But we never made it over the bridge that night.

When he came too, he stumbled to his feet trying to figure out where we were.

As we waited for the next bus, he turned to me and said – “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, Dad. I love you.”

He went missing a week later.

My father atop the wheel of poverty.

When you grow up around chaos and alcoholism, somebody not making it home for the night does not raise alarm. Maybe they partied too hard at a pal’s place and passed out. Surely they’d wake up in the morning, walk through the door, head hanging low, full of apologies and promises that it would never happen again. But my father did not come home the next day.

On day 2 when there is chaos, you call around the local police stations and hospitals. Maybe there was a fight and he got locked up. Maybe he got caught holding and they took the drugs and gave him an night in the drunk tank.

On Day 3 when there is chaos, you call the morgue. And that’s where a man matching my father’s description had been lying for 3 days under the name John Doe.

He died alone, without ID, next to the railroad tracks.

Nobody really knows what happened that night and whatever the beginning and middle was, the ending was always the same – John Doe found dead by the side of the tracks.

I was six-years-old.

It still hurts.

There has been a tremendous amount of chaos in my own life. My own demons and alcoholism encouraged history to repeat itself but I’ve been sober for 12 years now.

I’d like to thank the following men and women who have mentored me and given me, through example, lessons on how to be a better man and father (they are the same thing.)

My Gramp: For hugs I can still feel to this day.

My Uncle Matt: For showing me the power of a creative mind.

Clay: For showing me what a friend is, what a brother is and what courage is.

My father-in-law Hal: For showing me how to show up day in and day out and love your family unconditionally, no matter what your past was like.

My mother-in-law Eileen: For showing me what having a big heart really means.

Bobby Spillane: For showing me how to have patience, reminding me that everybody is carrying their own cross.

My Mother: For showing me how to throw a baseball. It’s the same way I taught my daughter and son.

Tom Egan: For treating me like a man when I was at the most dangerous crossroad in my life.

Steve Ogle: For showing me how to live one day at a time, sober and sane, so that I could begin the life I was always supposed to have.

Larry Novak: For showing me you can be strict and loving at the same time and one can nurture the other. Also how to hang my dress shirts.

Patty Novak: For knowing I was up to no good most of the time and loving me anyway!

Laurel: For showing me that love and kindness is the only way out of complete darkness.

These people were my fathers. Because of their kindness, friendship, loyalty and love I was finally able to walk over the bridge and this is what I saw…

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So on this Fathers Day, I celebrate the people who helped me grow as a human being and as a father. I make so many mistakes as a Dad it’s embarrassing. But at the end of the day, as long as my children know they are loved and that life is to be lived and not endured, then I believe I am doing my best. But there is one thing I want them to say about their father, and one thing I’d like them to posses as people – Never give up trying to be a better human being. No matter how far down you go, now matter how many mistakes you make or how high you may ascend, never give up the search for a better you. Love and Kindness is the way out and there is no such thing as forgiveness until you learn how to forgive.

Happy Fathers Days to everybody out there holding it down and taking care of their business. Mick

 


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Thank You!

Mon Jun 09, 2014

Big thanks to everybody who came out to the show Saturday. I’ll be emailing you the set later this week when I get it back from the editor. I learned a lot from putting up the new hour and am looking forward to getting up June 22nd and June 25th at Flappers with the new and improved material. A special thanks to Bob Romanus aka Damone from Fast Times at Ridgemont High for letting me put the show up at his spot. Check out Bobs Espresso in North Hollywood anytime you’re in town and tell him Shitty John sent you!

MickBob2


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Coming home this Saturday!

Mon Jun 02, 2014

Hey Everybody,

For the past 17 years I have been performing stand up comedy and loving (and sometimes hating) every moment. Throughout all that time, I always felt a bit fraudulent, that somehow, someway, I could be giving the audience more. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until just a few years ago. The reason I felt like a fraud (way harsher than I needed to feel but that’s how I felt) was because I was doing something I thought I should be doing instead of something I wanted to be doing. At my core, in every area of my creativity, I am a story teller. So for the last two years, I abandoned a style of performing that had brought me great success for a style of performing that has brought me great joy. I feel like I have now honed my style enough that it is bringing the audience the same amount of joy it brings me. It took many many sets of “bombing” to figure it out but now I feel like I am finally home. I want to thank comics like Kyle Kinane and John Roy for being mentors to me through this growth period. So to put my money where my mouth is, I am assembling a new hour of stories I will be working out at Bobs Espresso 5251 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601 this Saturday (June 7th) at 7pm. John Roy will actually be performing at the show too! I am workshopping this material for a show I’m premiering in Chicago at The Subterranean July 12th. The premise of this show is one hour of my most insane drinking/drug stories which will finally be put to bed after 12 years of sobriety. So please come early as seating will be limited. Tickets are only $5 bucks and all the money is going to Bobs to keep such an awesome place going! Can’t tell you how much I appreciate everybody supporting me while I try and put this show together. Email me with any questions. See you there, Mick

MICKBOBSESPRESSO_2


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Nuns, MadLibs and Blow Darts.

Sat May 31, 2014

I remember thinking if God is gonna be pulling the strings in my life, watching my every move, then I gotta get closer to him. So I became an Altar Boy to try and get on his good side. My grandmother loved that. She actually drove to my neighborhood to see me serve my first mass. My other 6th grade pals served as well. We got to see all the behind the scenes action. The priest was an alcoholic so he poured Welches grape juice into the challis instead of wine but if he ever yelled at us or was a dick, we always spiked the grape juice with wine. We didn’t realize we were causing a priest to relapse. He never flew off the rails but would always scream at whoever fucked up and gave him wine. He’d smoke cigarettes out in the alley before Mass and swear about the Cubs. “Fucking Sutcliff shit the bed again. The Cubs are the worst! The fucking worst.” He was right about one thing. The Cubs are the worst. And I LOVE the Cubs. But they are the worst.

One time he told me to go into the closet and get some Hosts and set them on the altar for him. Hosts are little bread wafers that the priest uses during the mass as a physical representation of the body of christ, which you will then eat as a sign of your loyalty. Yep, that’s a real thing. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. So I opened the storage closet door and there on the floor is a brown box. I pick it up, open it and sure enough, there are bags of hosts. There was a shipping label from a warehouse in Cleveland. For whatever reason, I thought hosts were delivered by angels from heaven but apparently they are made in Cleveland and delivered by the UPS guy. Certainly not as romantic as I had only moments prior imagined. Now all I can think about is some guy making eight fifty an hour on an assembly line in Cleveland banging out the Body of Christ.

“Tommy, when are you going to be more like your brother? He’s a lawyer and makes a hundred grand a year..” His mom would say.
“I guess I could go back to school Mom, or I could just show up at work tomorrow and keep making THE BODY OF CHRIST!” my imaginary factory would say back to his fictional mother. Why can’t she be more understanding?

We would be assigned funeral masses to serve. The casket would be at the front of the church, the family doused in black sobbing in agony over the lost of their loved one. I was in 6th grade. They always had two 6th graders and then an 8th grader to make sure shit didn’t come off the rails. The 8th grader gave us the low down about how to work the funeral mass. He handed us each a thumb tack.
“What’s this for?” I asked.
“You wait until you see the grandmother cry, then stick yourself in the leg to make yourself cry. The family’ll see you crying and you’ll make a better tip.”
“Who tips at a funeral mass?” I asked?
“Italians.”

I remember the first time I stuck myself. It hurt like hell. I actually shrieked. The family looked up at me and nodded, like yep, we’re in that much pain too. They gave me a ten spot when it was all over. I’d tell you that I felt awful but we were all broke, from fucked up homes, looking for a buck any way we could get it.
Plus we were at war. It was us against the priests and nuns. They were an unending source of misery and terror and we felt amazing if we could get any shots over their bow.

Most of the Nuns were treacherous miserable women who lived to torture children but there was one who was kind. Her name was Sister Sirby. She was so innocent and kind we almost couldn’t believe she was real. This was around the time we discovered spitballs. A spitball is a tiny piece of wet chewed up paper rolled small enough to fit into hollowed out pen tube, then blown out like a jungle dart as somebody or something. Spitballs would stick to the chalkboard so when Sirby would turn around all the savage boys would raise their hollowed out pens like Zulu bush warrios and shoot spitablls at her. The spitballs reigned down around her, creating a with a white outline around her at the board making it look like a crime scene.
She would whip around and ask who did it but by that time our shooters were already in our socks and we had put on our best angelic faces.

One day this kid Brian showed us a sewing needle with short pieces of yarn scotch taped to the bottom.
“What is that?” we all asked.
“Watch this,” he said with a demonic grin. He slide the needle and yarn into his hollowed out pen shooter, took a deep breath then blew into it. The needle flew out and stuck into the chalkboard.
Our whole world changed in that moment. He figured out a way to make an actual jungle dart. The next day Sister Sirby turned her back to write something on the board and ten kids raised their blow dart weapons and lit her up. About five were dead on ass shots. The darts pierced her one inch thick tweed skirt nun armor and went right into her nun ass. She shrieked and jumped in the air.
She swatted the needles off her ass and picked them up off the ground. She asked who would dare shoot a servant of the lord with darts like this. 10 angel faced boys all realized they had just crossed a line but not one raised his hand. I remember thinking  maybe the devil will go a little easier on us than the big guy in the sky. That was the last time we shot a nun with blow darts but certainly not the last time we gave Sirby a hard time.

There is a thing called MadLibs. It is a collection of stories with words strategically taken out so that you can add your own words, thus making up your own story and teaching you about nouns and adjectives at the same time. Sirby would read her favorite student MadLibs aloud in front of the entire class. As 6th grade boys hurting toward the onslaught of puberty, we would slip and sexual innuendo into the a MadLib here and there and see watch in amazement as we got a Nun, oblivious to our devious plan, read aloud or Junior High Versions of Penthouse Letters. It was always just one word here or there until one day I crossed the line.  An example of a MadLib would be like this; The _____________ went into the __________ cave and ____________ with ______________.
So I wrote The hard sausage went into the supple moist cave and exploded with white cream. (Even in 6th grade I liked to overwrite.)
Sister Sirby, completely oblivious, stood in front of a classroom of savage sixth grade boys  and read my MadLib masterpiece aloud. It was too much for us to take. Mob mentality took over and we started laughing hysterically. Kids fell out of their seats. She laughed because we were laughing which made us laugh even harder but it was clear she had no idea what she was laughing about.
The next day Sirby stood in front of the class dead quiet and dead serious. We thought she was going to give us a stern talking to but that is not what happened.

Back then, fake wrestling was HUGE. Hulk Hogan, Rick Flair, Andre the Giant, Macho Man Randy Savage, etc. So theatrical, so intense and physical. There were tag team matches where somebody would be on the ropes, taking an incredible beating, then somehow, someway, their arm reached over to their corner where they tapped in their partner who’d lunge over the rope and save their partner from certain demise. That is what happened with Sirby that day. We had her, almost down for the count, and there she stood, defeated, or so we though, until the door flew open and the meanest nuns in the history of the catholic church came flying in. She had murder in her eyes.

“How dare you..” She said as she started open hand slapping boys in the front row, “Making Sister Sirby read your pornographic stories…” WHAP! WHAP! WHAP!
She worked her way through the entire class as Sirby looked on in approval. The Nun looked like Hulk Hogan when he ripped his shirt off and the arena went crazy, then he suplexed the bag guy and pinned him. We were on the wrong side of Hogan that day, the bad guys, about to be pinned.  Like a biblical atrocity, the crazy Nun slapped every male child in the class, then stormed out. Sirby stood over us, then without a word, turned to the chalk board and started writing. We were defeated, broken… or so I thought.
That’s when I saw what real insanity looks like.

Brian reached into his sock and took out his shooter and loaded a blow dart into it. I shook my head and whispered, “Don’t do it, she’ll kill us all.”
He took a deep breath then blew into his dart gun. The dart whizzed across the room and BAM! A bulls eye into Sirby’s left ass cheek. She jumped in the air, spun around and screamed “You’re all evil children! Children of the devil!”
That’s when I knew we had crossed a line. It’s alright to make a nun read your elicit stories, maybe even shoot her with a blow dart gun – ONCE, but shooting her twice, after another nun just ran through the room like a drunk Irish cop with a billyclub, you have to draw the line somewhere.
Brian later apologized and she forgave him. She was the real deal. You get a little older and realize maybe the Nuns were right.

We were all little savages.


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