One Night In Winnemucca And The World’s Your Oyster

December 11, 2012


A while back I wrote about one of the first paid stand-up comedy gigs I ever had, in the lovely Winnemucca, Nevada.  (Here, if you want a little context for today’s story)  At the end of it, I mentioned a guy from the casino taking us out to show us Winnemucca’s “nightlife.”  I said it was a story for another time.

Well, I have it on good authority that now is another time.  A time that will include stick-figure illustrations.


At the end of two grueling nights opening for a comic out of LA, this large man approached us.


He took us to a few places, all sad and hostile, but none more so than this miner’s bar.  Winnemucca is a mining area, and these men, solid gray under a layer of dust, had worked all day, hundreds of feet under ground, then come straight here to drink all night.

It seemed like a terrible place to take us, but, I figured, hey – he’s the guide.  So there’s them.  And there’s us.


One guy at the bar weighed at least 500 pounds.  This is not hyperbole. LA Comic nudged me.



Haystack Calhoun was a pro wrestler in the 50’s.  I didn’t know that, and assumed that was the guy’s nickname.  Because who would possibly walk in and start insulting the miners?

The bar got quieter.  “Haystack” lumbered over.  It seemed like a bad situation, but – again – there were comics in town every week; they were certainly used to us.  After some contemplation, “Haystack” opted to insult and humiliate LA Comic and I for a while and we laughed along, because… you know… survival.


Soon, we – mercifully – left.  Next stop?  Winnemucca’s “Red Light District”! Although, it seemed less like a “district” than a “Red Light Abyss Of Joyless Sexual Release.”  After a short tour, our guide settled on one, and invited us to take advantage of the services.  He explained how you can to get them to do stuff without paying.  You know: like “test driving a car.”




Off they went to try and trick the prostitutes in to “doing stuff” without paying.  I hung out at the bar with the other prostitutes.




I had a drink and a nice chat.  They both wound up paying for services.  Apparently the prostitutes knew about that “trick.”

Finally, we closed the evening with a drink somewhere that could only be as dreary as I remember it if it was, in fact, in the mine.


And then it was back to the hotel for a very long shower and off to bed.

Of course, every joke needs a punchline, right?  Here’s mine.

The next day as I was checking out, I saw the club manager to get paid.


He looked at me and replied:


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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Blog in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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97 Comments on “One Night In Winnemucca And The World’s Your Oyster”

  1. on thehomefrontandbeyond Says:

    good post — entertaining and the stick figures were superb


  2. Life With The Top Down Says:

    Great laugh over a cup of coffee this morning…hahahaha! My favorite scene is the eyes…hahahaha….I think I was at that place in the late 80’s. Very clever!


  3. Sandy Sue Says:

    Ah, the next Berke Breathed.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I just read the best interview with him! His biggest regret (or at least that he talked about most), was snubbing Charles Schulz. He said he got to successful too quickly and was a jerk to all these icons of comics. That being said, Bloom County was pretty great.


  4. 1pointperspective Says:

    A man of many talents. Your stick figures were impressive, and your dialogue bubbles were excellent as well. Do you prefer pen and paper or dry-erase media?


  5. Go Jules Go Says:

    You’re just one of my favorite people. Please do this every day. Even if it means you have to go back to Winnemucca.

    I’m partial to the prostitute, I mean, very nice person.. Is it the hair? Or maybe your expressions?


  6. Tori Nelson Says:

    “You’d be a snack”. That’s it. I think I missed the mark and Haystack is meant for me. Hilarious and scary and more hilarious and makes me want to order everyone involved a courtesy STD screening.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I remember one of the girls telling me about her “specialty” being hot tub parties – they had a hot tub room on the premises. I thought, “That water could not be hot enough or chlorinated enough for me to feel confident about getting in.”


  7. k8edid Says:

    I think I love you…even though you have a wife (not here, right?). This was fabulous. Freakin’ fabulous.


  8. becomingcliche Says:

    NOOOO! Did large man think he was going to trick you into giving up the funny for free? More importantly, DID you?

    And I demand a photo of you in the ironic bowling shirt.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Once I realized it was just some random guy dragging us around town, I’m sure the men in the bar wondered just who the hell we were and why we were there…

      And, rest assured, the bowling shirt had a lot of black.


  9. renée a. schuls-jacobson Says:

    We’re those boobies glowing in the dark? Why don’t mine do that? Also, this made me soooooooo happy. Fabulous. Please make stick people an (ir)regular feature. Even if they take a gazillions hours to write and storyboard. So worth it.

    I swear, I’m reading it again! :)


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Thanks – I’m hoping the stick figures will get faster, if I do them more.

      And the boobs can glow in the dark, but that’ll cost you extra. Although, it was Nevada, so it could just be radiation…


  10. thefoodandwinehedonist Says:

    Awesome on so many levels! How old was Haystacks? I remember seeing clips of him fighting Dick the Bruiser from a LONG time ago. He was like 600 pounds. (Yes, I know too much about wrestling.) And that drawing of the girl at the bar looks EXACTLY like the picture of Lohan I just posted.


  11. mistyslaws Says:

    Brilliant. A tale was never told with such suspense, angst and commentary of the plight of working class America as yours . . . and with stick figures! Bravo my friend.

    Just the Aqua Netted hair of the hooker alone was worth the read. So well done.


  12. Polysyllabic Profundities Says:

    That was so great!! I LOVE the cheesy smile just before you ask how she likes being a prostitute….classic!! :D


  13. Lori Lipsky Says:

    Well done. I was glued through to the end.

    I’m guessing the guy who showed you around was the pimp? You deserve a hug.


  14. susielindau Says:

    I had no idea stick figures could convey so much emotion! Love this! The punch line was the best. Who was that guy? :)


  15. musingsoftheamusingmuse Says:

    Great story! I, too, am a fan of stick figurines!


  16. thesinglecell Says:

    Okay, coupla things:
    -You really ARE advanced in your stick figure art. I mean those things were brilliant. The one in the mine, that’s awesome, and the one where you go from straight-faced to grinning at the prostitute nice person? I laughed out loud. I literally LOLd. And I don’t mean “literally” in the sense that Joe Biden usually does.
    -Is it bad that I kind of want to date pre-marriage stick-figure you, if only because of the character displayed in the scene where you say it’s about how you act when she’s not around?
    -I feel kind of sorry for Haystack Calhoun. I kind of want to give him a hug.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Thanks! I spent, probably, far more time on the drawings than is appropriate, but it was a lot of fun.

      I think you’d be less inclined to hug the real “Haystack” in person… if nothing else, the dust.


  17. Don't Quote Lily Says:

    Your impressive stick figure skills just made me fall in love with you a little. Your wife doesn’t read your blog, right? :)


  18. clemarchives Says:

    This is the best! I want more stick figure art. Have you taken Stick Figure Drawing 101? And, hey, prostitutes. Always golden.

    On another note, I got my WWSSD wristband and the kind note, thanks! I have been meaning to reply when I get a good picture of me wearing it but always seem to forget. I actually made sure to take a pic right away but when I examined it later I realized I”m terrible at taking pictures and all you can see of the bracelet is SSD.


  19. rachelocal Says:

    Dang, you’re multi-talented. Writing, acting in vlogs, and now this.

    I especially like the hands on the hips pose and the face that goes along with it.


  20. The Bumble Files Says:

    I love the bit with the drinking with the prostitute. So, how do you like being a prostitute. Very entertaining!! I enjoyed this very much. I’m in no hurry to go to a mining town. I’d prefer to read your comic strips.


  21. Michelle Gillies Says:

    This was hysterical! I love the stick figures. The expressions are priceless, like your teeth when you smile at the very nice prostitute at the bar. Please do more stick figure stories.


  22. Blogdramedy Says:

    I know P.T. Barnum’s relative are getting rich of the royalties.


  23. Lily Says:

    ‘mining camp hoors’


  24. Winopants Says:

    Wow, good story. Nothing like being completely out of place!


  25. Facetious Firecracker Says:

    After all the anticipation you built yesterday, you didn’t disappoint. This is a classic level of crazy story. Free hookers? Not possible, unless you’re in that town, apparently.


  26. The World Is My Cuttlefish Says:

    Amazing how much personality and emotion a stick figure can convey. Loved it.


  27. dinkerson Says:

    I want to purchase one of your originals and have it framed. That way when you become famous after we’re all dead, and society degenerates to even lower art forms than Bieber, people will say that I had unappreciated style.

    Yes. This will indeed be art. I mean, who the hell would’ve thought it of Picasso?!!?
    Lovin’ your work, man.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      It’s funny, I was just about to recycle the originals and then stopped, thinking “I bet I can send a couple of these to people…” I don’t know why I would, or who’d want them, but I kept them, just in case.


  28. Wilma Says:

    Dressed all in black you look like Seattle Starchitects, minus the Prada glasses. I call them the Urban Amish.


  29. UndercoverL Says:

    Once, I spent the night sleeping on a bathroom floor in the Super 8 in Winnemucca because I had food poisoning and couldn’t make it back to the bed. There were pubes. Yuck. Cartoon that Byronic Man! (By the way, I loved this post, I just have to make everything about me. So there you have it… And now I realize why my family hates me. Hmmm…)


  30. Michael Says:

    I’m a little curious as to what the Very Nice Person’s response was to that question.


  31. She's a Maineiac Says:

    Oh ho ho ho! This was epic! I think you may have a second (or third?) career here (still hoping you show us some more of your stand up routines one day…ahem). Managing to convey complicated emotions with simple drawings takes some serious talent. When you get really famous, remember me and send me some money.


  32. travellingmo Says:

    Those stick figures are priceless! What a great story, although maybe not so great when it was happening!


  33. fitzythird Says:

    Call me crazy, but this would make a nice childrens’ story. The stick figures are sure to stir the imagination of todays toddler and the use of Haystack (one of my faves from the seventies) is an instant villian with the guy showing you around being the hero of course. Give it some thought.


  34. Every Record Tells A Story Says:

    That was really good – fantastic idea and very funny.


  35. spilledinkguy Says:

    So… you know… I hate to be ‘that guy’ (again)…
    your stick-figure prostitute is kinda hot.
    Just sayin’.


  36. artzent Says:

    Ha ha ha. this is great and I love your stick drawings!


  37. pithypants Says:

    And if you would’ve stuck around a few days, you would’ve learned… those actually weren’t prostitutes, they were his sisters. Now you know why they named they magazine Hustler.


    • pithypants Says:

      Also: I think I’m going to go weep. Not only are you a great writer, but you’re also a talented sketcher? AND you’ve confronted a burglar? Some people have all the luck.


  38. Elyse Says:

    I hate it when that happens…


  39. earthriderjudyberman Says:

    That unexpected ending – quite humorous. So, just who was that guy?
    Love the stick figure drawings. You captured the yokels perfectly.


  40. cheriedear Says:

    Haha I’d be that random guy…er…chick! I now LOVE that dude.


  41. cheriedear Says:

    Hahahhahahaha YOU REMEMBER ME?! I’m so flattered you’d include me in your cartoon…


  42. Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher Says:

    Excellent stick figure art to go along with the excellent story ~


  43. The Hook Says:

    Whatever happened to Murray Head?


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Still wealthy of those massive royalties, no doubt.

      Also, I deeply regret titling this post this way because now every time I look at it, get a comment, anything, the song goes through my head for hours.

      Every single time.


  44. bensbitterblog Says:

    You will never believe it, but my sister and Brother-in-law live there and I know for a fact that what you say is the truth. It is pretty hilarious that you actually went there.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      My wife and I passed through there, and I was totally prepared to realize I’d turned it in to a cartoon version of itself in my mind… then we pulled in to the gas station, and the guy with the wrap-around shades at the pump next to us jumped out of his giant truck – leaving the door open, engine on, thrash-metal blasting, and air-conditioning roaring, while he filled the tank…


  45. JudahFirst Says:

    You are hilarious! I would send my son to your site for a look-see, except he’s only 14… ;) He likes to draw comics. I think he could learn a lot from the stick-figures. I love them. Thanks for bringing humor to an otherwise colorless world (very sad attempt at melodrama).




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