Why "It's who you know" is nonsense.

I'm sitting here in my hotel room in Jacksonville, FL getting ready to jump on a plane to head home to Burbank after a long 17 days on the road. We just started filming our new season of #GinormousFood, and though I had a blast and love doing it, these long road trips always tend to get a little exhausting for everyone. 

The best way I can explain filming a show like ours is that it's just like a vacation or summer camp: You look forward to it all year, and love every minute of it, and at the end you're ready to go home. The minute you get home, you immediately miss all of your friends and the fun things you got to do. Real life settles back in, and you start to plan your next trip, summer camp experience, or in this case, our next shoot that begins in two weeks.

When actors and entertainers win awards, you'll often hear them exclaim about how great their team is, or how great everyone that worked on the project is, and if you're like me you'll often roll your eyes. You know all workplaces have drama, conflict, and things that just plain suck, and you'll be damned if you let the Hollywood elite tell you otherwise. Now that we've put 11 episodes behind us in the filming process, I feel like I get the sentiment. 

Working on TV or film is a different beast. It's not the glamour of late night TV interviews and red carpets that many think - this thing is like construction, project management, a travel agency, and theatre all in one. Our crew is 8 people at any given time - 3 technical (2 cameras, and 1 sound), 3 creative (director, myself, and culinary producer), an Associate Producer (the person that literally plans and executes EVERYTHING associated with filming), and a Production Assistant (person that literally helps with all of the above and everything else). This doesn't even include all of the creative people back at the office that build our stories, edit our episodes, color correct, etc. The list goes on forever. 

I think back to a little over a year ago, when I got a random email from a production company that wanted to speak to me about hosting a show. I didn't know what to think at first. My first instinct was that someone was trolling me, and there was no show and no production company. 18 months later, with a lot of people that believe in me, and a TON of hard work from those people, we're in our 2nd run of a blast of a TV show with amazing people. 

When you're on the road, and you're all doing a job that you know can end at any minute, there's a bond that forms that's hard to explain. It's like you're all on a rollercoaster that you know might be your last, and the mortality around that experiences pushes you closer to your companions. You care more about their families than anyone else you've worked with. You hug them tighter, you listen to them more intently. When they have a bad day, you have a bad day, and when they are happy, you are happy. It's the inevitable trauma that we all know will come some day that builds that love. It really helps put things in perspective. In the colosseum of TV, even the greatest of shows and champions will die at some point, like real death; it's imminent and unavoidable. 

It's not all doom and gloom though, so I want to be clear. There's a freedom with that understanding that allows us to create, and be free, and behave like fools and children, and play pranks, and try to do something different every day. I'm incredibly grateful for this experience, and I couldn't be working with better people.

(If you're still reading this, thanks! I know this is a long one, but it's been a while, so strap in)

This opportunity for me didn't come out of "making the right friends" or "rubbing elbows" with the right people. I honestly detest that shit. I try to live as genuinely as possible, and with the best of intentions. I wasn't born into a connected family. When I moved to LA as a comedian, no one "took me under their wing." I just decided at one point that I was going to do this, and I did. And I got very, very lucky.

We live in an amazing time. You can make your own movies with some light stands, an iPhone, and some innovative friends. The days of "who you know" is dead. Does it still help? Probably, but everyone I know that got on that way, has fallen off because they don't have real respect or appreciation for the luck that it still takes, and they don't make the most of those chances. I spent a lot of time putting in the work on things that people didn't think mattered: I worked social media every day vs. doing 5 minute open mic sets because I thought it was a way to reach more people. I wrote scripts that nobody would read for years, because I wanted to know that I could do it, and I wanted to have something for someone to read if they ever asked. I spent the last 4 years preparing for luck to come, and when it did, I was ready.

That's all you can do. I said it for years as a leader in the corporate world, but it really is true: 

Focus on what YOU can control. Everything else is just noise.

Make your own content. Find your own fans. Rinse, repeat. Don't spend time trying to pander to agents, or agencies, or managers. People ask me all of the time now to refer them to managers or agents now that I have them, but think of it this way: Would you ask me to refer customers to you before your deli is open for business? Before your business is strong enough to retain customers? Before you have your shit together? Once you get there, you won't need anyone's recommendation. That word of mouth will travel fast, and people that want sandwiches will find you.

Don't worry about who's giving you recognition amongst your peer community. I spent way too much time craving respect from people I look up to, only to find out that they're as much or more lost than I am when it comes to the next steps.

Do it (whatever "it" is for you) because it makes you happy, and prepare to commit your life to it. If that's not enough to do it, then maybe you're not ready to be your own boss and put yourself out there. That's OK too. 

If you have a talent, or a product, or a service that people like, admire, or want, YOU WILL SUCCEED. It's as inevitable as death or cancellation. Enjoy it all while it's here.

 

Posted on March 15, 2017 .

Some Holiday Thoughts...

I just wanted to say to everyone today: Merry Christmas! I hope you're surrounded by loved ones, and if not I hope you can eat enough FEEL like you're surrounded by loved ones right before you go into your coma.

It was this time ten years ago that I started writing my first standup set. On January 4th, 2007 I took those jokes to Goonies Comedy Club in Rochester, MN and started what I now know to be my life's passion, and trust to be my life's calling and purpose: making people laugh and entertaining them. It has been a long road attempting to turn that passion into work; a job; a way to make a living. It's been filled with ups and down and constant rejection.

This past year I was randomly discovered by two producers, named Zak Weisfeld and Libby Richman, at Lusid Media out of Knoxville Tennessee that saw something in me. Mostly the beginnings of type 2 diabetes, but they saw an intersection between my passion for food and my comedy where they could squeeze some magic out of me. We shot a sizzle, a pitch, and a pilot developed by Courtney White and Neil Regan at Travel Channel, which eventually led to a full season of what is now know as #GinormousFood executive produced by Steven Lerner at Scripps for the Food Network.

It has taken 10 years and an army of powerful and talented people that believe in me to get the best Christmas gift I could've ever asked for: an opportunity to entertain this great country en mass (pun intended) and to share my humor with the world.

It could be the start of a great career, or it could end up being a bright spot in an otherwise mediocre career. But I would be remiss to let the anticipation of results ruin the moment and prevent me from being TRULY GRATEFUL.

I am proud of our little show, and I mean that. Director David Konschnik really brought amazing vision to our project and helped make the show I wanted to make. From our DOP Scott Bynum, and 2nd shooter Rob Stivers, to our sound guys Jacob Falls and Spencer Smith, our field producer Corin Wilson, and our culinary producer Chanel Betuk, EVERYONE hit home runs every day, and I truly feel we left it all in the field.

It's now on you, the viewer, to decide if we did well enough. Regardless of what you think, I'm proud of everyone involved in this process and so honored and humbled that they believe in me enough to lend their talents to our program, and in eternally grateful to all of you that will tune in and see how we did.

Now go tear open some presents, stuff your faces, and hug your loved ones. We will see you on January 6th!

THANK YOU!

Posted on December 24, 2016 .

Fat for the Holidays

I always used to hate when I was younger and people pointed at the Holidays as an excuse to gain weight. I come from a family of definitive food enthusiasts (to put it nicely), and I remember every year as a kid, when the holidays rolled around, there was always this level of excused gluttony that was pronounced as we began to stockpile the feast that would be Thanksgiving, and roll right into the New Year. Here's the catch though: our behavior over that period of time was no different than the other 365 days of the year. It was sort of just a announcement that, for these 2 months or so, we would no longer feel guilty for it!

I've definitely battled with weight my entire adult life. Every since I stopped playing competitive sports in high school, it was something I could never get right. After graduation, I began ascending the corporate ladder, and with each promotion came more travel, more long days, and you got it: a terrible diet. 

My discipline levels have always been strong emotionally. I don't crack under pressure, I rarely feel stressed from day to day things, but when it comes to diet and exercise, it has always been a challenge. I often find myself in discussions about exercise and nutrition with friends (I live in Los Angeles, it can't be avoided) and the most common feedback I receive is "wow, you actually know a lot for someone that's clearly in as horrific shape as you're in!" 

I had a moment about 5 years ago when I "hit bottom" so-to-speak. I was walking through the Tucson airport. I had just returned a rental car, and began the long trek to the ticket counter. It's probably about 1/2 mile, but it felt like 10. By the time I got to the ticket counter, I was covered and sweat to the point in which I had to make a lame joke about the AZ weather to try to avoid the shame that I felt. At that precise moment, I decided a change was in store.

At the time, I had weighed probably around 280 pounds. I'm 6'0 tall, but that still put me about 100 lbs overweight. I ordered a NordicTrack exercise bike online (the whitest thing anyone could ever do), and got to work. I didn't know much then, so I focused on taking vitamins, eating Chipotle as much as possible, and rode for about an hour a day. In 90 days, I had dropped nearly 45 lbs. By Christmas that year, I was down to about 225 lbs - the lowest I had weighed since High School. 

It was crazy to me how little it took to get into that kind of shape. I was about 27 at the time, and the weight just flew off. From that moment forward, I had always maintained some kind of exercise regiment, up until about 2013.

In 2013, I experienced my first major life change. I decided on a career change after a tumultuous few months at my last few jobs: acquisitions, pending sales, industry shifts and changing of company cultures had me decide to make the leap. I was to quit working in corporate America, and focus on comedy/entertainment full time, while supplementing my income by driving Uber. 

Coupled with a daily activity far less active, what I didn't plan for was the depression that would follow as a result of not having something that was a big part of my life for so many years. I was no longer leading people in a business setting. I didn't have the mentors around to listen to my ideas, or mentor me in difficult times. Sure, they were a phone call away, and many of us are still close, but it wasn't the daily touch base that existed. 

As a result, old habits came back. I ate fast food bunch, and my workout routine slowly dissipated until it was a once-a-month ordeal. I went from about 235 in fall of 2013 (I had began quite a bit of weight-lifting, so this was probably a healthier 235 than my 225 low), and today I sit around 272.

I should also mention that I started filming a show centering around my love of food, so that has made me have to shift emphasis even more greatly on watching what I eat when I'm not "on the job." It's tough though! I host a podcast about food, and nobody wants to listen to us talk about salad for 90 minutes. 

I decided yesterday to kick into a ketogenic diet: essentially eliminating all sugars and carbs from my diet, and kicking my workout routine back into full gear. I've heard a ton about ketogenics by listening to Joe Rogan's podcast, and after recent bouts of silent reflux and gallbladder build-up, I've decided I'm going to give it a shot. 

It may come as a surprise to many of you, but I take the platform of my show very seriously. I want people to watch it and love food the way I do, but I also feel a responsibility to present both sides of the argument when it comes to gluttonous behavior. Sort of a "drink responsibly" type mentality, or whatever it is since I'm not someone that drinks.

I'm excited for this adventure, and my girlfriend Neda is being super supportive and coming along for the journey. I plan to give you guys regular updates on how I'm doing! Maybe if you're doing something similar, you can share your results too! 

Posted on November 29, 2016 .

Bear Arms.

Some thoughts on today's happenings:

I don't have any clever lines. Even the smallest raindrop can erode the largest mountain if it keeps falling over and over again. I usually search for the funny, but this time I'm coming up empty.

I do however have some questions: With all of the surveillance that our government is doing on our citizens (according to guys like Snowden, and leaked docs), why aren't we better at stopping these things from happening? There are certainly behavioral patterns (like buying guns and "going off the grid") that we should be able to catch.

Yet, strangely enough, Santa Monica police thwarted an attempted terrorist attack here in Los Angeles early this morning. It's also interesting that the perp in this case was a white male. The news reports make it sound like luck based on a tip from a concerned citizen, but as an intelligent dude, I can't help but wonder:

Is there perhaps, something to gain from driving the narrative that terrorism is something exclusively of an Islamic and fundamentalist nature? Is it possible that our government is allowing these ones to "slip through" to create a sense of hate towards muslim/middle eastern people? Or perhaps that's the goal of these terrorists themselves? To ensure zero-doubt that those are the "bad guys?"

Look, I'm not a "conspiracy theory" guy, but regardless of what's truly driving this stuff, we have to be smart enough to quell that initial reaction of hatred towards that group of people.

There's no denying that we all have that initial reaction. It's been embedded into human DNA for thousands of centuries. If you need proof, know that the word and concept of WAR, was to definitively declare another "group" of any kind our "enemy."

I'm sure it's been said a million times, but we cannot let this mission succeed, no matter who the perpetrator is.

America is an idea, far more than a country, and an aspirational one at that. I think our concept is often more out of reach than it is a reality, but these are the times that we must be strong enough to reject those notions. We have to be smarter. We have to win.

Win by loving people based on who THEY are. Allow people to speak for themselves through their actions, and don't allow these crazed gunmen to speak for their culture on their behalf(s). As someone with many Persian and Middle Eastern people in my life, know that they hate this as much if not more than you and I.

Posted on June 12, 2016 .

3rd Baseman

You know, I've seen a lot of stuff on my thread today involving politics in some way, shape, or form and it's weighed heavily on my mind. I wanted to take a minute to share some things I'm thinking.

I'm a little concerned at the staggering numbers of "comedians" that are sort of agreeing with the mainstream about who and what is right for our country, or our industry, etc. I've seen comedians regurgitate basic comments from main stream media, or even just be sure to cover their asses by being public enough with who they "chose" so not to hurt their careers.

I became a comedian because I wanted to challenge the way people think. If you've ever listened to my comedy, or seen a show, you know that I'm a guy that likes to push buttons. However, if you know me personally, you know that there's a lot more there than that basic interest, and that I really strive to make people re-evalulate HOW they think, and not just change WHAT they think.

I personally don't care what you think; I care about the process. I believe that changing the process is how we grow as a people, and that the ideas won't matter if we get to a point where we can all appreciate the process we each go through to determine our opinions or ideas.

What bothers me is that so many of my peers in the business seem to let their process be dictated to them. You censor your thoughts or edit them down so that you don't jeopardize yourself in any way. Now I get it if you have a really good paying job, or there are things to lose, but even people who's careers have hardly begun yet are subscribing to this way of thinking, and it's terrifying.

Even our industry is starting to subscribe to this. Everyone wants to make content that adheres to the "narrative" of how we think things are "supposed" to be, rather than the more interesting art of discussing how and why they actually are (my opinion, obviously).

We feel the need to tell the story of these over-arching narratives of the collective. Black people need a voice. Women need a voice. The Trans community needs a voice. We seek out those voices, and we give them a platform.

The art we grew up with; film, comedy, music. They shouted with their voices in a crowd of people that weren't listening and were heard because of the power of what they had to say. That's what I miss. That's what we need to go back to.
If the message itself isn't good enough to be heard amongst the crowd, maybe it's not a message worthy of an audience.

Some might read this as me bitching about the state of the industry or whatever, but I'm sharing this for one reason only. Consider it a bat-signal of sorts. A call to arms.

I need to work harder at my art and make my voice heard amongst the crowd, and if you feel the same way, you need to work harder too. We have to restore some level prestige to those of us that think differently.

I've seen a million posts today about how we're about to elect 1 of 2 people because "it's all we have to choose from" (despite the fact that we have a great 3rd party candidate I support).

We HAVE to stop accepting this status quo.

In Politics.

In Art.

In Life.

PICK the 3rd option. HELP the 3rd option. BECOME the 3rd option.

This world is what we make of it, and I'm tired of sitting down.

Posted on June 8, 2016 .

Are You Here?

I've subscribed now to the fact that these blogs will just be for times like this: random moments where I have a thought or a feeling I want to share. 

I just finished watching the movie "Are You Here" which was written (and I believe directed) by Matthew Weiner. It started Amy Poehler, Owen Wilson, and Zach Galifiankis. 

Neda and I started watching it about three weeks ago, and found the first 40 minutes or so to be kind of boring. Tonight, she fell asleep while watching another movie, so I thought I'd give it a finish.

Watch this movie. That's the simplest I can put it. The second half of this movie really stood on its own. I found myself relating to so many parts of it. Feeling numb, or like you've lost your edge; like you've wasted time on earth. Like you haven't fulfilled your potential. I don't want to ruin this movie for you, but it was a really beautiful film. I found the ending to be sad, but only in the most beautiful way.

There was a scene in the movie where one of Owen Wilson's character looked at his love interest with this feeling that she inspired him to be a better person. My first instinct was to think "does my girlfriend make me feel that way?" 

Then, as the film progressed, this overwhelming message hit me. This feeling of how we get so wrapped up in what we think we deserve or are entitled to engulfs us, and ruins us. It, and therefore we, deprive ourselves of happiness.

I immediately thought: I shouldn't be asking myself if she  makes me feel that way. I should be asking myself if make her  feel that way.

I'm not ashamed to say that it brought me to tears. That revelation of the mind; realizing that my instinct is to put my needs before others, and being disgusted with the selfishness in that. 

This  is what is robbing our generation of happiness. Monogamy. That feeling of fulfillment. It isn't Tinder, or technology, or dick pics, or cell phones, or books like the game. It's us. 

We don't deserve happiness. We haven't earned it.  

Ronda Rousey said on Joe Rogan's podcast the last time she was on, that "we aren't entitled to happiness." I think I finally feel what she meant by that. 

I think we tell ourselves how we aren't selfish all the time, to avoid addressing where we are selfish: "I make people laugh as a comedian, so I give back." 

What a cop out. That's as much about loving myself and my own intelligence and cleverness and appeal as it is entertaining an audience. It's a selfless as eating the last piece of food so others don't fight over it.

It's easy to point outwards in life when we aren't happy or feel slow, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy. 

I think if we want to be happy, we have to earn  it by making others  happy first. 

 ...but there I go being clever again.

Posted on February 4, 2016 .

Sometimes, a tweet can't do it justice.

I really try to use twitter as a means to focus my writing, specifically when it comes to comedy. My usage for twitter is really not just to share my stuff, but to help me narrow down what I'm thinking and feeling about a topic into a single thought. It's a basis to start a "bit," or a collection of jokes. I generally feel like if I can express the humor or how I feel about something in 140 characters, I have a good starting point.

Sometimes, in life, there's just no way to edit it down. I'm not talking about material right now, but more how the last 48 hours have made me feel as a comedian and more importantly as a human being.

I did a couple of spots last night at Malo Cantina in Silverlake, which is a great little room with smart audiences. I had a couple of mediocre sets, but got to work out the kinks in some new stuff.  My buddy Tony Vinh just moved to LA a few weeks back, and he came out and we got to hang. We even hit the Hollywood Improv up for their 10pm show to see some friends and see a club that neither of us have been to in years. When I first moved to LA 6 years ago, I was running a show there for a short spell, and after that ended I hadn't really been back regularly. It was cool to go to a show and willingly hang out. Just be there to support friends, and spend some time in the comedy community without a "goal" or "objective" in being there. 

Tonight I did one of my regular workout spots at Formosa cafe in West Hollywood. As always, it was a really intimate show and I felt like some newer stuff really went off pretty well. 

It's always hard to focus on good comedy on the weeks that I have The Darkest Hour show at Westside. It's the show I produce along with my friends Adam Tod Brown & Jeff May, but the producer hat comes with a lot of stresses as well. Did I get the flyers there in time? Did I send out enough invites? Does anyone give a shit? Will all the comedians show? These are the things that occupy my mind leading up to show time. It's a never ending stressfest, and it can be a constant reminder of how what you've chosen to dedicate your life to matters to so few people. 

I was running super late tonight with traffic, which added to my stress. I showed up for our 11:30 show around 11:25, and didn't know what I was walking into. Normally the improv show that goes right before us runs a little late, and the audience is all wound up as it's truly one of the best in the city. If you like improv, go check out Mission Improvable on Saturdays at Westside. It's really great. I was shocked to walk in and see an attentive PACKED house, ready and waiting for The Darkest Hour. I saw familiar faces and new ones, and within minutes we were locked in a ready to go.

Adam hosts the show regularly now, and from the first 2 minutes he stepped on stage there was a magic in the air tonight. Adam had an AMAZING opening set, where he sort of slowly put his arms around the crowd, establishing the concept and opening them up with perfectly crafted jokes. The stress started to dissipate.

Next up was Jeff May. I've know Jeff for about 3 years now, and when I met him he was very new in comedy. Now he's one of my best friends, but objectively, I watched Jeff May drop 8 minutes tonight of sheer brilliance. The stage presence, the writing, the delivery, and most importantly the ownership. Jeff is always good, but tonight watching him felt transcendent. Jeff is not a comic, but a comedian. A guy only a few years in with such a super distinct point of view and style that I found myself watching him with the same excitement that I'd watch a Bill Burr or a Dave Chappelle with. When he came off, I congratulated him on a great set, and told him I was proud of him. On the drive home, I thought "man I hope that didn't come off as condescending," but I'll be honest with you guys: I was inspired by it. 

Somehow with each comedian, the show just kept rolling. The energy STAYED the entire night. Eddie Della Siepe went up and destroyed, followed by Harmony McElligott's great set with tremendous writing. Comic after comic was tight, killer, and made the show diverse and full of energy. I found myself sitting in the back of the room watching and laughing like a fan. It was great. 

Before I knew it, I was on stage and diving right into the new material that I've been working on, and riding the high of my predecessors, it all landed. It was all in place, my pace was on, and I was just riding the wave at that point. It was the happiest I've been with a set in months, and I take none of the credit. Great room, great crowed, amazing lineup.  To give you perspective, generally as the show wraps around 1am, people are struggling to stay awake. We closed the show with Matthew Broussard, who does incredibly intelligent and well written stuff, and the audience was locked in as if we just started the show. He absolutely leveled it, and even gave us a peak at some amazing MondayPunday.com stuff. (Go check it out!) It's a really fun way to feel dumb.

There was an energy in that room tonight, and I drove home feeling humbled, inspired, and so happy. I can't say enough how truly grateful I am that I have any fans at all, or friends that play the part of fans when I have shows, or tweet out nonsense, etc. You guys do such a great job of showing up for me, and I just desperately want to show up for you and give you your time and money's worth. 

The last two days have made me excited to do stand-up again in a way that I haven't felt in a few years. I'm excited to feel this way, and I'm excited about what's to come. 

Thank You.

Posted on August 15, 2015 .

#UFC189. Epic. Inspiring.

I normally don't blog about sporting events. I'm not a sports writer. I've never claimed to be, but I am a HUGE sports fan. Generally, most sporting events seem to blur together. Someone wins, someone loses, and occasionally it's mildly entertaining. I'm a Philadelphia sports fan so it's a lot of losing, cursing, throwing shit, and then pretending we've still got a chance at the playoffs. 

Then there are nights like last night. Nights that I will probably look back on throughout my life and will always remember.

UFC189 was the most amazing fight card I've ever seen. If you missed it, go back and buy it and watch it after the fact. I can't recall how many times I said "this is fight of the night," or "this is definitely knockout of the year," only to find myself saying it again 10 minutes later. Watching fights that amazing immediately fire me up to get off of my fat ass, get in the gym, and turn my life around and become a fighter...for about ten minutes. Those dreams are usually destroyed when reality collides and I smash the rest of the 20 inch pizza I'm eating alone.

I felt compelled to write about it, but not because of EPIC level of competition, but because of one man: Current Interim Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor.

If you didn't know who Conor McGregor was before July 11th, 2015, you definitely do now. I wasn't really familiar with Conor McGregor up until this fight was announced. I've always been a big Jose Aldo fan, so naturally I looked up Conor after I started to see the press and all of the shit talking. My first thought was "man this guy talks a lot of shit, and I can't wait to see him get his ass kicked." I'm sure that was what many people thought, but as I watched more and more stuff on Conor, I couldn't help but feel drawn in by his personality. 

McGregor is Irish. As an Irish kid myself, I always wanted to find Irish fighters to root for when I was younger and watched a lot of boxing with my dad and brother. There weren't many, so when one comes along, it generally peaks my interest. Most of the Irish fighters I remember were generally very blue-collar, humble, and men of few words. Those words could never be used to describe Conor McGregor. 

On the exterior, I saw a guy that never shut up. This dude talked tremendous shit, but the more I listened, the more I found myself loving the guy. He wears extremely flashy suits and jewelry, and then explains "I work very hard for what I have, and I'm proud of my accomplishments. I reward myself to encourage harder work." When I heard that I thought, "wow, isn't that the American dream in a nutshell?" Working hard, earning your success and wealth, and being proud about that?

In weeks of being a fight fan, and watching all of the press, and going back and watching his fights, Conor McGregor didn't just interest me. He became my favorite fighter. 

Conor is flashy, talks trash, and has an INSANE amount of confidence in himself. I think most people's first reaction to people like that is to hate them. A lot of fight fans hate Ronda Rousey for being the same way. The craziest part to me, is how much they step in the ring and back it up.

I'll put Conor on the bench for a moment, and talk about Ronda. There is arguably not a more dominant athlete in the world right now. If you read Ronda's book, or listen to her talk, you begin to understand that her words aren't representative of an arrogance, or ego. Ronda is the 135 woman's champion in the UFC, and has NEVER lost an MMA fight. Before that, she medaled in Judo in the Olympics at only 21 years of age. Before that, she earned a gold medal in the World Junior Judo Championships at only 17 years of age. She's earned the right to believe in herself.
There is an intensity in their eyes; a focus. After watching her for the last 3 years, and Conor for the last 3 months, I started to believe that their attitude wasn't because of their accolades, but the cause of them. Think of it like the "chicken and egg" conversation. 

I've often times seen actors, comedians,  or even friends of mine with very delusional outlooks on themselves. I've been accused of it as well. We all know people like this. People that say things like "It's just what God has planned for me," or "the Universe is working in my favor," or shit like that. I've criticized them for it, only to see it work down the road. No matter how much people root against them, they still make it happen. Perhaps that "craziness" as we see it, is in fact the confidence they need to reach those levels of greatness.

Is Conor McGregor crazy for believing in himself the way that he does? Is he just a cocky douche?You may have thought so, but watch the end of the fight. (Spoiler Alert) - after he wins the fight in amazing comeback fashion, he collapses to the ground in an emotional outcry balling his eyes out. When interviewed, he talked about how appreciative he was for the opportunity, he praises his opponent for being tough and giving him a hell of a fight on short notice. He is extremely gracious and thanks his teammates and coaches and thanks them for all of the sacrifices they made to help him achieve this dream. Sure, he talks about how tough he is, and how he feels like a concrete block. He never feels a punch, and never doubts himself for a second. Sounds cocky, right? But then follows up by saying "no man is self-made, and no man can do it alone, and I OWE it to the people that believe in me to deliver." I got chills listening to it.

Why did this inspire me so much to write about it? It changed me. It changed the way I view myself. I've always battled between when to show humility and when to show confidence and those decisions are almost ALWAYS made based on what I think other people will perceive about me in the process. Perhaps those moments where I, or any of us for that matter, take a step back to show humility vs show an unwavering belief in ourselves is WHY we aren't champions. It's why we aren't Conor McGregor, or Ronda Rousey, or any of them. 

It's a possibility, but I'll go out on a limb here and say that no one starts their day thinking about how much they believe in me. Or you. We're all so self-focused, and rightfully so, but I now feel like I owe it to anyone that believes in me to have an unwavering belief in myself.  So I say embrace that. Embrace it all the way. Embrace it to a delusional extent, and you just might do something cool. You just might be crazy enough to become the best at whatever it is you care most about. You just might become Champion of the World....or you know GM of an Arby's or whatever your thing is.

 

Posted on July 12, 2015 .

Hey Ya'll, It's a Blog!

It's been forever since I've taken the time to write a blog. I've been super busy lately, so i wanted to take a minute to touch base with you guys and say hi, and bring you all up to speed!

It's been a crazy month. I've been working on something for quite some time now, and after 18 months of stress and craziness, It's done, and has finally paid off. It was nice to get some financial relief for the last month. I was able to take some time off, do some improvements around the apartment, and make some further investments into my business and career in comedy. This is the least stressed I've been in almost the past couple of years. In this chosen career path, the pay days are few and far between, so when one finally comes around, it's quite a nice breath of fresh air before quickly realizing how broke you are about to be again. 

I'm without representation once again in my career, and to be honest, it's been a liberating experience. I've separated from managers in the past, and had them drop me before, but this was the first one that was really professional and amicable. Those guys at 23 are killing it right now, primarily with some great young actors/actresses doing some huge things. Carl & I had a good conversation about the direction in my career, what I should be focused on, and they were just as good to me in the end as they were in the beginning. Summing it up, they felt that they weren't the best for me and my future, and that I should be free to go find a management/agency that is. Can't find fault with that. I wish them and their clients the best, and am excited to see the cool stuff they're working on in the future! 

I've really made some great friends in the past few months. Particularly Noah Dorsey, who is greatly responsible for the newfound vigor I have for podcasting again. Any of you that have followed in my career know that it used to be a big part of my life, and that my experience in podcasting ended a really good friendship of mine, and showed me just how volatile groupthink can be.

I won't go into a lot of details about it, because it doesn't deserve it, but I will say this: Out of the whole thing, I learned this: You have to be good at identifying conditional love in life. Sometimes we surround ourselves with friends that aren't really our friends. Sometimes we think we have fans that aren't really our fans. At the end of the day, you really have to be smart enough to sit still and take stock once in a while, and judge those in your life based on their behaviors. If people turn on you the minute you stop serving their needs, they probably weren't really your friend in the first place. If "fans" of you or what you do, turn on you every time the wind blows, then don't build your business or career around those people. Noah has been a great new friend, and has refreshed my perspective of "why not?" when it comes to doing things: shorts, podcasts, etc. He encouraged me to come up with "March of the Pigs," and has been a great partner so far in putting out something that I think is cool, and that I'm proud of. Yes it's raw, and we're still learning how to do this podcast thing, but we're doing it together, and we're having fun. In the end that's all that matters.

I recently had a 4 hour late night conversation with my buddy Chris, after we had hung out for lunch earlier that day. Chris and I have been friends for a couple of years now, but due primarily to his busy schedule, we haven't really gotten to hang out or work on shit together for a while. He's been back in town a lot lately, so we've been able to catch up and hang out quite a bit. This was the first time Chris really got to hang out with me and Neda, so it was a bit of a different dynamic. Historically, how people act around my girlfriend and I, or what they see in that spot says a lot about them as a person, and unfortunately I've missed that sometimes. Chris got along greatly with her, and we all had a blast hanging out. When he and I spoke later that night, he said something to me that I've never really been able to put into words about our relationship. He said: "You know what is great about your relationship that I see already? That you don't ever have to apologize for who you are. You both can totally be yourselves, and you both love and accept that...hell even appreciate it in the other person." To which I replied, "well yeah, why would I be with anyone that doesn't let me be myself?!" Now that seems like common sense, but the truth is, we seldom run that check on the people in our lives. Him making that comment made me appreciate Neda more, and also turn a more scrupulous look at those that I consider close friends in my life.

When people say "I can count my true friends on one hand," that's generally what they're referring to, but I've never had it summed up so simply. Ryan Lee, Sean & Matt Graff, Rich Dinofia, Jim Horne, Gary Pahl, Chris Raab, Rob Rohlin, Neda (ok, so maybe two hands); we've all been friends at different points, for different amounts of time and had different relationships, but they all share that common thread. They've all accepted me for "better or worse" along the way, and that's why I consider them great friends. We argue, we fight, we disagree, but none of them have ever looked at me with that disappointment face where I feel like I let them down just by being me. 

Why am I sharing all this? I dunno, maybe you're at a point where I have been many times in my life, and you're looking around you and taking stock of your life, and you feel unfulfilled, or like you're missing something, and maybe my words can help. Maybe not. At the very least, I hope they read this stuff, and at least know how much I love and appreciate all of them. 

I've always been someone that has had a strong desire to please people. Some people have viewed this in my life as me "trying too hard," or "trying to impress," or "trying to make myself look bigger or better than I am," but the truth is, I've always just wanted to please those around me. It's why I do comedy after all. Sometimes that can lead to unhealthy behavior. I think it makes you a good person to want to please others, but you can't please everyone, and you can kill everything you love in the pursuit of trying to please people that don't really deserve it or value it. You definitely have to be smart about who you're aiming to please and why. Pleasing everyone at the expense of your own happiness is maybe one of the most unhealthy things you can do in your life.

It's also critical to keep this in mind when you're making art, or creating something, or even running your own business. Not everyone is going to love what you do, and that's ok. You have to love what you do. I finally feel like I'm getting back to that place, and it's been a pretty great feeling. 

It's a new year. For the first time in a while, I feel like I have the freedom to make/do what I want, and the support from enough of you to feel good about making it. I'm hoping to churn out a new hour of comedy for you guys this year (hint* - it won't be another audio album). I'm excited to keep the "Darkest Hour" going strong here in LA, and perhaps taking the concept further out with a podcast. Raab and I are going to work get to work on some film projects. Maybe shorts, maybe more. We'll have to see! 

Thanks so much for following along with all of my stuff. I'm just a dude out here trying to do what he loves with his life, and I wouldn't be able to do that without you guys, so THANK YOU!

Posted on July 2, 2015 .

Shitty Marketing, Late Night TV, & #FilmTweetsLive

So I had three separate ideas for blogs recently, and decided: why make three separate blogs when I can just cover all of the topics in one? I'll try to make it quick, but just had some thoughts on some things and wanted to share with everyone. 

I started watching a show on Hulu recently (how awesome is Hulu when it comes to discovering new stuff btw?) called "Younger." It's a TVLand show, and the pilot was put on Hulu over a month or so ago. I figured I'd check it out, and to my surprise I really dug it. It was about a woman in her 40's that get's mistake for being in her mid 20's and decides to perpetuate the lie in her pursuit of getting a job that a "hip young millennial" should get. 

The writing is really clever, and the casting is great too. I'd have to say that the only critique I have about the show itself is that it's a half hour, and it could easily be an hour like Jane the Virgin. It's a really strong show.

I recently got traditional cable again too, and caught a commercial for Younger, and I have to say the marketing for the show is absolute shit. It makes it look like this cheesy "girl power" type show about female empowerment and camaraderie, and it completely fails to display the show's biggest strength: that it's funny! It immediately turned me off, and I thought: "wow, is this why female-heavy or black-heavy shows fail? Because they're so focused on capturing a specific audience instead of an audience?" As a writer, it's horrifying to me that we could go through all of the difficulty of making what we actually want to make, and then a shitty trailer could be cut together and ruin our chances of success. I felt like I saw the same thing with Neil Blomkamp's recent film "Chappie." I was able to see it early; about 3 months before it came out, and I honestly thought it was the BEST movie I've seen in years. Really fun, really funny, heartfelt, and great acting. The trailers made it look like some sort of action suspense thriller. It couldn't have felt more disconnected to the film itself, and I completely blame the marketing of it on the box office failure of the film. 

To me, it's a perfect example of someone trying to market content as if it is a "brand" with it's own demographic, it's own market, etc. But the thing with art is that you never know. You don't know who the market it is until it airs. This is why Netflix is GOLD when it comes to launching a show. They use the ACTUAL FUCKING DATA from the views to determine who the market is. There's no guessing, it's based on reality. 

Moral is, watch Younger. It's really good, despite what the marketing might tell you.

Speaking of TV, I've been watching a lot more late night TV lately. There's a general consensus in the comedy world today that a late night appearance (Tonight Show, Conan, Kimmel, Letterman, and now Corden) no longer has the power to break a comedian. I have to say, I greatly disagree. I think the power is still there. Late Night is more accessible now than ever before. You can watch on demand, on Hulu the next day, or even online. I think the real issue is a tougher one for people to face: The comedy just isn't that good.

I watched about 20 episodes on my DVR with different comedians on, and I have to say that barely any of them even got a giggle out of me. This isn't hate BTW. Sure I'd love to be on a late night program, but I don't need it to know that I'm funny. I'm a great writer, I have a unique voice and style, and I'm proud of the work that I put out each week, whether it's for 1 person or 1000. I'd put my set up against ANY late night set out there. But the comedy fan in me craves great comedy. I want to root for these guys, they're my peers. I want them to CRUSH it. I want them to inspire me to be a better comedian and work harder and write more, but the sad truth is that they just don't. There are either guys that are clean cut, and totally un-original, or they are extremely alt and miss the mark entirely. I'd honestly rather see them put the same 5 people up each night, as long as they are Cristela Alonso, Rory Scovel, Tommy Johnagin, etc. These guys get on late night regularly, and absolutely deserve it. There are also great comedians out there that haven't been on late night yet, like Joe Dosch out of LA for instance. I had Joe on my show recently in Santa Monica, and he absolutely killed it. He's a tremendous writer, great joke-smith, likable, and good looking to boot. His lack of "heat" astounds me, and is one of the many great injustices in the business. I have faith that guys like he and I will only get better with time, and that eventually the right things will fall into place.

Finally, just wanted to say thanks to the few of you goodly enough to watch movies with me on twitter through our Monday #FilmTweetsLive! It's something that seems to be growing slowly but surely. I really enjoy doing it, and I hope you do too! If you don't know what it is, we basically live tweet an old movie each Monday night at 9 pacific. Feel free to join in with us anytime!

That's all for now! Thanks for reading. Keep an eye peeled for new clips and new tour dates coming soon!

Posted on April 17, 2015 .

The Back-Up Plan

Happy New Year everyone! I'm assuming you're all over your silly resolutions by now, and could use some funny. I don't know if this will be that, but I felt like writing tonight and wanted to share some thoughts. January of 2015 marked my 8 year anniversary as a standup comedian. Believe it or not, standup comedian was not my first choice.

As a kid, I always had different dreams of what I wanted to be when I grew up. We all do, right? I can't necessarily remember the order, but the list included professional hockey player (I was a goalie), actor, musician, marine biologist. You name it, I probably wanted to be it at one point. I don't really remember sharing it very much, because I had the kind of father that always quickly redirected those conversations into "you can do whatever you want to do, or be whatever you want to be, but you always need a backup plan." 

This wound up as a giant chip on my shoulder in life. It was those early conversations that made me develop a sense of having to prove myself in everything that I do. I immediately took that as "you don't have the talent to do those things," even though that was never the intent. My dad was just looking out for me, and making sure that I was careful and considerate in making life choices.

My dad was a part-time musician throughout my entire life. Growing up, and spending most of my time with him after my parents split at age 7, I saw that side of him more: he had retired from the Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard, where he had worked for most of his adult life, and was filling the calendar with late night shows at local bars and venues.

He was good. He was really good. At age 74 he can probably still belt it out. I remember hearing his talent level, and thinking "How could my Dad not be famous? If he could be that good as a singer, and overlooked, than he's surely right about the need for a backup plan."

I forged ahead in life, always working "the plan." I advanced early in my career, worked my way up the corporate ladder, and was an executive making around 6 figures a year before I was 30 years old. Definitely on the right track, right? I worked the plan, and along the way found my passion in standup comedy in 2007 and made strides as much as possible in developing that passion along the way into something more, but it was always part-time.

In fall of 2013, the plan went to shit. I was suddenly let go from a company that made a hard recruiting pitch for me (more on that later...much later), and found myself unemployed for the first time since I was 16 years old. It was a blow, for sure. It's hard in those extremely negative moments to see any silver lining, but it was an unexpected conversation with my dad that did the trick.

I was feeling sorry for myself, and he shared something with me that I had never heard in the 31 years I've known him: that maybe, for once, he was wrong about something.

He opened up to me, and told me about the regret that he had later in life about not chasing his dream of being a country musician. See, all these years I thought that they had just never found my dad, but the truth was that he never really allowed himself to be found. Maybe he was afraid of rejection, or maybe afraid of the criticism, but he never really gave it his all. He had a family to think about (a few of them if we're being factual), and felt that he needed to stay the safer path for our benefit.

He said that he had waited for that "sign" for so many years. That signal to give it up and go for it, and it never came. Or maybe that it had, and he was just to afraid of failure to have seen it. Then he said, to see the signal that this could've been, and to take the opportunity to run with it.

I listened, as I've always tried to do. Though I've continued to spend the last 18 months looking for a replacement for full time work (daddy likes to eat), I've also attacked my career in standup and writing with a new sense of urgency. I've written more than ever, and have been working hard to refine my writing, craft my voice, and put myself out there more and allow new people to discover me. Not just new fans, or new friends, but industry people as well.

There have been tons of rejections. There are a lot of days that feel like losses. It's been a struggle financially. I've had to make sacrifices that I never saw coming, and I've had to put in long days making little money just to get by.

In December, I submitted for a local contest as well as a few festivals, and found out that out of 240 comedians that entered this LA standup contest, that I had made it into the 69 that would compete. That show was Tuesday. I was awarded "joke of the night," along with $50, and found out Friday that I would be in the finals, which will be judged by some industry players that are very well known in the biz, and have truly made dreams come true for many of my friends and peers. In the letter, the venue owner had stated to us that what had separated us from the rest of the pack was a more "developed point-of-view," and a unique style. The judges were really surprised at the talent level, and that they had simply just "had not seen" many of us. It wasn't that we weren't talented, or that we were missing certain things. They just hadn't seen or heard of us.

Could you imagine if that was on your tombstone? "Great at so many things that not enough people were aware of?" What a horrible thought. Even more horrible would be knowing that could happen, and doing nothing about it. It was truly the same story my dad had told me about this journey through life with his creative endeavors.

Getting the strong feedback on my set really made my week. I dunno how I'll fare in the competition, and though it sounds cliche, all of us getting seen are really winners. There are some really great comedians (I won't list them all) in this thing including John Tole, Greg Kashmanian, Danny Jolles, and Rachel Mac, who I didn't know anything about before this thing but she is hilarious, and absolutely crushed our night of prelims. It's been great seeing the one's I know, and meeting and getting to see the one's that I didn't. I feel like I've been missing out on so much by not seeing them sooner, or going out of my way to be the "fan" of comedy that I was in the beginning when I first started. I'm going to work harder at it.

So I'll wrap up this fuckin' novel already. Is there a moral of the story? I dunno. Be seen. Be heard. Don't get wrapped up in the "back-up plan" that is your life. When you're not being seen or heard, go watch & listen. Pay it forward. It might tell you something about yourself. Or shit, you might even make a friend. What's that worth these days? 

Posted on February 3, 2015 .

Minneapolis: Comedy Heaven.

So I've read several things about the city I called home for nearly 11 years in the past few days. Unfortunately, not all glowing or things I would necessarily like to spend a lot of time thinking about.

Relax guys, it's not like they shot or choked an unarmed minority; they'd have to actually interact with people of color for there to be any controversy like that. 

It's actually been a dark place for me lately (there's the racial pun), as two of my friends in the comedy scene there recently passed away. 

Now I'm not going to try to write something poetic about either Gus Lynch or Bill Young the people, because if I'm being honest I didn't really know them that well. I wish that I had. Sure, we shared stages over the years; some great conversation. Bill and were probably closer than Gus and I were (when I lived there, but have lately been guilty of being that shitty LA friend that never touches base). I would much rather use this blog to honor the memory of what they meant to me in my path as a person and as a comedian. 

When I first started in stand-up, I didn't have a lot of allies or friends. Daryl Horner, Kevin Craft, and I started a group in 2007 called "Verbally Vicious" which was sort of our comedy equivalent of being in a gang. We weren't thugs in the traditional sense, just in the sense that we didn't give a fuck about the conventional apprenticeship that is being a stand-up comedian. We made t-shirts right away, and sold them at open mics. Making money at comedy back then was considered "arrogant" by most of the scene, but was the only approach three hustlers like us with bigger business brains than joke writing abilities could have done at the time. What would anyone have against us making money? We didn't have a lot of close friends outside of our group, but one of my few friends at the time was Bill Young. Bill was a veteran comedian when I started (we're the same age and I was 23 then, so fuck he must've started young) and I remember at one mic one night he talked with Daryl and I about how he didn't agree with most people's perception of us. He thought what we were doing was very "punk rock," and totally got it. Even though he wasn't ready to dive in with both feet, he did make his alter-ego "Johnny Rage" a member of VV. We only performed with him on the lineup one time, which was a blast. For all I know, the whole thing could have been a joke at our expense, but it was great nonetheless. 

Bill and I only hung out one other time. We met up for an early morning breakfast at one of his favorite spots in Uptown. When we walked in, it felt like we were in an episode of cheers or something. Bill knew all of the other 4 or 5 people in there, and immediately gave me the lay of the land in terms of what to order, and what drink went best with what food. I remember telling him that he was like my hipster or white-trash sommelier, and that made him laugh.

The memory is kind of foggy, but I remember on the ride back home we had one of those life changing conversations about life and comedy and the deeper meaning of it all. I remember that I had shared frustrations with him about the way the guys in VV were perceived, and wondered if it would hurt my career in the long run. He made a comment to me that really made everything OK. He said "generally the people surrounded with the highest number of friends have to do that because they can't stand to be alone with themselves." That if I was happy with the choice, and happy with the few people that were still cool with me and still my friend, then to stick by the decision. He was right. Thinking on that day, and looking back at all the memories of watching him perform, Bill was downright courageous, sometimes in an annoying way. He LOVED comedy so much that he took every stage with this sense of wonder and delight that I really envied. He feared no room, and loved to play with audiences. He'd play characters, he'd do a set with just one type of joke format, or he'd play it straight, and just do a normal set as himself. You'd never know what you would get out of him, and that was my favorite part.

That was my favorite part of the Minneapolis scene. I don't get that in LA. I don't get to see guys like Bill, or Chris Maddock just go up and fucking murder it with something they just thought of that day. We don't have the courage to do that. We're all trying to "make it." We're all crafting an act. We all think we have to kill that shitty 5 minute set in a bakery because I think one of the pastry chef's knows a guy that works at UTA. Guys like Bill represent the courage that makes comedy pure. 

If Bill Young was the courage in comedy, then Gus Lynch definitely represented heart. I met Gus right before I left in '08/'09 for LA. Gus was new to stand-up, but was so damn respectful, and nice, and kind. He was always "please, and thank you; sir and ma'am." Gus came into the scene with a level of friendliness and professionalism that was foreign to me in the local scene. I ran a bar show open mic in Vandals Heights, and when Gus came out he would treat me like I was fucking Bud Friedman (Improv founder). Gus was never above the moment, and was always appreciative of any time he got. The thing I liked the most about Gus was that he would give anyone their time. He was a great listener. He would listen to you talk for hours about something you didn't know shit about, because he was a good dude. I remember I was talking about my experiences in the comedy business one time, and Gus was all ears. He listened to me rant and rave, share my opinions about bookers and everything under the sun. It wasn't until later that I found out how much Gus had actually done in the acting and film world. I remember sitting there thinking, "why didn't that dude step in and assert his knowledge and wisdom?" The simple answer is because I didn't ask him to. In the beginning, he I remember he had jokes about pro wrestling and Minnesota, and being a dad. I remember being 26 and thinking (this is boring). One of the last times I came to Minneapolis, Gus popped into my CD recording weekend and dropped a set that blew the audience away. I honestly don't know if the album recording would've happened if it wasn't for his energy. I wish more people in comedy were like Gus Lynch. It would make it much easier. I'd look forward to going out to shows to interact with people like that, vs. the folks that "high-school head-nod" you from the other side of the room because you don't have something for them to suck your dick about.

I miss the Minneapolis scene. I definitely took it for granted when I lived there. I miss going on the road with Justin Caesar. I miss sitting around CCUG talking with Benny and Tommy upstairs and eating Pizza and T-Rex wings. I miss going to Bobby & Steve's with Daryl after CCUG open mics and him getting drunk and threatening to rape my friend Ryan because he was dating a girl that looked to much like him, and was asking for a mix-up. I miss trips to Chicago with Kevin Craft and laughing at how he saw other black people, and how other white people saw us. I miss Wayne Burfeind trivia nights, and I miss watching Madoo get drunk. I even miss P-Bau telling me how much I didn't know shit in the beginning (he was totally right by the way). I miss how Gabe Noah's voice could wet an 90 year old broad's beak from across the lakes (it's funny if you read that sentence in his voice). I miss Corey Adam asking me about everything in the game his first year back in. 

I don't have money to donate to my friends or their families, but I do intend to invest some good will in honoring their memories by recommitting myself to doing the two things I remember most about them:

I'm really going to try to be more like Gus, and be a "good neighbor" when it comes to being an experienced comedian. Make people feel valuable. Make them happy, and pay attention to them. Treat them as though they are the experts in their moment.

I'm also going try to really to not give a fuck when I get on stages, and to get back to that healthy place of "punk rock" exploration that Bill was so good at. I don't know that I can do it, but I certainly can try. 

...I'm also going to wake up in the morning, go to a hipster diner, and slap anyone in the dick that thinks that Newcastle goes with pancakes.



 

 

Posted on December 16, 2014 .

New Album Time.

Hey friends,

It's been quiet over here lately, so not much to talk about..until today that is. I just wanted to fire up the ole' blog machine today to give you guys an update on what's been happening, and what's on the horizon!

I had my first  "TV pitch meeting" yesterday, for a show I wrote along with my friend Mikalah Gordon. You may remember her from Season 4 of American Idol, or from a recent standup show around LA. Mikalah has been doing standup for the last year, and we met sometime around April after being introduced by our manager Carl (we share Carl, but in a non-sexual way) and our good friend Max Decker. Mikalah had a great concept for a show, and after working together for the last few months on it, we've got a pilot we love and we've started taking it about town. It felt really good to get the first "real" pitch out of the way for this one, and regardless of what happens, it was a great experience for both of us, and something I'm happy to have done. 

Side Note: If you're taking a meeting at a studio or production company in Hollywood, don't bring them donuts. We thought it would be a nice gesture, because we still live in 1996 apparently. They looked at us like we offered them deep fried pieces of toddler.

It was a stressful weekend to say the least. I am battling seasonal allergies (apparently that's a thing you start doing when you cross 30), and on top of that, had the pleasure of juggling shows on Saturday. Some of you may have noticed the last minute change, and I want to thank my good friend TK for opening up some stage time for me on Saturday night.

Formosa is definitely a different animal than the Comedy Store, but if you haven't been to a show there, I definitely suggest you get there immediately. It's truly become my favorite spot to perform in LA. It's a tiny back patio room, that fits no more than about 60 people. It's a great place for mid-tier comedians like myself to go and stretch out, and really work on new stuff.

With that being said, I will be spending the next 4 weeks there working on content for my 3rd album release, which I hope to do sometime in late 2015. There are shows at Formosa both Friday and Saturday nights each week, and I will announce which day I will be doing each week so that you can come out and see some of the new material.

I'm not really a guy that writes out his "bits." My style has always been to take a premise to the stage with some loose ideas, and let it grow into whatever it becomes. I generally do this for about a year with each bit before it's "done" (even though it may never be). 

These will be some really fun shows. You will get an inside look at my writing process, and get to see some brand new stuff in it's infancy before it's flushed out and set-ready. There were some hilariously fun moments while doing this last Saturday, so I encourage you to come. 

Even if none of that is interesting to you, the shows themselves are tremendous in their own right. Some of my few friends in comedy and great performers are there each week. Guys like Teddy Tutson, Justin Rupple, Alex's both Hughes and Mandleberg, Erica Rhodes, Darren Capozzi, Jeff May, and so many more that I'm probably forgetting. 

The best part of this show is that it's only $10 bucks to get in, easy to park, and have great food and drink to boot. I highly suggest you come check it out, as it's growing into one of the coolest underground spots in town.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you at a show this month!

 

 

Posted on September 30, 2014 .

What the fuck happened, SNL?

Been a few weeks guys, so I thought I'd try to get something on the page for you guys! Just figured I'd spill out what's currently on my mind.

SNL has decided to drastically shuffle the deck here in preparation for it's 40th anniversary season, and I have to say that every time I think they have it figured out, it just spins in a completely different direction.

The first puzzling move of the season, for me at least, was the firing of Brooks Wheelan. Now of course I may be a little biased, because I've known Brooks since I started in comedy, and the homer in me loves to root for the guy I know, but bias aside, he was responsible for the FUNNIEST thing that SNL has done in 30 years (Michael Che as well). If you don't know what I'm talking about, click here

Those kinds of sketches were what I always felt made SNL great: taking something from real life, and exploiting how awkward it may have, could have been, or should have been. That to me, is the essence of a truly great sketch. For some reason, they opted to go in a different direction. 

So maybe SNL isn't focused on "Point of View?" I get it, maybe they would rather go for silly and non-sequetor vs. statement driven comedy. But in that case, they'd probably also cut Michael Che, who is definitely their strongest point of view comedian, a tremendous standup, and writer, right? Wrong. Instead, they put him on weekend update.

That's perfect! That makes sense! He's replacing Colin Jost right?! Because Colin's a great writer, but felt out of touch with the sarcasm in the delivery. Oh wait, he's staying, and Cecily is leaving? What the fuck is happening right now?

I didn't like Cecily in the beginning, but I have to admit, she definitely grew on me, and harkened us back to the original weekend update days, like here. I liked it. I like Colin as well, just not as an update anchor. I actually think he'd be better playing the straight man in sketches.

But maybe SNL wants to get back to doing great impressions! Maybe that's it? They have two of the most phenomenal impressionists in Kate McKinnon and Jay Pharaoh, so maybe we'll get to see more of them? We didn't last season. Arguably, they were perhaps the most underutilized cast members on the show.

Look, I don't know what's happening over there, why the constant state of change over the last few years. I don't know what happens behind the scenes that drives these decisions, and what makes it go. I DO know that SNL is the most iconic franchise in comedy, and particularly sketch comedy, and that I'd rather watch youtube sketches on most Saturday Nights.

With ALL of the GREAT content that's out there, shouldn't SNL be hitting home runs every weekend? I want the show to inspire me to make great sketches, not make me feel complacent or out of touch with what's funny. If I feel that way, then I definitely think audiences feel that way.

This isn't an attempt to shit on SNL. I'm just pleading that you make it good again, Lorne. It wasn't broken. Please stop trying to fix it. The wheel doesn't need to be re-invented every year. I think the talent on the show can get it done. Let them run with it. 

Posted on September 19, 2014 .

Ocean Phoenix's Nihilist Brother

So, it's been a while since my last post, so if you were looking forward to me NOT being a lazy piece of shit, sorry to let you down, and you don't know me that well. We're hardly friends. I did finally have something I thought I'd write about though, which was my crazy weekend.

As most of you know, paying your bills with comedy & writing alone is not the easiest thing, so between gigs or writing jobs, I spend a lot of my time driving for a rideshare company around the city because the money is great and I've met some awesome people thus far. I've taken over 1000 rides, so I've met somewhere between 1000 and 4000 people in the last 9 months that I otherwise wouldn't have.

The thing most people ask/assume when talking on rides is generally in the vein of "boy I bet you have some of the craziest stories," or "I bet you get all kinds of material" from driving, but the truth is, and what I've always responded with is that it's pretty uneventful. Everyone is really great, nice, respectful, polite, and fun. I've made some friends, established some potential business contacts, and met some cool folks that work in the industry that I might collaborate with some day. The people experience is far more valuable to me, as it does kind of put you at ease knowing that, for the most part we're all the same; just trying to carve out a happy life for ourselves, and do something we can be proud of.

I say that normally, which I believe I paid the price for this weekend, because I feel like I've had every possible shit-storm happen inside the last couple of days. 

There were two scary fares, but I won't go into much detail there. It's just not as entertaining or thought provoking. The last ride I did Friday night though was one of the craziest situations I've ever experienced.

I picked a couple up at a night club on Sunset Blvd and took them to an after party in the Hollywood Hills. As generally happens when making a late night party drop off, the guests asked me to wait for them for a bit, in case the party sucked, they could come out, jump in my car, and go home without having to wait for another driver. I happily obliged. As 10 minutes turned into 15, and later 20. I continued to wait. Most people were leaving, so I figured my party was saying their goodbyes.

One couple had wandered out about 10 minutes into my wait, and were hanging by the car parked in front of mine on the street. It seemed like the usual after-party chat with the lady sitting in her drivers seat, and the guy chatting her up at her open car door. I thought nothing of it. About ten minutes in, he leaned in to kiss her good night, and I saw the car start to pull away, and then immediately stop with his legs lifeless hanging out the door. The woman immediately started screaming for help.

My first reaction was honestly how involved I DIDN'T want to be. No one else came to her aid, and about a dozen people stood on the steps and just watched while refusing to help or investigate. She made eye contact with me, so I immediately felt obligated to go help.

My first assumption was that the dude had maybe overdosed, or had a medical emergency, and that we would have to call the police, or an ambulance to help. Boy was I wrong.

When I ran up on the door, she explained to me that this dude was indeed attacking her with the intent of raping her. I was left with a mili-second to decide what to do, but as he made his next attempt to force himself on top of her, I tried to grab him around the waist and pull him away. He broke free.

This dude was about 6'3, and was definitely on meth, ecstasy, or some combination of the both. He looked me in the eye with this incredibly devilish smile, and continued saying "no, it's ok, I'm just saying goodnight to her" as she screamed in terror. I was terrified as well, as the dude easily could have turned his aggression towards me at any moment, and I definitely would have been fucked up. I'm not a little dude by any means, but I'm an out of shape 250 on a good day, and was in flip flops to boot; not known as the aggressive ass kicker footwear of choice. 

My 2nd attempt was at a full nelson, which I remembered from wrestling I watched in the 80's. That was quickly shrugged aside. My fear level and adrenaline immediately rose up, and I realized that if I didn't somehow end this attack, it wouldn't have gone well for either myself or the girl. BTW, the crowd continued to watch from afar as all this was transpiring. 

My third attempt was going to be final. I kicked the dude in the back of the knee, causing him to stumble back, and when he did I jumped on his back placing him in the tightest rear-naked choke I could possibly attempt to execute. My weight alone was enough to cause him to stumble to the ground, allowing her to slam her door shut and peel away. I jumped up ready for him to attack me, but I honestly think he came to for a second, realized what was happening, and just took it as a defeat and started walking down the hill. I couldn't have felt more lucky.

I immediately check with the girl as she circled around to see that I was OK, as I verified with her that she was too. She had the police on the line, who decided that despite the assault taking place, because the guy had been defeated and moved on his way that they weren't going to come out. Mind-blowing. She thanked me for intervening, and drove on her way home.

I turned back to the crowd of people and immediately replied "thanks for the help guys!" They immediately dismissed their lack of involvement by complimenting my "heroics" as some of them said. I was immediately angered by this.

I didn't feel heroic. I'll be honest. I resented the woman for making me get involved. I resented the crowd for leaving me to it. I hated every second of the attention, and I felt dumb for putting myself in danger. I immediately thought of people that I saw on TV for doing "heroic" things, and thought how so often they seem incredibly humble, and realized "are they humble, or do they truly resent those that they were forced to help?" Is how I feel normal?

So why did I do it, you ask?

Because nobody else was going to.

Who knows what would have happened, or how things would have escalated. I just reacted in that moment, and did the best I could to try to do the right thing. I got lucky that it wasn't worse, but I also felt glad to know that I had that in me. That when push came to shove I would do the right thing. I then thought about how many parties like that my girlfriend goes to, with guys that she trusts, that she considers friends, and how that if that happened to her, I would HOPE someone would try to help her. I was saddened at how little the numbers supported that, and by how many people would look on and justify their lack of action by blaming the woman. They'd say things like "she shouldn't have gotten high with him, she shouldn't have led him on, she shouldn't have let him walk her to her car." The list goes on and on. And BTW, all of those things are right, and things she could have done to avoid all of that. But no matter how much people can put themselves in danger, it doesn't stop the fact that this dude was possessed, and without intervention would have committed a horrible crime on this girl without batting an eye. 

Saying that someone putting themselves in danger justifies the crime, is like saying "if you don't want to be robbed, don't live in a shitty neighborhood." While I agree with that logic to an extent, you also sometimes don't know how dangerous it is until it's too late. I now see that side of it too. 

Anyway, I drove another dude home from the party who's car never showed up. He worked in the business, and explained to me that the guy I thwarted was actually a well known celebrity's brother. I'll refer to the celebrity as "Ocean Phoenix" to maintain anonymity. He also looked like the nihilist guys from "The Big Lebowski," which made it comical at the same time. The guy told me that what I did was "heroic," in which I mocked him incessantly for, because fat men in flip flops aren't super heroes. I'm sure Kevin Smith would back me up on that.

After the whole thing went down, I was left with conflicted feelings. I didn't feel proud, or shameful. I didn't feel like what I did was right or wrong. I feel like it just was, if that makes sense.

On one hand, I felt like really did a good thing, and felt like I should be happy that I thwarted an attempted rape by Ocean Phoenix's brother. 

On the other hand, I totally felt like I missed out on a pretty sweet gang bang with Ocean Phoenix's brother.

Posted on August 4, 2014 .

CrowdFunding Herpes

 

So, spring is in full swing, and I’ve had a horrible breakout of crowd funding herpes.

Many of you that follow me on twitter may have seen that I recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for a possible vinyl re-release of my last album. We’re about 10% funded, and a bit behind schedule, but I know it’s a super-specific project, and may not be for everyone. A special thanks and shoutout to those of you that have jumped on it, and would like to see it made. I definitely think it’s cooler than a CD, and would love to get to do it.

In other crowdsourcing news, I’ve been messaged occasionally on twitter and Facebook from fans around the country asking when I’ll be in their towns. So often I have found myself asking “if there was only a way to KNOW that I’d make enough to justify doing the date before booking it.” 

As always, the internet has answered my prayers.

Enter RABBL.COM, a new LIVE GIG CROWDSOURCING site. You got it.

It’s a Kickstarter site for live shows. I can simply pick out a city, and a week of the year, and you guys can pre-order your tickets. If I hit the amount of tickets I need to sell to take the trip, the gig is “booked,” or confirmed, and the show happens. If not, the show doesn’t happen, and just like Kickstarter your money is refunded right back into your account. If the show is booked, and for some reason it doesn’t happen, you are refunded on the day the show was SUPPOSED to be.

So, as much as I’d love to throw up 52 dates tonight, we’re going to run a little test:

In the next few days, I will launch Rabbl campaigns for my two former hometowns: Minneapolis, and Philadelphia. If these campaigns are successful, I will set 52 dates for next year, and we’ll do as many shows as we possibly can in preparation for my 3rd album.

So where do you come in?

It’s simple. These shows DON’T happen unless you pre-order your tickets. Also, if you really want me to come to your town, I need your help! Share the Rabbl link with your friends, show them comedy clips or videos, and get them excited enough to commit to the show!

Also, if you live in Minneapolis or Philadelphia, comment on this blog post (either on tumblr, Facebook, or twitter) and name a local comedian that you would MOST want to see on the lineup with me. I’ll reach out to them, and see if they’re down to do it.

These are YOUR shows, so only you guys have the power to make them go.

Thanks for all of your continued support, and I hope to see you all on the road soon! 

  

 

Posted on July 11, 2014 .

Fear.

So, it's time for the weekly blog post. I'm pretty happy at my attempt to stick to regular blogging. I think we're three weeks strong now with no lapses. So give it a week or so, and I'll be right back to sleeping in instead of writing. 

I'll start this week's blog off by sharing a story from a few weeks ago: 

I live in a small apartment complex in Burbank, CA. It only has about 16 units total in it. I generally do my laundry in the common area laundry room on site, which has a couple washers and dryers. I may be 1 of 3 of the tenants that actually use the common area laundry vs. having purchased my own in unit w/d setup.  

Generally, there isn't much overlap over using the machines. In order to do my best to avoid overlaps, I usually reserve my laundry times for late at night when everyone is asleep, or during the day while most people are working traditional 9-5 schedules. 

Last week, I was doing several loads late at night. I was doing sheets, towels, clothing; you name it. One of the machines broke mid-wash, so I had to dry it several cycles to get it dry. We loaded a 2nd dry cycle up, and headed out to grab a late night bite to eat.  

When I came back, I had found my wet clothing taken out and set in my basket on the floor, as well as my wet towels taken out of the machine and put in one of the dryers, while someone else's laundry was drying in the dryer my clothes were in. Noticing there were only 5 minutes left on the dry cycle, I waited to see who it was that had the audacity to touch a stranger's clothes.

Neda and I sat there chatting for a bit before a portly young dude came walking down to the laundry room. It's connected to our garage, so it's a relatively long walk to get to the laundry room. His face knew immediately that we were waiting for him, despite his attempts to play off his total fear.
 
When I confronted him about touching my laundry, he asked dumb questions, lied, and avoided answering my most direct question of "what the fuck makes you think it's ok to just take someone's wet shit out, and place it on the ground?" His reply was simply "well, you were taking too long, so I (basically made a choice)" To which I replied "what if your choice got your ass kicked in the middle of the night?" To which he replied, "wow, really?" 

Neda, ensuring clearer heads prevailed told him to get his shit and get upstairs, to which I added "before your pussy mumbling further pisses me off and this shit gets ugly," again to which he replied "really?!"

Now perhaps I overreacted a little bit, but it honestly felt like an invasion of privacy. To have a stranger touch your belongings, let alone your laundry filled with your underwear, as well as your girlfriend's felt intrusive. Not to mention, the balls it took to just do it. 

This whole thing (and wow this is long, so thanks for reading) led to a discussion between Neda and I about how our society lacks the certain amount of fear that existed back when we were younger. When we were younger, there were things you just didn't do to maintain your safety. You knew, that if you overstepped certain lines, or put your nose where it didn't belong, you were potentially putting yourself in danger.  

That world is long gone. I think because we coddle our population so much. Imagine this: People's feelings getting hurt over things someone said (when I grew up it was "sticks and stones, right?") lead to public, video-apologies to the nation. Many comedians discuss it in their act, but we quite literally live in a world of pussies.  

I think fear is healthy and necessary to govern our society. I remember growing up in Philadelphia, the "big kids" were older kids you just didn't fuck with. They smoked, they cursed, and if you chose to interact with them, you were risking your life. So we just didn't. It probably wasn't THAT serious, but it didn't matter. We just steered clear. 

Our whole entire law enforcement and judicial system is based on fear. Fear of getting caught, fear of the consequences. Naive people would tell you that most people don't steal because they know it's wrong, but I truly believe that's bullshit. Most people don't steal, or commit other crimes because of the consequences if they get caught.  

Dov Davidoff had a great joke on his album about judging people being healthy. I couldn't agree more. Yeah the dude with a knife is probably fucking dangerous, so how 'bout ya don't assume the best and think he's just a chef.

Anyone that thinks judgement is negative is right, but it's also a necessary evil. One of our female comedian friends was recently telling us about how intimidating it is to be in a room full of horny male comedians, and how she feels like a piece of meat, and at times could be raped at any moment. While the shoe definitely fits (I can't think of a more rapey group of entertainers), I compared it to the concept of being a white person in a room of black people, and being afraid. We all agreed this was judgemental to assume, but not ridiculous. The point was, don't allow your agenda of being politically correct to put you in situations that make you uncomfortable.  

Now I for one think that intentionally putting yourself in these positions of discomfort and learning to tackle your fears is a great character building exercise, but it's amazing to me how much there is a different standard between the two examples. If a white person said "I'm terrified in a room of black people, because of the stereotypes," we would call that person's views racist and out-dated. However, if a woman stood in a room full of male comedians and said "I'm terrified of men because they rape people sometimes," we would totally endorse that as normal precautious behavior.

So which one is right? The answer is both. Here in America, I want you to be afraid. Be afraid of whatever scares you. That's your right. Fear is healthy. To not be afraid of anything is to be fucking crazy. That's far more dangerous than being afraid of everything. Be open and honest about your fears. Don't be full of shit. Perhaps addressing these fears in the moment is the best way to make progress. Maybe avoiding the things you're afraid of is the best way. I'm not here to tell you which one to pick. I'm just asking you to understand there isn't a difference.  All fears are irrational, because they're almost all based on assumptions.

There are plenty of things to be afraid of in this world, and one of them is DEFINITELY getting your ass kicked if you touch my fucking laundry. 

Posted on May 14, 2014 .

Surviving Anonymously

Ugh. It’s been way too long since my last confession. 

I’m going to try to update the blog regularly, hopefully give you guys something entertaining to read, and keep you abreast of what’s been going on.

It’s been a busy winter thus far, and hopefully shaping up to be an even busier summer. Let’s recap 2014 so far, shall we?

So far this year, I’ve embarked on a rather uphill lawsuit battle involving my last employer. Sometimes in life you try to do the right thing, and people try to make it difficult for you along the way. Usually it’s easier to just give up, or to look out for yourself instead of the rights and needs of others, and companies bet on that. I’m not doing it in this case. There are too many people effected by the case for me to do that. I look forward to the day that I can divulge more to you guys, but that day is not today. Just know that amidst this ALL IN approach to my entertainment career, I have a quiet storm brewing behind the scenes that very much could affect us all in the future.

There’s been some positive things to date though as well, so lets get in to that. In the beginning of the year, I set out to start a production company with my buddy Chris Raab (also known as Raab Himself) to start making some great film projects. Chris recently finished his short film “Borrowed Happiness,” and despite the fact that we both grew up in DelCo, PA - we also see eye to eye on making great projects. My first contribution, entitled “Survivors Anonymous,” will be out in the coming weeks.

SA is something that my girlfriend concocted one late night while watching a procedural on TV about rape victims. I penned it around Christmas, and we were lucky enough to put together a great cast and shoot it last month. After putting myself through a film editing school recap over the past weeks, we should have this thing out and looking great.  We partnered with my buds Luke Allein & Erik Boccio over at Weirdfellas productions, and Erik shot the shit out of this thing. It looks like we made fight club into a porno without the fucking and a funny script. So, like a Cinemax movie directed by David Fincher, without the Reznor/Ross score? Ok, enough film analogies.

Kidding aside, I have really fallen in love with the project of film making. I’ve been pounding the pavement with writing over the past year: knocking out two developmental pilots with my management group, developing my own series, and knocking out some shorts and starting on some features. SA was my first time taking an idea, and seeing it through from script, to production, to shoot, to post, to completion. If you would have told me when I was 13 that I’d make a movie someday, it would have seemed like this complex impossible idea, but here we are, and it’s pretty exciting. 

Stand Up, let’s not forget, is where this thing all began. Hopefully there is a late night appearance in the near future, as I feel like that’s something I’m finally ready for. It’s hard to say what makes one feel ready for that moment, but it just feels right. A lot of comics say “I killed,” or “I murdered,” or whatever after sets, and it’s fun inside baseball to shit on that, but I don’t really need to announce that. Anyone that has seen me over the last month will tell you that my performances are at an all time high when it comes to consistency and delivery. I feel as though I’m batting .600 behind the mic these days, and I’m excited to keep building on that. 

It wouldn’t be an update without a mention on two guys that have brought me into their world, and really made me feel valued creatively - that goes to Max Decker @ CM Studios (also Penguin & Elephant Productions) and my new manager that he introduced me to in Carl Rumbaugh. Ever since the first meeting, I feel like I’m in the right place with people that get/appreciate my humor and are behind my ideas (even the shitty ones). I’m excited to repay their faith and investment in me, and it has motivated me to keep churning out great work. 

Can’t be afraid to kill your babies. Matt Peek said that to me the other day. If you don’t know who that is, your stomach and your filmmaking dreams will be served well by a google search. Matt’s like the Yoda of screenwriting and crab cakes - and not necessarily in that order. 

None of this would matter without you guys, the fans, the friends, and the family that make up this “audience,” that I write to. I hope to repay you guys with some fun shows this summer! See you guys out there!

Posted on April 30, 2014 .

comedycentral: Tonight’s new Jeselnik Offensive features guests Natasha Leggero and Jason Mantzoukas. In the meantime, click the gif to watch Anthony play Search and Destroy with members of the audience. That guy looks familiar.

comedycentral:

Tonight’s new Jeselnik Offensive features guests Natasha Leggero and Jason Mantzoukas.

In the meantime, click the gif to watch Anthony play Search and Destroy with members of the audience.

That guy looks familiar.

Posted on February 12, 2014 .

Racy

I’m working on writing new material this year, in hopes of releasing my third album sometime in the next 18 months. My last album “Social Hand Grenades,” which is available on EVERYTHING has done well to this point, but like most artists, I’m always looking to show growth and range with each release.

To gain perspective on what my fans want, I usually try to find any reviews or feedback out there on my other releases. Most of you may not know this, but for most of the last 10 years, I’ve held corporate day jobs, even some at very high levels, in addition to doing comedy. I’ve been conditioned to truly give a shit about my audience and fan base, or rather my customer feedback, because I just can’t turn off my capitalist brain when it comes to my art.

In reading reviews and feedback, there generally seems to be two camps, split about 80/20. 80% seem to think it’s all very great, and 20% can’t seem to get over the way I tackle racial subject matter. Even some of my closest comedian friends sometimes have a hard time putting aside their discomfort to see the funny, so I wanted to speak on it today while it’s front of mind.

Firstly, it’s not changing. Let’s get that clear, right from the start. My brain has always worked this way. I’ve always seen the comedy in what separates us racially, as well as sexually, and intellectually. That probably comes from growing up in an old school, east coast Irish family, who was MOST DEFINITELY racist, homophobic, and closed minded.

I remember as a kid, shortly after my parents divorced, one of my mom’s first new suitors was a black dude named James Briscoe. The concept of an interracial relationship was something new to me, as it was everyone at the time, around 1991/1992.

My father had voiced his distaste for the situation, but would make his case about it directly, and often times inaccurately, utilizing common stereotypes to support his beliefs. They weren’t all accurate to say the least. James himself was a total early 90’s guy, but you’d probably find him listening to Pearl Jam rather than Public Enemy. He defied all stereotypes. He worked his ass off, supported his son from his previous relationship, and welcomed me into his family with open arms, as if I was a son of his own. My fathers assumptions DID however carry weight in James family though, including such classics as “glazed ham instead of turkey on thanksgiving,” plastic covered couches, and Sunday baptist church that more resembled An amateur singing competition/Zulu nation fashion show.

When these things happened, I found myself laughing hysterically, and thinking “they know white people think this is all that it is, so why do they do it?”

I was 8 at the time, to keep it in perspective.

I also remember going to school with James’ family in small town Delaware for a bit, before moving back to Philadelphia after my parents divorced. I remember socializing with my step cousin Shawnetta, and talking about how we spent our weekends.

How the other white kids responded, I’ll never forget. Despite their words being neutral, safe, or even supportive, their faces showed an obvious disgust for the situation. They avoided us, and would ask ignorant questions. Despite my father’s direct approach, I actually found the passive aggressive “fake” support to be more uncomfortable for me. I truly felt better hearing my dad use the N word, than seeing my teachers and peers openly support it to my face, only to share their distaste for it behind closed doors where they didn’t think I could hear it or see it.

It was truly my 1 on 1 time with James that prevented me from simply absorbing my dad’s family’s perspective on black culture. James was the only guy to still visit me after he split with my mom. Even my dad would refer to him as “one of the good ones.” Which is still kind of a shitty way to refer to a guy that at the end of the day, was a great person. Or rather, at least trying to be.

I’ve fought my dad over his racist comments and statements over the years, until I was blue in the face. He will be 73 this year, and he isn’t changing anytime soon. He’s also not wrong, in anything he says.

We all have perspective growing up, that shapes our lives. James shaped my perspective on black people, just as the bullies who kicked my dad’s ass on his way home from school during the civil rights era shaped his. He’s not a dumb, or ignorant man. Rather someone’s who’s hatred for a group of people was cultivated and earned by experiencing a lifetime of violent black culture, lived throughout his childhood, and continuously perpetuated by the Philadelphia news in the last 50 years.

All of this made me feel two things growing up: that racism will NEVER go away, and that we are ALL equally responsible for making change.

I think we all have to play our part. We all have to be open minded and more tolerant, but we also have a responsibility to our own respective races to police that stereotypical behavior that prevents us from making progress. My jokes about black people don’t come from my dad’s perspective, but rather from my experience with people like James, and many of my other black friends and their frustration with those that behave in a way that perpetuate stereotypes. Until we can appreciate the efforts from both sides, it will always be unbalanced, and that will always lead to hate.

Knowing that racism would never go away has always given me an appreciation for the lesser of two evils: the more direct approach.

I do a bit in my act that I recently dissected on a podcast where I compare homosexuality to pedophilia. On the surface, it’s absurd to compare the two, but beneath that, I explained that I’m only attempting to show the faux acceptance around homosexuality. You can watch movies from the last 10 years where the word faggot is thrown around as a term of disgust. To believe that we’ve become more accepting overnight is ignorant. I don’t have ostrich syndrome, and even though the media likes to cover how much we’ve grown to accept it, I know that most people feel the same way they did 20 years ago. They just express it like those white kids in my class back when I was young. For all we know, the laws around pedophilia may change in the next 20 years, but there will still be people that will never be right with it. They’ll support it in public, just like gay marriage, and they’ll be full of shit.

I think the real evil in the world comes from our willingness to accept the answer we want to hear, and not be willing to dig deeper. To hear things like “I hate racism, and I love gay people” and take people at their words rather than their action is a terrifying concept to me.

In my comedy, when taking on characters of ignorance, my hope is to shed light on how full of shit many of us are, and hopefully send people from my shows with a newfound sense of action: to live that change, rather than pretend it’s already happened.

I hope I can make it funny along the way. If not, I’ll assume you’re probably some black fag that never graduated high school, is on welfare, and can’t stop sucking dicks long enough to really hear what I’m saying.

Posted on January 13, 2014 .