Back in the Bay; Shows Coming Up!

Surprise! I’m back in San Francisco. No, I didn’t (only) move back because things didn’t work out in LA. I moved back to learn how to code! I’m about to start week 4 of App Academy, which has been really intense but an amazing learning experience.

I’m still planning to do stand-up, with the following three shows confirmed as of this post:

5/1 – Nightlife on Mars at Murphy’s Pub in San Francisco. 8:30, free

5/2 – Comedy Oakland‘s 5-Year Anniversary Show at The Washington Inn in Oakland. 8:00, $10

5/17 – You’re Funny, But You Don’t Look Jewish at Chochmat HaLev in Berkeley. 8:00, $15


A Smattering of Shows

If you’ve been asking me about when I’ll be doing shows, and chances are you haven’t, here are a few I have coming up. None of them are even remotely illustrious, but all of them are at least slightly better than shitty cafe or bar open mics. Behold:

11/26 – “open mic” at Laughing Skull in Atlanta, GA. I put that in quotes because the show is booked weeks in advance, but it’s still called an open mic because it’s open to all levels and, presumably, they are all short sets. No bookers in Atlanta got back to me when I was trying to set up shows for my visit home, so if you’re in Atlanta and would like to see what I’ve been wasting my life on, here it is. Show starts at 8, it’s $10. If they ask, tell them you’re there to see me.

12/2 – VooDoo Comedy, at the bar at House of Blues, Hollywood. As much as it sounds cool to say I’m performing at the House of Blues, the show actually happens at the bar where drunk people go to talk loudly. What I mean is, it’s at HOB but it’s not ideal for comedy, or it at least it didn’t seem like it the one time I’ve been there. But I’ll be there, so come check it out! Free show, 8pm.

12/9 – Brennan’s Pub in Marina Del Rey. As much as a loud sports bar is usually a bad setting for comedy, I did this show once before and it was a lot of fun. They have pretty good food and the booker keeps this show funny, so come hang out and laugh. 9pm, free show.


My First (and probably last) Attempt at a Web Comic

My favorite thing growing up, as I’ve mentioned, was The Far Side. I’ve always loved clever comic strips, especially when puns are involved. That includes web comics, my favorite being Perry Bible Fellowship.

I can’t draw, haven’t developed any real digital art skills, and don’t usually have ideas that lend themselves to comics, so I have never tried to make one. But tonight I felt inspired to make this:

closeup

partial zoom

full view

I can already see ways that these could have been done differently to look better and maximize comedic impact. And I’m sure there was a better way to do this than in Photoshop, but it was fun.

As it turns out, someone made a documentary about the lack of fresh vegetables in poor neighborhoods using the same pun. See No Justice, No Peas: Getting A Veggie In The Hood.

And in other news, I had some serious déjà vu while writing this post. That old bit of mine (a joke about déjà vu that I tell and then tell again 8-10 minutes later) was based on reality.


Maybe Daily Updates Are Dumb

It’s almost midnight and I find myself scrambling to post something. I feel compelled to write even though I have nothing to say. I’ve let this “challenge” to post something every day become everything I hate about social media.

From now on I will keep everything here comedy related or at least something I find funny.  Or interesting. Or otherwise compelling. I think I’ve learned what I wanted to from this exercise and think that, like in real life, there’s no reason to speak without reason.

And now I’m going to stare at the full moon.


The Critic – Still The Best

Today my friend Ryan Cronin posted a link on my Facebook timeline to this Funny or Die tribute to The Critic. For the uninitiated, The Critic is an animated series from the 90s starring Jon Lovitz as critic Jay Sherman. Ryan posted this on my wall because he knows that this is my favorite show of all time.

I started watching the show when it was on Fox, which is after it got moved from ABC. I didn’t even understand all of the movie references (and I still don’t) but I knew that this show was funny. The main character was pathetic yet brilliant, and it’s incredible how some of the spoofs they came up with became startlingly real. As the Funny or Die tribute points out, 20 years later the show still manages to be relevant.

There are many great clips from the show on YouTube, but I think that anyone interested in the show should watch entire episodes. There aren’t that many (only 23 were made before it was canceled) so don’t worry, you won’t get sucked into an epic I-started-watching-this-TV-show-and-now-I-have-to-finish type of thing.

The only other thing that consistently makes me as happy is Gary Larson’s The Far Side, which I also got into as a kid, spending my allowance money on books because they were that entertaining. I believe it to be the root of my comedic interests, and I have more to say but I’ll save it for another post.


Show This Friday

I’m gonna be in Eagle Rock, at a pizza restaurant, doing some jokes this Friday. I have done this show, Whiz Bang!, twice and it’s interesting to me because the crowd is usually pretty light yet the lineup is quite good. I don’t know this week’s comedians as well, but I believe the booker/host to have good taste.

I’m pretty sure that by Friday some of the newer stuff I’ve been posting will be a bit tighter and ready for a booked show. Maybe this time there will be a hearty crowd. Regardless, it should be fun. And the pizza is quite good.

According to Damon’s tag on Facebook, I’m the guy just under the W in WHIZ


Awesome Last Minute Trip

On Friday I got a call from a friend who asked me, “do you like the band Weezer?” I am mostly familiar with their debut album and other hits, which I love. My friend was asking because he is Facebook friends with Rivers Cuomo (lead singer) who posted an offer of tickets. My friend responded, and not only did he get tickets, but he also got backstage passes to their show on Saturday at the Del Mar racetrack, which is just north of San Diego.

So another friend and I planned to head down from Los Angeles and meet our friend there. We were concerned about traffic and looked into taking the train down, which is what we ended up doing. It wasn’t bad, although I must say that the conductor on the Amtrak website is a bit scary looking:

How welcoming

How welcoming

So we went, saw a few horse races, and then made our way to the concert area. Weezer put on a great show, and because we had VIP access we got to watch from a VIP area with bleachers (so nice for short people like me) and a separate bar with a shorter line.

Afterward, we went backstage and met the band. Rivers was really nice, seemed like a very chill dude. He was just letting people into his trailer. Maybe he was just so drained he didn’t care, but I think he also just loves his fans that much. He took pictures with all of us, offered us some beers, and then we went out onto the stage.

with rivers

 

under weezer logo

 

We stayed overnight in San Diego, ate some incredible pho in the morning at Pho Hoa, then got a ride to the train station where we caught our ride home. It was about a 24-hour trip, 5-6 hours of which was spent on the train rides, and it was totally worth it.


Some New Stuff at the Open Mic

Some old material, some new material, some bad delivery, some decent recovery. So it goes when you aren’t performing often enough, but at least I felt like I got something out of this set. This took place at the Tao Comedy Studio in Hollywood, run by Bobbie and Chris Oliver, easily my favorite open mic in LA. The video quality here is shite, but it’s fine for reviewing.

I opened with an old bit, and totally screwed up the wording. But I was interested to see how it would do as an opener, and how well I would remember it. Now that I think about it, it’s not really that strong of a bit.

The thing about being lazy is brand new and, in case a prospective employer reads this, untrue. But for everyone else, there’s some truth to it regarding career mistakes/bad habits over the last two or three years that I am trying to rectify. I also have always loved how every job description sounds the same. Consider this snippet from a job posting:

We’re looking for hard working, enthusiastic individuals who want to be a part of a winning team.

And these bullet points from a different listing’s basic qualifications:

  • Proactive and self-motivated
  • Ability to work in close coordination with others
  • Strong worth ethic

They vary in tone but seek the same things: team players who are motivated and proactive. The first snippet is from a McDonald’s Crew Member job posting and the second one is for a Goldman Sachs investment banking position.

I don’t think I’m lazy, however I do believe that we are all taught to project a certain image of ourselves involving drive and success that is so generic it’s worthless. I wonder how non-comics will respond to this bit; hopefully I can tighten it up and try it in front of a real audience.

Moving on, the “dial 1″ joke is old but I added on the new part about the phone company keeping track of your errors. It went over ok, but I let myself get distracted during the setup, focusing on someone to my left who was yawning, which was stupid of me because she’s just another comic and was really friendly. It’s bad onstage decision making, which happens when you don’t perform often enough. Would have been best to let it go, but I feel like I recovered from it ok.

The NSA bit won’t be topical for too long but I really like it, even if it’s not particularly original. And the bit about smoking is very new, I’ve only done it once before and am trying to get at how we are too quick to villainize. I am not a smoker but get annoyed by people who are overly sensitive to it. At the same time, there are toooonnnnns of comedians doing bits about how annoying anti-smokers are. Usually their bits reenact them smoking a cigarette when someone comes up and coughs in an overly dramatic manner. So there’s no need to make fun of that personality, it’s been done. I still hope I can make this work without being hacky.


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