HOME   BACK to the Columnist INDEX MAY-JUN 2003 ISSUE

"After the second show Friday night, I went to the back office where my resting pulse was in the neighborhood of around 125-130."
The Big Move










TOMMY JAMES made the Big Move to Los Angeles.

#11 IN A SERIES . . . . . NEW BIG MOVE EVERY MONTH! Hey Tom, where've you been? Glad you asked. It's been a crazy month-and-a-half around here. My best friend's friend, and cousin of Jimmy Kimmel, Sal Iacano, arranged for me to submit a writing package for The Man Show. Needless to say, I didn't get the job. That sucked, but it was not nearly the worst thing that happened to me last month.

On April 18 I went to Happy Hour at the Bungalow club on Melrose with comedians Peter Grumbine, Rob Little, Mark Saldana and Jimmy Shubert. Jimmy left early, as he had a set at the Comedy Store. We all eventually met up at The Improv where, once again, Jimmy had a set. Two sets in one Hollywood night-- that's some kind of record!

Jimmy's set at The Improv was for some new "Red Light" show Bud's (Friedman) been running where, between the comedian's sets, porno stars do sketches, improv and not-so-great standup. But since we're talking porn stars here I must admit it was kind of fun to watch. A young lady named "Houston" was there. I was not familiar with her work, but word on the street is that she once had 500 guys in one day. Did I mention my wife came with me to The Improv to see Shubert? As the story of Houston's record-breaking gangbang got around, my wife got a little agitated, acting as if I was one of the aforementioned 500.

"Why would anyone do that? What girl would subject herself to that? And what kind of guy would want to wait in line to stick his dick in 438th," my wife asked. And she had a point. What kind of lunatic would wait in line all day to plunk his pecker in her for 15 seconds? I won't wait more than ten minutes to do most anything, let alone get up close and personal with a vagina that would have to resemble road kill after about guy number 50.

It's not something you can really brag about, is it? You can't really boast of banging some girl 368th out of 500. Who could you tell? Your parents? I don't think so. Your coworkers? Not unless you're a comic. Even if you have the most open-minded spouse you could never tell her. You certainly couldn't tell your siblings as they might open their big mouths next Thanksgiving when even grandma would find out. And the list goes on and on. It's just not worth it. There's no up side. You do crazy things for the story and I'm not so sure you get one with this. Then again, maybe I'm too conservative now that I'm married. If you'd asked me about this when was in college at Syracuse, (Home of the 2003 NCAA Basketball Champs) I might have reacted differently.

Right before Jimmy went on, my glands started to feel swollen and I got somewhat of a headache. I went outside to get some fresh air where I saw Doug Stanhope hanging around. Surprise, surprise! Dozens of porn stars are in the club and Doug Stanhope just happens to show up. Coincidence? I think not.

As we talked for a minute or two, Sandra Bullock got out of a Mercedes and popped in for a drink at the front bar. No real reason to tell you that, I just thought it was weird she popped in. Upon finishing up our chat with Doug, my wife and I left as I really started to feel like crap. We never got to see Shubert's show, and I really wanted my wife to see him it.

The next few days, I felt lethargic and had a slight fever, but didn't think it was anything serious. I went to the doctor to be sure. He prescribed an antibiotic because that's what doctor's do. "Oh, you're not feeling well? You better take an antibiotic."

On Wednesday, I flew to Ft. Lauderdale to begin what was to be two consecutive split weeks at Uncle Funny's-- one of my two favorite clubs along with Stanford's in Kansas City. I felt like shit as I checked into my hotel and somehow got through my set. I immediately went back to the Residence Inn and got the chills and the sweats and then the chills once again. This went on through Friday afternoon, but the worst was just around the corner.

After the second show Friday night, in the back office of the club, my resting pulse was around 125-130. I started to get very nervous. Club owner Andrew Dorfman came in to see what was wrong. He told me to relax and not worry about the rest of the weekend's shows. He just wanted to be sure I was okay. I told him I'd never felt as sick. Moments later I started to throw up. It was a puking session that lasted all night Friday, through Saturday (Yes, I missed the shows) and into Sunday. On Sunday morning I asked the hotel to call me a cab so I could go to the hospital. One of the girls at the front desk ran to her car and took me to the emergency room herself.

Now here's a little trick for you: If you ever get tired of waiting in the ER and want to see a doctor, I suggest puking right there in the waiting area. It worked for me and it can work for you too. When they brought me in I had been suffering with the worst headache of my life and it shot all the way down my neck. I was also having a difficult time with my eyes-- they were incredibly painful and sensitive to light.

The next thing I know they're sticking needles in both my arms and I hear the one thing I was afraid of, "Nurse, we're gonna have to take a spinal tap." The spinal tap itself didn't hurt, but the local anesthesia beforehand hurt like a motherfucker. I don't know if you've ever seen the needles they use for spinal taps, but they are HUGE. I would have passed out had they showed it to me first.

"Okay, Tom, cut to the chase," you're probably saying. I was diagnosed with viral meningitis, phlebitis and irisitis. The latter being an infection of the iris, which, if left untreated could have caused blindness. On the one hand, I'm glad to be getting over the irisitis, but on the other hand, being a blind comic would've been some kind of hook, don't you think?

In all seriousness, it was very scary and I'm happy to say that although my vision is still blurry, the irisitis is just about gone. My ophthalmologist has told me that he's seen a 90 per cent improvement over the last two weeks and that my blurred vision is now more from the eye drops I've been taking than anything else. He expects my vison to be perfect about a week after I conclude the drops.

I spent ten days in the hospital and experienced a spinal tap, two CAT Scans, two chest X-rays, an MRI, and what seemed to be dozens of blood tests. What did all this cost you say? The first hospital bill came in at just under $36,000 and that doesn't include any of the eye specialists I've had to see three times a week since I've returned to LA.

I did get tons of pain killers and no, I did not go through them all so I'm anticipating a number of messages on my voice mail when this is all over. "Hey Tom, you still got any of them muscle relaxers? How 'bout that Fioricet? I heard that works wonders on pain." It does. And how many times did you call when I was in the hospital? I thought so.

So what's the moral of the story? Get yourself health insurance. You say you can't afford it? Then at least marry someone with insurance like I did. I'd be in a hole deeper than Jimmy Hoffa if we didn't have insurance to cover that $36K. If you can't get insurance and don't see marriage on the horizon you might want to start thinking about a move to Canada. Send a tape to Yuk Yuks and pack your bags.

And if you don't want to get married and have no interest in becoming a Blue Jay's fan might I make one more suggestion? Keep away from 500 guy gangbangs of one woman. I don't care how hot she is. The health risks are too great. My doctor says you could even come down with meningitis. But what does he know?

See you next month. HOME Back to the Top