I got to see, hear and touch (just a handshake, mind you), professional funnyman and human being Jake Johannsen after participating in, well, just attending, his first show of a four-night stint 8/14-17 at at Capitol City Comedy Club. A couple of friends and I were fortunate enough to see his show again. I wrote about his hilarious stand-up comedy act last year. Some of his material was the same (but just as funny!), and quite a lot was new. Many jokes were laugh til you almost cry funny. One woman even slapped her leg while laughing, and he commented on that, comicly, of course. And then we got to meet and chat after. Very cool. More after the More bar… which I’m told you don’t really see. Never mind.
Still Wondering About Sex Robots
For a married guy, J J sure thinks about sex a lot. (That’s what I call him now after two brief encounters, yeah, J J. He loves it, I heard. Well, I said that aloud, and I heard myself say it. So now it probably doesn’t count.) Anyway, I couldn’t do MISTER Johannsen’s jokes and stories the justice they deserve. You’ll have to see him live. He’s after all a seasoned pro who got his start in 1986, has had specials on HBO and Showtime, won awards, and was on David Letterman 46 times. (And yes, Dave said “Get off!” each and every one of them. I guess Dave took his own advice with that intern. Hey-o!). Man, I gotta cut down on my use of parentheses. And sugar. One of them is a lot easier.
Plus that’s like the whole point, that you should go to his live shows and stalk him on his webpage – Facebook – podcast – Twitter – YouTube – Instagram – house (ok, not the last one, I’m kidding!). But I think I can quote him with proper attribution and not be sued. I mean, it’s right there on the top of his webpage. (Does that mean he likes being on top? Asking for a friend, who’s definitely straight.) Damn, more parentheses!
“The difference between watching standup comedy on TV and seeing it live, is like the difference between watching a porno and actually having sex with a real person. You might enjoy them both, but one is a lot better.”-Jake Johnnansen, http://www.JakeThis.com/
A Bit on the Craft of Writing Comedy
I got a chance to ask Señor Hijodejuan a few questions after the show (that would be the Spanish translation of his last name. You’re welcome). Like about his creative process. Some comedians throw out their act each year, he said, but he keeps honing his craft. He has to try it out and see what works. That’s maybe common to all comics yet specific to his process and what he finds works for him. It might take two years before he’s moved on to completely new material. But what’s interesting is that he said, “I have to try to lead the audience to understand why *I* think something is funny.”
I asked if he sits down to write, just like a writer of a book, and he does. So as someone who fancies himself as a writer, and who just finished the first draft of my book, I take some inspiration from that. As I’m editing I need to try to really drill down to what is the point or essence of the passage at hand.
Because an actual editor will do that, and tell me to revise or just throw out whole sections if they don’t serve the purpose. In Jake’s case, it’s to be licked and loved, in that order. Excuse me, that’s a typo. It should say LIKED, not licked. He’s a happily married guy! Anyway, according to Jake, Sex Robots will soon rule the world, so many things really won’t matter too much.
More About Jake’s Bits… I Mean More Tidbits About Jake!
A bit more on Jake: he’s from Iowa. (I thought it was Minnesota, but screw those Garrison Keillor-loving mo-fo’s! Turns out GK really was a sex robot, and the harassing kind.) As mentioned last time I wrote about Jake, he does ride a bike around his neighborhood in LA. It’s a pedaled-assisted one when needed, but hey, he’s still out there risking life and limb for exercise. Although it’s an e-bike, therefore, basically a motorcycle. (A Dude ain’t none too fond of them contraptions. Til I’m old enough to need one, then I’ll probably have to jump on that bandwagon. I don’t think anyone has ever seen a wagon for a band, so what I mean is I’ll probably jump on an e-bike someday.)
He knew about RAGBRAI, which is on long bike ride and rolling party across the whole state held every July. The two Randy’s have done it. I asked funny guy if he might try RAGBRAI. He said it would be fun to do with the family, but doubted he could ever convince them to.
My friend Saurabh bought Jake’s t-shirt last year that just said “SEX ROBOT.” You must see his show to understand the bit. But I alas have not received a paycheck in a good while, so I could not contribute to his various fetishes, I mean products. (OK, I don’t know if he has any fetishes. Fetishii? But hey, I’m just trying to create some mystique about the guy over here, OK? Work with me already. Sheesh!) He does have a room full ofCDs and DVDs he needs to sell, so help a brother out, OK?
Seriously, though, Jake’s on-stage persona is still him, but a more animated one. At least in our few moments both times, he was super chill and nice. I wish I could go see his show every night, but as he recorded in a short Twitter video, “that might not be a good financial decision.”
Well, you get the picture. Jake Johannsen: A funny, interesting, nice guy whom you should check out. And if Kumail Nanjiani (Portlandia, The Big Sick, Stuber) says he was a big comedic influence, you know that he is the real deal. Jake is real, not Kumail. I heard Kumail is a robot. Probably the sex kind. (Yep! You heard it here first. I said it. Then I heard it. And now I’m hearing it. Please don’t sue me Kumail! You’re very funny and probably not a robot.)
Tom Gammill, Seinfeld Writer
Tom Gammill came out as one of the opening acts and told a hilarious story about leaving his 12-year old son in a hotel room. He wasn’t on for long but I really enjoyed it. Afterwards, he was sitting at the bar with another of the openers. I went up and said hello and thanked them both. I offered my hand to shake — the same one Jake had recently touched, and which not 30 minutes before had been shoving cheese covered potatoes down my gullet (Funny Fries, the club calls them.) So now there’s a one-degree separation between me and Jerry Seinfeld. That’s pretty cool if you ask me. I know it’s basically not important, but let me have my moment alright? Sheesh.
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