8-12 ''Hey bud, what's your problem?''

Last week I did a set at RiRa's in Arlington. I had a good set. I tried three new jokes which need work. It was cool to see some of the comics that I hadn't seen in a while. John McBride, Hampton and Andy Haynes all performed. They have gotten really good. The crowd didn't give Andy what he deserved, but he has some really good jokes. I don't know if it's new, but he told one about hearing warnings as a kid that marijuana was ''laced'' with other drugs that is hilarious.

Anyway, I am bringing up this open mic because I am annoyed with the behavior of the comic that went on right before me. He will remain nameless, but if has an issue with anything I'm writing I am more than willing to discuss any of this with him man-to-man.

I have said this a million times, but if you are a comic...doing a bar...for free...in front of 40 people...on a Wednesday night, you are entitled to nothing... nothing at all. If you are a veteran you are doing this show for only one reason; to work out new material. There is no other reason to take stage time from others who have taken the time to write new jokes.

This comic was slated to go third. When the show started he had yet to arrive so Jenn Wardrop, who runs the room, asked the other comics to extend their time so the audience would get a quality show. We all agreed, no problem. Three minutes before I was about to take the stage in walks Mr. Hollywood. He walks right up on stage. Does a crisp 20. Goes 4 minutes into the red light (the light that tells you your time is up) and ends his set by saying, ''I didn't really get to try any new jokes. Is there anything you guys want to talk about?''

Really? You have that little self-awareness? First off, you are nobody. Just like we all are nobodies. If we were somebodies we could work out our new jokes at the DC Improv after the headliner on Saturday night. But we're not, so we need to sit in a restaurant attic waiting for our name to be called. I wrote new jokes, I showed up on time, I didn't go over my time and I talked to the other comics. If you didn't go 3 for 4 in the above criteria, don't do that. If you go 2 for 4, you are a dick.

Hampton has a girlfriend. He made sure he worked that into our conversation. It was awkwardly mentioned and that made me laugh. It was something like:

Me: Hey Bro, how have you been?

Hampton: Good. You're back doing standup?

Me: Yeah, I'll be trying to get back on stage a couple of times a week.

Hampton: That reminds me of something my girlfriend said. You know I'm dating Aparna. She's a girl. We date.

Me: Oh what did she say?

Hampton: What did who say?

Me: Uh, what were we talking about?

Hampton: So you're back doing standup?

It was probably even more awkward than that.

After the show I went over to Wiseacres. There was a comic that I had never seen before, but had heard he is there regularly. At the end of his set he said something off-the-wall and offensive with no intention of getting a laugh. He walked up to another comic afterward and said something to the effect of:

"I was just trying to piss them off with that thing at the end."

What? Did you really? Wow, where to start? Okay, first off, someone has to take the stage after you. You've just screwed over your peer. True, I hate you and will never like you, but what if it's someone you do care about? Second, when it is Wednesday night and you have 50 or so people in your audience, you need to try your best. People need to love live comedy so they'll come back, not be offended so they stay home and watch CSI next time. You do us all a disservice with your bullshit. Third, you lie. It's a defense mechanism to act like you sabotaged your set when actually you just didn't do well. Look, we all have bad sets. I would imagine most of yours are bad. However, if you are not willing to quit (which you should) the least you could do is try. Finally, I am so sick of people trying to be irreverent by forcing Hitler, pedophilia, race, etc. into their act. First off, it's not irreverent. It's cliché. I've seen it a million times done better and done the same. Next, you're saying nothing. You don't like retarded people? You hate the Jews? What's your message? There is none. It's for shock value. Guess what? I'm not shocked. You're a dick.

There is no more 'Baltimore's Funniest' competition. I blame you. Yes you, the comics. The contest doesn't generate enough money for the club to continue to have it.

I've blogged about this before. It was a bringer show that allowed the club to be open on Wednesdays. It allowed for new comics to get on stage at an actual comedy club. It allowed both veterans and up-and-comers that didn't work the club to be seen. It allowed someone to win $1500. It allowed people who wouldn't normally get exposure to live comedy to do so through this contest.

Well some of you got your wish. If you are a new comic in this area, you have virtually no chance of performing at the Baltimore Comedy Factory. If you are a working comic in the area, get in line. I guess the club was supposed to lose money for the privilege of having you perform there.

I've been told that this year's DCComedyfest had problems. That's too bad. We're all better off when things like that succeed. I've heard the complaints that a lot of the spots were taken by New York comics and that those performers were aloof, unprofessional and worst of all...not funny. I'm sure there are two sides to every story. The only thing I believe that both sides can agree upon is that the showcases featuring these NY comics did not go very well. I don't know the organizers very well, but I hope they learn from this versus finding a way to justify their choices. I have made a million mistakes in my life and I will make a million more. The measure of a person is when they recognize their mistakes and amend their behavior so it doesn't happen again. If you are running a comedy show, your job is to make people laugh. I don't care how hip or cool or innovative or alternative you are. If people aren't laughing you have failed and you need to change what you do. Just my opinion.