The Nancy-Pantsing of America

Several months ago, Mercer park in Iowa City, Iowa (duh), received the state’s largest play structure for children. It had multiple slides, a toddler climbing wall, swings aplenty, and the focus of this piece: a footbridge.

The footbridge was just over six feet off the ground—I could stand under it and almost touch it with the tippity-top of my head—and connected the climbing wall to the main structure. When I saw it, I immediately thought of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The ending, specifically, when Indy is trapped on a rope bridge far above a river, Thuggee members closing in on him menacingly.

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Hearts & Minds

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I had Speech class in 10th grade.

Throughout the course of a semester, students had to prepare and perform a series of standard lectures. Styles included (but were not limited to) informative, narrative, and persuasive. I have no clue how I ended up on the topic of my persuasive speech, euthanasia, but I do know that I chose it; topics were not assigned.

I was unfamiliar with the practice. Hell, in 10th grade I was entirely ignorant of the word “euthanasia,” much less it’s meaning. But the more I read, the more intriguing I found the subject. The idea people could be in control of their own medical decisions, especially one that would end their life? Fascinating.

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Television Blue Balls

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When I moved to Los Angeles, I met a comedian named Mike.

He was a nice and funny fellow, and told me a story about his first experience with Hollywood.

“I got cast in a movie,” he began, naming a big-budget sports comedy I had seen and enjoyed. “I was the ‘bad guy,’ so to speak. Every time the hero’s team played mine, he and I would get into it. I told everyone. My friends, family, strangers… It was my big break. Then the movie came out and I had been cut from every scene. It was so embarrassing…”

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Light Reading & Life Lessons

I take my children to the library every Monday.

We return our stack of books from the previous week, and then my daughter—age four—runs around grabbing new tomes for me to soothe her to sleep with. Being four, she chooses according to what’s on the cover. When we head to check out, I carry a stack of princesses, baby animals, and other such items of note that tend to appeal to young girls.

(My son, for the record, heads straight to the computers. He is two-years-old, has his favorite reads at home, and is particular when it comes to adding new titles.)

Last Monday, my daughter threw a book titled I Am Jazz into the pile.

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Colin Kaepernick Sat Down and I Don’t Give A Shit

“Nothin’ ever doesn’t change, but nothin’ changes much.”

~OK Go, White Knuckles

When I discovered Colin Kaepernick—Kaep, for the sake of brevity—sat through the National Anthem, I giggled.

I knew he’d receive flack, and I made a quick Facebook post in support of said flack. I’ve never been a fan, and therefore was amused that the low-grade yet multi-millionaire quarterback would be getting raked through the press.

Had I known it was going to become another impassioned shouting match between side-takers, I wouldn’t have bothered.

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The Modern Age of Comedy

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I have two friends who have never met one another.

Jake lives in New York City, and Brad lives in Los Angeles. Both are stand-up comedians.

Within a week of one another, each said the exact same thing. Responding to my question—“How are things going?”—the reaction was bitter from one, laughingly resigned from the other.

“No one scouts open microphones looking for talent anymore. All that matters is how many Twitter or Instagram followers you have.”

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The Powerful Powerless

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As a comedian, I have a rare job. I stand on stage under a spotlight, and hold a microphone that amplifies my words.

It is, in some sorts, a position of power.

Not actual power, like that of a sitting president or drug lord, more… bartender power. A customer can yell at a waiter all day long, but a bartender will cut them off and kick them out.

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Are Heckler Videos Hurting Comedy?

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I was in Minnesota when it happened.

I don’t remember the joke I told, I just remember the response. In a sold out room of 200, 199 people laughed and applauded. When the din receded, however, one lone woman shouted out her disapproval: “That wasn’t funny!”

I rolled my eyes. You can’t please everyone, and since the joke had landed extremely well I wasn’t too concerned by a single naysayer. Unfortunately, she was not to be ignored and yelled out a second time: “You’re not funny!”

Now I had to address the situation, and asked: “So everyone in here that’s laughing is wrong?”

That caused her to yell again, and from there I was off and running.

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Two Horrible Shows

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I’m often asked two questions: what’s your favorite show; what’s your least favorite show?

While I may not have a “favorite” show, per se, I acknowledged my most memorable one here.

That got me thinking about the polar opposite; which show would I like to forget the most? Well, it’s actually two shows. Though they took place in different states, they are tethered together by reasons that will make sense as you read.

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