Monday, December 31, 2007

Lucy's resolving NOT to make a New Year's Resolution in '08

...ALL THE BEST TO YOU AND YOURS IN '08...



So I know I've been "off the radar" when it comes to blogging, as of late. I have 120+ dedicated readers, all waiting for the next salacious post to be gleaned from this crazy head of mine.

So what has Lucy been up to?

Nothing.

Well, a lot of nothing, but with hopes that it will turn into something. I have a lot of projects in the works, none of which I'm willing to disclose, because I fear if any of them blows up in my face, I would have YOU the reader to be accountable to.

Plus, I was ill with some curious virus, which was disconcerting to say the least. (I almost never get sick. I'm not a smoker. I have smoker friends that are sick almost ALWAYS during the winter/cold season. So why I was sick 3 times in the last 2 months is annoying. Perhaps, I need to exercise more. I do spend unhealthy amounts of time in fromt of this computer screen. However, I've actually lost weight over the year, because I've never learned the concept behind "3 square meals in the day." (I tend to forget to eat.)

I know it's customary in lame American (and perhaps other countries) tradition to make New Year's resolutions. I never submitted to this idea before, but for some reason it seems necessary this upcoming '08.

I learned a lot this year about online wares--blogging, marketing, writing, networking, and of course comedy. And now I feel "the pressure is on" to take what I've learned this year and to really "take it to the next level." To take all this "knowledge" and catapult my career...efforts... into well, 'stardom.'

I think I have a distinct fear of failure and success, simultaneously. How is that possible? I don't know--ask my neuroses.

And because I'm notorious for:
- starting things and never finishing them
- crumbling under pressure

I'm reluctant to write a "New Year's resolution" list in '08.

Mainly because I haven't made any concrete decisions.

Seinfeld (and a number of studies) say people's biggest fear is:

"Public Speaking" and "Death"

Neither of the above rank in my arena... making a concrete decision and sticking with it (i.e. not being able to make changes down the line) is my greatest fear.

I think this is the reason why I can't handle law school, or a 9-5 job. I HATE routine. I absolutely abhor it. I get nauseated with the idea of doing the same thing over and over again. Absolute torture, like The Myth of Sisyphus.

Ok... so I haven't made a decision about anything.. I'll update this post by the end of the day... and let you know what decisions I HAVE made for 2008...

*+*+*+* If you enjoyed this past 2007, and if this blog provided you with any new insight into my life or your own, then that makes my heart smile, and for that I'm truly proud. Thank you for all your love and support this year! My goal next year is make it that much better. And don't forget to GET FREE UPDATES BY EMAIL or RSS.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Two kinds of audiences (re-post from July 4, 2007)

[[This is another RE-Post from the 4th of July 2007, waaaayyy back when life was less-complicated... If you get inspired to comment on this most lip-smacking post, make sure to comment at the original post.]]
---


F

or Comics, there are two types of audiences:
- Comedian audiences
- Regular audiences (a.k.a. "real" audiences)

I had the pleasure of playing to both one Thursday night. Playing to one audience and then the other back to back is like night and day.

Let's describe the first and most likely, the one you are least familiar with: "The Comedian audience"

To be a standup comedian, you must be the least bit cerebral. You probably imagine yourself (and your life) in a vastly different arena from where everyone else sees you and your life--perhaps life in general. It takes a certain kind of angle, aspect, skewed point of view to be able to take everyday ordinary topics and twist them into something no one has ever imagined. Clearly, there is an art to this.

...we thank God everyday that there are more of you than there are of them...

I'm sure writers/authors/journalists/bloggers can relate. When they write, they too are communicating to you from a specific angle. But the methods comedians use, it has to be quick, pithy, witty (ideally) and hopefully can make you laugh.

So think about it: You are now a comedian on stage in front of an audience completely composed of cerebral, over-thinking, over-analyzing bastards. All these goofs are listening to your jokes and DECIDING on whether or not it's funny. They are consciously and unconsciously twisting them in their overworked overanalytical minds--perhaps to maybe to steal the joke later on, re-angle the joke in their favor, or to sit and think about the question, "Is that joke really funny?" The point is, this comedian audience is hard to entertain mainly because they're not there to be entertained. To them they are there to cut, dissect, and tear your jokes apart in their head. Maybe even put it back together in a better niftier form.

It's essentially playing to an audience who is constantly thinking, "How can they make a better mouse trap?"

Can you now see the difference between playing a comedian audience versus playing your regular/real audience?

The satisfaction and accomplishment lies in you, the comedian, being able to make a group of curmudgeonly comedians laugh. If you can get the littlest, smirk, grimace, or hum out of them, then that registers as a roar and applause break1 in a regular room. There's a proportion that goes into play as well. (Did you think I was going to leave the math analogies behind? But they worked so well, in previous posts!)

A smirk or huff from a comedian audience registers as a cackle, uproarious laughter in a regular audience.

If you haven't figured out by now what a regular/real audience is, it's your non-comedian--the basic everyday, garden variety audience member. (i.e. "You") And we Thank God everyday that there are more of you than there are of them.

1Applause Break - Regarded as a positive thing in a comedian's performance. Simply a break in his routine interrupted by an audience's applause. [Return]

[[Remember, if you get inspired to comment on this most lip-smacking post, make sure to comment at the original post.]]


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Monday, December 17, 2007

Am I smarter than a Fifth Grader?

The horror that you asked me to be apart of a music networking site. THE HORROR!!


Over the weekend I had a bit of mishap. Pshaw!--mishap is an understatement. I had an asleep-at-the-wheel Chernobyl-like disaster.

I had been told to join Last.fm. And even though I knew about the site years back, I only decided to sign-up now, based off of a close friend's recommendation. During the registration process, there's a prompt when signing up, to "add your contacts" from your email account.

Thinking I could individually send the message to my chosen contacts, I made sure to check (UK: tick) that portion. I've must've done something wrong, or perhaps double-clicked when I should've single-clicked. Anyway, soon after, I returned to my email to be greeted by disturbing message stating that recipient had received that very same Last.fm invite 5 times in a row.

Cue Kyle's mom: "Wha-what--WHAAAAT??!?!"

Long story short, I realized I sent the Last.fm email to every single contact in my address book--all 946 of them... 5 times.

Smooth move, Sherlock. Yeah, I know.

So I spent the weekend putting out fires and cleaning up that mess. And I know how sensitive people are about spam. So I was super-worried. I think I've grown 3 premature grey hairs since Friday. I ended up sending a mass email, because I had no choice. I couldn't distinguish who did and who didn't receive the email. And I didn't know how many times they received it. Ugh. Double-ugh!

Another blogger buddy suggested that this fiasco was too good an opportunity for you, the reader, to NOT enjoy. So below, I have posted my apology email and then the responses I received from them. Take stock and feel free to revel in my pain. (deep sigh)

My email:

Dear Email Recipient,
I dearly apologize for the repeated emails sent from me from Last.fm.
I mistakenly added my entire address book, in which I see Gmail holds on to every last email correspondence I've ever received or written.

(sigh)

Apparently, I still haven't mastered the basic science of email.
It was a massive blunder on my behalf.
I hope it didn't ruin your Inbox experience.

Please email if you want to permanently removed, so this doesn't happen again.

my deepest apologies,
Lucy


-----
And the responses...

  • Don't sweat it - you're a nice contact.


  • Lucy, I demand compensation for my distress. 3 cents should cover it ;-)
    hehe. Have a great weekend.


  • No problem! I was glad to see I wasn't the only person listening to WHAM! and the Hansons.

  • (Addendum: I don't listen to Hanson. But I am guilty of a little George Michael here and there. Well, let's be honest... A LOT of George Michael. I don't care what anybody says. That man is hot---past, present, and future.)

  • Hysterical apology – you should include this in your stand up act... :-)


  • No worries! I've done the same thing...sometimes Gmail saving everything works in my favor and sometimes, well, it's just annoying. Eh. Better to be more inclusive I suppose :)

    Hope you're having a lovely holiday season :)


  • please permanently remove me. i do not know who you are or how you got my address.. i have no interest in your comedy.


  • It's all good! I signed up anyway.


  • For that, you deserve a bare bottom spanking...
    and after that, you must spank me...
    (spoken in my best Monty Python -Holy Grail voice)...


  • Lucy,
    It was no problem! Don't worry about it, OK? Do you like this Last.fm? Is it worth it?

    By the way, are you on Facebook?
    Hugs and stuff,


  • Hi Lucy,

    Don't worry. Same thing happened to me a while back with a network
    called Quetchup. I deleted your email, thinking it was the same thing,
    so no harm done over here.

    See you around,


  • Hey no problem Lucy! I only received it once. I did, however, find two emails from you in my spam folder. So I am writing to confirm that everything is fine... and now you know why you never heard from me again. :)

    Hope you have a better day!


  • No, I don't want to be permanently removed! You don't have to send your goons after me.


  • No big deal. Welcome to life on the internet. ;)


  • Hey no problem! I only got one email, so that's fine.


  • No sweat, Ive only come back into action under a different blog name I must check you out.


  • No problem Lucy! :)


  • Lucy, It was really no big deal! And I still check out your blog from time to time :)


  • I was so angry at you! haha just joking. I thought you were a spammer.


  • No problem, Lucy. It wasn't more than a month ago when I attempted to send a "sexually provocative" text message to an ex boyfriend on my cell phone and accidently sent it to all my recent phone calls (including my boss, my mother, etc.) Haha.


  • oh. you better do more than apologize. my inbox experience has been...ah...RUINED!!! alas...i am signing off...forever.

    haha. kidding of course. *have a productive day, writer extraordinaire!!


  • Lucy! You are a fabulous writer and very funny! I've been enjoying your musings a great deal. I'd also never read that sonnet by Mr William S before. So yesterday, I deleted your invite as I mistook it for spam. Would you send it again? This time I'll join and would love to.


  • Lucy, Not a problem and you certainly have my empathy, as I had a similar problem with Quechup. Have a good weekend,


  • Lucy:
    Please do not beat yourself up over this issue. That is something that you needed to experience for the next time you are setting up an account on a social network and you know to bypass their request to help and invite your friends to join you. Trust me, we’ve all done this starting out. So as far as I am concerned, you are forgiven . .. .LOL!
    I know you may have received some nasty-grams from others, but not me because I’ve “been there – done that” with this too! Actually, I too have a Last.fm account I forgot I had until your message. So thanks for the reminder!
    Happy Holidays to you and yours!


  • Hi Lucy,

    For a moment, I felt very popular. “12 emails!! I’ve hit the big time.”

    Then I saw they were all identical.

    No harm. I just took to drinking earlier than usual… Keep me on the list. I love a good excuse to start drinking early!

    Seriously, I am going to have to do some listening to Radiohead. I don’t know that I recognize them when I hear them. Maybe I do. They have come up on a number of ‘recommended’ lists from friends.

    I only need to be told twice.

    Keep writing the great posts. I laughed my ass off again at the Chris Rock vid cip. He is masterful. I think he falls through the cracks for too many people. He is brilliant.

    Have a fun holiday, and keep those emails coming…


  • No worries, don;t you hate that part when other sites sent to email to ALL recipients instead of just the ones you select?


  • All is fine. Hope you are well.


  • Yesterday, a young man was shot outside my front door. Duplicate e-mails don't worry me. God bless and have a happy and safe holiday.
    Peace


  • Hi Lucy,
    No worries - I simply deleted them. Keep pluggin!


  • Oh man, that sucks, I thought that the invite was personally sent for me.
    How disappointing. :(


  • Hi Lucy,
    How are you been? How is your stand up coming along? When is your next show? Next Year, I am going to be very very serious about my stand up comedy. I need to find a comedy buddy too and oh no need to apologize stuff happens.


  • Don't worry! I never use my address book because of the fear something crazy happening. =) And, I have been
    using email since 1996. Go figure!


  • It happens to the best of us.. And if anybody is complaining pay them no mind.. (smile) Happy Holidays..


  • That is one unpleasant default option of gmail, isn't it? When you
    install gTalk, it automatically imports that entire address book, too.
    Like I need to see that some website administrator I only had one
    tiny insignificant question with is online.


  • You're adorable! <==== From a guy! (Not gay!) Well, I don't think he's gay. Well, I can't be too sure. Forget it. Just forget it.


  • The horror that you asked me to be apart of a music networking site. THE HORROR!! <=== I actually burst out laughing from this response. Thank you! I needed that.


  • Well Ive just added you anyway. I'm not sure how I know a female stand-up comedian from NY, Im sure my fame as a Welsh political blogger hasn't spread that far afield, but I know I would like to know (or pretend to know) a female stand up artist from NY, so no, my "inbox experience" was not ruined, Actually I think I remember visiting your blog a while back. Anyway I hope you like Radiohead and the Cocteau Twins, cos that's about all I listen to. Oh, and Flamenco pop and some Welsh stuff.

    All the best

    PS I'm on facebook. I'm the only [...] and [...] in the world, so Im easy to find. If you add me I'll be able to pretend that im cosmopolitan or something.

  • (I think this is universe telling me that I should get on Facebook.)

  • I figured something was amiss…no worries…



  • We forgive you…..looking forward to reading your update


  • dude that's fine. I have a last.fm account, if I had known yo uhad one too, I would have added you sooner.


  • How freaking cool are my friends? 'Nuff said.

    Thank you everyone, for not biting off my head like a praying mantis, especially when I was at my most vulnerable and when I deserved it. That shows true character. (Except for that guy who wants nothing to do with me. That guy doesn't know what he's missing out on.) Kidding. I don't even know him. A miscellaneous craigslist add--that went awry.

    Toodles...!

    *+*+*+* If you've enjoyed this post a little too much, then you're a sick masochist, and you need help. In the meantime, you should SIGN-UP and GET FREE UPDATES BY EMAIL or RSS.

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    Tuesday, December 11, 2007

    My First Open Mic Experience


    This is going to sound like "the summer essay" that we were assigned in grade school--"How I spent my summer vacation." As Tollbooth Willie would say about me, "You unoriginal bastard!" But anyway, let us begin...

    My first experience in comedy was at an open mic in the back of a dingy restaurant. It smelled of a nondescript stale beer mixed in with the smell of a room that hasn't seen sunlight since the day it was built--- like your high school buddy's basement. It was a relatively packed house. Anywhere from 15-20 people all crowded around a small box, set for a stage. (Yeah, we were supposed to believe a 4ft x 3ft x 2ft box was a stage.)

    When I walked in, somebody was already on stage, ranting into mic. (I cringed thinking about the number of microorganisms growing on that petri dish of a mic.)

    There was no real comedy. Just ranting. No one was laughing. The lack of laughter was sort of disconcerting, since after all, it was a comedy show--the only thing missing were laughs. And yet the performer didn't seem to notice. He was embittered, but not noticeably nervous. I think his confidence grew out of his familiarity with the subject matter--his ex-wife. He spewed vitriol. What baffled me was that his misogynistic rant was received as completely normal, at least to the audience. The crowd was unfazed by his hateful complaint speech. There seemed to be a collective acceptance. I would compare it to the Roman Catholic church--the congregation doesn't understand the entire liturgy, but they bow their heads in agreement anyway--knowing whatever mindless gibberish was being uttered something they needed to hear.

    Finally, the host pounced on stage to break up the pin-drop silence. He was overzealous (which I later come to find out most hosts are). Apparently, that's their M.O.--to be over-the-top! They're there to be the vocal thermostat for the crowd; to bring them up when they're down. And to cool them off when they're too hot.

    It was then that I decided to grab a seat--somewhere in the back, where I wouldn't be noticed. But I didn't know the host was paying such close attention to anyone but himself and his over-the-top antics. A good host knows the room, knows where every warm body is seated. He knows the pace, knows the energy (feels the energy), reads the crowd. So he did see me come in and asked me a direct question: Was I a comedian?

    I hesitated. I has to ask myself the same question: Was I a comedian? That question was followed by another series of paranoid questions: "Why would he ask me that? Did I look like a comedian? Did I have a sign on my back? How did he know? Was he psychic?" Enough time has passed for him to grow a disturbing grimace on his face.

    "Uh, no. I'm just here to watch."
    "Oh, okay. Then that'll be 5 dollars."
    " 5 dollars?"
    " 5 dollars to watch. 7 to perform."

    Ugh, what steep prices for basic entertainment, nowadays. I had to pay to stay. So I begrudgingly pulled out 7 hard earned dollars--dollars I wasn't ready to part with. After all, if I was going to stay and continue my observations, I might as well get on stage as a perk.

    The host pulled out a clipboard with some paper, with a long list of names.

    "Okay what's your name?" he expectantly asked. Again my paranoia kicked back in. "My name?" I thought. "Why does he need my name?"

    "Lu... uh... Lu... cy... Lucy," as if first learning to pronounce my name.

    "Lucy? That's it?" His pushy tone was beginning to annoy me. "What's your last name?"

    "Dee. Lucy Dee."
    "D? Like the letter "D"?"
    "Like D...E...E..."
    "Okay," as he scribbled my name in the last slot.
    "Am I last?"
    "Yeah, I can put you up earlier, if you want."
    "No-no." I quickly back-peddled. "Last is fine."

    Perfect. Everyone will leave the restaurant by the time I go up on stage. Little did I know about comedy etiquette, and that most, if not all, comedians will stay right up until the last comedian performs. Comedians know that we thrive off of having an audience. So unfortunately, to my chagrin, I had my audience, a comedian audience, of about 5 people--still an intimidating number people to a first-timer.


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    Monday, December 10, 2007

    How to RSS like a Rockstar... (Part 1)

    Okay here's the scenario: You surf the net, you find a mind-blowing site, and you swear that you'll come back to it, just as soon as you finish cooking dinner.

    Ok, fast forward through dinner and you get back to the computer, scramble to return to that mind-blowing site,
    but alas---you can't seem to find it.

    It's not in your search history
    It's not in your cookies
    You didn't email it to yourself as a reminder.
    It won't turn up, not even when you hit the back button a-bajillion times.

    Cue "hopeless sigh"... now.

    Well, I don't feel sorry for you. It's your fault you haven't been keeping up with web technology. There are ways to avoid such pointless blunders

    And it's called: RSS!

    RSS? Lucy, what's RSS?

    Hold on to your britches my tech-oblivious friend. I'm getting to that part now...

    All the content from your favorite websites, podcasts, and blogs is sometimes hard to keep up with. You want to know about the latest updates or every new post. And sometimes that bookmark bar gets filled up and then it's rendered useless, not being able to distinguish the really awesome from the truly badass!

    You don't want to miss out on all that really, really, thirst-quenching content. Well, the webtechs, webgeeks, and webnerds have devised a way to make the web come to you, rather than you going to the web--it's automatic! The Automatic Automatic!! (I know, bad pun!)

    Why/How is RSS Automatic?
    Because it saves you time from entering each site into the address bar, or scanning through your search history. Think of RSS as the bread crumbs that Hansel and Gretel should've used to find their way home! Instead of having to hunt your way through your search history and your cookies, nor do you need to join each site’s email newsletter! (But don't confuse email newsletters (autoresponders) with an RSS feed--two separate things.) For that favorite website (or blog) you want to keep track of, you just simply have that website added to a reader.

    Reader? What's a reader!?!?

    I'm getting to that, Kemo sabe.

    Well, much like a CD needs a CD player, a mp3 needs and mp3 player, a DVD needs a DVD player. Well, an RSS feed needs an RSS feed reader--also known as an "aggregator."
    You can only receive "your RSS feed" through a "reader." Get it? Cool. Moving on...

    Okay, what is this symbol?

    For those of you who have been living under a rock during the booming internet age, this symbol is the universal symbol for, RSS. Pretty difficult, eh?

    You might see it written as:
    - RSS feed
    - RSS icon
    - RSS symbol
    - RSS button

    What does RSS mean?

    Get ready! Brace yourself for some complicated techno-jargon! (Are you ready, old folks?)

    Really Simple Syndication - Awwww, man! I had ya, didn't I?
    Actually, it stands for Rich Site Summary. And also as, "RDF Site Summary". My guess is that it is somehow related to Rich Text Documents.

    Either way, it really is "Really Simple Syndication." Why? Because it's an easy way to have content that appears on your favorite websites or blogs delivered right to your internet door, like a paperboy delivers your favorite morning newspaper.

    Now dear reader, it's time for me to ask you a question: How did you get the paperboy to do that?

    That's right! You signed up for a subscription. And that's no different here, with RSS. Only this time instead of paying $0.15 a week/copy, with a Quest subscription---you pay nothing! Yeah! That's right! I said it! It's free! Let me repeat--IT'S FREE! Just look for the word "subscribe" or "the RSS icon" on this blog or any other blog/website.

    Some sites you might notice offer a full feed while others offer a partial feed (half feed). That's up to the site owner. The only difference is that with a partial feed you'll only get a portion of update and in order to get the rest of the update you'll have to venture back to the site directly.

    Stay in the loop!
    So you can get fresh new content, delivered to you via your favorite delivery method: a "reader" or "email". Here at Quest, you can get an email subscription or an RSS subscription. And it's pretty straight-forward to understand. In an EMAIL Subscription, you can have the update delivered to your chosen email. (Just remember to confirm the subscription.)

    My preferred method is via a reader. Why? I like to have my email free for other things. I like to be able to choose to visit my favorite sites as I please and not have it clutter up my junk box. Now according to my stats, I have a number of people signed up via email. And again, that's their choice. What will be yours? (Choose wisely--young skywalker!)

    Lucy, you haven't explained what and how to use a reader!!
    Ugh! Must I do everything? This post is getting pretty long...
    All you have to do is, next time your come across the RSS symbol or the words "subscribe to this feed" or "subscribe via RSS," just click on it.

    You'll usually be given a choice of what reader to use. There are MANY! So this part can get confusing. But I'll leave that for the next post on RSS feeds. We'll specifically go over "How to use an RSS reader."

    Whew! I'm tired. Aren't you? Good. Now, you're well on your way to becoming an RSS Rockstar.

    But first, here's your homework: SIGN-UP to Quest For Comedic Stardom's subscription. And BONUS points go to those who use their RSS reader (before the next lesson).


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    Wednesday, December 5, 2007

    What's the deal with relationships today?

    I'm going to echo back to a conversation I had with another high school buddy and haphazardly refer to my previous blog post on my attractiveness, I want to broach upon the topic of, dare I say it, intimate relationships (hetero). Sorry, gay guys. I can only speak from my experience. But you know I'll make it up to you when we hit Bloomingdale's for the massive Boxing Day Sale--whoopee!

    So back to male and female relationships in modern society, and particularly focusing in on dating, a rash of my girlfriends have been jumping ship, in terms of relationsips for the once lame excuse men used to use-- "fear of commitment." Now if that does't sound ass-backwards to you, then perhaps you're more enlightened than I am, sensei.

    More and more nowadays, women are leaving relationships because of the pressure MEN are giving them to commit. Yes! MEN wanting WOMEN to commit. Perhaps, we've entered a new age in time. The Age of Reasonable Women? The Renaissance of the Independent Woman?

    Perhaps that's why America's birth rate has been on the decline. We're not willing to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.

    Now I don't know what's been put in the water, but perhaps it's the epidemic of Sex in the City reruns on TBS.

    So this high school girlfriend had just ended a relationship for the "commitment" reason--her man wanted more, like a white picket fence, a very expensive house, and several screaming kids.

    I think now women are seeing that engagement ring as a shackle and the marriage certificate a life sentence, with no parole. That ring represents in a way, punishment, and lack of freedom.

    It's the new millennium. I think all we, women, asking for is our fair share. We want to split the duties and we're totally willing to pay for dinner. After all, we're earning our paycheck, too. But we want options.

    I probably don't speak for all women, but I definitely speak for me.

    It's weird this role reversal. But I think it's cool and something we should embrace. I think men need to come to the table and negotiate with us. Believe us, we're willing. But we're not willing to go through what our parents generation went through--a unlimited number of divorces and our ending up with a childhood guarding our latchkeys.

    I have more thoughts on this... but I want to open it up to the readers, both men and women. What do you think?

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    Monday, December 3, 2007

    Women in Comedy: Beth Littleford

    I can't begin to explain how important this woman's stint on Comedy Central completely shifted my concept of what "funny" was and what was acceptable in comedy. The fact that she was a woman who made it okay to make fun of herself, made me want to race down to the Comedy Central studios and sign-up. She showed me that women can pretty and foolish---beautiful goofballs. I wanted to be her. Kool, Klassy, Kooky (by the way, the fact that acronym has 3 Ks has no significance, ok, smartass?) I don't think Beth Littleford ever did time as a stand-up comic. But it doesn't matter she's already too awesome in my eyes. So let's begin my blog tribute to, Beth Littleford.

    Okay, so according to her bio on the Beth Littleford official website, her timeline goes a little something like this:

    - Originally from suburban Orlando, Florida, Littleford migrated to New York City and founded a sketch group named after her daschund, "Ms. Dee" (<==== ha, it was meant to be!)

    - and then she toured with a New York Improv company

    - before ultimately putting on a one-woman show called "This Is Where I Get Off."
    (Duh! Of course, she's going to produce a one-woman show. Nobody can stop "The Littleford!" No one can handle her amazing talents! As former ESPN correspondent Dan Patrick would say, "She's en fuego!" I couldn't agree more, Patrick. I couldn't agree more.)

    - her one-woman show was picked up by Circle Rep, where "she enjoyed an extended Off-Broadway run, and then she was scouted by Comedy Central and tapped to be a correspondent in their news parody, "The Daily Show."

    Littleford spent 4 smashing, gut-bustingly funny years on the Daily Show (also known in some books as "The Era of the Littleford") and then moved out to LA to join the cast of Spin City. Since then it's been pilots, development deals, advertising deals, guest-starring roles on several network sitcoms (Fox's Method & Red, she had a starring role) and movies. In fact speaking of movies, she's going to be starring in Judd Apatow's Drillbit Taylor (video link) with a more sober, Owen Wilson, due out March 2008.

    Littleford set the standard in sarcastic interviews on the Daily Show, back when it was tongue in cheek and less preachy. She played it straight, asking seemingly uncomfortable questions to B-list celebrities and craZy random personalities. (Where did they find those people?)

    Some of her best and craziest interviews:

    - Todd Bridges (of Different Strokes)
    - Gary Coleman (of Different Strokes)
    - David Duke (of Differ--wha-what? Is there a 3K theme here today?)
    - Jocelyn Elders, United States Surgeon General
    - Fabio (If you can find this interview, he answers her question about whether he's a natural blonde, but pulling out his junk. Hilarious!)
    - Anthony Michael Hall circa Pirates of Silicon Valley, pre-USA stardom on The Dead Zone
    - the one where the guy that wears weird outfits and climbs telephone poles (I think he might've been a cross-dresser, but my memory escapes me)
    - the one where she visits an Iowa boar semen farm and helps harvest semen---manually.

    If you really want to experience the essence of "The Littleford" you MUST head to her site and watch her showreel (video link). It's jam-packed with eewwy-gooey Littleford goodness!!! (Mmmm... feels like home.) You're sure to laugh until you cry!

    Links and links of Littleford:

  • "Top 4" Blog lists Beth Littleford as #3 in Top 4 correspondents (I beg to differ but Different Stro--uh, well, you know.)

  • Article on Beth Littleford in a Kansas City blog--TV Barn (March 18, 1998)


  • Beth Littleford interview for Canadian online zine, Canoe--Jam!
    (Sept 13, 1999)


  • AND NOW for some embedded videos...!

    [UGH! I hate Blogger.com. It totally ruins the comedic timing of these posts. It places the embedded video where it wants. I can't wait until we switch to Wordpress.]

    So in the YOUTUBE video, Beth Littleford interviews a man with the sense of humor of a cucumber soaked in vinegar (a.k.a. "a pickle"), former teen heartthrob, David Cassidy. I encourage you to watch the YouTube one first:

    And I've saved the best for last... Beth Littleford interviews 80s pop icon, Boy George, on the Daily Show
    (March 18, 1999) <=== whoa that's almost an entire decade, folks!







    *+*+*+* If you don't adore "THE LITTLEFORD" as much as I do, then you'd best RECOGNIZE!!! And SIGN-UP--GET FREE UPDATES BY EMAIL or RSS.

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    Thursday, November 29, 2007

    The Personal Stuff: When comedy hits close to home

    Every comedian... well, every good comedian goes through stages in their comedy. The type of comedian you are when you first start out is bound to change the longer you stay in comedy.

    You have to admit, it's pretty daunting to get on stage and talk endlessly about random subjects that your audience may or may not relate to. The process of getting on stage, hearing your own voice (personally, I hate the sound of my own voice), feeling comfortable enough to speak to strangers, and hoping to stir up laughter is not easy. But once you get past that, well, I want to say that the journey is over--but it isn't.

    I see comedy in three stages--"The three stages to becoming great":

    Novice: (2 - 5 years of regular time on stage) You know what you sound like. You're comfortable with commenting on that outer sphere of life (your job, politics, standing in line at Starbucks). This stage is basically the observational part of life you take part in, but aren't super-invested in--emotionally speaking.

    Comedian: (5 - 7 years of regular stage time) At this point, you've probably made comedy a career (in that you're getting paid for it). This is a difficult stage because many people who have been in it for this long, don't recognize that they still have more "growing" to do. And by growing, that means they can change and still mature into themselves. They can, but will they? Whenever there's changing to do, there's always an investment in time of humbling yourself enough to learn again---making mistakes, a lowering of the pride and ego, and realization that you are a flawed individual in your craft. I mean, think about it. You've been at your job 5-7 years and you think you have all the kinks worked out, so much that it's become routine. But if someone were to come to your place of work and point out that you still have some changing to do, then you would have some stages of emotional growth to go through probably resembling the K├╝bler-Ross model "stages of grief": Shock, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, etc.

    Master:(10 years + of stage time) This is the point every one wants to reach, where you can joke about truth. More particularly, your truth--the stuff you only talk to a therapist about: When your wife left you, that car accident you got into, terminal illness, etc. The stuff that you experienced first hand and it wasn't easy. but you can still joke about it. This stage is so distinct, few people ever reach it. It's a scary place once you've arrived. You risk alienating your audience with your personal story, because for the first time, perhaps they don't relate.

    Clear example: Richard Pryor jokes about setting his hair on fire while trying to freebase cocaine. If that's not personal, I don't know what is. Listen to the routine below:



    The time and years on stage aren't hard and fast rules. I only give an amount of time to give you, the reader, a vague idea. What's important is the maturity level--the emotional level that the comedian can reach. And believe me, it's a reach! After all, people say men and women mature at differing rates. Women seem to pick up on this faster and earlier than men do. Also, if you start doing stand-up comedy in your late teens and early 20s, you're bound to change perspective in your thirties. And that change is probably going to be a drastic one. Your comedy follows your life. That makes sense because in comedy you're taking cues from your own life, and only when it smacks you upside the head, do you perhaps pay attention and write down a premise on the back of a napkin while at the local diner. Just be sure to not to lose the napkin!


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    Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    Interview with Comedian and Blogger: Brian Mollica

    While in Vegas, I got a chance to meet up with Mr. Brian Mollica, who is a 10 year vet in the comedy scene--and he's only 29, folks! He was generous to donate his time and indulge me with my adolescent comedy questions. I have a bit of the interview scattered throughout today's post. I will try and learn FTP so that it's a little more user-friendly. Until then, enjoy!!!



    Quest: So comedy, in general, how did you get started? How did that crazy idea enter your head?

    Brian: I've been obsessed with comedy for a really long time. It's true. When I was a kid, my grandma had cable, we didn't have cable. My grandmother had cable. It was coming up during sort of the comedy boom in the 80s, where there were literally, I mean, for 24 hours there was comedy on somewhere. And I don't know something about it just really took to me. And I would watch from about five years old. I just watched it constantly. When I figured out that it was a job, that's when I really wanted to do it.

    Quest: And that was what age?

    Brian: That was probably around 6 or 7. I mean, I was the shyest kid ever and really nervous about doin' that sort of thing. So I guess I never really thought that I would.

    And then when I was 17 in high school, I knew a guy who was working at the comedy club in Tucson [Arizona], where I was growing up. He was just workin' the door. And I don't know, he was having problems with his grades and he needed someone to pick up two nights during the week. So I did. I picked up two nights during the week. And I mean, it paid almost literally nothing. For two weeks, my paycheck was thirty dollars. That's what I was taking home. But I got to watch all the shows for free. And I did. And I watched every single night that I could, I would watch the show.

    I just got so into that I finally probably about a year and a half, after I started, about 19, I started doing a couple open mics and it went, it went really well. And it sorta when from there.

    Quest: Can I ask your age now?

    Brian: I'm 29.

    It probably didn't get serious until I was about 21. I did some open mics then I did some guest spots and some hosting. And then when I was about 21, I started taking opening jobs and going out on the road, while I was finishing up college.

    Quest: Going out on the road?

    Brian: You know, just local SouthWest stuff: New Mexico, Texas...

    Quest: That's still a lot of experience at such a young age.

    Brian: Yeah, no it was. It was good. It was good and bad, sometimes I think about it. It's great that you start young just because I got... I got a lot of attention first of all because I was young and I look even younger. I really did look like I was about 14 years old when I started, so you kinda get a little extra attention when you look like that. But at the same time, comedy is one of those things that if you go too fast you can kinda burnout. And there was definitely sometimes where, that's why I sort of weaned away from the road recently. It's just not really... It's not really what I wanted to do anymore, work the road.



    Quest: I heard roadgigs are good pay-wise.

    Brian: Can be. Yeah, can be, absolutely. It's the whole spectrum. The road, that's one of the big problems with the road too, is the money has sort of been the same. In the 8 years I've been workin', as far as the club circuit, the money is pretty much the same in eight years, which is insan--it's ridiculous! It costs me more to get there and to eat and everything else. Everything else is the same.

    You can get good gigs on the road. You know, a lot of the Casino's I've worked pay well. You get corporate stuff. So yeah, there's money to be made out there. And if I, I always say, you know, as far as my career goes, if I was going to be a fulltime comic, I would have to be a road comic. And, yeah, it's just sort of not... I did it for two years and it was great. Nawh. Now I'm kinda done with it.

    Quest: So now you want to focus on...?

    Brian: Now it's more trying to set up something for me. The road in and of itself, I think, is dying a little bit. And that's sad, at least with the club scene. If you're a bigger name and you can pack a theatre, you can make tons of money. But I know I'm not there and I probably can't get there. For a club comic, a road club comic, I mean that's just. I think that's going to dry up really soon. So I want to start focusing more on local comedy. And maybe start bringing a package of comedy out to places. You know it's easier to book yourself as a comedy show so you sort of solicit rooms. You don't necessarily have to contact clubs anymore. You can go to colleges and say, "I do this Las Vegas comedy show." You know something along those lines. That's kinda where I am right now sort of trying to produce something a little bit more unique and get away from sort of the cookie cutter club industry that's not doing so hot.



    Quest: Interesting. And what have seen throughout the years with regards to relationships with managers, bookers...

    Brian: Absolutely. I think the biggest thing is and this is one of the things I try to do a lot on Behind The Bricks is... you have to understand that at some point it's not just writing jokes that make people laugh and gettin' the nerve to go up on stage. So much is focused on that and everybody thinks that's what you have to do to be a great comic. That is two percent of it.

    Quest: Wow! So talent?

    Brian: Yeah talent, I mean, please. And I'm sure if you're a comedy fan you've seen people either on TV, or big names. And you're just like, "They're just not that funny." Talent is a part of it. And a small part of it, unfortunately. I've hung out in small comedy clubs for ten years. And the funniest people I've ever see in my life have never been on TV and probably won't ever get a deal. It's just the way it goes. So much of it is marketing yourself. And trying to get set up with the right people. And luck is a huge part of it. You have to keep in mind that... there's a business aspect of it. And the business aspect is more important in a lot of ways than the comedy aspect.

    A lot of the people in comedy now hate Dane Cook. Everybody hates Dane Cook.

    Quest: Wait! Let me get this on tape.

    Brian: Every comic you talk to hates Dane Cook. And regardless of whether you think he's funny or not they hate him because he's Mega-famous. As a comic, it's hard to actually become famous as a stand-up comic, not a lot of people have, you know, maybe oh they got TV--anhhn-yaa! now they have a good comedy career. But he became famous as a comic. And the reason why is because he marketed himself in the most unbelievably brilliant ways. I mean, any avenue that he could, he put his name out there. And he had a following. And by the time he already was on TV, he had a huge following. People look at this Comedy Central special that he had 6-7years ago and from that he's a full-fledged movie star now. And there's a lot jealousy there. Regardless of whether or not you like his comedy, I don't understand how you can't respect a guy that's done that.

    Quest: Exactly. I agree. I agree. He was purely a businessman in that sense. And I think a lot of people don't--not a lot of comedians want to invest in the time, I guess, in having to market themselves and having to package themselves.

    Brian: There's this idea that, "I'm an artist. That's what I'm here for. I write jokes and I make people laugh." And that's great if you have some sort of really aggressive management team. Or an agency. Then yeah, you can afford to just be an artist. But I mean, I've been with two different agencies. And even when you're with an agency, you still gotta get out there and you still gotta market yourself because they can only do so much for you.



    Quest: You have two blogs. (one comedy, one sports show) Please explain the sports show.

    Brian: It was kind of a weird thing. I used to do a poker show. That was the first time I ever got involved in any podcast or internet radio. And I only took it because I really wanted to get into radio. And I had interned a little bit in New York and I wasn't really happy with my experience. So I kinda wanted to do my own thing and this seemed like, you know, It was the only place that was offering my anything. So I took it even though I wasn't all that into poker. It just sort of morphed into more of a radio show. And then had a little bit of stuff mixed in. And people were kind of into it. But it got to a point where I was completely unqualified to be talking about any of it.

    So I wanted to get out and I met somebody. I got a part-time job when I moved out here. And I met a guy who was really into Sports and Sports betting. So we kinda just started talking and we came up with this idea to sort of a Vegas Sports show and it's morphed from there. It started off just once a week. And we're doing it three times a week now. And we've picked up a couple sponsors. So it's actually working out, okay.

    To be continued...

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    Tuesday, November 27, 2007

    The Idiotic Notion that got me started in comedy, Part 1

    So blogspot is getting the best of me these days, disallowing any of my neat interview podcasts to post. So I have to resort to a lame "Where did this comedy idea come from?" post. Well, fine blogspot, you may have won the battle, but I still have an army behind me of graphic designers that are going to rip your insides out and make them pretty for all to see---bwah-ha-ha-ha!! (Whoops! Halloween was last month!)

    So how did this idea of comedy get into my head? To be honest, this memory didn't resurface until a conversation on the phone yesterday with a dear high school friend. For some odd reason, I blocked out this memory per chance because it was too painful.

    Grabs your high chairs kids, gather around the fire, because momma's going to take you back... waaaayyy back to kindergarten, with Mrs. Johnson. Yes, I said it, Mrs. Johnson. Generic name, right? I'm not making this one up.

    Mrs. Johnson lead the first grade class (whoops, already my memory is jumping years) in an annual Christmas school play. Each class had to perform their own version of whatever twisted zombie reindeer rendition to impress the parents. But because there were so many of us little 'uns, they threw in some ancillary characters: A Mother and Father Christmas tree. Enter yours truly: I was "Mother Christmas Tree". And Papa Christmas Tree and I, during all that time in Spelling and Grammar when we were supposed to be memorizing lines, we opted for doodling of dirty pictures, and making sure each was properly labeled--Butt, BOO-bies, and whatever that thing is below the belt. Vag-enis or was it Pen-gina?

    Anyway, when it came time to bring the house down, Mr. Christmas and myself felt adequate. We sorta knew our lines. "Pen-gina." I remember during rehearsal that my cue was to speak after he did. I speak after he does. What it was exactly I should be saying still hadn't settled into my easily distracted and precocious brain. I just knew he spoke first.

    Fast forward to School Play Day: The audience had been filled with anxious parents and restless kids. All the other classmates had not only memorized their lines, but they had done them so well, that people laughed after each bit. Genius, I tell you! I watched off stage in amazement. I took careful note of the cadence. Line. Line. Laughter. Line. Line. Laughter.

    I found myself on stage with my green turtleneck on to blend in with my very carefully designed costume. I bore a sharp resemblance to a North American White Spruce. Meanwhile, Mr. Christmas Tree had become petrified. He somehow had allowed stage fright to set in. I didn't know where this was going, but I sensed all together downhill. Everyone else had gotten their laughs. It was Mr. Christmas's turn and he was bombing--big time. He just kept repeating the same two words in hopes that the other eight would magically fall out of his mouth. I knew it was now or never. I had to get that bit of laughter for him---for my partner in pervvy crime.

    So what would a faithful Christmas tree wife do? Make silly faces to the audience. And just like I had anticipated, the laughter followed. It came in waves. I was overwhelmed by them. Unfortunately, so was Mr. Christmas. He thought they were laughing at his incompetence, failing to memorize a simple few lines. The audience finished laughing, yet Mr. Christmas hadn't quite finished crying.

    I glanced offstage to meet a look of disappointment by Mrs. Johnson. What did she know? She wouldn't know good comedy if it shed pine needles on her front lawn. Make room on the couch, Letterman. A star was born! But only after I paid my dues in the "Timeout chair". (Sigh)



    *+*+*+* If you cringed as much as I did reading this story, which should have remained in my maladjusted head, never to be unearthed, there are many more twisted stories to follow. GET FREE UPDATES BY EMAIL or RSS.

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    Thursday, November 22, 2007

    Comedy Hero: Ricky Gervais

    I want to do a radio show where I can say what I want, when I want and that's free for anybody who can be bothered to listen--Ricky Gervais

    I'm going to keep this post short because I think there is too much to talk about about the mad comic genius, that is Ricky Gervais. He has the comedic Midas touch-- anything he touches turns into comedy gold. However, the quality I most admire about his is vast respect for comedy. He credits influences stemming back to the beginning of TV/Radio. He also understands that comedy must come from the core, the heart. And it has be to be grown organically. It can't be forced. Gervais has a keen eye for comedy. He acts like more of producer rather than the talent. Don't get me wrong the man is talented. But I would compare him to Howard Stern.

    - Both had/have a careers in radio
    Both are inclusive of their audience, choosing non-talent, "un-qualified" staff to be a member of his team, harping on their "unique talents." (Howard now has Sal the Stockbroker, Richard Kristie, as well as many others from his past Morning show troupe plucked right from the audience. Gervais, met Stephen Merchant as an intern and Karl Pilkington.)
    Both have had massive success outside of radio.

    What I've neglected to mention about Gervais is his obvious claim to fame: The Office sitcom series. And The Office, the American stepchild of the original Office.

    My favorite thins about Gervais is that he knows when to quit. He ended both The Office and Extras after only a few seasons, never letting the audience fully tire of his product, but always going out with a bang, on top.

    Gervais' latest venture has been a stand-up comedy tour. I use stand-up loosely. Although, Gervais is standing up on stage, he makes ample use of a podium and reads from a --highly unconventional and non-traditional in the stand-up arena. But it worked for him, and his tour ended up being a success.

    I hold Gervais in high regard. His humor can vary from flat-out acerbic and biting to subtle sarcasm, the kind you have to listen to closely and almost decode the quirky

    The blogosphere is almost clogged with articles on . And I couldn't possibly cover it all with out this post seeming like a comedic dissertation on the Ricky Gervais phenomenon and its affect on 21st century comedy. So I'm going to provide you with links below. Be sure to read them. They chock full of fantastic interviews with Gervais. And if you still don't get an idea of his sense of humor, than I will provide you with a clip from my favorite Gervais product, Extras.


    Sir Ian McKellan teaches Andy (Gervais) how to act:



    Andy chats up a girl:







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    Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    Comedic Adventure: BlogWorld Expo 2007, Part 2



    So I finally made it to Vegas.

    If you're reading the blog to hear about shotgun weddings I may have taken part in or for a detailed account of Elvis impersonator sightings, sorry you might want to keep traveling down your Google results search list.

    If you're here from the Las Vegas promotional board, and worried about what I might reveal about Vegas, well too bad: "What happens in Vegas, gets posted on my blog."

    Vegas, baby, Vegas! --Swingers



    When any traveler finds himself in new surroundings, the traveler always searches for landmarks, signs, and key clues that he has reached his final destination. So upon my arrival to Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport (LAS), how did I know I was in Vegas? Oh, I don't know... perhaps the slot machines on the way to baggage claim? Don't believe me? Take a look:


    [Random thought: Vegas' airport baggage claim looks exactly like Phoenix's baggage claim. Sort of surreal.]

    I made my way to the restroom, and I had to take a photo of these Automatic liquid/foam soap dispensers - We, Americans, are planning on achieving new heights of indolence.
    Nawwhh. I can't be bothered to pump out the soap myself. I need soap dispenser to do it for me.

    I could understand if the business owner wants to conserve on soap, and this was a solution. But either way, it screams "way too much thought spent on soap." [Photo: Left -faucet, Right- The dreaded infrared motion activated soap dispenser]





    So being the awesome pre-planner I am and thorough packing job that started 1/2 hour before I left my apartment, I forgot my driver's license at home. But I did have my passport. Doesn't matter--still no dice. (<==that wasn't an intentional Vegas reference). Anyway, I made the trip all the way over to the car rental hub. And then made the trip all the way back to the airport, sans rental car, to wait for my host to pick me up. (She was way awesome, hospitable, and tolerant of me. Thank you, again! Although, I think she was happy to have someone to eat all of leftover cereal. Yup, I'm a human vacuum, folks!)

    DAY TWO:
    After an hour and a half long ride using Las Vegas public transport, I made it to Las Vegas Convention Center in one piece. Finally, I had arrived to where the groundswell of blogging frenzy convened at The Blog World Expo. It was here that I was going to find an untapped resource. Or just a grabbag of schwag to fill-up much needed storage space.



    Check out the gaudy Las Vegas carpeting! After speaking with one of the convention workers, ironically enough an Expat-NY'er, originally from Queens---he mentioned that their normal uniforms match the carpeting and purple is the dominant color of the suit. Knowing that, now take a closer look at the carpeting. Yuck!

    I attended some classes/seminars and all was good. I definitely had too many bags with me to be mobile enough to hop from room to room. Overall, I learned a lot (kinda), and met some cool bloggers (definitely!). A good time was had by all!

    Celebrity sightings:

  • On Thursday, I was proud to claim that I was in the same city as O.J. (Supposedly, he was in jail awaiting court proceedings. Poor, Orenthal.) One of the bloggers I met from NYC told me he even considered going down to the jailhouse just to see him and perhaps sit in on the court proceedings. Yikes. I don't want to touch that with a 10ft pole.


  • Rosario Dawson, who my brother proclaims is my Doppelgnger, especially after watching Clerks II--right down to the mannerisms. She was spotted at TAO's anniversary party.

  • Rick Fox, too


  • And now for the obligatory Las Vegas photos:




    Las Vegas likes to think that it can duplicate New York... and Paris.














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    Monday, November 19, 2007

    Comedic Adventure: BlogWorld Expo 2007, Part 1

    So Lucy, what happened to you last week? Your blog was dead. As in capital, D...E...A...D.

    Yeah, yeah, I know. And I only have me to blame.

    I'm going to ask you, the reader, if there is any better way to acquire the status of MEGA-hypocrite then in this current post? Is it possible to feel like more of a dissembler for making fun of nerds and geeks than to attend one of those nerdy geeky conferences myself, right after interviewing a fellow geek? No, it's not possible.

    Well, FINE THEN! As of right now, I'm redeeming my "Hypocritical Blog Post" pass.

    That long week I was gone, I attended the BLOG WORLD & NEW MEDIA EXPO. Yes, I did. (deep sigh) And I loved it!

    My descent into madness
    My trip started off chaotic, right from the get go. I'm talking the minute I pulled my key out of the slot after locking my apartment door:

    - I didn't call for the semi-expensive shuttle service, which I normally do, courtesy of the 'rents. So I opted for the subway, which meant I had to hotfoot it with my 2 backpacks and a semi-heavy suitcase. (Apparently, I don't believe in bringing clothing on trips. No...no. Clothing is for wimps. I like office supplies: books, magazines, papers, and pens. You can never have enough of those on trips.)

    - It seemed my destiny was to queue up and wait in every line possible. (Man, I could swear Mercury was in retrograde.) Lining up to get in the Air Train, then waiting for it to arrive. Lining up for my e-Ticket, then waiting in line to check my bags, which by the way is the most inefficient and inconvenient way airlines can inflict pain and prompt premature gray hairs upon passengers. They could easily just create a Chinese water torture line. It would be far more effective.)

    - I was unshowered (Yeah, that wasn't purposeful and perhaps a little TMI for all of us. But again time wasn't on my side.) Don't worry. I'm considerate of others around me. I make sure that only a dog could pick up my scent, rather than a human. I simply was too layered for anyone to notice. And luckily, I'm not a sweat'er. Luckily, that gene got passed over to my brother. Perhaps, Chinese water torture might've come into some use, afterall. Someone get me some Irish Spring!!!

    As much as airlines choose to torture their patrons, via Chinese methods or not, I love airports. I think they're fascinating, even if they are a hotbed for communicable diseases (as I've learned from the French-Canadian steward in And The Band Played On and Outbreak.) People from around the world, gather in this one spot, hang out for a bit, and then leave. I revel in all the faces and places to absorb. For me, it's like sensory overload. I view the airport like a teenager views the Orange Julius at the mall--the place to be!

    That's another thing about me that I've learned: I love to people-watch. I'm a natural voyeur. The people-watching trait was in me since before comedy, and has definitely helped me in my quest. I believe this is one trait you must have to be a comedian--being able to observe and listen. Be able to take a backseat and let others reveal themselves to you. At the same time, I've found this to be the most difficult trait to put at bay. Because it's so easy for me to relinquish the limelight, when it comes time to take the stage, I have to really fight myself to want to be in the forefront.

    Fast Forward to MSP Airport
    However, the madness didn't end here. It continued in Minnesota, which is where my connection from NYC landed. I nearly missed my connecting flight to Vegas because I was engulfed in comedy frivolity and mayhem watching my comedy buddy, Josh Homer's DVD.

    Here is where time seems to evade me and I'm still trying to put together the pieces as to why I was late.

    I deplaned (<== love that neologism) from my first flight with an hour and a half to spare for my next flight, according to my itinerary. I quickly found one of those "Arrivals/Departures" TV set-up that resembles the A/V wall at Circuit City. I perused the list for my flight to Vegas. "Gate A7--On Time, Departs: 11:30." It's now 9:00am. Solid. No problem. Like Dorothy in the land of OZ, I sauntered throughout my newfound airport. ("You're out of the woods...You're out of the dark...You're out of the night"...)

    I took in my surroundings and grabbed an exorbitant bite to eat. (Refer 5:50min into this video of Seinfeld's airport routine).

    I got to Gate A7 sat and waited. It was an eerily empty gate, for 10am. No matter. I shrugged my shoulders, took my seat, and popped open my laptop, anticipating comedy goodness. About halfway through the video, a creepy suspicion came over me, which is tough sense to pick up on while laughing my ass off. I began to ask myself, "Why aren't there more people around? Why is no one trickling in for a flight to Vegas? Why hasn't the digital sign above the check-in counter changed to "Las Vegas - 11:30"?

    I checked my watch: 11:26am. WTF!?!?!

    I nearly bulldozed over the closest airport attendant and asked her where I could find the nearest Circuit City wall of sound. I was lucky--only 20 steps away.

    "Gate A16" -- WTF!!?!

    Holy cow! What a great day and a fine time to test what miracle God would have in store for me today.

    Like the 80s one-hit-wonders A Flock of Seagulls profess , And I ran. I ran so far away, I wouldn't let that plane get away. I arrived and I watched my seat get filled in by a stand-by passenger. But I was patient. I explained who I was, with flimsy-ass e-ticket in hand and they gave me my rightful seat back. Holy mother of God! I didn't know whose ass to kiss as I finally sat down in my seat, where I was greeted by the pleasant company of a WWII vet who talked my ear off the entire three hour flight. I wanted to return the favor, but he was hard of hearing and he hadn't made the revelatory life-changing decision of investing in a hearing aid. Needless to say, it was a one-sided conversation most of the way to Vegas. Ass-kissing wasn't necessary. God was going to have me pay in dividends.

    ---Footnote---
    Cool thing I came across in MSP airport, which I learned is NorthWestern's hub and charges $8 an hour for internet connection--yeah, right, I'll happily watch my comedy DVD any day)...

    Well, I saw this:


    Any guesses? Well, it's a Dyson AirBlade A new-fangled way of drying your hands in airport public restrooms. And believe me, it works! I've tested it!



    If you don't remember the name Dyson, it's that British guy we see in the TV commercials all time complaining about how vacuum cleaners lose their sucking power. So he invented this thing:

    This your turn to name that contraption, folks.


    Yup that's a vacuum cleaner, folks! And I'm sure it's an expensive one. But guaranteed never to lose its suckage.

    My mini-rant: I can't find the actual commercial with the British guy on YouTube because it's been pulled. Can someone explain to me why the advertisers would pull their own commercial from a free medium, such as YouTube? Commericals are meant to
    a) be seen b)get you to buy things. So why would they have a problem if internet geeks post it on their own blogs and websites? It's free advertising!

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    Friday, November 16, 2007

    My Reaction to the N-Word

    So being a black female, one would think that I would be offended by "the N-word," for the standard garden variety bunch of reasons: 1) Using the word equates to a hate crime. 2) We have relationship with the word that reminds us of a brutal and painful history which lasted centuries. 3) My people have been oppressed with use of that word--yada yada yada.

    (I even have a problem saying my people because it sounds so exclusive, like I'm drawing a circle in the sand and forcing others to stay out.) In fact, the key to ending racism is eliminating exclusivity. Erase the line. End racism by including everyone and accepting everyone as your own--as your son, as your daughter, as your mother, as your creepy uncle. I mean, c'mon, you tolerate his creepiness by inviting him back to all the family reunions. And you can't tolerate some other completely sane person of another background?)

    If you're racist and you want to stop being racist (kind of like being fat and wanting to shed some pounds), then this is the first step you can take.

    In fact, I will make that the title for another blog post, "Steps you can take to stop being racist." However, that's for another day.

    Back to the N-word:
    The way I see it, the moment that word leaves your mouth you've already placed yourself into a category---Idiot--- despite your race, ethnicity, and background. If you're white and you use it, you're an idiot. If you're black and you say it, still an idiot. Being black does not exonerate you from being an idiot if you use the N-word. You're just as bad as your stupid white brethren. You're not forgiven or given any leeway because you're black. Understand this rule, and you'll never be in the wrong in an argument.

    I also I don't think the N-word should be buried by the NAACP. My comedian friend, Josh Homer, pointed out to me, that the NAACP is being hypocritical.

    "Any organization with the word "colored" in it, isn't allowed to bury the N-word."

    'Nuff said.

    Lucy, you're a sellout.

    Au contraire my friend. You're selling out every time you use that word. You're selling yourself and "your people" (cringing after writing that) every time you that word leaves your mouth.

    One thing I've always heard is, you choose to be offended by that word and any other word that makes your blood boil. For some, that's a difficult realization. So I'll say it again. You choose what you will be offended by.. No one wants to admit being controlled by any one thing, especially a word. The way you see it, someone says the word and you react. But guess what? Newsflash: You have the ability to stop yourself from reacting. You can train yourself out of it--to not affect you, especially if you don't consider yourself one.

    So I choose not to let it control me. It never has. I'm not offended by the word and at the same time I choose not to use it to purposely hurt others. It's kinda the same way I think of expletives. For example: I'm not offended by the c-word, but I also choose not to use it, either.

    Overall, neither of those words define me. I barely feel comfortable using the words black or woman or comedian. You can find
    more of my neurotic ramblings about this subject
    at my friend's blog.

    So how does this N-word relate to comedy?
    Chris Rock has a very popular routine involves this very word. He has a very clever approach on this subject by never pointing fingers and saying, "You're a [fill in your choice of expletive here.]" He just makes a comparison by what should be and what shouldn't. He keeps them separate. Let's admire his finesse and grace as he dances through his routine.




    Notice he does the Jeff Foxworthy thing. He leaves you (the audience) to assign the bad quality to someone. And as an audience member, you usually assign that quality to someone other than yourself. He'll say, "If you fit these characteristics, then you must be an idiot."

    And what sane person is going to say, "Yeah, that's me! I'm the idiot! That sounds about right."

    No, of course not. They're going to say, "I know someone exactly like that." And never point the finger at themselves. Thereby showing no blame---no accountability. He made his point and no one gets hurt.

    Well, don't think Rock got away scot-free. Don't think he didn't receive any criticism for the "Black people versus N*ggers" routine--because he did. Why? Because he told the untold story, a story that is touchy, bordering offensive. He was opening up old wounds and pouring salt on them. It was criticism from one of our own. Faults that blacks felt should remain within the black community and not broadcast for the world to see. People felt violated because it was a private, unspoken truth. Personally, I don't think it's private if everybody in the room is thinking it. It's the Collective Consciousness, right? The cat's out of the bag and has been for a long time. The problem was no one was choosing to say anything--that is, until Rock.

    So when Rock came out with this routine, I felt vindicated. I found myself not only laughing but nodding in agreement at the end of every punchline. Because I wasn't one of them. I'm not a "N-word." I knew I would never be one. I know the friends I associate with will never be. I knew my family members would never be.

    My reaction to the N-word is that I don't have one. It's water off of my back. And I really think everyone (all black and white people) needs to take the stance. I think people give the word more power than it deserves. And once we stop using it, the clanging of the chains will fade. The wounds of the past will heal. We will finally be able to rise above it, so that we can forgive and forget, and move on. The problem is there are too many people that want to mire in the past. Those that don't want to forgive or forget or move on. Can't we all just get along?


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    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    Comedy Hero: Robert Smigel

    Today's post was inspired by yet another inquiry from a fellow comedy fan. This fan, Loumi, I met on the social bookmarking/networking site StumbleUpon.com. Loumi approached me about a comedy writing interview project. (I was flattered that he even thought of me in the first place.) And I was lead back to Loumi's blog article, a PonderAbout article on outrageous humo(u)r, which gave me the idea for this jam-packed fact-filled post. So today, we will profile, Mr. Robert Smigel, revered comedic writer, best known as the creator and voice behind, Triumph The Insult Comic dog.

    I didn't discover Smigel until years into his popularity on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. (At the time, I was an obedient and gullible kid with lengthy homework assignments. Don't blame me! I wasn't allowed to stay up late on a school night. Sheesh!)

    ...
    And what rises from the ashes of rejection? Inspiration!...


    Smigel didn't begin in stand-up, like the many other comedians I profile. In fact, his story begins in sketch comedy. Smigel, a native New Yorker, ended up in Chicago and it was there that he began his comedy career, writing and starring in his own improv/sketch comedy group. (He and his comedy troupe buddies were Second City rejects.)

    And what rises from the ashes of rejection? Inspiration! With that, Smigel and company started "All you Can Eat," a comedy show which gave the stars the platform, contacts (Al Franken and Tom Davis), and balls to to try out for Saturday Night Live (SNL).

    And thus began Smigel's over 20-year reign at SNL. Smigel was hired as a writer on the ever-popular show and is noted for having the longest tenure on Saturday Night Live as a comedy writer (since 1985). Whew!
    Smigel (along with Dino Stamatopoulos) developed TV Funhouse which then churned out cartoon segments, "The Ambiguously Gay Duo", "The New Adventures Of Mr.T", "Michael Jackson", and the now banned "Conspiracy Theory Rock"

    Here is where my notes get fuzzy. Somewhere within the SNL years, Smigel came up with Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, the name "Triumph" coined by John Henson of Talk Soup fame. (Read the Onion Article below for more on that story.)

    Smigel is some sort of mad genius. And if you can't appreciate his humor like I do, well, you're probably just sane. That's okay. You'll learn to be craZy like a fox one day.

    Be sure to leave enough time watch this 10 min clip, of perhaps Triumph's most famous man-on-the street Conan sketch:



    If the link above doesn't work, you can always watch this
    popular video from the Milk and Cookies website.



    Remember, Loumi, the man who helped inspire this post? Well, he also authors another comedy related site, called Comedy Mashups that you comedy fans should definitely check out.

    More Links:

  • An Onion (A/V club) interview with Robert Smigel (2004)


  • A Salon.com interview with Robert Smigel(2001)


  • Milk and Cookies is a dedicated comedy website that has several Robert Smigel produced/written shows from SNL and other series. For a laugh, please check them out!


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