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.

Performing For A Bunch of Lawyers


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Tomorrow, I have a gig performing in front of a bunch of Insurance Litigation attorneys. I will also be delivering a short Motivational message before doing some stand up. After the stand up portion, I will be Emceeing their White Elephant Gift Exchange. This should be a blast! Okay, now on to this blog and my purpose for writing it. I have been performing for corporate audiences for about a year now and I have learned that the best way to connect to these type of audiences is to prepare, at the very least, 5 minutes of custom material. The following is what I have written so far. Some of it will make the final cut and some of it won’t. This is where you come in. I appreciate the fact that you take the time to read what I put out there and would LOVE input from all my readers! If you like a particular joke or even have one of your own you wish to throw my way, I WOULD LOVE TO READ YOUR SUGGESTIONS! Okay, here we go:

  1. Wow, when I first saw all these white guys in suits in one room, I thought I was at a Mormon Convention. But then I saw some Latinos in here with suits and it felt like I was at a Quinceañera.
  2. I’d like to thank (XYZ Law Firm) for inviting me here today. It must be so cool to be a lawyer! Lawyers get to practice in the confusing world of Civil Litigation. Or the brutal world of Criminal Litigation. Or the most exciting of them all; Insurance Litigation!
  3. I can only think of a few things more exciting than that!
    A Dentist appointment. I LOVE when someone makes my gums bleed! I pretend I’m Dracula.
    A Parade. Who doesn’t love standing in the cold for hours?!
    A Prostate Exam. You may go in to see the doctor, but you leave having gained a friend.
  4. Practicing law in a Latino city like El Paso must be hard.  I was recently down at the courthouse and saw 2 Latinos, dressed in suits. I couldn’t tell which one was the lawyer and which one was the defendant? Then one of them spoke up in the courtroom and said, “Thees is a travetee, jour honor!” That’s when I realized, THAT’S the lawyer! Hey, ‘Travesty’ is a pretty big word.
  5. Insurance law firms have such great commercials. “My attorney got me 2.2 million dollars. I may be missing my arm, but now I can buy a new one!” Then the lawyer appears on the screen and says, “If you’ve been hurt in an accident, we can help. We are the Strong ‘Left’ Arm of the law!…or whatever limb you happen to be missing. Call us today! If you are missing both arms, then have someone else help you CALL US TODAY!”
  6. I like that your law firm didn’t go for a name to describe your tenacity. Some firms go for such intimidating names like:
    The Lion
    The Tiger
    The Bear
    Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
    Law firm names are never stereotypical. I mean, I would jump at the chance to hire; THE WEASEL! Hey, the weasel is a quick and clever creature. I hired “The Bulldog” for my divorce and my ex-wife’s lawyer made him look like, “The Puppy”. The Weasel would have at least got me my X-Box back.

    Okay readers, that’s as much as I have written so far. I might add a few more here and there, based on your suggestions. Remember a few things though; this is a corporate audience and the material has to be clean. Let’s try to stay away from the sexual or race references. Although I make Latino references, they are typically clever enough not to offend audiences of any kind. Oh, and I’ve taken those bits for a spin in front of corporate audiences before, so they are well tested. LUCKY FOR ME! Okay, have at it readers! I hope to read some good stuff here!

SEE YA!

Top 10 Reasons Why I Hate Doing Stand Up Comedy


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HERE WE GO:

10. Inviting friends and family to my shows knowing full well they’ve heard my jokes over 100 times.

9. I look fat on stage.

8. I hate making eye contact with the only person in the audience that is NOT laughing.

7. The comics going on after me will be 10 times funnier than me.

6. I’ll be trying a new joke that will be met with 9/11 type silence.

5. People will laugh at the set up to a joke and go completely silent at the actual punchline.

4. Sometimes I spit when I talk and I can see my spit in the spotlight as it hits an audience member in the front row.

3. I have to force a smile even though my set is tanking.

2. I’m funnier in my head.

AND THE #1 REASON I HATE DOING STAND UP COMEDY…

1. At the end of the show, audience members ask me if they can take a photo with all the comedians… Then they ask me to take the photo.

Readers and fellow bloggers, feel free to add to the list, whether you’re a stand up comic or not! I would love to read your take on it!

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.

A Joke in its Infancy

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It always amazes me when a new joke comes out of the gate and works! This bit has a lot of the joke writing elements to it that are crucial to its success. Rather than get in to the technical aspect of the joke, I’ll let you just enjoy it!

George Carlin Was Not Funny To Me


George Carlin was a good performer. He was a good orator. He was a good and creative writer. But, to me, he was not particularly funny. I know the comedy world at large may frown upon that statement, but who in the world said I had to agree with everyone! I’ve listened to Carlin. I’ve watched some of his specials and have even watched his Tonight Show appearances. On one particular appearance, he rambled off a long list of items as part of his set. None of these items were particularly funny to me. In fact, during the 5 minute rant, I giggled once. Then again, the audience didn’t laugh much either. But ohhhhh, the fact that he was brilliantly able to ramble off a 5 minute list of cleverly listed items got his fan base’s full attention. Then, at the end, a rousing round of applause. I sat there thinking, “I thought this was supposed to be a stand up comedy routine?”

I will never reach the level of fame or recognition that George Carlin reached, but it does not mean that I have to admire him for his stand up comedy. What I do admire is, his ability to write, perform and create a fan base that was clearly devoted to him, even in death. I feel the same about Bill Hicks. Sure he was a ground breaker in the stand up comedy scene, but I didn’t find him funny. And I’m not obligated to. Here are a list of comics that I think are much more brilliant than they were:

Brian Regan
Jim Gaffigan
Mitch Hedberg
Nick Swardson

(Just to name a few). YouTube them. Then, YouTube Carlin and Hicks. Form your own opinion. I’ll respect it either way.

Oh, and if you are, by any chance, a rock & roll musician, you do not have to like “Stairway to Heaven” or even give a crap about Led Zepplin or Rush.

What ever dream you have, follow your own inspirations and don’t be scared to admit that you don’t follow the general consensus about anyone! After all, isn’t that what George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Led Zepplin and Rush did?

By the way, I loved George Carlin in the role of Popeye’s long lost papi in the movie, “Popeye”.

The Show Must Go On…But it Didn’t


I am posting this as a follow up to yesterday’s post regarding performing for a near empty bar. The show was to begin at 8:30, but of course, there was hardly anybody there at 8:30! So, as we typically do, we waited….and waited. The longer we waited for more people to show up, the more that the people that were already there, left! We ended up not doing the show.

Even during that wait, I was contemplating on what to say. Sure, I have prepared material but, it would all have fallen on deaf ears. I intended to simply converse with the audience and try my hand at improv, in hopes of livening up that few patrons that were there. Ah, it would have been perfect too! There was a group of 3 girls, and one of them was obviously leading an alternative life style. Wearing short chopped up blond hair, bottle rimmed glasses and saggy pants. She was ideal for a lead in to a few jokes I have about gay marriage. I would have addressed them by improving the following, “Well, it’s nice to see audience members of the Ellen show here tonight! Hey, I voted for Obama! I support gay marriage. Why shouldn’t gay people be miserable too? It’s bad enough that they’re so happy already. They even use a happy colorful rainbow as their symbol! I could see some new problems with gay marriage though. Like, after an argument, who sleeps on the couch?” The banter is not totally hilarious, but when you are winging it like that with audience members, something really strange happens… they actually find it funny! ?There have been so many things that I’ve been scared to say on stage and sometimes just don’t say them, but  when I venture to do so, I am floored at the response! There’s something about involving an audience and bringing attention to them in a “Hey, let’s talk!” sort of way. Take this last girl, for example. Do you think she’s embarrassed of being gay? Heck no! She’s out an about and wears her colors proudly! A good comic will get the laughs he can from that table and move on to another one. That table can now crack up at the target table of the next bit of material!

A key to all of this, in my opinion, is not to go overboard. It’s fine to point out the obvious and add some humor into it, but it’s a completely different story to insult people. Save that for the hecklers. The obvious observations are perfect for this type of “riffing” with an audience. Go to any stand up comedy show and watch how it’s done. A good comic will point out the obvious and fill the entire room with laughter that can hardly be contained! Pointing out the obvious is one reason a comic will often have self deprecating humor. While we stand on stage, the audience is already making stereo typical judgements on the performer. Things always stand out. In person, I look Arabic, so I will usually start my set by speaking only in Spanish. Then, after few moments, I’ll point to an audience member and say, “Look at that. I’ve already got you confused, don’t I? You’re thinking, ‘Man, Arabic sounds a lot like Spanish!’

Gets em’ every time!

:~)

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!

:~)

I Got Fired


Yup, 3 weeks ago, I was canned from my stock broker job. Am I disappointed? Heck no! I feel as free as I’ve ever felt before! The job was not exactly what I though it would be when I first applied for it. Then again, what did I expect working for a stock brokerage firm located in the “Financial Capital of the World”, El Paso, Texas?

I didn’t panic when I was given the “We have decided to part ways” speech? In fact, the only thing going through my mind during that speech was, “Well, can we still be friends?” I was already thinking about what a great bit this would make for my stand up comedy act!

Now that I have all the time in the world, I have an opportunity to really pursue my stand up comedy career! I am going to take advantage of this and do all that I can to market myself and create a great fan base! I have already taken step one, and that was to create a web site for myself. Although it’s still a work in progress, it’s up and ready to go! Here is that link:

http://www.bumpynose.com/

The hardest part of creating that web site was to come up with a memorable name. Who in the world would remember something like omar_tarango.com? I couldn’t give that out on stage and expect the audience to care enough to remember such a forgettable name! Ah, but if they remembered the size of my nose? Yeah, that would do it! Just remember the comedian with the bumpy nose and VOILA!

Second, I have, as I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, decided to completely abandon Facebook. Well, not entirely. I will update my profile picture regularly to include any of my upcoming shows, but that’s it! I will no longer post any more one liners or new material that I’ve written. I will leave that up to the stage. Besides, as I’ve mentioned before, Facebook is nothing more than a public stage allowing EVERYONE and opportunity to show just how clever and creative they really are and trying to stand out in the forum is like trying to commit suicide by slicing your wrists with elementary school plastic scissors. I’ll pass! The real litmus test for my material is the stage and nothing else!

Thirdly, you will be hearing more from me on this blog. I will update this blog often and the range of topics will vary. I am also considering changing the name of my blog from Underdog Comedy to Bumpy Nose.

So, stay tuned for more and wish me luck!

Shave the Beard!


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I recently watched an online video hosted by stand up comedian, Ralphie May. In it, he provided a wealth on information and tips on the business of stand up comedy. Of particular interest to me was what he said about BEARDS! Ralphie went on to explain that any head gear or obstructions on the face, such as BEARDS, would only reflect poorly on the comic, as if they’ve got something to hide. As a stand up comic, we need to strive to appear honest and trustworthy. This allows us to better set up our jokes. If we are expecting the audience to believe what we are saying, only to hit them hard with the punchline, then we need to appear as trustworthy as possible. This thought floored me! I’ve been sporting a goatee for the last 10 years! Could this advice really have some merit to it? Ralphie went on to explain that this is one of the reasons politicians and salesmen prefer to be clean shaven. Those people need to appear as trustworthy and honest as possible. This does appear to make sense, which only illustrates how stand up comedy has so many small intricate parts to it!

Being the naysayer I am, I decided to look up pictures of our past presidents, and what do you know?! Our last 18 presidents were clean shaven! In fact, 9 out out of our 43 presidents stayed clear of the BEARD or any facial hair! Maybe there is something to this? For the sake of the craft, I’ve decided to shave my goatee and hit the stage without it. Maybe I have been hiding behind the beard? I’ll have to keep you updated on how and if my sets improve.

Incidentally, I find it ironic that Abraham Lincoln had a beard but was still nicknamed Honest Abe… Oh how our world has evolved!