Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Career milestones in 2010!

  1. Appeared on Lopez Tonight in a skit featuring Chris Rock.
  2. Performed with Jimmy Dore, Doug Stanhope, Will Durst, Laurie Kilmartin, Greg Proops, Billy Gardell, Taylor Negron, Wendy Liebman and a bunch of really amazing comics you haven't heard of... yet.
  3. Did my first gig as a feature (as opposed to opener/emcee) for Punch Line.
  4. Did my first run as a headliner (as opposed to a feature) for Tribble Run Entertainment.
  5. A particularly adorable fan sent me nude pics of herself, a 1st. So now I'm famous. Never mind that I still have a day job, cute girl sending nude fan pics means I'm famous. No comment on whether or not I returned the favor.
  6. Performed in New York, New Jersey, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and a bunch of awesome little towns that nobody gives a shit about.
  7. Recorded my second CD, 1st DVD at a sold out show at The Sacramento Comedy Spot and had the head of a major label ask me not to release it... SO THEY CAN! (More news as it develops. Not counting my chickens until I have them hatched and under contract.)
  8. Saw my documentary "Why Lie? I Need A Drink" released on DVD. Available now at
  9. Headlined The Laff Hole in Seattle.
  10. Will close the year out by headlining at The Steve Allen Theatre in Hollywood on New Years Eve.

I'm starting 2011 by performing in New York on January 6th at Zinc and then The Village Lantern. 2010 was amazing for me, 2011 will be doubly so. Thanks to everyone who has come out to see me. You rule!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chat Room Comedy For Chronically Ill Teens

My friend Danielle offered me a very unusual gig. She invited me to "perform" my stand up act in a chat room. Comedy by chat, typing in my set up, waiting an appropriate amount of time, typing in the punch, tag, tag. I would not be seen or heard and would have to rely on my words and some minute amount of control of the timing... and it gets better. The audience? Chronically ill teenagers.

Well I didn't have to think twice. I jumped in. I have a chronic illness myself but I'm lucky that the only symptom is having to swallow a lot of pills every day. As long as I make sure I suffer that symptom I don't suffer any others. I suggested Michael O'connell to "open" for me. He too has a chronic illness, muscular dystrophy, which has him operating out of a wheelchair. And Michael and I have put in some time on the road together so I know we have a good rapport. I thought we made a good bill for this particular venue.

I was not sure at all how this would go. Everything a comic does is based on that back and forth with the audience. Trying so hard to get the laughter going and then sneaking under it and bumping it just right to keep it up, keep it up, as long as you can keep it afloat. How would I do this without seeing or hearing my audience! Luckily Michael would be up first so I could watch him succeed or flounder and adjust accordingly.

I logged in about 10 minutes early and right away started getting many hellos from the kids, excited to have me there. I joked around with them and with Danielle for awhile. I told them I'd just seen a competition where you could end up opening for Pauly Shore in Vegas. I said "I wonder what the winner gets!" I got a string of "LOL"s and "Ha ha"s. Ah, so there would be feedback. Cool.

Michael logged in and Danielle blocked the kids from posting, just long enough to do an intro and get Michael started. She posted some rules, asking the kids not to have conversations as the "Show" went on and not to heckle. I was really looking forward to the heckling. Shooting down chronically ill children over the internet, what could be better.

Michael cracked 'em up with tales of the old days of chat rooms, him being an internet veteran and all. Then he mentioned the wheelchair and it turned out several of them were using chairs as well or had in the past. They were really digging his jokes. He was having a bit of trouble, he told me later, with the words he typed showing up in slow motion, but from my end he seemed to be delivering.

He closed with his un-PC, making fun of the disabled joke which was great because I was planning to open with mine, explaining that being friends with Michael let me get away with such. Then I accused him of being a prop comic, using a wheelchair that he found at a thrift store to give him an edge.

I was using a combination of copy and pasting from a prepared script and typing on the fly to keep me in the moment. It reminded me of playing a video game, trying to cut up my lines and put just enough words, then just the right amount of time and just the right amount of words again to mimic the timing of my stage delivery. It was SO much fun and amazingly the string of "LOL"s were quite satisfying. I did my prepared sets, threw some new stuff out there, flubbed a new joke by not sending the punchline. Jokes work better with the punch line.

I talked about my uclerative colitis and my unfortunate familarity with colonoscopies. Several of them mentioned their unfortunate ability to relate and I told them how cool it was to have photos of my colon to hand out at shows after autographing them "Wish You Were Here."

I rode the line a bit, pushing what was acceptable, but I knew I could count on Danielle to reign me in if I got close to going over and she did just that. I joke that marijuana's reported paranoia symptoms may have to do with the fact that we arrest people for it. Thinking that symptom might go away if we knock that off. I then say, "Hell, masturbation makes you paranoid if you live with your parents." That sex and drugs joke is the one that got me a note from the boss lady. Nothing too bad.

I really loved doing it, and I am very surprised to say I like the format a-lot. Hire me for your next chat! It's gonna be my new genre. Keith Lowell Jensen, Chat Room Comic. Thanks Danielle and Michael and most of all thanks to the great kids for their "LOL"s. They mean the world to me.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Kid In The Hall

I managed to get expelled from three schools in my life. Apparently that's a-lot. Throughout my school career I'd bounce from honors classes with kids whose parents made a-lot more money than mine to continuation school with kids who had criminal records and drug problems and more often than not kids whose parents made a whole lot less money than mine. My dad, after seeing my fellow students, told the principal of one of these continuation schools, "Keith doesn't belong here. These guys look like adult convicts in a prison yard and Keith's just a kid with a big mouth." Here are four of my favorite occasions when that mouth got me in trouble.

4th Grade, GATE
(Gifted and Talented Education)

The substitute teacher told us there were 24 hours in a day. I raised my hand, like a good kid, and when called on I corrected her. "It's not exactly 24, actually."

She snapped back "Yes it is. Humans define words and a day is defined as 24 hours." and turned dismissively to return to her lesson.

I corrected her. "No, a day is defined as the amount of time it takes the earth to turn 360 degrees on it's axis and that is approximately but not exactly 24 hours." I then added. "Are you sure you're qualified to be teaching our class? You know this is a GATE class right?" I spent the rest of the day reading OMNI Magazine while sitting on the walkway outside of class.

7th Grade

The Science teacher told us that objects in space attracted one another and I thought, quite sincerely, that I'd come up with a perfect example. I raised my hand, like a good kid, and when called on I asked "Is that why the last Cheerios always stick together in the bowl?"

The other kids laughed hysterically and assuming that I'd been intentionally funny, which was giving me way too much credit, I was sent to stand outside.

8th Grade

The choir teacher was very disappointed in the whole class for our lackluster recital of the pledge of allegiance. He decided to inflame our patriotism with an inspiring tale. It seems he'd had the opportunity to visit West Germany. While there he dined at a restaurant where he sat on the veranda granting him a view over the wall into East Germany. We heard vivid descriptions of the stark contrasts between the bright, lively, beautiful west and the drab, gray, eerily empty and silent east. He paused to let us soak it all in.

I raised my hand, like a good kid. Mr. Horace was sure he'd reached us and looked forward to my confession of understanding and national pride! When called on I asked. "Yeah, Mr. Horace, on which side of that wall do you think they're more likely to force kids to pledge their allegiance?"


I still have no idea why a story about West Germany being beautiful is supposed to make me pledge allegiance to the US. It kind of made me want to check out West Germany before making any hasty decisions.

9th Grade

For once I wasn't one of the students riding Mr. Herr. I was more distracted by the back of Andrea Posey's head. The back of her head was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen, I mean other than the front of her head. She was heavy metal video kind of pretty but knew the words to Violent Femmes songs. I was sure we were destined to be together. If only I could get up the nerve to talk to her.

Then I heard Mr. Herr say those amazing words "You can't make me mad. I'm sorry but you can't. I wish you'd just quit trying so we could move on with class. I'll tell you what, let's get it out of the way. Go ahead and try to make me mad. I'll give any of you a free shot. Get it out of your system and we can get on with things. You can insult me all you want but no cursing."

Four hands shot up, one of them mine. Mr. Herr called on Sean. "Yeah, why are you called Mr. Herr when you're bald."

"Oh, am I bald? I hadn't noticed. I get up every morning and look in the mirror and shave and somehow never noticed I was bald. Oh how wounded I am. Nice try Sean."

Three more hands shot up, one of them mine. Mr. Herr called on David. "Are you gay?"

"No. And neither is my wife. Anyone else?"

Only my hand was up. I think Doug was going to ask the question David had already just asked. I was the only one with his hand raised, like a good kid, and when called on...

"Yeah, Mr. Herr, I was wondering why I got a C on the last test even though I copied all of Andrea's questions exactly and she got an A. Then I noticed that you always call on her when there's work to be done on the board and I'm pretty sure I've seen you checking out her butt."

"OUT!" he yelled as he turned crimson.

"WHAT?! No! You can't kick me out!"


"You said we had a free shot!"



"OUT!"I sat in my seat defiantly, incensed. Mr. Herr pulled out a referral slip and started pressing a pen hard to it. I approached his desk. "This is bullshit!"

He kept writing. I pulled the slip away and tore it up. He pulled out another and wrote "2nd copy, student tore up 1st."

I pulled it away and tore it up. I was hoping I could get him to hit me at this point.

He started a third slip. "3rd copy..." I grabbed it.

"I can keep doing this all day Mr. Jensen."

"Me too, Mr. Herr!"

He stopped writing. "Get out."

I walked outside the class, holding in tears and wondered how the hell I'd win this one. I knew I was right but I knew the advantage was his. Another student came out carrying my fourth referral slip. I saw "4th copy..." written on it.

"Hey Juanita, let me have that slip."

"Okay, but you have to tell him you took it or I'll get in trouble."

I agreed, Juanita handed me the referral. I noticed for the first time that she was kind of cute and then I ran back into class, tore up the referral and yelled "Fuck yourself Herr!"

Goddammit, that wasn't gonna help me win the battle. It sure made the class laugh though. I looked at Andrea Posey. She wasn't laughing. Shit!

I ditched Herr's class for the next week while keeping a low profile in my other classes until finally I was called out of PE to the office. I was expelled which is the furthest out of class you can be kicked. I hope Mr. Herr's still alive out there somewhere. I hope this story circulates. I hope, against the odds that it gets back to him. In his defense, I was looking at Andrea Posey's butt too.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Best of 2010 News Stories Which Spawned Shtick

1. Billionaires and Millionaires get tax breaks. It's great to have one headline that can be recycled year after year. Looking forward to copy and pasting this on my 2011 list.

2. NASA finds new form of life in Mono Lake! Keith Richards said to be excited that there is something left on the planet that he hasn't smoked, snorted or shared an std with.

3. Wikileaks – Even atheist comedians drop to their knees and thank the universe for a top news story with the word leaks in it AND the word wiki. Unfortunately the leaks reveal no information about Obama's forged birth certificate, Muslim Faith or Socialist agenda. Maybe they're saving the best for last! Keep the faith.

4. Tea Party – Makes a-lot of noise, waves some of the worse signs ever to be held by someone NOT asking for spare change on a freeway offramp, costs the GOP a few seats, declares itself the winners and then gets sold out as the GOP compromises on every single promise they made in exchange for tax breaks for the wealthy.

5. Fall of Obama – Passes health care reform, wall st. reform, calls off the Feds in states with medicinal marijuana, sees Don't As Don't Tell rescinded but we're still pissed because he promised personal jet packs for everyone by 2010, or something like that. When he said he was a reach across the aisle moderate, we on the left were pretty sure he said it with a wink in our direction but it turns out he actually meant it. Must've had something in his eye.

6.German Chancellor Merkel announces that multiculturalism has failed in Germany. Perhaps she was just tired of hearing Americans calling each other Nazi. “Nazi? No, no, no. I show you Nazi!”
Germany, do you understand, the words heritage and Christian make us very nervous when coming from your mouths?

7. Sun Chips brand snack chips come out with an amazing bag that is 100% biodegradable and made from renewable resources, looks promising to revolutionize packaging industry in a great, green kind of way. Bag is retired when consumers complain that it is too noisy. “Sure, I want to save the planet, but not if it means noisy snacks.”

8. Birthers – Momentum keeps birthers clammering for Obama's birth certificate long after Republican governor of Hawaii verifies it's existence and authenticity. Other Obama slurs which failed to grab hold: Leaves the seat up, wrote that annoying Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer song, in High school he claimed to have done it with a girl in Canada when he hadn't actually done it at all, claims to be black but likes The Beach Boys, is an intellectual.

9. Ground Zero Mosque – Another case of momentum run amok. Protestor's found out it wasn't actually at ground zero but rather at an old Burlington Coat Factory several blocks away. Unfortunately it was too late to call off protests as they'd already made signs, many of them quite creative.

10. U2's Bono reaches a milestone this year. He is an accomplished musician, humanitarian and philanthropist but now that he's also 50 he may want to consider retiring the leather pants.

11. Don't Ask Don't Tell struck down. The one consolation for conservatives is that the wars were unwinnable anyway, at least now they can blame the gays.

12. The BP spill was the worst thing to ever happen, ever in the history of the world and sure to bring about the end of the world as we know it until suddenly, one day, it was all cleaned up. Class action suit for the bad news/good news whiplash still pending.

13. The good news; Christine O'Donnell is not a witch. The better news; She's also not a senator.

14. The Haitian earthquake brings fires, collapsing buildings, lack of clean water and worst of all scores of well intentioned UN Peacekeepers, some with cholera.

15. Arizona's Senate Bill 1070, allowing police to ask any hispanic to prove they're "legal" stirs up much controversy. Arizona wisely back-burners planned bill requiring all Arabs to prove they're not terrorists.
Boycott of Arizona limited since most people avoided going there to begin with.

16. Tiger Woods Infidelities – Did I mention there were really terrible floods in Pakistan? I didn't? Oh, well nobody else did either but hey, I hear Tiger Woods got a little action on the side!