Every Tuesday night in the 11 o'clock hour it's my pleasure to share comedy and commentary on John Fugelsang's Tell Me Everything on SiriusXM Progress, channel 127.
In preparation, I step out of my Star Trek bubble for a few hours, watch the news, and write. Some of it makes it into my social media feed and some of it makes it on to the show.
Aggregated for your amusement, here's this week's notes and jokes:
Astronauts have to climb into the rocket. Mechanics have to get under the hood of the car. Writers have to sit down and write. But it’s complicated. Here’s my process:
Well, I’ll go on ahead and tell on myself.
I broke one of my own cardinal rules of comedy: I brought notes on-stage.
I've been anti note my entire career. Urging colleagues and students to instead assiduously prepare in advance, go on stage, and be present in the moment, come what may. But thanks to the pandemic, I can count the number of live shows I’ve done this year. I’ll round it up to not enough. That contributed to me feeling rusty, and like I needed a back up. My set list.
A comedian’s set book is like an athlete’s playbook; a singer’s songbook; a painter’s sketchbook. My Set Book began as hand-written notes on index cards, then in marble notebooks, then on loose leaf, and today is a 200 plus-page Word document (with a 26-page table of contents) that when printed on double-sided, three-hole punched paper goes to live in My Big Red Binder. A Samuel Taylor Coleridge quote on the cover says:
“People of humor are always in some degree people of genius.”
In the before times, I wrote a brief tip sheet on how to emcee a show. They hold up whether the show is live or virtual.
I love standup comedy.
I recently had an opportunity to talk about the craft with a Young Comic and give her feedback about her set. (She asked.) But before I could drone on for too long, I stopped myself and said, “Hey, anybody could’ve told you this.”
And she said, “Yeah, but anybody didn’t.”
(So, I guess I’ll tell it. And I’ll tell it again when the special airs.)
I was invited to tape a special for Dry Bar Comedy! Yay!
I only had a month to prepare. Ugh!
(Well, technically, I’ve had my entire career to prepare, but that’s something I have to remind myself more often then I care to admit.)
Dry Bar’s brand is clean comedy. No problem, right? But there’s clean and then there’s Dry Bar clean. The stakes are higher.
My Father was always my biggest fan and my most ardent supporter. When I first told him that I wanted to do standup comedy, he smiled at me and said, “What took you so long?”
And with that, I was off and running.
A parent asked if they could bring their 12-year-old child to the comedy show. (ugh) The parents were curious about how explicit/raunchy the show would be; but overall seemed confident that their youngling could handle it because they were “mature for their age.”
With du jour childhood being so short and de facto childhood even shorter, is having a kid who’s mature for their age really something to be proud of?
I’ve had a life and a career that has allowed me to travel around the world. As I’ve said many times on-stage, “You’ve got to get out of your zip code. Go to a different Walmart. It really broadens you.”
My Father, from whom I inherited my wanderlust, encouraged me to run, go, see. And while my mother was afraid for me to even leave the house, she’d say a prayer and let me go.