The Time I Almost Ended Up on ESPN….

Oh yeah, it came close. Real close. Here’s how it went.

Sometime in 2007 I did a show at in the town I cut my comedy teeth in, Amarillo, Tx. We all started at The Amarillo Comedy Club down on Polk street. When I started it wasn’t 6 months or so later that the owner, Kelly Moran died and the club shortly followed. Aaron Baker secured a new venue in a Pizza place / bar what ever the hell it was. The Comedy side was called Lone Star Comedy Club in the old 42nd St Brickhouse. I became a house MC there and later started featuring and moved on.

I lived in “Bomb City”, so named because of the nuclear warhead storage and maintenance facility PANTEX, for about 16 years.  Amarillo is a terrific isolated Texas town. The show was in a neat little downtown bar called “Burberry’s”, it was a favorite watering hole when you came home to Amarillo to visit.

If memory serves me right, it was Kristin Key’s show an she asked my friend Aaron Baker and I to open up. I can’t recall exactly if that was the lineup, but 84% sure. My set wasn’t my favorite; I was reworking and tooling classic bits trying to make new before I discarded them entirely.

At the end of the evening I walked around the bar visiting with folks with backpack in tow. In this backpack, I typically kept my CD, a sweat rag or two, maybe some cologne for post show smelliness. Back then, I used to drink…. a lot. It was part of my persona, my stage character, my coping mechanism, it was everything. A frosty Shiner Bock was my best friend.

As I made a “beeline” to the bar to retrieve the South Texas Treat, I heard someone at a booth murmur “….its fags like this with their backpacks.” I stopped in my tracks. Not my best show, not my best attitude, and yet this asshole was now making me the butt of his comments. It was enough to make me stand. I had been shit on enough for the night and I wasn’t going to let him get the best of me.

He sat on the end of a large round booth. He was holding court with 6-7 people hanging on his every word, including the 6 he uttered out to me, as they snickered. As my feet knew to no longer go forward, I turned to the table, and said “what the fuck did you say? You referring to me?”

It was then, I knew immediately, this son of a bitch was a man. A great big bastard. Sitting down I knew he was 6’6″ tall and every bit of 225 lbs or so. The problem is, I won’t step down from a fight, even when I know I’ll likely get my ass whipped, there is a sense of dignity and respect that I should uphold and stand for, regardless of how many ribs were to be broken.

So he rose from his booth, and we did the thing that big men do, where you chest off and get in each other’s face……more than likely because you BOTH really don’t want to fight, but neither can say it. So you typically dance like this till someone breaks you up or some other distraction bails you out. We keep jawing at each other and making threats, I at a paltry 6′ at the time looking up promising to “fuck him up”. Finally someone with more sense than either of us, gets in the middle to separate us. We both had fists folded, cocked and ready for fire. I wasn’t having it…..shitty set than this asshole? Nope he was going to get the brunt of it.

I continued on the course to the bar to get that now EVEN MORE desired Shiner Bock. As I lean on the bar and talk about the ordeal with others who watched from afar, a friend walks up and says, “Man, you should have let him hit you, GUARANTEED you’ll be on ESPN the next day?” I asked him, ‘What are you talking about?”, he replied with “Don’t you know who that was? It’s RYAN LEIF! The NFL flop.”

Ryan had taken the job as Quarterback’s coach at West Texas A&M in Canyon. He had not been arrested yet for stealing pills, but his other antics and legal issues lent him to the news a great deal.

15 minutes, later Ryan Leif walks back up to the bar near me as I watch NHL highlights on the monitor above. “Let me buy you a beer.” he asked. “No thanks” I added. He then said “you know I was just fucking around, we’re cool right?” I said, ” You just don’t want to be in the news again ‘ NFL Bust Ryan Leif tangles with D Room Comic.” He laughed, and said “Yeah, I don’t need anymore problems.” I added, “then don’t be a dick. Someone is going to lay your ass out, one day, and it may have been tonight.” He answered “Probably,” and tapped his beer neck to mine and walked off. Prick

I would see Ryan on and off in town, and once, he saw me, he comically ducked as if to hide from me, then to give me the hand clasp and a “What’s up funny guy?”

Looks like prison has done him well.

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