Today is March 27, 2014 and it’s been almost 4 months since I’ve performed stand up comedy on any significant stage for the exception of a 20 minute set with El Paso Underground Comedy a few months ago. It’s been a tough stretch but a necessary one. Without going in to too much detail, my unemployment wages stopped coming in and I had to get myself a job. After 9 years in stand up, I am just now scratching the surface of the business but have not had the opportunity to take it full time. Soooo, off to work I go! I have had to take a job working graveyard hours. Unfortunately, that type of work schedule is not conducive to the night life of stand up comedy. This is only one of the few road blocks that a stand up comedian has to go through before they are able to further their comedy career.
The answer to the title of this blog is, six. Yup, that’s all you need. At least, that’s all I needed. Last night was my Headlining debut at a local El Paso, Texas bar called Coconuts.…
I did it. I opened a Patreon.com site where I seek people that wish to pledge to support me on a monthly basis, to continue in my Stand-up Comedy career. In exchange, I offer Exclusive Content that is created solely by me. Patrons can pledge anywhere between $1-$10 and I have also offered to donate a portion of those monthly pledges to a worthy cause.
At first, I felt really odd about asking for this type of help. I’m not trying to get rich off of this or anything like that? But, I feel that the comedy content I’ve created so far should somehow be rewarded. When you look at the big picture, I am an entertainer, first and foremost. Secondly, I create material that makes other people feel good. For the most part, it is people like me, and maybe even those reading this right now, that have made websites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and a countless list of other social media outlets, rich. Have you ever stopped to consider that? Every time you post an original thought, joke, or idea on a social network, you attract others to read it. You do this absolutely free of charge! You entertain others with you wit, humor, passion, and then some! I can understand how that is not a huge deal to those that choose to contribute just to pass the time, or just to beat the boredom, but not me, or others like me. We work hard at creating what we do. And I’m not just talking about comedians. There are artists, DJ’s, poets, dancers, authors, all of which work hard at delivering work they can be proud of. You show your support by reading their books, going to their shows, listening to their music, or simply acknowledging their art, but in time, these works of art start to carry some value to them. And their creators start depending more and more on their craft to make a living off of what they do.
That is where I stand right now. I want to do stand-up for a living. I want to depend on my stand-up to put food on the table, pay my bills, pay for gas in my car, and pay for anything else that we should all be afforded. I cannot do that, however, by continuing to give away what I work so hard to create. While I will still provide some of my comedy content freely, I will eventually begin to phase into my new line of work, and when that happens, I’d like to jump on the moving train and not lose any momentum.
The site I created is simply my honest attempt at putting value in what I do. Those that choose to pledge, do so because they believe in me and want to hear more from me. Even those that don’t pledge, I know the support is there, because I see it in all the FB likes, and comments, and pics people post of the times that I’ve made them happy with something I’ve created. I’m not asking for a handout, by any means, rather, I am offering the opportunity for those that have followed my comedy career to see what else I can do. I’m offering Live Feeds on my joke writing techniques, backstage looks into stand-up, a weekly Video Blog, and a bunch more!
Nothing would make me prouder than to one day thank each supporter personally with an equal or greater offering of gratitude!
For those that are interested, here is a link to my Patreon site:
Everyone with a pulse, loves to make people laugh. It is in our very nature to want to make others feel good, and laughter is a huge motivator. Not everyone, however, wishes to do this standing on a stage, in front of strangers, trying out original material written for the sole purpose of creating laughter. But, this does not mean that a person does not have the heart, or mind, of a professional joke teller. The following is a list of things that typically identifies those people who, without knowing it, have the mind of a Stand Up Comedian:
- If you are typically the quietest, most withdrawn person, at a party: It is kind of strange to think that the most introvert of people would actually be one of the funniest, isn’t it? One of the most incredible traits of a stand up comic is that they are amazing at simply and quietly, observing the world around them. Word of caution; when you get these to people speak up, watch out! Hilarity may ensue and some feelings may be hurt!
- If you remember watching Looney Toons in absolute silence: Although cartoons can be rather humorous, a stand up comedian watches them with a discerning mind. We know that cartoon is funny, but we try to figure out why?? The mind of a comic is extremely analytically geared and figuring out why something is funny only adds to that enjoyment, even if we don’t express it outwardly. I can still remember my old man walking in to the living room while my brother and I watched cartoons. Seeing what we were watching and not reacting with laughter, my dad yelled, in Spanish, “Rianse’, tontos!” (“Laugh, dummies!”)
- You find the humor in even tragic events: In the mind of a comic, it is never “Too soon” to think of something funny in the face of tragic events. Although it is “Too soon” to express those funny thoughts audibly, a true stand up comic has the patience to find the levity of the situation, and use it at a more appropriate time. It may actually never be appropriate, but we’ll be damned if we don’t share those inner thoughts before our heads explode. Here’s an example: A father finds out that his 14-year-old daughter has already lost her virginity. Although devastated, the father can’t help but think, “Well, at least I’ll save a ton of cash not having to pay for a Quinceanera.”
- You prefer to drive without the radio on: Most stand up comedians are entertained more so by the thoughts running in their heads than by One Direction playing on the radio. Even if the radio is on, chances are, we don’t even know what’s playing.
- You talk to yourself…and answer back: Countless of times, during the day, a stand up comic has conversations with themselves. Often times, we are only replaying an actual conversation we had earlier with someone, that we felt could have gone much better. Perhaps we could have used more wit, or thrown in a funny one liner, but we missed the opportunity! How do we improve on that? Practice! Next time, it will only come out more effortlessly.
- The only people who can make you laugh are children, your parents, or your significant other: It’s not that we don’t find other people funny, it’s just that we appreciate things for different reasons. In the case of children, we love the fact that they speak their mind and never filter their thoughts. Who better to find the fault in anything that a kid! In the case of our parents, it is more so that we have known them all of our lives and we know what to expect. Then one day, they do something totally unexpected and it cracks us up! I remember that I couldn’t stop laughing the first time I ever heard my mom say “shit!”. I’ll call that the “Betty White” effect. Oh, and let’s not forget our significant other. Let’s face it, you picked them because they brought a smile to your face, and there is no one better to laugh with than the one that shares your heart!
- No humor is off-limits: Sure, you can’t joke about anything with just anyone! Sometimes you’ve got to know your audience. While it may be okay to joke with your best bud about serious issues, it would not be wise to joke that way out in the open where someone would actually get offended. Like it or not, everyone reading this blog has uttered inappropriate jokes with someone close to them. We will just leave it at that, okay?
I’m sure I’ve missed a few, but I would love to read your suggestions!
I hope you enjoyed this blog! :~)
While I’m in between jobs, I got a gig as a security guard. I basically stand around all day and watch people come and go. At a recent post, at a grocery store, who’s name shall remain nameless but rhymes with Galbertson’s, I learned a few things:
- The reason kids leave the store empty handed is because, as their moms put it, “You see what happens when you don’t behave?”
- Wearing pajamas to the store will never be in the “In” thing to do. No shirt, no shirts, No DIGNITY.
- You’d better take a cart or a basket in with you. If you don’t, you’ll eventually stumble back to the front of the store with your arms full of groceries you didn’t intend to pick up but now need a cart or basket to carry.
- You can’t tell which employee is the manager? It’s typically the one with the tight pants and brightly colored shirt, carrying a walkie talkie, which nobody else apparently carries; not even the security guard carries one!
- No, that donut display is not fresh. Those donuts have been sitting there the last 3 days I’ve stood here. But they’re on sale, so you can’t beat that!
- No, I don’t care that you’ve worked as a security guard before. Judging by the grocery cart full of food, I can tell you’re doing much better for yourself now. Why are you even talking to me? Can’t I just enjoy my miserable job in peace?
- There are more men than women that buy a bouquet of flowers. Most of the men buying these bouquets always have a guilty look on their faces. Sorry to break this to you man, if you think apologizing with flowers is gonna get you out of the dog house, you might as well give ME the $6.99 you’re going to spend on flowers that your lady will throw away the instant you give them to her.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST
Yoga pants are not for everyone. I know it should be obvious, but some things just are not. Yoga pants should come with an obvious label much like a bottle of bleach that warns you: “Don’t ingest bleach”. It should be something along the lines of: “Objects in these pants may be stranger than they appear.”
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:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!”
- I like that your law firm didn’t go for a name to describe your tenacity. Some firms go for such intimidating names like:
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!
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:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- Remember that stand up comedy is a business and THERE ARE NO FRIENDS IN BUSINESS.
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!