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TRACI SKENE has appeared on VH-1's Standup Spotlight, A&E's Comedy On The Road and Lifetime's Girls Night Out, all of which has done her absolutely no good.

Traci Skene


Traci Skene

SHECKYmagazine Chief

Condo, Condo, Condo

Which of the following statements is not true:

A. I refuse to eat with a big spoon or a small fork.

B. I won't let anyone touch my bellybutton.

C. I love comedy condos.

Obviously, the correct answer is C. But if you answered A or B, I thank you for your unwillingness to accept my confounding yet endearing quirks. Although, I would suggest that you take your sarcasm detector into the shop for some much needed repair.

I hate comedy condos. I hate them almost as much as I hate somebody touching my bellybutton, but not nearly as much as I hate eating with a big spoon or a small fork. I first stayed at a comedy condo back in 1985 when I was only 20 years old. When I arrived, the headliner (who shall remain nameless only because I can't remember his name) was sitting on the couch shirtless, rolling a joint. I immediately sat in an adjacent chair and told him about my boyfriend. Even if I hadn't had a boyfriend at the time, I would have told him about my "boyfriend" anyway. He was, after all, sitting on the couch, shirtless, rolling a joint.

(Note to my dad: I did not smoke pot with the nameless headliner. I did, however, take off my shirt.)

If I ever discover which comedy club owner first came up with the concept of the comedy condo, I'll erect a statue of him in the town square so all the comics in Comedyville will have a place to whiz. To be fair, I can understand-- in theory-- why an owner would want to rent a three-bedroom apartment to house the acts rather than put all three comics in their own sparkly-clean hotel rooms. Economically, it makes good sense. But, let's be reasonable. Take a shabbily built apartment building in a questionable part of town, fill it with Salvation Army furniture and Bud Light Girl posters, then allow 156 different standup comics per year to live in it for six nights in a row and you have a recipe for... well, for... a shithole.

It is possible to survive for a week in a comedy condo if you ignore the hairs, if you ignore the stains and if you count the lack of lightbulbs as a blessing. If you convince yourself that what you can't see won't kill you, then you stand a chance. But, any standup comic who has ever had the pleasure of staying at a comedy condo understands that there are three very important kitchen rules that must-- and I mean must-- be followed:

1.Never eat food that has been left behind by the previous week's comedians. There is a good chance that one of the comics stuck his penis in the food before he left.

2.Never eat food that has been bought by the current week's MC. There is a good chance that he stuck his penis in the food while the middle and the headliner were in the living room watching Late Friday.

3.Never put spinach down the garbage disposal. (Ok, so that became my rule after I put uncooked spinach down a comedy condo garbage disposal and it sprayed my face like Popeye's water pick. My theory is that the garbage disposal had been broken prior to my arrival by an act who, after being rebuffed by a waitress, put his penis down the disposal and begged the other two comics to "Turn it on, Dude! Turn it on!"

(After reading rule number three, I can safely assume that most male comics had the same reaction: ":Why were you eating spinach?")

And you wonder why female comics hate staying at comedy condos?

Some people live to eat, others eat to live. Standup comics eat so they won't get loopy and say something offensive to the 84-year-old birthday girl in the front row. To a performer, food is a necessary evil, yet trying to figure out when and what to eat on the road is one of the most frustrating and stressful aspects of our profession. For this reason alone, it is my humble opinion that club owners should make it standard practice to let the comics eat at the club for free. A comic with low blood sugar and a shot of Jack Daniel's is a very dangerous comic indeed.

Most club owners believe that providing comics access to a kitchen is the solution to the problem, but figuring out how to cook in a comedy condo kitchen would make Julia Child want to stick her penis down the garbage disposal. (She does have a penis, doesn't she?) Some veteran road comics cleverly solve this dilemma by stocking up on family-size packages of On-Cor salisbury steak dinners and not inviting Al and his clan over on Tuesday at 6:45. These are the comics that the rest of us wind up doing benefit shows for in order to help pay for their medical expenses.

Cooking in a comedy condo is difficult because there are few implements or spices to help with the process. If you don't like microwaveable popcorn, your options are very limited. It may take a tender man to make a tender chicken, but it takes a clever comic to make a meal in a condo that won't eventually lead to a tragic and premature death. But, yes, it can be done. So, with that in mind, has created the first ever Comedy Condo Cooking Challenge.

(Attention Comedy Central: This sort of one-joke idea is right up your programming alley. Hire an edgy, Gen-Xer as host-- think Kitchen Confidential guy but without all that icky gray hair-- and we could run this into the ground for four or five seasons.)

The rules for the Comedy Condo Cooking Challenge are simple: Just take what you've got and make what you can. The winner of this year's event receives an overnight stay at a luxurious comedy condo. Second and third place winners must share a bathroom.

The Scenario

There are only three hours until showtime. You haven't eaten since Thursday. The owner refused to give you an advance, so you only have $6.75 in your pocket.

Available Cooking Implements

1 dented metal saucepan
1 frying pan with missing handle
1 colander
1 spatula with missing handle
1 large partially melted plastic spoon

Available Food

6 small opened jars of mayonnaise
3 small unopened jars of Ragu spaghetti sauce
12 half-full boxes of pasta, various thicknesses
1 tub Country Crock with penis indention
2 fortune cookies

Available Spices

72 packets of Taco Bell sauce, mild and fire

Good luck contestants. As a judge, I'll be waiting to sample your creations with a big fork in one hand and a little spoon in the other. Touch my bellybutton and you're disqualified.

Note: Employees of and their families are not eligible to be contestants on the Comedy Condo Cooking Challenge. Lucky us. HOME Back to the Top