I was reminded of a story at my show Friday (Rehab Tavern, third Friday of every month, free to all). The show went well, crowd was very attentive, and great sets from Bobby, Walta, Lindsey and Dan. Dan asked me how long the show had been going, which reminded me for about two years, it was an open mic night on Mondays, which had its ups and downs. Open mics are very random, usually on slower nights, so to make the show more productive for all, I added a small powwow before in the form of a comedy workshop. We bounced jokes ideas and occasionally I would see the joke done live, then was asked for feedback afterwards.
One of these times, I saw a guy who I had never seen before. He was late, but went up onstage and did his set. His first joke was about his wife and kids. His second was all the booty calls from randos and both jokes were heavy with the word bitch and other such non-flattering terms for women. He didn’t do very well, even by open mic Monday crowd standards, which is saying a lot.
After, I approached him and suggested he would be wise not to mention the fact he’s married with kids, then talk about hooking up with other women. “I’m not even married, it’s just part of the joke.” Well, still, then you should definitely not say that, it’s not important to the joke and all the women and most of the men in here don’t like that joke. “Man, I have freedom of speech. I can do what I want.” (Oh great, another high school dropout comic/Constitutional scholar) You’re right, I’m not saying you can’t, I’m just telling you that you will eat shit onstage and most of the people here hate your guts. You can do whatever you want, I’m just offering advice. “How long have you been doing comedy?” Longer than you. “I’m going to keep doing that joke.” OK, enjoy it. When you figure out it’s not working, let me know.
I never saw him again.
So if you hear a comic talking about his family, then cheating on his wife – it’s not real, but it’s also not remotely funny, but don’t worry – you’re watching a true freedom fighter up there. Get his name, because I forgot it right after the show.
Well, after a 5 week run of having two kids, I’m officially able to say having two kids is somewhat more challenging than having one. I know, I forgot to add a trigger warning or disclaimer, I’m just throwing it all out there. Here’s some things I’ve learned.
I want all hostage negotiators and bomb technicians to be family people. Sure, they may be sleep deprived, but anyone that can handle two crying children can handle something easy, like an explosive. Try changing a diaper with one hand while you keep a toddler from jumping off the bed onto the dog with the other.
Sleep when you can! My wife is nursing, so she has worse than anyone, since newborns wake up every couple hours to eat, but she doesn’t nap often during the day because she wants to “pay bills” and “clean the house” and “eat.” SLEEP. Last night everyone fell asleep and I was reading one of those unsolved murder pop-ups on my phone (I’m addicted, please send help) when I came to an epiphany. SLEEP STUPID. So I went to sleep. My daughter woke up at 3 am and wanted milk and stories, so I’m glad I went to bed early. Probably shouldn’t have read her the unsolved murder stories, but I didn’t screw up the milk.
YOU WILL ALWAYS FORGET SOMETHING AT THE GROCERY NOW. JUST LIVE WITH IT.
Use the skills you have with kid #1 on kid #2. I now am able to survive because of skills perfected with my daughter. Example – I had never changed a diaper before her, but I am proficient now. The other morning I was changing my son’s and observed he had not pooped. I quickly changed him in under 20 seconds and the second I applied the tape, I had a guttural rumbling and wet explosive blast. Had I been three seconds slower, I would have been covered in semi-solid waste. Side note: It’s amazing how loud a newborn can fart/crap.
Not sure there is much worse than a wet blanket. “What’s that, Chris?” I’ll give you an example. On my Facebook comedy page (@chriscoencomedy, like away), I posted a simple line – “How do you drink at work? Asking for myself.” You see, most people say “Asking for a friend!” and they mean themselves. So I flipped it, right? Hahahahahaha. Sigh. Well, it got a lot of responses, more than any other goofy post I’ve ever put up. Then I saw the update, “This conversation is incredibly stupid.” Well, it is a comedy page, so yes, it’s not discussing liberty vs. security, astrophysics or even a nice healthy recipe for squash soup. It’s a joke about me trying to find out how to drink at work (seriously, click the contact link and let me know – don’t read this, work people).
I have never seen this, though, like I saw recently on a comedy show promo my pal put up (I won’t name names to avoid any unnecessary drama for all parties). The show is a cool idea, it’s the “Founders” of Columbus Comedy. Basically all the comics who helped start and/or run open mics and booked shows before the scene grew up into its current form. I started in 2007 and everyone on the show was seasoned vet then, so I thought it was a cool idea. Oh by the way, everyone on the show is a white guy. BUM BUM BUM!!!!! (Dramatic music in background).
Why does that matter? Well, apparently it started a multiple person wet blanket fest in the comments section because people started posting about how white and male the show was and how horrific and terrible this was and oh God, the humanity. Never mind that 1) one of the hosts is a female, 2) two of the female comics that could have been on the show can’t make it due to distance or circumstances beyond their control, 3) no one on the peanut gallery thread was around then to see who was left off the show or had any suggestions as to who should have been on the show, 4) probably supports no actual shows now or did then – there’s diversity on nearly every single show in Columbus and boy oh day there’s a shitpot ton of different shows in town now and 5) who gives a red shit, either go or don’t. I heard another performer say once to me, “The show was great, it was very diverse!” I said, “Oh, so it went well? Funny show?” “Oh no, but very diverse!” Maybe I’m wired differently, but I can watch a show with all gay or all straight performers, all minority or all white, female only or all males or hell, one of each sub group you can name…and I only care if it makes me laugh.
I book a show monthly and in honesty, I try to book different people on the show. Why? I never know what the crowd will be. I’ve had comics in college and middle aged comics. Parents and people that couldn’t take care of a cactus. I’ve had every race, sex, sexual orientation and gender booked, because it’s smart business. If I’m booking a show called “Laughing Ladies” for example, though, I’m not putting guys on it. It just so happens that the open mics and shows that were running were run by these guys; the ones that weren’t were run by people who are not available, have moved or quit comedy altogether. The irony is that the same venue, Backstage Bistro at Shadowbox Live supports shows not only diverse in character, but diverse in nature, from stand-up to improv to sketch.
Thanks to the comments pissing me off and my refusal to engage them on someone else’s page out of respect, I will do something I don’t do often or maybe ever, I’m promoting a show on my website I have absolutely nothing to do with and by proxy, all the shows that day of the week. http://www.shadowboxlive.org/shows/tuesdays Find one you like! I wonder if these wet blankets enjoy anything. “Here’s a steak?” “Um, is this organic grass fed beef?” “Happy Birthday!” “Ugh, is that what you bought me? I don’t like yellow.” I wonder if these idiots ask the demographic composition of their favorite restaurant when they sit down to eat. OF COURSE THEY DON’T I’M BEING FACETIOUS. It’s Friday, party poopers. Take some Ex-Lax for that constipation and quit dropping comments on people’s comedy show promos.
Well, it finally happened, my wife left the house this weekend for the first time with only dad to watch the little ones. For those without children, I’ll explain the layout. I have a two and a half year old that is currently into 1) jumping on every piece of furniture, including the ottoman with casters 2) slime that can we wiped, rubbed or stuffed anywhere – thanks Target $1 section and 3) climbing things, like the cat condo, bed frames and even her brother’s crib.
Sounds dangerous, well much like Odysseus had to choose the perils of Scylla and Charybdis, my other option was my newborn son. We are breastfeeding, so he eats every two hours. That’s starting from the start time, also, so basically every 90 minutes, he needs to eat or the crap is in the ol’ fan and last check, dad didn’t have any milk (although another few bad weeks of eating and the breasts might show up).
She left to run some errands, probably with her head out the window like a dog riding for the first time alone and free. About seven seconds after she accelerated from the driveway, my son began to cry. I paced, I bounced and I switched hands. I tried to sing, but not surprisingly made it worse – my kid doesn’t like my version of Wasted Years, apparently. I went upstairs and downstairs and finally had a workable level of anger from him.
On cue, my daughter finally tired of smearing slime into the carpet and came crashing down the hall like an adorable rhino. She scaled the crib and yelled “Watch animals!” This means watch the program on Netflix with animals. Of course, on the kids channel, that’s literally all 400 options. Plus, to save a buck, we put a really slow processing TV we bought off a guy online in the kids’ room, so it takes about 35 seconds to load a Netfilx choice. “This animal show, peanut?” Silence. Thank God, I guessed right. Click button to select. “Different one! Different one! No this one! NO THIS ONE!” “OK, OK, OK, I’ll pick another one!” Repeat for 12 selections, while brother, now roused from his semi-sleep from the yelling begins to fuss.
I was sure it had been four days at that point, but it turns out it was 50 minutes when she pulled back in. I was sweating, my son was sweating, my daughter was jumping on the crib, and I am sure the dog was planning something also. Now I know why moms gets maternity leave and dads get their asses back to work. If I read a story about a science lab making it where men can give milk, I’m blowing it up.
I’m not the most sage or sober minded blogger, but I have learned in my years to avoid jumping to quick conclusions. I refuse to comment on most political bombshells because I have thick coat of skepticism about every story or motive anymore, but here’s what I’ve learned will stop mass shootings in schools.
Ban certain video games/movies. Ban the AR-15. Ban assault weapons. Ban bump stocks. Arm teachers. Put armed guards in uniform in every school. Put undercover guards in every school. Put Jesus in school. Rebuild American families. Get dads to raise their sons. Help America find morality. Metal detectors. Advanced trauma treatment training for students and teachers. Lock down all schools. Ban the NRA. Ban the NRA’s discounters. Kill the NRA and send message (yes, I saw this). Arm everyone. Help boys without dads. More background checks. More efficient background checks. Waiting periods. Age restrictions. No background checks, but a new system. Mentally ill gun ban. Seem like a mixed bag? That’s literally what I’ve seen people post, from rabid gun owners to people that pee when they see guns. Parents to non-parents. Libs and progressives to conservatives and libertarians.
Did I miss any? Oh, and the other key – anyone who doesn’t agree with your singular solution is an idiot and/or wants children to die. In other words, if you think banning AR-15’s is not the route, that whole group has you pegged for child murder. If you think armed security is the route, anyone that is wary of that is asking for genocide. I have the answer, though – be open to trying multiple solutions. (Gasp!)
Kids were used selectively – I saw videos of gun ban supporting kids and armed guard supporting kids, but not on the same sites or news channels. I think the boom of people following kids on Twitter or shoving cameras in their faces to get one to say the NRA is bad or on the other side gun bans don’t work or generally fill an agenda is very unhealthy, but the genie is out of the bottle there. People are also exploiting singular stories. When the horrible news broke that an armed cop was on site at Parkland and did nothing, people were like, “Well, that proves it, no guards work!” OK, let’s just remove all security and cops from everywhere, stupid. The FBI didn’t follow up on two tips including a YouTube video with him proclaiming his desire to a “professional school shooter.” Ban the FBI! See how that follows no logic? Probably not. The law enforcement officials, local and FBI, really booted it on this one. I’d still cast a vote to keep them in place. Also, if you gave me the choice of a shooter in my immediate vicinity with no one armed vs. someone, I’m taking someone all day.
No, arming teachers against their will is not the route. If they want to carry? OK, now we have a discussion. I’ll bet the majority of teachers wouldn’t carry – although some districts already have this set up all over the U.S. Anyone talk to them? Nope. I can also guarantee that something will happen if there’s more guns brought in – there will be incidents of a teacher/guard saving someone’s life…and there for sure will be a horrific incident of the gun being used inappropriately. And both sides will dive in and yell, “SEE, SEE! I TOLD YOU!” I saw it yesterday with the teacher that had a mental breakdown in Georgia. I’ll see that reaction if we ban a gun and it’s used to kill again. SEE! SEE! THIS ONE EXAMPLE PROVES WHAT I WANT PROVEN 11o% IT DOESN’T WORK AT ALL!
For ban fans, I just ask a simple question – have you ever fired a gun? Know how they work? It’s not condescension, I legitimately know a lot of people are TERRIFIED of guns and probably should be to a degree. The firing rate between a rifle and pistol don’t matter when you’re talking a mass of people. A handgun with a smaller clip can be switched out in quite literally seconds and clips are more easily carried than additional weapons. It’s very true that some weapons have faster rates of fire, but if someone has three handguns and multiple clips, if there are no cops or anyone to protect a school, or mall, or whatever, a lot of people are going to die. No one is talking about rate of fire as a measure when I read things. I could also say to those who opposed any ban, what is the cutoff? Same question about rate of fire. Automatic weapons are banned, semi-automatic are not. Is anyone interested in the difference?
I’ve seen a lot of ideas and articles, reposts and shares, experts and the uninitiated all chiming in. What haven’t I seen? “Hey, I really think AR-15’s are dangerous guns, but what make that different from other guns? Would we ban new sales or go after existing ones – and how dangerous is the latter? I think we need armed security in schools to protect our kids, but has anyone thought of how arming teachers would actually work? Check in guns with the principal’s office? Mental health is important, but what’s the warning sign or signs specific to mass killers? Can we define mentally ill – there a huge chasm between sociopath and someone who was checked into a facility for depression or anorexia, for example. Is there a way to help boys without dads or that feel isolated that I could get involved in? Can we work with existing organizations?” “Background checks are great, but why did the FBI not investigate a guy with two tips about him being a school shooter? After 39 police visits to his home?” Nope, just DO WHAT I SAY NOW OR YOU WANT LITTLE KIDS TO DIE AND I KNOW EVERYTHING BECAUSE I WENT ON PARTISAN.ORG AND THEY TOLD ME WHAT TO THINK!
No matter what, a mass shooting will happen again. Raise the age – the Vegas shooter was in his 60’s. Background check? Most of these animals never committed a crime before the shooting. Mental health screens? The Texas church shooter had assaulted an infant before the attack, plus multiple women and someone at the Air Force didn’t file the paperwork to block him from buying guns. Ban guns? The Fort Hood shooter shot up a military base because the active military was banned from carrying on base – think about that. He used pistols and so did the Virginia Tech shooter. The Columbine incident took place during the assault weapons ban. Get dads to raise their kids? That probably will take, I don’t know, a herculean effort and massive social reprogramming. Restrict video games and movies? I’m pretty sure ISIS or MS-13 members didn’t play Call of Duty to get active; violence is a little deeper than that. I don’t say these points to toss your hands up, more to make sure people don’t think there’s a golden egg out there to fix this.
Whatever the answer is, it lies within more than one solution and sadly, some of the best or most unique ideas I’ve seen have received the least amount of traction. Why is school funding broken? Costs and taxes keep rising, but teachers aren’t seeing the money in many cases. My taxes just skyrocketed here. Is it building costs? Are the administrators getting too much? Where can we get teachers help? Schools more assistance with counseling or mental health treatment? Should that even fall on the schools? Can we have more medical training for certain individuals? How about a program for retired vets and law enforcement to help patrol schools? Is there a building lockdown/metal detector security system that would work or would the shooters just wait outside? We will see how this progresses, but hopefully we as a nation are ready to listen and not scream. Platitudes and camera whore politicians don’t mean anything when they are proposing nonsense to grab attention. There have been enough of these shootings – too many – and answer doesn’t lie with Washington politicians who know how to get elected, we need expert testimony and security professionals to be consulted for a multi-tiered solution. Or maybe my opinion sucks too and we can just argue on Facebook and ban companies that don’t ban the company that bans another group.
One of the things I hate as an emcee is a comic that demands a very specific intro. It drives me nuts. If you think an audience cares about an intro, your jokes stink or you have OCD. I did a show one time for 15 people and the “headliner” made the emcee read a two minute intro, then torched him when he messed up one credential. She was horrible, in case you were wondering.
That first paragraph aside, I have had some really bad ones. I’m pretty simple – just mention my website, if people are seriously interested, which happens never, then they can check out my shows online. Some guy that worked at Fed Ex bought Chriscoen.com and wanted $600 for it so I told him to pound it and got this site. I’ll bet 95% of my intros tell people to go to chriscoen.com.
The worst one I can remember with special effects was an “urban” show I did, which is what the industry calls a show where there’s three or less whiteys. Urban shows are big on music intros. The DJ asked me what I wanted, and I honestly could give a shit less, so I said, how about some Guns N Roses or metal? As I walked onstage, he played the one white guy in his collection…Billy Ray Cyrus singing Achy Breaky Heart. Next time, how about we skip the music and just call me white trash?
Then my favorite – I was talked into a show at a private tennis club. I said, why not, because I’m an idiot. There was no stage, just a tent and 15 sweaty rich white guys and an old lady probably the age of Amelia Earhart’s great-aunt. I didn’t care, but they insisted bringing me up. Mumm-Ra, the ever living, grabbed a BULLHORN and began yelling about two feet from me. “THIS GUY HAS BEEN TO THE FUNNY BONE. CHRIS COWAN.” That’s right, Buffy – this guy has been to the Funny Bone. Worked there? Nah! He’s just been there, so you know he’s hilarious. I grabbed the mike and just stared at her for five seconds with disdain. “Yes, and I actually go onstage there too! Even without a bullhorn intro!” She stared at me, unblinking, then shuffled off to jump back into the Lazarus Pit and I did my thing. It went OK as I just made of her half the time and I was paid in beer for a 10 minute set. Next time, I’m hoping they say I heard a joke once somewhere so put your hands together.