Here’s A Comedian’s Best Travel Tips

Like anything else, travel tastes can change as one gets older.

The comedian and Cincinnati native Gary Owen used to get pumped up about exploring a city’s night life. Now, breakfast is the highlight of his days on the road.

“It’s almost like I get excited to get up in the morning, like you would if you were going to a club when you were 21,” Mr. Owen said. “When you get older, it’s about the coffee shop.”

Here are edited travel tips from Mr. Owen, who will be headlining the season premiere of HBO’s stand-up series “All Def Comedy,” on Dec. 1 at 10 p.m.

A Breakfast Worth Waking Up For

I got this breakfast spot that I really like called Snooze. And when I first started it was only in Denver and now it’s expanded — there’s a few in Phoenix and there’s a few in San Diego. I don’t know what it is, they just got the best breakfasts. It’s one of those spots that’s only open from, like, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

So if I get to Denver, Phoenix or San Diego, which probably are three of my favorite cities in general, I always look forward to that breakfast spot.

When you go to any city, look up what the city is known for. So Cincinnati is known for its chili and goetta, which is a breakfast meat, I’ve only seen it in Cincinnati — it’s pork, and there’s oats in it. I know it doesn’t sound good, but it’s a German dish, and it’s so good. In Cincinnati they’ll put it on omelets. It’s a great side meat with eggs. Instead of bacon or sausage, get goetta.
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Cincinnati’s done a good job of bringing downtown back, especially by the river. I always recommend: go downtown, soak up the city. Like, if you stay in a hotel downtown, there’s so many good places to walk. We have a lot of “hole in the wall” gems — great places to eat.

I try to charm the hotel front desk people, because they’ll pretty much give you whatever you want. If you’re extra nice, they might waive a room service fee. If you go to a hotel where they have those little pantries, and if you start a nice little conversation with the guy working the late shift, they don’t even blink when you grab that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and that bottle of water.

It always amazes me when a flight gets delayed or canceled and people get mad at the person that announced it. They’re not flying the plane! They didn’t make the storm! But if you go up there and you’re real nice, and they see that it doesn’t bother you, they really work extra hard for you. But if you go up there cursing, saying “I got to be there!” and “how dare you!,” it gets you nowhere. Just start a conversation and ask about them. Just flip the tables on them. They will type so fast and try to get you where you are going.

First Class Problems (and Solutions)

This is what I really don’t get about airline food — and this is a first-class problem, I’ll admit. But you always got to pick a seat it in the middle. You don’t want to sit in row 1 or row 5, because they run out of the food you might want. There’s always two dinner options or two breakfast options. And it’s always so uneven. It’s like, “We have an omelet with cheese and bacon or a bowl of Cheerios.” And it kills me because, say there are 16 first-class seats, they do eight and eight on the meals. So if you’re in row 1 or row 5, you don’t know which way they’re going to start. That’s why I always try to sit in row 2 or row 3, where I’m right in the middle. Because if they run out, I don’t want them coming up to me saying: “Cheerios?”