Grandma’s Eulogy #10: Ode to John Paul

Ode to John Paul – by Benny Bosh
One of our favorite comedy clubs has just closed its doors. Here’s an ode to the incomparable host & face of the open mic, John Paul Rivera, by man that started it all, Benny Boshnack


Maybe it’s not necessary to say, maybe it’s just understood, but one name that doesn’t get the credit it deserves when it comes to Grandma’s Basement is John Paul Rivera.

I’m not really sure how it came to be that John Paul ended up hosting so many shows at Grandma’s.  He started comedy maybe a year or so after I did, and he was instantly liked on the comedy scene.  

He’s the type of comedian that I’ve always been jealous of, basically he was funny and smart immediately.

I on the other hand continue to look stupid every time I open my mouth.  We became pretty fast friends.  John Paul is one of the most loyal, territorial beings I know and at the same time one of the most welcoming.  If anybody ever had anything bad to say about me or Grandma’s Basement or any other part of the scene that he loved, he was instantly at odds with them on some level.  That being said, plenty of people have come around that nobody could stand and John Paul would be kind and welcoming(I used that word before but it really is the right word to use).

He would make a point to give them a chance because so many people had written them off already.

John Paul Rivera at Occupy Grandma's

Not only is he one of the funniest people in the scene with use of characters and his regular presence, he is also one of the quickest and most ruthless.  Able to spot your flaws and insecurities straight from the get-go and pound away at them.  I have never had the courage to put other people through that as much as I would like to.  I’m way too sensitive and insecure so I mostly don’t tell people how I really feel about them.  But whenever John Paul would pick on me personally, I laugh my ass off.  He’s one of the few that I’ll accept it from because I know it’s all love.  We used to talk about messed up dreams all the time and he would say, Oh you mean that dream where you wanna fuck your mom but you can’t do it because she doesn’t have a dick?”  That one was great.  A line I laugh about all the time was when we were talking about the movie Milk and he said, “I saw that movie with my mom.  That’s a lot of boners to hide from your mom!”

John Paul, over the last 2 years or whatever became the official face of the open mic, and the open mic of course was the spectacle over all else.

I always felt like it was the perfect combination.  Him hosting, keeping the show fresh, funny and interesting for four hours straight, and me on the bar, kind of just watching from the background.  Pat (another great friend) would show up ten minutes before the night was out and John Paul was always so happy to see his roommate close out the night with some level of nuttiness.
When I worked the bar, I would always throw John Paul (or other hosts for that matter) a few bucks out of the register plus some drinks.  He would hesitantly accept, eventually.  That tradition, of a few bucks out of the register, I think may’ve disappeared after I left.  So chances are he was doing it for nothing, just a couple of PBRs.  And yet no single person was happier to be there week after week.  Proud.  A true open mic champion.
I know his exact reaction when he reads this.  He’s not an emotional guy, I am.  

“Awwww, man.  Thanks Benny!  Thanks for letting me host!”  No John Paul.  Thank you for hosting.

For some reason I feel like he’s actually getting the short end of the stick on this whole deal.  And maybe he’s the most sad about it all leaving.  So I just wanted to say thanks.  And maybe quote a movie that only he and I will understand when I say these last four words,

“Fix your fucking face!”


Benny is a contributor for

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