I have been getting bombarded recently with questions of, “why haven’t you moved to LA?” and articles that ask “Is it time to move to LA?”. First of all, let me just say to the people that believe I should move to LA, I am flattered that you believe in me enough that you would suggest I move to a bigger comedy scene to further hone my craft. I have put a lot of work in over these last 7 + years to get where I am.
The articles about moving to LA though I read as cautionary tales and though many of my friends have moved to LA and found opportunities, I just don’t feel as though I am ready to make that leap with them, and here are the reasons why.
Reason 1 - I haven’t conquered my current scene.
Though I have worked at almost every comedy venue in DFW, I would say I have not conquered the Dallas Comedy Scene. Some people have moved on to LA because they will never conquer their scene and more opportunities will be there for them in LA. However, I believe that I can conquer my local scene, I am getting closer to doing that, but I need to really work on my promotion and intrapersonal skills. If I can’t promote myself in a city of 300 comics to where I become fairly recognizable, how do you expect me to do it in a city of 3000 comics with many of them having television and festival credits I currently don’t have? This is my weakest point in my comedy and that is by design because I wanted to wait until I was a good enough performer that people would want to see me again rather than just build an army of people who attend one show then never watch me again.
Reason 2 - I haven’t quit my day job
I have a pretty nice and steady day job here in Dallas, something that at the age of 37 makes it really hard to walk away from especially with comedy not really paying any of bills. I would have to have a really good opportunity, perhaps a once in a life time opportunity, to walk away from the job I currently have. For me at 37 years old with no college degree to up and quit and hope to land a job as steady as this is unthinkable. I will stay and continue to stock pile vacation days for when I can actually do road gigs that I will get when I get some better footage to send to NACA and festivals.
Reason 3 - I have it really good here.
Say what you want about Dallas comedy, but despite not yet conquering it, I probably have more stage time available to me than any other comic save for a touring headliner like Paul Varghese. On Average I get somewhere between 45 and 75 minutes on stage per week. Is it a lot of driving? YES.. I doubt I could do that much time a week in LA comparatively. I try to be as gracious as possible with it but it sure is nice to go up 7 days a week most weeks and be able to hone my craft.
These 3 things add up to one answer, I am not ready for LA as it currently stands. Maybe one day I will be.
I am a huge Astros fan as far back as I can recall. Until lately there hasn’t been much to write about my team, as they have completely rebuilt the system in a way that mocks conventional wisdom.
I understand the old way of rebuilding in the late 90s after the strike it made sense that every team try to win as baseball recovered from a strike season that may have very well been the best team in Astros history. It made sense that everyone try to compete to wipe away that year. However that season is now 20 years past.
Yet teams were still clinging to the notion of keeping up appearances. The Astros were the “dinosaurs” that the Boston Red Sox owner was telling Billy Beane about in the movie “Moneyball”. Offering lifetime contracts to an arthritic Bagwell and less than productive Biggio. Contracts that they are both working off as special assistants in the front office.
However this new owner and front office that came in 2011 and immediately started making changes. Lots of changes, they had a plan get rid of the aging talent and develop new talent in it’s place. Lots of new talent, and they did it in a way that was almost shrouded in secrecy. It was genius moves but with no discernible method to the madness. The Astros blogs I followed, namely the Crawfish Boxes and Astros county, tried at times to crack the secret code this team was using. This year was the first year in the draft where they regularly identified players as “Lunhow guys”.
So you can imagine my giddiness when this weeks Sports Illustrated featured an article on the Astros rebuilding project, proclaiming them the 2017 World Series champions. Finally, a peek behind the scenes of what the Astros are doing. Honestly, I wouldn’t call what the Astros are doing as groundbreaking, just what I believe the next logical step with sabermetrics. The article seems to focus mostly on Sig Mejdal the director of decision sciences. Can you get a more non baseball related title? This group basically takes the data collected ala Moneyball, but then goes to the next step and adds all the historical data it can find and with that information generates a probability for a certain player. An example from the article would be a pitcher with a hitch in his delivery they would find and track every prospect with that hitch in their delivery, and track their careers to see how they pan out. Also fascinating is how both Mejdal and Astros GM Jeff Lunhow spent time in casino gaming industry, and have applied that approach to scouting. It’s an interesting read and gives a little bit better understanding that they are consistently applying the same formula to different variables. It’s a sign that baseball is changing and that even though there isn’t much press, many eyes are on this astros rebuild formula and how it will shape the landscape of baseball for perennial last place teams like the Padres, Mets, Marlins and Royals who seem to be breaking their curse this year. So far the early returns after having such a huge turnover is that it’s promising and will continue to improve as new prospects hit their stride and new prospects begin to get called up. This year the Astros win total had already reached 34 as of 6/26 it is almost a full month earlier than they reached 34 wins last year 7/23. I can only dream of a 2017 championship. Go Astros.
This post kind of got delayed, it was probably supposed to happen on Tuesday.
Anyways I feel like everything has raced by this past week. I thought for 2 hours that yesterday was Monday. It’s just moved so fast with so many different than the norm things going on.
Basically this blog is about the one thing I get advised the most on is my speed. In fact this weekend I even got a speeding ticket. I have had comics tell me I am too slow, I have had club owners and bookers tell me I am too fast. Recently I have realized that they are both right.
Comics tell me I am slow but that’s just looking at it one joke at a time some jokes I inadvertently stall in because they work and I try and milk more laughs out of them instead of moving quicker and getting a bigger laugh. It’s hard sometimes because when you get laughs you think how can I get more laughs in this joke than I do how can I get less laughs but a better response. My joke about self checkout is a prime example. I used to just drag out the doing math part of the joke, it worked but my weekend with J. Chris Newburg he said I should move faster through it that they get it you don’t have to keep going with it. The result is that bit works so much better because I just get to the point and end it.
Club owners have advised me to slow down. This seemed more logical to me when I heard it because I do talk fast. Mainly because my social anxiety tries to minimize silence. Sometimes I don’t give people a chance to respond. I had club owners tell me Thursday they would love to see me slow down because unlike comics they see my set as a whole not individual jokes. I took this advice and started trying to implement it.
This past weekend I featured in Paris with Keith Terry from Arkansas. I tried slowing the pace of my set but trying not to linger in a joke. Initial results were overwhelmingly positive. I did 25 because of show time constraints but I was happy to know I had a few more jokes I could’ve done and made 30. The crowd in Paris could not be anymore friendly and positive, LMAO comedy has done a great job cultivating an audience that fills the room nicely every 2 weeks. I can’t wait for the weekend to try to pace myself again at Backdoor.
Today is father’s day and I am just waking up from a night of comedy that included shots, killing, bombing, recording and reconsidering. I have been thinking about how I have wanted to write this blog for the past 12 days. I think I will practice discretion because my dad is not one that likes this facebooking/posting all of their business online generation we have become.
My dad truly a superhero, his super power is to make people forget about his lifestyle and like him despite the fact to them his lifestyle choices may be considered wrong by them. I can’t count the number of times I have seen people open up because of his people skills and positive energy. His people skills are just unmatched, its truly one skill I wish I had gotten instead of his blindness.
His origin, the city of Beaumont Texas maybe he got his super powers from the refinery smells that permeated the entire city. Like Krypton my dad transported me away from Beaumont when I was still a baby, as a child I to had superpowers, like the ability to run away with the family animal or lock my grandmother on our apartment balcony. In other words even as an infant I had the ability to create awkward moments.
We moved to my future home in Houston, where my dad maybe didn’t spend as much time with me as I would’ve preferred, but I feel a lot of kids especially kids whose parents were divorced, would say the same thing. We definitely had different tastes. I would hope for movies and sporting events, but would get Disney on Ice, a form of entertainment that no one enjoyed. I was getting older and as I got older the bullying got worse and the more I withdrew.
I then moved with my mom up here to Dallas and saw even less of my dad, I became even more withdrawn through high school. I missed out on a lot of advice keeping this all to myself. As I have become an adult my dad is an abundance of life experience that he has to offer.
His weapon, the blow dryer with the comb attachment. My dad spanked me very rarely I can only recall one or 2 times in my youth, one was because I hid under the clothing racks at Sharpstown Mall and made my dad come back and find me after an hour. The other time for stealing gum out of my mom’s purse as a toddler. However none of those as frightening as my dad angrily combing my hair. It felt like he was trying to make me go bald by digging it out of my scalp with the comb, and then using the heat from the blow dryer to cauterize the wound. I don’t think there was ever more misplaced anger between father and son than when he combed my hair. People complimenting me on my hair afterwards was just salt in the wound.
His arch nemesis, my stupid life decisions. I will say I am extremely lucky to be where I am today. A college dropout who has attempted suicide who early on in his independence, I lost more jobs than I kept and managed to live a month on only 25 dollars cash. I also racked up a small mountain of debt. However I am smart enough to learn and retain information that I found a steady job in tech support. However for a while in the late 90’s, I am sure there were nights that my dad wondered what the hell I am doing with my life. I learned quickly my dad would help me, but not finance me. There was nothing more demeaning than having to lean on him for financial aid. Its probably why I am so paranoid with my money now.
Then there was comedy, when I decided I would pursue comedy my dad didn’t think much of it, he called it a hobby, something I would do but never really make a living off of. However I do have a steady job that pays the bills. I felt it was dismissive and made up my mind to prove him wrong. One thing I did get from him is my head down work ethic, a trait that has served me well in my comedy endeavor. His disapproval made me better because I didn’t want to show him that I was pretty good or ok, I wanted to be great. So the video I first uploaded was not good enough to show him. To date, I dunno if he has ever seen a video of my comedy. The one show I had to do in front of my family in the living room with no mic, stage, or choice, still is the hardest comedy I have ever done. An audience comprised of only people that I have to see again and be judged by is by far the hardest for an artist.
I am proud of my dad for everything he has accomplished in his life and for who he is as a person. I hope he feels that way as well because he is an amazing man who I have worked my entire life to try and make proud of me.