Ever sit next to someone at a crowded movie theater? If we thought aloud,


3-D Movie Viewers. Formally-attired audience sporting 3-D (3D) glasses during opening night screening of movie Bwana Devil-1st full length color 3-D (aka Natural Vision) motion picture, at Paramount Theater.  (Photo by J. R. Eyerman//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)   Original Filename: zzyzx.jpg

the conversation might go like this:

  • “Don’t worry, I hate sitting next to strangers too.”
  • “It’ll be awkward at first, but at least we both like Mark Wahlberg.”
  • “Let’s make sure we both make an effort to avoid resting our arms on the arm rest between us. I know neither of us will be using it, but it’s all about respect.”
  • “Our knees may accidentally touch during the movie. Please don’t make it look obvious when you move yours away. It’ll hurt my feelings.Use the “Laugh & Move” technique. During a part of the movie, laugh uncontrollably to the point that your body moves, and your knee just naturally follows.It’s ok if it’s during a sad part of the movie. It has to be done.”
  • “It’s okay if we high five each other during the movie. After all, it is a Mark Walberg.flick”
  • “When the movie’s over, there will be no need for good byes. Just go and don’t look back.Chances are, our paths will cross again. Ted Part III is only a year away.”

 

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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!

Dating in El Paso, Texas


The last girl I dated was a stay at home mom. Her ankle bracelet didn’t let her go more than 10 feet away from her house.

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I’ll Scratch Your Back, You Stab Mine


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Okay, okay, maybe the title of this blog goes a little too far. What I wanted to blog about today is the common courtesy that should exist in a business like stand up comedy. As any stand up already knows, stage time is king, and if you have trouble getting the stage time you’d like, it would do you well to help others get the stage time they are looking for too. In stand up, we are all connected with a show producer, a comedy club, a promoter, or anyone else that has the ability to book someone on a stand up comedy show. If you find it difficult to get stage time at other clubs, bars or venues, you have to find a way to network with other comedians who have those connections that will help you help you get your foot in the door.

It’s been my experience that not every comedian will play by these rules. I’ve been asked, “Hey, if you can somehow get me connected with the owner of (such & such club), I can help you get booked at places I perform.” Then, what sometimes happens, you help them get booked, then you go back to them to see if they’ll return the favor and you’re either ignored, or told that there’s not much the can do for you right now. Sometimes, they’ll even direct you to contact a booker or producer they know, who has absolutely no idea who you are. Most of those contacts will ignore you long enough for you to just give up.

There are times, however, when the process works as smoothly as it’s supposed to. You’ll help a fellow comedian with a booking and they will immediately return the favor. That’s the way it should work! Now, maybe some of these comedians don’t have the “pull” they need with a club or booker and they’re really promising something they can’t deliver on? Whatever the case is, the intention should always be to return the favor. One of the hardest things to do is to stick your neck out for someone and take the risk that you might even burn that bridge for yourself! The following list will give you things to consider when helping a fellow comedian out:

  1. Promise to return a booking favor ONLY IF you have the ability to do so. Don’t make a promise that you are not in the position to make. NEVER assume that by the time the other comedian helps you out, you’ll have made some connections along the way. Make sure you are able to deliver on what you promise after your fellow comedian delivers on their promise.
  2. Understand that you take a risk every time you suggest a performer to a booker or club that you do business with. Having said that, make sure that the comedian you are asking help from, is a comedian that you feel would do well at the venues you will be putting in a good word for them at. Don’t just pick someone that has the connections but no act. In that case, you both bomb!
  3. Offer to help them FIRST. Look at this way; if you already have the connections, your offer of assistance puts the ball in their court. In this instance, trust can be blind. Make sure you have a good rapport with the comedian and take the calculated risk that they can return the favor.
  4. If you do not have a quality booking to offer in return, DON’T EVEN BOTHER! There is nothing worse than offering someone a quality booking, that pays well, then in return, get booked at a place that pays nothing or next to nothing. I don’t think I need to elaborate further.
  5. Remember that stand up comedy is a business and THERE ARE NO FRIENDS IN BUSINESS.

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!

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!

Headlining a Comedy Club


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It took 8 years for me to lock in a headlining gig at a comedy club. I won’t go into detail about what a great night it was, or how every joke got huge laughs or how half of my set was getting applause breaks. What I will write about are the bumps and bruises I went through to get my first club headlining gig.

  1. After contacting a comedy club booker, I was told, “I’m not willing to bump any of the regular feature acts for you. You can work here every now and then but you’re just not strong enough.”
  2. I went up as the headliner at a restaurant after 5 other comics had already performed. By the time I went up, all of the other comic’s supporters had left and I performed in front of my 4 kids and 3 other people.
  3. After a tough day on the job, I took to the stage at a local open mic. Still angry, my set was delivered with that same emotion and brought everybody down. Not one laugh was uttered.
  4. While hosting a professional comedy club show on a Wednesday night, I decide to do all new material. Half the audience was deaf and every comic was accompanied by an interpreter on stage. For 8 minutes of my 10 minute set, the listening audience became as silent as the deaf audience. Lesson learned? Never do all new material on a pro night!
  5. While hosting for the 1st time ever, I cut my set before I was given the “light” to wrap it up. Since the guy responsible for giving me the light was not in the sound booth, I ended with no ending music track and brought up the feature act with no music either. The club owner chased me down to the green room and gave me an earful, “Why the hell did you do that! That was fucking unprofessional! You left the stage without music and the Feature Act was brought up without music!” Lesson learned? Always have  a few more jokes in your pocket in case you get more time than you expected.
  6. Before hosting at a new club, I checked in with the club manager and told him I’d be ready to go when the club was. I, however, did not wait for the show to start in an area where the manager could see me, so he assumed I was  M.I.A. After about 15 minutes, past the time that the show was supposed to start, I went up to the manager to ask if we were ready. His response? “What the fuck is wrong with you! We’ve been looking for you all over the fucking place! This is no way to make a good impression at a new fucking club! FUCK!” Then, speaking into the sound booth mic, with a smile on his face, the manager got the show started, “Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready to laugh? Say ‘Hell yeah!'”.

The list could go on, but digest some of the above for a while. If you’re on the stand up comedy journey, understand that there will be more horror stories than there will be success stories for years to come. Stick with it and you will eventually start scratching the surface to getting the recognition you deserve. I’m still a long way off but my stubbornness will keep me around for a very long time.

Carryon, my wayward sons & daughters!

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.

Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There!


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If you have been going to stand up comedy shows or performed on them often enough, eventually, you will see and hear things that make your butt cheeks tighten up and make you wanna say, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there!” Well, allow me to share a few of the moments I have been privileged to witness. Disclosure: Once you start reading, you can’t look away. Okay, here we go:

1. At an open mic, I witnessed a young man take the stage and proceeded to freeze. Nothing came out of his mouth. He literally took the mic and looked out at the audience and said nothing. I don’t know if it was stage fright or if this was his “bit”, but this “bit” lasted almost 10 minutes! He just stood there… I think maybe he uttered a word or two, but they certainly weren’t memorable. The audience felt tense for the guy. We all waited for him to say something. Anything! But, nope, it didn’t happen. His 10 minutes were up, he said “Thank you” and got off the stage. I’ve never seen the poor kid up on stage since…

2. At a regularly booked show, a comedian’s set wasn’t going particularly well and he was beginning to get heckled by a couple that took issue with one of his jokes. In an attempt to “riff” (engage the audience in a monologue), the comic dug himself a deeper hole. As the minutes wore on, the couple got louder and the jokes were no longer jokes. The comic tried his hardest to win them over but it didn’t help that the comic just got more insulting and less funny. At the end of his set, the comic tried to make amends with the couple and was completely ignored. That was tough to watch…

3. During another paid gig, a comic took the stage and started off well. Within about 15 minutes, the wheels started to fall off. All of a sudden, the material went a little “blue” (a term used to describe toilet or sexual type humor). The audience was no longer digging the material and the laughs suddenly stopped. Feeling the tension, the comic proceeded to scold the audience for not laughing, (not a good way to win an audience over). The comic ended his set 10 minutes shorter than what he was scheduled for. I watched, staring at the floor hoping I would become invisible…

4. A few years ago, during a weekend show at a comedy club in Arizona, the headliner took to the stage after the first two comics tore the room up! The comic had a “low key” style of delivery and, for the most part, had good material, but on this night, the audience was already used to the high energy of the first two comics. Well, that didn’t result well for him. The comedian started out well enough, but within about 20 minutes, the room started to slowly clear out. People were leaving. That has been the hardest thing to watch. The comedian made up for it the next night and performed an amazing set! But, what a price to pay…

Stand up comedy is like that. It’s not pretty. Each of the four incidents I described above will happen to every comic. If you’re in stand up comedy, and some of these things haven’t happened to you yet, well, you just haven’t been in the business long enough. If you are in denial about the reality of stand up, quit now.