The Nerve!


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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:

Omar’s Patreon Site. Pledge your support!

Thank you.

 

How To Tell That You Are Still A Momma’s Boy


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I’ve always been a Momma’s boy and I’m not ashamed of it! I remember that my friends used to make fun of me when they found out that I would shower with my mom. I remember the last shower I took with my mom. I got out of the shower, all upset and was like, “Mom, I don’t think it’s a good idea that I shower with you anymore. My friends are making fun of me!”

My mom was like, “That’s okay, mijo, I understand. You’re getting older. Now hurry up and get dressed or you’re gonna be late for work.”

Here is a top ten list on how to tell that you, or someone you know, is still a Momma’s boy.

10. Mom not only still irons your clothes and lays them out on your bed every morning, she chooses what you wear.

9. Your mom parks her car by the curb because she’s converted her garage into your bedroom.

8. Your Mom calls your boss when you’re feeling too sick to work.

7. Mom Still gives you an allowance at the same rate it was when you were a teenager; $20.

6. Mom still buys your concert tickets to go see Motley Crue and drops you off at the show.

5. You’re using mom’s second car so that you don’t have to buy your own.

4. Mom knows your Facebook login information.

3. Mom refers to the woman you’re dating as your “little girlfriend”.

2. Mom accidentally walks in on you and your “little girlfriend”, while in your garage/bedroom and rather than walk out, says, “Do you have any dirty clothes or underwear you need me to wash, mijo?”

1. You blog about your Mom.

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.

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!

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.

The Evolution of the Stand Up Comedian


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I’ve noticed an evolution of sorts, in the way stand-up comedy is honed. I suppose that you can say the same thing about most any occupation? If we all have to “Start somewhere”, then it stands to reason that, with the passing of time, you are never the same as when you started. For those of you that have taken an interest in performing stand-up comedy, or know and support someone who does, then read on as I explain what I believe to be a decent interpretation of the evolution of a stand-up comedian:

Starting Out

This period can last for quite some time. Every aspiring comic will start out at an Open Mic show, where a club, promoter or bar venue will offer an opportunity for anyone to get on stage and try out a set of stand-up comedy material. Anyone who has dared to attempt this feat will undoubtedly agree that, putting together a 3 to 5 minute set seems easy at first, but soon becomes incredibly daunting as the premises and jokes, that have been playing in our heads for years, all of a sudden don’t sound as funny when said out loud. But, we’ve committed to perform, so we will write and rewrite our little 3 to 5 minutes. Taking the stage for the first time is as nerve raking  as having the police run your driver’s license during a traffic stop. You’ve memorized the order of your set. You’ve memorized each and every word and have rehearsed your set in the shower, over and over again. Heck, you’ve probably showered at least 6 times on the day of your first gig!

This is actually  the way things will go for a while. Every set will sound rehearsed. The success of every set will hinge on the memorization of the order of your jokes and heaven help us if we have to deal with a heckler! That will throw us completely off! It’s not until you’re set sounds less and less rehearsed that you will be able to take the next step; Thinking you’re funny…

Thinking You’re Funny

Oh yes, you’ve perfected your 3 to 5 minute set and have increased your time to 10 minutes now! You’re on your road to stardom! How is it possible that other people aren’t jumping on your fan bus yet? You’re only a few months in, but how much longer is it going to take before the masses recognize the prodigy they see before them? You are now confident enough to invite your friends and family out to a show and you’ve even updated your Facebook occupation to “Stand Up Comic”.  Never mind that you have a degree, licenses, or a job that would make others salivate, stand up is what you’re proud of! It won’t be long before the comedy clubs hear about you and burn up your phone for booking information!

Then comes the “bomb”… Yup, that bomb that is in everyone’s deck of cards. You can’t avoid it. It’s there. It’s the card that no one wants, but comes with the deck. Ironically enough, it’s the “Joker” card. Oh, and you will soon come to find out that there are plenty of those in your set. This is the time that you realize, there are no short cuts in stand up. This is also the time when some comics face the reality that it is just too hard to continue and certainly not worth the heartache. Some “Jump the shark” here and others keep plugging along to the next step; Punching it up

Punching It Up

You’ve got your nice, little 10 minutes of decent material. It’s funny, but it could use some more laughs. By now, you’re about 1 to 2 years in and you are now starting to realize that you might need to put in a little more work before you’re invited to the Conan O’Brien show. Although you have several ideas to other premises, you realized that you need to work a little more on the material you have now. You reluctantly go the open mics around town but you are still being humbled a little more often that you would like to be. It’s tough to do the same 10 minutes in front of the same audiences night in and night out, but you continue to do them in hopes of saying something off the cuff on stage, that will result in a new punchline or new bit. It’s about this time that co-workers, friends and family ask you, “Are you still doing that comedy thing?” Endure this level and you’re ready for the next one: Learning to Write.

Learning to Write

You’re going on 2 to 3 years now and you’ve realized that there is more to stand-up comedy than just writing a clever one liner. In fact, you now realize that you still have a lot of work to do. You’ve learned about “Act Outs” in the past, but have been too hesitant to do them, after all, your jokes are great without the need to make a fool of yourself and act anything out on stage, right? Well, after a few years of watching other stand ups and comedy shows, you now see how the Act Out portion of a joke is the real money-maker! That’s where most of the laughs happen. But, where can you find places in your set to act things out? It’s gonna take a lot of trial and error, but what the hell, you’ve already bombed enough times to really care about looking bad on stage. “Efff it!”, you say. All of a sudden, something magical happens; as you’ve been working on your act outs, you’ve stumbled on other premises and other jokes that you know will go great on stage! Shoot, you’re getting almost 20 “Likes” on Facebook every time you post one of your witticisms! Now that you’re getting it, you’re ready to move on to the next step: Getting paid to perform.

Getting Paid to Perform

Chance are, by now, you may have gotten an opportunity to host or open a show at the comedy club or other venue. You’re not quite where you want to be yet, but you’re making progress. You have a nice, tight 10 minutes and maybe a few minutes to sprinkle around. There was a time when you actually claimed to have 30 minutes to an hour worth of stuff, but if you’re really honest, you’ll understand that only 8 to 10 minutes of it is actually funny. You’re 4 to 5 years in now and now realize that you were way off thinking you were ever ready for stardom. This may take a decade or two! At this point, you’re getting really annoyed by other young comics, who are just starting out and think they’re the next Richard Pryor, Louis C.K. or Bill Bull. You have promised yourself that you would not get too cocky and that you will always be realistic about what you’ve accomplished so far. When you think you have an hour’s worth of good material, you really only have 15 minutes. When you think you have a half hours’ worth of good material, you actually only have 10. Once you have decided to be completely honest with yourself, you can then take the next step: Learning to sacrifice your children.

Learning to Sacrifice Your Children

Don’t let the title of this section fool you. I’m not saying you’ve got to abandon the real children you took part in co-creating. It’s bad enough you’re already having to pay child support. That investment may pay off one day when one of your kids makes it big while you’re still plugging along at open mics. What I’m referring to in this section is learning to dump the material that is just not working. Sure, you got a few chuckles that one time at a bar called Ernie’s, but it was from a couple seated in the back that was laughing at a meme on their phones. You should be a good 6 years in by now and are starting to realize that not everything you write is gold! In fact, what makes you laugh, isn’t necessarily funny to your audience. By now, you’re learning to read an audience and are taking more risks now. Some of those risks pay off and others crash and burn like the dude from “Jackass”. (No, it’s not too soon. It was only a matter of time before one of those dudes earned the Darwin Award.) You are now very realistic about stand-up comedy and are in no hurry to get famous anymore. As long as you’re constantly coming up with new material and honing and developing your set, you’re happy. People are taking notice that you are not only a good comic, but you can actually write a joke! Now that you’re no longer self-deluding yourself, you’re ready to move on! Showing them the real you.

Showing Them The Real You

When you get here, man, you’re just scratching the surface! But, it feels great! This is when you are about 7 to 8 years in. Now, you’ve been on stage so often that you are not afraid of being You. Many young comics don’t realize this, mostly because no one ever tells them to their face, but, there was a time when you weren’t you on stage. That’s right, you weren’t. You were Dane Cook, Bill Bull, Bill Hicks, Jerry Seinfeld, Louis C.K. You were anyone but YOU! This happens without much realization. It’s just that you were influenced by those comics mentioned above and others. It’s almost like a husband and wife when they start looking like each other and acting like one another. It’s almost inevitable. But, now, you’re being You on stage. The real You. The You that your friends and family like. Your personality is really pouring in to your jokes like never before. No longer does your set sound rehearsed. It sounds smooooth! Even when you are trying out new stuff, it’s almost as though you’ve been doing it for years. If a joke tanks, you just plug along and your personality wins the audience over in the end! Some comics may reach this level sooner than others or even later. Whatever the case may be, once you get here, the journey has just begun. Hang in there and keep plugging along!

You Will Never Be An Overnight Success


Not getting the recognition, as a stand up comedian, that you think you deserve? Are you only hosting shows but think you should have a shot of featuring or even headlining? Or maybe, you’ve only had an opportunity to perform at open mic’s but think you should be given an opportunity at hosting a professional show? Let’s face it, we’ve all felt like this at one point or another. In 8 years, I’ve learned that when you think you’re ready to host and emcee a show, you’re really not. When you think you’re ready to feature, you’re really only ready to be an opener. When you think you’re ready to headline, you’re probably only scratching the surface at featuring. What a business, huh? How in the world can you ever know that you’re ready for anything? What can you do to get the attention of bookers or club owners? Well, I hope this blog will help shed some light on that.

I believe that the best judge on the matter lies squarely with the person that booked you or the club owner that has given you an opportunity on their stage. Look at them as the judge and the audience as the jury. The jury may render it’s verdict, but the judge has the last word on what happens from there. I have known a lot of comics who have not been patient enough to let a club owner or booker decide when they are ready to allow for the next step to be taken. Often times, the comic will jump ship and look for opportunities elsewhere, however, the process is then repeated at a new club or venue. As for me, I’ve decided to never take for granted any stage that has been offered to me. I have been told things like, “I don’t think you’re strong enough to bump one of our regular features”, or “I’m not ready to put my name out on the line for you just yet”, or “You can open here, but not feature.” Tough things to hear, but these words didn’t just come from people who didn’t know what they were doing. These were club owners who have a business to run. These are business owners that put their reputation on the line every time they bring a comic to town to work their stage. They’ve been in the business longer than I have. I was angry each and every time I heard these type of things said to me and many of these words were uttered to me as recently as this year! But guess what? I’m still getting the bookings. I’m still getting on these stages. And more importantly, I am still making fans along the way.

Two weeks ago, I had an opportunity to feature at the club I started at, The Comedy Spot in Scottsdale, Arizona. Not only did I have friends and family come out and support me, I had some new fans who saw my videos on YouTube, drive over 80 miles to attend the show! Both of my sets, one for an early show and one for a late show, went amazingly well. It seemed like I was getting applause breaks during every bit! The laughs were through the roof! At the end of the night, the owner presented me with an opportunity to headline a “One Night Only” event in October. I have featured at this club for the past 3 years and am now getting an opportunity to take my career a step further. Three years ago, I was featuring at this same club for 3 nights. Then, because my self promotion was not bringing out my supporters often enough, I was cut back to 2 nights and finally to only 1 night. I didn’t complain, (at least not out loud). I know that it is my responsibility to promote my appearances and bring people out to see me. If I can’t do that, how am I ever going to create a fan base? And, why would a club owner or booker want to book me on their shows? I’m not a household name. I’ve got no Tv or movie credits. I’ve never appeared on a Comedy Central show. So, why would I expect to get those type of premium bookings? I was lucky enough to hold on to at least 1 night! Since I was cut back to 1 night, I continued to post videos on YouTube, I continued to write new material and I continued to plug along despite feeling that I deserved more.

I’ve said this many times, “It’s going to take years.” I’m not talking about 2 or 3 or even 10 years. I’m talking about 12 to 15 years or more, before you can have a stand up comedy career worth talking about! I don’t live in L.A. or New York, where the comedy scene is booming, and although the local comedy scene in my hometown is a small one, it at least guarantees me 3 to 5 open mic opportunities on a weekly basis. In addition, I have a regular hosting gig at the El Paso Comic Strip, which is the only comedy club in town. It may take me longer than 12 to 15 years to get my career to where I am a “working comic”, (A full time stand up comedian), but I’m willing to hang around as long as it takes, even if my material goes from talking about raising kids to talking about the size of my prostate.

To all my fellow comics out there, hang in there and keep plugging along. Even if we don’t make it one day, we can all say that there was a time when we “Had them laughing.”

Anyone can be a comic, but it takes years to be a comedian.