USCAF - Day One
I guess I’ll start at the beginning. Last Wednesday, I went to HBO’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival to perform on a show for Comcast. Most comics who perform at USCAF have to find their own way to Aspen, find a place to stay on their own, and pay for their own food. No one told Comcast this… and I wasn’t about to either. We were flown there, put up in an amazing hotel, and every meal was covered for the entire trip. There were 9 other comics who would also be performing on this show. We were all flown into Denver International Airport. A flight directly into Aspen would have been nice, but also would have been pointless. Most of Colorado was getting hammered by a snow storm and flights into Aspen were being redirected to Denver anyway. So, in Denver, I met up with my friend and writing partner Andy Hendrickson, and we got on a bus with the other comics and a couple of representatives from Comcast. About 6 1/2 hours later, we finally rolled into Aspen. It had been a long, long day of travel that had started nearly 12 hours earlier… but we had finally arrived in Aspen… or as comedians call it, Mecca. I checked into my hotel room, and found it to be about two thirds the square footage of my own house.
After dinner at the hotel, we jumped on the shuttle into town. On the shuttle, we did what comedians normally do together… act like morons. Luckily, one man’s “moronic behavior” is another man’s “funny”… and in the process, we met a development exec from ABC. She reads scripts for ABC and said she’d love to take a look at our spec script. I promised to drop it by her hotel that night. I’m pretty sure nothing will come out of it… but it was nice to finally hand off a copy of the script.
We stopped into the St. Regis Hotel, one of the hot spots for the festival, to see what we could see… and ran into Matt Komen, a guy I’ve known for a few months now. I’m not even sure what exactly Matt does in the industry… but when a large group of comics gather, he always seems to be there. This was no exception. He was with a booker from the California Improvs, and an owner of some of the Florida Improvs, who he introduced to Andy and I. At this point, even if we turned around and went home right then, it had already been a successful trip. But we didn’t have to go home just yet. We went downstairs, and talked our way into one of the stand-up showcases. This was pretty easy to do because as far as the festival was concerned, we were “artists”. Nice. The comics on the showcase were good, but I didn’t feel like we were out-gunned. I felt like we deserved to be there.
After the showcase, we went upstairs to do the other thing comedians do when they’re together… drink. As we walked up to the bar, we realized that we were standing right next to Stephen Wright, a comic legend. He was performing at the festival also. It appeared like he wasn’t being served… probably because he more than slightly resembled a homeless man. He got his drink and so did we, and we talked to him for a few minutes. He was very down to earth. Quiet… but not abnormally so, as you might expect from his onstage persona. After a couple of quick pictures with him, we went back to the hotel for the night.