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Doin’ It All For A Baby That Can’t Love Me Back

March 29th, 2013 by Jeff Simmermon

gavin
(I see a lot of traffic coming in to read this post – in the event that some of you are interested in seeing the performing that I’m talking about, you can see that this Wednesday in NYC, just click the link.)

Five of my friends have had babies in the last two weeks. The birth of a baby is supposed to be a happy thing, but it can also be a funeral for a friendship.

It’s great that everyone I know is immediately, rapturously in love with their child, and I wouldn’t wish anything else for them. I see the joy and happiness that my sister and her husband feel now that my nephew is here, and I genuinely want everyone I care about to feel that, too. But it’s not like I stopped needing someone to hang out with, talk to, commiserate with about the crushing grind that is art and performance in NYC, get super baked on pot cookies and watch sci-fi flicks together.

I’m not suggesting that the emotional needs of a 36 year old man should never come ahead of a baby’s, either. If any of my friends kept hanging out like everything was exactly the same, that would be even worse. I’d hate to find out that a close friend was so into our friendship that he was willing to become a deadbeat dad just to keep our train on the tracks.

I think a lot more kids are accidents than people let on. After a certain age, people just go to a different doctor when they find out they’re pregnant than they did in their twenties. I think so, anyway. But after my run-in with testicular cancer a few years back, I’m not going to be surprising anybody.

So while I grieve for my lost – or suddenly, drastically changed – friendships, I’m also jealous. Not like, snatch-a-baby jealous, but with the option of sudden, natural conception behind me, it makes me a lot more conscious of my choices. And I don’t feel like my life is in a place where I could drop everything and support a new life.

I’m really, obsessively focused on writing and performing now. It takes up almost every waking hour, and it pretty much has to until further notice. It’s crushing and exhausting, but sometimes it works out.

For example, I was honored to be the only white guy in a tribute to Richard Pryor at BAM last month. I grew up listening to Richard Pryor records in my room, mimicking his cadence and timing and trying to learn how he could conjure so many characters in a story. Not imitating them, but just becoming them. I’m a storyteller, Pryor was too. And I’ve got a story about a guy who pretty much is the living embodiment of his “Mudbone” character. It was a perfect lock, and such a thrill to be there.

The room was packed, standing room only, maybe 300 people or so. I went on second, after a guy who just crushed it. He’s brash and sharp, grew up incredibly poor in Washington, D.C., and the crowd loved him. Then I went on, and things changed.

They weren’t trying to hear anything from a huge white dude that looks like most people’s boss, dressed in a cowboy shirt. Especially not if the story was a complex story about a friendship with a schizophrenic black man. A large Caribbean woman sat right in front of me, frowning a hole in my skull with arms crossed in front of her like two giant pythons guarding a gateway to laughter on the far, opposite side of an echoing room. I saw dates look at one another and mutually decide to wrap it up early and claim they had an early meeting the next day.

Some people laughed here and there, but I knew in 30 seconds that it was going to be a fight. Comics can go to backup material, but when you’re telling a story and it’s going bad, you’ve got to land that burning airline no matter what happens.

Phones were coming out and lighting up all over the place, and I could hear the audience start to chatter. I swear I heard someone say, “it’s cool, we can talk over this guy.” I zeroed in on a friend’s face and just started talking to her, just to get through it.

And then, also in the front row, I saw this:

A haggard, middle-aged woman pulled a sharpie out of her pocket, and drew a mustache onto her face with a very practiced motion. Then she reached into her coat and took her shirt off completely, unfurling her boobs like faded, trusty flags she’d flown a million times before.
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‘And I Am Not Lying’ Does Two Shows During SXSW 2013 at The New Movement Theater

March 2nd, 2013 by Jeff Simmermon

“And I Am Not Lying” is doing two shows at SXSW Interactive 2013: one on March 10th and another on March 11th, both at The New Movement Theater. The one on March 10th is for SXSW badgeholders (Platinum, Gold, Film, Interactive) and the one on the 11th is open to the general public.

If you’re a badgeholder and want to add this to your schedule, click here.

To buy tickets to the show open to the public on March 11th, click here.

Here’s a cool poster, more info after the jump:

NotLying-SXSW-2013

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I’m Doing a **BUNCH** of Shows February 5th – 10th

February 1st, 2013 by Jeff Simmermon

I just checked my calendar and realized that I’m doing a blur of shows next week, lined up like a long row of shots. The process is likely to be equal amounts of fun and exhausting, enough to leave me whimpering on the floor – just like a long row of shots. But if you’ve been reading this thing wondering when you can see me perform, consider yourself told.

There’s some really exciting stuff in here – an appearance with Michael Showalter, the monthly installment of And I Am Not Lying, and I’m the only white dude in a tribute to Richard Pryor at BAM. Check out these listings, and if you come to any of these, come up and say ‘hi’ afterwards!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 8:00 PM (doors at 7:30) – I’ll be appearing on Kerri Doherty’s “Geeking Out,” with headliner Michael Showalter
at Union Hall, Brooklyn, NY. I’ll be joined by my friend Juliet Hope Wayne and Carolyn Castiglia
Get tickets here

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:30 PM (doors at 9) – will be the monthly installment of And I Am Not Lying with Brad Lawrence, Cyndi Freeman, burlesque by Magdalena Fox, comedy from Sasheer Zamata and sideshow by Abigoliah Schamaun.

The show will be at UNDER Saint Marks’ Theater, 94 Saint Marks’ Place (between 1st and A). Click here for tickets (then click the blue 6 in ‘February), and check out the fun poster below:

FEB_2013_FLYER_web

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 9:00 PM – I’ll be telling a story in Caroline Creaghead‘s ‘Get It Out There’, a monthly comedy series at BAM, sponsored by IFC. This month’s show is a tribute to Richard Pryor.

Let me just bear down on this a little here: I am the only white dude in a Richard Pryor tribute show at BAM. This is a colossal honor, and a little intimidating as I’ll be sharing the stage with Jeffrey Joseph, Jermaine Fowler, and Hari Kondabolu – all incredibly gifted, hardworking and funny comics. Jeff and Hari both appeared at ‘And I Am Not Lying’ when we were at Union Hall, too.

The show is free, in the BAMCafe – doors at 8PM.

Friday, February 8th, 2013 at 8:00 PM – I’ll be telling a story in “Sharkbite Sideshow,” a bimonthly sideshow featuring some of the finest storytellers, burlesque performers, sideshow artists and pole dancers in New York City. The show will also feature performances from Cherry Brown, Ember Flame, Kryssy Kocktail, Lucille Ti Amore, Moxie Sazerac and fire dancing from Sasha the Fire Gypsy.

Get tickets for Sharkbite Sideshow here.

Sunday, February 10th at 5:00 PM - I’ll be telling two stories in Miz Stefani’s House, Live. This streams live, over the Web – so click this link at 5PM on Sunday if you happen to be ignoring the Super Bowl.

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Ophira Eisenberg’s Live Standup Set From ‘And I Am Not Lying’

January 15th, 2013 by Jeff Simmermon

Storyteller Ophira Eisenberg

Ophira Eisenberg is known pretty widely as the host of NPR’s ‘Ask Me Another,’ but she is also an excellent standup comic and storyteller. And she happens to be a friend as well as someone whose work I look up to and love. She regularly hosts Moth slams here in New York, and we met through that and a million other smaller storytelling shows that we’ve done together.

I’ve been trying to merge standup with my storytelling over the last few months, and Ophira is one of the people who made me think it was worth doing. I found out very soon, the very, very hard way, that it’s actually hard as hell and Ophira just makes it look easy.

She did an excellent standup set at my show (And I Am Not Lying, named for this blog, now at Under Saint Marks’ Theater) at Union Hall last February, and I’m really excited to be able to share this recording from the sound board.

If you only know Ophira from the radio, this is very different than what you might hear on NPR. For starters, there’s a lot of swearing in it. If that’s something that bothers you, you may want to avoid this.

If copious swearing and a few grownup jokes are something that bothers you and you listen anyway, please admit that you get a prissy little thrill from being offended and just keep any complaints to yourself.

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Found on the NYC Subway: Level-Headed Relationship Advice from A Little Girl

January 9th, 2013 by Jeff Simmermon

I found this adorable piece of pragmatic relationship advice from a child on the floor of my subway stop this morning:

child_advice
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And I Am Not Lying Live at The Black Cat on December 9th with Special Guest Go-Go Harder

November 15th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

**UPDATE** We have added comedian Paul Oddo to this show. Paul recently won the Boston Comedy Festival, and we’re stoked to have him!**

Man, Brad, Cyndi and I love doing shows in Washington, D.C. We get to see old friends, the Black Cat treats us incredibly well (you can tell it’s run by musicians) and the people seem to be pretty into it.

We’re coming back to the Black Cat in DC on Sunday, December 9th at 8PM. This time we’re going to be in the big upstairs room, too – which is pretty much an actual dream come true for me. Rather than sell out the small room downstairs and add a second show, we figured we’d do it all at once up there.

Here’s a poster I made for the thing, inspired by one I saw for “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”:

And I Am Not Lying at The Black Cat, 12.9.2012

As always, the show will feature storytelling by me (Jeff Simmermon), Brad Lawrence and Cyndi Freeman – who will also be doing a few burlesque acts. We’re really, really excited to have New York’s boylesque superstar Go-Go Harder join us onstage that night, too.

“What’s ‘boylesque?’” you may ask, followed by “Who the hell is ‘Go-Go Harder?’”

WELL. Among other things, he’s one of NYC’s first, foremost and finest male burlesque performers – and one of the subjects of this article on the boylesque phenomenon in the New York Times.

Here’s a quote from the piece that I loved:

… “Audiences go crazy for glittered nipples,” he told them. “The hipsters can’t handle it.”

This is not a night at Chippendales, and, according to Mr. Harder, that is a good thing. “Boylesque celebrates a large range of bodies with different sizes and shapes,” he said. “This idea of seeing nontraditional masculine men onstage is very new, and I feel boylesque is changing that for the better.”

We’ll also be joined by comedian Paul Oddo, who recently won the 2012 Boston Comedy Festival.

Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door – get ‘em here: Tickets for And I Am Not Lying at the Black Cat on December 9th. The room is going to be mixed seating and standing, with roughly a hundred chairs on the floor, and the rest standing room only. If you need a seat, you may want to plan to get there early.

If you want to check out a trailer and put it on your blog or something, you can do that here:

And, if you happen to be working for a media outlet and want to write about this, you can find our electronic press kit here: And I Am Not Lying EPK

Hope we see you at the show!

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And I Am Not Lying’s Triumphant Return to NYC – 9pm At Under Saint Marks Theater

September 28th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

Hey, folks – I screwed up an earlier version of this post and flyer, and posted the wrong time. The show is definitely at 9 PM on Wednesday, October 3rd.

And I Am Not Lying had a monthly run at Union Hall in Brooklyn starting at the beginning of the year, and it was going pretty well. We put on a stadium-sized show down there in the basement, and the audience got a LOT of show for their ten bucks.

One of the things we pride ourselves on is putting on a show full of surprises, so you never quite know what’s going to happen — or what just happened. I want people to walk out of there thinking “holy crap, I don’t even know what I just saw, but I can’t wait to see it again.”

Maybe like a David Sedaris reading crossed with a KISS concert. In that spirit, we booked a grand finale from dear friends and burlesque legends Mat Fraser and Julie Atlas Muz for our May show. And they brought some seriously strange heat from another dimension with an act that was wild, rude, daring, dirty and sweet all at once.

Maybe like a John Waters movie screened at a Flaming Lips concert.

But the act was really, really intense, really, really wild, and there was maybe a lot more frontal nudity in it than Union Hall’s owners would prefer. I can’t imagine that it tickled anybody’s prurient interest – strangers were hugging each other and screaming with laughter, jumping up and just running around the room and yelling in general. I’ve never seen a crowd do that before in my life. I felt like Mat and Julie took us all to a gutter on a higher plane of existence.

But rules are rules, and we got asked to leave. A lot of bars have to protect their liquor licenses, and that’s just the way the world works. I’m not going to lie to you: it hurt, really bad. It stung all summer. We took the time off, did a bunch of shows out of town, and geared up for …

… A triumphant comeback, at a new venue, where the only rule is: ABSOLUTELY NO GLITTER.

We’re BEYOND stoked to announce our triumphant return to NYC in our new monthly residency at Under Saint Marks’ Theater! We’ll be bringing the best storytelling, comedy, burlesque and sideshow on the first Wednesday of every month at 9PM!

And, at the request of Under Saint Marks’ theater, we’re going to be kicking off our residency with a special visit from Mat Fraser and Julie Atlas Muz, performing the act that got us BANNED IN PARK SLOPE!

For tickets, go here: http://www.tinyurl.com/notlying-10-1

To find the theater, click here: http://goo.gl/maps/d7IXg

This month we’re starting off in fine style with:

Comedy by:
Jermaine Fowler
Burlesque by:
Fem Appeal
Cherry Pitz

Storytelling by:
Peter Aguero
Brad Lawrence
Cyndi Freeman

Unfortunately, I can’t make this show — but I’ll be back in November, and I hope you guys are, too. Let me know how it goes – it should be pretty bananas.

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Michael Che at Caroline’s on Broadway, Tonight. I’m hosting, he’s headlining

August 9th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

All of a sudden, I’ve got the opportunity to host/open for Michael Che at Caroline’s on Broadway tonight, at the 10PM show. I kind of can’t believe it. I’ve been wandering around for months thinking “please, can I just catch a break,” and all of sudden here it is in my lap. That place is beyond legendary.

Michael Che’s one of my favorite comedians who will actually engage with me in person and online. One time we were drunk at the bocce courts at Union Hall and he started telling everyone that I was a professional bocce player, sponsored by Monster Energy Drinks. He got people to bet on us and then we lost HORRIBLY.

He’s a recurring cast member of “Bunk!” on IFC, and was one of Time Out NY’s three “Comics to Watch” this year.

Here’s a set that he did at our show at Union Hall last winter:

I’ll be there, telling stories and jokes in between professional comedians that people actually pay to see. It should be magnificent.

You can get tickets to the show here: Michael Che at Caroline’s on Broadway

Entering the code “COB10″ will get you $10 tickets.

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And I Am Not Lying: Live in Philly on August 4th

June 29th, 2012 by D.Billy

It’s time once again to take the And I Am Not Lying show out of town – we’re going to be cock-rocking the NPR crowd at Underground Arts in Philadelphia on Saturday, August 4th at 8PM.

Tickets are $10, available here: And I Am Not Lying at Underground Arts

We’ll be featuring storytelling from:

Jeff Simmermon
Cyndi Freeman
Juliet Hope Wayne
(a great profile on her here!)

Comedy by Andy Ross

Burlesque from Cherry Pitz and Legs Malone

And sideshow acts from Jelly Boy the Clown.

Here’s a poster:

Get pumped, Philly! We sure are!

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Wonder Woman Ties Up the Cheetah at And I Am Not Lying Live

June 13th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

Well, I’m tickled to all hell right now. We’re bringing the And I Am Not Lying live show to the Black Cat in DC on Thursday, June 14th, and I’m told that we’ve sold out the 8PM show. We’re adding a late show that night, with doors at 10PM. You can see more info on the Black Cat’s site here and get advance tickets here: And I Am Not Lying at the Black Cat, 10 PM show.

This is a photo from a show that we did last year at L’Etage in Philadelphia, just to give you folks at home a taste:

Runaround Sue, Brad Lawrence, Cyndi Freeman 3 (by Ryan Collerd)

This is Wonder Woman apprehending the Cheetah while Steve Trevor looks on with a stupefied, dreamlike amazement. I’ve never seen someone be more hesitant about their rescue in all my life. Cyndi Freeman/Cherry Pitz is Wonder Woman, Runaround Sue is the Cheetah, and Brad Lawrence is Steve Trevor. Photo is by the genuine, warm and spectacular Ryan Collerd.

As it turns out, we’ll be coming back to Philadelphia on August 4th, too. So keep watching the skies, people – we hope to see you really soon.

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