If I had to name the best stand-up comics working today, it would be something like Louis C.K., Doug Stanhope, Jim Jefferies, Anthony Jeselnik, Jim Norton, and Joe Rogan. I find that a great way to waste my day is watching internet clips of each of those guys telling jokes. There’s something about intelligent comedy that attacks social taboos that I find honest, refreshing, and shit-yer-pants funny.
In any case, I was wasting time on Doug Stanhope’s website when I came across this story about he and Don Frye drinking together in an airport:
I was on the Wikipedia page for Bisbee AZ where I live. Under notable reisdents, I saw the name Don Frye, MMA fighter.
I am a mixed martial arts fan and can’t believe boxing is still considered a watchable sport after you’ve seen the UFC. It makes the best of boxing look like as antiquated and obsolete as the old days of all-white basketball.
So I go to his Wiki page and start reading about him. He’s had a pretty respectable career that spans back to the early days of the UFC. I read about noteworthy fights he’s been in and that leads me to other fighter’s pages and then to his website and then to Youtube watching fights he’s had and interviews, commentary he’s done.
Just like anything else you find of interest on the internet, I ended up spending two hours of my life learning about all-things Don “The Predator” Frye when I really just clicked the initial link to see if there was a picture, to see if I’d recognized him from either the fights or from seeing him around town.
I didn’t recognize him at all but it made me think that it would be funny if I did run into him in this tow of 6000 people one day, now that I am an inadvertant walking encyclopedia of Don Frye knowledge, statistics, fun facts and trivia. I could come off as the ultimate scary stalker-fan.
Bisbee, AZ is small town about 7 miles off the Mexican border and 100 miles to the nearest airport in Tucson. That means it’s about 100 miles to the nearest sushi – the best of which is actually inside terminal B of the airport, not 100 yards from the furthest gate.
I am a regular there. It’s strange to be a regular at an airport bar much less the four-seat sushi bar at the end of the bar. Hong and Ramon might not know my name but they know my face from frequent visits and over-tipping and I like that. I like being a regular which is hard to come by in this gig. Either I’m on the road or I am home – and when I am home, it’s the only place I want to be.
So I am flying to Denver and I am more than an hour early. Ramon is working and that makes me happy because Hong is one of those sushi guys that think that there is a code of conduct, ethics and ettiquette that come with eating raw fish where I just like wasabi and soy sauce. Hong won’t give me soy sauce with white tuna because you aren’t supposed to eat it with soy sauce for whatever ancient ancestral reason. So I have to order hamachi first to trick him into giving me the soy sauce and then order the white tuna as an afterthought.
Most things I eat, I only eat for the condiments that go well with it. I would never eat a potato if it weren’t for all the fantastic things you can put on it in it’s many varied forms. Much like fucking is more about a reason to wear a chin-dildo and a frozen Whatchamacallit candy bar in your and their assholes.
Let me get back to the story so you can go buy show tickets and maybe some merch like you came here for to begin with.
I order from Ramon and leave to go get a newspaper across the hall. I come back and Don Frye is sitting right next to me at my 4 seat sushi bar not 24 hours after my half-day Don Frye internet marathon and tutorial, imagining how funny it would be to run into him.
No fucking way.
I stuttered like Porky Pig.
“Hey! Uhhhhhhh…. I was just at your website!” I said like that alone told my whole story.
“We’re both listed as ‘Notable Residents” of Bisbee.” I add.
“No kidding.” he says, as though he’d made a very poor decision on where to sit.
I know the feeling all too well of being confronted by someone who recognizes you when it’s way too early and you are way too sober to be social, especially when you are in close quarters. And now before I could stop myself, I’m doing it to him.
He looks at a menu and I lose myself in the USA Today wishing I’d never spoken. I can feel the flush of shame rush into my cheeks since I am too sober to talk when I am the one that started it – leaving an ugly awkwardness in the quiet air of an empty late-morning airport bar.
A few beats more.
“So you live in Bisbee?” he says.
“Sorry if I ask the same questions over again. I been hit in the head a lot.”
“That’s ok. I’ve been drunk every night for 25 years. It has the same effect without much of the pain.”
Well good to hear – I thought I was the only one – can we get two tequilas and two Asahi beers?”
And of course we like to make them a double for two dollars more.
He asked me what my name was and what made me a notable resident of the town he hasnt lived in for 12 years.
“Doug Stanhope? No shit? I listen to you all the time on Sirius radio. You know what? You’re a funny sonofabitch.”
It was cooler even than when a negro thinks you are funny – which happened to me randomly at the Detroit airport in April – another story altogether.
We drank and I got as drunk as one man can get in 25 minutes – a trend which I carried onto the plane and through the show until whenever I fell down in the hotel, however I got there.
Sorry about that, Denver. It’s never good when towards the end of the show you hear someone yelling.. Can you PLEEEEASE try to annunciate your words???” but I know my audience is pretty goddamned forgiving of that kinda behavior – as I am with them.
Don “the Predator” Frye is a gentleman, a great drinker and a funny sonofabitch in his own right and thanks for the drinks and the mathematically obscene long-shot coincidence. To misquote William Peter Blatty’s “The Ninth Configuaration” to fit my own agenda – I find coincidence “far more fantastic than simply believing in some God.*
Give a shout next time you’re back home in Bisbee. We’ll drink again, dear sir.
Stanhope’s drunken rants and social commentary are both offensive and genius. Frye, on the other hand, is a certifiable badass in a world that embraces people like Ryan Seacrest. Drinking with the two of them would be absolutely outstanding.