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10 years a comedian

| 0 Comments | 785 Views | Back to top | Posted on 02/04/2014 at 12:12 PM

I was a production assistant at The Golf Channel (now known as simply, Golf Channel) in Orlando, FL in 2004.  I was in charge of all production aspects of collegiate golf and their long since canceled program, College Central presented by PING. One of my duties was to collect jpeg images of all mascots from any school we covered. Go ahead. Ask me one?

The point is I was bored. I was bored with my work. A few months earlier I had started taking improv at SAK Comedy Lab. I spent the week cutting highlights but my personal highlight happened once a week when I could act like a giant child with the other people in my level one class. I made it through two levels there before meeting this guy in class who did stand up. Secretly I would spend every morning at home watching premium blend and any other comedy central presents special I could find. I knew I always wanted to try. The guy from class, a grisly old Florida circuit comedian told me about an open mic at The Holiday Inn. It was inside the world famous, Why Not Lounge?, in the lobby.

They did it on Tuesdays back then. Not sure if they still do.

In any case I went just to watch. The place was empty that night. The Magic were probably playing but other than that there weren’t any conferences in town I guess because the guy running the open mic did something I still haven’t seen to this day, he was walking around introducing himself and when he discovered that I was watching but sorta kinda wanted to go on, he said, “well we got room!” I had sat down at a table next to do another guy who had the same plan I did. Go in, check it out, leave. But after the host offered us both a spot we looked at each and said, “I’ll do it if you do it.”

That was ten years ago today. Since then I’ve made a lot of friends. Sadly I’ve burned a lot of bridges. I’ve performed all over the world. I’ve been to Afghanistan and I’ve been to Timonium. I’ve performed at my high school and on television. In Seattle and in Denver.

They say it takes a comedian 10-12 years to really find their voice. In which case I’m excited about the future but more than ever I’m aware that this job and this life is all about today.

I wish there was some way I could go back and fix the wrongs. I know I think about them a lot. So if there is anybody out there who reads this today or any day just know I’m aware that I probably could have been a better friend, comedian, partner, employee, laser tag operator.

I guess I’m thanking everyone and no one in particular. I love doing stand up comedy and regardless of what the future holds I just want anyone reading this to know that stand up can be a lonely profession but I wouldn’t have made it this far without you.

The Wolf

| 0 Comments | 810 Views | Back to top | Posted on 01/02/2014 at 11:53 PM

Last night we went to a 9pm showing of The Wolf of Wall Street at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. I only mention the start time because as we all know that has a direct impact on the end time and when we’re talking about a 3 hour movie dedicated to the excess, lust, drug abuse and arrest of a scumbag you would think 3 hours would feel like a long time.

I’ll admit I looked at my watch more than a few times to see how much more we would have to endure but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. The scenes dedicated to the main character’s obsession with quaaludes are worth the price of admission. If you’re not familiar with the film the story is based on the book of the same name written by former stock broker Jordan Belfort who spent 22 months in prison for stock fraud. Since his release from prison in 2006 Belfort has traveled the globe as a motivational speaker and written two books.

It must be true that the portion of the human brain that loves a film like this is the same section obsessed with serial killers rather than the people they kill. It’s why we’re more obsessed with the gunman rather than the victim. I hope the obsession stems from the uniqueness of the gunman. That we’re interested because they are the exception to the rule. We are willing to spend 13 bucks on a ticket to go see a movie based on a book by a guy who swindled millions out of unsuspecting people. Scorcese and DiCaprio even employ a tactic of beginning to explain the stock market only to stop and accuse the audience of being too dumb to understand it. Meanwhile we all sit there and take it. No one left the theatre. No one asked for their money back.

Could it be because secretly many of us wish we could pull something off like Belfort did? Live that life. Nearly escape the grasp of the law as well as normalcy?

The film ends with Belfort giving one of his post prison term lectures to a hotel ballroom audience and the final shot is of that audience staring at the camera as we the audience stare at the screen wondering why the hell are we all still here watching this guy? And for 3 hours?

The answer? Those quaalude scenes are extremely funny.

Artie’s Corner

| 0 Comments | 988 Views | Back to top | Posted on 05/01/2013 at 02:40 AM



Yesterday we took Artie to the Vet for the first time.  We were concerned because after getting Artie the other night in Manhattan we took him on the subway for the first time and that was a little traumatic. He was shaking a lot as I held him aloft in the carrier bag so I set the bag down on the floor of the subway car.  It was rush hour mind you and we were definitely the entertainment on our particular train. I never realized just how unsteady subway train travel is, but attempting to hold a small dog, who is on a train for the first time, while the train is in motion, and surrounded by “understanding” New Yorkers and lost tourists is not easy.  By the time we reached DeKalb I was stooping on the ground next to Artie and apologizing to everyone around us, not because of him but because I have acquired incredibly poor balance over the years when stooping on moving subway trains.

Heading to the Vet we were hoping for a less traumatic experience but sometimes the first time is just going to unfold that way.  Artie was, as always, extremely accomodating.  I was convinced he read the confirmation email from the Vet prior to leaving because as we approached the front door he obligingly provided the necessary stool sample.

Once inside we encountered a cute little CockerSpaniel named, Biscuit. Biscuit was pushing 12 and looked it. Blind as a bat but surprisingly calm. So naturally Artie decided to growl at her. “That’s it Artie! Growl and the old, blind dog.” He can be a little bit of a bully we’ve found.  Still waiting for that one big dog to saunter up and put him in his place but until then he’s going to make a few bad growling choices. Growling at Biscuit definitely qualified.

Naturally when you get a rescue dog from Puerto Rico you have some concerns.  Is this dog healthy? Does the dog have vaccinations? How is he at playing short stop? And so forth.  Sadly he is afraid of tennis balls so I don’t think baseball is going to be his game.  But a very kind Pet Tech named Diana helped us with our paperwork and then we went in to see Dr. Perry. Or was it Johnson? I’m not sure but the doctor was great! The vet tech was great! I handed them our stool sample and was feeling so generous I told them they could keep the tupperware.

Sadly for Artie this wasn’t going to be an easy session.  Between checking his temp, getting two vaccinations, giving blood and having his ears cleaned he was shaking up a storm.  But we did learn that he loves dog biscuits.  When we first got him we purchased this little sissy chewy bacon and cheese treats which he’ll gladly eat but he always seemed a bit bored with.  But biscuits and bones!  The dog loves the crunch!


As we left the Vet, feeling lighter than ever because the xam was over and our wallet had been lifted we headed straight out for the Pet Store! Inside I helped him pick out three acceptable bones and then as I was paying he selected a fourth all on his own. I had already finished the transaction before realizing what he had and done and offered to pay but the clerk just smiled and said it was okay :)


Join us next time for, ARTIE GOES TO WASHINGTON!

Artie & Us

| 0 Comments | 984 Views | Back to top | Posted on 04/29/2013 at 02:40 AM

My wife and I were having dinner last Friday night at a place called Arturo’s on Houston.  We were celebrating a recent career victory with some pizza at one of the tables on the sidewalk. Arturo’s is a great place for people watching even if it is on a street as busy as Houston. Which, by the way, is pronounced HOW-STUN not HUE-STON. Just in case you’re ever in New York.  I still get made fun of for calling La Brea Blvd in LA La Bre. Haha, inside humor is the best.

As we dined a woman from inside the restaurant was approached by another woman who was walking three small dogs.  One incredibly shy little white dog who hid most of the time behind the walker, one dog who was most aptly described as the just right dog of the bunch and then one little personable fellow who was covered in short shaggy sandy brown hair.

artie day 1

My wife and I have always discussed getting a dog.  She has always been more of a small dog person whereas I grew up with big dogs. Honestly I’ve always sort of disliked little dogs. They yap. They don’t bark. They are owned by people like Paris Hilton. They seem to have no concept of how small they are. They sometimes walk with an arrogance that doesn’t match well with their size.  People carry them in bags. Dogs should be big and loud and eat noisely and rescue firemen and pull sleds.  Leave the small proper living to cats.

One of the best dogs I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing was a Bernese Mountain Dog named Teddy.  Teddy entered my life when I was in grade school.  A friend of my sister’s was living in a studio apartment in New York, no less, with this behemoth of a creature. I guess Miguel couldn’t handle the dog anymore so he asked around and found my sister who said that her parents had a place in Maryland and would take the dog if he didn’t mind driving the dog down.  Miguel never even shut the engine off in the car. He got out. Teddy lept out and began running around his new home. Miguel meanwhile let his car run despite joining us for dinner. I learned two things that day. 1) Big dogs need room to run. 2) If you’re going to have a dog in New York City, best to get a small dog.

And so it was that we were sitting at Arturo’s when Molly Malone and her three dogs walked by. We overheard her say to the woman from Arturo’s that she still hadn’t found a home for one of the dogs.  As they said goodbye she passed our table and asked, half-joking, if we were in the market for a dog.  We both smiled and said yes.  They walked over and we learned that the shy white dog and the medium dog were both hers but that the third dog, Pedro Martinez, was looking for a home.  He was a rescue from the beaches of Rincon, Puerto Rico.

We exchanged info and said that we would think about it. We smiled alot during the rest of the dinner.  We discussed what it would mean.  Were we allowed to have a dog in our building? Maybe. How do you get a dog home to Brooklyn from Manhattan? Bag. Where do you buy food and supplies at 6pm on a Friday? Across the street.

I had always said to my wife that if we got a litle dog I would want it to be a big dog in a little dog’s body.  No yappers.  No cutesy little bags or booties.  No sweaters. I want a dog.  And up walked Pedro Martinez.

Should we get a dog? Yes.

And just like that I pulled out Molly’s number and called her.  She was understandably shocked. But then again I don’t know how people usually go about getting a dog. In our case we went to dinner and when the check came we had purchased a dog a la carte.

Before Molly had a chance to bring him back down we were discussing names and we threw a few back and forth before looking up at the awning above the restaurant. Arturo’s. Artie for short.

“I’m a comedian.”

| 0 Comments | 998 Views | Back to top | Posted on 01/25/2013 at 02:40 AM

I have one of the rare jobs in the world where absolutely anyone can do it.  It’s odd then that people have also been known to say that being a comedian is the most difficult job in the world.  When in all honesty what they mean is that being a comedian and doing it well are two very different things.  An issue that becomes even more cloudy when you factor in the very real possibility that on any given night any comedian no matter how talented or successful or unknown can have a terrible set or a fantastic set.

If you ask someone what they do and they reply, “I’m a doctor.”  They are usually either actually a doctor, someone with a degree, who went to school forever and spent a ton of money to make a ton of money.  They can speak intelligently about what it takes to be a doctor.  They had to achieve certain grades.  Impress certain hospital CEOs.  In short they had to be a frickin doctor.  OR!  They are a douchbag in a night club lying about what they do so they can get laid.

It’s not totally unlike the situation with comedy.  Either the person worked open mics for a long time before hitting the road and making very little money or they are a douchebag in a night club trying to get laid.  In a manner of speaking.   Every night in every club, bar, coffe shop, laundromat, tanning salon, dog kennel, hostel, day care center, lobby and aquarium repair store where this an open mic you have people saying they are comedians.

I certainly don’t think that I have any right to say or decide whether a certain person is or isn’t a comedian.  I’m not interested in judging other people.  But I think what makes it really easy to dislike a particular person who claims to be a comedian but lacks any of the tools or credits to make such an outlandish statement is arrogance.

It’s funny but I think the only way you can really tell is with a tax return.  If you put down “Comedian” as your sole profession then you’re a comedian.  In which case I’m a waiter/cashier/teacher/comedian.

It seems so much cooler when you hear someone like Kim Kardashian say she’s an actress/musician/designer.

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