As of March 30, 2021, this website will officially be renamed; StandingOcomedy.com
We all must start somewhere, and the bottom seems like the only logical starting point. I started in my current profession more than 28 years ago when I was hired by a staffing agency. I was hired as courtesy patrol staff for an apartment complex where I was to provide security type services and observe and report as I walked around the property on hourly patrols. I was 19 years old at the time, making $4.25 an hour in a position I thought would lead me nowhere. Now, 28 years later, I’m a District Manager with a worldwide security company and let’s just say that I’d prefer to remain modest about my current income and keep that to myself. No one likes a bragger.
So, how did I get to where I am now? Here are the 5 way I have learned to grow in any profession:
5. Just Get Started
This one seems easy, but you would be surprised how many people hold themselves back from starting anything because they fear the unknown. Everything you start is unknown, but if you don’t take that first step, how will you ever know? Remember when you were a kid and got your first set of LEGO’S? You didn’t know what you wanted to build, yet you just started putting those blocks together and before you knew it, you were ambitious enough to contemplate building LEGO Cathedrals. Keep that same spirit and just go for it!
4. Grow When You’re Ready to Grow
A mentor of mine once said, “You are where you are, because you want to be there.” Those words have echoed in my mind for years and have always motivated me to move on in life or profession. There will come a time when you will know that you have the skills and experience to improve your professional situation. When you do, take that step and either find opportunities to grow within the company you are working for, or venture out and find a position suitable for the value you offer now. If you want more responsibility, go get it. If you want more money, go get it. If you want to stay where you are, there’s nothing wrong with that either. “You are where you are because you want to be there”.
3. Get More Training
We all have room to grow. We never know everything there is to know about what we want to know. Companies love to invest in the knowledge of their employees. Often, employees do not realize that there are learning opportunities that they can take advantage of. Some of these opportunities are just as beneficial as going to school to learn them. Employers know that offering these learning opportunities to their employees makes their employees that much more valuable, so it is in their best interest to retain that employee and use their new knowledge to benefit the company. So, be on the lookout to advance in your position. Even if advancement opportunities are not available within the company, take those new skills and knowledge and seek employment where you can put all that new knowledge to work!
2. Stop the Rinse-and-Repeat Cycle
Pick a profession and continuously be good at it. I have held several positions in my life. I have worked at call centers, convenience stores, factories, retail, fast food, you name it, but I have always gravitated back to my security roots. The more I deviated from any position, the more times I had to start over. Try not to get stuck in Rinse-and-Repeat cycle. If you are in search of finding the work you love, that’s fine, but do not spend too much time trying to figure out what you want to dedicate your life to. Spend that valuable time honing and perfecting a skill you enjoy and use that skill or position to keep reaching new heights.
1. Love What You Do
On average, people work until the retirement age of 65. Some people leave retirement to continue working, whether out of necessity or out of sheer love of continuing in a profession that brings them joy. Whatever the case may be, it is important to realize that we all dedicate ourselves to a profession for a huge portion of our lifespan. Find a profession you love and want to improve upon. Then, and only then, will you find room to grow and reach a level of professional contentment we all deserve.
Effective 04/08/2020, Omarsays.net has changed its name to CoolOComedy.com
The Omarsays.net website and brand are experiencing a re-branding effort and we want everyone to know that, although the name may change, the content will continue to entertain and be delivered on a regular basis. In the meantime, thank you for your support and patronage.
Perhaps I’m being a little too dramatic with the title of this blog, but after today’s scare, it sure felt like I was gonna get kilt!
I was riding my 2006 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic, headed eastbound on Pershing Ave. I was riding at the slow pace of 25 mph through a residential neighborhood. At the corner of Pershing Ave. there is Walgreen’s store with parking lot exits on three sides of each neighboring street. As I approached one of those parking lot exits, my vision was blinded by another vehicle that was parked along the curb near that parking lot exit. As I approached that portion of that parking lot, a huge truck made it’s way out. The idiot driving that POS, (I’m sure it was a 2016 Chevy POS), failed to stop as they drove through the exit. I saw the nose of the truck come in to my vision past the parked car and I had but milliseconds to react. I hit both of my brakes in an effort to stop my bike’s momentum and not hit the truck straight on. At the same time, the driver of that POS recognized that they made a crucial error by not stopping, and INSTEAD OF BRAKING to allow me to at least have a change to swerve to avoid hitting them, they accelerated and moved even more into my path. The idiot driver then brought their truck to a complete and abrupt stop. As I applied my brakes, my bike skidded to the right, sending my handlebars towards the left. I ease up on the brakes, allowed the motorcycle to continue its momentum as it skidded and I managed to swerve, (onto an oncoming lane of traffic, mind you!) and missed the truck literally by inches!
The driver of the truck did not stop and I pulled over at an O’Reilly’s, where I was actually headed, and took a few deep breaths and went inside. Despite the fact that I managed not to get hit, I can still recall seeing the crowd of people that froze to watch my almost impending doom. People walking outside of the Walgreen’s and on the sidewalk stopped and stared hopelessly at my predicament. It was like when Mike Tyson was knocking people out and people paid buku bucks just to watch his fights end in the first round. They knew I stood no chance.
I have been riding my motorcycle every day since I got it this past April and I have always practiced being safe. I have seen drivers of cars make driving errors each and every day I’m out there. It’s almost inevitable that drivers make mistakes daily in this city. Some of these people have no regard for their safety much less the safety of others. I know I’m venting, but my heart has not stopped beating fast for over an hour now.
Thank you for reading…
This past weekend, I had an opportunity to perform at the Sun Ray Casino in Farmington, New Mexico and at The Bridges Gold Club, sponsored by the Canyon Creek Bed & Breakfast in Montrose, Colorado, and I had a blast. I was performing with another fellow comedian from my hometown who works almost as clean as I do , and guess what? The show did not suffer one bit because of it.
Many people starting out in stand-up feel that they have to be edgy or dark to be funny. “That’s just who I am as a comic.” Blah, blah, blah. It is career suicide to think like that. “But you’ve got comedians like Doug Stanhope and Bill Hicks who made a living off of that stuff!” Yeah, well, you’re not Doug Stanhope or Bill Hicks. You’re an open mic’er, who has yet to make a name for themselves. Even the great Bill Hicks and Doug Stanhope had to work clean at one point in their careers.
In an interview with Scott King, Doug Stanhope had this to say:
When you were an MC did you ever have to adjust your material or style for a headliner? I can’t picture Doug Stanhope doing that.
I don’t remember a lot of it. I just wouldn’t get booked. If that was going to be the situation, I already had an act that they just wouldn’t have booked me. If I was featuring, I was featuring with someone else dirty. They’d go, “Oh, we can’t work you with any clean guys.” So there’s not a lot of times I remember headliners giving me shit, but I’m sure there were occasions where they said, “Don’t say fuck,” and I’d have to pull different jokes out. I don’t know anyone that’s played by their own rules one hundred percent for their entire careers. I get lots of emails from comics saying, “Dude, take me on the road, nobody will book me cuz I’m too dirty,” and ninety-nine percent of the time… “Click on my link man. Look at my Youtube stuff.” And they’re saying you’re too dirty because no club owner wants to say you’re not funny, you’re not right for the room, if you’re dirty that gives them a perfect excuse, but they’re really saying you’re not funny. Most people aren’t funny, most people that try to do comedy aren’t good at it. That’s why open mics aren’t popular.
For the entire interview, click on this link.
At our gigs this weekend, the majority of the audience approached us to tell us how much they enjoyed the show and how much they appreciated that we worked clean. Keep in mind, neither of us is 100% clean, but our jokes are well structured and have a purpose. We say things that sound dirty, but they’re not. We let the audience’s imagination take it any direction they want to take it; let them take the blame. One audience member said, “We are always so hesitant when we come to these shows. We want to laugh and have a good time but sometimes, the comedians are over the top and we have to sit there while they perform to absolute silence. We’re pulling for them, but they never turn it around.”
If you’re starting out, you won’t get any comedy club bookings without help from another headliner, or some TV or movie credits, so you’re really left with working for booking agencies who book casinos and monthly shows in rural areas starved for entertainment. if you don’t write clean, you won’t be working very long. If you don’t understand comedy structure and what triggers laughter, you will always be an open mic’er. There are a ton of books that teach you stand-up and if you haven’t invested in them or read them, you’re wasting your time and more importantly, the audiences’ time.
Here’s a list of a few terms you should know if you’re pursuing stand-up. If you don’t, quit now and save the embarrassment for your druken family parties.
- JOKE (Learn this definition. It’s not what you think)
Today is March 27, 2014 and it’s been almost 4 months since I’ve performed stand up comedy on any significant stage for the exception of a 20 minute set with El Paso Underground Comedy a few months ago. It’s been a tough stretch but a necessary one. Without going in to too much detail, my unemployment wages stopped coming in and I had to get myself a job. After 9 years in stand up, I am just now scratching the surface of the business but have not had the opportunity to take it full time. Soooo, off to work I go! I have had to take a job working graveyard hours. Unfortunately, that type of work schedule is not conducive to the night life of stand up comedy. This is only one of the few road blocks that a stand up comedian has to go through before they are able to further their comedy career.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone and all of a sudden, you begin to notice some of the repetitive words or phrases they continue to use? For example, you continuously keep hearing the other person starting their sentences with the phrase, “I mean”. “I mean, that’s how I feel about it. I mean, am I wrong? I mean, what would you do?”
Is it me, or is this not noticeable to the masses? Does any sentence need to start that way? If the thought is going to your brain, then to your vocal cords, then to your mouth, then audibly out of your mouth, I believe the assumption is that this must be what you “mean”, isn’t it? Must you preface your statement with the phrase, “I mean”? I mean, right? It seems like such a waste of words. Is this perhaps, the comedian side of me thinking this way? After all, brevity in comedy is everything. The shorter the distance from the set up to the punchline, the more laughs per minute I’ll get. I feel this way about the words, “Well” and “So”, or “Look” to start a sentence. Don’t get me wrong, I do this too, but I annoy myself every time I do it. I think I need help. I mean, do you think I need help?
How about this one? “In my opinion…” I hate using that one, but I use it a lot. I think it is fair to say that anything I say, that is not backed up by discernible facts, is my opinion, so why state the obvious? Maybe it needs to be stated so that the other person doesn’t fire back with, “Well, that’s your opinion.” Of course it’s my opinion! It came out of my mouth and originated from my very own brain, thank you very much! And why do you have to start your sentence with, “Well”? Just tell me it’s my opinion and be done with it.
Well, I’hope I’ve confused you all enough. Look, I only say things to entertain. I mean, that’s what I do, right? So, I guess that’s it? You can stop reading now.
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.
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!
There are plenty of Christian comics out there and the material they perform is often times, squeaky clean and non-controversial and there are other Christian comics out there whose material isn’t quite as clean. Although I don’t use curse words in my act, some of my material can be interpreted as less than Christian-like.
When I decided to do Stand Up, I decided to share the good, the bad and the ugly with my audiences. As a follower of Christ, I admit that I am a sinner and need salvation. In fact, for those of you that think that churches are full of self righteous people, allow me to give you the right perspective on that. I’ve heard it expressed this way before, “The churches are all filled with sinners.” I’ll add to that, Biblically, you cannot come to a faith in Christ unless you’ve admitted that you are indeed a sinner and are in need of a Savior, who has taken your place in the punishment that was supposed to be yours to bear, but has been paid in full by Jesus. This does NOT mean that you STOP sinning! It only means that you recognize that fact and that as you strive to live as He would want you to live, every day He helps you deal with all of your weaknesses.
I will not get into a sermon but, I wanted to express how I could say the things that I say on stage and still consider myself a Christian. As a comic, I’m putting it ALL out there! Humor comes from the reality of life and some of my experiences resonate with audiences because they too can relate. I’ve decided to reach deep inside my life and take out all the garbage and put it all out on display in a way that we have no choice but to laugh. I’m not proud of some of the things I do or did in my life but, the humor that results from it not only makes people happy but, keeps me grounded. I will never claim to be more ‘Righteous than thou!”, but I believe that one day, my life will serve as a testimony to others that Christianity is more than just dressing up in your Sunday best, going to church, singing some praise and worship tunes and tuning out the Pastor’s message as you contemplate what you’re going to eat at Furr’s Buffet!
When people discover that I am a Christian and then question my faith because of what they see on stage, I can confidently say that I will have an answer for them. I’m prepared:
1 Peter 3:15
… Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…
Who knew that Stand Up would be a springboard to getting a deeper message across?
HAPPY RESURRECTION SUNDAY!
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