Sunday, August 30, 2009

Why did I take advice from an idiot?

I accidentally learned a lesson from the last person I ever thought I'd learn a lesson from: my self. I know! It's crazy. Here's how it happened:

I was writing for no good reason (two blogs ago) and I wrote about what I had learned from doing stand up comedy four times in my life. But I didn't realize until later, I hadn't really applied what I had claimed I learned. Then, the next day, I got up and stage and I fucking nailed it. Don't get me wrong, I did pretty good the first three times. And my fourth time wasn't a total bomb. But still, I had to take a week off to did my tail out from my legs and regroup.

And when I got up two nights ago on that stage, I fucking controlled the universe. I may never do that again, but I might. Either way, who cares. For eight minutes of my life, I ran that show. I could've convinced those 40 people to kill for me. I realized two minutes in, "Holy shit! This is different. This isn't just doing good. This isn't just doing great. This is owning these people! I can't do wrong tonight."

And I was right. I went nuts. I had them going nuts. I was making people bust their guts in a way I used to always think was impossible. And it was because every bit of what I wrote was fresh in my head. The voice in my head was saying "See, if you had listened to yourself all along you could'v'e been doing this shit sooner! Dumbass! Oh well, better now than never!"

I had those people laughing. I had them in suspense on the next thing I was going to say. I had them wanting nothing more than more me. I had them.

Now, don't get me wrong. Don't get confused. I don't need other people's approval. Sure, approval is nice. I'm man enough to admit that. But I enjoy my life just as much when I'm annoying the shit out of everyone. Approval is not what it's about. However, when it comes to doing stand-up, the laughter is the gauge of how good you've done. And after that night, I had a brain-buzz going for 36 hours. So why , you ask? If it wasn't approval, what was it? It's this.

I've never been good at shit. I've always been jealous of people who had a tag. You know, a talent tag. "That's Melinda - she's a gymnast." "That's Eddie - he's an auctioneer!" I only ever got, "That's Roth Wriscey - he's, ummm, cool."

Then I got decent at writing late in life, at 28, and that was a minor tag. But still, that's been pretty much it. So when I recently found that I can (even if not always) be a hilarious comedian, I'll take it. I love being "That's Roth Wriscey, he's good at being a dumbass on a stage."

Even if I just figured out how to clown around like an idiot with a microphone a little later than most. I'm still glad that in this stage in life, I found my way to the stage.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Free Hamburgers

I wonder if people can hear that I sometimes do the radio news in my bathing suit. My friends can tell when I'm hungover on the air, but no one else does. Most every radio guy I've know has talked a girl into giving him a hummer while he talks on the air and acts normal. It's a right of passage and also a challenge. I've never done it. However, I've never known any girls who tell their boyfriends, "I want you to eat me out while I'm giving the weather report." Girls are so annoyingly respectable sometimes. (Except the ones that give on-air hummers to radio guys.) Don't give hummers to radio guys. They're all poor. They only thing you get from them is that you're hanging out with a guy that everybody knows. Still, that doesn't mean you're hanging out with a guy that everybody likes. Most radio guys overestimate how funny they are. (Except me. I'm hilarious. Yeah, I'm not one of them. Never! Just kidding. I suck like the rest of them.) I have learned a lesson though. I barely socialize with other radio people this time around. My first gig, we all hung out so much that if one of us would've gotten crabs - all of us would have gotten crabs. Screw that. (By the way, I never actually got crabs.) I'm just saying, I love the people I work with now. But I don't want to hang out with them outside of work... because I love them.

Radio sales girls are weird. 7 out of 10 of them are in some one-sided relationship with some loser who doesn't make any money if he even has a job. Don't feel sorry for these girls though. They like it this way. Since they control the purse, they control the man. And sales girls love to fuck men that are not the man they are dating. They make his loser ass watch the kids at night so they can "attend a business dinner." Yeah, something's getting eaten but it ain't dinner.

The sales people I work with now seem to be an exception. They actually mean it when they say hi to me. They aren't just suddenly remembering my name so I can do something shady on the air to bail them out of an account they neglected. That kind of salesperson has some nerve: "I screwed up. Will you risk your career for no reason but to keep me undeservedly rich? Thanks."

I love radio. But sometimes I hate the radio business. These days, I'm with a great crew and making better money, but getting less hours. I'm in it because I love the medium. And also because I love the free hamburgers.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Comedy Club Lessons I've Learned

I interviewed a writer once for a newspaper article, and he told me that he doesn't allow his students to use writer's block as an excuse not to write. He said, "Pounding those keys, is better than not pounding those keys. You better write something anyway. You can't wait on the lightning to strike, because what if it never strikes?"

As a result, I will be writing every day for thirty days, no matter what. Today, I will write about what I've gathered from doing stand-up comedy on open mic night four time in the last six weeks at tge Nutt Street Lounge. (That's actually the name of the street. How convenient.)

I have learned that if you are gonna get up on that stage, you better damn well WANT to get up on that stage. If you're not sure you belong there, the audience will sense that and ask themselves the same question: "Why the hell is he up there?"

If your stuff isn't funny, it's not the audience's fault... even if it is their fault. Who cares if you are so funny they aren't smart enough to get you? (That's what lovers and spouses are for.) It doesn't mean dick if you're too advanced for the crowd. In the end, they are the judge. If they don't like your routine, you better fix it. Or at least don't expect them to like it if you keep doing the same shit that never made them laugh at you the first time. They aren't there to be taught. They are there to laugh... or not. It's really up to you.

If you are bombing, acknowlege it. The crowd knows when you're blowing it. You know when you you're blowing it. But most importantly, they know that you know that they know you're blowing it. Go ahead and acknowledge the elephant in the room. Get it out of the way by making it part of the act (or the RE-act in this case) and then get things back on track.

Be yourself. Don't try to be what they want. That sounds like it conflicts with something I said earlier, but it really doesn't. What I'm saying is: be yourself, but craft yourself into a package they can laugh at. If you're only trying to be what they want, but not who you really are, they will smell it. People are dumb about a lot of things, but this is not one of them. I learned I do my best even if I'm saying outlandish stuff they don't support, because I at least get a laugh from those who say to themselves, "Wow! I can't believe this crazy fuck believes what he says. And I even more can't believe that he would have the nerve to say it. But he must believe it if he's dumb enough to say it. Who would lie about something so unpopular? I'm intrigued by this dude. He's kind of funny."

Always listen to the other comics that go on before you. It is amazing how sometimes a comic you don't know will talk about the same bizarre shit you were planning to joke on when you get up there. You need to listen, so when you get up there you can acknowledge that you're retreading some guy's topic, and then you have to show them why your take is different and why it's still worth hearing.

The lights are bright. It makes it hard to see the crowd sometimes. Don't acknowledge this. The crowd doesn't see it and the crowd doesn't care. Just pretend you can see them, and make your hearing more acute so you can work off of the noise.

Don't get so hurried that you talk over the laughter you've created. They'll stop laughing when they're ready. But if you talk over it, they will stop laughing to hear your next words and you have ruined the natural flow of the conversation. Yes, it's a conversation. Their part of the dialogue is the laughter. If you talk over it, you are interrupting them and it subconsciously offends them and the laughter will stay smaller. (I need to listen to myself on this point. I'm so bad at this, because I'm nervous that if I stop I will lose them. It's actually the opposite.)

It's okay to catch a buzz to calm your nerves. But don't get too drunk. The lights will make you dizzy and you'll be all over the place.

Try to look at everyone from time to time. If you pay attention to only one side, you will lose the other. Make individual eye contact with as many people as you can. But only do it at points in your act where you are so comfortable you won't lose your place.

It is okay to laugh at yourself. In fact, the number one thing I have found wins the crowd over is when you truly, truly believe that what you're telling them is funny, too. Not in a "Hey, I'm so damn funny way," but more in a genuine, "I know! I can't believe this shit is true, either!"

There are my tips from the amateur comic that is me. Maybe I should listen to myself. Then again, I've met me. Maybe I should ignore everything I just said. And maybe you should, too. I'm a dumbass.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Good, Awesome, Terrible

I haven't had writer's block, I've just had "lifer's suck." Which means, I haven't lost my desire to write, I just haven't had shit to write about. Regular life is boring. Nobody wants to read about that, and I don't want to write about it, either. Could you imagine taking some No-Doz just to get through my stories that started out with the following:

"So I went to work on time today and did my job properly."

"I hung out with the same girl I always hang out with and we had a nice time."

"My roommates are pleasant people and I quite enjoy living with them."

Those three sentences alone are boring as shit. Imagine having to read the whole damn story! I don't know what to do. I love writing, but I'm only good at writing what I know: and what I know is that my life has been enjoyably flat lately.

I haven't gotten in any good trouble lately. I haven't even tried to. It's nice, but it sucks.

Girls will do that to you, man. I don't think they always mean to, they just do. They get you complacent and happy. And next thing you know you're no longer out running around in the middle of the night acting stupid and searching for things you don't need and falling into other adventures along the way that even Mark Twain couldn't have made up himself.

I need someone bizarre eccentric to swoop in like Willy Wonka and give me 60,000 dollars and orders to do whatever I wanted with it for the next six months (under the condition that I spend the 6 months after that writing a completely honest kick ass book about what I did during that time) I'd make us both rich. I could really stir some shit if I was under such orders. I'm great at being bad. I'm good at a few things. But I'm awesome about being terrible.

Monday, August 24, 2009

With My Pig Nose On

I entered a contest on to win tickets to a game this season. Then I promptly forgot that I did that. Not a week later (last week,) I promptly remembered again. That's because there was a letter sitting on my kitchen table addressed to me with a return address that had the Washington Redskins logo on it.

I thought, "Those fuckers. They're gonna break my heart. This just has to be some junk mail. Those dicks put me on their mailing list. Oh well, it's not like I could expect to win some of the toughest tickets to obtain in the history of professional sports."

I made a deal with myself. Before I was to open the letter, I had to pretend for five seconds that there were tickets inside. Then I let the fantasy leave and said to myself, "It's over. Now you can't be pissed when there's nothing but a stupid merchandise catalog enclosed."

There was no stupid merchandise catalog enclosed.

There was a personally signed letter on Redskins stationary from some Redskins official I've never heard of named Heather Bretschger.

And behind that letter were two tickets to see the 'Skins take on the Denver Broncos on November 15th at FedEx Field in Freaking Washington D.C. (or wherever the hell in Maryland they are located!)

I won tickets! Damn, I've always wanted to see my boys in Washington.

Hey, you ! Yeah you, Section 329 Row 18! We'll see you in three months! And I might smash my butt all over you all day that day! Just kidding, I'll be standing and yelling the whole time... maybe with a pig nose on.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Blog Dedicated To Myself

I'm am going to do an experimental blog entry. Here's the premise today, I'm going to write about stuff I care about, as if you, the reader, know or care about these things, too. Here goes. This should be fun (for me, at least.)

1. This Summer's Faith No More Reunion.

A lot of people are pissed that FNM is only touring Europe. While I, too, am upset about this, I understand. They have a stronger base out there. Europeans tend to stick with their bands no matter what. I doubt FNM could make much money in the U.S. after 10 years off. And if I have to hear one more dumbass bitch about how Jim Martin isn't part of the band, I'm gonna go all Crack Hitler on this place. Look, everyone knows FNM's best two albums were the last two ("King For a Day, Fool For a Lifetime" and "Album of the Year.") What? Is old Jimbo supposed to come back and perform "Naked In Front of the Computer?" That would be like bringing David Lee Roth back to sing Sammy songs. It only works one way, boys. Screw Jim. He's good at metal, but FNM ain't metal. These Jim Lovers are the same people who say "The Real Thing" was the best album of the main four. No, idiot. It was the worst. It was still great, but it was definitely the worst. These are the same people who would probably like to simultaneously do two things at once: hear (1) "Epic" for the millionth time and (2) have Chuck Moseley sing it. Yeah, let's bring Chuck back while we're at it, idiots. Happy Birthday, Fuckers.

2. The Atlanta Braves Trade Deadline Move.

Really. We're gonna trade Casey Kotchman for Adam LaRoche? I like LaRoche. And I know it was for more power. But I say for a full 162 ol' Casey at the bat brings more to the team. And besides, (I hope I'm wrong) we're not going to pass the Phillies. We probably won't even pass Florida. Should've kept Casey Kotchman, if for no other reason, his name is alliteration.

3. The Sean Hannity Television Show.

Dude needs a partner. Look, I hated Colmes, too. But Hannity is just one big runaway train of hokiness without a bad guy there. It's like watching Rocky and Bullwinkle without Boris and Natasha there to make things interesting. His "Great American Panel" is gay. His "Liberal Translation Sketch" isn't funny and has terrible music. And his satellite screen that has his guests 30 feet from him is a little ostentatious. Put Kirsten Powers or some other idiot on there to balance that poor guy out.

I'm done. Was that fun? I bet it wasn't.

Dude Tells The Dude About Non-Dudes

I have been mentoring my 9 year younger male roommate lately - about women! I'm no expert on the pretties, because no man is. But I've had a good life. My roommate is a cool guy, but he's had some bad habits (Read: He's not getting laid at the rate I'd like him to.) You see, when a guy like me is somewhat settled down, he has to make the guys who are available go get laid a lot for him. And the dude just moved downtown, but he's not going apeshit! He should be knee-deep in the depths of some shallow women, dammit! That's what every guy is supposed to do the first year he moves out here near the bars.

But here's the thing about my advice, while I do think it's good advice (you can be the judge of that) - the problem I have is that my advice makes me sound like a sociopath when I say this shit out loud. I'll give you my roommate's problem, and my solution.

Problem 1: Dude likes to hit on bartenders and other girls once he's totally wrecked.

My solution: "Dude, first off I don't recommend hitting on bartenders. They're going to be really busy really that night and they'll be working too late to hang with your drunk ass. That aside, here's your problem. You're hitting on girls when you're sloppy. You need to hit on them when you're still mostly sober. You know why? Because when you hit on girls sober, they say to themselves, "Now there's a man! He says what means and he knows what he wants. And what he wants is me! I know - cuz he just said it! That's pretty badass - I might consider it." I continued, "Dude, once you've established that you're man enough to lay it all out there without the shield of alcohol, they might still let you hit on them drunk later. Here's why: They'll say, "Damn this wobbly mumbler is all over me just like a bunch of other wobbly mumblers, but he was also all over me earlier when he was in control, so I know he means it. I don't know if these other drunk guys are just making a drunk desperation move or what. But not this guy - that's a man!"

Problem 2: Dude is always trying to turn his friends into his girlfriends.

My Solution: "Dude, if you know you're about to become friends with a girl, but you'd like to possibly later become her lover, here's what you gotta do. Tell her that. Tell her that the way you just told me and do it early in the friendship. Say, "Hey, I know we're friends. And just friends, and new friends at that. But here's how it is. I'll be your friend. And I'm not a fake friend. But let the truth be told, if you ever offered that shit up: I'm taking it. I want you. But I won't try to pull a dick move and sneak up on you with at a time when you're vulnerable." Dude, do you want to know why this will work? Because you're actually telling the truth. I know it sounds like a scam. But think about it, you're actually being straight up (provided you really do hold up your end of the bargain and be her friend.) Here's what will likely happen dude: she will have a moment of crisis. A moment of weakness. But here's the beautiful part. The part that now separates you from all those other snakes that have just pretended to be her friend: you really are her friend! And SHE will come to YOU! While all those other douche-bags try to swoop in when she's crying from being dumped, she will notice that you actually listened to her and didn't try to move in. Then she will remember that you once said you'd be down for her if she was ever down for you. She will now be down for you. But it's her idea. Never let her think otherwise. It's an investment that requires patience. But I'll bet you dollars to dildos that's what happens with you and this girl."

(Editor's note: Dude didn't take my advice last night. She had a crisis. She got dumped and cheated on by her boyfriend and called Dude and Me to go with her drinking. I went out with them and saw it first hand. Dude didn't show patience, like I told him. He swooped in on her with that "I've always wanted you" crap 30 minutes into our night out while she was just 4 hours into a heartbreak. She rejected his ass flat. As she should've. It's like saying "Enough about you, how bout me?" Not cool.)

So what's the verdict. Am I right? Am I wrong? Am I a sociopath? Or am I just damn delightful? I would guess the answer is #1, #3 and #4.

The Dumbass and the Tramps

I was about to hang up from a conversation with Dibsy today when I told him that I was about to go for a walk on the beach by myself. "Gaaayyyyy," he said all monotone and superior. I was like, "Gay? It's not like I'm walking out here with another dude. The only gay thing I've done today is have a 20 minute phone conversation about nothing with a dude. And that dude is you! So if I'm gay, then you're gay to. And that makes US gay! And I would never be gay for you, Dibsy, you gay gay gaywad!" And then we said goodbye and I got to my walk.As I walked to the beach access, I decided to find a landmark so I'd know how to find my car when I came back from my walk. I said to myself, "Okay, when you start walking back, just look for the two hot chicks in bikinis with sexy tramp stamps and you'll know where to turn for your car."So I walked up the beach for about ten minutes. And then I walked back for about twenty. Twenty? Holy shit, I had gone too far. I couldn't figure it out. Where the hell were my hot chicks with tramp stamps? They were supposed to guide me home. They were my landmark. Then I figured it out."Well, I'll be damned. Who knew? Hot chicks are mobile! They had moved. I hadn't planned for that. I thought they'd be there for me. So then I had to turn around to try and find my car without the help of two lovely lovelies showing me the path. I started thinking about what I should have done - what I figured normal people probably already do: I should have used the beach access number sign as my landmark. Not two unparalyzed sexy ladies in bathing suits. I started pondering the bizarre comparison that apparently you can count on beach access signs to be there for you, but not girls. Then I realized I was wrong. Up ahead frolicking in the ocean together were my two stamped tramps. Hooray. They had just moved to the water to splash each other and be all, you know, sexy and stuff. So I stared at them like a weirdo for short while, debated thanking them for getting me to my car, decided against it because they might think that was weird (since it was), and went to my car. The moral of the story? How the hell should I know. I just like looking at girls and finding my car.

Things I Think About People.

Do you ever look at people and think you can guess whether or not they do very specific things? I do. For example, sometimes I meet a guy, just a certain kind of guy, and this thought goes through my head: "I bet he pees sitting down. I don't know how I can tell. And I don't know why he does. But I just bet he's a seat pee-er."

Here's a list of things I think about some people.

"I bet she never dances in front of the mirror in her underwear. I bet 98% of women have done that. But she hasn't. Why is she so weird?"

"I bet that guy pays hookers to do things other than have sex with him. Stuff like going to a basketball game. Why would you use an escort as an actual escort? Weirdo!"

"I bet that guy abuses waitresses. And I bet he jokes about the tip during the meal. I never want to go out to eat with that guy. But then again, I do wanna eat out with that guy, to see if I'm right."

"I bet that guy talks with a black dialect when black people are in the room. Why would you do that? They understand white people. There are lots of them, and I'm pretty sure we invented English. You don't have to "black it up" for them. They've heard white people speak English before. Why would you patronize them like that.?"

"I bet that lady actually finds Fabio sexy. Why would a woman find Fabio sexy? I can't believe she's not turned off by Fabio."

"I bet that girl really doesn't like football. She thinks she likes football, but deep down she really likes that men like her because she likes football. What she really likes is America's Top Model."

"I bet that guy would deny that he's ever tried to blow himself. I know he's tried. Every guy's tried. That's how you find out you can't. I should ask him in front of people anyway to watch him lie and say he's never tried it. What a liar!"

That's all I got.