Friday, April 12, 2013

Welcome to the eBookmark for

Hey ya! If you are here, you probably were looking for my website. It's in the shop at the moment, but please feel free to look around here on the blog, and or check me out on some other places on the World Wide Web of Information, silly pictures, porn and memes....

My Facebook page:

My Twitter account:

My You Tube account:

My IMDB page (under construction as well)

And my Reverbnation profile:

Please check back in a week or so for the launch of the new website and more fun shenanigans!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Down the Down Time Rabbit Hole.

Here's an old post I though was appropriate to this forum to migrate over. From a Mid West run I did last year...Enjoy!

So you want to be a Road Comic?

It's Thursday. Five days since my last gig. Nothing on the books until Saturday, so, besides trying to hustle more work, I'm pretty much in down time. A holding pattern. Lots of web surfing...back of eyelids surfing....
The last 2 shows were, well...not what you'd see on Comedy Central. West Virginia was equal parts David Lynch and Larry David. The "crowd" was drunker than a homeless man who found a $20 bill near a liquor store. To characterize the barrage of non-sequiters and random noises blurted towards the dance floor area called the stage as heckling would be to disparage real heckling. Wrapping up felt like dismounting a mechanical bull. Fun, but in a ball busting and disorienting way. The next night in northern PA was a good show except for the drunk woman who began her crazy babbling before the host even took the mic. Drunk women are the worst offenders at live comedy shows. A drunk dude might pipe up, but usually they will lapse into a sullen heap once defused. A drunk woman knows no such restraint. Like a shrilly vocal Jason Voorhees, they will bring down a show with the tenacity of the honey badger. The only way to deal with them is to try and make them a part of the set or have them ejected. Both are disruptive to the magical hour long trade of humor for laughs that we all picture as the ideal. It takes years and experience to find that line where you aren't the big mean out of towner picking on the local lovable skank, nor the spineless pushover utilizing half your time wrangling with the annoying booze harpy. I set the rules with her from the beginning. I would allow a minimum of mouthiness, but when I needed her to zip it, I would utilize the safe word "Armageddon". By the end of the set, every time she began to blurt out some booze soaked non-sense, the crowd yelled "Armageddon!" in unison. It was beautiful.
So here I am, waiting for the next series of adventures in comedy. In the meantime, one show canceled and I had to drop another because my van decided it wanted to play "let's start acting fucked up and turn the Service Engine Light on and off randomly". Thank goodness my hosts for the week are amazing people and have allowed me to stay extra days and figure out my transportation issues. Looks like I'll be sinking money into a mechanic and a rental car (to finish the tour while the repair is done). Add to that the sudden unavailability of my Chicago area connections for a place to stay, which will be adding at least one more night in a hotel to the already spiraling downward budget. 
Am I complaining? Nope. It's what we do. Another comic friend of mine was just informed that her vehicle is screwed. FUBAR'ed. She has three weeks left to go on this run and is over 1500 miles from home. How is she handling it? Better than most people would. is what we do. Comedians go through cars like NBA players go through shoes. Part of the package.
You have to be a special type of crazy to do this for a living. Operating costs (gas, hotels, food) have tripled in the last decade yet pay is stagnant or dropping. Clubs are scared to take chances, so they are booking conservatively, meaning that unless you have TV credits or are a regular at the club, good luck on getting in!  "You'll need to do a guest set." Translated: Drive here, put yourself up and do a free set to maybe have the chance to know who will be ignoring your call for months until there is a fall out.  It is a madness that makes jumping in a vehicle with 280k+ miles and driving another thousand to do a handful of shows which will net you, if you're lucky, $200 to $300 profit seem like a no-brainer. Black Ice and Lake Effect snow? Why not? Eating primarily from an ice chest or a dollar menu? Absolutely. Too broke to afford a hotel on a night off? Trust me...there are a ton of ways to sleep in the car. Done that. Slept there.
Yet, as rough as the road can get, I can't imagine doing anything else. I'm doing what I am supposed to do.
I just wish it were in a better car.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bios and Headshots and Videos oh my.....

"I'll need some promo...."

You can always tell the professionalism and length of time a person has been doing comedy by their promotional materials. I'm not talking website, or burned DVD they sell from the stage of open mics and such. I'm talking the Big 3. The press kit: Head shot, Bio and Video clip. The Holy Trinity of what every booking agent and club owner asks for when considering an act for an emcee spot at Captain Billy's Humor Ship or Chuckle Bunnies weekend headliner. Promo. A press kit. An EPK. Whatever. It's what a booker needs. And more often than not, these are also the 3 things, if not done properly, can snuff out your dream of road glory. Screw up this first (or more often than not, second) impression and you will fall into the limbo of unanswered calls and emails. Get it right and...well...chances are, the above still applies, but possibly with a bit less frequency.
Used to be a lot harder. Back in the olden days (cue violin music) one would have to run to Kinkos and print out multiple paper copies of bios and press clippings. Put these in a big envelope with some 8x10 black and white glossies and a VHS tape with your best 10 minutes (clean) that you had to tape at a particular showcase because only 2 of your friends actually had a video camera and one of them was also using it as his video player (mostly for porn). Put all this in a big mailer and send it off to the club/booker/agent at a pretty exorbitant cost. This process was repeated for every gig you wanted. $7 to $10 dollars a pop, if you had to overnight it. And usually the whole package was dropped into a box by a desk with dozens of other like packages. All postmarked dreams next to the desk waiting for the gatekeeper to pull one out, lottery like, and pop in the tape. And if the Comedy Gods were smiling, the phone wouldn't ring, no one would walk into the office to sell cleaning supplies, the wife/husband wouldn't need an errand run and Voila! 2 minutes in, the gatekeeper would chuckle, make a note and you were in the door. Barely. One toe, crammed in the door frame, but in.
Now it is 1000% easier. Everybody has a camera. iPhones can shoot High Definition and 1080 p. Email and EPK's have done away with hard copies for the most part. All of the above can be done from a computer while eating a microwaved burrito wearing only socks. Hungover. Modern technology has made sending promo as easy as surfing for 3 girls 1 guy porn while streaming Pandora. With all this extra time and ease, one would think that up and coming performers would have more time to polish the elements of their promo. One would think. But I can't count the number of times I have asked for promo from someone looking for work (or more likely received it unasked from a complete stranger who heard I booked a room) and received a mish mash of crap that a drunk capuchin monkey could do better. So, in the interest of sharing and hopefully affecting some positive change, lets break down each area and some common mistakes...


Yes, you are a unique and interesting snowflake. Your life's history is a page turning adventure chock full of love and loss and redemption. one cares. Nope. So you stepped on stage by accident and had a magical epiphany that led you to quit your day job at the Burger Barn and pursue a life of jest, funny and frolic. So what. Save it for the stage. Maybe. If it is funny. Point is, a booker has a million bios to read and limited time to do it. Keep it short. 4 or 5 lines, tops. A little about yourself, some (real) experience and a nice little wrap up. That's it. Not a laundry list of unknown venues or student films. No childhood stories. And for Zeus's sake, DO NOT PAD YOUR RESUME! did 3 minutes at the Melrose Improv for a midnight showcase. That stays out. Unless you were booked and paid by the establishment, do not include it. This industry is not as big and spread out as you think. People talk. References are checked. Lying = Deleted.


Look at you, all wacky and stuff...hanging on some monkey bars holding a plastic carp and making googly eyes. so cray! Save that crap for Facebook. Make it your profile pic, if need be, but do not send that as a headshot. A headshot can be an image of your personality, but err on the side of professional. 8x10. Color. Not a snapshot a friend took of you on stage. And definitely not a low rez, 80 dpi GIF. Make it print quality. 300 dpi. JPEG preferably. Most bookers will forward these to the club to print out, so unless you want to look like Super Mario circa 1988, all pixilated and such, take the time, make the effort and spend the money to get professional shots done. And don't make those duck lips, fer Chrissakes.


This is where so many dreams of comedy nirvana come to a screeching halt. And usually it takes less than a minute. That's right. Again...a booking agent has limited time and the attention span of an ADD guppy. If the video doesn't grab them right away, or if it creates skin crawling disgust in that same time period, say buh bye to work. And by grab them right away, I'm not talking gimmicks or shock. The tape should be well lit, in what looks like an actual comedy environment. There is a story about an agent that got a tape from a guy who did his whole set in his garage with an audience of mannequins. And sucked. Even if they could have, the dummies wouldn't have laughed. Film somewhere you'd want your family to see you. And keep it relatively clean. NO "F" BOMBS. I get it. You're edgy, man. You're a rebel and you're going to do your hell with the system! Well....not if you want work. Until you are having your agent negotiate your next HBO special, bookers want to see if you can work clean. The last thing they need is some Stanhope wannabee spewing malice for 5 minutes in front of their TV clean headliner, Save that for open mic. 10 minutes. At least. And straight through. Do not edit your clip for content. It says to the booker "I can't do 10 minutes straight through and get laughs." An edited tape is as bad as emulating a Tarantino film. Aim for maximum laughs per second and you should be fine.

So there you have it. Now you should have a nice template to use when you are ready to put yourself out on the market. Now go polish that 10 minutes. And mind the light!