It’s that time for the year end recap of my blogs, which are read by humans or spambots at a clip of thousands of times a minute. OK a year, but thanks for reading and please get me an ad sponsor, I’m poor.
My most read blogs this year were #3, Chris Cornell and Suicide, which you can read here. I will miss that man’s flawless rock voice and his contributions to music. My #2? I CAN’T REPOST IT OR SHARE OR EVEN HAVE YOU READ IT! I went on a rather pointed rant against a company, which thanks to you, the readers, caused their corporate office to call me and offer an “agreement” in exchange to remove the scathing review. POWER TO THE PEOPLE AKA ME.
My most popular blog this year was my take on the kneeling during the anthem. Ta-da! That was number one, so basically suicide, horrible life experiences and an event that caused national strife – all my most read blogs. The other top hitters were about my kid, because no one cares about me anymore, but it’s OK because she’s really cute and I’m an asshole. Come back in 2018 for more depressing and somewhat maybe humorous hot takes!
A very active post went up in one the comedy “community” pages I’m a member of about local bookers or fellow comics using the same people. By the time I read it, there were over 400 comments, mostly rage-filled insults and debate, so I didn’t comment, but thought it may make an interesting post, even for non-comics, so here goes.
Be funny. Surprisingly, most comics who are “funny” get more shows than comics who are “not funny.” By making people “laugh” as opposed to “sit silently” or “heckle” or “get up during the set and mutter obscenities under their breath,” you may tend to see more work! (This post works best for sarcasm if you make the hand gestures for sarcasm for the quotations.)
Run a show. It is truly amazing when you book people for shows, they tend to book you back! CRAZY! It’s almost like a strange you scratch my back, I scratch yours agreement.
Bring people out and promote the shows you are on. I know this is nuts, but bookers tend to like people who advertise, promote and hustle to get butts in seats. I have a show where I book comedians and I have already mentally banned a few that made zero effort to even post one post online about the show, even when I specifically asked them to. I had a comedian refuse to post about a show I booked this person on, but the day of, manage to find time to promote another show instead that was an open mic.
Show up late to shows you’re on, not even take 4 seconds to click attending on Facebook events, or go over your time. In other words, don’t be a problem. Booking an event is tough; you have consider who is on the show, balance it with other comics, set up the event and hope the turnout is good. One easy way to make sure you aren’t part of the equation is to cause stress.
Get smashed before your set…or after and cause a scene. That tends to annoy those who book shows. (See above: don’t be a problem.) Of course, causing a scene sober also will make sure you don’t get booked. I watched a comedian get onstage at an open mic, insult the crowd, then remove his pants. He never did stand-up again in Columbus, that I saw.
Fail to memorize your set or do the same five minutes for years. I booked a lot of comics over the years at various rooms and one thing that blows my mind is how many comedians cry about not getting stage time, but have literally five minutes only. Five minute set for late night shows – good. Everywhere else? Write more material. Then practice the material. Sometimes you may not get booked because the booker knows your set to a tee and it may not work in the room (or may not be long enough for what they want). I have done over an hour a handful of times. That gives you multiple more opportunities than having five minutes about jello or politics that you’ve been doing since 2012.
Even worse – be unprepared and try to riff. If you’re getting paid, do your best stuff. You’re not George Carlin. Don’t get up there and rant with no direction. I had two comedians in particular that I remember doing that at a show I run. Both bombed miserably, one even getting destroyed by a heckler. You have five minutes. Don’t waste it.
A huge debate erupted amongst my FB pals about a story where a male wrestler refused to wrestle a girl. I’ve seen these before at times, since wrestling is a sport where females can compete against males. I think I have a unique perspective, being a girl and all. That’s a joke, I would be a hideous woman with my thick legs, sunken eyes and redneck Barry White voice.
When I was in high school, I joined the football team, before the ravages of puberty took over. My freshman year I was 130 pounds, by the start of my junior year, I was 185. Oh God, I would kill to be 185 pounds…seriously, I will actually kill someone. Just say who. Somewhere in between, I started powerlifting, which was a club sport. In the 165 pound group, my first meet, I went up against eight other guys…and one girl.
I was opening the meet with squat. This was my best lift, at my peak, I squatted 465 lbs. Well this day, I was doing my final warmup and with 275 lbs., I decided to do a form practice and thrust my hips forward. My spotters were looking elsewhere and I lost balance and bent straight backwards with the bar, bouncing off the rack in a backwards C. Why I didn’t let go of the bar or why I thrust my hips like a drunk bro on the club dance floor, I’ll never know. I was in some serious pain.
Of course, the gym in the mid 90’s didn’t exactly have a full medical team of experts, so I was given ice for an injury that probably cost me mobility in my 70’s. I managed to do a basic squat, then bench press, both under my best by a mile. Lastly was the deadlift, I did the warm-up at 315, but it hurt and I forgot to tell them to register that as my lift. Turns out I would have placed sixth with that warmup; as it stood, I placed tenth. Five pounds behind the young lady.
Of course, I didn’t know this until they gave out ribbons. They announced my name and I had to old man shuffle in front of the entire field and crowd to get my tenth place ribbon. Immediately after, while I was still on the floor, they announced her name and she passed me, while I purple faced raged holding an ice pack on my lower back. The second I got back to my team, I took a beating like no other. I got so mad, I actually ate my ribbon, gold foil trim and all, right there in the stands, to make sure it no longer existed. Of course the next two years, I got second in my weight class and finished top ten in the state both times, but it didn’t matter. I was the guy who lost to a girl for the rest of high school.
So my take really doesn’t matter, it’s the kid’s decision, along with his coach and parent’s advice. I think it’s a little goofy to forfeit, but I saw a very religious kid back out of the same scenario in the state tournament because his denomination forbade any violence against women, which in today’s world, is actually pretty cool overall. Principled that he made that sacrifice, in my opinion. As for the guy who doesn’t want to wrastle a girl, I say go for it man, as long as you can eat the record books and cell phones with the videos if you do lose. Erase that shit from history or you’re going to take a ribbing.
I have a few Christmas traditions, just like everyone else!
Learning how to wrap. I’m so bad at wrapping presents I have to watch a You Tube video every year as a refresher. I used to actually just give gifts in the bag from the store; not the gift bag, the regular take it home bag.
I buy almost every present in one or two waves. I sit down online or attack a mall in an afternoon with an idea list. My wife will begin Christmas shopping probably about May or so, looking for deals, online specials, unique offers. At least I started early this year – in other words, before December 21.
Putting up zero decorations. Since I got married, this has changed, but I put up a tree one year and my dog got spooked, so I was done. That and I’m lazy, so bah humbug.
Watching Christmas Story. It’s on for 24 hours, so I actually haven’t seen the beginning of the movie in 30 years, but probably seen the ending 74 times.
Wishing a pox on snow lovers. I despise the “I hope it snows!” crowd on Facebook. I used to love snow too, then I got a driver’s license and a job. Snow sucks. Driving in snow sucks. Shoveling snow sucks. Other people’s driving to work sucks.
Spreading Christmas cheer. Some old guy jumped in line right in front of me at the grocery store, so I shoved his cart out of the way and then he rammed mine with his. I didn’t then put him in a headlock, so it must be Christmas.
(Alarm goes off, moves arm seven inches to turn off) Dog immediately detects movement, either shoves icy nose into my face or jumps on me, wiping out any chance of extending sleep. Realize now that I’m up I have to take a leak. Let dog out, go to pee, cat now jumps on counter, begins meowing for treat aka threatening to wake up the entire house. Now have to take a leak more, but grabs cat food, feeds cat. Cat sniffs food, walks away, unimpressed.
Turns towards bathroom, dog is jumping on back door, spreading mud everywhere. Lets dog in, wipes paws. Dog starts whining for food, threatening to wake up entire house. Get dog food, may piss pants. Sees dog is back asleep on dog bed by time food is put in dish. Head for bathroom finally, thinking about giving pets to good home. Daughter stirs, crying out for hot milk. Starts hot water, contemplates urinating in sink. Does get to finally blow nose while waiting, tissue in winter looks like someone went through a plate glass window. Wonders if any blood is left in body. Takes milk upstairs, daughter has fallen back asleep. All for naught. Finally relieves self, second alarm goes off on phone while hands are occupied, wakes entire house. Puts reminder on phone to get adult diapers and not have to do this routine again.
As it gets colder, I remembered the string of shows I agreed to do in December of 2012. The weekend before Christmas, I had a run of shows over four days that started in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan at an Indian casino on a Thursday. It took (best guess) 14 days to get there. The snow was so bad that my car got stuck on the off ramp. Luckily, I had an old towel in the trunk I was able to shove under the tire and get moving. I knew I couldn’t stop, so I barreled through every stop sign left on my route, but in fairness, I was going 12 mph. The turnout, by the way, was low – apparently doing a show with no stage in a cafeteria during a blizzard is less than ideal.
My next show was Saturday, where I had two at a casino in Milwaukee, but they were putting me up in a nice hotel in downtown Milwaukee. The issue? I had to drive across the Upper Peninsula. The snow was so deep already that the middle of the two lane road was being used only – you couldn’t see the edge lines. So, I drove about an hour a pop before I saw a lonely dump truck full of Sasquatch oil or whatever they haul in in the North Pole, then I drifted over enough to offer prayers of mercy that I didn’t get run over or go into a ditch and die alone next to a gas station that had been closed since 1943. Needless to say, I was glad to have the extra day to travel. I would have enjoyed Milwaukee, but it was 13 degrees out, so I didn’t leave my room other than to get a 12 pack and do the shows. They didn’t go well, in case you were wondering. One had about 10 people, one about 18 and in total, 27 didn’t like me. The headliner won over the crowd, only 23 didn’t like him.
Finally, I had to go back north to Escanaba, Michigan and I regretted starting comedy. I contemplated seeing a fortune teller like on the movie Big, so I could get a card that made it so I never had done comedy ever before. The casino there was an Island theme, which looked great against a background of snow that resembled the planet Hoth from the Empire Strikes Back. That show actually went very well – huge turnout and great crowd reaction. Of course, then I chose to take the longer route through Chicago just to avoid the Upper Peninsula, so I drove the entire day Monday, actually excited to drive in Chicago holiday traffic because that meant other humans existed in the area I was in, which normally I hate.
For all my toils, I made a small profit of several hundred dollars (gas ate a few hundred bucks of my pay) and did irreparable damage to my car, but I got see the safest area from a nuclear attack in the continental US and rundown several survival scenarios in my head involving sub zero temperatures. When I hear a young comic talking about wanting to get road work, my mind drifts back and I smile a bit, realizing they probably have no idea what in the hell it’s really like. Make sure you take a road flare, some firewood and a trunk full of beef jerky – you’ll need it.