Monday, May 21, 2012

Comedy vs. Cancer vs. Local News

Two years ago, I was asked to perform with a few other comics at a charity event for cancer. Well, I guess it was against cancer. Or something. It was one of those "Relay For Life" things where people trek around this high school track for hours, and I was to perform on a stage right in front of said track.

First off, I've never understood how people walking around in circles fights cancer. I understand that they accept pledges that a certain amount of money will be received if they walk for a certain amount of time, but, uh, what's wrong with someone just donating money for, you know, the cause? Are there really people out there that think, "look, those namby-pamby cancer patients aren't getting my money for nothing. Maybe if somebody sweats for me."

From what I remember, sweating was something a lot of those walkers could stand to do anyway. It's ingenious how they convinced people to pay them to get their fat asses off the couch, where they then could feel good about themselves for sending that money to the "fight against cancer".

Jeez, I sound like a douchebag. And I haven't even gotten to the story yet.

Anyway, right before showtime, veteran comic Bryan Hamilton rounded up myself and the few other comics and told us the ground rules. Basically, no cursing or adult subjects. Which basically removed about 95% of my act back then. I had to go to some very mediocre jokes, including one I had discarded long ago about how self-centered the local news is in their reporting of world events. Now, every single time I had told this joke previously,

1. I never mentioned a specific news organization, and
2. No one ever laughed.

Well, #2 remained consistent, but for whatever dumbass reason, I decided to add "you know how you watch local news, like ABC-7 or Fox 4..." to the bit. A bit that makes the anchors seem kind of stupid.

Well, guess who turns out to be a HUGE sponsor of Walk For Life? And happened to have a HUGE booth in the middle of the football field inside the track, with anchors and reporters signing autographs? Yeah, that would be Fox 4, who apparently didn't see the humor in me saying that if Key West fell into the ocean, they'd only report on how it affected traffic in Southwest Florida.

 The next day, a representative of Fox 4 called Walk For Life and threatened to pull sponsorship completely. I never knew how the conversation went, but when I imagine it, Fox 4 says "Quit hurting our feelings, or your fight against cancer can go fuck itself". Whatever was said, I got a tongue-lashing from Bryan. Oh, and we haven't been booked by Relay For Life ever since.

I love you all.  Make me famous.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Comedy is...Different

When I decided to become a comic a little over two years ago, I had no idea what kind of world I was entering. Up until that point in my life, I had always been employed in some kind of profession that required you to be, you know, professional. This meant there were certain assumptions about the way you behaved and just generally ran your life.
 
Just to cite one small example, in my previous jobs, the other employees rarely showed up stoned. And reeking of alcohol. That rarely goes over well in status meetings. Also, it was commonly assumed that you had a car. Or at least, you know, a current, non-suspended driver's license. And, if I saw white powder under your nose, I pretty much guessed you grabbed a powdered doughnut out of the break room.
 
This sure the hell hasn't been the case in standup comedy.
 
True story: I once went on a road trip with four people to a comedy show in North Carolina, yet I had to drive 50% of the time because two comics didn't have a valid license.
 
True story: I once had to leave a club because the comic I was hanging out with was caught with cocaine powder under his nose and got kicked out.
 
True fact: All the "carpooling" I've been doing in the last two months, with comics going to the same show, has happened in my  personal car.
 
True fact: I had only seen any form of illegal drug maybe a dozen times from high school to about two years ago. Now it's rare that I go a whole week.
 
I'm not complaining. I love standup comedy, and the herky-jerky, unexpected, and sometimes extralegal experiences that come along with it. I don't do drugs, but hey, I can drink at work. How many of you can say that? I don't remember there ever being a beer tap in any corporate break room I've ever been in.
 
It's a whole new world.  It's just...different.
 
I love you all. Make me famous.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Anthony's 4/21/11: Avoiding the Chokehold

The caller ID said Bryan Hamilton was trying to reach me.  I don’t like answering the phone when I’m driving, but if you send too many of Bryan’s calls to voicemail, you run the risk of a rear naked chokehold the next time he sees you.  I hit the “answer” button.

“I’m featuring at Anthony’s tonight,” said the fellow comedian.  “And I got you a guest spot.  Be there at seven.”

Notice that nowhere in that quote was I actually asked if I wanted to perform.  You know, it’s possible that I have plans; I could have been partying last night—um, okay, well, I could have been on a date with—ah, fuck it, who am I kidding?  I had no plans.  Besides, you really shouldn’t piss off guys that look like this:



So I agreed to take the gig. 

Bryan, a former Marine and full-time redneck, really did put me in a rear naked chokehold once.  About a year ago, before he got a smartphone, he had one of those old phones on which you could change the banner.  It had originally said something like “Sprint PCS”, but one day I decided that was too generic.  So when he foolishly left it on the bar while performing, I began searching through the menus.  It wasn’t until later that night that he looked at his phone and saw his new banner: “I LOVE THE COCK”.

He let me off easy that time.  But after I pulled the same trick a few times (“LOVES IT UP THE CHUTE”, “MEN ARE FOR ME”, “PROUD TO BE GAY”) my comedy mentor decided he had had enough.  While waiting for my set at a small Latin club, I suddenly felt an arm shoot up underneath my armpit and back behind my neck, with another arm wrapped around the front of my neck.  I couldn’t breathe.

“So, are we done fucking with my phone?”

I gagged out an unintelligible reply.

“I think I’ve made my point,” Bryan declared.  He certainly did. 

Fast forwarding to last night, the gig went outstanding for every comedian.  For whatever reason, it was a smaller crowd than usual, but they were great.  I’m not much of an improvisational comic, but I went off script a little to make fun of a guy in the front row.  I have a bit that starts with “Have you seen that commercial for Enzyte, the ‘male enhancement’ drug?”  After I said that, I heard a douchebag talking on his cell phone.  I immediately said, “This guy certainly has.  He’s even bragging to his friends about it right now.”  The crowd loved it.  Douchebag didn’t, but at least he took the hint and got off his damn cell.

I’d never before met the headliner, Lou Angelwolf, but he’s very funny and a terrific guy.  He actually ended up crashing in my spare bedroom, so he gave me a bunch of pointers.  The best thing he said to me, though, was that I made him laugh out loud several times.  It’s tough to make a comic laugh, so that was a great compliment.  If you ever get a chance to see him perform, don’t miss it.

That’s it for me.

I love you all.  Make me famous.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

So, uh, this is it…

 
It took about two days, but my new(ish) website and blog are just about complete.  I’ve known I’ve needed a web presence for a long time, but there’s a lengthy list of reasons why I had not gotten it done:

1. Websites cost money.

Okay, so maybe “lengthy list” was a slight overstatement.  Call me a cheap ass*, but I’ve adapted nicely to the prevalent Internet marketing thought that every online product or service should be free.  I have no idea why.  I think we’ve all just gotten used to it.  Facebook, twitter, Gmail, Google Documents, blah blah blah are all somehow available at no charge.

* You wouldn’t be the first.

How the hell do they do it?  Everyone says facebook is worth like seven billion dollars, yet I haven’t the slightest clue how they make a single dime.  Do they actually print money?  Are they running whorehouses on the side?   Do they produce snuff films in third world countries?

No matter, I’ve been spoiled by this, so I hate paying for anything web-related.  Then along comes weebly.com to save the day.  Seriously, if you want to build a simple, free website without knowing any coding whatsoever, give them a shot.  And no, I’m not being paid for the plug.

In fact, I’m not being paid for any of this crap.  I need to figure out how the hell those damn websites are doing it.  Maybe they’re making it up.  Maybe one day I’ll just post on here that my website is worth eleven trillion dollars.  Yes!  Then I’ll have an Initial Public Offering of stock, raise millions of dollars, and then begin an advanced business process I’ll call Getting the Fuck Out of the Country With the Loot.  Hey, it almost worked for Enron.

Okay, where was I?  Oh, this website.  As you can tell for the menu above, this website will be a catch-all for everything I’m doing related to entertainment.  I have a few more videos to put up, but I’ll be honest here and say, like most every comic, I’ll never have a lot.  If you want to see the standup, you have to come see me.  I’ve got to make my money somehow!

I’m also going to start recording podcasts soon.  They’ll be an hour long, and I’ll kind of riff on certain subjects and have an advice segment.  I’m actually pretty excited about it. 

So, that’s it for now.  Let me know what you think of this blog/website.  If you like it, I’d love to hear it.  If you have suggestions, I can’t wait to ignore them.

I love you all.  Make me famous.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

He’s Ba-aaack!

If you followed a link from twitter or facebook to this piece, there is an excellent chance you have no idea what the above title refers to. And that’s okay. My fault, really. You’re not the lazy ass that constantly abandons blogs.

You see, this place is where it all began for me. On December 10th, 2005, on my way to my parents’ house for breakfast, I ran out of gas and had to call my dad to come get me. I was pissed, of course, but in some detached portion of my brain, I was laughing at myself hysterically. I decided I had to share the experience somehow. And since I was (and still am) such a fan of Dave Barry’s humor columns, I decided to open up a Blogger account and post my first-ever humor column on the experience.

It got a tremendous response. And by “tremendous response” I mean that nobody read it. I had to beg people to go to my blog. I had several phone conversations like this:

My sister Lori: Hello?

Me: Hey sis. I started a blog, and wrote an essay I’m really proud of. Could you take a look at it?

Lori: Sure! No problem. I’ll get right to it.

Me: No, I mean, right now.

Lori: Oh, look, I have another call…

But, amazingly enough, in time I built up a pretty strong readership, with several hundred hits every time I posted a new blog. So I made sure to leverage that popularity in the only I way I knew how: abandonment. It was amazingly stupid, because getting a following is difficult, but I guess I just felt so much pressure to be funny that I had to step away.

Since that time, I’ve had two MySpace blogs, a Tumblr blog, and a standup comedy career begin to blossom. I decided a few weeks ago I really need to start blogging again just to keep my wit sharp, and, of course, to update my friends and fans as to how everything is going. So, what better place than my original blog?

So here I am. I’m not exactly sure how this is going to go, but I can give you an educated guess. My initial instinct is to blog rather consistently, like 3-4 times per week, but instead of long humor essays like I used to, I’ll be posting shorter updates, based heavily on my standup. Of course, I know myself. The updates will probably turn into long essays. But if that happens, it happens. At least it will be good, funny content.

It feels good to be home.

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