Have You Seen Me?

416153832_370Sixteen years ago, a Cincinnati comic headed to Hollywood. After hundreds of auditions, scores of five-line parts, at least one sad episode with a boatload of humorless old codgers, and a day with Dirty Harry, he may finally be on the verge of becoming an overnight success.

By Chip Chinery

My feature films have grossed over $300 million worldwide! My television shows have won countless Emmys! I’ve appeared on three Super Bowls, done sketches with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show, and tried to arrest the staff of Coyote Ugly. I’ve taken direction from Clint Eastwood, haggled with Larry David, rented a room from Whoopi Goldberg, confessed to David Schwimmer, chanted George Costanza’s new nickname, and been busted by The Church Lady. I’ve been annoyed by Sally Field, I’ve hustled David Arquette, and Ted Danson has called me a cross-dresser. Yet, you may not know my name or face. Welcome to my life – that of a working Hollywood actor.

Sixteen years ago, I left Cincinnati for the bright lights of Tinseltown. I wanted to become an actor on TV and in the movies, and today I do just that. With credits in more than 100 television shows, movies, and commercials, I’m one of the fortunate ones. I’m making a living doing things that I’ve dreamed of ever since I was a kid.

They say actors are self-involved, and I guess that’s true. Because when people from back home ask about my career, I jump at the chance to tell them what’s going on with… me! Me!! ME!!! It’s all about me!

But when they ask me “How” instead of “What,” that shuts me up. How did a St. X grad end up as John Lithgow’s handyman? How did a guy who pushed Al Schottlekotte’s camera around triumph as a Capitol One elf? I can only tell you’ve what I’ve done. How’d it happen? I haven’t a clue.

Every story has to start somewhere. Mine began simply enough in my family’s home in Anderson Township. Every weekday night when I was in grade school, my mom would watch Johnny Carson’s monologue. I used to sneak out of bed and sit just outside my door, where I got a clear shot of the TV in my parents’ bedroom down the hallway. At 9 years old, sitting silently one night on the rug in my Six Million Dollar Man pajamas, I realized what I wanted to do when I grew up: Be a guy on TV, being funny. I had no idea how I was going to accomplish this. But I knew Johnny did it, and he was from a much smaller town than Cincinnati.

At 13, I started writing down ideas for jokes. A selection of gems:
“I was so fat all I had do was look at a gas station hose and the bell would ring.”
“Can dogs do sit ups?”
“Do birds come from birdseed?”
C’mon – I was 13!

At 16, I answered a classified ad and started doing stand-up at a Clifton bar named d.w.eye. This was back in 1981, only six months after Jimmy Carter left the Oval Office. It was a less politically correct era, a time when a watering hole had no problem calling itself d.w.eye and was even less concerned about employing someone who had yet to become acquainted with a razor. My big closer was an impression of Richard Nixon doing a commercial for Maxell cassette tapes: “Back in the early 1970s, I needed a tape I could rely on.” C’mon, I was 16!

I graduated from St. Xavier High School and earned a degree at Miami University. Now a man of letters, I put my B.A. in psychology to good use by becoming a cameraman at WCPO and doing open mic nights at The Funny Bone in Montgomery, where Go Bananas is now. I hit the road full-time in 1988, and for six years I kept my nose to the comedy grindstone, working 50 weeks a year on 475 stages, in 296 cities, over 42 states, making my way up to comedy club headliner.

In 1994, at 29, I decided to take my chances in Hollywood. As an east-sider, this trek would be quite exciting, if for no other reason than I would finally see Cincinnati’s west side as I headed out of town.

So, I loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly. Hills that is. Swimmin’ pools. Movie stars. By truck, I mean an ’86 Honda Accord. And by Beverly Hills, I mean a sad beige stucco apartment complex in North Hollywood, a.k.a. The Valley. The complex was called The Palm Royal even though there were no palms and it was anything but royal. Like the Clampett’s crib, the joint had a cement pond. It also had an orange shag carpet from 1967 that could keep CSI: NoHo busy for years. Are those avocado colored appliances? Why, yes they are. Need more minerals in your diet? Just turn on the tap. Galvanized pipes rust on the inside!

After unpacking my cooler of frozen tubs of Skyline Chili (by the way, a “three-way” means something completely different in Hollywood), I went in search of fame and fortune. Or, at the very least, occasional recognition and rent money.

Early on, I met with an agent who liked the cut of my jib. We were talking in the bar at the Hollywood Improv when he asked me if I smoked pot. I said, “No.” Then he asked me if I knew where he could get any. Wow, he wasn’t even connected enough to find weed in a town filled with artists, hippies, and beach bums – and he wanted to handle my career? Next!

As I tried to avoid the Broadway Danny Roses in my hunt for a quality agent, I still had bills to pay. A lot of actors wait tables. Not me. My “day job” was being a stand-up comedian. So I hit the road to do more stand-up. Correction: I hit the high seas.

Performing on a cruise ship is a coveted gig for Hollywood comics. The pay is really nice, they feed you, and you’re only out of town for a few days. With the promise of easy dough and a breezy performance ahead of me, I agreed to do an Alaska cruise for Holland America. Cut to the high seas: Everyone on this ship was over 80 years old. And you know what? Grandma and Grandpa didn’t find me so damned funny! By the time the show was over, the feeling was mutual.

I so loathed the octogenarians that I asked the cruise director if there was a back way to my cabin so that I didn’t have to wade through the audience. He pointed me to a rear stairwell. No sooner had I turned the handle than the wind slammed the door wide open and I found myself on deck, out at sea, in the middle of a raging storm. Rain pelted me and wind gusts pushed me around like a stray shuffleboard puck. As I struggled to stay upright on the slippery deck, I started to laugh: I realized I had to make it back to my cabin or people would think I jumped overboard after the geezers dissed my show.

I made it to safety, but I felt like a pariah. Holed up in my cabin, it was hours before I could sneak out to the midnight buffet, disguised in a ball cap. I got my eggs and sausage, found an out-of-the-way booth, and started to dig in when I heard a kindly voice: “Mind if I join you?” I looked up and started to chuckle. “Please do, Father,” I said.

When the ship’s priest seeks you out to console you, you know the audience’s tepid reception wasn’t just your imagination. “Are you here to give my act Last Rites?” I asked. His reply: “It’s too late.”

Back on solid ground with some money in my pocket, I finally got a good agent and started to audition. (My agent’s name: Johnny Paradise. How awesome is that?) But it would be 160 auditions and three and a half years before I booked my first commercial, and almost four years before I booked my first TV show – 3rd Rock From the Sun, playing the inept maintenance man, a role I would reprise several times. The good news: That is where I had my first onscreen kiss. The bad news: It was with John Lithgow. But it was official: I was now a real working actor in Hollywood.

Other roles followed – appearances on The Drew Carey Show as Jerry the Bowler, on Reba as the school’s athletic director, a patient on Becker, a futuristic paper boy on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, as well as commercials for Bud Light and Staples. In the process, I made a tremendous discovery: I am perhaps the greatest fake-eater in cinematic history.

Fake-eating is a very handy skill for three reasons: One, if you have to shoot a scene over and over again, you won’t actually consume an 18 course meal of cold, soggy Hot Pockets. Two, you fit into your wardrobe the next day. Three, the prop guy loves you because he doesn’t have to chill some more soggy Hot Pockets for you to shove in your pie hole. On Seinfeld, in the episode where George wants to be called “T-Bone”, you would swear I am eating a bottomless plate of potato chips – but I’m not, baby, I’m not. I’ve not eaten things on other shows as well, including Friends, where I chomped nary a crouton – and that was in a cafeteria! I also didn’t drink beer in The Man Show sketch “Wife School”. Though while I am a good fake drinker, I must say that fake eating is really my Sistine Chapel.

Of course, an actor never really knows what the day will bring so he must be prepared for anything. Although I am usually cast as The Everyman (a.k.a. doofus), I’ve played a Martian, a mango, an elf, and an Olympic bobsledder – a quartet of jobs that I think of as my Spandex Period.

Sometimes my Herculean yet lithe physique and come-hither stare are totally unnecessary, and all that’s required are my mellifluous tones. That was the case the morning I spent recording the voice of Crash Bandicoot. Crash is the animated hero of the self-titled PlayStation game, who appears to me to be a shirtless, psychotic wolf with huge tennis shoes. Like so many things in the acting business, it sounded like an easy gig. Little did I know there could be so many vocal interpretations of the exclamations “Yippee!”, “Woo-Hoo!”, and “Zapoweeeeeeeee!”

As you may have noticed, making a living as a working actor has meant jumping in and out of many different livings. I do voice-overs for video games and radio spots; I shoot commercials and TV shows; I write and perform sketch comedy and improvisation in theatres, as well as perform stand-up in comedy clubs and privately for corporate events; and I host business meetings and introduce products at trade shows. There are many plates spinning atop many sticks. But what about movies, you ask? Ah Grasshopper, those opportunities are fewer and much less frequent.

The same day I recorded the voice of Crash Bandicoot, my agent called to tell me that someone liked my audition for the movie Space Cowboys and asked if I wanted to do it. There was one caveat. “It’s only $900,” he said.

Well, let’s see, I thought. I get paid to be in a movie, and I get to meet and be directed by Clint Eastwood. What is the question again? “Yes,” I told my agent, “that will be fine. I’ll do Dirty Harry a solid.”

I arrived on location and looked at the shooting script for the day. When I was called to the set, I was introduced to Clint Eastwood and Donald Sutherland, and then corralled into a chair across from Mr. Sutherland. Donald got a look in his eye that said, “Let’s rehearse this scene” and he began uttering the words that I remembered reading in my trailer. After he finished his line, I said, “Ummmm, I’m not in this scene.”

Mr. Eastwood laughed and said, “Yes, that’s the kind of relationship you guys have. Just like that.”

I was flattered that he thought I had the guts to kid around on their set like that, but terrified that a horrible mistake had been made. I said, “I’ll do anything you want, but I�m supposed to be in the next scene. I was told I was playing Ted, not Tom.”

“No, you are supposed to be Tom,” Mr. Eastwood said. “So, we’ll set up the shot and do it.”

My reply? “Sounds good!” Then I turned to the script supervisor: “Could I see my lines, please?” We shot it five minutes later. Donald Sutherland was really cool. During one of the breaks, when I was attempting to casually chat him up, I told him I live in The Valley. He said, “Do you know the difference between chlamydia and a condo in The Valley? You can get rid of chlamydia.”

I went to the movie premiere and my scene was one of the many that hit the editing room floor. It was a bit disappointing, to say the least. Oh well. At least I got $900 and an off-color joke from Jack Bauer’s dad.

Once you work with the greats, you get spoiled. After Sutherland and Eastwood, who would be next: Pacino? Streep? Sir Ian McKellan? No. It was the not-so-gifted warbler William Hung of American Idol “She Bangs” fame.

Apparently everything in life does come full-circle. I began my career in TV as a floor director for Al Schottlekotte, and would reprise that role in Mr. Hung’s opus – a music video in which William used all his inability to channel Ricky Martin. Suffice it to say, they were not blessed with the same gene pool. I thought it would be funny to be in his music video, because William sings like I cliff dive. There is a lot of hesitation, flailing, and people want to look away before someone gets hurt. I assumed he was doing this tongue-in-cheek. I was surprised to find out he wasn’t.

Although I was having success as an actor, I was still doing stand-up in the Hollywood clubs. One night I was part of a killer show at The Improv. We were all having great sets when a special guest took the stage: John Wayne Bobbitt. As you may recall, in the mid-1990s, Bobbitt’s wife Lorena was, shall we say, upset with him. While he slept, she made some alterations to his birthday suit. OK, now cut (sorry, I couldn’t resist) to a few years a later, when his 15 minutes of fame were about to run out. Someone decided to capitalize on his notoriety by presenting him as a stand-up comedian. His “act” consisted of him substituting his name for “I” in all the standard “John Wayne Bobbitt” jokes of the time. You know, “I tried to sue Lorena but failed: My evidence would not stand up in court.” Oh boy! The John Wayne Bobbitt – Sleeping On My Stomach World Tour opened and closed that night. Bobbitt hung up the microphone and went on to appear in a porno – an area of acting I will cede to him.

Still, some of the least promising jobs can take a surprising turn. A couple years back, I was cast in an episode of Still Standing. I wasn’t too excited about it because my role was much smaller than originally written. It was my 40th TV show and I felt I had done enough five-line parts. But I took it, and I’m glad I did. Still Standing was shot on the CBS lot – basically acres and acres of five-story, warehouse-like soundstages – where multiple shows are shot at the same time. When I got to the set, I discovered a friend of mine was doing an episode of Rodney on the next stage over. So during a break from Still Standing, I went over to say hi.

We were sitting on the floor in his dressing room when there was a knock on the door and in walks Mac Davis. You know, Mac Davis Mac Davis. Apparently he had the dressing room next door. Mac asked if we wouldn’t mind hearing a new song he was working on. He started playing his guitar and reading the lyrics he had scribbled on his yellow legal pad.

I was officially star-stuck. Mac was cool. Mac was funny. He had his own variety show in the mid-70s when I was a wee lad. It was on early enough that I didn’t have to watch it from the hallway. He was in North Dallas Forty. He’s in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. He had hits! He wrote songs for Elvis! And now he was singing for us!

After Mac finished his song, he hung out with us. Like the saying goes, actors are paid to wait – even Mac Davis, Mac Davis. And since we had just become best buds, I confessed to Mac that I owed him a dollar. I told him that I had illegally downloaded “In The Ghetto”. He said not to worry about it. But Mac, buddy, my conscience is still killing me. If you are reading this, shoot me an e-mail and I will PayPal you that buck.

Living in Hollywood, you are reminded that celebrities don’t just work here, they actually live here. Which means they pop up like crab grass in the most unexpected places. At my favorite dive Mexican restaurant, I’ve found myself shooting the breeze with Toby Keith and, another time, with Mickey Dolenz – once again proving the old Tijuana adage, “You never know who you�ll meet over a chimichanga.” The other day I was parking my car and the very tan legs of Corbin Bernsen jogged by, only to be followed by Neil Patrick Harris coming out of a strip mall sushi restaurant. Last weekend I met some friends for a drink and LeVar Burton was onstage karaoke singing “Who Let the Dogs Out”. One star sighting I can always rely on is Dennis Haskins – Mr. Belding from Saved By The Bell – who happens to rent a house from me.

Me, Corbin Bernsen, Mr. Belding… we all have one thing in common: we’re all looking for the next gig. Even for the most accomplished, the moment you finish working on a job – which can be for a day or a week or a couple months – you are unemployed. You never know what’s coming next.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Next week I shoot another episode of ABC’s Better Off Ted. I did the sitcom last season – one guest shot where I played Ryan Mallory, head of security. (Guess my summers guarding Coney Island’s West Gate were not all for naught.) Now they’re bringing back my character as the subject of the main storyline of an episode. And who knows where that will lead? I’m pretty excited about it. Twenty-eight years after my first stand-up gig in Clifton, I could be an overnight sensation.

Chip Chinery Fun Facts:
– Named Cincinnati Magazine’s Best Comedian in 1991 (Politicians were not eligible)
– Won an EMMY for “On-Air Performer” in the Midwest region.
– Most stand-up comedy performances in one day: 18 in Las Vegas
– TV shows and movies: 51
– Smallest residual check: 8 cents for a foreign airing of Seinfeld
– Degrees of Kevin Bacon: 2. Kevin was in Sleepers with Robert DeNiro. DeNiro was in The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle with Chip.
– First on screen kiss: Sadly was with John Lithgow on 3rd Rock
– As a stand-up comic, drove his Honda 328,536 miles before a fender bender rendered it “totaled”.
– Has seen games in 35 major league ballparks.

Need more Chip? Get to www.ChipChinery.com clips of all the aforementioned stuff, including the deleted scene from Space Cowboys

See the slighted edited version online
My Article “Have You Seen Me?”

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

must apologize for not having written in the past few weeks. But then again, I haven’t heard a lick from you folks either! Our relationship seems soooo once-sided. Anyway…I’ve been quite busy with the business of show. Or for those of you not comfortable with the use of prepositional phrases as adjectives, show business. Quite frankly, I didn’t take a vacation this summer. When you spend half the year traveling, a vacation is not going anywhere.

I did have the occasion to work in Memphis and visit Michael Jackson’s father-in-law’s place. Let me just say that when it came to interior decorating, Elvis was a fantastic singer. The family room looked like the inside of a customized van. There was fake fur and swiveling captain’s chairs. I was surprised the back wall didn’t have a unicorn romping across a sand dune.

Three weeks in Phoenix and Provo made up my “Dehydration Tour ’94”. I also visited the biggest tourist-trap rip-off in this great land of ours: South Dakota’s monument to Crazy Horse. If you think you want to go there, save your gas money. First of all, it’s not anywhere near completion. They have been carving it since the mid ’40s. Like neighboring Mt. Rushmore, it will be chised out of a mountainside. It will (someday) reveal the Indian, I’m sorry Native American, Crazy Horse on a horse. So far, you can make out where his nose and brow will be–and that’s if you squint! To help you better envison it, they defaced the mountain with white paint by outlining the most rudimentary horse’s head with a dot for an eye. Then they wanted to charge $6 for a gander at this majestic tribute.

If I wasn’t doing stand-up on the road, I spent my summer vacation “at home” in Los Angeles going on auditions. If you think commercials are dumb, just come to an audition with me. Just like USA For Africa did when they sang “We Are The World”, you have to check your ego at the door. Some of the innane things I did this summer included improvising as a square dance caller, being a singing chef (in 4-part harmony), and doing cartwheels as an Arkansas Lottery winner. And I have a degree!

I went out on an audition for the host a new, funny afternoon talk show that Disney is producing for syndication. My first audition was with a woman who was Star Search’s 1990 spokesmodel winner. The producers informed me that in our 2 minute audition, she touched me 23 times. Cool! I went on a call-back audition for the same part and had a brush with greatness. I read with Bridget Gless. Her sister was either Cagney or Lacey, or Kate or Allie. The idea of this show is to give an alternative to what David Letterman calls “shows devoted to social mutants”.

Time will tell if I get it, although odds are I won’t. You are considered successful if you land one job out of every 20 auditions here. If I do get it, I can see the headline of a future EastSide cover story: “Let’s Talk!”. The accompanying photo has me and Jerry Springer standing next to each other like boxers, microphones in hand, mugging for the camera.

A picture of Sonny Crockett driving a boat. Ray-Ban Wayfarers, an Armani jacket, a plain black T-shirt, and a Wellcraft Scarab 38 KV was all that Sonny

A picture of Sonny Crockett driving a boat. Ray-Ban Wayfarers, an Armani jacket, a plain black T-shirt, and a Wellcraft Scarab 38 KV was all that Sonny

(Much needed info for this tag: Sonny Crockett was Don Johnson’s character on “Miami Vice”. He lived on a boat.) Besides working on his thesis “Sonny Crockett & Quincy, M.D.–Detectives or Men Of The Sea?”, Chip Chinery is a nationally touring stand-up comedian originally from Cincinnati, now living in Los Angeles.

Is This Thing On?

So I was working a club in Ventura, California this past weekend. Being a number cruncher, I knew that this particular show would be a personal milestone. As it turns out, this was #1,900 in my career. But that would not be the most memorable part of the evening.

Before the show, the club manager mentioned that there was a young talent, “JW”, who wanted to do some time, and asked if that was all right with me. “Certainly,” I responded. Afterall, I was once in his shoes almost two thousand shows ago. I knew how hard it was starting out, working in front of an audience, and getting known. “Go get ’em”, I cheered.

And now, with apologies to Paul Harvey, the rest of the story.

JW was a very unassuming chap. Turns out this night was a personal milestone for him as well. His divorce was final today. His wife had left him in a l’il financial trouble–a good start for any aspiring “starving artist”. JW was looking for some quick cash.

John Wayne Bobbitt

John Wayne Bobbitt

Most entertainers pay their dues and hope to become famous for doing what they like to do. Then, hopefully fortune follows fame. JW knows it’s not easy to become famous, because he already is. As a matter of fact, he already has more national exposure than almost all of my collegues. Dare I say, he’s a household name. You know JW better as John Wayne Bobbitt.

That’s right. Mr. Bobbitt has decided to parlay his “amputee” fame into a potentially lucrative career as a stand-up comic. Yes, now you can die in piece because you’ve heard it all! He plans to go out in the Fall with his “John Wayne Bobbitt-Sleep On Your Stomach” tour. Now I think I know what the guys in Double A felt like when Michael Jordan stepped on their turf. But at least Jordan absolutely conquered a related profession. Don’t get me wrong, I wish Mr. Bobbitt well. Lord knows he’s paid I higher price for fame than I ever hope to.

FAME. It always amazes me what elicits recognition in this country. Afterall, what grabbed headlines then rocketted Marla Maples, Anita Hill, Gennifer Flowers, Joey Buttafuco and even Jerry Springer to fame, hmmm???

Personally, it is my opinion that Mr. Bobbitt is about to receive an invitation to the “Where Are They Now?” Ball. I think he’ll escort Donna Rice. “No Excuses” jeans optional.

What do I predict for John Wayne Bobbitt? I think that on Warhol’s Watch the big hand is almost on the 3.

Besides having been Charo’s love-slave from 1982-1987, and never having had a joke written about him, Chip Chinery is a nationally touring stand-up comedian originally from Cincinnati, now living in Los Angeles.

You Deserve A Meal Today

As a little kid I remember wishing that I could eat everyday at McDonalds (I’m sorry, RocDonalds). I thought that’d be great. I loved that place! I didn’t even mind that the mayor had a cheeseburger for a head. What no one told me, was that there was a saying floating around, “Be careful what you wish for–you might just get it”.

06mcdonalds2-articleLargeNow that I’m a “journalist” and world famous comedian (on par with Rula Lenska), I dine at the golden arches more than any man should. This is a childhood dream that I should have waken up from years ago. But since I’m somewhat of an expert on their operation, let me tell you what’s new at “my kitchen”.

As you know, we are living in a very health conscious time. McDonalds is not running away from this. They post their menu’s nutritional information on the wall. Personally, I believe they think of this as a hand in a game of poker. They think customers will assume “the stuff must be OK or they wouldn’t post it, right?”. But I read it and they’re bluffing.

They have an amazing product: the “shake”. Notice I did not say “milkshake”. There are no dairy products in this creation. It’s sugar-water and spackle.

I am confused about their drink lids. There are several bubbles on the lids that, when depressed, denote which drink is in the cup. Next to those descriptions is braille lettering. Since they are a smart operation and wouldn’t do anything without a reason, I figure that either McDonalds is hiring the blind to man the fountain dispenser, or that there has been a rash of practical jokes played upon the visually disadvantaged by their “friends”. “Gross, I wanted regular Coke!”

They have decided to replace the tasty shredded cheese that tops their salads with carrot shavings. Don’t get me wrong, they’re both edible, but hardly interchangable. I guess they didn’t want to shell out McCash on new McPhotos. I can hear the meeting now, “We need to lower the caloric and fat count on our salads without a major expenditure. Hey, carrots look like cheese!” I hope this way of thinking doesn’t creep into their other cuisine. I can see it now. “Mmm, carrot burgers.”

Besides believing that the second Schottzie came from a grassy knoll, Chip Chinery is a nationally touring stand-up comedian originally from Cincinnati, now living in Los Angeles.

Requested Material Enclosed

It was great to be back home in Cincinnati last week to reload on Skyline 4-ways, Penn Station Chicken Teriyaki sandwiches, UDF & Graeters. I’d better watch it or I’ll find that under my big bulky sweater will be a big bulky guy. Oh yeah, I also worked. As many of you know, I was the Big Cheese headliner at Go Bananas Comedy Club. Thanks to all who came out. They say it may have been a record week!

pregnant-bikini-contest-7-636One of the highlights of my career had to be when, while in town, I did the WEBN Pregnant Bikini Contest at Hooters. Rather, I judged it. This was the radio station’s way of celebrating Mothers’ Day. It was sick and wrong! Because of this, I highly recommend you check it out next year. Women strapped into bikinis with big huge exposed guts, in their third trimester no less. You usually don’t see that in public unless you go to LaSourdesville Lake! And they charge a cover.

I took some time to sort through some correspondence that came to my Cincinnati mailbox. As I’m sure it is with many of you, I’m quite fond of mail. Good mail, not junk mail. You know, those tiny little morsels of love.

Come next year, it’s going to cost us a bit more for some lovin’. The rate for a 1st class letter will go to 32 cents. People in Chicago are not happy about that at all. I believe the motto of the postal workers in The Windy City is: “No rain, nor sleet, nor hail, nor dark of night will keep a carrier from his appointed rounds–unless the Cubs have a day game!” They found some undelivered mail that was years late. One of them was the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians! The way they behave is enough to make Cliff Clavin strip off his uniform. Trust me, we certainly don’t want to see that (re: Pregnant Bikini Contest).

Waiting for me was an envelope that was literally shredded. Just like when this happened to me years ago, it was delivered in its own plastic postal body bag. There was a prepared statement on the bag from the Postmaster, “Sorry about the letter, but we were really curious what it said.” That can’t be legal.

This got me thinking about all my postal pet peeves. First of all, I don’t know why people add a l’il something extra on the envelope’s bottom left hand corner: “IMPORTANT” or “You May Have Already Won”. It’s like they can’t keep a secret. Either that or they are teasing us, hoping to coax us into opening their missive. My favorite is: “Dated Material”. To which I immediately announce like Pavlov’s dog, “Yeah, well I date my letters too!” Clever, huh.

It bugs me that businesses put my return address at the top of the note, above the date. Hey, I know my address! I guess that may be their subtle way of saying, “Oh yeah, you can throw this away, but we know where you live.”

As many of you know, my proper name is Archibald Leach. I changed it for showbiz. Actually, I’m Lawrence Adams Chinery, Junior. I’m a “chip”-off-the-old-block. Because of all this, my name gets botched in numerous ways. My favorite is a piece of junk mail I received which has earned a place of prominence on my bulletin board. The salutation on the actual letter read: “Dear Mr. Junior”.

“Mr. Junior” is a nationally touring stand-up comedian originally from Cincinnati, now living in Los Angeles.

Boise, Idaho…Hello!

This particular article will have no rhyme or reason, no theme. It will simply be disjointed ramblings. In other words, it will be a “Larry King” column.

BoiseRap artists Tupac Shakur and Snoop Doggy Dogg are in trouble with the law. Evidently “rap” doesn’t refer to their style of music, but rather their sheet of prior convictions…I have a friend who is into the “grunge” look. I’m glad he told me. I thought he was just dressing sloppily…Pound for pound there is no better cheese than Colby.

I’m concerned about The Brady Law. I hear that it has been watered down so much that it now only covers squirt guns. Watch out Jose Rijo….Billy Joel and Christy Brinkley have separated. I heard one of his old songs today, “Don’t go changing to try to please me…I love you just the way you are”. That’s a nice little song he wrote for his first wife, whom he left for Christy…Soap can dry your skin. Hey, so can a towel.

Why do they make sidewalks just wide enough for 2 1/2 people? This reminds me of the drummer in that famous Revolutionary War fife and drum trio. He wasn’t limping. He just got squeezed off the sidewalk… Celery is nature’s dental floss.

I guess I’m a neat freak. I was watching an old episode of “Petticoat Junction”. In the opening sequence the girls are swimming in the water tower. My friend said, “I bet they’re skinny-dipping.” I thought, “Gross, they’re swimming in the town’s water supply!”…I don’t know if Michael Jackson is the King of Pop. I thought that was Barq’s…Salsa is the mayonnaise of the 90’s!

I think that year round Christmas stores were created by the people who never take down their Christmas lights…It was very hot today in Los Angeles. So much so that I spit out a mouthful of water and it evaporated before it hit the ground. That’s hot…There’s a guy on radio who says he can’t program his VCR, but can invent a machine that will do it using his voice. He says he’s not stupid. He’s brilliant!…Glasphalt is my favorite surface.

When men repeatedly say mean things about women, they are labeled “misogynists”. Oddly enough there is no term for women who bash men. I’m sorry, “Oprah”… Laughter is the best medicine. This is good because laughter is contagious…I hate suspenders.

So there you have it, a lot of bang for your buck (or whatever this paper costs)!

Besides being nominated for his second Emmy award (and it is an honor just being nominated), Chip Chinery is a nationally touring stand-up comedian originally from Cincinnati, now living in Los Angeles. He will be headlining Go Bananas May 4-8. Call 984-9288 for more info.

Play Ball!

Sooooo, Michael Jordan wants to play baseball. Well, so do I. And why not? Last year they expanded adding two more major league teams–they’re gonna need people!

riverfront_660wHeck yeah, you may recall my monster year back in ’74 for Mt. Washington Cleaners. It was in all the papers. As a nine year old I hit .684. I figure if I come back and do only half as good, I’ll be making a lot of cash. So right now I’m trying to get down to my playing weight: 85 pounds. But maybe sporting a gut doesn’t matter. Kevin Mitchell does great and we haven’t seen a guy that big running around Cincinnati since William Howard Taft.

Regrettably, I missed the season opener this year. I couldn’t believe it. I had to work! I thought I was safe being a Catholic Reds fan. Afterall it was Easter Sunday and Opening Day. But the club in Dayton said the show must go on. HEATHENS!

I’m looking forward to this season, although I’m keeping a watchful eye out for Roberto Kelley. As you may recall, last year he went in to a slump. To snap out of it, he changed his name to “Bobby”. I just heard that he was not happy with his progress and has decided to further Americanize his name. From now on, he wants to be known as “Judy Garland”. And we thought Pedro Borbon was weird.

Now, my two-cents worth on the ongoing stadium controversy. Keep in mind that when it comes to football, I feel the best seat in the house, is in a house. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been to a couple games in The Jungle. But what makes no sense to me is the large number of fans who are constantly looking at their portable televisions or the scoreboard! What are they thinking? “Now I can watch a televised game in the comfort of a freezing stadium.” ?

But baseball’s different. I’ve seen games in 20 major league parks. Although I prefer a grass field, Riverfront is fine. The Jumbotron is a nice addition to a baseball game. It’s so much better than the scoreboard we had a few years ago. That thing was like a gigantic Lite-Brite. You just know that the guys running it had to have said, “Where’s the pattern for Johnny Bench? There it is, next to the sailboat!”

Well, gotta get ready for the big comeback. If I have any shot whatsoever, I figure I have to become an NBA superstar, or lose 90 pounds. Either way, I’ve got to run.

Besides preferring plastic over paper for bagging groceries, and just the opposite to pay for them, Chip is a nationally touring stand-up comedian originally from Cincinnati, now living in Los Angeles.

I’m A Pepper

In case you were wondering, I am working this week in Chicago. That’s right, Chicago-the only city in the US with enough GUTS to share the first three letters of it’s name with mine. Oh sure, there’s Chicopee, Massachusetts; Chickaloon, Alabama; and Chiawuli Tak, Arizona. But since we Americans have been labelled geographically-illiterate, I didn’t think you’d mind my poetic license.

Granted, LA’s my lady. But after Cincinnati, The Second City’s my second city. I digress.

© 1999 EyeWire, Inc.I love Chicago. I actually took up residence here for two months last summer when The Bulls won their third straight NBA title. Maybe you heard about this. This is what Michael Jordan did before his baseball career.

I remember when the final game ended, I was looking out the 8th floor window of my “summer home” onto the corner of State and Division Streets, the epicenter of the celebration. I was very excited! Not only because I was in the midst of a city jubilant over an athletic accomplishment. But also because, I was in the market for a VCR and luting was in the offing.

I bring this up because when I went down to the street to jump on the Bulls bandwagon (which I have done every year at playoff time since 1991, thank you), I struck up a conversation with some revelers, Dr. and Mrs. Merkel and family.

The Dr. & Mrs. Merkel Family live at 1060 West Addison Street. Nice folks except, that one of their kids corrected me when I called their dad “Mister”. That made me wonder just WHY we address doctors by their profession. What if we all did that? “Doctor Merkel please meet Comedian Chinery. Banker Johnson, have you met Plumber Shannon?”. It could make it easier to know who to avoid: “Housewife Landon, I’d like for you to meet Amway Salesman Flanigan.” Oh geez!

Maybe doctors want to remind us that they spent a huge stack ‘o money going to medical school for years. To them the word “doctor” is short-hand for “I was broke and didn’t get to have any fun in my 20’s”.

Maybe it’s because often times a doctor’s life IS being a doctor. That certainly seems to be the case with this guy. I guess Dr. Merkel figures your current role in life defines who you are. Being introduced to his family was like talking to George Jetson, “This is my boy-Elroy, daughter-Judy, Jane-my wife”.

I say leave the 9 to 5 behind. Why be pretentious? Heck, surgeons in London go by “Mister”. Thankfully, there is a group of doctors that don’t wave their scholastic achievement in your face, and for good reason-The Ph.D. It avoids a lot of explaining.

“So, you’re a doctor. What’s your specialty?”
“Western Civ.”

When he’s not wondering what it would be like to eat dinner with Dr. Heimlich, Chip is a nationally touring stand-up comedian originally from Cincinnati, now living in Los Angeles.