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.

 

 

The Resurrection and Stand Up Comedy


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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!

Omar’s Patreon Site. Pledge your support!

https://www.patreon.com/omarcomedian?ty=h

Headlining At The Comedy Spot In Scottsdale, Arizona

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My Feature performer, Iggy Samaniego, from El Paso, Texas, destroyed the room before I took the stage. All I had to do was RIDE THE WAVE!

Things That Make You Go, “Ugh!”


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I will never claim to be funnier than any other stand up comedian. I truly believe that comedy is subjective. That is to say that what makes me laugh will not necessarily make you laugh. Having said that, there are some things that make me shudder when I watch relatively new comics take to the stage. I think, for the most part, it is an evolution of sorts. When a comic is starting out, it is very easy to seem less then genuine. Inexperienced comics tend to go for what they assume to be, and easy laugh. Here is a list of the things I see and hear that make me want to look away in disgust.

  1. Toilet humor:
    Yeah, we all poop. We all fart. We all have diarrhea after eating Taco Bell. On the surface, this type of humor seems funny, because as kids, we always laughed at this subject matter. But on a stand up comedy stage? Unless you’re bringing a new angle to the subject, leave the poop jokes on the throne. The audience has most likely heard em’ all.
  2. Talking about banging other chicks while your girlfriend or wife, or both, are sitting in the audience:
    If any of the audience members know that this is the case, they will undoubtedly look in the direction of your companion after you’ve delivered the punchline about how you didn’t think your fist could do “that”. This takes attention away from your joke and causes a disconnect with the crowd. The audience then spends the rest of your set imagining the horrible things that will take place when you and the Mrs. get home. I know that being “real” on stage is important, but let’s not get too “real”. Stand up comedy is more than bringing reality to the surface, it’s about doing it in such a way that others can laugh and not feel guilty doing so.
  3. Political Rant:
    No one cares, man…No one cares. If we wanted to hear political views, we would tune in to talk radio or at least watch the political commentary shows on Comedy Central. Don’t remind us about how bad a shape this country is in. If we were being invaded by China, the audience wouldn’t give a crap. We just wanna enjoy our drinks and get entertained like the Roman Emperors we all are!
  4. Internet Jokes:
    I can’t even believe that this one has to be mentioned. Look, if you read a joke on the internet and think that you are the only one in the entire world that was privy to that masterpiece, you are as confused as Bill Clinton on the witness stand! Nothing, and I mean, nothing, angers me more than to see a comic get credit for a joke they did not write. Sure, you’ll get the laughs, but you will lose the respect of those you call, “fellow comics”. Grow up and bomb doing your own stuff!
  5. Going Over Your Time:
    Most audience members have no idea what “going over your time” means. Simply put, the club or venue allows every comedian a certain amount of time to perform their set. Apart from the orderly function of this aspect of stand up, it also allows the next comic to get themselves pumped and ready to take their turn. When a comedian goes over their time, the comedian following them begins to fume on the inside. Thoughts like the following, go through the next comic’s mind, “When is he gonna get off!” “The jokes haven’t been working and they’re still in search of a great closing?!” Look, do your time and once you see the “light” given by the sound guy, FINISH AND GET OFF THE STAGE! Make it a habit of not getting off when you’re supposed to, and you will find that you will either, not be allowed back, or your next appearance will be much shorter than you anticipated. Be a professional and FOLLOW THE LIGHT!

Alright, I could go on, however, I like keeping things short to keep my readers engaged. If you have anything to add to this list, be my guest! I enjoy reading each and every response.

Humility With a Name Like “Iggy”


I don’t consider myself a professional stand up comic yet. I’ve been in the business for 7 years now, and in that time have earned well over…six hundred bucks. I know a little more than the comic who has done it for a less amount of time but I have a TON more to learn.

Comics are self centered. Some comics won’t even take advice from others and certainly not from comedians who haven’t been in the game too long. Sure, we would all like to get advice from people like Louie CK or Jerry Seinfeld or Ralphie May, but those opportunities may never present themselves. There have been times where another comic will ask me for advice and I’m only happy to share it. I may not know a lot about stand up but what I do know, it is my pleasure to share.

Two years ago, I saw a guy perform  at an open mic. The guy killed and had great jokes! None of them were hack and I could tell that the guy knew how to actually write material. He not only got the laughs, he did it in front of a bar audience. There is no tougher crowd than that! After the show, I went up to the new comic and asked him how long he had been doing stand up. He responded with, “This was my first time.” That floored me. I had to give credit where credit was due. I told him, “If you can do that at a bar, (make them laugh) you will kill them at a comedy club.”

Since then, I have been working with him at other bar shows and events around town. In that time, he has never thought that he was more than he was. He has remained humble and committed to the stand up craft. He will often times ask me for advice and I share things with him that seem mundane but are such an intricate part of the business. The best thing a fellow comic can do is help pave the way for those that are treading on ground that they’ve already walked on. I’m not “Headlining” material yet, but I have Emcee’d shows and I have Featured at comedy clubs, and the things I’ve learned are things that others have taught me. In this profession, everyone wants to stand out above the rest with little to no help, while others realize that to stand up above the rest can only happen when you help others to do so as well. That is quite a contrarian way of thinking, but it has it’s purpose.

This week, the comic I’ve been writing about will Emcee for his very first time at The El Paso Comic Strip. This will be his first professional gig. He has been working his set at all the local open mics, at bars, at school gymnasiums, at restaurants, at private parties, at charity events, at coffee houses, you name it! He has earned this opportunity not just by being funny, but by humbling himself to the advice of others.

He refers to me as his “mentor”, but he has been my mentor as much as he considers me his. I’ve learned from him just as much as he’s learned from me. Ask for his advice and he will be quick to invite you over to his house for beer and a joke writing session. I’ll be there on his first opening night and I will be there for his first Feature appearance and I will be front and center at his first Headlining spot.

Congratulations, Iggy! Kill em’!

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…

 

Love What You Do…


I saw a commercial once of 2 archeologists out in the middle of the desert. Braving what appeared to be intense heat, both men hid under a tent to get away from the sun. One of the men, looking exhausted and dripping with sweat, said to the other, “Man, I can’t wait to retire! How about you?” The other man looked up, smiled widely and said, “I AM retired…”

That’s what it’s all about! Doing what you LOVE. I’ve heard it said once like this, “If you do what you love, you can’t call it work.” – Author unknown to me-.

Currently, I work as a stock broker and although I love the world of investing, I don’t love my job. I am also a stand up comic, but I don’t make a living at that yet. I am still working on adding more time to my set and trying to move up the performance ladder, but that will certainly take some time. In the meantime, I still have bills to pay, so off to work I go! I am extremely thankful for the job I have though and I wouldn’t want to have to work anywhere else. But, I am certainly not looking tat staying here any longer than I have to. One day, I’m hoping the hard work and dedication I am putting into stand up comedy will pay off. I’m not looking for fame or fortune, just an opportunity to work doing what I love…