The Chris Gethard Show Cross Country Adventure: Diddy’s Kickoff and a Mental Breakdown
As of this writing, I have never been so tired in my entire life. The exhaustion I know has manifested itself in physical pain, mental disarray, and prolonged bouts where I am unable to function fully as a human being.
I just wrapped up my first day on the road as part of my Cross Country Adventure.
The Chris Gethard Show Cross Country Adventure officially kicked off on Friday, when the cast performed a show alongside Sean “Diddy” Combs. I do not want to be cocky at all, but this experience was the shit. I hope the audience had as good a time as I did. I felt so proud of the cast — everyone stepped up, didn’t let the nerves get in the way, and delivered. We had a Sean John fashion show, a Ciroc electrocution blindfold taste test, and sent Will Hines to Junior’s to get Diddy cheesecake. On top of that, Diddy gave us a care package — including handing me the sunglasses off his head, which was awesome. He also gave us all nicknames. Inexplicably, mine was “Ray Ray.” I have literally never seen a crowd erupt as much as they did when Diddy named me. It was insane. Instant chanting and overwhelming noise. I have no idea exactly what button got pushed with that nickname, but it all comes down to the fact that Diddy is a magical human being.
Seriously, I believe that. I’m not being melodramatic or sarcastic. That dude has so much charisma, so much kindness, so much warmth. He was totally game for everything and so hilarious and I will never be able to thank him enough for agreeing to do my dumbass show. Being able to pick his brain about career stuff was really interesting and enlightening. He gave every single person in the audience a copy of his new album. He is a complete class act.
The fact that our roadtrip started with Diddy giving us his blessing and encouragement made me feel like it would be easy.
I was wrong.
I had to pick up our RV in Middletown, NJ at nine the next morning. So I decided to crash at my parents’ house in Jersey instead of staying in Queens. My intern, Erika, drove out there with me, and I laid down in bed, in my parents’ home, a comfortable surrounding where I should have been able to sleep.
But the thing about pulling off a show with Diddy is that it brings a massive adrenaline rush. I had to get up at 7:30 in the morning, and laid down at about 3:30. When I was still wide awake at 6:30, I knew I was in trouble.
Without having slept, I was dropped off in Middletown by Erika. I took a 90 minute tutorial on how an RV works. The main things I learned is that RV people politely refer to shit as “black water.” They taught me how to connect the hose to drain it and when I asked where the other end of the hose went at the dump station the guy said “It’s usually a hole or a pit.” I thought it was going to be a septic tank or something. I didn’t ask him what the difference between a hole and a pit was.
He also told me something that was very important. He said something about a battery device that absolutely needs to be turned off when the propane is being refilled. Unfortunately I have forgotten what this device is and where it is located. I haven’t told the rest of the cast yet. I figure we’ll cross that bridge when I accidentally ignite the RV in a propane fire.
I didn’t get to sleep that day until 4:30pm. Between preparing for Diddy and for the RV tour, I’ve been having insane anxiety dreams for weeks. I slept for about 90 minutes on Saturday afternoon before waking up in a panic. I was speaking fast and sweating a lot and my girlfriend calmed me down and we watched a bunch of Law and Order.
Then at midnight I had to go do our NYC launch show on 90 minutes of sleep.
I think it went well. I was all jittery and unfocused. Our boy George did a hilarious video where he went to Atlantic City and raised a bunch of money for us. He talked with a fortune teller who called Shannon O’Neill a bad person and that made me laugh really hard. Riley had someone send a random text from his phone and it involved him telling a girl he had full blown AIDS. My friend Nick Mougis came in to warn the cast of what lay ahead for them — he is the only guy who’s ever driven cross country with me. He also brought us a whole bunch of factory defect Enteman’s products, which is a gentlemanly maneuver and much appreciated.
We’d left the RV in Jersey since we aren’t allowed to drive it in Manhattan due to rental company rules. We crashed at my parents’ house. And by we, I mean everyone else. Because I again could not sleep. This was insane. I got roughly two hours of sleep, which is nuts because I was already having severe memory lapses and stuff. But I got two hours of sleep.
I haven’t told anyone in the cast this yet, but one of my eyes stopped working at one point. I blinked and then my right eye went… dim? That’s probably the word to describe it. I don’t know what that means. Can exhaustion cause strokes? I’m scared to look that up.
The next morning we set off for Boston and the trip was fun. I drove on no sleep for a few hours, then passed things off to Shannon O’Neill. I tried to sleep on one of the beds in the RV. I managed to sleep for literally less than three minutes when Shannon hit the brakes a little too hard and myself and the entire mattress slid off the bedframe. I tumbled to the ground. I was wearing a snuggie. I meekly yelled “Where are my glasses?” and everyone made fun of me. This was as degrading as it sounds.
She eventually passed things off to Will Hines, at which point Will almost killed us all.
When we got to Boston Will quietly turned around and went “Guys, we might get pulled over. I’m sorry if we do. I accidentally got on a road that said cars only.”
We were all like “OK.”
Then after a few seconds it dawned on me and I yelled “Wait, they say cars only because the bridges here are too low.”
Will slammed on the brakes and stopped less than ten feet from a bridge that could have torn the top off of our RV. On day one. I immediately ran to my bag and took twice my daily dosage of anti-depressants just to not lose my mind. That’s not a bit. We caused a massive traffic jam and had to call the state police to come guide us through the tunnel safely.
It’s probably a very bad sign when you call 911 on the first day of a very long and trying road trip.
We brought our buddy Noah with us, because he was going to rock a bunch of Jets gear and face paint to taunt fans of the New England patriots. Our hope was that this would instantly get him beaten to a pulp and we’d have a guaranteed viral video on our hands. Unfortunately, the Boston fans were surprisingly tame. Luckily, Noah is hilarious and ballsy and made a great video out of insulting them with some funny ass shit. We had a moment of panic when we realized we forgot our signs, but we made new ones. They read “Rajon Rondo is the most overrated basketball player in the NBA,” “Philadelphia’s contribution to the American Revolution was far more impressive than Boston’s,” “The Jets will win and you will all cry in your baked beans,” “There is no city on the eastern seaboard I’d rather live in less than Boston, and yes, I am factoring in Baltimore,” and “Mark Sanchez for Mayor of Boston.” We bailed on the one that said “J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets” on one side and “P-A-T-S Pussies Pussies Pussies” on the other.
We did a show at Improv Boston and the crew there is great. Those guys treated us super nice and we were psyched to be able to hang out with them. Jon and JD edited the Noah video literally until halfway through the show and we just barely managed to burn a DVD in time to screen it.
The crowd was packed, super enthusiastic, and really fun. Will was critiqued on his stand up, Riley had a text sent from his phone blaming a friend for the impending 2012 apocalypse, Noah was met with icy silence by a crowd pissed that the Pats had just lost; it was just really fun.
Then we drove to Connecticut. We had to go to our buddy Michael Kayne’s childhood home. He paid money on Kickstarter to have us go here, because a tree has recently fallen in his parents’ backyard. Tomorrow we have to wake up at 8 AM, dig out the tree from under ice, destroy it with chainsaws, and dispose of it in the woods that border their property. It is almost 2AM, so I will be doing this on at most, six hours of sleep. If I get that six hours of sleep, it will mean I have had a whopping nine since the weekend started.
I don’t fathom at all how I am going to finish this tour. Day one on the road is over and ONE OF MY FUCKING EYES HAS ALREADY BRIEFLY STOPPED WORKING.
We head towards Richmond and Baltimore tomorrow.
One of the things that I’m psyched about is that the Diddy campaign prompted these other cities to go for their celebrities. Boston kids tried to get Shaquille O’Neal to show up, but he never answered.
I’m insanely excited to say that it looks like the Richmond kids have convinced GWAR to be involved on some level in our Richmond show. It’s all unfolding on Twitter right now, so there’s literally no details, but my fingers are crossed that this happens. It would honestly be almost as good as Diddy.
Here’s one thing — I have no idea if this post is sane, grammatically correct at all, funny, sad, or weird. I am so tired that right now my head is literally rolling in circles against my will. I have lost control of my neck. Every breath I take sounds loud in my ears. I pray that tomorrow night I am better rested and can write something that makes more sense. At the very least, I hope knowing about the physical state I’m in makes you sadistic bastards more interested in following this adventure.
Please don’t tell my castmates that my eye is fucked up, they wouldn’t let me drive if they knew.