Sometimes the spectacular is cloaked in normalcy. For instance, every girl I’ve ever dated was the cutest and most adorable in the times when she wasn’t trying to be. There’s something about someone just being that is fun to watch. Endearing even. Which is why reality TV works in theory but fails horribly in practice. If it was anywhere near real they wouldn’t need all the dramatic music and talking head pieces to explain what we just saw. Reality TV is a code for bad acting. But I digress.
Our love of pure voyeurism is why great actors get the big bucks. Watching Meryl Streep “pretend” is more real than all the reality in every reality show ever made. But great moments can be spied even when you’re not at the cinema.
A few days ago I drove past a girl riding a unicycle. Now that’s impressive in an of itself but she was also on the phone, clearly stressed out and carrying those sticks that street performers light with fire and juggle. I hope I’m painting the picture for you. If I was on a unicycle, or roller skates or a skateboard even, trust that all my mental faculties would be focused on not falling. For this girl, the most difficult thing she was doing, was the thing she was taking for granted. I doubt I could walk and talk with the grace she exhibited on that unicycle. And the great thing is that she wasn’t trying to impress anyone. She was just trying to get somewhere. Maybe she was late. Or maybe her agent didn’t give her all the details on the gig. Or maybe her boyfriend messed up.
Imagine being stressed out. Now imagine being stressed out on a balance beam. See, suddenly you’re forced to put your stress aside for a few minutes and concentrate on keeping your teeth.
I don’t doubt that her show is stellar but I’d rather see her pre-show and post-show rituals. I’m sure a unicycle riding juggler puts her pants on one leg at a time like everybody else. Then again, does she?? What does cooking breakfast look like for her? It’s like everything she does might be it’s own little show.
I can tell you for a fact that stand-up comics are a lot funnier off stage. I mean when we’re not in deep depression. Of course our off stage humor is not for the tame of heart. Still, i think the rise in popularity in comedian podcasts is due to people wanting to be flies on the wall when comics stop being polite and start being real.
I wonder if my unicycle girl has a monkey? (see the joke link for context)
With endings come new beginnings. A time to shed your old state of being or self image and replace it with something more spiffy. Of course this can’t happen without action. Without a plan or an idea of what you will do differently, don’t think January 1st will usher in anything but a hang over. I’ve always been a fan of making objectives measurable when possible. Like, instead of saying “read more”, say, “read 30 minutes a day.” Even if you miss some days chances are you will read more. Anyhoo, I jotted down some things, resolutions if you will, I want to keep in mind during 2014. Feel free to use these if they apply or come up with your own.
By the way, I give my friends & family license to remind me of these during the year if the need arises.
I will make my status updates pale in comparison to my real life adventures.
I will hold everyone to their word. Especially me.
I will not let unpaid work spill into time set aside for leisure.
I will leave the house at least twice a week without a laptop. (I will have a tablet. I’m not a monk).
I will respond to everyone in my personal sphere in a timely fashion.(within 6 hours)
I will respond to everyone in my business sphere in a timely fashion. (within 8 hours)
I will give more time and energy to those in my personal sphere.
I will only enter into partnerships that are clearly mutually beneficial.
I will get up early every weekday (before 7am).
I will sleep in most weekends.
I will workout less but go for walks more.
I will stretch and stay flexible in body and spirit
I will eat when hungry and ask myself, “why am I eating?” if I’m not hungry.
I will attack my action item list everyday with vigor, knowing full well that I will never actually be done.
I will listen intently and confirm what I hear. I will not draw conclusions on partial data.
I will value my time and quickly cut off things that prove to be a waste of time
I will go to bed around midnight on weekdays! (I need help with this one)
I will prepare my clothes the night before
I will call my mother back.
This Christmas finds me very happy to be with family and proud of my family for our new approach to the holiday. Christmas is a time of giving but give too much and you bring in new debts into the new year. You never heard about the Wise Men running up their Visas to buy the new Wii. Santa doesn’t take out a second mortgage on the North Pole to placate the Nice list.
So this year each immediate family member was assigned another to buy a gift. So I’m only on the hook for one adult family member. I mean how many sweaters, headphones, and phone cases can a guy have? The kids, of course, will continue to be spoiled rotten.
We haven’t opened our gifts yet. I’m sure I’ll be more than stoked with my one gift. I’m also excited about not paying baggage fees to get all my gifts back to Los Angeles.
In reality, Christmas came early for me. I got my gift on Thanksgiving. I went to the Laugh Factory in LA to give out food and perform a Turkey day show for the needy as well as the greedy. I ran into another comic named Chris James. A very funny guy who was a model before branching out into comedy. The kind of guy you don’t want to introduce to your girlfriend. Sure you think she’s yours and Chris would never…but why risk it? To top it off he’s from England and has an English accent. Yeah, I will never willingly introduce any of my girls to Chris. I don’t handcuff but I do avoid.
After dapping Chris up (giving him five(okay fine, shaking his hand)) He introduced me to someone he had just met, another Brit. Not sure why there was such a high Brit concentration at the Laugh Factory. Anyway, I exchanged pleasantries with the women and then she asked me, ”So, are you a model too?”, “Moi?!” The only thing stopping me from blushing was my pigment. That line really works. She was being sincere though. She was a black English woman which usually means Jamaican, which means she wasn’t blowing smoke. Well, not that kind of smoke.
Now, I don’t think I’m a troll or anything but I’ve also never been the suave guy. It’s just not my flow. I’ve always considered my charm and grace to be of the “everyman” variety. It’s probably too late to switch my operation from cool to smooth. I’m not going to seek out a modeling agency or anything but maybe I will pout a little more than I did before. I have to. I have model looks. I’ll still be funny but if you see me wearing shades and pouting just know I’m doing my Pretty Boy Swag. It’ll pass. Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful. Merry Christmas.
I’m a professional Stand-up Comic. Which means I’m in the business of making people laugh. What it really means is I work in Food and Beverage. I have a gut feeling that we all work in Food and Beverage in some way but I’m not prepared to build that argument up. For my profession it’s clear, I’m the entertainment/distraction that brings people to a place where they all must buy two drinks. Sometimes they buy food and sometimes your chicken fingers can be applied to your drink minimum. Sometimes.
Much like Candy Corn needs Halloween, Cranberry Sauce needs Thanksgiving and Beads need Mardi Gras, Comedy Clubs need me to justify being a part-time restaurant/bar with so-so food and watered down drinks. Not the romanticized angle I could take on my profession but an accurate one.
I have a bond with all servers, waiters, bartenders. Not only because we’re in the same industry but also because we have the same schedule. We entertain civilians on Friday and Saturday nights so we have to have our fun on the off nights. I feel their pain. We’re a small contingent of people on the exact opposite schedule from the rest of the world.
On top of all that. Serving is hard. Especially at a comedy club. A server has to deal with large groups, difficult people, and people becoming increasingly more drunk and difficult as the show goes on. All while being relatively quiet, lest they feel my wrath from the stage. Servers like me because they say I attract a nicer more civil crowd. If you’re reading this blog you have a right to feel good about yourself now.
I was working in Morty’s Comedy Joint in Indiana. The shows were all stellar. A new server was being trained on the packed Saturday night show. I guess training means you shadow a veteran server. Saturday night is definitely getting thrown in the deep in. The new guy showed nerves. He spilled two different drinks on two different customers. He probably felt the way I did the first time one of my jokes didn’t get a laugh. Then again he probably felt even worse than I did. I kept doing comedy. He left. Without telling anyone. He dipped out the back door. I guess the job wasn’t for him.
First off, I don’t understand giving up so quickly. Fine, maybe he just knew this job wasn’t for him. Secondly, why not say you’re leaving? I laughed when they told me but as I pen this entry, I realize just how incredibly unprofessional and messed up that was. Maybe he’s young and doesn’t know better. Or maybe he’s indicative of a populous unable to deal with any stress and not honorable enough to even consider doing the right thing. I mean if abandoning your station is the new low in workmanship that means showing up drunk, being rude, being incompetent, and smelling bad all pale in comparison. Because in all those cases a worker can say, “well, at least I didn’t leave without telling anyone.”
Or maybe he has a new found respect for servers and will never forget his failed foray into the field and until his last days tip well over 20% on every bill. Hopefully.
Let’s hope when the vanishing server becomes a dad that his first few hours don’t go bad.
Quick Side Note:
Hot Chocolate Any One?
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A few weeks ago I did a show in a living room. A fancy living room but a living room nonetheless. Obviously , it was a private show. Although, the thought of someone having the gall to turn their living room into a comedy club does bring me joy. La Casa De Jokes: Not a bad seat in the house. Please keep your sofa talk to a minimum.
When a show is that intimate, someone speaking out of turn isn’t heckling, it’s interjecting. There’s also a fine line between performing and talking to a small group. They’re paying you to perform but as you’re in a living room you can’t “play to the balcony.” This was my second or third time performing in a house. Since I don’t bill myself as the “Couch Comic” whenever one of these shows comes down the pike, it means they requested me and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse (I really need to revisit my “can’t refuse” price points.)
I performed for a party of 15 in a Lake house off Lake Tahoe. It was really a mansion, A Lake Mansion. Is that a thing? It was this doctor’s birthday and his wife rented out the house and threw a party for him. By the way, the 15 audience members were all black. Here I was performing for black doctors and businessmen living the life rappers rap about.
The scene was could’ve been recorded and ran as a PSA on BET. “ Stay in school kids you can become a doctor or at the very least perform for them.”
In the end reality trumps all or at least it should. One of the businessmen rents out one of his houses to a rapper. I’m sworn to secrecy but just think the guy rapping about balling is renting and somewhere there’s a guy, his landlord, in virtual anonymity balling out of control. Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.
The show was an absolute blast, thank God. Nothing more awkward then hanging out after a show with a crowd that didn’t like you….in a house!
“You’ll get em next time champ. Can you pass the remote?”
Dwayne Perkins, Author of “Hot Chocolate for The Mind” and an overall good guy.
Now that I’ve reached Gold status on my Starbucks member card you can pretty much assume any blog entry about a coffee shop happened at a Starbucks. Apparently my desire to fight the man is neutralized by free refills. I still hit up mom and pops on the weekends or when I want more than 5 tea flavors to choose from.
So I’m standing by the door, doctoring up my Tazo Chai, when a young girl, drink in hand rushed out at the same time that a senior man walked in. The girl was the type you see in short workout shorts, booty cutters if you will, even when the weather doesn’t support it. The kind of girl who’s tanned in the winter and has the sort of voluptuous body that she didn’t get from her mama but from doing power squats. Not my favorite body type but far from my least favorite. She probably runs two businesses all while getting her MBA at night and training for a mini triathlon. Not my favorite personality type but far from my least favorite personality type; Type A, take no prisoners, on to the next. And oh yeah of course, she wore a baseball cap with her pony tail pulled through the hole in the back.
The man was a guy with a perspective that was forged over time by life’s highs and lows. The culmination of which left him a tad bit jaded but justifiable so. He’s lost a few steps but gained the insight that everyone will eventually lose a few steps.
Two bodies can’t occupy the same space at the same time and Miss Alpha didn’t have time to waltz. She walked thru him and nearly spun him around. I think being disregarded offended him more than being knocked off balance. Inside every slow old man is the heart of a young man and the ghost of abilities past. His eyes showed his incredulous rage. They screamed, “I’m old but I’m still here!” When he regained balance he let off a barrage of expletives. He had choice words for her and for a second I could tell he contemplated going after her.
Now men and women shouldn’t fight for obvious reasons but what’s the call when the man is seventy and the women is 25 and in the best shape of her life? Could the old man have one good surge of energy left to show Miss Rude some manners or would the girl’s kick boxing class kick in to the tune of flattening the old and the restless?
I wanted to see it not only for entertainment purposes but also because she really made him feel worthless. Maybe she was simply too distracted or perhaps too focused but I think that’s the point. She was too busy too notice someone who wasn’t particularly good looking or fit or rich but was directly in front of her and thrice her age. Sometimes it’s not about stopping to smell the roses but stopping to smell the Ben Gay. People aren’t disposable even though reality TV and Entertainment would have you think otherwise.
After he finished shouting every curse I knew and some I had never heard he of course, started talking to me. I think my aura must read, “Have ears, will listen.” And listen I did. He explained to me how he despised people who think they’re better. I took it as code for “I despise people who look past the elderly.” Then he aired out his bigger problems with women in general. You can be assured that any seventy something year old man has been thru it. He shared with me what felt like all of his past failed relationships. And the kicker was his buddy, married for 40 years, who came home one day to find his old lady had up and left him and took all his stuff. I thought that only happened in country western songs. My old warrior friend had years of penned up aggression exacerbated by the grim reaper’s footsteps. Miss Alpha may be driven but Mr. Curmudgeon is a corked bottle. I just hope talking to me for a half hour will prevent him from blowing and I also hope Miss Alpha gets a cramp in her next cross fit class.
*Hot Chocolate Any One? Quick Side Note: My ebook, “Hot Chocolate for the Mind” is up on Amazon. A collection of my funniest and most touching blogs.
Please buy my ebook at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ATCKEFK
No Kindle, No Problem: Free Kindle Apps Here http://amzn.to/nuQtcH
My shows in India are going well (There’s a sentence I never thought I’d hear myself say.) Where I’m from people don’t brave Indian food much less troop over to Bangalore. I owe it all to stand-up comedy and the Brits, of course, for making sure the entire world spoke English. Throw in some ex-pats and I’m in micro-pubs in India telling people to try the veal, with caramelized onions of course. It would probably take a small book to describe what I’ve seen in just the past two days. Not that summing it up is even possible but Bangalore is a perfect blend of 3rd world meets 1st world. Rickshaws whizzing around Mercedes Benzes. High end shopping malls with make shift street markets in the foreground. And yes, cows walking the streets like squirrels.
It’s all been a little overwhelming, even for this native New Yorker who’s comfortable in any concrete jungle. It’s when you combine the concrete with actual trees and such that I get a little gun shy.
India is associated with spirituality but don’t look for it like you would a pair of socks in your drawer. Much better to feel it. The spirit of millions of people humming along and moving en masse but simultaneously in different directions and somehow the whole thing works. I think you’ll find much more suggested spirituality in the kindness of the people than say people sitting in prayer poses.
Still, I would be remiss if I didn’t eat Indian food (my tour guide seems to favor pizza and wings) and do yoga. My contact, Ajit, takes me to a proper Yoga place. It’s in a Hindu temple. As I was walked in I thought, “I’m getting the works.” The place looked exactly what most westerners picture when they picture people in India doing yoga. There were no Pinkberrys in sight. And no one rocked Lululemons.
The twist? Well, there’s always a twist. The instructor was a Black American woman from New York. Yogi says what?! Is this what they mean by traveling abroad to find yourself. I’m in Bangalore, India and my instructor is a sister from 9th and Broadway. Go figure. Then again it could have been a Dominican guy from Washington Heights. Really go figure.
She knew her stuff though. The class was rigorous. I could tell the Manhattanite was going extra hard on the Brooklynite. As she adjusted my Half Moon, I wished I told her I was from White Plains. “Do Yoga in India” was not on my bucket list but I added it this morning and then checked it off, my instructor’s origins notwithstanding.
As I laid in Shavasana Corpse pose I listened to the sounds of Bangalore come together in perfect harmony: birds chirping, the wind rustling through the trees, cars honking and a Black woman singing Hindi chants. Namaste.
I just touched down, well abut an hour ago, in Bangalore India. Here’s what ran through my head during my cab ride from the airport to the hotel.
- I’m in f@&kin India!
- Thank God I didn’t have to walk to the hotel (not referring to the distance)
- Those pack of stray dogs look surprisingly well fed
- Maybe I’m not getting underpaid
- I think the cabbie’s horn is broke. It keeps honking for no apparent reason
- I guess traffic lanes are more of a suggestion over here
- I think I’ll go ahead and put my seat belt on
- I really will go anywhere and tell jokes
- Maybe I should have the cabbie run me to get some Pepto Bismol
- Here goes nothing!
Ever see something that impresses you as much as it gives you pause? Something that your brain couldn’t quite categorize but also couldn’t let go? Something that you have to shake off lest you spend countless hours and possibly money trying to figure out? Okay, I didn’t see something that compelling but almost. I saw a guy on a bike throwing a frisbee to himself. I’ll say it again while you cue up the visual in your mind. A guy on a bike, flinging a frisbee in the air, and then riding his bicycle along it’s path and catching it at the end of its flight.
He was playing catch with himself! I wasn’t sure if I should be impressed or sad. I watched 5 throws and he didn’t drop once. The eye hand implications are through the roof but so are the social ones. I mean to master frisbee bike throwing, I imagine, takes practice. This wasn’t a case of friends occasionally flaking. This was this guys M.O. He’s taught himself one man frisbee. Why can’t he find a friend to play Frisbee? Is he insufferable or unlucky?
So, just to be thorough** I Goggled “bike frisbee” and apparently, it’s a thing. It’s an event in Ultimate Frisbee. I can’t believe we’ve made this a thing. What’s next the “Go to the movies by yourself” event, the “one man wave” at baseball games, air Patty Cake?
Okay, throwing a frisbee from a moving bike and catching it is awe-inspiring but so is having no friends. For different reasons of course. We already spend too much time in front of our computers (says the guy typing his blog on his computer), and we’d rather text than talk, now we’re going out of our way to turn necessarily group activities into solo endeavors.
Think about it. Even at these Frisbee competitions. Many people show up with their bikes and frisbees and don’t throw them at each other.
Civilization implications aside I may have to learn bike frisbee. It was too cool looking not to. Don’t worry though, I’m going to do it on a tandem bike.
** Okay to be even more thorough, i looked at more videos and apparently some people throw frisbees from a bike to other people on on bikes. Okay, that’s pretty amazing. Make it a lighted frisbee and you’re well on your way to real life Tron. Still seems a bit much. Why not mount an Ipad on the handle bars and ride, throw, read and play games all at the same time? I guess that would make it too much like driving a car.
Bike Frisbee: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lg2uqyc8kr0