Browsing in travel

I first saw Patrice O’Neal in the fall of 2002 when he joined Comedy Central’s Contest: Searchlight. The mockumentary followed the imaginary contest that had lead to the creation of a tv show called “Jesus and the Gang.” Peter Gallagher had been “hit by a car” and could no longer play the title character so Patrice was brought in to play the character in western wear. He described his character as “Big Black Cowboy Jesus” and sweetened an already funny show.

After that I searched out a few recordings of his stand up on the untamed internet of the day. He had a brilliant way of twisting the ordinary and could be delightfully vulgar. Whatever he was talking about he could always make me laugh, sometimes in spite of myself.

My friends and I planned a trip to New York City for March 2003 and to get in the mood the night before I went to see “25th Hour” a second time in the theater. Patrice had a scene in that as “Khari” a bouncer who gives Ed Norton’s character some advice about prison. I left the movie excited about the adventures I was about to have.

The second night we were out there we wound up in The Comedy Cellar without realizing how significant a place it was. We had a wonderful time tucked away in a corner which gave us a view of the whole room including the stage and the entrance. As the show went on I wondered if the only comedian I wanted to see would be there. And then halfway through the night, a large man entered and went through the center of the room towards the bathroom. It was Patrice.

My knee started bouncing under the table and I had to wait another two comedians before he came on but it was worth it. I can’t remember how he got on the topic but he did a really long bit on the sound of a penis going into a vagina. It was everything I thought he would be.

When I got home I put on the tape of the Chappelle’s Show that I missed while travelling and saw Patrice as Pit-Bull attending the Playa Hater’s Ball. It was the most Patrice O’Neal-ish week possible.

Ever since then I tried to follow his career and keep up with his appearance on the second episode of Arrested Development, Shorties Watchin’ Shorties, his comedy specials on HBO and Comedy Central, guest appearances on The Office and more.

Hearing that he had a stroke last month was upsetting but I held out hope that was dashed this morning as he passed away. I’ll always remember how much laughter and insight he brought to my life. Thanks for everything Big Black Cowboy Jesus!

  1. The chair Abraham Lincoln was in when he was shot
  2. 1 of the 3 copies of the 13th amendment
  3. George Washington Carver exhibit
  4. Dymaxion House: R. Buckminster Fuller’s “House of the Future” from 1946
  5. Montgomery, Alabama city bus
  1. Hiking: Johnston Canyon & the Inkpots, Mount Sulphur and Mirror Lake & Lake Agnes
  2. Seeing wild life: Bighorn Sheep, Elk and a Grizzly Bear
  3. The Fox Hotel: our suite, the hot pool, breakfast and Turner Classic Movies
  4. The Calgary Tower
  5. Dinning out: The Bison, Moxie’s Classic Grill, Evelyn’s Coffee and more…

Tomorrow morning I’m heading off to San Diego for a Chargers game. Colleen got me tickets for my birthday and my parents are joining us.  I’m very excited.

It turns out I’ve never been to one before.  I mentioned to my dad that it had been a while since the last time I went and he said, “oh, when did you go to one?”  I said, “I assumed you took me to at least one while we lived down there.”  And he said simply, “No.”

So there we are.  My first professional football game.

We should win too.  We’re playing the 2nd worst team in football and we should be a good team.  But we’ve had several set backs.  We’re coming off our BYE week and we have a new defensive cordinator, hopefullythe team has had enough time to relearn how to play.  So I’m expecting big things from the Chargers on Sunday.  We’ll see how that goes.  I plan to twitter during the trip, so watch for that.