Relax? Most comics can do no such thing. The green room at the Punch Line is much more complex than Oxford Dictionary defines. Let’s try this again:
Punch Line green room
/Punch Line ɡrin rum/
The green room is truly a place where memories are made, both good and bad. I reached out to a few of our regular performers and asked them about some of their most memorable experiences in the Punch Line green room.
I once snuck into the green room when Robert Schimmel was headlining. I chatted him up and asked him if I could do a guest set that night. He said yes! But, then the manager found out that I had gone in there without asking and didn't allow me to do it. He also had me yanked off of an upcoming HBO showcase. But now he doesn't work there anymore and I am on TV (sometimes). Still never been on HBO, though. Also, if any comic comes into the Green Room this weekend and asks me for a guest set, I'll have him banned and make him do fifty push ups.
Coming up in San Francisco as a comedian, the one guy I really wanted to work with was Bill Burr.. Eventually I got the opportunity to open for him at the club. The middle act was Todd Rexx. The three of us would do quotes from the movie Goodfellas all weekend, because it's the greatest film of all time. After the third show of the week, I walk into the green room where Bill, Todd, and the club booker were hanging out. Todd looks up and says, “Sal fuckin' Calanni!” Burr didn't see me come in and says, “Who the fuck is Sal Calanni?” And then Todd and the booker just stare at me. I sheepishly raised my hand and said, “I am, the guy who's been opening for you all week.” He brushed it off and said “I thought he was doing a Goodfellas quote” and everyone laughed. Then on the next show, he told that story, and crushed. Todd and Bill still reference it every once in a while and because of that moment, he's remembered my name ever since.
I remember being on a showcase night at Punch Line when Comedy Central was at the club looking at people for their show, Live at Gotham. In one of the handful of times in my life, I came off stage and walked into the green room where ten or twelve comics all looked at me with wide eyes and said that I just had a perfect set. Three weeks later Comedy Central called and I got the show. I remember the best advice I ever got in stand-up comedy I got in that room. If someone gets something you really wanted the only way to stop resentment and bitterness from setting in and ruining your adventure as a stand-up is to go up to the person and congratulate them. But for it to work you really have to mean it.
I was riding along with comedian Karinda Dobbins when she opened for Dave Chappelle at Punch Line. He noticed me, invited me to the green room and asked me about me and how long I had been a comedian. He was very kind and generous. I was of course a little reserved when he asked me if I wanted anything to drink, "No thank you" I said. "Well do you want anything to eat?" he asked. There was a great spread of food in the green room but I politely declined again, “No thank you.” "Well, you want crack? We got that too," he said in his special Dave Chappelle way and everyone busted up laughing. I said no but I did end up eating the food.
I remember for the first few years of doing stand up that I would see comics on Sunday (showcase night) walking in and out of the green room. Only passed comics were allowed to hang in the green room and its door was sort of the barrier that separated the “comics” from the “open micers.” While all of us lowly micers would be seated at the bar talking about which micers were rumored to be hooking up, the real comics with TV credits and famous faces would go directly to the green room and slam the door behind them. So I’ll never forget the first Sunday after I got passed. I walked directly to the green room, slammed the door, and proceeded to talk about which comedians were hooking up. It was magical.
Mo Mandel performs at Punch Line San Francisco on Oct 25, 26, 27. One show Thursday. 2 Shows on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $18.50 - $24.00 in advance
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