Mover And Shaker

On January 4th, I opened up the west coast offices of “The Chip Chinery Organization” in Los Angeles. I had hoped to become a mover and shaker out here, but quite frankly this was not in the brochure.

I feel somewhat responsible and have chosen this forum to come clean. See, I bought one of those fancy-shmancy, novelty clock radios when I moved here. On the night of the 16th I was playing around. Instead of setting it on “radio” or “alarm”, I selected “earthquake”. Like I said, I thought it was a gag. I’m sorry. Please don’t tell State Farm.

image014To me that’s the most interesting occurrence about the January 17th earthquake: Everyone and Everything in the greater Los Angeles area, woke up within 5 seconds of each other. From shut-eyed to bug-eyed in split seconds. The words, “When did you get up?” were not uttered on this day.

My thought process was simple. As I lay in bed being shaken back and forth, I heard loud rumbling, and my closet doors rattling. In a split second I surmised, “Oh, it’s a train outside. Wait a minute, trains don’t run by here. It must be an earthquake.” Then I rationalized, “It can’t be an earthquake, I’ve only been here a couple weeks.” As if that had any bearing on the situation. Like I had some sort of 30-day-satisfaction-guaranteed-or-your-money-back agreement on life out here.

Now the hard part, trying to remember which Public Service Announcement applies to this situation. It was ridiculous. The room was shaking and I was thinking “Drop and Roll–no, that’s fires. Boil Water–no, that’s delivering a baby in a farmhouse. Oh yeah, Stand In A Doorway. BINGO!”

The days that followed were filled with after shocks, or “temblers” as they call them. I find that word very annoying. Shouldn’t it be “tremblers”? Anyway, in one 20 minute span we were hit with several. They were 4.4, 4.5, 4.8, 5.0, and 4.2 from the Russian judge.

Recently, I was able to see all the damage. I couldn’t help but wonder if there was anything else I could’ve done. Then I realized that maybe all of the quake’s destruction could have been avoided had I voted for Quisp. Once again, I blame myself.

Life is getting back to normal, as normal as LA can be. Out here normalcy is graded on a curve. Recently, I was approached by an agent who was interested in handling me. During what became our final conversation, he asked me if I smoked pot. “No,” I replied. Then he said, “Do you know where I can get some?” Oh great! This guys not even connected enough to find weed, how’s he going to get me a TV show?! Showbiz.

Besides being fluent in English and a master of the automatic transmission, Chip Chinery is a nationally touring stand-up comedian originally from Cincinnati, now living in Los Angeles.

Most Likely To…

I recently attended the 15 year reunion of my eighth grade Guardian Angels class. That’s right–GA. The school with one of the most feared mascot names in all of sport, “Angels”. Some of our opponents mocked our name saying it was wimpy. Au contraire. I always thought of our mascot as a dead guy who still plays a mean harp. That’s tough!

-1The gathering took place in the cafeteria. Let me just say that the name tags helped tremendously! No telling how many “There he is…” and “Hey Champ” ‘s would have been bandied about, while I rifled through the mug shots of my mind.

Although I haven’t set foot in the joint since ’78, I quickly realized some things never change. There was still a piece of chewed gum bathing in the Halsey-Taylor water fountain drain. There was smoking in the boys’ room. On the far wall hung that old pencil sharpener–defiant, mocking each and every one of us. You see, that was the one with the uncanny ability to hone a Herald Square No. 2 to a point before the final crank severed off the tip.

Personally, I like nothing more than to have my mind blown. So this evening, I was a happy camper. What am I talking about? All I’m saying is that if there was a “Most Likely To Breast Feed At The 15 Year Reunion” award, it would have been handed out. Yes! One moment I’m replenishing my beverage, the next I see a formerly shy classmate sitting next to the milk cooler, nursing! How apprapo{spelling?}. That had to be the most memorable event (or “mammorable” for you Norm Crosby fans).

My former math teacher was in attendance. Back in ’77, she absconded my handy-dandy mini stapler. This because I was exercising my God-given right to shoot staples at Brian Casey! She acted like she’d forgotten about that incident. As we chatted, all I could think was, “I’m bigger than she is now, and if she’s not packing a certain aforementioned piece of kiddie office supplies, we may have to take it outside.”

So did I have any great revelations during the evening? In the words of the great Ricky Ricardo, “I’ve got some ‘splaining to do.”

At the time of this reunion, I had been touring the country 50 weeks a year as a stand-up comedian. This had been my nomadic way of life since Ronald Reagan was President. Because of this situation, when in town, I lived at home. Because my parents were living there before me, you might say that I live with them. There I said it, I LIVE WITH MY PARENTS (although I prefer to say that I live with an older couple). As I heard my classmates talk of marriage, children, and being homeowners, it dawned on me. I realized that I was the only one in the room who still slept in the same bed he slept in while attending the school.

Well, gotta go cut the lawn before Dad gets home.

Besides having minty fresh breath and minty fresh money, Chip Chinery is a nationally touring stand-up comedian originally from Cincinnati who, since writing this, is living on his own in Los Angeles.

When I’m 64

KickBucketI’m getting older. It’s not that I’m afraid of dying; that I’m ready for the dirt nap; or that I’m on the Grim Reaper’s paper route. I just turned 28 1/2 (this may give you some idea as to how old I am). I say 28 1/2 because unlike everyone else my age, I still side with 3rd graders in seeing the merit of mentioning the fraction.

I don’t have a problem with my age, being in my mid-20s. Yes, if 20 & 29 are brackets for the 20s–28 1/2 plunks me right there in the mid-20s. WHAT? It’s all in how you look at it. Granted, I’m 29 1/2 in China. But I’m not in China.

I grew up in a simpler day–the 70’s. It was a time when your entire record collection came off the back of a Honeycombs box. When a CD was a certificate of deposit. When “Ice T” was a drink. When “fly” was something you used to zip up your pants! Phrases like “the kids these days” and “I remember when” have crept into my vocabulary. Don’t you see, ladies and germs, I’m beginning to sound like an ancient Catskills comic!!!

For the”twentyeightandahalfsomething” generation of males, the realization came slowly. I’m not being sexist, it’s just that I’ve never been a woman before. Unlike Pete Townsend, I have no clue what it’s like to be a woman! I guess I’m a politically incorrect-factory defect.

Now, A Word To Our Sponsor

For years commercials have graced our television airwaves. And thank goodness! If not for those li’l beauts, instead of 23 minutes, we’d have to suffer endure a full half-hour of “Charles In Charge”.

Full page fax printSome commercials are inventive, but the balance really blow. My question: How much longer are we viewers expected to “play along” with the split-screen spot?

Ah, the split-screen genre! A concept that bought some ad-man a beach house in Malibu and a ranch in Montana. BRILLIANT!!!

You know the one I’m talking about. Family A is on the left half of the screen eating chicken fried in motor oil, a/k/a the fabled “leading brand”. And Family B is on the right half of the screen eating chicken fried in the coolest oil in the world. The Pope was annointed with this stuff. It just so happens that this also happens to be the sponsor. A black strip separates the two “rooms”.

Now it’s our turn to play along: “Gee, I don’t know what’s gonna happen here…Boy, I’m on the edge of my seat…OH MY GOSH, little Billy jumped over to Family B’s table and snagged a drumstick! Hmmm. I sure didn’t see that coming. This commercial gets better each and every decade it’s on.”

What’s worse is that Family B doesn’t even notice anything unusual. I guess chicken thieves beaming up from the 5th Dimension is an everyday occurance for these people. Maybe that’s what eating poultry marinated in 10W30 does to one’s reasoning.

I know that there are two-family homes. I always thought that was by floor. Not down the middle, 50-50, with a piece of tape like the Brady Boys did when Greg needed “space”.

Procter & Gamble’s Crest toothpaste uses the “kid testimonial” approach which I so dearly love. In one spot a little girl comes on, “My two best friends are the dentist and Crest.” Boy can you imagine the fun at her slumber parties! “OK, who’s turn is it to get their molars drilled?” “Me! Me!”

Thank goodness there’s the “Truth In Advertising” requirement. Since Huggies diapers contends their “new hourglass design fits comfortably,” it stands to reason that at one time there were a bunch of middle-aged workers in Reasearch & Development walking around in plastic undies. There but for the grace of God go I.

The latest trend has gone unnoticed by most. It’s what I call the “Suicidal Spokesman”. This style is so powerful that it has even effected the views of environmentalists. People complain about dolphin getting caught in fishnets. But they don’t get upset about the tuna fish getting caught in the nets. That’s because for years we thought the fish wanted to die. Because we see Charlie the StarKist tuna begging to be killed each and every commercial we see him on. This is a fish that does not know his plight! Hey Charlie, that pamphlet you have “To Serve Tuna”–IT’S A COOKBOOK!! (cue “Twilight Zone” music).

There’s plenty of Kavorkian Communicators. How about the kernels from Pop Secret who oil themselves up in hope of spontaneously combusting into a big old piece of popcorn. Or Kool-Aid smashing into brick walls like a crash-dummy sans auto. And what about the 5th Avenue candy bar peanut who types a letter to the company–a peanut that can type–asking to be smothered in chocolate and fed to small children! The list goes on.

I’m too upset to think of an ending for this article. Just pretend I said something funny…laugh…and I’ll see you next issue.

Besides staying crunchy, even in milk, and being smarter than the average bear, Chip is a nationally touring stand-up comedian based in Cincinnati.

Se Habla!

hwlOver the holidays I met a woman who is fluent in 5 languages. FIVE languages! That’s pretty impressive from where I sit. Especially since I’m only an expert with two–The King’s English (self-taught) and Latin (“pig” variety).

I took French in high school AND college. I figured if you are going to be mediocre at something, why not have it count for college credit. I toiled for a total of 5 years and all I have retained is that their word for “eight” is pronounced like our word “wheat”. A trans-lingual homonym! That will come in handy since we are now in a one-world economy.

So what’s my point? I’m glad I asked. The sea has parted. The sky has opened up and enlightenment is mine. One word: socks.

That’s right, socks. I was listening to the radio when a commercial came on about learning to speak Spanish. Now I know why all my friends took this language–it’s EASY. According to this ad, if you can spell in English–you can speak Spanish.

The commercial consists of a man asking a woman about her clothes.

Man: “What’s that on your feet?”
Woman: “Shoes.”
Man: “What else?”
Woman: “Socks.”
Man: “Spell socks.”
Woman: “S-O-C-K-S.”
Man: “Do you know what that means in Spanish?”
Woman: “Socks?”
Man: “No, ‘that’s what it is’! This is a patented technique we use to teach you Spanish!”

Now before all you ney-sayers chime in with “Chip, that’s not true! It doesn’t work!! That program s-U-c-k-s!!!”, I must let you know that I was once sceptical as well. I didn’t think it would work, but it does. The key is to wear enough clothing to answer any question posed to you.

For example:
“What’s that on your hands?”
“Gloves. G-L-O-V-E-S.”
“That means “I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

“What’s that holding up your pants?”
“Belt. B-E-L-T.”
“That means “I’m being stalked by a one-legged Elvis impersonation!”

Using this patented technique, I have now added Spanish to the list of languages I have mastered. French is hard–Spanish is cinchy! I suggest you take this course, too, unless you suffer from dyslexia. Whereas U-N-D-I-E-S means “which way to the bus depot”, N-U-D-I-E-S means “play my teeth like a xylophone with a ballpeen hammer!” Caveat emptor.

Besides driving a spiffy car and being a personal friend of Peter Tork’s, Chip is a nationally touring stand-up comedian based in Cincinnati.

My Fellow Americans

Clinton1986_answer_1_xlargeI’m not a “political animal”. Maybe that’s why I find myself blown away by the process we have for electing our President. We have “government by the people, for the people”. So by definition, politicians aren’t any different than you and me. Basically, these are people who have a job–but want a better one. In George Bush’s case–a four year extension on his current contract.

But you and I could never pursue a new job the way a presidential candidate does. What do they do? They tell their current employer (us), “Yeah, I’m applying for a different job, I’m going to pursue it on company time, and I want you to keep paying me while I’m gone. Is that OK? Oh yeah, that’d fly!

Since it’s “government by the people”, we must be the coolest bosses ever! Can you imagine us trying to get away with that at our jobs? We’d be allowed all the time we wanted, and we’d spend it in the unemployment line!

What happened in Arkansas when Bill Clinton was out campaigning? Did they send out for a temp service? I can just picture a woman coming home from work and her husband saying, “Whatcha do today, honey?”
“I was Governor.”
“Again? They’re gonna give you that job!”

“Chip Chinery’s foray into political humor SCATHING!” says Time Magazine. Newsweek reports, “America has a new watchdog, spelled C-H-I-P.”

We all knew about Bush, Clinton, and Perot. But I was amazed at how many other parties had candidates. Andre Marrou ran on the Librarian Party ticket. Did I read that right? I imagine their convention being a bunch of old ladies running around going, “Shhh. Shhhh!” And what was Lyndon LaRouche’s affiliation? Oh that’s right. He’s in the “Elect-me-so-I-can-pardon-myself-and-get-the-hell-out-of-jail” party.

What kind of person wants to be President anyway? Once in charge, you get blamed for things like the economy. Let’s face it, the people running for President aren’t exactly financial wizards. They spend 40 million dollars campaigning for a job that pays $200,000 a year! I have a feeling math is not their best subject. I bet any one of them would fall for that “do you have two 10’s for a 5?” trick.

$40 million! And we wrestle with the dilemna of whether or not to pay 15 bucks to have our resume typeset.

I’d like to see them go in search of their prospective new job the way we would. The honorable way, the American way–during lunch hour behind the boss’ back.

Besides having a great personality and being a snappy dresser, Chip is a nationally touring stand-up comedian based in Cincinnati.

Breadbasket #6 – Upbeat End for Breadbasket 89

Ric "enticing" the mob, er uh, crowd.

Ric “enticing” the mob, er uh, crowd.

I wanted to take a moment to apologize to my family, friends, colleagues and tourists everywhere for what happened in St. Louis. No, I didn’t close my show with my impression of Jack Nicholson rapping a McNuggets joke while juggling flaming scarves to some upbeat funky music. Which isn’t very easy, come to think of it, because one hand has to be pulling back your hairline.

Rather, I went up to the top of the Gateway Arch with Jim. Sure, that may sound innocent enough, but I got a wild hair. Once in the small viewing room at the apex, I started running from side to side, bouncing off the walls, trying to rock The Arch. It began to sway, and after what seemed like an eternity, this 630 foot monument crashed into the Mississippi River.

There was wailing and gnashing of teeth, invocations, and oddly enough Shelly Winters fell through the window. Go figure!

As you may recall, this new club is having a bit of trouble filling the seats – even with us handing out free passes in the mall. The powers that be had another brainstorm: Why not have the comedians do a brief teaser in front of a happy hour crowd at a bar in the mall? Hey, that’s a great idea, except that the patrons didn’t agree. What they thought was: It’s Friday, I’m in my suit, in 95 percent humidity, trying to relax with a beer and some pleasant conversation – Who are these jerks with their cute little observations!?

I immediately realized how disgruntle they were – so I scrapped my prepared text and sang a medley to soothe the savage beasts. It was my own arrangement of “Billy, Don’t Be Hero”, “The Night Chicago Died”, and “Kung Foo Fighting” – a cappella, of course. Jim was spared this agony, but Ric, our headliner, wasn’t. He went on for about as long as a Mike Tyson bout. They really didn’t want to listen to, Ric. Maybe I should’ve done something from “Les Mis”. Oh well, there’s always next time.

The publicity stunt at the Arch must’ve paid off because the late show Saturday turned out to be a full house of 150 or so. Thus, the Tour of the Breadbasket ’89 ended on a good note. Jim and I drove back to the Queen City right after the show – still friends.

This 27-day trip accomplished what we bad hoped it would. First of all, we got paid for four weeks work, and saved a little on gas by car-pooling it for the 3,300 miles. We had hoped to convince two new booking agents that Cincinnati breeds funny comedians, ourselves included. Jim and I have already been booked back, on separate tours, to feature on the Lincoln, Omaha and Des Moines runs next spring. The owner of the Kansas City club also has expressed interest in having us return.

Besides adding a few new chapters to our memoirs, we have added a few new minutes to our routines. Jim has come up with bits on the Soviet’s Space Shuttle being identical to ours, and the case currently in the courts about custody of invetro-fertilized embryos. Jim’s subject matter tends to be current events. Mine, on the other hand, leans toward the stuff we all experience but rarely think about. I was able to work out bits about the four commonwealths in this country who aren’t quite ready to commit to statehood, and the absurdity of “The 3 R’s” – Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these articles and clamor for more. So for Jim Villanucci, myself, and the whole Hee Haw gang – see you in the funny papers!

Stand-up comedian Chip Chinery is a native of Anderson Township.

Breadbasket #5 – The Lost Article

Chip & Jim at Royals Stadium in KC.

Chip & Jim at Royals Stadium in KC.

I would like to start off by thanking McNicholas High School alum, Pat Tabler, and the Kansas City Royals for giving us free tickets to their game on our off day, Monday. I just called them up, told them who we were and immediately the red carpet snuck under our toes. Tabby–that’s what I call him now because we’re so tight–even threw an Angel out at the plate from right field! Thanks again folks.

Day 22 brought us back east to The Gateway to the West-St. Louis. We’re playing another Stanford’s Comedy House to tens of people each and every night. This club is going through what our headliner, Ric Schrader, calls a “shakedown cruise”. To remedy the small crowds, we have been sent out into the adjoining mall area to hand out free passes. We don’t mind because we hear Sinatra does the same thing when he’s in town. The only problem with this is that people feel they get what they pay for. The fact that we are the ones handing out the passes might send the message, “we suck-come judge us”. So they sit down in their black robes and powdered wigs, and do just that. All things considered, the shows are going well.

Ric is originally from Seattle but moved to San Francisco where he honed his skills to become The Funniest Man in Knoxville. As for Jim, the lovesick, road-weary comic, we’ve had to take his belt and shoelaces from him nightly so that he doesn’t hang himself. I don’t know why he’s bummed. Jim won the coin toss and gets his own bedroom. Me? I’m in my sleeping bag on the floor of the living room/common area. But instead of subscribing to “the glass is half empty” way of thinking; I like to think that mine is the only room with a TV and sofa set!

Stand-up comic and Anderson township native Chip Chinery will be keeping us posted with weekly reports on his whirlwind tour of America’s heartland.