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One of the most clever songwriters and quick-witted live comedians in the business... with his high speed, low-drag act that constantly changes and evolves, Pat has such strong material and improv skills, no two shows are ever the same... not even close.
seen and heard on last comic standing the howard stern show the bob and tom show schedule get tickets

Midnight Train. Destination: Anywhere

IMG_0242Good friend and fellow comedian Mike Stankiewicz and I were hanging out at the Silver Legacy Casino lounge in Reno, after our show at Catch A Rising Star, and in walked the band, Journey. The group just finished working in the main room and were still dressed in their stage attire, so it looked like they walked off the set of one of their 1980s videos. It was the Fall of 2000. I pointed the Journey guys out to Mike, naming each one, explained lead singer Steve Perry’s absence, and gave him a little “Behind The Music’ backstory, but he couldn’t care less (Stank is a blues guy, has great musical taste, and we were probably in the middle of a Tom Wait’s discussion). Even though I never owned a Journey album, I understood their success, and thought it was pretty cool we were breathing the same oxygenated casino air. The future Rock and Roll Hall of Famers held court at the bar, and in no time, the place got more crowded, more attractive, and we had fun chatting up their “spillover”.

Mike and I befriended a tall, gorgeous, whackadoodle blonde, who came all the way from Virginia to see Journey, and much to my dismay, she was dying to meet Steve Perry’s replacement, Steve Augeri. The only problem was, this girl was shy (or acting it) and claimed she didn’t have the nerve to approach him. I told her, “Look, it’s 11:45, and if you don’t go over there soon, you’re going to miss the midnight train going anywhere.” She was not amused.

It was a bit much after a while to hear her go on and on about this dude, so Mike took her to where the band was sitting, and even though I pointed Steve Augeri out, mistakenly introduced himself to Neal Schon, thinking HE was Steve, the singer. “Hi”, Mike said, “I’m performing here, and I don’t mean to bother you, but this girl was at your show and wanted to meet the new singer.” The founder of Journey looked pissed and said, “I’m Neal Schon, the guitar player—not the singer.” Mike says, “I’m Mike Stankiewicz, the comic—not a fan”, and escorted her to the right guy.

I don’t know what happened that night, but I do know—that girl—Michaele Sahali, went on to be in the TV show, ‘Real Housewives Of D.C.’, became an infamous White House party crasher, and married… Neal Schon, the guitar player—not the singer.

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A Little Something About My Mother

IMG_0246I brought a pretty gal from Charlotte, North Carolina to meet my Mom, because since this woman and I were moving in together, I thought they should get to know each other. I don’t normally run my relationship decisions by my Mother, but I figured, what the hell, my new girlfriend is great, so I might as well show her off. (she never even met my first wife, who I married in Jamaica after knowing her for only 3 weeks. Marriage lasted 8 months.)

My dear, sweet Mom put on quite a spread; all the things I pretend to enjoy, like freezer-burned Chicken and Peppers, gummy rice, crispy, store-bought, stale Asian noodles and a lovely box of chilled red wine. You see, my Mom’s a worker, not a cooker.

My Mother couldn’t have been more gracious or charming to my adorable Southern Belle, telling her cute little “Pat when he was a boy stories”, and asking about her childhood, her job, which was cutting hair, and how we met—you know, light, polite small talk. No question or answer was strange or out of the ordinary. When Shelly Lee (not her real name) excused herself to use the powder room, as she called it, my Mom whispered in my ear, “She’s horrible; definitely not for you—you’re special. Get rid of her.” “What the hell?”, I said to myself. She’s Horrible? And get rid of her? That’s a tad harsh; what are we, the Mafia? No, We’re drunken, dysfunctional Irish, for Christ’s sake. We don’t get rid of people; we make mean jokes and drink too much, so your undesirable partner ends up just getting rid of themselves. And how does Mom get horrible out of an hour conversation? A horrible assessment takes time: weeks, months, sometimes many years of marriage.

Now, every parent thinks their children are special, even when we’re not—but give me a break, I’m moving in with her next week. She’s amazing! What the hell is my Mother talking about? Look at her! Check out that peaches & cream complexion—she’s sweet, loving and gorgeous!

Why did my Mother put that damn bug in my ear? What in God’s name could I do about it now? Why didn’t she just keep her opinion to herself? Why? Because she knew something I didn’t and loves me, that’s why.

That’s my Mom in a nut-shell. She’s overbearing, in your business, and prone to overkill. {On the issue of overkill: she used to home school us after we had already gone to a full day’s worth of school. Me, my brothers and sisters are incredible sources of useless information. Ask any one of us who’s the person considered “The Father of Modern Classical Music” and we can tell you. She forced me to learn how to knit, because it was a skill she said might come in handy some day. You know, just in case World War 3 wipes out all the Walmarts in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the village needs extra sweaters, scarves and booties for an unusually cold Winter}

I moved in with the seemingly charming Charlotte Harlot, but we were doomed, thank God. My Mother had worked her Voodoo; planted a seed in my head that made me see her for who she really was. The woman WAS horrible. She was selfish, inconsiderate of others, and… just plain odd (I was so focused on “other things”, I didn’t notice that she ate non-finger foods with her fingers, for example). My Mom saw right through her, and because my eyes were clouded by a sweet face, pouty lips and a darling figure, I wasn’t paying attention to important details. (I cleaned this last sentence up, because my Mother will be reading it)

You see, I’m a Momma’s boy and proud of it. I had to be, there was no other option.

I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day!

Author’s Note: The only thing that my Mom will disagree with in this story is her bad cooking. In her defense, she has improved over the years. She uses fresh peas now, not the gray ones out of a can, and her Salisbury Steak, that we called Swamp Flats, no longer needs to be dabbed with paper towels to remove the grease. Mom’s also not an abusive drinker, like some of us used to be. Half a glass of wine, that’s it, and she’s telling you stories about her neighbor, who allegedly had relations with his dog (she lives in Walkerton, Indiana). She will also claim that my new girlfriend was not as pretty as I thought she was, and has photos to prove it.

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Enjoy Every Sandwich

“Enjoy every sandwich”IMG_0245 ~ Warren Zevon 1947-2003

After we finished rehearsing ‘Lawyers, Guns and Money’ for WMMR’s Morning Zoo at the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, Warren Zevon asked me if I would go to the music store with him to buy his new CD, ‘Transverse City’. I thought it was odd he had to buy his own music, but I accepted his invitation, and came to find out Mr. Zevon had to give the CD to his back-up band, ‘The Riverdogs’, ASAP, so they could learn the songs for an upcoming tour.

 

I thought to myself, “I’m a huge Warren Zevon fan and can’t believe I get to hang out with this mythical songwriting legend and perhaps experience some of his outlaw iconoclasm, up close.” I wish I had a bar-hopping, fight-starting, wise-cracking Zevon story for you, but I don’t. The Warren Zevon I met was a polite, quiet guy with a wry sense of humor, not the rye-soaked Excitable Boy you’d expect from his songs.

 

Behind the counter of the music store in A.C. was an uninterested, gum-snappin’ 22 year-old girl and behind HER was a big poster of a stoic, airbrushed Warren Zevon. Warren looked up at the poster of him and then at me and asked the girl if she had the new Warren Zevon album, ‘Transverse City’. She said, “Who? What?” He shook his head, sighed, pointed to his poster and said, “Him. ‘Transverse City’.” She says, I have no idea who or what that is.” Zevon gave me a slow Jack Benny-like head turn with a smirk, and I couldn’t help but laugh. I piped up, trying to help, and said to the hapless clerk, “You know the song ‘Werewolves Of London’, right?” Without hesitation she says, “I HATE that song! That is like the WORST song, ever.” I was embarrassed for Warren, but he takes a beat and says, “I find myself hating that song, too, at times… and I have to play it every night.” The girl says, “Are you in a Warren Zevon cover band?” And Warren replies, “Some nights.”

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Mama Precious & Husband Floyd

IMG_0254I was flying from Miami to Charleston on Delta in the middle seat and the plane was full except for the aisle seat next to me. I thought, “Once they close the hatch, I’ll move and have some leg room.” Just then I saw a crying behemoth of a woman, who looked like an older, larger version of the girl from ‘Precious’ and she was headed right for the precious aisle seat next to me.

As she squeezed her massive frame into the tiny space next to me and tried to click the seat belt, and the extender, half of her over 400 pounds oozed into my lap. She said, “I’m sorry honey, I’m a big woman and don’t usually fly, but I gotta get my Floyd back home to Charleston… gotta get my Floyd back home to Charleston!” Since I didn’t see any Floyd on the plane, I assumed it was a long story with some unhappy ending, so I just said, “That’s okay,” and went back to my People Magazine. Then she took out a Bible and moaned to anyone who would listen, “Oh, Floyd, you gonna meet your maker… you gonna meet your maker.” She repeated everything like an old blues singer. This went on for 10 minutes.

Finally, curiosity got the best of me, and I asked her where Floyd was, and she sobbed, “He’s below us in cargo, in a casket I could barely afford… in a casket I could barely afford.” (She’s loud and everyone is staring at us.) Now that I’ve joined the conversation about her dead husband, Floyd, she wants me to read out loud from ‘The Good Book’ because Mama Precious can’t see that well. Not only am I stuck in the middle seat, but now I’m the flight’s Deacon, for Christ’s sake! I took her bible and quietly started reading to her, low enough so I didn’t bother the other passengers. I began in my best whisper voice, “And the Lord said…” She interrupted me and said, “Sugar, read it loud pleeeeze, my ears ain’t none too good at my age.” For the remainder of the flight I read The Bible, LOUD AS HELL, like a crazy guy on a New York street corner, much to the disdain of the other passengers.

When we landed, I helped my new friend to baggage claim where her family greeted us, crying and repeating everything. I did not wait for the casket, but knowing Delta Airlines, Floyd probably ended up in Atlanta.

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Something About Her

IMG_0255The drunk Thursday night crowd at the Funny Bone in Evansville, Indiana back in March, 2005, was getting chatty, so I decided to wrap it up and segue into the closing bit and call it a night. As I was setting up the big finish with some “lonely guy on the road” patter, I said, “What do I have to do after the show, except go back to the Days Inn, room 203?” (The Days Inn was the sh*thole they put us up at and 203 was my friend, Mike Stankiwiecz’s room—the other comic on the show—not mine.) I finished up on a high note, thanked the crowd for coming and thought nothing about giving out Mike’s real Days Inn room number. Since I had radio interviews to do the next morning, I left Mike and the local M.C. at the bar, said my goodbyes to the staff, and started to leave. On my way out, an older woman, dressed in too-tight jeans and a hip, black leather jacket that was open and exposing her obvious breast augmentation, blocked the exit. She had one hand on the door and the other was pointing and shaking. At first, I thought her boldness was that she wanted to complain about something I said during the show, but then the playfulness in her eyes led me to believe otherwise. She introduced herself as Tracy, and went on to say how hilarious I was, and would I have please have a drink with her back at the bar. I politely refused her and the drink, muttered something about my radio responsibilities the next morning, and how I needed to get some sleep, blah, blah, blah… and she bought it. Phew, that was a close one. If she had been pretty and not born when Lincoln made speeches, I probably would have gone to those radio interviews dog dead tired.

The next day the radio went well, and I got back to my hotel room to do some pacing, moping, and napping before the 2 shows that night. Just then, someone knocked on the door and I hesitatingly answered it, half-expecting to give an English lesson to a Latino housekeeper regarding the “Do Not Disturb” sign. But it wasn’t Maria with towels, it was Tracy, with more compliments. “I’m sorry to bother you, but you were hilarious last night”, she said as I hid behind the door. She continued, “I knocked on 203 and the other comedian Mike laughed and told me your real room number. He said you’d probably love some company, too.” I said, “Yeah, I never give out my real room number; always the other comedian’s.” She went on to say that she lived in the apartment complex right behind our hotel and just HAD to stop by and tell me once again how great I was. “I haven’t laughed like that in a while, and it really stirred something deep inside me.” she purred. Before I could get her to leave, she said, “All I want is a little hug for making me feel good, since I’ve been so down in the dumps lately, ever since my husband’s been in jail.” I’m not the hugging kind, but I gave her the fastest hug in the history of awkwardness, and when she left, promptly went down to the front desk and changed my room AND my name. I am Biff Dirkwood, now… aging Cougar bait.

At the comedy club later that night I regaled everyone with the tale of the crazy, older biker broad who practically molested me at the Days Inn. As it turns out my stalker, Tracy, wasn’t a biker, but the Funny Bone manager Kim’s hairdresser and a part-time nurse. Kim said she wasn’t crazy at all and really sweet, just going through a tough time with her husband being in jail for selling drugs. “They were separated before he got arrested.” Kim said, “So she’s probably just really lonely and wanted a little attention.” “Well that’s not the way I saw it.” I said. “I think she’s a little crazy.” After a half hour hang, I walked back to the seedy Days Inn, and at the hotel was Tracy, my Sexagenarian stalker, crying. My earlier instincts were right, this broad is nuts. In the harsh, fluorescent light of the lobby she appeared not only old, but overly altered. I knew she had breast implants, but upon close inspection her face looked like she’d had a number of procedures over the years. Her cheekbones looked like 2 golf balls were shoved under the sides of her face, the eyes widened past the look of surprise, and her chin clefted unnaturally–like one of the Jackson 5 in later years. The tears had wiped away most of the heavy makeup, giving her a Kabuki-like glow as the desk clerked glared at the both of us. “Get her the f**k out of here,” he said. “The crazy bitch has been balling her eyes out all night.” As I ushered her out into the parking lot, she told me that her husband had called from jail and said that they were definitely getting divorced, and that she needed me to make her laugh. I told her she could’ve bought a ticket to the comedy show, and saved me the bizarre soap opera in the lobby. She then changed from a crazy old lady who need to laugh, to a crazy old lady who wanted to *merge*, by saying, “I have something for you… a little present. It’s back at my place. We could walk from here.”

I ended up back at her place against my will after she went totally bonkers in the Days Inn parking lot and threatened to kill herself. The “surprise” she wanted to give me was HER, coming out of the bathroom totally naked, in need of a little pube trim. Her legs were a lot more muscular than I thought they’d be, considering her age and gender. The strangeness of her plastic surgery in clothes, got even more mysterious in the nude. The low light of her efficiency apartment showed strange implants on her ass cheeks as she spun and sashayed before me. She kept saying, “Do you like what you see?” over and over again and a strange chill went up my spine. What was I seeing exactly? It finally dawned on me that this wasn’t some old Cougar, but a former Lion, and the “Something About Her” song is loosely based on that night. (Keep in mind this was 2005 and attitudes have changed since then, but it’s the duplicity involved that made this worthy of a snarky re-telling. Oh, and if you want closure on this chapter, and you’re wondering what my response was, think A Flock Of Seagulls’ only hit.)

Something About Her

There was just something about her
Something odd about her face
She’s gotta be about 60
What am I doing at her place?

Her voice was low and smoky
Like she’d been around the block
She gazed down at my pants
As I stared up at her clock

She asked me if I wanted a drink
I said, “No, I’ve got to go”
She says, “Wait, I got something for you”
But there’s something about her, I don’t know

Something about her, I don’t know
She came out completely naked
In the darkness of her efficiency
Stood there among the cats
And said, “Do you like what you see?”

I tried not to stare
It’s a woman after all
But the bush seemed awful high, though
Between Minneapolis and St. Paul

There’s something about her
Something strange is going on
And I don’t want any surprises
In the light of the crack of dawn

She’s aggressive and ballsy
As she pours me too much wine
She says that I look nice tonight
Funny, that’s my line

I feel her strong grip on my thigh
When it finally dawns on me
Yeah, there’s something about her
Something a lot like me
Something a lot like me

I excuse myself politely
And then bolt back to my hotel
I took a long Silkwood shower
To get rid of that litter box smell

Something’s amiss
When you turn leather into pink chiffon
There’s definitely something about her
I just can’t put my finger on

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Close, But No Guitar

IMG_0257Chuck Berry dies, I got a story. Chuck Barris dies, I got a story. Who am I, Forest Gump? Zelig?
The Summer before college, after my parent’s divorce, I hid out in LA for a few months, trying my hand at acting. The plan was to make it big and not have to go to college, but In no time I was broke and washing dishes for my room and board at a place called The Kipling Retirement Home on Wilshire Blvd. This old dump, now long gone, would’ve been used for the interior shots of The Shining, if it weren’t so creepy. When I wasn’t getting dish pan hands, I played piano in the basement, consorted with the comely female vagrants also housed there, and auditioned for the occasional acting job I could walk to, since I didn’t have a car. No one walks in LA, but I didn’t even have bus fare, so I had to hoof it everywhere. I couldn’t get an acting job, the money ran out, time was running out, and I was willing to try anything. I got wind of the open auditions for Chuck Barris’ The Gong Show and dusted off my High School Talent Show Elvis impression—with a twist. My *new* idea was Presley as an impaired old man, “Elvis In The year 2,000”, complete with gray hair, old man makeup, stomach padding, slurred singing and creaky moves. I was inspired by my Assisted Living environment and thought the bit would be perfect for The Gong Show.
The auditions were held at a place called The Old World Restaurant in Hollywood and by the time I walked all the way there, in old man makeup, in the 90 degree heat, from Wilshire to Cahuenga, I felt like an octogenarian Elvis Presley. No acting required. My aged Elvis idea was to do a slightly altered version of “All Shook Up”. I only had to change a few lines and the rest wrote itself. When it was my turn, they introduced me as “Elvis In The Year 2,000” and I hammed it up for all it was worth.
(In my best Elvis “All Shook Up” voice)
“A well a bless my soul
What’s a wrong with me? (moved slowly)

I’m actin’ like a man of a 93

My friends say I’m actin’ slow as a slug

I’m gettin’ old (coughed)

I’m all messed up

Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay

Well, my hands are shaky and my knees are weak (I wobbled and held my hip in pain)

I can’t seem to stand on my own two feet (almost fell)

Who do you think of when you have such luck? (I looked confused)

I’m gettin’ old (coughed)

I’m all messed up (clutched my heart)

Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay (fell to the floor and didn’t move)”

It killed—Chuck LOVED it. He said, “Perfect, kid. It’s the right mixture of funny and mean. You’ll win or get Gonged.” The only problem was I didn’t have any backing tracks and although I did it for Mr. Barris and his staff “A Capella”—and it worked—he thought it needed something. Chuck pointed to his Martin guitar, ever at the ready, and said, “Can you play guitar?” I told him, “No,” and he said, “Neither did Elvis! He pretty much just held the damn thing. I’ll teach you 3 chords and put you on the show. We’ll tape your segment in September, so that’ll give you enough time to practice.” Chuck told me to wait around for them to finish up the auditions and when they were done he gave me a very quick, rudimentary guitar lesson. It was June, I had enough time, so I borrowed a guitar, practiced, practiced, practiced, and by the end of July, I could bang out a pretty good C, F, and G. I’m going to tape my first big national TV show in September! Problem was, Elvis died on August 16th.
I got a call from the Gong Show shortly thereafter saying that in light of Mr. Presley’s untimely death, me falling to the stage clutching my heart, wouldn’t be appropriate. My bit went from funny speculation to tragic Documentary. Goodbye LA, hello college. I’ll come back to your sunny shores when I’m in my 20s and we’ll explore new ways to fail. (I went back as a songwriter and then back again as a comedian. LA-3, Me-0.)

I kept playing guitar with a passion, thanks to Chuck Barris, and when I saw him years later on a radio show, I brought up my “Old Man Presley ‘Elvis In The Year 2,000’ bit right before Elvis died Gong Show audition”. He smiled wide and said, “So, you’re the guy with the unfortunate timing and bad luck. I tell that story ALL the time.” To which I replied, “Yep, ‘Unfortunate timing and bad luck’, that should go on my tombstone.” R.I.P., Chuck Barris. Thanks for the guitar lesson!

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R.I.P., Chuck Berry

IMG_0271I played the Stone Balloon in Newark, Delaware years ago and got there around 11 a.m. to do a sound check. As I walked into the club, I noticed a guy asleep in the backseat of an old Cadillac. I told the manager there was a homeless guy passed out in the club’s parking lot. He said, “No, that’s Chuck Berry. He had a show, last night, and was too cheap to get a hotel room.” R.I.P. Chuck Berry

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The Accidental Curse

IMG_0127I was doing a squeaky clean Welcome Aboard Show on a cruise ship with an eclectic demographic (infants, kids, teens, adults, couples, Latinos, Germans, Canadians, Smucker’s® birthday mentions, etc… ) and a drunk guy in the back was talking loudly, interrupting, yelling out stuff, and messing with the flow of the show. I had to shut it down pronto, so I just blurted out, “I’m trying to entertain here and I got this guy in the back just yelling out shit.” I immediately realized I had cursed (a big no-no) by saying shit in front of children, church goers, and cruise personnel, so I started singing, “Ship out, ship out, let’s get’s this ship out to the waters so blue”, to cover it up. I was pretty sure I got away with it, paused, was about to move on, and a little kid shouted, “YOU SAID, SHIT!” It got a huge laugh, I smiled—which implied guilt—then said nothing and moved on. So far, I’m still gainfully employed (I may go with “The kid said it, I didn’t say it” defense, if I ever get questioned about the alleged incident).

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I Think Daddy Needs A Nap

2012-12-06 14.41.12I asked a bored, snotty saleswoman, at the Lima, OH Macy’s, where the dress shirts were, with my 4 year-old son Jimmy on my shoulders (he LOVES it up there). She lazily points in the direction of the Men’s Section, red lipstick covered mouth pursed, aggravated I even bothered her, and then looks at us disdainfully and says, “Be careful with that little boy on your shoulders; you may fall and hurt him.” I said, “With all due respect, Ma’am, I appreciate the fact that you care, but I am his Father and I know what I’m doing.” I could’ve left it at that, but nooooooo. As I walked away, I said, “Lady, I don’t stop you from putting on way too much make-up, or question your limited social skills, so don’t tell me how to Parent my child.”

Yep, spreading joy wherever I go—that’s what I do.

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Eventful Day

IMG_0249Me: “You’ve had a very eventful day.”
Jimmy: “What does eventful mean?”
Me: “Dramatic.”
Jimmy: “What does dramatic mean?”
Me: “Well, you fell, hurt your leg, pitched a fit at ToysRUs, and you weren’t happy about doing your homework. You’ve had a very dramatic day.”
Jimmy: “You mean crappy.”

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