[Portland's funniest funny guy IAN KARMEL has graciously agreed to allow Blogtown a peek into the life of a touring comedian with this new series, "Comedy Tour Diaries." Travel along with Ian as he brings laffs to some lucky people in Philly, Minneapolis, Austin and more!—eds.]

Philadelphia Tour Diary

Saturday, April 7th 4pm — The battle between me wanting to get up and get some food and me wanting to keep watching old 30 Rock episodes on my laptop has entered it's fourth hour. There are rumors amongst the boys that a hot dog cart lies just beyond the second hill, but at what cost? We are paralyzed by inaction, and I fear this once great sit-com is nothing more than a crumbling edifice, a monument slowly becoming a tomb. What do we protect? For whom? War is hell. I fear I may never make it home to my beloved Jennifer.

9pm — I had a boring set, it's my own damn fault. One skill I'm still in the early stages of developing is the ability to deliver your set with the same passion and engagement night after night. When a joke is new, it's exciting — you don't know exactly where the laughs will come from, you might improvise around certain points, it's still a dynamic creation and the psychic reward of having people laugh at your thought is still a novelty. Over time, all that shit diminishes, and you can find yourself just reciting your jokes — nobody wants to see you recite your jokes, it looks like you're not interested, and if you're not interested, the audience isn't going to be interested. Some headliners do the same 60 minute set every night, all year, for years, and somehow sell it. I don't know how they fucking do it, but I'm not sure yet that I admire it. I think stale material feels stale for a reason, it's evolution.

To fight off the boredummies I slide a new five minute chunk I'm working on into my act, it's about Rick Santorum, porn and getting drunk. I'm excited and nervous to try it out and the whole set takes on a lively energy. The countdown to being bored with this shit starts now.

More after the jump!


timeless — So I had another cheese steak last night, which brings my total in Philadelphia to three. I had one at Pat's, I had one at Geno's (these are the two 'famous' cheese steak places, they have mythology, history and popular support, these are the ones people say you gotta hit up) and I had one at some place called Pete's Famous. I ordered all three “wit wiz”, which is with onions, Cheese Wiz as the cheese. Various knuckleheads get all religious about this “wit wiz” shit, they say it's the only acceptable way to eat a cheese steak and your dick doesn't work if you order it any other way, unless you're a woman, then your dick works fine, because you're probably a lesbian or something. It's essentially these people saying “I don't know who I am, but I know this sandwich, and people seem to like it. I will defend this sandwich. I am this sandwich.” It's annoying, but it's their city, so I went along with it. Pats and Geno's are Mecca, cheese steak wit wiz is the Hajj, and my ass made the pilgrimage.
The sandwiches are fine, they're delicious even. Pat's and Geno's were better than Pete's Famous, but Pete's was still pretty good. That being said, you can get WAY better sandwiches in Portland. The cheese steak rose to prominence, like so many other foods, because it was so cheap to make. It's shitty meat, cheap bread and cheese spray — and they work wonderfully together, it's like Moneyball in a sandwich, but much like those ill-fated Athletics, the cheese steak falls short of supremacy. If you want a delicious sandwich, go to Bunk... or even better, go to Big Ass Sandwiches, especially this week — why? They're delicious. Why especially this week? Because motherfuckers named a sandwich after me!

Pastrami, salami, swiss cheese, bacon, pickle spear. I know everything about scrumptious.
  • Ian Karmel
  • Pastrami, salami, swiss cheese, bacon, pickle spear. I know everything about scrumptious.