|Posted by briantshirley on March 16, 2013 at 2:40 PM||comments (513)|
I'm sure my whole family will get a kick out of this post when they read it, but it's been a long time coming. I'm going to "out" myself to the public.
I'm very SILLY!
There, I said it. I was an extremely silly child, who grew into a silly teenager and just when I thought the silliness would end it didn't.
One of the silliest things I ever did was come up with a hand signal to denote a person's name that cracked me up and that name was "Earl". I'm not sure why I got a kick out of that name, but I would curl my index finger down to my thumb to form a circle, leave my other three fingers extended close together and search out a victim. Once I found someone I would thrust my hand forward parallel with the ground and shout "Earl"! I'm sure to the average person, my friends and my family this was rather strange behavior. I think it started when I saw a damaged sign for a flooring company that we would drive by all the time called " Earl Smith Floors". The "r" and "s" had fallen off so it read "Earl Smith Floo". That was just the thing my silly little brain needed to get started on years of "Earling" people. My grandfather actually took me into that flooring store to meet old 'Earl Smith Floo ' ( I pronounced it 'Flow") and it was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. I can't remember if I "Earled" Earl or not, in my mind that may have been sacrilege.
Of course people that did not know me that well thought I was crazy or "special". One time I "Earled" a man my mom was seeing, he had come over for dinner. He was sitting on the couch and my mom was in the kitchen. I walked up and gave him one hell of an "Earl"!! He yelled at my mom "Teresa, your son just gave me the finger!!" She replied " No, that's just his little thing he does."
They never got married, I think "Earl" may have had something to do with that.
Now, I do realize there's a sitcom called 'My name is Earl" and if would have came out 30 years ago I would have peed in my pants laughing. But those days are gone, I have not "Earled" anybody in years, but you never know. I'm kind of scared to do it now because it could be seen as some sort of gang sign and I would get shot.
If you ever see anyone doing a hand gesture that kind of looks like the "Okay" sign and they yell "Earl" afterwards you know where it came from. I bet you'll laugh!
|Posted by briantshirley on June 21, 2012 at 5:45 PM||comments (6)|
There's a little delicacy in the military known as S.O.S or Shit on a Shingle. It invloves, though some people may debate the ingrediants, chipped beef & gravy over toast with a great deal of pepper.If you feel I'm in error you can send your own recipes in the comments section at the bottom of this post.This term has been used for the above mentioned feast since about 1935. I did not have the pleasure of tasting these tender vittles as I was in the U.S.A.F.
I was stationed at Dyess AFB in Abilene,TX from 1989-1991. I was a young A1C (Airman First Class) at the time and I really enjoyed my time there. I enjoyed it so much I rarely saw the chow hall before lunch. Getting up early enough to make it to the squadron was enough of a challenge without throwing breakfast in there. Lunch and dinner were the meals for me and my fellow airmen. We did make fun of the food a lot, but you show me a military person that didn't. Unless you were at the Air Force Academy, the food could get pretty bland. I had the pleasure of visiting the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs while I was in Colorado going through Tech school for the B1 Bomber program and I ate at one of the chow halls.WOW, Chef Ramsey would have loved the place. I recently did some gigs for a cruise line and I ate with the crew and it reminded me a lot of the Air Force days.
Anyway, one of the things I'll never forget was the abundance of rabbits on Dyess AFB out there in Texas. They were all over the place. Sometimes.our chow hall would serve rabbit and I had never eaten that particular critter until my Dyess Days. I hate to sound common place, but it does taste like chicken. I used to dip it in the little sweet & sour condiments that were available. We began to notice though, that when the chow hall did serve rabbit, they seemed to be scarce on the base. Rabbit was not served on a regular basis and we would joke that the on base population needed time to build back up. Either that or wait for the one's that took a wrong turn at Albuquerque.
No rabbits were harmed during the writing of this story, although I did try.
|Posted by briantshirley on April 14, 2012 at 5:25 PM||comments (3)|
You don't have to know who Arthur Ravenel,Jr. is to enjoy this story, but I'll tell you who he is anyway. He served in the United States Marine Corps ( that's pronounced " Core" by the way) from 1945 to 1946. He is a Realtor and general contracter. He served as a Democrat in the S.C. State House of Rep. in the1950's and as a Republican for the S.C. Senate 1980-86. He then served as a member of the U.S. Congress from 1987- 1995. The cable-stayed bridge that stretches from Mt Pleasant,S.C. to Chas., S.C. bears his name.
Now for my father. Larry D.Shirley is a Life and Health Insurance broker who now owns his own business. It's a huge firm with two employees, him and my stepmother Sam.That's right, Sam's living the dream! ( she would hit me right now for writing that if she were standing here.) Dad has also been a public servant as a Charleston City Councilman for 20 years. He elected not to run for another term once he reached that plateau, though he could have easily won. He's your typical politicain squared AND he sells insurance. This makes him a hand shaking, business card handing out, name dropping fool. I've seen him at it for over 25 years, ( I didn't know him until I was 18, but that's a rather short and funny story.See my stand up show sometime.) his moniker is " Hi, I'm Larry Shirley" as he sticks that right hand out to give a firm hand shake and a smile. Whoops, don't forget that business card Larry. He's rubbed elbows and various other appandges with politicians from every level of government and every political ideology. He served his constiuants well and made sure they knew who he was also. Whether at the post office, grocery store, the Joseph P Riley ball park or his favorite watering hole, " Hi, I'm Larry Shirley" can be heard where ever he goes. I'm convinced that somewhere there's a baby who's first words were " Hi, I'm Larry Shirley", because his mother ran into my Dad once to often while the child was an infant.
If you don't have one of my father's business cards then you didn't exist in Chas.,SC. from about 1974 to present. He lamented to me one time about how he would see people to whom he had presented a business card to that didn't call him for an appointment.They had not sought him out for insurance, yet they had his number.What the hell? I told him to give them another card. He said that didn't make sense. These people would just look at him and say, " Thanks Larry, but I already have one of your cards". I told my Dad that was when you look at them and say " I know, but there's something wrong with that card. I haven't got a call from you for an appointment. Here, I'm almost positive this card will work. It's from a different batch."
Arthur Ravenel and my father ran in the same political circles and got along with each other very well. I've talked with Arthur several times and he's a wonderful person. In 1996 my Dad was up for a very pretigious award from the Insurance industry. He had served in many capacities in that arena and is a Past President of The Life Underwriters Association .At this time he was nominated for the Carol H. Jones award, which is presented to the Life Insurance Agent of the year. He had no idea if he would be chosen until the night of the ceremony, as is the custom. I found out he was recieving the award before he did and with the help of his friends we planned for me to make it down the presentaion as a surprise. He thought I was on tour somewhere, so he didn't expect for me to be there.In the weeks before the big dinner we shot a video of friends and family congatulating him that was to be shown right before they brought him on stage. They played my segment first. Later my father told me as soon as he saw my face on the screen, he knew he had won. I was in the back of the room hiding to surpries him after he got the award. There were a lot of peopel in the video wishing my dad well but for me, I'll never forget what Arthur Ravenel, Jr. said:
" Larry Shirley," started Arthur in that beautiful southern draw of his. " I've known Larry for many years and every time I see Larry Shirley he says 'Hi, I'm Larry Shirley'. He's said it to me so many times I think I'm Larry Shirley".
And that brought down the house! God bless cousin Arthur!
|Posted by briantshirley on July 22, 2011 at 1:45 PM||comments (2)|
I was performing in Myrtle Beach about 10 years ago with my good friends Dave Ugly(Dave Evans) and Jay Moore (Rowland Jay Moore). We had finished our show and decided to go out for some drinks and maybe run into some women. We were single comedians in Mrytle Beach during the summer, what do you expect?
We were at a bar shooting some pool and at some point three young ladies came in. The math was perfect so we started talking to them and soon they were playing pool with us. Things were going great and we decided to have a man talk. We figured out which girl we each wanted and when we were in agreement we broke the huddle. Dave talked to his girl ( a little on the heavy side), I talked to mine (fairly attractive) and Jay got the hottie,but who's complaining. I was happy and Dave was bouncing off the walls.
When it was time to go, Jay left with his girl to go back to his condo. He was playing at a different club than Dave and me, so he stayed at that club's "comedy condo". Our girls drove together so we walked them to their car to say "goodnight". The four of us decided it would be more prudent to say our goodbyes in the car privately. Dave got in the front with his girl and I got in the backseat with mine.
I got real cozy with this attractive lady and we could hear Dave talking to her friend in the front seat. There was no conversation coming from where I was at, if you know what I mean, but I could still hear Dave making his move. Right in the middle of me kissing this girl I heard Dave say to his woman:
" You know what I like about you, you're just as ugly as I am."
Two things happened right after he sid that. I laughed and the girl I was kissing laughed so hard that our teeth clinked together. The other thing that occurred, was I looked up to see Dave and this lady making out. I was amazed. The man has skills! I won't go into details about the rest of the evening, but we all had a good time.
I did learn a valuable lesson that night. Never make out with someone when Dave Ugly is near, it hurts your teeth!
This story was written with Dave and Jay's approval.
|Posted by briantshirley on July 22, 2011 at 10:59 AM||comments (4)|
Charlie Daniels sang about the Devil going down to Georgia. If the Prince of darkness visited the Peach State, I'm willing to bet he built a summer home in Forsyth. I did a show in Forsyth,Ga. several years ago and I still shudder when I drive by the area just off I-75.
The "Comedy Club" was located in a hotel bar. There was a decent stage with a good size dance floor in front of it and the dance floor was not for seating the audience. That meant that the closest people in the crowd were about fifty feet away. A long way for the lauhg to travel, but there would be none of that anyway. The club seated 70 or so and there were about 35 people in the place. Some of the folks were scattered around, but most of them were at two long tables near the dance floor. One table was full of drunk, off duty cops and the other table was full of tipsy 911 phone operators. This was not a good combination for comedians or crime victims in the area.
I was the opening act and the emcee was the bartender/waiter. He must have been real busy at the bar because when he went to start the show and introduce me he did not go on stage. He stood on the dance floor out of the stage lights and said " Hi, are you ready for comedy, here's your first guy Brian T Shipley". I did not bother to correct his mistake with my name because I don't even think the "audience" noticed that the 'show" had started. They just talked right through the intro and were oblivious to me getting on the stage.
My first few minutes on stage weren't that bad. I couldn't see anyone because of the stage lights so I was talking to the dance floor, which was paying more attention than the crowd. I should have kept trying to make the dance floor laugh for 30 mintues, but NO, stupid me I tried to interact with the people. This only caused them to talk louder as I was interupting their drunken conversations. Then they started in on me with insults. There were so many of them yelling things like " you suck" and "say something funny" that I could not respond quick enough. I asked them how they would know if I sucked when they weren't even paying attention? My stating this fact only made things worse, so I pointed out a place on the edge of the dance floor for them to come and stand one at a time to heckle me. These fools actually did just that. They formed a line on the spot I had pointed out and one at a time would say their piece. Then I would slam them and they would stumble back to their seat. I finally told them I was leaving which got the best response I had all night. I ended my lecture by informing them that they may not have liked me, but if they don't give the next guy a chance the whole show would be a suckfest. They actually gave the headliner a chance and he had a decent show. He thanked me after the show for getting them to pay attention.
When I got back to my hotel room I was highly upset which caused me to have a MAJOR panic attack. I still have them fom time to time, but this one was bad. My throat felt as if was closing up on me and I was having trouble breathing. I almost called 911, but then I remebered the last time I had done that. It had cost me $2000 to find out I was just having an anxiety attack and the 911 operators were in no shape to answer the phone anyway. It was about 12:30 am, but I decided to call my dad. Maybe he could calm me down, I had thought.
I told him about the show and he knows about my anxiety problem. He told me not to call the hospital, but instead to call the front desk. I asked him why and at the same time started to relax a little.
" Ask the front desk clerk what time the sun comes up tomorrow." Dad said.
" What for?" I asked.
" Tell them you want a wake up call before the sun rises because you don't want to see another damn redneck before you leave town!" he responded.
I laughed and relaxed even more.
Thanks Dad for saving me $2000.
Johnny rosin up your bow and play your fiddle hard....
|Posted by briantshirley on June 22, 2011 at 8:15 PM||comments (4)|
After having been single for a while and trying several avenues to find a woman, for example, on-line dating sites (still trying that a little), church, ( found a nice woman, it didn't work, but I'm still attending), night clubs, grocery stores, and yard sales, I found a dating service in town and decided to give it a shot. Have you ever bought a new/used car or been to one of those time share things? This was kind of like that.Let me explain.
I showed up at the dating service full of hope and very broke. It was at an upstairs office building in an area known as Mt. Pleasant, about 20 minutes from my home. The office was decent enough and there was a nice young woman who met me in the reception area, her name we'll say was "Lisa". Lisa led me to a very small office in the back, with one table, two chairs and one small window that looked out over a backyard area. It kind of had the feel of an interrogation room. Lisa had informed me over the phone that this would take 1- 2 hours. We,she had said, were not a regular dating service, they were COMMITTED to finding me the love of my life.
The first 45 minutes to an hour were alright. We discussed what I wanted in a woman, what my interests were, what I could offer a woman,etc,etc.., no problem. Then she asked me about my finances and when I say asked, I mean she wanted to know everything.She wanted my yearly income, my debts including credit cards, my rent, my car payment,etc. . Needless to say I starting getting a little nervous, but I was lonely. After this initial phase she asked if I was serious about joining the service and finding my soul mate. I said yes, and she said for me to wait there while she discussed my immense qualifications with her boss.
About ten minutes later Lisa entered the room and once again asked if I was ready to meet my future wife. I replied in the positive and she got excited and said " Great! My boss wants you in the Program!"
" Program?" I thought to myself, then I asked her " How much is the program going to cost me?"
"Well," she started " we have selected the Platinum Plan for you and that's $3995."
" Do you have a Plastic plan, because there's no way I can do that. How much just to meet a woman who just wants to piss men off, that doesn't sound platinum to me? Or can I go in with a couple of other people and we share the plan? What if I convert to Mormonism, do I get a discount?" I replied.
She looked shocked and saddened. " Let me talk to my boss and see what I can do."
Ten minutes later she came back with an offer of $3500.
" Can't do it." I said.
She looked like I had just killed her puppy. " I'll be right back." she moaned.
She came in a few minutes later with another woman that I'll call " The Gremlin Lady". She was short and squat, wore glasses and had real stubby fingers with blue ink all over them. She also had a real rough voice.She reminded me of David Johanson from The New York Dolls, the lead singer, who also played the Taxi Cab Ghost in " Scrooged" with Bill Murray. The shirt she wore was button up and few sizes too small, so that you could see her skin through the spaces in between the buttons. I guess there was no one in her house when she put the shirt on to say, " No, throw that shirt away, you'll scare people!" I was praying the buttons would hold, as they seemed to be ready to pop off at any second.
" Brian, I need you in the program. I've got 5,000 single women and only 3 men!"
I told her it just wasn't in my budget and we went at it for a good ten minutes. Lisa was blocking the door so I could not escape without running her over and I was starting to get claustrophobic. They finally left me there and I saw my chance for escape, but that was not to be as Lisa brought in another woman who I'll call " The Warden". She was a big, tall, robust woman who made the earth shake when she walked and was very animated. She waved her arms around when she talked and it added to her size.
" I thought he wanted to join the program, what's going on here?!" yelled The Warden.
I told her I couldn't afford " The Program" and she suggested some type of payment plan. A payment plan that they really weren't supposed to offer, but would make an "exception" in my case.
"If I'm that much of a catch, why the hell do I need these " ladies" to help me?" I thought.
" Look," said The Warden " how much do you have left over each month after paying you bills?"
" I don't know, " I said as my anxiety really starting kicking in. " about $100."
" Well, there we go," she said," just put $1500, down and then pay $100 a month."
" Great, then when you find me a woman, I'll tell her we can go out as soon as my " Program" is paid off. "
She ignored me and walked around preaching about true love and how money meant nothing and blah,blah,blah. I don't know what she was saying, I stared out the window at a tree in the backyard and wished so much that I was that tree. Finally, there was silence and I could feel her staring at me while I had a nervous breakdown.
Then she sat down and I saw my chance. She started writing some numbers on a piece of paper, asking me what I thought about this figure or that figure. I stood up.
" Sit down Brian," she said," we're making progress here."
" No, that's ok ." I said, shaking as my panic attack surged.
I reached for the door and she called me name again.
" I'll talk to my dad," I said, trying to keep her busy. " do you take American Express?"
" Yes we do" she grinned as she responded.
" Shit... I mean, ok, let me talk to him." I said.
" We can call him right now." The sly Warden suggested.
" We can't," I said as I opened the door, " He's.. uh ..umm.. in a meeting!" I yelled triumphantly
as I ran out of the room.
Lisa came out of an office across the hall and saw me running for the door. ( I had to find the passage back to the place I was before, relax said the night man... never mind.) She waved and said " Bye,Brian" and that was all. I guess I looked like I was in a hurry. " I'll call you later" I shouted, just to keep her honest.
When I got to my car, it was kind of like a scene in a horror movie.That scene where the victim gets to their car and they can't seem to get the keys to go into the door or the ignition. The car never starts right away either. I had some trouble getting in my vehicle, but it started fine. I felt that if I would have stayed there another minute I would have seen the three of them bounding down the steps. First there would have been Lisa saying " Hi,Brian" , then The Warden yelling " How about $850 down and $75 a month?", and the Gremlin Lady, in her David Johanson voice bellowing " We need you in the program ! ".
My brother is married and has 2 kids, that should be enough for my Dad and my Mom. These were my thoughts as I drove away.If it's going to happen, I'm not sure I'm the one who will put the wheels in motion. There's no need to mess with fate, she gets pissed when you do that anyway.I'm still very happily single. This story is true and only one name was changed to protect no one. The Warden and the Gremlin Lady are real people, not actors.
|Posted by briantshirley on April 13, 2011 at 12:29 PM||comments (0)|
Back in the days of the first Gulf War, I was keeping the U.S. safe at Dyess,AFB in Abilene TX., by partying and chasing women. Hey, someone had to do it. One weekend, me and my fellow airman Jared Derringer, decided we would venture out to Dallas, TX., for a few days and take up the chase there, as to give the women in Abilene a break.
On our second night in Dallas, we were heading out to the clubs when I came up with a plan on how we would approach and engage our quarry. We would not tell the women we met we were in the Air Force, we would come up with another career or job or whatever, just for the hell of it. Sounds brillant, right? Yeah, right. I decided I would be a Business Broker, which I had no idea at the time and still don't know what exactly a business broker does or if they exist. I knew, though, I could B.S. my way through it. ( B.S. is my intitials you know.) Jared had not decided what his false occupation would be before we started drinking and carousing, but it wasn't a big deal, I knew he'd come up with something.
At some point we ran into a group of about 6 or 8 women and statred talking to them. The next thing I knew I was dancing with one of them and Jared was doing the same. The woman and I finished dancing to a couple of songs and we made our way back to the group, who by the way, turned out to be a bunch of elementary grade school teachers. The lady I had danced with asked me what I did and my line of crap automatically started flowing. I knew i was doing good because she was just as confused as I was. Then I heard Jared and his girl coming back from the dance floor, and I say " heard" because she had him by the hand, was pulling him towards us and was excitedly yelling, " Guess what he does for a living, guess what he does!!!" Of course, I was just as interested as the women in finding out what Jared's occupation was, as he had not informed me of it, because we were too busy partying and chasing women. Then she stunned me by saying " He's a toymaker, he makes toys." The lady I was talking to asked what her friend had said about Jared's career, I replied while trying to keep a striaght face, " umm, he designs kids toys, he's a toymaker". " Wow, neat" she said.
Later on, after the ladies had left and we were headed back to the hotel I just looked at Jared and said " Toymaker, huh?!"
" Well, she told me she was a school teacher, so I figured, hey, teacher....kids... toys,.... toymaker"
Jared actually had "Toymaker" put on the back of his softball jersey for the squadron team. God bless you , Jared my friend. I wonder if he ever got that position at the north pole.
|Posted by briantshirley on April 2, 2011 at 10:30 AM||comments (3)|
Over 20 years ago I was emceeing a show at The Comedy Zone in Chas.,SC. It was my home club where I started and I was just getting more stage time and I had about 7-10 minutes of decent material. The headliner that night was The Fat Doctor, whom I've since worked with several times over the years.
I went up and started the show with about 5 minutes of comedy then brought up the feature act,whose name escapes me. After his 30 minute routine, I went back up, did a few more bits, made some annoucemnets,then went into the headliners intro. At this point everything was fine, that is, until I said, " And put your hands together for 'The Fat Doctor' "! The problem was, the Fat Doctor was nowhere to be seen and he's not a small man. No big deal, I just said it again " Here he is, ' The Fat Doctor ! ' " No, here he wasn't! I looked towards the back of the room and saw the club owner Tony Kemp giving me the "Strecth" sign, meaning do more stage time until The Fat Doctor finally showed up. I'm not sure what I did until he got there several minutes later, but it worked.
After the show, Doc thanked me for covering his considerable ass and we had a laugh about it. I asked him what happened, why was he late , after all he stayed in the hotel the club was in. He said he had laid down to take a nap after his long drive to Charleston and had overslept. He was awakened by the phone ringing and the front desk clerk saying " Fat Doctor, the shows been going for over 45 minutes and your on." He told me his respones was " Really, how am I doing?". Now how many people can crack a good line right out of a dead sleep! Darcel Blagman, AKA "The Fat Doctor" passed away in Jan of 2020. Godspeed my friend, you were one of a kind!!
|Posted by briantshirley on August 28, 2010 at 11:45 AM||comments (4)|
Several years ago I had a gig in N.C. on the coast and one of my good friends Dave Evans( aka Dave Ugly) asked if he could tag along, as he did not have a gig that week and wanted to get out of town for a few days. I said "sure" and, " maybe he could even emcee or do a guest spot if he wanted " providing the club owner was cool with it. We knew Dave would have to stay in my room as he was not on the bill, but that was cool with both of us, we'd been friends for years.
We got stuck in traffic on the way up, and made it to the hotel about 30 minutes before showtime. Thank God the comedy club was in the hotel because we were both stessed out with the trip and everything. I went up to the room to take a two mintue shower and change, while Dave started pounding beers. When I got to the club, Dave said he no longer wanted to go onstage and I could not blame him, I, however, had no choice. The show went great and a good time was had by all, especially Dave. He was well into his cups by the time we went to the room and I wasn't feeling too bad myself. Needles to say, we were both out as soon as our heads hit the pillows.
Around 4:00 am, I was awakened by loud knocking on the door to my hotel room.( It is important to note that this was one of those nice hotels, with the doors to the rooms on the inside of the building, leading to the hallway.) I stumbled out of bed, feeling very groggy and wondering who the hell was pounding on the door. When I opened the door, there was Dave Ugly (Yes, the same Dave who fell asleep in the room with me) standing in the hallway, in his UNDERWEAR!. I actually looked back at the bed to make sure he wasn't still in it. I didn't say a word as I was a little shocked, and I can only imagine the look on my face as Dave said " I know, I know, let me in security is coming" . I let him in and, beleive it or not, did not say a word. We were so tired we just crashed.
On the way back to Chas.,S.C. ( about a 5 hour trip) the next day I found out what had happened. It did take a while for Dave to tell me bacause I could not look at his hungover self and remember him standing in the hallway half naked without laughing to the point of tears. Apparently he had got up to use the bathroom ( still drunk and half asleep) and after releiving himself had simply walked out the door to the room without knowing it. He then got lost in the hallway and could not remember which room he was in. He knocked on someone else's door and they said " You got the wrong room", to which David put his hand over the eye hole in the door and said " Quit looking at me." He did find the right room, and I do remember after I got him in I heard a security guard in the hallway talking to someone and the person was saying " I don't know, it was some drunk guy in his underwear".
As we neared Chas. and I could talk without laughing I said to Dave " You know I have to tell people about this, espescially the other comics." He just put on his sunglasses, sucked in a deep breath and shook his head. He knew.
This story has been told with Dave's permission.
|Posted by briantshirley on March 29, 2010 at 5:50 PM||comments (1)|
Where: Havlock, N.C. The Club:Chopper's Place
I was about 35 minutes into my set and I was talking about an activity men sometimes when they are alone ( or with a willing partner) to releive themselves sexually. At some point during this a man speaks up and says " I use both my hands, I'm AMPHIBIOUS!" After the laughter died down about 2 minutes later I said " You mean Ambidextrous, you damn frog". For the rest of the show the poor guy was known as "The Frogman". I never suggest yelling out stuff during a performance, but sometimes people get lost in the moment.. If I has started keeping track of this years ago I would have another book. I'm sad to say, this won't be the last post I make about someone saying something in the middle of a show. Thanks, Frogman, whatever pond your in. ( rubbit,rubbit).