May Your Travels Take You Full Circle

t’s summertime and the living is easy. I’m writing these words on Monday evening, June 28, 2010. I’m sitting at my home computer in peaceful North Brookfield, Massachusetts. There’s a refreshing cool breeze blowing through the window and it is almost midnight. It’s all a far cry from where I was last night. A mere 24 hours ago I was 3,200 miles away, sitting in the second row at the Comedy Store on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, CA.

I have no desire to become a comedian but I do appreciate what these guys do every night. Being a stand up comic is one of the toughest jobs on earth. No kidding. If you’re good, every show involves basically setting yourself on fire – then dousing the flames when the blue neon star on the wall blinks on and your “time is up”.

Because it’s Hollywood, you have no idea who is going to show up and perform at the Comedy Store on any given night. I’ve seen Pauly Shore (who co-owns the joint with his mother Mitzy and drives a bright red hemi-powered Dodge Magnum SRT-8) Michael Richards (Seinfeld’s Cosmo Kramer one week before he muttered that infamous word that got him in so much trouble), Bobby Lee (of Mad TV), Andrew Dice Clay (you have to ask?), Don Barris (lunatic warm-up man for the Jimmy Kimmel show and star of Windy City Heat), John Caparulo (Chelsea Lately), Chris Rock (comedy icon) and countless other lesser-known comics do their routines.

Hot Tip: though the Main Room is a proper buy-a-ticket-see-the-big-names-in-a-2-hour-show deal, you really want to see the comics perform in the Original Room. It’s a small, seedy, dark place where a new comic does his / her act every 15-minutes from 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. every night of the year. And yes, the same big-name guys who do their thing before hundreds of audience members in the Main Room will also filter through the Original Room before the night is done. In a nutshell, you get a better bang for your 12-bucks in the Original Room. Yes, there is a 2-drink minimum. Make mine Bud bottles and keep ‘em coming.

I was in California last night because I had just finished working the latest Barrett-Jackson collector car auction for Speed TV. It’s the new show at the Orange County Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa and ran June 25 through 27. I’m no stand up comic. Rather I am one of the on-camera television commentators during Speed TV’s live broadcast of the auction.

Working with Mike “Voice of NASCAR on Fox” Joy as each car rolls across the auction block, I help point out the finer details to the camera so viewers can get a better idea of what each car is – and is not. You know the deal, I say stuff like; “This one has the letter G in the fifth spot of the VIN so we know it was originally built with a 318 two-barrel. That said, there’s a 440 Six Pack under the hood now and the body has been upgraded with ‘Cuda graphics and a Shaker hood”. It’s a fun gig and I always learn more and more with each show I do.

For the past several years Barrett-Jackson has presented auctions in Scottsdale, AZ (January), Palm Beach, FL (usually in April) and Las Vegas, NV (September or October). Well this year they added this fourth auction in Costa Mesa, CA. If you tuned in to Speed TV and watched, you’ll know these are excellent times for buying at auction. Selling prices are very realistic and I lost track of all the cars I could actually afford to own. Not that I have any right to add another car to the garage, so I didn’t register to do any bidding (though we are allowed to if we so desire).

One new thing that Speed TV is doing this year is assembling special “cut down” auction highlight shows from previous auctions that’ll run on Monday nights in the near future. Re-airing Barrett-Jackson auctions is not a new idea but where previous highlight shows were basically one or two-hour time grabs from the auction, the new shows are themed around particular types of cars that cross the block. The show producers have each of the on-air people (including me) host these highlighted shows and so far I’ve done three.