No One Else To Blame


Image

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…

Stand Up Comedy is not Always Funny


ImageAside from the technical aspect of stand up, and the boring, mundane process of writing, the least funny side of the business is watching other comics stop performing. There is a side to every comic that thinks, “Cool, that’s one less comedian I have to compete with.” Then, there is that other side that is truly disappointed that someone has quit in their pursuit of doing stand up full time. But, life happens. And it happens to all of us. Young comics, who have only begun to experience life on their own, have yet to experience life to its fullest. Before you know it, they have to set their stand up aside to tend to things like, a new marriage, kids, college or career. For them, the decision to leave stand up is one that is naturally made. They can either pursue a career path where paid gigs are far and few between, as they are starting out or, pursue a life with a spouse and kids and a promising, lucrative career. They promise themselves that they will be back to stand up one day, then life continues to happen, bringing separate twists and adventures.

Then you have the comic that quits from discouragement. No matter how hard they try, they do not feel like they are getting any better. They constantly go up on stage to the sound of silence and get off the stage to the same murmur of crickets. Those comics fail to realize that stand up is incredibly inconsistent. A beginner typically starts out hitting the open mics around town, held at local bars. No one at a bar expect to see stand up comedy and are usually there for the drink specials or sports on TV. They will perform for an audience that is far too drunk and sees themselves as the center of attention. That is very hard to compete with. But, even in all that chaos, a beginning comic must realize that this is where the blood, sweat and tears must be shed. This is where they must hone and perfect their material. If the comic manages to get at least one laugh, just ONE, that is the joke that survives until the next performance. This process is time consuming and tedious, but well worth it if it is repeated on a regular basis.

I have seen a lot of good and promising comics come and go and I am always hoping to see them on stage again. Some will come back, yet most will never hold that microphone again. I have personally decided to do this for the rest of my life. The world may never know who I am and a national audience may never get to hear of me, but to those audiences that I have had the pleasure of making laugh, I can assure you, I’m not going anywhere. Life may still happen, but for me, it won’t happen without stand up…

Omar’s Patreon Site. Pledge your support!

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!

:~)

Look At Me!!


me

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


Image

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…

Get It Done!


Image
 

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…”

Give Me Your 2¢


As a comic, I want to get noticed by the public. After all, my success is determined by the following I can create more so than how funny I am. Don’t get me wrong, I still have to bring the funny, but more importantly, I need to reach the people that actually care! If a comedian tells a joke and no one is around to hear it, is the still joke funny?

Anyway, I want your help on this. When you watch a comic on TV or youtube or CD or see them on social networks like Facebook, what do you look for?

What keeps you interested?
How long of a chance will you give a comic before you change the channel?
What immediately turns you away from listening to a comic?
If a comic has their own web site, how are you hoping to be entertained there?

Tell me anything and everything that you think would be helpful.  
 

Thanks!!

In Anticipation of my Performance Tomorrow in Tucson, Take a Look at my Promotional Video!!

Video


Short, simple and to the point. Taking my style of funny to Laffs Comedy Caffe’ in Tucson, Arizona!

One Day Away!


Image

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!


Image

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.