Look At Me!!


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When a comic gets asked, “Why did you want to do stand up comedy?” The majority of the answers you’ll read will be, “I’ve always enjoyed making people laugh.” And to that, I’ve gotta say “B.S.!” Although that is a nice “pie in the sky” answer, it comes no where near the real reason. I will admit, my answer to that question cannot be meant to apply to EVERY comic, but I believe my answer is perhaps the most honest approach to that question. As a comic, who tries to share real life experiences with complete honesty, I would think you would expect nothing less from me. So, why have I chosen to do stand up comedy? Here it goes…

I do it for the attention. I do it because I enjoy when all eyes and ears are on me. I don’t seek this attention in any other setting. At the workplace, or at a party, you’ll swear I’m the most quiet individual. I allow others to get the spotlight. I don’t try to stand out anyplace else. But, if I am to be recognized for anything, I want it to be for something that no one else, or very few people can do. Yes, I appreciate the laughter but more so, I enjoy making a room full of complete strangers take notice of me. I enjoy them identifying with the words that I’m saying and I enjoy watching the affect I have on them with the orchestrated way I have put my words together. Knowing that I have planned out my set in a strategic way and watching the resulting laughter is exactly why I do this. The crowd watches me hit the stage and I know they’re thinking, “I dare you to make me laugh!” Then, within a few words, BAM! They’re mine! They’ll hang on each word until I tell them I’m done. You will never understand the rush that comes from that until you’ve done it. It’s not only on the comedy stage that you can accomplish that. Do it in everything you do that no one else can claim to do better and you’ll understand exactly why it is that I have chosen to do what I do. I’m seeking the admiration of the audience, the respect of other comics and more significantly, the satisfaction of my own selfish nature. I’ll go days giving others the spotlight they seek, but when it’s my turn, when the spotlight is on me, when the words from the PA system say, “Please welcome to the stage, Omar Tarango!”, that is MY moment and I’ll be taking you on a ride you’ll be glad you got on. And when I’m done, all I want is to be remembered as the comic who deserved and earned your attention…

Hacks, Stealing Material and Carlos Mencia


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What is a hack comic? Simply put, it is a comic who chooses to use the “same old” topics that have been used over and over again by other comics in hopes of getting an easy laugh. All comics fall prey to this. It is the comic that recognizes the hack premises and immediately dumps them, that will eventually grow and succeed. It’s all part of the learning process. So, although it may be really easy to pick on the Kardashians, it is simply too overdone to continue doing it!

Many famous comics have been accused of stealing other comics’ material, and while I completely detest the practice, I have got to play the devil’s advocate on this. It used to really upset me when I heard, as most stand up comedy fans may have heard, that Carlos Mencia regularly steals jokes. The problem is, some of the jokes he was accused of stealing were jokes that were really easy for anybody to come up with! Does this mean he’s not a talented and funny comic? As a comic, I dissect the methods and strategies used by comics. For me, it is the comic that completely pulls me in unexpected directions, that I really admire and try to be like. I feel that’s the case for every audience when they have chosen to follow any comic of their liking.

Let’s get back to Mencia. As a comic, I recognize that Mencia has been performing for many years. He has performed in front of bar audiences, quiet and subdued audiences in charity events, audiences that were less than friendly, audiences that were more interested in drinking than to listen to the guy on stage with the mic, audiences that preferred to watch the sporting event on the bar’s TVs than to deal with the talking distraction in the spotlight, and other audiences too various to mention. He has endured the horrible experience of completely bombing on stage. He has had to endure the unrelenting heckling that can throw any comic off their game. He has offended people that did not understand his humor and those people have let him know about it. He has had to endure the negative comments of people around him that try to hold him back. He has even had to hear those same negative comments from those people he considered to be friends. He has put up with having to pay a fee to get himself on stage. He’s had to pay for his travel and finance his hotels before anyone knew or cared who he was.

Yet through all of this, audiences took notice. They liked him. They appreciated his humor. They wanted to hear more from him. He was THEIR comic! Do you think he did that by stealing jokes? Do you think he got there by being unoriginal and a hack? No. He didn’t. He put in the work and can now enjoy the fruits of his labor. To every comic that has reached that successful point in their stand up career, I salute them. They did it. Audiences are not stupid. They recognize original talent and they reward it with their undivided attention…

The Long and Winding Road


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In the world of Stand up Comedy, you can literally write tons of new material and maybe only a few of those jokes survive! I recently wrote 10 minutes of material and only 25 seconds of it made the final cut! It’s a long road, but the laughs are worth it!

I personally like to write down some of my material as a Facebook status update. Depending on the responses I get, I can gauge whether or not I want to keep working on them. The following are just a few of some of those status updates. Some of them have made it to my act and others are still sitting on the back burner. What I really enjoy about this process is that some of these bits will actually evolve into a great bit that only leads to other great bits. I hope you enjoy them! And remember, you can go to my Facebook fan page and ‘Like’ it to keep up with whatever I’m writing at the time….

 A new billboard sign in town reads, “You Text, You Drive, You Crash”. How about adding, “Reading Billboards Won’t Help Either.”

Found a condom wrapper in my teenage son’s backpack. I don’t know whether to be upset that he’s having sex at an early age or jealous that they’re Magnums.

“Why can’t I buy a car? Your commercial said you accept Bad Credit.”…”Yes sir, but you have crappy credit. You need to improve your score by 200 points to have Bad Credit.”

I have dreams of becoming famous. I also dream that a giant tomato eats me….

Big Brothers of America has canceled my participation. Apparently, my assigned little brother did not appreciate the teasing, wedgies or bullying.

Having a cold for longer than a few days can make a person so paranoid that they start thinking crazy stuff; “Crap, this is EXACTLY how Magic Johnson found out he was HIV positive…”

As a Christian, I know I’m not perfect. I believe in the rapture, but as a stupid teenager, I sure wish I hadn’t thought the things I did….(under my breath) “Please, please, please, don’t come for your people today. This girl thinks I’m YOU!”

I just now realized why the Flinstones were happily married for so long. Twin beds…

 

Nothing to Say!


I haven’t blogged in a while and have absolutely nothing to say! So here goes some of the randomness that goes through my head.

Men have an awkward way of sneaking a peek at the ‘goods’ that a woman displays while looking amazingly sexy! Take for example, a man who is introducing his date to another man, such as friend. That ‘friend’ can’t just ‘check out’ his friend’s date. It should be kept as simple eye contact and that’s it. But noooooo! That man has no control over what his eyes are doing! First, he’ll need to make sure he looks at his friend to make sure his friend is only temporarily distracted, then he has to glance at the eyes of the woman to make sure she’s not watching him, thennnnnnnn, he’ll sneak that peek at the goods! His eyes will momentarily cock over to the side just quick enough to make sure his friend doesn’t catch him and hopefully the woman won’t either! Ah, but this NEVER goes unnoticed by the friend! We know what the other guy is doing! Heck, WE do it too! But we let it pass…. It’s the bro code….

HECKLERS!!


One of the biggest fears for a beginning comic is how to deal with hecklers. For the most part, it is more difficult for a heckler to try to ruin a comedy show at an actual comedy club than at a bar. After all, people are paying their hard earned cash to be entertained but, give a person enough alcohol and anything is possible. I so desperately needed to learn how to deal with that type of disruption so, I hit the local bars to perform my stand up! There, I knew that the atmosphere was ripe for hecklers. I mean, people go to bars to drink, watch sports and cheat on their girlfriends, not to watch a stand up comedy show! Dealing with a heckler can be difficult because all that’s on a comics’ mind is to do their set and not screw anything up. Then, when you add a heckler in to the mix, it can throw any beginning comic right off their game! I won’t claim to know to much about the subject but I will admit that, I’ve sure shot down my share of hecklers in the funniest ways possible! Here are a few things to consider when dealing with this most annoying of species:

1.) Ignore it. Just like a comic, if their joke falls flat, they go into panic mode and would love nothing more than to rush through the rest of their set and get off the stage! The same is true for a heckler. The heckler is looking for attention and when their heckle falls flat, the last thing they want to do is to continue their poorly planned out attack.

2.) Let them say their piece. In fact, if you’re sure that not everyone had a chance to hear their heckle, give them another opportunity to repeat it. Ever try to repeat a joke to someone that wasn’t paying attention only to repeat it and not have the same affect? Same thing goes for this tactic. Let them repeat themselves and watch it fall flat! Then fire back with something well prepared for any occasion. “What was that?”–‘I said you suck!”– “Wow…thanks, dad.”

3.) Write a comeback. Any comeback. Preferably, one that will let you naturally go into your next joke. The comeback needs to be well written enough so that you can use it in almost any occasion. I, for example, have one aimed only at a woman heckler. Regardless of what she may say, I’ll fire back with:

“You ladies just gotta be the center of attention and CONTROL everything, don’t ya?” (That leads in to my divorce joke…”See? That’s why I’m divorced. But going through a divorce is brutal cuz my wife was EXTREMELY controlling! I’m just glad the divorce is over and I finally got my maiden name back.”

That not only brings a laugh, but it also gets the heckler on your side! If you can get the heckler to laugh then all is well with the world!

As I continue on this journey, I know I’ll only add to this list. As for now, this has gotten me by quite nicely.

How about you? How would you handle this? What have you seen other comics do that would prevent you from EVER uttering a peep at a comedy show? Your comments are more than welcomed!

WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?!


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Getting started in stand up comedy is pretty much like being a kid again. You’re going to mess up and sometimes, you’re going to get scolded. In the six years I’ve been doing this, this has happened to me at least twice. I’ll share one of those experiences with you.  While opening at a well know comedy club, I ended my set too short. I was given 10 minutes, however, I never got the light, (every club gives the performer a light from the sound booth, when it’s time to wrap it up,) to end my set. Considering that I was still in the beginning stages of my stand up career, I didn’t exactly have more material than I had been rehearsing for, so the fact that I didn’t get the ‘light’, sent me into sort of a panic. Rather than stay on stage, I said thank you and went on to introduce the Feature performer for the night. Unfortunately, the owner had not been in the sound booth, which is the reason that he didn’t give me the ‘light’ so, the next comic had to go on stage with absolutely no intro music. I then left outside of the showroom where the owner greeted me with not so kind words. I didn’t want to admit to him that I had completed my set and had run out of material to use so, I simply stood there and got an earful!  I should have been prepared with more though. I did have other stuff I could have used but, I had not rehearsed it and it certainly wasn’t immediately available in my mind while on stage.

A quick word of wisdom, to any beginning comic out there; Always be prepared with enough material to fill the amount of minutes you are given. Do NOT plan to go over that BUT, always, ALWAYS, have a few more minutes ready to go should the owner, sound guy or manager not be ready to give you the ‘light’! Hey, for all you know, you might be getting more time because you’re simply killing it out there! Before too long, you’ll be wishing you would always get more time!

Omar Tarango @ Laffs Comedy Caffe’ in Tucson

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I had an amazing time in Tucson this past weekend! Here is an audio sample of some of that performance. I’ve paid my dues at the local bars around my hometown in El Paso, Texas and these clips are proof positive that hard work never goes unrewarded! Enjoy!!

One Day Away!


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Tomorrow, I’ll be taking to the stage at Laffs Comedy Caffe’ in Tucson! I’m incredibly excited about it and can’t wait to use my material on a professional stage! I’m desperately trying to find a ‘clothing style’ for my appearances. After a 12 year marriage and 4 kids, I think I’ve lost all sense of fashion. I’ll be doing a little bit of shopping in Tucson tomorrow and I’m hoping to find just the right clothes. I personally think that when a comic is still trying to make a name for themselves, it’s important to try to stand out from the crowd. Kinda like watching an 80’s Glam Metal band. Remember those guys?They stood out! They didn’t look like everybody else and we were hooked not only to their music but their look!

I’m certainly not saying I want to be THAT outrageous, but I do want to stand out somehow. If I ever make a splash in this business, then I can tone it down and maybe take the stage wearing basketball shorts and my favorite t-shirt. By then, my jokes should be enough. 🙂

You’re so Vain!


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At the risk of sounding really vain, I realized that as a performer, it is vital that I put my best foot forward. And considering that I am the center of attention when I take the stage, I want to make sure that, besides being funny and entertaining, I must do what I can to look good up there! Over the past year, I have neglected my physical health and have not worked out much, gaining at least 10 pounds in the process. With 2 comedy club gigs coming up, I have hit the weights again for the past 4 weeks and have been extremely strict with my diet. In that short amount of time I have gained some lean muscle and lost a few inches around my waist.

I realize that in stand up, the content of the performer’s material is more important to the progression of their comedy career, however, as conceited as this may sound, I want to appeal to as many of the audiences’ senses while I’m on stage. If anything, looking good gives me more confidence to get up on that already frightful stage and I’m looking to get an edge on every angle of this business. There are so many things that are out of a comic’s control but, I feel that it’s vitally important to quickly get a grasp on those things you do have control of.

I’m at the age where health is more important than looks, so I know I’m killing two birds with one stone. I either get myself back in shape or start writing new material about diabetes and high blood pressure.

Tucson, Here I Come!


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I’ll be opening this week at Laffs Comedy Caffe in Tucson, Arizona! If you live in Tucson or know someone in that area, let me know so I can shoot you and them an invite! The club is great and it would be awesome if I could generate a good following there! I’ll be performing 2 shows on Friday, March 30th and 2 shows on Saturday the 31st. I’ll also be polishing some of my newest stuff this Tuesday night at Coconuts at 10pm with the El Paso Underground Comedy group!