I’ve Been In Three Fist Fights


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I’ve spent most of my life trying to keep fit and remain athletic, but that doesn’t mean I know how to fight. Maybe I’m a little wiser now and might be able to handle myself better. After all, I was 13 years old the last time I fought anyone, so who knows what kind of power I harness now?

I remember my first fight, which turned out not to be much of a fight at all. I was twelve years old and joined the rest of my 7th grade friends at the school gym, preparing to sign up for the upcoming football season. It was just a bunch of us boys waiting for the coach to make an appearance to tell us what we had to do to try out for the team. The anticipation was palpable and was evident by the noticeable excitement of all of the boys in attendance. One kid in particular, had begun tackling people randomly and knocking them to the floor. Those that were tackled simply got up and accepted it as a playful thing and didn’t do much in retaliation. I knew this kid, but I wasn’t friends with him. I didn’t think we got along well enough that he would want to goof off that way with me. He did anyway. Before I knew it, he blindsided me by rushing towards me and knocking me down to the gym floor. I was wearing my back-pack at the time, with both straps draped over my shoulders, so when I hit the floor, I fell back-pack first. The weight of the books in my back-pack momentarily kept me pinned to the gym floor like a turtle turned on it’s shell. I just teetered there for a few brief moments. Rather than let it go, I got up and rushed my assailant, who quickly went into a boxer’s stance. I hadn’t even reached him before he threw a jab at me and knocked me to the floor. I still had my stupid back-pack on so again, I teetered there like a cockroach who had fallen on its back after attempting an ill advised leap. I got up again and ditched the back-back and again rushed towards my aggressor. Again, he throws a jab and I hit the ground. I get up again and repeat my vain attempt at a counter attack, but it only brings back mental images of Rocky Balboa going up against Ivan Drago in Rocky IV where Rocky gets dropped over and over again and they’re only in Round 1! By the time I get up for the fourth time, the other kid loses interest in me and stops the assault. I gather my things, walk out of the gym and head home, never joining the 7th grade football team.

My two subsequent fights were not as eventful and don’t even bare recounting, but here we go anyway. I fought a kid by the name of Joel, (which, by the way, is the name of one of my sons now). He was a chubby kid who, for some reason or another, picked a fight with me by taking my back-pack (freakin’ back-pack), and throwing it up a tree. I faced him head on and took on a boxer’s stance, much like the one I saw that school gym kid take with me. I threw jabs at Joel, striking him several times on the shoulder. He didn’t fight back. He literally stood there and absorbed my punches. After about six or seven punches, I realized, “This kid’s not gonna fight back? I think he’s in shock?”. I stopped throwing punches and grabbed my cursed back-packed off the tree, and walked home.

My third and last fist fight of my life happened at the age of thirteen, on the school playground. My friends and I had begun teasing a much taller older kid about his slanted eyes, constantly referring to him as “chino”, which was quite a racist, derogatory term typically used to describe anyone of Asian origin. And the kid wasn’t even Asian! He just looked Asian! Anyway, having reached his boiling point, he attacked the closest of his instigators which just happened to be me. He threw a few punches, which I successfully dodged and countered with a punch of my own, one of which grazed his forehead. Feeling he was wasting his time, however, “chino”stopped throwing hay-makers and walked away, leaving the victor of the fight in question.

That’s it. Those are all of the fights I’ve ever been in. I’ve shied away from a couple of other fights, but those are left for another blog.

 

 

Stereotypical Basketball


This comedian totally stereotypes the game of basketball and the audience lets him get away with it! Even if you don’t like sports, this guy NAILS it!

Here I Blog Again. The Top 10 Life Lessons I’ve Learned


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I have learned a lot in my 43 years on this planet. The following 10 nuggets of advice will steer you in the right direction for a long and happy life:

10. You can still write a check to Domino’s Pizza even though you don’t have money in your bank account. Sure, you may have to pay the bank some large insufficient funds fees, but you won’t go hungry.

9. Ignoring your unsecured credit card bills will eventually cause them to go away. You may have to field a few credit collection agency calls, but you can always change your phone number, and getting a new phone number is always fun and exciting.

8. Periodically change your phone number because that is always fun and exciting.

7. Going to the doctor will only assure that they will find something wrong with you. You may not live to the ripe old age of 80, but you won’t have any huge medical debt either.

6. You don’t always have to pay your taxes. The IRS is pretty good about making payment arrangements anyway.

5. Don’t be so overprotective of your Social Security number. If you have followed my advice so far, if anybody steals your Social Security information, chances are, your credit rating will improve.

4. When reviewing your utility bills, keep in mind that the ” Due Date” listed is just a ploy to get to your money quicker. The real due date is the date listed on the Disconnection Notice you will receive within about seven days of that last bill.

3. Delay going to college. When you struggle in life, you can always tell your kids that they should go to college because you don’t want them to suffer like you had to.

2. Watch the championship match between Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior at least one time in your life. It’s free and it’s on YouTube.

1. Don’t drink and drive.

No One Else To Blame


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What’s wrong with our world today? Our kids don’t like to go outside and play. They stayed glued to the television as if it was the last day before the cable gets shut off. They are constantly looking down at their electronic devices, using them to type messages rather than communicate verbally with their friends. Everything is electronic now. You rarely see a kid on his bike any more. Most toddlers are riding battery operated toy cars. What’s happened to our youth? Are they to blame for taking advantage of the high tech age they live in?

I’m 40 years old now, and I look back on my youth and reminisce about all of the stuff I did growing up. Getting a bike for Christmas was always the highlight of my existence. I looked forward to riding it to my friends house all summer long. I rode my bike to baseball practice every afternoon. It made me mobile! Today, the word “mobile” is used to refer to an iPhone.

I watched one cartoon everyday after school. ONE! That was it. It was Tom & Jerry and it was only thirty minutes in duration. When it was done, outside I went! I had no preconceived idea about what I was going to do with my afternoon. I just went out and found SOMETHING to do. Our parents had to go out looking for us to get us to come back inside. They ALWAYS knew where to find us. And, they knew the phone numbers of each and every one of our friends.

As children, we hated getting up early every morning, but did so anyway. Our bodies just woke us up on time because we didn’t spend all night Facebooking or watching The Cartoon Network. Oh, but when Saturday rolled around, we were up at the crack of dawn! Everyone knew that all of the best cartoons were on at that time! We watched cartoons from 6am to 12pm. That’s right, we vegged for 4 hours and no one judged us for it. Mom and dad were usually home on Saturdays and breakfast and lunch were the best meals we’ve had all week! Homemade pancakes, eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches… man, the list could go on and on!

We all had our ideas on what a perfect world would be for a kid. We all dreamed of a 24 hours cartoon channel. We all dreamed about one day having the ability to stay connected to our friends non stop. We envisioned a world when we would no longer have to pedal a bicycle to get from place to place. What a great world it would be if we could have music blaring directly in our ears, so that we could play it as loud as we possibly could without mom and dad telling us to turn our music down or shut our bedroom door. Oh man, wouldn’t it be great if every time we got grounded and sent to our room, we could STILL watch TV and listen to music and talk to our friends? We would never have to leave our room at all! Punish us all you want, mom and dad!

Our children didn’t create the world they live in. We did…

C’mon Baby, Just the Tip


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As a stand up comedian, the subject of tipping comes up on a nightly basis. It’s no secret that show goers should be tipping their wait & bar staff. Most of these hard working men and women make an hourly wage of approximately $2.15 and hour and some make even less, so tips are necessary to help them keep their financial heads above water. But, are these the only people deserving of a tip? Here’s a small list of the people you should be tipping but never think to do so:

1.   The Tire Place Guy: In this case, I’m referring to the tire shop off the side of the road that operates as a Mom&Pop shop. If you frequent these places, to simply patch up or buy a used tire, you will typically be charged anywhere from $10 to $25. This is just a charge for the tire and you will typically never pay for any labor. If you’re being economical in having these guys fix your flat, throw them a bone when they’re done. If you make it a habit of ruining tires, the tire guy will always recognize you as a “tipper” and will probably offer you the best deal when you come back.

2.   The DirecTv/Cable/Internet Installers: Like servers & bar staff help make your entertainment more pleasant, your installers are doing much the same. They’re constantly trying to make sure you’re happy with their work and are trying to be as expedient as possible in getting you connected. Some of these workers are making a pretty nice wage, but are grossly underpaid in relation to the blood, sweat and tears they pour in to their day. If they have done an outstanding job for you and have brought a smile to your face knowing you are now connected to the world, then you should show your gratitude accordingly. These workers are often racing the clock to make all their appointments in time and rarely have a moment to stop by for something to drink or eat. Slip them a cool $5 to $10 and they can make their quick dash to a 7-11 or drive through to make their day easier. Plus, if you ever get the same installer back, I promise they’ll not only do the work, they’ll customize it for you!

3.   The Tattoo Artist: Look, these people may be running their own shop, but their art work carries an even greater value. Then again, not all of these artists are in business for themselves and most likely give up a big portion of fee to the shop they work for. In any case, these people are making sure that their work is the best it could possibly be and if you intend on coming back to the same artist, why not make them remember you and guarantee yourself some incredible lines each and every time?  Their work may come with a price tag, but their art is priceless.

4.   The Traveling Stand Up Comedian: What?! Really?! Yeah, really. Why not? Allow me to give you a glimpse in to the life a traveling comic, and this applies to both the Feature and Headlining acts. Chances are these two comedians work a regular 9 to 5 job when they are not on stage. Unless the comics have national notoriety in the form of Tv, radio and movie credits, they are probably living paycheck to paycheck, just like everyone else. When an act comes to town, they are probably making enough for the gig to cover travel and food expenses, and sometimes even hotel expenses for a 3 to 5 day stay. This comic is trying to make a name for themselves and when the gig money is barely helping them make it, they must resort to selling merchandise at the end of the show. They’ll usually sell DVD’s or CD’s of their act, or try to hock some t-shirts with some really funny stuff on em’. Most show goers have already spent too much on drinks and a tip to want to buy anything else, so it’s understandable when they just want to bypass the comic selling their merchandise by the door as they would if they were passing by a homeless guy holding a “Hungry, please help” sign.  If you’ve got a few dollars left, meet the comic, shake hands with them and give them the cash and let them know, “You’re worth more than that, but I hope this helps in some way to keep you going and bring you back. You were awesome!” I realize this is not done often, but I have seen it done and the gratitude a comedian feels far outweighs the laughs they worked so hard to get.

One final word on tipping your wait & bar staff; If you are at the show on a budget, for crying out loud, don’t spend it all on yourself! Set a little something aside. Your server is working under some of the hardest conditions. They are working in the dark, carrying a tray full of drinks, serving multiple tables and trying to take orders in the quietest way possible. This is more than a skill, it’s an art! Yet, people will leave a show and not tip a dime. If you enjoyed the show, make sure to tip the people who helped make it a great night for you. They’re never in the spotlight, but always help you enjoy those that are.

Stand Up Comedy Inspiration From an Unlikely Source


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This past weekend, my beautiful better half, took me to a Tegan and Sara concert. Tegan and Sara are a Canadian sister group who started out simply as a guitar playing duo. Now that they have achieved a certain level of mainstream success, they are certainly poised to get even bigger.

During the concert, which we attended in Flagstaff, Arizona, Tegan took a moment to speak to the audience and reflected on their last trip to Flagstaff, pointing out that they were so happy to be in town playing for a sold out crowd. During their last stop there, they were touring with a more well known group and performed for 10 people, as the opening act. She continued to speak about how they were able to sell enough merchandise at each show to continue to tour from city to city. At the end of their tours, they would often go home in less than perfect shape. Often heading home, skinnier than usual, malnourished, diarrhea plagued and financially broke, they appreciated every minute of it and could not imagine that life could get any better. After all, they were doing what they loved, performing across the country and gaining more and more fans along the way. Tegan and Sara have been playing together for over a decade and are now achieving the level of success they never dreamed of.

Rather than go in to specifics on how this applies to performers in stand up comedy, I will leave you to apply this experience to your own life. The road to success comes at a heavy price and is never an overnight occurrence. The question is, how long are you willing to wait? How far are you willing to go? How long are you willing to hang on while your efforts are recognized by only a few people?

There are no short cuts..

After telling their tale of the long, hard road, Tegan and Sara performed the following song, written about coming home to a less than enthusiastic partner, who refused to hang around during their musical journey. Enjoy!

Think Classy, You’ll Be Classy


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“Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You’ll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you’ll be classy. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back on your shower shoes and the press’ll think you’re colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it means you’re a slob.” – Kevin Costner as “Crash Davis” in the movie “Bull Durham”.

This is perhaps one of my favorite movie lines of all time. In context, Kevin Costner’s character has been given the task of mentoring a young pitcher in baseball’s minor leagues. Crash Davis often teaches young “Luke ‘Nuke’ Laloosh”, played by Tim Robbins, lessons about life and how those lessons are vital to a successful baseball career. In this scene, Crash calls to attention the pitcher’s slob laden approach to his hygiene and appearance.

I believe stand up comics can take this lesson to heart as well. At least, I do. I have always made it a practice to look my very best when I have been booked for a show that will be presented in front of a paying audience. It has become quite the norm to watch comics take to the stage appearing as though they just got off their couch wearing clothing that seemed like an after thought. I am not suggesting that one should dress up in a suit and tie to tell jokes on stage as though appearing on the old Johnny Carson Show. What I am saying is that we need to make an effort to put our best foot forward when performing in front of a live, ticket paying audience. This allows you to appeal to as many of their senses as possible.  Through out the night, you will have the opportunity to appeal to 4 of the audiences 5 senses, (I don’t see how it would be possible to have them taste you, unless things get pretty wild), and the better impression you make on each of their senses, the more they are likely to remember you.

A few weeks ago, I attended an open mic, here in El Paso, Texas. I was wearing a very loose t-shirt and a pair of shorts. I hadn’t shaved in a few days and I looked rather raggedy. I have always dressed up for all of my paid performances, but this was an open mic, so I really thought is was no big deal. Right before I took the stage, I noticed two individuals walk in to the bar. I recognized one of them as the headliner appearing at the local comedy club that week. A comedian from L.A., he had recently appeared on Conan O’brien and was currently embarking on a national tour across the country as a nationally known “Headliner”. The fellow he was with, I assumed was his feature performer, who was also performing at the comedy club all week.

I went on stage and had a great set. I even noticed that my material was even making the L.A. comics laugh. At the end of the night, I made my usual rounds of the tables, thanking all of those that attended and gave us their attention. I really wanted to meet the L.A. star and just shake his hand, but I was intercepted by the other guy that walked in with him. He went on to tell me how I had impressed him and his friend so much during my set. Although they came to watch an open mic show and expected to see the same type of “hacky” material that typically accompanies such shows, they were pretty impressed at the originality of my set. He then said the following: “If you ever go to L.A., I think you would do great, but let me give you a little advice. When you appear on stage, try to look your best. Bookers and agents are looking for talent all of the time, but they are also looking for talent that they can market. They want to see comics that are pleasing to the eye. When they see someone like you who has talent and looks good, they will be lining up to offer you the fruits of your labor.” I thanked him for the great advice and completely forgot about meeting the “Headliner”. I don’t think I could have asked for better feedback!

Check out the Bull Durham clip below!

Wednesday Night Show


I’m at home right now getting ready for tonight’s performance at a local bar. It’s a Wednesday night here in the entertainment capital of the world, El Paso, Texas! Allow me to share what I will be dealing with tonight. The stage is approximately  3 to 4 feet tall. It is designed specifically for rock bands and the like. The bar will be almost empty, for the exception of maybe 2 or 3 comics and a few patrons who have wandered in. After all, it’s Wednesday night. I can pretty much count on seeing maybe 6 or 10 people there, not counting the staff!

For a stand up comic, the size of the audience does not matter.  A good joke will work no matter what the circumstance. So what if the laughs will take a few moments to reach my ears while I’m standing on that stage several feet away from the people that are actually there? Oooh, but when a joke bombs…IT BOMBS!

I’m determined to get something out of the experience! I’m preparing a few bits having to do with the size of the audience, the silence of the room and hopefully pick out a few of the patrons for some good natured laughs! Something incredible happens when a comic talks to the audience. There’s an air of danger! Can the comic be funny on the spot? Can the comic handle a less than desirable response while talking to the crowd? Can the comic remain likable and not come off like a complete douche??? Well, we’ll see, won’t we? I feel well armed with my strategy tonight! I’ve learned a few things recently about doing crowd work and I’m hoping to put those things into practice tonight. In the stand up comedy world, even those moments that seem like complete improv are actually not! Rather, a good comic knows what to look for and what to say even before they open their mouths. The more I do it, the more it will just seem natural. Today, however, that has yet to be determined!

Stay tuned!

:~)

(Insert Rocky Theme Music Here)


A few months ago, I blogged about losing weight to improve my health and, materialistically, my appearance on stage. 3 1/2 months later, I’m happy to report that I am almost 20 pounds lighter and have lost 5 inches from my belly! The transformation has not made me funnier, but it has given me the confidence to get up on stage and do what I do with that extra special bit of attitude! I have eaten a low carb diet and have implemented a 6 day work out week.

My workouts involve weight training and cardio and I alternate the 2 each day. Considering that I am weightlifting, I do not put much stock on the weight scale, as that can be extremely deceiving. As I lose the weight, I increase muscle mass, so losing inches around by belly has been more important to me than what any scale reads.

Okay, rather than make this a boring “How to lose weight” blog, I want to share how it is that I would mentally prepare myself for every meal and every work out. I think that makes all the difference if you are trying to accomplish what I have so far. You’ve heard it time and time again, “Eat healthy and exercise”. It really doesn’t get any simpler than that. That hard part is in convincing yourself to follow through. Here is my 4 Step Plan:

1.  Choose a 12 week exercise plan. Pick up a magazine like Men’s Health or Women’s Health, two of the best resources I can recommend.

2.  Start a Low Carb diet. You can pick up any good resource at a library or book store. The meals are great and once you understand why it works, you’ll be even more motivated!

Steps 3 and 4 are purely mental and here they are:

3.  After 1 day of implementing a good meal plan, and trying to motivate yourself to exercise, remind yourself of the following: “I DID NOT GO OUT OF MY WAY TO EAT HEALTHY TO END UP SKIPPING OUT ON MY WORKOUT!”

4.  If you struggle with eating healthy, then remind yourself of the following: “I AM NOT PUTTING IN ALL THAT TIME AND EFFORT EXERCISING TO ONLY RUIN IT BY EATING THE GARBAGE I’VE GROWN ACCUSTOMED TO!”

That’s it. That’s how I do it. If you have ever played a sport, you’ve heard coaches tell you over and over again, “This game is 90% mental” or something along those lines. The very same is true in your battle for weight loss and better health. Good luck!

Get It Done!


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Mike Tyson was the youngest Heavyweight Champion of the World at the age of 20. His past may have overshadowed his career, but I’ll never forget what he said when asked why he gets up at 4am every day to run. His reply, “Because I know the other guy is not doing it…”