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Manchester, England and Drunk Eddie

A couple weekends ago was the scene of another spirited jaunt across the Ocean to see my friends in the UK.  Saturday the UFC was in Manchester, England, and as per usual, I scheduled a comedy show the night before the fights with my good friend and UK comic Dave Bishop at a place called the Dancehouse Theatre.  This was my sixth trip to England, and over the course of time I’m very fortunate to have developed a nice following over there, so the show was sold out way in advance.  I apologize to the folks that couldn’t get in, and next time I’m there I’m going to look for a larger venue to accommodate you all, or maybe come a day earlier and do a second night.  The show was great, including the usual mix of cool people and drunken hecklers, but even the people that yelled out were good-natured, and a good time was had by all.

I’ve been working on a lot of new material lately, hence the lack of blog updates.
I’ve also been working on writing a book, and my internet output has unfortunately taken a back seat to some other stuff I have to get done.  Fear not, my cyber chums; I haven’t forgotten about you.   I would promise that I’m going to update more frequently, but I’ve said that before, and we all see how that went.

During the course of the show in Manchester, in the middle of one of my more spirited bits, my pants tore from my ass crack to ¾ of the way down to my knee.  That was a first.  What was surprising was that for a few seconds right when it happened I was actually self-conscious about it.  I informed the audience immediately, and then brought up how silly it was that after all the fucked up shit I said onstage with no worries whatsoever, I was actually embarrassed for a moment that people could now see a part of my leg.

Ah, what strange animals, we humans.

Someone in the audience was doing some highly illegal bootleg filming when it ripped, and at somewhere around 4:00 in you can see it happen.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUXJAVc_RJw&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Here’s me after the show with Dave Bishop and my good friend Victor Davilla, the Spanish color commentator for the UFC.

Saturday night rolled around, and I once again had the best seat in the house for the most exciting sport in the world.  Even though I’ve been doing commentary for the UFC for the past 7 years or so, it still shocks me sometimes that one of my jobs is to call the action for the biggest cage fighting organization in history.  I always enjoy it, and appreciate every second of it, but it still seems crazy every single time.
This particular event was a fantastic showing for the UK fighters.  Having the UFC in their homeland is fairly rare, and they were suitably pumped up for the opportunity.
Over the past few years that the UFC has expanded it’s attention over seas we’ve really seen a dramatic increase in the skill level of the fighters over there.
MMA truly is becoming a world wide sport, and the fighters from England are as good as any in the world now, and it happened FAST.   They just really took to the sport, and their enthusiasm is infectious.   If you ever happen to be in the UK for a live event and you’ve got the scratch, I urge you to take a chance and witness the spectacle.   It’s quite a sight to behold.  The roars for the English fighters were deafening, and often times in the middle of a bout the whole crowd will break out into song.  It’s pretty fucking trippy, and it’s one of the extra cool things about having fights over there.

The traveling road show that is the UFC employs over a hundred people.  From fighters and managers to cameramen and production crew it’s quite a big group of humans.  After the work is done, we usually wind up hanging out in the hotel bar, or checking out the local haunts together.   There was a rule that was once instituted somewhere along the line that the crew wasn’t supposed to drink, but I’m pretty sure the powers that be realized how silly that was.  Sure, it causes the occasional minor problem, but in the long run a pop or two after the work is done makes the whole experience more enjoyable for everyone.

Some folks like to take it DEEP.    I’ve known a lot of people that enjoyed getting fucked up in my day, but none of them that like to take it to the place my best friend on the planet, the brilliant, and wonderfully flawed Eddie Bravo hits.  That motherfucker gets DRUNK.
I enjoy people that approach life with reckless abandon, and Eddie dives in as freely as anyone I’ve ever met in my life.  Self-control is all well and good if you want to leave a good impression with your co-workers on your way up the corporate ladder, but when it comes to being entertaining, the cold hard truth is that it’s very rarely the guy getting up for the 7am yoga class that has the funny shit to say.  No, that guy is usually way too self-conscious to hit the high notes.  The fun times are to be had hanging out with the blackout drunks.

Eddie is an incredibly creative guy both with his Jiu Jitsu and his music, and I firmly believe creativity and an attraction to chaos are very closely related.  He fearlessly dives into the creation of his music, and the teaching and training in Jiu Jitsu, and he applies that very same ballistic energy to his partying.

It’s been the subject of many a conversation amongst our friends, to the point where I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s really two dudes living inside Eddie; “Sober Eddie,” and “Drunk Eddie.”  Two totally different humans, and they apparently don’t talk to each other about anything.  They seem to share no information whatsoever, because when “Drunk Eddie” is gone, “Sober Eddie” usually has no fucking idea what happened.  Now, it’s not that he gets violent, or does anything stupid when “Drunk Eddie” is working the controls, and as long as I’ve met him he’s never been arrested or done anything offensive while hammered, but the bottom line is that when he’s gone, he’s GONE.

I’ve never blacked out from alcohol, so I don’t quite personally understand the mechanism behind the event, but because of Eddie I’m absolutely convinced that it’s real. I used to think it was just a cop out, and that people claiming they blacked out when they were drunk were full of shit until I met Eddie, but he’s an honest man, and when he tells me he has no idea what happened last night I fucking believe him.
The drunkest I’ve ever been in my life by far was in public, and I remember most of it.  It was a show at the House of Blues in Vegas where I drank something in the neighborhood of 15 shots inside an hour and a half.  It wasn’t my idea, but those motherfuckers in the audience just kept sending drinks up there.  In the beginning I didn’t turn them down because I didn’t want to be rude, but after the 4th or 5th tequila I think it sort of became a game with those fucks to see how many I would swallow.  After a while, when good judgment had long left the building and was safely tucked into bed for the night, I became curious myself to see where this was going to go.   I wasn’t sure what my personal drinking record had been up to that point, but I was pretty certain I had at least doubled it.

I don’t remember too much of the show, but I do remember being backstage and immediately hurling an ungodly amount of liquid from my mouth into a trash can right next to these security guards that were saying that they wanted to put me in a wheel chair. I insisted that wasn’t necessary, that I just needed a wee bit of time to recover, and I wasn’t really into them pushing me through the casino all drooling and rubber necked with vomit on my breath.  An hour or so later after drinking a lot of water and a couple red bulls, I was able to move my body towards my hotel room.  I slept for 3 hours, and when my alarm went off, I somehow got up like I always do, and I made it to the airport and caught my flight on time.
I have no fucking idea how I did it, and I felt like shit afterward for 3 days, but for the most part I remember what happened.

Eddie goes through nights all the fucking TIME where he doesn’t remember a single thing that took place.  Not even the slightest memory.
It’s the craziest thing ever to observe.  You can see it clearly in his eyes when he crosses over to the land of no memory – the forth drink pours down the hatch, and he gets this look in his eyes that’s a cross between a man sleep walking and a monkey that just escaped from the circus.

Alcohol, like most drugs, interacts with different people’s unique biological quirks in different ways, and produces varied results.  The combination of the accumulative stress piled on by this crazy life and the inhibition-releasing surge of alcohol can be quite a volatile mixture for some folks.  Then, you have to take into account genetics, or what my friend Joey Diaz calls “The Indian” factor.  Eddie is Mexican, and according to Joey, Mexicans are a combination of Spanish and Native American Indian, and the Indians never really developed the gene for moderate drinking.

When Eddie crosses over to sleep-walking-monkey-land, Joey will shout out, “The Indian is here, cock suckers!  Put up your teepees and look out for tomahawks!  Tonto is on the MOVE!”

It was 6:45 am in morning in Manchester when the car arrived to take us to the airport.  I was still awake from the night before, since because of the time difference my sleep schedule was completely out of whack. I had slept until 3pm that day and I just never got tired, so I stayed up.   I watched the masterful boxing performance Manny Pacquio laid on Miguel Cotto, and fucked around on the internet until the car came.
We had gone out for Chinese food after the fights, and Eddie had 2 drinks with dinner, which doesn’t usually mean you have to look out for stray arrows, but it does mean that drums are playing in the distance, and tribe is on the move.  We got back to the bar, I bobbed and weaved my way though a sea of affliction shirts and body odor, had a beer, took some pictures and said my good nights.  That was the last I saw of Eddie, so in my mind ANYTHING could have happened last night.
I called his cell.
Nothing.
Shit.
I called again, still no answer.  I had the front desk call his room – nothing.  Again… nothing.  Shit.
I went down to his room with the hotel staff, and we banged on the door.
Nothing.
Shit.  “Can you open the door?”
“Certainly, sir.”
God damn, that’s a cool fucking accent.

She opened the door, and we saw Eddie’s shit scattered all over the floor, and the bed where Eddie – lights on and all – was still fast asleep, fully clothed and tucked into bed.  It was “Last Stand at Little Big Horn” all over this motherfucker.

“Eddie!”
Nothing.
“Eddie!!”

Movement, his head pops up, and without the slightest sense of urgency he says, “What’s up?”

His eyes looked like someone held them open with tooth picks and had a snake piss on his retinas.

“We gotta go to the airport, dude.”
“Really?”
“Really.”

All I could think of was at least he didn’t take my car like that time in Germany.
That was the craziest Indian invasion ever.
The car was picking us up at 9:30am, and I was up at 8 to have breakfast.  The last I had seen Eddie he was heading out with a bunch of English jiu jitsu enthusiasts, and that was around midnight.  I called him the next morning to see if he wanted to get some grub, and as soon as he picked up the phone it sounded like a fucking John Wayne movie was playing in the background – battle cries, war drums, and “Drunk Eddie” on the lead horse.  He answered the phone practically shouting, trying to talk over the sounds of gunshots and flying arrows in his head.
“WHAT’S UP, MAN!?”
“Are you still drunk?”
“Helllllllll yeah!”
“OK, I’m getting something to eat, and the car is picking us up at 9:30.”
“I’m gonna power through!”
“Alright, man.  See you in an hour and a half; make sure you’re awake.”

Of course when I call his cell phone an hour and a half later there’s no answer.  I call his room.
Nothing.
I pound on the door.
Nothing.
I go to the front desk, and when I ask them to call his room again, they inform me that he’s already checked out.
Here we go.
I head outside to see if he’s waiting for the car and can’t hear his phone or something, but he’s nowhere to be found.
I look around for the car that’s supposed to be taking me to the airport, and when I can’t find it I ask one of the guys working at the valet.
“What is your name, sir?”
“Joe Rogan.”
He raises his eyebrows with a puzzled look on his face, “Joe Rogan just got into his car 15 minutes ago.”
“What?  What did he look like?”
“Long hair, tattoos…”
“Fuuuuuuuuuck!”

I frantically call Eddie, and after the forth or fifth time he picks up.  The phone call ends “Drunk Eddie’s” time for the evening, and “Sober Eddie” starts his shift by waking up to his phone ringing in the back of a speeding car headed down a German highway towards the airport without a SINGLE fucking memory of the night before.

Last thing he remembers he was out with the English Jiu Jitsu guys, and that was somewhere in the neighborhood of 9 hours ago.  If that was me I would be in a fucking panic, thinking I was drugged, checking my underwear for blood, etc. – but for Eddie, it was just another day in the life of a wild man.

Luckily I caught a cab and made the flight on time, so it was all-good in the end.  Sure, it got a little stressful, but it gave us something funny to talk about on the 10-hour flight home, and it sure beats hanging out with Mr. morning yoga and his boring fucking stories.
Live it up, bitches.  We only go this way once…  I think.