“Uhhh, hi. I’m the guy who bought all your toilet plungers yesterday, but we lost one. And I think we broke another one. Do you have more toilet plungers? In the back? It’s an emergency. I know this sounds weird, but it’s okay. It’s for a comedy show.”
This is just one of the many awkward conversations I had with the employees of the convenience store across from my old apartment.
In this particular case, I was shopping for plungers to do a big comedy sketch about these obscure aliens called Daleks from this British TV show that had been canceled for a while called Doctor Who. I was going to be doing this sketch at the only place people would understand it: a science fiction convention in Minnesota called CONvergence.
Oh, how times have changed.
Doctor Who is back and then some. CONvergence has grown into a massive, fan-run convention. Back then, I couldn’t even attempt to explain Daleks to the guy behind the counter. Now I might be afraid to mention Daleks because I wouldn’t have time to get into a long David Tennant versus Matt Smith debate with the Whovian fanatic who probably works there.
CONvergence has been a big part of my life and my career as a comedy human for many years. I’ve met a lot of friends, fans, creative partners, and unfortunate little plastic vials full of what I was told was vodka with food coloring in it.
I’ve been performing at a lot of conventions in the last few years, but CONvergence will always be my “home convention.” It’s one giant, intelligent party.
Last year, I saw a guy in a really great Captain America costume. He was standing in the bathroom reminding tipsy Boba Fetts and 10th Doctors to wash their hands. I thought, “Wow. That’s some really accurate Captain America cosplay.”
In a strange way, it’s also a nice snapshot of CONvergence: absurd, charming, smart, boozy yet responsible.
Over the years, my career has dovetailed with the growth of geekdom and, as a result, I’ll be busier than ever at this year’s CONvergence.
You can check out my full schedule here or at the bottom of the post. Some highlights include:
I’ll be doing a signing at 2 pm on Friday. In an effort to justify the thousands of dollars I spent on a degree in visual art, I’ve decided to do a free sketch with each purchase or signature. My book Comedy of Doom and my comedy album Verbing The Noun will be for sale both at the signing and all weekend long at the CON’s official merch area on the 2nd floor. I’m particularly excited for people to get their hands on Verbing The Noun since it was recorded live at CONvergence last year.
Friday night on the mainstage, I’m doing a brand new stand-up show about superheroes called Joseph Scrimshaw’s SUPER ISSUES. It’s a brooding, action-packed hour of comedy about horrible origin stories, the best super power ever, strong feelings about Batman, life lessons learned from the Hulk’s pants, and more. Truth! Justice! Massive, horrible property damage! We’ll be recording the show and if all goes well, eventually we’ll release it as an album.
Saturday at 5 pm, Bill Corbett and I will be doing our one-act comedy play/lecture thing called My Monster. Bill plays a egomaniacal Hollywood screenwriter and I play the character he creates before the audience’s eyes. It’s Frankenstein’s Monster meets David Mamet, but funnier. We originally wrote the show for the San Francisco SketchFest and then performed it on the first Jonathan Coulton Cruise. We’re thrilled to finally do it at CONvergence!
Saturday at 7 pm, I’ll be doing a very special episode of the Obsessed podcast. The subject is Doctor Who. The guests included Paul Cornell (a Doctor Who writer, a novelist, and a friend I’m happy to have met at CONvergence), Molly Glover (a super funny writer and performer and fan of New Who), and C. Robert Cargill (a film critic, screenwriter of the horror movie Sinister, novelist, and also a friend I’m happy to have met at CONvergence.) The podcast will address burning questions about the show, the fandom, time travel itself, and whether the 10th Doctor cried too much or just enough.
The rest of my time at the convention will be spent doing more comedy panels, sleeping, drinking, or all three of those things at the same time.
And, of course, washing my hands like Captain America told me to.
I hope to see many of you at the convention, but if not you can catch up with my adventures by following me on twitter. The official hashtag for the con is #cvg2013.
Thanks and let me know if you find any plungers in the back I can use for comedy.
FULL CONVERGENCE SCHEDULE:
Thursday, July 4th
5:30 pm – Rockstar Storytellers: Joseph will read a comedy story from his book Comedy of Doom
9 pm – Super Spy Smackdown: A heated, comedy debate about which spy would win in a fight
Friday, July 5th
2 pm – Signing: Buy a copy of Joseph’s book, CD, or Geek-A-Week card or get a signature. Joseph will also draw a picture for you!
5 pm – Comedy on the Internet: A panel about the joys and perils of making the humor times on the internet
7 pm – You’re Making That Up! Joseph hosts the comedy quiz show developed by Bill Stiteler and Neil Gaiman!
8:30 pm – SUPER ISSUES: Joseph’s brand new stand-up show about superheroes
Saturday, July 6th
11 am – The Worst of Bond: Let’s all bitch about James Bond!
12:30 pm – Kickstart Me Up: A panel on the joys and perils of running a successful Kickstarter project!
2 pm – Power Point Karaoke: Joseph is one of the judges for this Power Point Presentation Smackdown!
5 pm – My Monster: Joseph and Bill Corbett’s one act play about screenwriting, monsters, and sparkling wine!
7 pm – Obsessed: A Doctor Who episode of Joseph’s comedy podcast with Paul Cornell, Cargill, and Molly Glover!
8:30 pm – Drinking With Geeks: Exactly what the title says, but even funnier.
11:30 pm – Killer B’s Improv Movie Show: Funny Make-Em Ups to horrible B movies!
Sunday, July 7th
9:30 am – Hungover With Geeks: Come watch us be punished for having done Drinking With Geeks the night before.
3:30 pm – One on One with Paul Cornell: Joseph interviews Mr. Cornell for the CONvergence DVD!