The Chris Gethard Show Cross Country Adventure: Giving a 15-Year-Old Kid His Big Break

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I can’t tell you where I stayed last night. I can’t tell you whose property it is, or how we came to be invited to stay here. What I can tell you is that it is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s a sprawling, landscaped property sitting on a cliff above the Pacific, and its floor to ceiling windows show that off in a way that I really can’t describe, because I’m not a good enough writer or a happy enough person to verbalize beauty of this caliber.

When we arrived here last night, it felt like a victory. To sleep in a place like this after grinding it out in so many WalMart parking lots, after so many days in a row without showering, after so many 72 hour stretches without changing my underwear, felt like a true victory.

We were all so thrilled that we decided to sleep on a circle of grass perched high above the guest house. The sounds of the ocean would have lulled us to sleep if we weren’t all so intent on staying awake to stare at the stars above. Eventually the ocean won out, and we all drifted into the best slumber we’ve had since this trip began.

And then, the fucking sprinklers turned on.

Chaos erupted. There was screaming, shouting, people running head first into each other in a mad dash to get the fuck out of there. Like many other completely degrading moments on this trip, I was bellowing the words “WHERE ARE MY GLASSES?” at the top of my lungs in a whiny, feminine voice.

If there is an experience that sums up this tour, my show, and in fact my life more perfectly, I am hard pressed to name it.

Before we even got to California yesterday, we stopped off at a cheery Las Vegas business known as The Gun Store. It was recommended to us on Twitter and based on the name alone we figured it was our kind of place. While there, I fired a fucking SAW machine gun at a giant cutout of a killer clown. In the parking lot, we saw a truck with a sticker that said “Stay back 100 meters or you will be shot,” then repeated it in Arabic. Classy shit.

We headed west, and when we crossed the border into California, the mood on the RV became discernibly happier than it’s ever been before. Part of it was that we saw the end of this wretched tour in sight. Part of it was that some people on the bus had never even been to California and felt that sense of accomplishment that comes along with the completion of a cross country trip. Whatever the reasons, a random ass dance party broke out on the RV. We plugged our hotline hard on Twitter and accepted all calls, craving human contact in our euphoric state. We celebrated by eating at Wendy’s, king of all fast food restaurants now and forever. While there I saw a teenage couple both sporting Smiths t-shirts. I bought their food, and didn’t even feel bad when they definitely thought I was setting them up for a kidnapping or molestation or something.

It was a pretty great day.

Until those sprinklers went off.

After the sprinkler incident, I slept soaking wet on a beautiful and expensive but definitely very cold stone floor. Life really enjoys keeping me humble, and I have to remember that before the next time I try to do some hippie dippie shit like sleep outside.

Tonight is our finale show. It’s going to be broadcast live at UCBcomedy.com, 11 pm eastern, 8 pm pacific. I hope you tune in. I hope you’ve been enjoying these updates. Tomorrow will be the last one, and a lot of it what it is will hinge on what happens tonight.

I’m going to talk a little bit about what we’re doing tonight, in the hopes of getting you to watch it, and also in the hopes that I sort it out completely in my head.

This tour started with Sean “Diddy” Combs joining us live on stage. It was an intense, magical night for everyone who was there. And that’s great. But Sean “Diddy” Combs doesn’t need my help.

David Ayala does.

Will Hines is one of the guys who runs the school at the UCB Theater in New York. In that position, he gets dozens of emails from all sorts of people looking to see if our school is right for them. That’s how he came to know David Ayala.

David Ayala is fifteen and lives in the middle of Detroit. He’s obsessed with comedy. He is a comedy nerd to a degree even I find impressive. As he told Will in his emails, all he wants to do with his life is perform comedy. He wants to be on SNL, he wants to have his own Comedy Central presents special, he wants to make it and he knows he can. Unlike most people who express ambitions of this sort so bluntly, he doesn’t come off as cocky or unlikable. He comes off like a kid who has genuine passion and a genuine dream and who needs help making it happen.

In Detroit, there aren’t any places where a fifteen year old kid can perform. I’m lucky; when I was nineteen and depressed, I lived in New Jersey next to a train station that took me directly to Manhattan and the UCB. It’s not an exaggeration to say that finding the UCB Theater saved my life. I was a weird kid and didn’t know how to follow my dreams until I found the place; If I didn’t have it, I don’t know how I would have gotten the anxiety and depression out of my system.

Well, David Ayala doesn’t have it. Or anything like it.

So I’ve paid for him and his mom to fly from Detroit to Los Angeles. Tonight, he’s going to make his live comedy debut at our finale show in California.

All of the actors who’ve come with me cross country have been putting in tons of work, honing their bits, living in squalor for this thing with my name on it. There’s no way that I’m going to ask them to not perform.

Tonight, David Ayala gets my time. I’ll host my show, but I’m not doing a bit. The bit I’m usually involved in will be replaced by a kid I’ve never met but who I already really like going for it. I don’t care that I came all the way to California to display the show for industry professionals. They’re gonna love the show, and the fact that I get to put my name on the chaotic brand that this show has come to represent is enough. I don’t need any more attention. Tonight we go all Ayala, all night. And I’m going to make sure he knows how hard this life is, and that it isn’t always easy, and that more often than not it doesn’t go well. I’m also going to make sure he’s fine up there. I’m going to take care of him on stage in the way that all my improv training has taught me to. I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure David Ayala kills it.

Diddy helped me at the start of this tour. He told me to come out to California and “put your foot up their ass and take their money.” I’m going to do the best I can on that. I’m also going to do my best to give some small piece of the goodwill he showed me to this kid I may never meet again.

Tune in tonight and we’ll all see how it turns out.

Chris Gethard is a comedian from New York and the host of the Chris Gethard Show.