Hello. My name is Paul Ogata. I am a stand-up comic. Or a comedian. Is there a difference? Famous dead comedian Ed Wynn once explained that, “a comic says funny things; a comedian says things funny.” But what did he know? Ed Wynn wasn’t even his real name. It was Isaiah Leopold. I say funny things funny. I hope. But at least I use my own name.
Right now I’m driving to Las Vegas for a week of shows at the L.A. Comedy Club. I have a great job, but the commute is hell. On the other hand, getting off stage is less like clocking out at a job and more like having your heroin wear off and now you have to sell your friend’s bedroom set to get another fix. Except as a stand-up comedian, I get paid to chase the dragon. But still, bolt down your furniture, friends. After all, I am a professional comedian and most of us are one gig away from the soup kitchen.
(Side note: I once did a charity show for people without health insurance. It was called something unwieldy and forgettable like, “The Smithsonville Foundation Comedy Show To Benefit the Community’s Under- and Non-Insured.” But it should have been called simply, “Ironypalooza.”)
People pay me to cause their bodies to have involuntary reactions using my mouth. Comics have so much in common with whores, it’s scary. Like whores, sometimes we get paid what we ask for, sometimes we get stiffed. And sometimes we can be seen on TV. A few years ago I was watching the HBO documentary, “Downtown Girls,” about transgendered Polynesian prostitutes in Honolulu, when it hit me: these Samoan tranny hookers have their own HBO special and I don’t. Ugh.
Oh well, more power to my beefy, street-sisters in the 808! Meanwhile, come see me at work all this week in the city of sin getting used by college students on spring break, much like Elisabeth Shue in Leaving Las Vegas. But only in a metaphorical sense.
Paul Ogata appears at the L.A. Comedy Club at Bally’s this Tuesday through Sunday, 9:30 PM nightly.