This article belongs to In Search of Laughs! column.

When last I left my intrepid readers, I was holding a handful of miracles. In the ensuing week, I realized it just couldn't last. I was right. To quickly review, here are some of the crazy miracles to give you some perspective:

I was hurt real bad, but now, I'm getting better and stronger!

My job was traveling the planet making people laugh. Now, I want my job back!
A renowned author published a book about the Great Comedy Strike and interviewed me.

I asked to go on at The Laugh Factory, and gentlemanly Jaime, the owner, said yes!

I got my Internet column back at TheCheers.org

I asked to go on at The Comedy Store in L.A. and they let me! (And gave me parking!)

I asked to go on again, and the great and powerful Tommy said yes! (And Matt the God of Parking welcomed me warmly, which was another miracle!)

And then the miracles stopped. Surprise! As I said, Standup is a harsh mistress.

The evening careened past me like a Quentin Tarantino flick, eight seconds pathetic alternating with eight funny seconds…for four and half-hours! It felt like a dream that wouldn't end, you know…like a Quentin Tarantino flick!

I remembered that I had promised not to do any Pauly Shore jokes! Good Christ, who do I think I am?
An early arrival At the World Famous Comedy Store gave me an eagle eye view for the greatest zoo show in the world. We've got the most incredible casting pool in the known universe in L.A.! Dreamers, droolers, drinkers, stoners, Rappers, schitzos, those that are wannabe(s) and those lucky few who are soon to be(s) …you can see an incredible array of acts here! Sunday & Mondays are Open Mike in the Original Room until 10 PM. But, The Main Room and The Belly Room feature specialty shows! A veritable multiplex of Standup acts. Who do I think I am?

After a couple hours, the amateur show gives way to guest spots and paid regulars! I was pleasantly surprised to count about forty hearty souls hanging in to catch the owner's choice part of the show. It's what we used to call "Mitzi's boys" I told myself to get ready. I remembered that I had promised not to do any Pauly Shore jokes! Good Christ, who do I think I am?

Catching a break, it turns out that I knew the Master of Ceremonies from long, long ago. A snappy dresser then, and now, it was the well-known and beloved Frazier Smith! He was funny on the FM then, and now he's learned to be funny onstage. Another miracle! Most Radio Boys don't make it as standups, but Frazier is the exception. I was glad to see him!

After exchanging greetings (and checking each other for tell tale plastic surgery wounds) Mr. Smith told me I would go on after the Vegas act and guest performer. I gave him a card with my credits for my introduction. He looked at me like I was from El Salvador.

You see, The Comedy Store is like an artist's colony. But, its an artist's colony that eats it own slower members of the herd. I reminded myself to stay focused and not get eaten.

I try to keep an eye on the preceding acts so I won't repeat a premise, but after a while, I just couldn't watch anymore. The Vegas act bummed the room out, then made ‘em happy and left the stage. The MC says he's been ordered to put one of the staff on next…Sorry! A funny Asian kid went on, smoothed through seven minutes. He got good laughs. The MC brought on another staff comic and he got good laughs too. And another, and another. Sorry! Now, it's 11 PM…I got here at 9 PM, and my 10 PM set will be after 11:30! Fasten your seat belts everybody, this is going to be a bumpy ride! The crowd had grown to about fifty. I just kept moving, as I was still hoping not to get eaten.

I walked the entire Comedy Store complex repeating my material to myself. I crossed paths with ten other comics doing the same thing. During the show, backstage in The Main Room, I greeted the ghost there. He remembered me, which was sweet after all these years, and he promised not to scare me too much tonight. Now I owe him a favor.

The upstairs Belly Room was totally empty. I had helped turn this storeroom into a great stage featuring countless great comediennes. I had learned my craft on this stage, and I can not wait until I get a show in there again. Come by the Belly Room sometime. You won't be disappointed. Happily, I hurried back to the Original Room.

Frazier the MC, finally told me: one more act, and then I'd be next. Then, I got eaten!

The guest performer was Booby Lee of MADTV fame. As he began his set, another twenty young ladies jammed the room to watch him. I hadn't seen girls on the hunt like that since Brad Pitt did those skimpy underwear ads! On TV and live, Bobby Lee is one courageous comic, and he did twenty minutes or so.

Bobby Lee, who reminds me of an equally courageous Andy Kaufman, murdered the room! Like myself, Bobby is a former doorman for the Comedy Store, so I was proud of him. But he murdered the room! Holy Crap! The massive audience, now sated by Bobby, split the room like some body had cut a big one! Qu'elle croupe le fromage? Now it was 12:28 AM, and I being introduced. Oh God, help me…I'm an early act! The audacity! Who do I think I am?

Evidently, our esteemed MC, Mr. Frazier Smith knew who I was. This experienced performer not only quieted the entire room, (which had shrunk to only eight people) but then, he gave me a warm, slow, respectful introduction. (missing the facts by a mile.) Because he had taken his time, many of the doormen and other paid acts flooded the back of the room to support me. The audience (All eight of them) re-focused and was nice. I opened my act in Spanish and the crowd looked at me like I was from El Salvador! My three best punchlines in Spanish got nice laughs! " Yo soy El Gringo con corazon! You soy muy guappo! Frazier Smith es Chupacabra! A uda may! A uda may!" I told the crowd that the MC told me it was "Spanish Only" night! A decent laugh. Then I moved on to my real language which is English, I think! Everybody say "HI LUE!"

"Hi folks! My name's Lue. To me, being a gentleman means avoiding the use of profanity and cuss words………Until I absolutely, fucking have to!…No Shit!"

I didn't want to use the fuck and shit bombs, but right at that moment (12:32 AM) I felt like I needed some of that street cred! (Whatever that is!) I did the quick stuff from my act that I thought I could count on. Most of those paying attention laughed for me. I brought the room back. My time flew past.

Everybody say "BYE LUE!" then I was offstage. Not great…not bad! The next act did not respond when introduced, and then suddenly POOF! I was gone and forgotten. On to the next act! But, I didn't get eaten in a situation that I should have been. For the millionth time in my zany career, I got lucky! I got lucky, and live to be funny another day! One more miracle! Thank you Lord.

That's two shows. It's only two. But, I hadn't done any shows in twenty-four months. The adrenaline residue took hours to wear off, and I didn't get to sleep until 5 AM!

I await news of my scheduled times from the Laugh Factory. I've listened to the tape of my last show six times, just to take out jokes that didn't work. Do you think this is easy? Do I look fat in these clothes? I just want to do better shows. I'm jumpy and nervous. I wish I had nicer red shoes. Do I need a haircut? Such is the funny life in Hollywood.

I'm not really in show business. I just live in L.A for the frustration!

It's like I told you earlier: Standup comedy is a harsh mistress. But she does kiss well! And amazingly enough, I'm still standing! Tune in for my further adventures.

In Search of Laughs
The Comic in Red Shoes,
Lue Deck