• Things I learned moving

    Posted by on October 20, 2017

    1. I had no idea I had this many shirts.  I also, until I tried several on, no idea how small I used to be or large I am now.  It was the most depressing thing I’ve done in five years.
    2. I realized we have used about 15% of the crap in our kitchen.  That’s it.  Let’s face it, you use the same bowls and plates, every once in a while a pan, skillet or cooking tray and that’s it.  I have woks, odd pots, lids that don’t match anything and enough glassware to open a retail store.
    3. Don’t move anything until your wife approves.  Found that out after thinking the Christmas decorations should go in the attic – turns out the shed is the correct answer!  (Back throbs with regret)
    4. I’ve been playing a fun game of where in the hell is my stuff?  The other day I finally found my shoes in the bottom of a huge trash bag.  I pulled out each one and it took me 15 tries to find the right ones.  I did however find my wife’s magnifying mirror and realized I have the eyebrows of a 60 year old Greek man.  I have eyebrows where none should be.  Time to throw away the magnifying mirror or just accept I am undergoing the slowest werewolf transition in history, real or imagined.
  • Where have you been my whole life, fancy grocery store?

    Posted by on October 16, 2017

    The Coen family moved into a new home this weekend.  It was awful and terrible and there was weeping and gnashing of teeth.  I’ll save that for another blog, but if you’ve ever moved a piano you know hasn’t been played since 1943, you know how bad moving sucks.

    No, let’s focus on the positives, because I am a ray of sunshine in the fog of life.  Oh wait, I’m the fog, but anyhoo, I did find something amazing.  The rich people grocery store.  Well, it’s mostly a regular grocery, but it’s a marketplace one.  I walked in, grumpy and seeking to avoid eye contact like normal.  All of the sudden I realized this nicer part of town had a fancy schmancy grocery store.  THEY HAVE A CANDY STATION!  Oh man!  THE LUNCH MEAT IS PRE-SLICED AND YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO TALK TO PEOPLE TO GET DELI MEATS AND OH BY THE WAY, THEY SPELL OUT DELICATESSEN, NOT JUST THE WORD DELI!  Oh glory be!  No human contact!  THEY HAVE SEVEN SOUPS!  Not just an old veggie soup with pond scum on top like normie grocery stores!

    It got even better, they had a new salad dressing made from Avocados, Snickerdoodle Hummus, and more!  I don’t even know what this crap is!  I was skipping along, pushing my cart.  Cleaning supplies?  Meh!  I’m rich now!  Those are for poor people.  Everything I touch is clean now!  Finally, I rounded the corner and found A BAR.  IN THE STORE.  Well, I’m squatting here.  Hell with the new house, it’s time to live at Giant Eagle Market District.  I’m going to the nut crusher/custom nut butter stand and making Cashew peanut butter while I’m waiting on the bartender to change to fresh keg.  That old keg is like four minutes old.  I just have to stay away from the Busch Light dirty 30 pack or they’ll sniff me out and boot me out faster than that time I got kicked out of a party for cannonballing the hot tub.

    *UPDATE – I saw my receipt.  I’m going back to the poor people grocery store Saturday.  🙁

  • Comedy coaching at the Last Realtor (Head)Standing

    Posted by on October 10, 2017

    Monday night, I had a show at the Columbus Funny Bone called the Last Realtor Standing, where five realtors get paired up with comedians to try comedy for the first time.  A series of emails went around culminating in me getting matched up and arranging a meeting with my protege.  I ended up meeting him at a dive bar, when I walked in, he was eating pizza and drinking at 4 pm.  It was like staring into the future.  I was happy because he had done a ton of writing already, so I was able to pare down the material and organize it.  There were a lot of references to body parts and functions away we went, organizing, cutting and crafting an ideal set.  After an hour, I felt pretty good with his jokes.

    I then focused on stage presence, timing, making a cheat sheet for the stage and practice, practice, practice.  I think the number one most underrated part of comedy is preparation.  If you don’t know your material, it doesn’t matter what do onstage, you’ll sound unprepared.  I checked in to make sure on gameday and he sent me a list, which was waaaaayyyyy different that the set we talked about.  Oh well, nothing to do now!

    The show went well for all and we were closing.  I brought him up with a crack about were and how we met and he took the stage.  He brought up a bucket (it was never used, not sure where that fit in) and went totally off-script.  He had a woman in the front monitor his time and asked her to flash him when his time was up and kept checking with her until she stood up and fake flashed him.  The crowd loved it.  He actually had really good timing and stage presence, although I had literally no idea what he was going to talk about.  He mentioned a white sheet (crowd gasps) that lead a story about him trying to scare the horses on his farm and getting kicked in the head (that’s why we got matched up, I see).  Horses don’t like Casper.  Then he did a series of jokes referring to his package.  After a series of crowd work jokes, he then ultimately did a head stand (he’s probably 20 years my senior) and ripped his shirt off, whipping it into the crowd, exiting the stage shirtless to raucous applause.

    I had to follow the shirt removal, but it went very well and then we had a grand clap off.  He sealed it when he repeated the head stand and clapped with his feet for himself.  We were champions…or something.

    Still a better prize than most comedy competitions

    So I had coached a winner, who did exactly one joke that we talked about (as a throwaway line).  The lesson, apparently, is to do exactly the opposite of what I say and you will win.  I saw my student from two years ago also and she congratulated me – I wanted to tell her she should have done a headstand and fired her top into the crowd, but alas, it was two years too late.  Well, maybe I’m not the greatest coach, but I am a winner, thanks to Bill Briggs and I’ll have this toilet seat picture for all times, just like I dreamed about as a young boy.  Great job, Bill, you are the Last Realtor Standing, aka the shit, and I’m working on headstands now for my new closer.

  • Concert review from grumpy metalhead: Ed Sheeran

    Posted by on October 5, 2017

    It just so happened that I had another concert gift for my wife that hit again this week: Ed Sheeran.  We decided to Uber instead of drive and holy Toledo, was that much better than driving and paying for parking and screaming obscenities at strangers (at least from the car).  James Blunt was the opener and I knew one song of his, which I don’t really care for, but he was up to it and put on a good show with a lot of energy.  I still can’t name any of his songs except that one I mentioned earlier.

    The real show began between the acts.  Some young guy, a lanky, goofy bastard, sat down next to me and stomped when he laughed.  He laughed a lot.  I planned on punching him, until I heard the guy behind me.  Some upper 40’s loudmouth saying things like, “Well, I slept with her and it was fine, but I didn’t see it progressing.”  He was telling another woman this.  Smooth.  At one point, he said to her, “I really didn’t see myself marrying her.”  I leaned over to my wife and said, “She probably didn’t see herself marrying him either.”  I think he heard me, because he shut up, which is what I had hoped for.  Then across the aisle, some young girl got up over 9 times, I noticed because she was squirming through the railing that said not to lean on it.  She wasn’t drinking, so I can only guess she had early onset restless leg or the runs.  Turns out she was trying to sneak a friend down close and got busted.

    Ed Sheeran came out, and to my surprise, he played the whole concert alone, save one song, all on guitar.  He was looping riffs on his foot pedal and was quite impressive, especially overcoming his disability – being a ginger, that is.  I knew about six of his songs because my lady played a lot of his stuff to help our daughter sleep.  Between him and James Blunt being British, I understood about 1/3rd of their dialogue between songs, but I had a $10 Bud Light, so I really didn’t care about anything other than trying to figure out how to get in on that racket.  He did play “I See Fire” from the Hobbit movie, so I was satisfied and in the mood to fight a dragon, but alas, none appeared.  Back to my extra fancy Bud Light, but I’m watching for you, Smaug.

  • Comedy benefit shows

    Posted by on October 2, 2017

    One thing every comedian will get asked to do at some point of doing stand-up is a benefit show.  It’s a great way to raise money for causes.  I’ve done them to help pay for essential surgeries or medical care, to raise money for good causes and even once a small cancer benefit with young children there.  Never again to the last one.  Being told there are teens there, no problem.  Finding out there are six year olds?  No thanks.  I can do long clean sets, but kids not only raise that bar, you realize they won’t get any of your references even if you step around sex, alcohol, drugs or any remotely adult issue.

    The set up is a bit odd on the face also, as it’s usually a serious topic.  The one I did last week raised money for research into a specific genetic condition and the main organizer spoke like she was an NPR host forced to talk during nap time at a kindergarten.  Very nice, but no future as a hype man.  The other fun thing is that some people are really uptight, since they are there only to support the cause and not look rude for leaving as soon as the comics start talking.

    It does make you feel good, though, knowing your very moving DUI joke may have in some small way helped out a cause.  I must admit, I did turn down one benefit for sure.  I was asked almost ten years ago to do a benefit in Cambridge, Ohio, about 2 hours straight east of where I lived.  “What’s the cause?”  “To help raise gas money for this couple so they can drive to D.C. and protest the War in Iraq.”  Nah, I’m good.  Hell, if they make it to Cambridge, they’re like 1/4 of the way there already and I don’t need to use 9 gallons of gas myself in the process.

  • Don’t kneel on me: Protests and patriotism and a dose of STFU

    Posted by on September 27, 2017

    If you’re coming to a comedy blog for how we got here, you’re probably not doing as bad as some sites I guess.  A player named Colin Kaepernick sat, then knelt for the National Anthem last year to raise awareness/protest the shootings/violence by cops against the black community.  It began to spread slowly, the media got rock hard over it because they got ratings and then Trump decided to pour mouth gas on the fire and now everyone is either a secret racist or hates America.  Make sense?  Probably not.

    I’ll keep it to some bullet points (mostly) to keep this from being a seven page thesis.

    Trump can’t make the NFL players stand up.  If you think he can, you’re either a Trumpophile that thinks he can do anything or someone that hovers over leftist conspiracy blog sites.

    If you have never watched an entire NFL game, please don’t make yourself look stupid talking about how cool football is now.  Trust me, the NFL doesn’t benefit by scrapping all their blue collar die-hard lifers to get the green tea sipping hippie demographic that watched the Super Bowl once ironically.

    If you think freedom of speech applies everywhere in all situations, start screaming at your job tomorrow about abortion one way or another and see what your boss or HR thinks about your freedom of speech.  Also, read the Bill of Rights.  It’s not very long.  Oh, and be sure to consider that the NFL doesn’t allow players to wear different shoes or longer towels than the standards.  I’ve been in an NFL locker room.  They have rules and even, no kidding, pictures of what they have to wear.  Rules about how they have to act.  They prevent players from wearing non-sanctioned messages; even against domestic violence or helmet stickers after the five cops were shot last year in Dallas.

    If you think protests are dumb, don’t think your NFL boycott is going to matter.  Protest the protest!  Actually, neither is doing much right now except pissing off the other side.  At this point, they’re in too deep and this protest last week was more about Trump’s comments than police controversy.

    If you suddenly care about how to treat the flag, but support burning it, you’re an ass.  A hypocritical ass, at that.  Don’t act like you’re offended by a guy wearing a flag shirt when you like burning the actual flag.

    The Steelers staying in the locker room is probably the smartest thing they could have done – avoid pissing off patriotic fans, don’t have some standing and others kneeling…and they still got killed for it.  Also, of course Alejandro Villanueva should have stood, he’s a former Army Ranger.  He also shouldn’t have had to apologize for it.  If you support kneeling, you should support standing.  It deflated me to hear him have to backtrack after being the only one standing, no matter why he did.

    ESPN personalities can take their opinions and shove them – Jemele Hill basically calling out Dez Bryant a few weeks ago is a serious overreach for someone in her position, whatever you think about Dez or her.  It’s his choice what he wants or feels like he has to do.  (Look it up, I’m not linking to it.)

    Trump didn’t help anything.  He riled up a base…and lit this whole thing ablaze, especially after getting down in the mud on the Warriors visiting the White House.  If you think athletes should shut up about politics, you should think Trump has more important shit to worry about other than Tweeting about sports.

    Here’s one that really pissed me off.  I saw a couple pals on Facebook said when vets kneel, it will blow up the whole narrative that kneeling offends vets.  Guess what?  Some vets support the right to kneel during the anthem and others are offended.  Vets, like every other group of individuals are different.  I know a lot of vets that are offended, angry and hurt by the kneeling.  Should we tell them they are wrong?  One vet condemning the action or supporting should be weighed out, but clearly both sides in the veteran world are valid and don’t then invalidate each other.  No one person speaks for everyone period.

    The issue of police violence towards the black community is very serious.  Once again, I’m tired of all police and all black people being lumped in to one uniform group.  I also think each case has its own facts.  The Philando Castile shooting was way different than Michael Brown.  I have no idea why there wasn’t a conviction in some of the cases; in others I have no idea how there was enough to even charge, but I largely feel I can’t comment on a trial and someone’s death by reading an article here or there.  Also, I have heard a lot of people say, “There’s far more violence against black people from other black people than from cops.”  This is a fact, as it is of any group for that matter, but there is a higher standard, a sacred trust given to authority to be better, so it does matter when things happen.  Thomas Jefferson said it was better for nine guilty men to go free than one innocent man to be convicted.  Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter to the victims who are dead.  We need to have higher standards – no one supports shootings and killings from any group outside of rank psychopaths.

    I think sometimes we get caught up in how to get there.  I hear anger and frustration from all sides, but not really any solutions. Most are probably a little right and a little (or a lot) wrong and some have hidden agendas, whether racism or exploiting death for personal power or monetary gain.  I don’t have the answers, but blanket blaming an entire group isn’t solving anything, it’s making it worse.  My two year old daughter has a song she likes where the kids are walking in a jungle and they yell, STOP!  LISTEN!  Maybe we should take their advice and I think this country would be a lot farther along on this and a lot of other issues.

    I support anyone’s right to be heard, no matter how damn stupid or annoying they are.  I think there is a tremendous amount of passion on this also.  I just don’t support the manner in which it is being done.  Yes, lives are more important than a flag, but it’s not that basic and deep down I think most know that.  I went to Washington, D.C. with my parents nine years ago.  My dad said he wanted to view the Vietnam War memorial on his own.  He found the names he was looking for and I can tell you, I didn’t look long.  What I saw from him shook me to the core and it wasn’t just him and it wasn’t just at that war memorial.  You can make your snarky posts about patriotism.  You can question this war and that one, I agree most war is senseless and we have sent a lot of fine men to their graves for political causes.  This moment in our culture, the playing of National Anthem, even if it’s been pumped up by the Department of Defense as a recruiting tool, means something to a lot of people.  (You should also be riled up by the fact the NFL doesn’t actually give any money for breast cancer also – both are largely for optics.)  I have seen two family members pass away from cancer related to Agent Orange and it was devastating.  I have heard and seen the legacy of war on a man, in friends and family.  I don’t attack an athlete for the cause or the protest; I just hate the moment it’s done in.  And if you don’t see it that way, that’s your opinion, but I have one too.  I would rather see actual action over symbolism – now a congresswoman is kneeling?  Do your damn job and quit pandering.

    I have only one more thing on this and I realize some reading will disagree with me vehemently on several points, but I refuse to compromise on one.  If you choose to use this moment not to bolster the cause you strongly believe in and use it to mock our veterans and to a lesser degree the pride that some of us feel, quite frankly, you can go and fuck yourself sideways.

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