Atlantic City Diaries, Chapter 7: The Anti-Social Comedy Tour

Posted: February 21, 2013 by rorypatrick in Atlantic City Diaries
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It has been far, FAR too long since the boys and I have putzed the night away in Atlantic City.  Our last adventure, featuring Finn, OB, Keith, and myself, was way back in September.  Well, this time, the same crew reunited, heading down to see the Anti-Social Comedy Tour, featuring Jim Norton, Amy Schumer, Dave Attell, and Artie Lange.  I have to tell you, having gone nearly six months without a hit, spin, or roll of the dice was giving me the shakes.    The night before our trip, OB and I got into the right frame of mind by watching “gambling” episodes of our favorite TV comedies, such as Futurama’s “Viva Mars Vegas,” The Office’s “Casino Night,” and South Park’s “Red Man’s Greed.”  Needless to say, I could already smell the extra oxygen they allegedly pump into the casinos.

Our game plan was simple.  We had a room in Bally’s, which, fortunately, connects to one-and-a-half other casinos (Caesar’s and what is left of the Wild Wild West casino).  With this as our home base, we would have an ample area to putz about, without having to face the elements (it was freezing cold out).  The comedy show was at The Borgata at 7:30, which would help break up the night.  After that, we’d gamble until we rebuilt Atlantic City’s economy.  Like I said, the game plan was simple.  So let’s see if we stuck to it.

12:00PM – Our 12:30 bus arrived 30 minutes early, and left 10 minutes early.  I must say, this was a pleasant surprise.  Our bus driver was a friendly man with a thick accent who reminded Keith of his priest.  I didn’t drink much on the trip, using it to catch up with Keith and OB (Finn was driving down to meet us later).  Also, the light was out in the bathroom.  Not much to say here.

Keith Stone: Hey, what can I say? I went to church to absolve myself of my future sins, which may or may not include peeing all over the bus toilet seat. I also kept my streak alive of drinking Bandit wine on the trip down. I drank it out of a Gatorade bottle. Gotta keep hydrated.

3:00 – By the time we arrived at Bally’s, OB and I were starving for food.  Keith had the foresight to bring food on the bus, and was doing fine and dandy.  I really should add “eat a full breakfast” to the Do AC checklist – it will prevent incidents like this (or seagull attacks) in the future.  With the line to check-in incredibly long, we hightailed it to the Boardwalk Buffet at Caesar’s.  Keith hesitated to join us, having already eaten, but figuring that this would be the last time we get food this evening, he decided to fill up even more.  And fill up he did.  OB and I made a mad dash to the first food available, which was the shrimp.  We each grabbed a quick plateful of shrimp, which was a decision that we both immediately regretted.  The shrimp was far from fresh, and slowed down our ability to stuff our faces to the fullest (I did still have a large helping of salad, a cut of prime rib, dumplings, soup, rolls, etc.).  Meanwhile, Keith put on an eating display that shamed the both of us, nearly doubling our plate totals before rubbing it in with a celebratory cupcake.  I must tip my cap to the man.

MKS: The mashed potatoes and gravy were delicious.

5:00 – With Finn joining our crew, we checked into the hotel room.  While we got upgraded to an ocean front room, for our first time in Bally’s, none of us were particularly impressed by the room.  The television was still the large and boxy kind that they stopped making 10 years ago, the toilet took an enormous effort to flush, the iron did not work, the doors to the television cabinet did not stay open, and there was a lack of power outlets (only four that were easily accessible).  Other than that, it sucked.  But honestly, I didn’t want to stay in the hotel room, I wanted to gamble!

We headed downstairs to the bar in the lobby, appropriately named Lobby Bar.  Here is where we all wasted the $25 voucher that came along with the bus.  Playing video blackjack, I worked mine up to a robust $29, and swore I would cash out when I got to $30.  But, I never reached that level.  A horrific losing streak left me around $11, and at that point, I said “Fuck it” and gambled the rest away.  I don’t like video blackjack – there is no doubling down or splitting, so the whole thing seems rigged (or at least, more rigged than other casino games).  Next time, I’ll just stick my voucher in a random slot machine and let Lady Luck decide what I make.

Pissing away my voucher didn’t satisfy my thirst, so I headed to the physical blackjack tables.  Bally’s has an ample amount of blackjack tables, but most are around $25.  The few $15 tables they have, unfortunately, attract the worst players around.  When I played here, people were aghast that I split two 4’s against a 6, saying I should have doubled down.  The next card was a 9, which gave me 13, so I stayed (I would have had 17 if I doubled).  The next card was a 2, giving me 6 total on the other hand (which, after a couple of hits, became a decent hand).  The dealer, of course, flipped over a face card, then busted.  But, if I had listened to the dolts at the table, the dealer would have ended up with that 2.  I played correctly, and won.  There were many other incidents of terrible gambling (someone stood on a soft 14!), so I knew I had to get out of there quick before these jokers started costing me money.  After a bit of time, I walked away up $75, and was ready for the comedy show.

7:00 – We took a cab to the Borgata, and made our way immediately to the theater, so I don’t have much to report to you on Borgata’s scene.  The bar at the show was cash only, and, as I was saving my cash for the blackjack tables, decided to stay sober throughout the show.

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This is the third year in a row that Jim Norton has hosted a comedy show at the Borgata, and, thankfully, OB and I have been there all three times.  Last year, it was Doug Stanhope in Amy Schumer’s spot, and two years ago, it was Bill Burr and Jim Breuer (with no Artie Lange).  Last year’s show was absolutely fantastic, and, with rumors that this might be the last year they are doing this, my expectations were very high.  The opening comic was not very good, as he relied on joke topics that I hear very often at open mics, such as his love life and his name (every comic has a joke about their name).  However, Atlantic City crowds can often be drunk and hostile, but this crowd was very supportive, and the guy was able to warm up the crowd sufficiently.

Jim Norton came out strong with his usual brand of disgusting, offensive, and self-degrading sex humor.  By far, the biggest laugh came from fucking up a joke, accidentally referencing the hospital as a place where he bangs women.  This led to a series of hospice sex jokes, showing that good rape jokes are still alive after feminists murdered Daniel Tosh last summer.  As a huge fan of Jim Norton, I always found great humor in the random details he’ll throw in, and enjoyed him comparing Mike Bloomberg to Leon from Dog Day Afternoon a little too much.

Norton was followed by Amy Schumer, a comic I only slightly know from Comedy Central roasts.  Taking the place of Doug Stanhope, I felt it was a bit jarring in the beginning, as the opening jokes didn’t have the same “good lord, that’s so wrong” quality that you associate with the other three comics.  However, when she began to bust out her “everyone’s been a little raped” bit, she had the audience in her hands.  (Yes, I’m still pissed off by the people who tried to censor comedy last year).

Dave Attell batted third, delivering his trademark random madness.  What I always loved about Attell was the insane amount of jokes he jammed into every set.  By the time you finish laughing at one, you’ve already missed half of another one.  I’m not sure I can do his set justice in this short description, as it is something I’d like to listen to again. I do like how both Attell and Norton had jokes already from recent events (mainly Sandy), which gave their sets a very fresh feeling.

Which leaves us with Artie Lange.  Now, I knew he would go last, as his sets are a lot looser and not as tightly rehearsed as many other comedians, so it is very tough to go up after him.  And I understand that he’s had personal problems over the last few, well, decades.  And I also know that he’s more a radio personality than a pure stand-up comic.  So is that enough qualifiers?  His performance was, in a word, polarizing.  I laughed the whole time, but there were many jokes that he performed either last year or on one of his comedy albums, such as the “runner’s high versus heroin high” bit, Mike Tyson’s voice on your GPS, and the “‘midget’ is like the ‘n-word'” joke.  Other huge laughs in his set came from just quoting Norm MacDonald or 50 Cent.  So while the set was fine, I can’t help feeling that I deserved more.  Wah wah wah, right?

At the end of the show, all four comics came out to do a quick question and answer session with the audience.  In the previous years, this was Norton and Attell’s time to shine, quickly improvising insults to the dumb questions people would ask.  However, this year Amy Schumer really killed it.  Highlights included her calling a young redheaded man “Bill Burr at the end of Benjamin Button” and imploring a long-winded audience member to “tell us less.”  This was my favorite part of the show – it is inconsistent (as some improvised jokes fall flat), but the jokes that do hit are so wild and unexpected.  If I was Netflix rating the show, I’d give it a 4/5, with the only fault being Artie’s lack of new material.

MKS: As as relative newcomer to the Anti-Social Comedy Tour and its comedians, I was very impressed. However, unlike Rory, Artie Lange was my favorite. The first three comics (minus the opening act) relied mainly on over the top jokes and sex humor. It was funny but the laughs were all about shock value and there’s only so many penis jokes a refined gentleman like myself can handle. The thought of guys like Attell and Norton fucking chicks was also too much to bear after gobbling down copious amounts of General Tso’s chicken.

Luckily, Mr. Lange treated us to his humorous observations about drug and gambling addictions. I guess if I had heard the jokes before they wouldn’t be so funny but I hadn’t. I give the show a 4/5 as well but for very different reasons than Rory.

9:45 – After the comedy show, we retreated back to our room to drink more and watch some sports.  While the other three were watching a wrestling tournament, I occupied myself with the NBA All-Star Game.  I was very disappointed that my boy Brook Lopez did not get more playing time, since he ended up with the second best plus-minus for the East.  It did not surprise me that the East lost – that’s what happens when you give Carmelo Anthony the most minutes.

MKS: Only a Nets fan would refer to Satan’s Prison as a wrestling tournament. It was an interesting twist that Jack Swagger came away with the victory so quickly after his return, but the Rock pulling out the Title defense against CM Punk after two  (two!) referees were knocked out of commission was a work of art.

11:30 – After a sufficient amount of boozing, all four of us descended to the gambling floor.  After perusing Bally’s earlier in the day, we took our talents to the remains of the Wild Wild West.  I have spoken about my love for their 24-hour happy hour at the Wild Wild West bar, but something didn’t feel quite right.  Now, the bar has an official corporate sponsor – Jim Beam.  With this, the bar area has added a lot of bells and whistles – there are beer pong tables, a mechanical bull, a pop-a-shot game, and a photo booth.  It attracted a reasonable crowd of young folks, which stunned us as we were not used to seeing anything but the drunkest and most degenerate gamblers there.  However, the people there stuck mostly to hanging out in their circle of friends, and the two-man dance party started by OB and Keith crashed and burned on impact.  And it was no fault of their own – it was a stunning effort by those two to liven up the floor, but nobody was buying it.  Perhaps it was too early in the night.

dance

12:15 AM – This didn’t last two long, as the gambling bug was gnawing on OB.  He took his luck over to the Wheel of Fortune slots.  If you haven’t played the Wheel of Fortune slot machines, you should know that hitting the bonus and getting able to spin the wheel will make you feel like a true champion.  OB was able to spin roughly four or five times, making him feel on top of the world (even though the process was slowly bleeding him of money).  Trying to reduplicate my slot machine success from Chapter 5, I hit the Sex and the City slots adjacent to the Wheel of Fortune machines, and promptly lost $20.  I really wanted to say “those ladies had some tight slots,” but I was reaching my bad joke quota.  Fortunately, it was nearing midnight, so my bad joke quota was about to reset.

MKS: This might make me sound old but can we go back to the days of manual one-reel slot machines with bars and cherries? As impressive as it sounds to have 25 chances of winning with millions of symbols on these newfangled electronic machines, I like to actually know what’s going on. Watching Rory play, how was I supposed to figure out that a reel of Mr. Big, the Sex and the City logo, the Statue of Liberty, Samantha, and a pair of Manolos wins 100 credits? Also, Rory won’t admit this but he played the game for about an hour. He’s such a Charlotte.

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1:00 – We’ve made it over to Caesar’s, just as a change of pace.  OB decides to change his game up by playing the KISS slot machines.  He ends up hitting another bonus here which plays “I Was Made For Loving You” as it gives free spins.  Earning him a bit more of a gambling stake, the four of us hit a blackjack table.  This is the first time, I can recall, the four of us actually sat down at the same table together.  The results, obviously, were mixed.  Finn and Keith were getting dealt the blackjacks while OB and I paddled desperately clinging to a piece of driftwood.  I slowly watched my profits from earlier in the day disappear, eventually leaving me $40 in the red.  Soon, OB and I abandoned the others to head back to Bally’s.

2:00 – Bally’s turns my luck around.  I sit down by myself at a blackjack table (away from the previously mentioned fools), and immediately win three hands in a row to get back to even for the night.  Finn and Keith shortly join OB and I, and we head over to Lobby Bar again to relax for a bit (while OB furiously bets on those sneaky video blackjack machines).  After making a hefty amount of money in Caesar’s, Finn wants to get his Caribbean Stud action on, so Keith and I head with him to the tables, while OB heads back to the room.

3:00 – I receive this text message from OB: “1 man power hour up in club 2429.”  Being the good alcoholic that I am, I excuse myself to go join him, and continue what is fast becoming an Atlantic City tradition – cheering up OB after he’s gone bust for the night.  Finn and Keith are back in the room by the tail end of the power hour, as OB decides to clean himself up for one more go by taking a bath.  Refreshed from the tub, he decides to head back to the floor and try to take out more money to play.  And, against all sanity, Keith and I decide to play more, as well.

4:30 – We are in the danger zone.  Like, the “I might tell someone to ‘suck a dick about it'” zone.  I’m doing fine at blackjack, but the peanut gallery is balking at my decisions (which are correct).  I reach a point where, for the first time in my life, I feel that I’ve gambled enough. I excuse myself and head back to the room, and, luckily enough, I run into OB, carrying a glass of the house red.  He has been blessed by the fact that he was unable to get more funds to gamble with, so we all head upstairs.

Along the way, he sees a girl who is barefoot on the casino floor.  He checks her out up and down, looks at his glass of wine, then continues to check her out.  Using all his wit and charm, he musters up the greatest pick-up line I’ve heard to date: “I like wine, and feet.”  Unfortunately, this came out more as a mutter, and the girl either did not hear it or completely disregarded it.  Keith and I immediately ushered OB back to the room, figuring that this would be the highest point of the potential relationship between OB and this lady.

MKS: We were playing with some real amateurs at the tables, the kind of people who stay on a 15 against a 10. The optimal move for us was to leave but these are the types of decisions you don’t make at 4 in the morning in Atlantic City. The entire day we had that type of luck. It’s what Kobe Bryant must feel like trying to get Dwight Howard to play serious basketball. But we did learn a important lesson: the geniuses with an education from the Philadelphia public school system play blackjack at Bally’s.

Also, “I like wine, and feet” has the potential to be this generation’s “You had me at hello.”

6:00 – In good spirits and feeling generous, OB puts in a breakfast order from room service.  At this point, I’m about down for the count, yet ordered an eggs benedict, and closed my eyes for a quick nap.  I figure that by the time room service arrives, I’ll be rested and ready to eat.

9:00 – I wake up from the nap, gulp down the cold and soggy eggs benedict, and begin the process of determining how much I should regret last night.  All-in-all, I did fairly well – I am up $20, but that does not include the price of the hotel room, bus, or show ticket.  The other members of my team start to slowly arise, and, as usual, the conversation turns to people who have sexual fantasies about America’s Funniest Home Videos.  The bus ride home was a typical ride as well, as I slept so deeply that you could have performed surgery on me.

MKS: I stayed up for breakfast and it was delicious. Finn and I kept awake by listening to WrestleMania: The Album on YouTube, featuring “hits” such as the emotional spoken word ballad “Never Been A Right Time To Say Goodbye” by Bret Hart and the patriotic classic “USA” by Hacksaw Jim Duggan. If we ever decide to change the national anthem, I want good old Hacksaw put in charge.


When we heard a knock at the door for the room service order, I went to open up and a server named Mohammad entered. As he walked in the room pushing the cart holding our food, he looked mildly perturbed to see three grown men in various states of undress and consciousness strewn about the room. I stammered out an explanation of, “It was a rough night,” and he replied, “No need to worry.” This wasn’t his first rodeo in Atlantic City. After gobbling down my breakfast, I passed out and cuddled next to my favorite Nets fan as we both dreamt sweet dreams of Jason Kidd.

Overall, it was a delightful return to form for my gambling ways.  If you can manage to get drunk, see a great comedy show, and turn a bit of a profit, you have had a successful weekend.  The only disappointment was the quality of the blackjack players, the shrimp at the buffet, and the lack of exploring other casinos.  Next time around, I’ll have to brave the weather and hit the Boardwalk, just to get a sense of how the town is truly doing post-Sandy.  We have no solid plans to return to Atlantic City yet, but there’s a 50/50 shot I could be there as early as this upcoming weekend, so stayed tuned loyal readers.

Read Chapter 6

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