I was originally throw into the stand up world after getting a job as a waiter at the Improv in Tempe, AZ, in 2001. At the time comedy was thriving. I was lucky enough to see so many amazing comedians that are no longer with us today. Guys like, Mitch Hedberg, Ralphie May, Richard Jeni, Robert Schimmel, Freddy Soto, Greg Giraldo, John Pinette, and Charlie Murphy are the names I can remember off the top of my head.
At the time before you even got the job interview the manager Shelly, made would-be applicants watch a show and then be interviewed. I'm assuming that was for folks to see what they are getting themselves into. Working at a comedy club as a waiter is a lot harder than a normal restaurant. 200-400 people all show up at the same time and leave at the same time. Getting huge trays to tables is much harder as the tables are on top of each other and in the dark.
My first show was Richard Jeni. I was blown away. Sooo funny. I got the job the next week and my life changed forever. I was always the “funny guy” but this job showed me I was actually dog shit. Watching these amazing comics night after night just absolutely destroy the room allowed me to see what funny really was and I was hooked on stand up comedy from there on out.
One of my favorites comedy legends was a man named Robert Schimmel. Mr. Schimmel passed away in 2010. His comedy was so raw and real, the stories about having cancer and his relationship with his daughter are some of the best stand up to this day. Being able to be so personal and so funny at the same time is such a gift.
So today I have included bits by two of those no longer with us. Robert Schimmel and John Pinette.
Here is a Robert Schimmel clip from 1996. This is just the tip of the iceberg with this man. I suggest you go down a rabbit hole and watch as much material of him as he is one of the best to ever do it.
Next we have John Pinette. John always stood out to the staff at the Improv. At the time after every shift the whole staff would walk over to the bar in the same parking lot, "Six Shooters." Comics would always come over with us and drink. John would secretly pick up the tab for the staff, and if anyone was drunk he would force the bar to call cabs and he would pay and wouldn't allow anyone to even think of giving him money. He was just a really nice guy who cared about people he really didn't know.
Here is a classic bit of his. "The Chinese Buffet."
These guys were so good! I hope you enjoyed watching these classic stand up clips.