Hearts & Minds

No Comments

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.

Continue reading…

Television Blue Balls

No Comments

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…”

Continue reading…

The Modern Age of Comedy

No Comments

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.”

Continue reading…

The Powerful Powerless

No Comments

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.

Continue reading…

Are Heckler Videos Hurting Comedy?

No Comments

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.

Continue reading…

Two Horrible Shows

No Comments

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.

Continue reading…

Is Empathy Dead?

No Comments

When I heard about Lane Graves, the toddler killed by an alligator at Disney, I almost threw up.

My son is 23-months old, roughly the same age as Lane. I have a picture of him hugging a teddy bear he got for Christmas. His face is beaming as he holds it tight, both arms wrapped around the bear, pressing every inch of it against his little body in a moment of pure love and enjoyment. The image of my son with his teddy bear seared into my mind as I read of Lane’s fate.

Then I entered a very dark place.

Continue reading…

Neal Gabler Doesn’t Speak for the American Middle Class

No Comments

Neal Gabler is everywhere these days.

Since landing the cover story in The Atlantic, The Secret Shame of the Middle Class, he’s been interviewed multiple times. I’ve stumbled across him on NPR, online, and the radio program On Point.

The crux of Neal’s article is that 47% of of American citizens couldn’t come up with $400 in an emergency. Neal wrote from his perspective, himself a member of that group.

Continue reading…

Dear Drunk Woman: A Comedian Apologizes

No Comments

I’m sorry.

I could have handled myself better.

You might want to stop reading now, because that’s all that should be said. Apologies are supposed to stand on their own, but I’m going to vent and ruin the apology with explanation.

When you stumbled up to me, I was in the middle of a sale. An audience member had enjoyed my silly so much that he felt the need to give me cash in exchange for a souvenir. I love it when that happens, as it helps me provide for my family. You know: pay the mortgage, buy food, that sort of thing.

Continue reading…

Trump is the Perfect Republican Candidate

No Comments

An old classmate of mine posted on Facebook: “I am hereby terminating my membership in the Republican Party. This is not the party I grew up with.”

As he explained it, Donald Drumpf winning his state’s primary was the reason.

The post received many comments. Most were positive; some echoed his lament regarding the loss of the party of their past.

I was confused.

Continue reading…