What am I going to do with my life? My Dad said, "As long as you get to talk, you'll be fine." Thank you to Paul Ash for inviting me to be on his show, They Talk Funny, to chat about comedy, writing, and what has happened in the last two years.
I've performed all over the world but sometimes going to a comedy club I've never been to before can feel like the first day at a new school. So I was glad to see Mary Kennedy when she breezed into Flappers. She showed me to the green room and I was grateful because there were so many twists and turns it felt like a trail of breadcrumbs situation.
There were a couple of people in the green room, but with masks on, I didn't recognize anyone. When I looked at the lineup, I got excited and squealed (yes, squealed): "Oh wow! Jimmy Brogan is here?!?" After an appropriately-timed pause Mary turned to me and said, "He's sitting right there." I looked up and yes of course, the well-dressed gent behind the mask was Jimmy F'ing Brogan. Who else could it be? But my embarrassment was eclipsed by my excitement (and relief that the rest of my sentence wasn't, "Jimmy Brogan is here? That rat bastard!").
I was also flattered that he remembered me and where we'd last worked together: The Tree House in Connecticut. I was featuring for him that night and could've left after my set but I stayed to watch him. I'd of been a fool not to.
For me, watching Jimmy is a master class. He makes crowd work look effortless. He makes connections with people in the audience that aren't built on cruelty and maintains control without being condescending. Then he somehow brings it all together at the end with the feeling that you were just part of something cool and special. I really admire comics who do crowd work well.
Later, I was floored and flattered when Jimmy Brogan complimented me on my set. (He'd stayed to watch. What? Wow!) Okay, look: the laughter and applause from the audience is always great, but the respect of your peers -- especially the ones you admire -- well, that's something special.
It's good to be back.
In 2019, I was invited to tape a comedy special for Dry Bar Comedy! Yay!
I only had a month to prepare. Ugh!
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.