50 Shows in 50 states: Three real comics book their own tour, set their own rules (Tour Diary)

By | November 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm | 7 comments | feature slider, Features, News | Tags: , , , ,

The Biggest Tour Ever Ever is Kristine Levine, Morgan Preston and Andrew Ouellette. They are going for the world record of 50+ shows in 50 states all in 50 days. The initial idea is to get into the gritty bits of America and bring them something they would never see otherwise.

This tour was the brain child of Morgan Preston and Andrew Ouellette, who say they are tired of working inside a broken club system. “We have the technology and drive to tour this entire country without restrictions or taking less pay than we would earn without the clubs; why wouldn’t we do this?” says Preston. “Comedy isn’t dying, just the clubs are; everything is changing and you have to change with it.”

Although the tour was still missing an equilibrium; it was lacking a certain feminine charm. Portlandia’s Kristine Levine, who regularly works with Doug Stanhope, is one of this country’s most intense female comics. Fresh off performing her one-woman show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and SXSW, she decided to end her amazing year with this huge tour. “She’s a perfect balance for our show,” Says Ouellette, “She’s one of my favorite acts.”

We’ve got the talent but booking and performing on a grueling nationwide tour isn’t exactly an easy task; in fact it’s a very big undertaking. Thus it was aptly named,The Biggest Tour Ever Ever! This tour is the perfect vehicle to show what comics can do when they are motivated. We don’t sit around and complain about what this club is doing or that club isn’t doing. We don’t care. Instead we just circumvent the whole system and create something massive from scratch. No clubs. No bookers. No permission. No gatekeepers.

Like we said, it’s not easy creating a tour of this magnitude so we’ve enlisted a team of people with many different talents: web designers, people who make our merchandise, to local advertisers and comedians. Kyle Snow from the Skull Shoppe, who makes the Skulls for The Pirates of the Caribbean movies, made skulls for us to take out on the road. Each venue signs one of these skulls as a token to remember this experience. We’re not just out to make money, we want to make friends and be a part of this ourselves.

This isn’t exactly the type of show you bring your mother to. As gritty as it is, The Biggest Tour Ever Ever is heading from the Bible Belt to Midwestern suburbs to coastal beaches and everywhere else in between. It’d be selfish to keep this experience just for ourselves so we’re keeping a tour journal for Laughspin to document our various cross country misadventures.

Tour or Die.

Twitter: @BiggestTourEver

Facebook: BiggestTourEver

– Andrew, Morgan & Kristine

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Pre Tour show: Tommy C’s Port Orchard Washington. October 10th.

Before we got to day one on the official tour we decided to do a week of “pre-tour” shows to warm up. The first venue was Tommy C’s in Port Orchard, Washington.

The booker called up 9 minutes before showtime to inform us that our SHOW has become a charity event and needs to be PG clean.

Out of all the comics you could hire for a family friendly show, we are some of the worst picks. Morgan can work clean, (but doesn’t). He is the cleanest of all three of us. The booker claimed the PG rating was out of his hands and was just informed himself.

“There’s a bunch of eighteen year old kids here so the owner wants it clean.” The booker squawked. As far as we know, eighteen year old kids smoke, drink and fuck… they probably even cuss more than us. We arrive at the show, Kristine and Andrew have some concerns; their mouths are as dirty as the Ganges River.

When we arrived the booker was auctioning off baked goods to a packed house. We found a spot and Andrew began frantically reworking my set while Kristine hunted for a cold glass of red wine. Morgan, a 27 year comedy vet, used to work corporate gigs before he decided the money wasn’t worth it so he wasn’t sweating it. James Heneghen, another 30 year vet, was in the area. Luckily James stopped in to do some time.

The auction ended and the booker squeezed his fat body on stage, the place was so packed there wasn’t even room between chairs. He started the show and babbled on for 15 minutes to a wall of noise; they did not care for his clean comedy one bit. Apathy wasn’t the word, they actively disliked his brand of friendly gee-shucks humor.

Andrew swallowed enough booze and mustered up enough “fuck-free” material to open. Kristine followed him, shouting at the audience, “They want us to be clean but eighteen year old’s need to hear what I’m saying! They’re on meth and pregnant!” The audience, 98% comprised of adults, loved it and the more we pressed the line the more they clamored for it.

As Morgan was closing the show Andrew went over and sat on the couch next to the blubbery booker. The booker bragged, “I did 1,100 shows last year, mostly military. The military guys like clean comedy. I did three military shows yesterday and they were 10 x cleaner that.” Andrew replied, “Ten times cleaner than what you just did? Wow, I don’t think I could be that clean.” The booker continued, “Well, you’ve got to have that bullet in your gun. Dirty humor doesn’t sell, I never touch the stuff.” It was sort of strange that he was talking about our acts like we were peddling heroin on middle school playgrounds.

The show ended, the crowd loved us and we sold a decent amount of shirts. Morgan went to collect the money from the owner of the venue. She asked, “Why did you guys have to hold back?” Perplexed Morgan asked, “What do you mean? You said it had to be PG…” The owner matched Morgan’s confusion, “I never said that.”

Why would you hire three raunchy comics and tell them they have to be clean when they show up?

NOTE FROM KRISTINE: Because he’s a fuck-bag. That lump of shit lied to us and I knew he did it the second I saw him on stage yukking it up with his hacky junk food humor. I called it. I told Andrew, “That fat fuck is a control freak and just didn’t want us to out shine him.” The club manager confirmed it and now she too knows that Mister, “1100 shows in year” is a blowhard, ham head!

Twitter: @BiggestTourEver

Facebook: BiggestTourEver

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Pre tour show, Dirty Ernies, Oct 11 — Kellogg Idaho

Dirty Ernie’s sits in a small mining town across from a church. The bar was enveloped in cigarette smoke and the stink of stale popcorn. At one point Morgan went to the bathroom only to discover the walls were lined with pornography. Kristine pulled Morgan into the women’s room to confirm the girls had a nice spread of floppy cocks to look at as well.

We did a quick sound check and jumped right into the show. It was rowdy but fun, occasionally chaos makes for a wonderful experience. After the show we stuck around to smoke the weed and drink the drinks that were being poured down our throats. Tammy the bartender toasted Kristine with a man-hating poem. All the people around us were drunk and were getting drunker as every minute passed. At one point, Kristine was leaning over the bar when a drunken woman (also named Kristine) ran up and started sticking straws down Kristine’s butt crack. Kristine threw them out, but eventually just said fuck-it let the lady stick them down there… Kristine realized it was a moot point because the other Kristine was a trying to get with Andrew, and was doing everything he told her to do.

We signed a man’s chest so much he might be dead of ink poisoning. It was time to leave.

Already drunk beyond reason, we stopped off at the gas station for more beer and dinner — Ramen noodles and day old corn dogs. If we weren’t going to get sick from the drinking and drugs then the substandard food from a minimart in the middle of nowhere would do the trick.

We weren’t put up in a hotel but instead stayed inside of a rental property for sale. It was stunning, vaulted ceilings and a hot tub all to ourselves. How could you ask for more?

We stripped naked, jumped in the hot tub and gawked at the stars; we marveled at the muted beauty of the infinite universe above us and pondered humanities role in it… then Andrew farted and Kristine threw an empty beer can at his head.

Twitter: @BiggestTourEver

Facebook: BiggestTourEver

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Pre-tour — Oct. 12, 13 — Billings, MT.

The weekend was a blur of guns, whiskey and Xanax. Billings Montana is beautiful: open skies, eagles swooping up small birds and a crazy ex-meth cook who has a pet rattle snake in his living room. His name is Crank Williams. Crank is a professional comedian/booker and full time crazy son-of-a-bitch.

Crank booked us at Bones Brewing where we were doing four shows with the “King of New York”, Rob Shapiro. It was a typical comedy work week which meant radio, two shows a night and lots of vodka. The highlight was working with Shapiro because he’s an extreme character; Jittery and reserved until he gets on stage, then he’s a beast. His performance is like a stream of consciousness, akin to neurotic comedy jazz. We got an interview with him which will be posted at a later date.

Saturday morning was a buzz with activity. Crank’s wife, Ashley, is an Olympic level equestrian rider. Together they own a vast amount of acreage in the middle of nowhere, and an equestrian center which houses about 30 horses. Kristine went nutty for these things; she adores horses. Crank and Ashley got her a Western style saddle because Levine’s a little bigger than a midget, and threw her on one of their giant racing monsters. Morgan ran around excitedly taking pictures while Kristine giggled in delight like a piss-stained 6 year old retard.

If there were ever a place to shoot a gun while riding a horse this was it; this is the wild west. Morgan and Kristine went out with Crank on the bobcat, out into Crank’s special shooting range. The three of them shot at a Diet Dr Pepper can and not even Crank could hit it, until the last round. Blew that can’s head clean off. Crank put more bullets in the gun and then casually left it on the counter when they got back to the house. That’s just how it is. This is a place where a rattle snake will slither into your boots if you’re not cautious. This isn’t hyperbole, Crank grabbed a rattler a few months ago and kept it as a pet. He’s either crazy or all the LSD he’s ingested over the years never wore off. The only thing keeping it in it’s tank is a pile of books stacked on the lid.

And that’s where we slept, drank and ate. Just a few feet from a rattlesnake and a loaded gun. Montana style.

NOTE FROM ANDREW: I missed almost all of this. At the beginning of the year I suffered a corneal abrasion during a five week Midwest run. Apparently this shit doesn’t heal because even after micro-puncture, I’m suffering almost a year later. So I was jealous of Morgan and Kristine, they were out in the gorgeous Montana open range shooting firearms, driving bulldozers and riding horses… I was holding my eyes shut and nursing a hangover.

Twitter: @BiggestTourEver

Facebook: BiggestTourEver

 

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Bones Brewing — October 14 — Billings, MT

We decided to kick off our first official show at the Bones Brewing venue. After a weekend of monster shows we expected the Sunday show to be light… and it was. We were performing for maybe a total of twelve people. Twelve hard to please, very drunk, people.

Morgan Preston started the show to silence. Kristine and Andrew were listening from the green room, and noticed the vodka sitting by the mirror. It may not have been the best night for comedy but it was the perfect night for Screwdrivers.

In the end Morgan finished his set strong The show was actually shaping up to be pretty good. Suddenly the DJ shouted, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the stage, Mrs. Kristine Levine!” She walked out to the song Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cindi Lauper. She stopped, shook her head and walked backstage. FUCK NO. The DJ cut the track and put on Slayer’s, Reign In Blood and reintroduced her. She bounced back on stage to the much more suitable selection.

During Kristine’s set a bar fight broke out. The fight interrupted a routine she does about rape laws. As the fight intensified a woman began screaming “Greg! Greg! What are you doing Greg? Greg!” Levine tilted her head, her tussled blonde locks covered her left eye and she parroted the woman’s shrill screams, “Greg! Greg! What are you doing? We’re talking about rape laws Greg!”

The fight spilled outside and then Kristine continued the show because she’s a goddamn professional and recovered the audience. Whatever, it’s Montana. This is going to happen.

In truth we all had good sets. The entire weekend was great and we consider all five shows to be the Biggest Tour Ever Ever kick off; Sunday night was just technically the first show in the series. We were going to miss Montana and all the bikers, rattle snakes and bar fights but we had a tour to do, The Biggest Tour Ever.

Ever.

Twitter: @BiggestTourEver

Facebook: BiggestTourEver

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October 15 — Rock Springs, WY

We left Crank’s house early that morning, then drove to the ER.

Andrew’s eye condition had gotten so bad he was practically blind and hyper sensitive to light. When we arrived at the ER, Andrew begged them for eye numbing drops. He literally begged them but the doctor refused. Kristine went into the exam room with him, and sat by while Andrew explained the circumstance of his eye condition, pleading with this cunt doctor, “Why can’t I have the eye drops? I’m in such horrendous pain.” Andrew pleaded with her. She refused, reasoning that the drops only lasted about 15 minutes. Kristine took over, “Well what the hell are we supposed to do about him then? He’s in fucking pain, you can’t just leave him like this. He has to have SOMETHING.”

Kristine didn’t give up until she relented and agreed to give Andrew vicodin. Motherfucker.

Morgan made sure Andrew got his pills and everything he needed.

It took us forever to find a Monday night in Wyoming. The Broncos were playing and Wyoming loves the Broncos. In order to make the run work we just gave the show away and in less than a week before showtime. Thankfully, the wonderful people at Johnny Mac’s good Time Tavern took us in. We walked in to a nearly full house, which we were not expecting. The show was incredible and an absolute pleasure.

Andrew swallowed some pills, ate a little bar food and delivered a great set. “Vicodin is like a hug.”

Morgan closed it out and during his set another fight nearly broke out. A guy yelled to a heckler in the audience, “Shut the fuck up I came to hear THEM, not your fuckin mouth man! Now shut the fuck up or I’ll shut it for ya!” That’s the best way to shoot down a heckler, just have someone in the audience who is probably carrying a gun, yell at him.

Morgan volunteered some hot chick to walk around with a hat to collect money. Surprisingly the audience supported us. We made more than enough for gas and other necessities. A bunch of audience members were urging us to go to the local strip club but that’s one perk we had to refuse. We had to rest so we could get up and go in the morning, stand up comedy is more work than relaxation.

Twitter: @BiggestTourEver

Facebook: BiggestTourEver

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More to come…

About the Author

Laughspin Staff

Oh, hey. We're the entire writing staff at Laughspin. We wrote the above article all together-- using one finger each.

  • therealamaru

    Good luck with what I failed at! Tour of the same name….

  • BestComedyShows.net

    What a great concept. I’m sure there are going to be plenty more problems that they run into but hopefully that only makes the trip more memorable. Valiant effort folks, good luck!

  • MP

    if you read the article you would know those were both pre shows which were not officially on the run, and we did work with a a few comic/bookers, but the majority were direct venue contact…WE are the bookers.

  • Andrew

    No Booking Agent is what is meant.

  • Will

    “No bookers.”

    The entire story about Tommy C’s is about the booker. The blurb for Billings is about Crank, a booker. So no bookers except all the bookers, got it.

  • bill squire

    This is great.

  • Kelsey

    These guys kicka*s. I love that they aren’t scared of hard work. These guys don’t sit around and b*tch about the comedy clubs and the “scence.” They go out and make shows happen… 50 SHOWS in 50 STATES in 50 DAYS. WTF? I LOVE IT! Wait to go!

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