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.

You Will Never Be An Overnight Success


Not getting the recognition, as a stand up comedian, that you think you deserve? Are you only hosting shows but think you should have a shot of featuring or even headlining? Or maybe, you’ve only had an opportunity to perform at open mic’s but think you should be given an opportunity at hosting a professional show? Let’s face it, we’ve all felt like this at one point or another. In 8 years, I’ve learned that when you think you’re ready to host and emcee a show, you’re really not. When you think you’re ready to feature, you’re really only ready to be an opener. When you think you’re ready to headline, you’re probably only scratching the surface at featuring. What a business, huh? How in the world can you ever know that you’re ready for anything? What can you do to get the attention of bookers or club owners? Well, I hope this blog will help shed some light on that.

I believe that the best judge on the matter lies squarely with the person that booked you or the club owner that has given you an opportunity on their stage. Look at them as the judge and the audience as the jury. The jury may render it’s verdict, but the judge has the last word on what happens from there. I have known a lot of comics who have not been patient enough to let a club owner or booker decide when they are ready to allow for the next step to be taken. Often times, the comic will jump ship and look for opportunities elsewhere, however, the process is then repeated at a new club or venue. As for me, I’ve decided to never take for granted any stage that has been offered to me. I have been told things like, “I don’t think you’re strong enough to bump one of our regular features”, or “I’m not ready to put my name out on the line for you just yet”, or “You can open here, but not feature.” Tough things to hear, but these words didn’t just come from people who didn’t know what they were doing. These were club owners who have a business to run. These are business owners that put their reputation on the line every time they bring a comic to town to work their stage. They’ve been in the business longer than I have. I was angry each and every time I heard these type of things said to me and many of these words were uttered to me as recently as this year! But guess what? I’m still getting the bookings. I’m still getting on these stages. And more importantly, I am still making fans along the way.

Two weeks ago, I had an opportunity to feature at the club I started at, The Comedy Spot in Scottsdale, Arizona. Not only did I have friends and family come out and support me, I had some new fans who saw my videos on YouTube, drive over 80 miles to attend the show! Both of my sets, one for an early show and one for a late show, went amazingly well. It seemed like I was getting applause breaks during every bit! The laughs were through the roof! At the end of the night, the owner presented me with an opportunity to headline a “One Night Only” event in October. I have featured at this club for the past 3 years and am now getting an opportunity to take my career a step further. Three years ago, I was featuring at this same club for 3 nights. Then, because my self promotion was not bringing out my supporters often enough, I was cut back to 2 nights and finally to only 1 night. I didn’t complain, (at least not out loud). I know that it is my responsibility to promote my appearances and bring people out to see me. If I can’t do that, how am I ever going to create a fan base? And, why would a club owner or booker want to book me on their shows? I’m not a household name. I’ve got no Tv or movie credits. I’ve never appeared on a Comedy Central show. So, why would I expect to get those type of premium bookings? I was lucky enough to hold on to at least 1 night! Since I was cut back to 1 night, I continued to post videos on YouTube, I continued to write new material and I continued to plug along despite feeling that I deserved more.

I’ve said this many times, “It’s going to take years.” I’m not talking about 2 or 3 or even 10 years. I’m talking about 12 to 15 years or more, before you can have a stand up comedy career worth talking about! I don’t live in L.A. or New York, where the comedy scene is booming, and although the local comedy scene in my hometown is a small one, it at least guarantees me 3 to 5 open mic opportunities on a weekly basis. In addition, I have a regular hosting gig at the El Paso Comic Strip, which is the only comedy club in town. It may take me longer than 12 to 15 years to get my career to where I am a “working comic”, (A full time stand up comedian), but I’m willing to hang around as long as it takes, even if my material goes from talking about raising kids to talking about the size of my prostate.

To all my fellow comics out there, hang in there and keep plugging along. Even if we don’t make it one day, we can all say that there was a time when we “Had them laughing.”

Anyone can be a comic, but it takes years to be a comedian.

Get It Done!


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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!!