Timmy P's comedy nights
by Charmie Gholson
Timmy P (Parkkila) is serious about comedy. The Chelsea-grown WMU grad with a background in radio, real estate, and "lots and lots of restaurant work" started promoting comedy two years with hopes of creating a network, an Ann Arbor resource for young comics that would give them camaraderie, competition, and a place to perform.
Two local comedy nights in town are his babies: Sundays at Goodnite Gracie and the Tuesday Tickler at the Heidelberg. Parkkila is a big, burly guy who worries like a mother hen over his performers, sweating it out in the back of the room if someone is bombing. He laughs out loud at jokes he's heard for three straight weeks.
I saw a Sunday lineup that consisted of a couple of geeks, a girl from Madonna College ("No, it's not a cosmetology school"), some football sex jokes, some simple observations turned funny, and a manic Filipino guy screaming and spitting about stuff that sucks.
My favorite was Jesse Pop. He was relaxed and laughed at his own jokes. Don't know if that's good or bad form in the comedy world, but I liked it. He had the funniest joke of the night, something about how he wished the daily astrology readings would be more specific and say things like "Hi, Steve. You know that guy in receiving, with the brown mustache Tony? Well, today's the day to kill him." Then you'd read the next day in the paper about how four Tonys were killed by four Steves.
If Sunday at Gracie's was a good time, Tuesday night at the Heidelberg was a party. The place was packed, and everyone was ready for some action. A few first-time performers got up, one with disastrous results, but the audience was kind. The geeky guy announced he had no girlfriend. The jocks yelled about football and drinking. I laughed a lot but also wondered, where are all the smart women the ones who
talk about politics instead of blow jobs?
Although many of the comics are local writers and actors, established performers "from Detroit and beyond" also come by to help out, according to Parkkila. Demetrius Nicodemus, from Toledo, has performed on Comedy Central and BET's Comic View. When a friend told him the government is taping everyone's phone calls, he said, "Really? Could they send me some of the shit I said when I was high? 'Cause that shit is funny." Then he slammed the girl who performed before him, saying, "Someday you'll make someone a great ex-wife." From my seat at the back of the house, I could see one of the geeky guys gently pat her shoulder.
Hey, Timmy, congratulations. As a mother of three, I know good parenting manifests itself in compassionate kids. Comedy can be cruel, and those kids are lucky to have you.
Besides, that shit is funny.
[Originally published in January, 2003.]