Keith Ecker: Dinner Comedian

I’m traveling to Michigan on Friday to tell jokes to people. It’s kind of cool that something I decided to do several years ago, something that consists of me getting drunk or stoned in my apartment and then scribbling the stupid thoughts that come to my head down on a piece of paper or a napkin or a Reese’s wrapper, has enabled me to travel two hours away from where I sleep, eat and poop. Yippee!

I know. It’s Michigan. It’s not even Detroit (or rather thank God it’s not Detroit). I’m going to Sawyer, a sleepy little township just a ways outside of Sagutauk (sp?), the great gay escape locale of the Midwest. From the limited amount of research I have conducted regarding this trip (a Google search for ‘Sawyer, Michigan), I have deduced that Sawyer has a small population of retirees, and its main export is antiques (objects, not the retirees…they stay). But it does have beachfront property, and my boyfriend and I will be staying in a quaint little B&B-like house along with the other comics…for free. At the least, it will be a nice romantic getaway for my man and I. Oh, and there’s a winery close by so I might be able to get super wasted and then run through the woods buck ass naked. I smell college!

The best part about this story that hasn’t happened yet is that I’m slated to tell jokes at a local eatery. It’s some sort of pub. I’m not sure. Wherever the station wagon drops me off, that’s where I’m telling jokes. That’s what I have written in my contract. Here, I’ll copy and paste for you:

“Management shall provide Mr. Ecker with transportation to said venue, preferably a station wagon or Dodge Caravan, as Mr. Ecker is most comfortable riding in vehicles reminicent of his suburban upbringing. Upon arriving at the venue, Mr. Ecker will likely be unaware of his location, the time, the day, the month, the year, the amount of chemicals in his system, whether it is night, whether it is day, whether gravity is still an active force of nature and whether his bladder is full. Just open the passenger door, coax Mr. Ecker out with Ben and Jerry’s new marzipan-themed ice cream (a dilectable frozen treat that Mr. Ecker has grown incredibly addicted to) and shine an unimaginably bright, blinding light into his eyes. He will automatically begin telling jokes. When he stops, hand him a check, drink ticket or bag of Funions (whatever the negotiated pay may be) and offer to let him sleep in the supply closet.”

So as I said, I’m not 100% clear on where I’m telling jokes. What I am clear on is the fact that the show is being billed as “Dinner Comedy.” Yes, Dinner Comedy. You should be giggling. It should bring to mind the pathetic nature of dinner comedy’s more famous kin dinner theater, in which school teachers with time off during the summer dress up in period piece costumes and over emote while a bunch of people try desperately to focus on their chicken vesuvio for fear that one of the performers might make eye contact causing the patron to see the endless dark depths of a person who has long lost his (or her) soul.

So yeah, I’m a dinner comedian now. Which is kind of awesome cause it really gives me a lot of leeway to be stupid. I mean, people are going to be expecting safe comedy. The problem is I don’t know safe jokes. My sets consist of criticizing hypocritical, overzealous Christians and ripping on the gay community for its skewed priorties. I might write some new material just for this show. I’m thinking something very graphic. Something that menitons a lot of sex and bodily functions. I want to interact with the audience, make sure they’re enjoying their food.We’ll see.

But seriously, I’m pretty stoked. Yay!

“Is everybody having a good time? How’s the fish?”


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