I’m happy to report that the road is keeping me busy. The bad news, however, is that I haven’t made a lengthy visit to my beloved hometown of Nashville in quite a while. But I’m getting word from people there that a glorious tradition may be coming to an end. Unfortunately, I’m not talking about line-dancing, or as I like to call it…hillbilly ballet.

I joke but it’s actually kind of neat watching people line dance. When there is a bunch of people doing it, it’s like watching synchronized swimming at the Mullet Olympics. Of course, I tease because I can’t do it. I’ve tried and honestly gave it my all, but I suck at any form of dancing. I can’t even do the Hokey Pokey, and they give you instructions in the lyrics, for crying out loud. To all those who enjoy line dancing, more power to you. Don’t beat me up…I’m just joking around. You should direct your anger at the guy who canceled Hee Haw and who had the gall to make beer “light”. That bastard!

No, the tradition I speak of isn’t in the realm of country music. It’s in the comedy world. Nashville is home to many up-n-coming comics, including Star Search finalist Tim Northern, the nation’s funniest cop Dan Whitehurst, mangydoggers Chad Riden and Jesse Perry (visit www.mangydog.com), Frankie Harris, Dawna Kinne, Danny Limor, Rik Roberts, T.C. Cope, Dave Young, Mary Mack, Damian Anaya, and many many more. So many, in fact, we made a website – www.nashvillestandup.com – that profiles our little world and the comics who inhabit it. I truly believe that you will see many if not all of these people in the big time somewhere down the road. There is a lot of talent in music city, and not just at Tootsie’s, the Bluebird Café, or night court.

Sadly, our open mike stage is on shaky ground. We’ve been doing comedy there at the Cantina on Tuesday nights for over five years, and it’s been quite a ride. But lately, there has been concern that the bottom line hasn’t been where the management would like it. So the pressure is on us to bring in more people. Not just anyone, but people who will spend money on booze. So stay at home all you soberites. Just kidding. You can come too, just buy drinks for other people…like broke comics. But why wouldn’t you want to drink when the drinks on Tuesday are two-for-one? Ladies…you have to go because it’s a sale. Sales call to you like sirens to Ulysses, right? Okay, so that’s a bit sexist. I’ll balance it out. Guys…you have to go because the ladies will be there. And we guys are stupid enough to spend lots of money on beer that we’re just going to piss out in a few hours, all to impress cute (and not-so-cute after a few) girls who have no interest in us or the wingman. We go home with no phone numbers and an empty wallet, and we bitch and complain at how stuck-up chicks can be, then we’re back at it the next night to continue the evil cycle. We’re stupid.

My point is getting a tad off track. All of you in Nashville should go to the Cantina. You’ll get to hear all sorts of new material from Nashville’s comedy community. And the staff there is awesome. Kenny Winchell the owner and Lundy the bartender have been incredibly good to us over the years. They love the fact that their bar is the longest running comedy open mike stage in Nashville history. That’s right, folks. You won’t hear that on your tour through the replica of the Parthenon or the replica of Fort Nashboro, but it’s true. And we all want to keep that run going. The Ryman Auditorium isn’t a replica (yet), and like its past, someday this stage will be revered as the stage that Tim Northern started, or the place where Dan Whitehurst first used his “can’t” joke (you have to go to the show to get it), or the place where countless funny comics battled for the right to win a coveted can of Fresca.

That’s right, people…whoever is deemed the “funniest person in Nashville” that week wins a Fresca. The next time you pass the soda aisle, and you spot that particular grapefruit carbonated beverage (to my knowledge the only grapefruit carbonated beverage) and wonder to yourself “who the hell buys this stuff?”, now you know the answer. It’s the comics at the Cantina. So if you don’t come out to support Nashville comedy, keep that in mind. You will contribute to the downfall of our open mike stage, which will stop our Fresca buying habits, which will shut down their bottling plant, which will cause those three unemployed people to take jobs at the Jack Daniels Distillery (yes… it’s a replica), which supports the Wild Horse Saloon and its line-dancing practices. Is that what you want? You want to fuel the 21st century epidemic known as the Dollywood do-si-do? I implore you not to.

Please show your support.
Tuesdays…Cantina (in Cummins Station)…downtown Nashville…8:00 PM.

From the bottom of our collective comedy hearts… Thanks!

Categories: Columns