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Saturday, November 24, 2007

MARK YOUR CALENDARS! Andy Martello On TV This December!

Among the things I have not been able to talk about since the apartment disaster and subsequent journey to Vegas is a rather fun little development regarding Samson the Gorilla.

You may recall my story about Samson the Gorilla, the local celebrity of the Milwaukee Zoo. That story has brought about a lot of interest from various folks since it first ran some time ago.

During the whole homeless Andy thing this summer I was approached by Lois Maurer, producer of an upcoming PBS special about Samson titled, "Samson: Then & Now". This special was to document the life of the famous gorilla as well as detail the stellar reproduction project going on at the Milwaukee Public Museum. She contacted me wondering if I wanted to be a part of it, share my story and get a chance to meet and thank Sam LaMalfa for such a great moment in my life.

I turned down gigs for the chance to do this!

The program is airing on Milwaukee Public Television, Channel 10 this DECEMBER 4th, 2007 at 7:00 PM and again at 3:30 PM on December 8th. If you or someone you know lives in or around the Milwaukee area be sure to tell them to tune in and watch, set a VCR, a TIVO, or a whatever the hell you set these days.

I'll give you my own personal thoughts about the meeting, the show, and all that after it airs. Feel free to order a copy of the DVD from the PBS station!

For all the Samson related posts, including the original story that started it all, check out STREAMLINING SAMSON.

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Friday, November 23, 2007


Click the photos for larger, MOUTH-WATERING images.

This marked our first Thanksgiving in Las Vegas as well as the first Thanksgiving April and I have not spent with family since being together. Naturally we wanted to do something to cope with the absence of family and also the lack of food. So we decided to make our own traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

We are both excellent cooks but neither of us has ever made a turkey before. Sure we've helped out at various holiday meals and such, but making a T-Day dinner from start to finish? Hell NO!

Undaunted, April went out and bought us one fine turkey. A 13 1/2 pounder to be exact. We planned on a much smaller bird, but the s
ale price was so good (about $5.30 for the damn thing) the one she got was the smallest one available. What the hell, right?

Anyway, we made stuffing from scratch, baked potatoes, cooked some yams (canned - she likes those better), had a ham steak, and bought a killer pumpkin cream pie for dessert. The turkey, our first attempt turned out...AWESOME!

What's the big deal with cooking a turkey, people? Follow the damn instructions, don't waste lots of valuable heat by opening the damn oven every 20 minutes, and don't spend a minute worrying about basting a damn thing. Get a good meat thermometer and have a thawed turkey ready to go and you're...well, ready to go.

Of course, we made a FEW improvements upon the standard turkey. Can you guess what we did? Why bother? I'm gonna tell you anyway.

Under the skin, above the breast meat, I placed a layer of Raye's Fall Harvest Mustard, a wonderfully tasty mustard we bought for just this occasion.

See, this mustard has loads of whole mustard seeds and chopped cranberries in it, along with other fall spices and it was seemingly made for Thanksgiving. Trapping all of those tasty seeds and cranberries under the skin made for a great topper for the bird.

Our flavor enhancements didn't stop there.

I also diluted a bit of Mumm's Champagne Mustard with water and used a flavor injector to fill up the breast meat, the legs, the thighs, and the underside of the bird. I did this same treatment with some chicken stock as well, since we had a bit of it left from our stuffing recipe. This bird looked like it had been to the doctor for some botox before it went into the oven.

A little coating of olive & soy bean oil and a few dashes of pepper, lemon & dill made for a crackling skin surrounding one JUICY and flavorful turkey.


By the way, both of those fantastic mustards are available at the world famous Mount Horeb Mustard Museum! Go there and spend a ton of dough this holiday season. I gave mustards away to most everyone last year and they're all very happy with the presents they received!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

T.G.I. "F".

Since this is a 24-7-365 kind of town everyone refers to their last day of work prior to a couple of days off (they insist on the two days off in a row thing around here for most every job) as "their Friday".

Tuesday represented my Friday. Of course this was the first "Friday" I have had in just about two weeks.

See, one of my co-workers had to leave town rather unexpectedly to attend a funeral. he opted to move his vacation up a bit to take time off to be with friends and family. I volunteered to take over shifts, make a little overtime, and all that.

In the process I ended up working 12 days straight. no "Friday" for me.

Now I am enjoying my job and I didn't really notice the long hours too much. That being said...

This all happened immediately after - well, actually during my run in Laughlin. My days off are generally Wednesday and Thursday. The week i was in Laughlin I would go to work during the day, drive 100 miles to Laughlin, make people laugh, and then drive back home 100 miles so I could work again the next morning. There were two days where I didn't go through all that (my regular days off) but I did it nonetheless.

When the time came for me to fill in some shifts I still had at least a couple of days left in Laughlin. So all that driving and all that work was still there. Then I missed my last "Friday", worked clean through to this new "Friday" and have not had much of a rest nor a minute to myself in nearly two weeks.

Now...I'm one tired puppy.

I still have to spend much of my first day off cleaning the house, getting bills paid, trying to get caught up on marketing, and preparing things here for our first Vegas Thanksgiving. if all goes well I'll get to finally meet Jerry Schafer along the way.

I probably won't get any rest until next Wednesday, which to me is next "Friday".

Monday, November 19, 2007

Andy Martello - LIVE In Laughlin! Part Two: The Stand-Up & Juggling Set

A little fancy editing and you can see how the show actually started. I broke the clip up into two parts for your viewing pleasure. The first is the stand-up comedy leading into the juggling. The second is obviously the juggling.

Ignore the people wandering in front of the camera and the damn LOUD talkers seated too close to my camera. Just watch the damn funny comedy and tell people in your town how badly you need to see me work at your local club.

Part One

Part Two

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Andy Martello - LIVE In Laughlin! Part One: The Fire-Eating Set

Here is a video of the fire-eating set I performed at The Comedy Shop in Laughlin. The set is actually the second set I did within the show, taken on the final day at the River Palms.

I wanted to start with the opening act set for you here, but I need to edit it down to a tidy 10 minutes for YouTube. I actually did about 12 minutes there. Ah well...tomorrow perhaps.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Tales from Laughlin: Minor Panic

So I'm doing my show Tuesday night, and doing a fine job by everyone's account, and I do a little bit of "working the crowd". I made a comment which spurred a rather funny additional comment from an audience member. He wasn't heckling, he was genuinely adding a funny quip.

When this happens at comedy venues I tend to give the guy his props for being funny and I do it in a rather funny manner. Aside from the "give the guy some applause" and all that, I walked over to the guy, shook his hand, make a funny retort, and then took one of his drinks off the table in order to toast him. After the toast I walked off with his drink, thanking him for the free drink (as "tax" for taking some time away from my show).

It always gets some good laughs and provides a funny moment in the show. It got that same response that night. Well...

Apparently there's some sort of rule in this casino that no alcohol can be brought up on stage for any reason. They've even fired a comic for doing something similar (in order to promote their drink specials) in the past. D-A-M-N!

Were any of the comedians told about this before our week started? No. Would I have done the joke at all had I known? No. Did I apologize profusely to the casino manager who decided to watch the show Tuesday (as opposed to Monday when there was no joke involving beer)? Yes. Did any of this mean I wouldn't be fired from the gig, essentially ruining any hope I had of returning or getting booked anywhere else for that matter? Thankfully, yes, but it could have gone the other way.

Everyone assured me that things would be fine, but that didn't mean that the casino wouldn't send my rather innocent-of-intentional-wrong-doing-ass home. They could have done it and I could have been out a good paycheck. What's worse is that the agency that booked me here, books a lot of comedians and variety acts in Laughlin and Vegas...and this was my first gig for them. My first local gig at all really. So having something awful happen my first time out pretty much guarantees early & permanent retirement for me.

Again, I was thankful that everything went just fine and there was no real consequences for an innocent mistake. As you know, the higher-ups truly enjoyed my performance and I'm eager to get another booking in Laughlin soon.



Thursday, November 15, 2007

Another Video of a Building Being Destroyed? Why Not!

It is an inevitable part of Las Vegas life; watching your first implosion. This past Tuesday morning, April and I got to witness first-hand the demolition of the New Frontier Hotel & Casino.

This was the second oldest hotel on the Strip and was originally known as the Last Frontier back in 1947. I had no real sentimental attachment to the place, but I was certainly sad to see it go. I did have some good times there though.

For those who get all cranky wishing Vegas would respect the past and preserve these "historic" buildings, you must remember that the casino game is not in the business to LOSE money. Keeping an antiquated building with no architectural significance or impact simply because that's the building where both Siegfried & Roy, as well as Elvis first played in Vegas simply doesn't make good business sense.

When you look at all the hotels and casinos two or three times the size, doing that same volume, you realize that a place like the Frontier had to go eventually. Honestly, when all you have to offer as competition to the bigger places is mud-wrestling and a Gilley' is time to call it an era.

Moreover, and I ask this of everyone here who complains about the implosion of "iconic" properties, when was the last time you were in there patronizing the place? Most people can't even remember when they last set foot in the property and that is why it is gone today. If you don't want the Sahara, the Riviera, or any other places to go away then you have to walk in there and drop a few dimes.

We stayed up way late to watch the fun. Unfortunately we didn't get the view of the building that featured the fireworks countdown on the building face. That being said, I think the view we DID get was better than most of the footage I've seen. It is a bit dark, but it didn't look right when i tried to brighten it up on my computer. I may redo the thing at a later date, but for now I like it a lot.

I just love watching how the Frontier sign collapses into the ground from this angle. I hope you enjoy.

If not, listen to the first installment of Podcrapular Lite! These mini shows are done in order to fill the void whenever Golfwidow and I can't record a full program. Very cool idea by Producer Josh!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

More Soon

I'm at work all week with no day off. Long story. I'll get some more tales from Laughlin, El Rey news, and even the Frontier Hotel implosion out to you when i can.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Success...For Now

I think it is more than fair to say that the Laughlin booking was a success. Of course I will truly judge how successful it was based upon how soon it takes for the agency that booked me to hire me again and how many subsequent gigs this appearance helps generate. For now I say it was a very goo thing indeed.

The casino manager saw the show four times, something she NEVER does (according to her). in fact, at the end of the run her exact words were, "I'm going to do everything in my power to bring you back here." Earlier that week she told me this was the first time she not only watched the whole show but enjoyed the whole thing. I look at all of this as a positive for me.

The head of entertainment for Tropicana (the folks who own the River palms) was also in attendance at the final show. he stressed to me how much he enjoyed the performance as well and that mad me very happy.

Now I must wait not only for the check to arrive, but for that positive reaction to my work to filter into the office of the agency that booked me. I'm hopeful to be out at Laughlin often, but these folks also book Vegas and elsewhere. NO REASON AT ALL for me not to work any of those places, right? I am also hopeful to get better time slots at the comedy venues, which will bring along better paychecks too.

A I said, for now this past week was a success. Until I see results elsewhere I am not sure just how successful it was for me.


Monday, November 12, 2007

When It Mattered Most...

They got the name right!

From the November 2007
Laughlin Nevada Entertainer

More later. FAR too sleepy now.
Will be at work with no day off for some time.


Saturday, November 10, 2007


I'll have some time to get you caught up on things. For now...driving to work, driving to entertainment work, driving back home to sleep so I can drive to work and start all over again.

Oh yeah, when I can get everything in order, many NEW El Rey posts are on the way!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Heading to Searchlight Today

I'll have other stories (possibly bad, possibly good...shouldn't talk now) to share later.

For now, I'll let you know that I'm going to spend my day visiting Jane Overy of the Searchlight Museum. We'll chat, get caught up, and I'll naturally do a little bit of research on my El Rey hobby. This should be fun!

If all goes well I should have a new addition to my El Rey Casino collection by the end of the day.

Stay tuned!

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Any Publicity is Good Publicity

Day one in Laughlin is complete. Have I ever mentioned to anyone how good it feels to be on stage? If not...I will one day.

Let's see what is also fun about my first official Nevada booking (as a resident, I've had others in the past when I lived in Chicago).

When I remember to bring my camera I'll take photos of the sign with my picture on it and
the big screen TV slide that features the same. Until then you can read my name in the current issue of the Laughlin, Nevada Entertainer magazine!

Of course it is always good to see your name in print, even if your name is misspelled.

Closer examination reveals that some guy named "Andy Martelo" will be there.
I hope he's as funny as Andy Martello...

...Or maybe as funny as "Andy Marterllo" as advertised on the River palms Casino website.

Ah well, it is still GREAT to be working on stage!

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Busy Week, Fingers Crossed, Hopes High, Heart...Ready to Be Broken

Today marks the beginning of my six-day run at the River Palms Casino in Laughlin, Nevada. I'll be working during the day at the Houdini's and then traveling the 100 miles to perform the show. Once finished, I head back for work the next day. With the exception of Wednesday & Thursday (my days off from Houdini's) I'll make the drive in order to collect two paychecks for the week.

Naturally I'm hopeful that the drives are uneventful and the car runs smoothly. However I'm more anxious about doing well at the casino and being asked back.

If I do well and get in good with the folks there I could conceivably become one of the area comedians who works this venue once a month. I know it isn't much, but to be able to snag a good-paying gig once a month can do a lot to keep me from filing for bankruptcy. Even more important to me is that it can help get me in better with area talent agents and show that I am a professional with a good, bankable act. That would make life a tad easier, especially in the short run and potentially down the road.

I'm also hopeful that I can get a better spot on stage the next time I'm out there. The opening spot pays well, but the feature spot pays even better. You get the picture.

All this is meaningless if I don't get there and back safely and do a great job while I'm there.

I'm not too worried about the driving. It is essentially the same as a drive from Chicago to Milwaukee and I made that trip on consecutive days countless times. I just need the gigs to go well and get that reputation built a little stronger out here.

Plus, making this trek every day helps show the folks at work that I can be a reliable employee even when I'm booked as an entertainer. Making the effort not to inconvenience the store goes a long way when I have to ask for the next day, week, or month off for a gig.

So please think positive thoughts for me this week. I know my problems aren't all that severe when compared to others out there in the blogosphere, but they are rather important nonetheless.

I also plan on spending time in Searchlight, which is conveniently on the way to Laughlin. I hope to have more El Rey Casino news to report soon. Regardless it will be fun to see Jane Overy of the Searchlight Museum again and visit my favorite little mining town.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

A New podcast? OOH...Scary!

Click to listen to our "very special Halloween episode" of...

Click here to get your own player.


Some of the people we be pimpin' during this show...

Julie Do Ya Love Me

Blog This, Pal

Golfwidow's Mom

It's It

The guy who voiced Roger Rabbit

Sperm Shack (NSFW, duh)

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Friday, November 02, 2007

One Day

One day after Halloween I started seeing Christmas commercials. Stores, credit card companies, the works!

Seriously, I know that a lot of people really do love to shop and can't wait for the Holiday Season and all...but wait for it anyway. Wait until after thanksgiving, just like all of us had to do when we were kids.

We still shop and buy crap and we even own calendars that remind us when Christmas is every year. It's the same fucking day every year and it NEVER comes before the previous fucking holiday, THANKSGIVING!

Yep. I'm getting old and even less original in my thinking when I put out a "Christmas is getting closer every year" kind of post. Too fucking bad!

Stay tuned. I will have some exciting news about the El Rey Casino collection very soon!