The Colonel Mastodon a showcase produced by my friend Dan Farley and myself is growing rapidly. I have never produced/hosted a show before, but the level of comics that are showing interest in performing constantly amazes me. I'm excited to see what the future holds and more Mastodon news will be posted as it comes along.
Have you ever noticed that smoking weed is very similar to an ancient ritualistic sacrifice to some sort of god. Think about it, like a calf in the Hebrew religion that was raised in a specific fashion so too must the marijuana plant be cared after and grown. In ancient religions an altar would be established for the offer in the same way weed has its own sort of alter in the ritualistic preparation of the delivery method (bowls, bongs, vaporizers, etc. ). Then of course is the burning, the sacrifice is burned which initiates the conversation with god. Weed is a ritual sacrifice that allows you to communicate with a higher energy (call it a god/spirit). And don't get me started about psychedelics.
Virtual reality headsets are currently being developed for retail sale in the video game industry. The Oculus Rift is probably the most hyped wearable tech that can fit the budget of the desired gaming consumer. The application of an immersive virtual world can potentially revolutionize gaming forever, however the average American is not a gamer. Virtual reality headsets may be currently marketed to the gaming community but I truly believe non gaming applications will catch on. Watching movies in virtual theaters, exploring the streets of a far off place, looking up into the night sky without light pollution(all while still in the comfort of your own home) these will be the things that catch on. And with any medium of entertainmentthey catches on there will be a subculture that arises. Let's cut the bullshit I'm talking about drugs. In the jazz age of the 1920's people got high and listened to records and the newly conceived radio. Same thing for television in the 1950's. And when the internet blew up damn right drugs were a factor look at Nyan Cat. I guess my main argument is that no matter what the medium is there will be people that smoke pot, do shrooms, or whatever your drug of choice is and interact with it. How awesome would it be to get stoned and fire up a digital simulation of the moon. The more immersive and realistic these experiences get the more fascinating the interaction between man, technology, and sweet sweet drugs will be. Just saying
"The phrase "in the pocket" is used to describe something or someone playing in such a way that the groove is very solid and with a great feel. When a drummer keeps a good metronomic pulse, often referred to as keeping time, and makes the groove feel really good, and maintains this feel for an extended period of time, never wavering, this is often referred to as a deep pocket."[http://www.drummercafe.com/education/articles/in-the-pocket.html]
The pocket in a musical sense is similar to an athlete being in the zone. This concept of being in the moment while influencing the audience is something I am actively trying to pursue in my comedy. My talent level comedicly is not nearly good enough to achieve this skill well. But I'm making strides to actively write in MY voice, and to be more aware of how I come across on stage. It's tough to do, but very important to watch/listen to your own sets and try to objectively look at the flaws. I have spent a lot of time reading about comedic theory, watching guys on my level through the podcast Kill Tony, and writing with my personality in mind. This attention to detail coupled with doing more open mic performances is helping me become a better performer.
The one concept I think is helping the most is this idea of getting in the pocket. For me the pocket is when I perform the jokes while still reading the audience, and not getting caught up fighting for the laughs. I want to just flow on stage and let the material speak for itself without unnecessary bells and whistles. As a comic that had been doing stand up for less than a year I know my comedic tool set is not very deep, however I think through both conceptualization and the actual practice of performing I can make strides a little faster and make my "artistic" pursuit a little easier for myself.
Comedian Joe Rogan has a wildly popular podcast called the Joe Rogan Experience. I highly recommend you check it out. The podcast is based on the premise of having long conversations with cool people, and through these conversations one can get a feel for the speaker's opinions and life philosophies. One theme that comes up regularly on the show is the idea of getting checked. Getting checked is best described by Rogan's example of training in the martial art jiu jitsu. Jiu Jitsu is submission grappling that requires the martial artist to learn many techniques from many different positions. There is constant shifting between offensive and defensive techniques from almost any position. To truly master the art requires the martial artist to practice technique through sparring. Sparring shows the true application of technique and can be humbling. The realization that there is still much to learn and that one's journey to master an art is never complete is a large pay off getting checked. I apply this idea of practicing skills and applying them to real scenarios in my everyday life. It's a huge part of stand up comedy. You can write a joke but there is no way to know if it's truly funny unless you get on stage and tell it. Stand up is humbling it checks the ego. The constant process of writing and performing leaves little room for bullshit. It forces you to get better. My hope is that I can really begin to understand performing while keeping my humility along the way.
What I like about comedy is how expressive it allows the comic to be. My favorite comedians are able to impart their own personal philosophies in their acts. I especially love 'dirty' comics. Some of my personal favorites are Dave Attell, Doug Stanhope, Patrice O'Neal, and Daniel Tosh. These gentleman show how 'dirty' comedy is an art form. Their jokes are highly descriptive and can veer into vulgar without losing comedic integrity. However the growing social policing may make it near impossible for these guys to practice their art. Mainstream society seems to have knee jerk reactions to anything edgy/politically incorrect. Some recent examples (I understand these are not in the context of a comedy show)are Phil Robertson of duck dynasty getting in trouble for homophobic remarks, Steve Martin catching shit for 'racist' tweets, and that Justine Sacco lady getting fired for her 'racist' tweet about aids. I understand that these moments (and in some cases long standing beliefs) may be unpopular opinions and anything one says can be scrutinized, but come the fuck on. We will create a society that may not have legalized censorship, but censorship by mob rule if we fire everyone that says something dumb. There are instances when people should be reprimended, but these different opinions can be debated rather than cost people the ability to make a living. Phil Robertson may have disparaging things to say about homosexuals, but he is an old white guy from the south that America has made rich and famous for being a "red neck". Why are we shocked that he holds super conservative 'Christian' opinions about gays. He said some dumb shit but he's entitled to be dumb. We should take stock of it and act accordingly, but he shouldn't have been suspended considering A LOT of Americans hold his view. Steve Martin clearly did not mean to offend blacks he was joking. Key word there is joking. He's a comic and had made tons of money being funny. If you think a tweet about black vernacular is racist than I want to retroactively complain about Bringing Down the House, which by these standards I'll argue is a hate crime. And the I don't have aids because I'm white lady Justine Sacco . She should have been smarter because she works in public relations. However I think a skilled comic maybe could have made that joke work. Was it fucked up? Uninformed? Stupid? Yes, but the sarcasm should have been clear. I'm not defending anyone's opinion but fuck you should be allowed to have a dumb opinion. It's my job as an informed citizen to call you out and attempt to educate your dumb ass, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be allowed to make a living anymore. Otherwise we really do run the danger of making a fearful society where we take away or own first amendment rights instead of some government entity.
I have been going to open mics at the stress factory the past couple of weeks. I'm really working on not taking time off and learning where I can go to more shows. Comedy is a practice and you have to perform to get any good, so one night a week won't cut it. However I do feel more creative than ever. My writing is a little smoother, I'm learning to better use social media, and getting better at just having fun in general. My new mantra is 'Do Your Time'. Every time I perform, every time I write I am doing my time. Getting better and not bullshiting.
I'm back on the East Coast in one of the finest states there is in the union New fucking Jersey. The Dirty Jerz. And now I have a big boy job doing some banking shit. That won't stop me from getting back on my stand up and podcast game. And I have found the ultimate source of comedic inspiration, being a 25 year old degenerate hanging out on a college campus. I think my job will get me one of those 401k thingys but at this point in more interested in drinking 40 ounces at Rutgers. My little bro bro is in art school which let's us meet characters that are comedic gold. And I'm trying to get him to be my new podcast partner. In the immortal words of some white rapper 'I love college'
Well I moved to Portland for about two months and had to tap out. It was a good try. For a man with very few prospects out there I had a good time. Sometimes you have to get your ego checked and I got checked in one of the most entertaining experiences of my life.
In that time short amount of time I lived with a just slightly racist redneck with a heart of gold. She taught me the meaning of friendship and what happens when you don't pay your rent and your last resort is to rent a room to a black guy even though you don't quite trust 'The Blacks'. Then there was the time I worked for the worst dive bar in Portland the Grand Cafe/Andrea's Cha Cha club. More of a scam to get you to bring your friends into a failing bar than a paying job, but hey everyone has there business models. Oh and then there was the time I got paid 50 bucks to be a stock photography model. So technically wearing a bad suit and making a thumbs up sign next to a diverse cast of other miscreants makes me a professional model. So suck it.
The best night was definitely camping in the woods and going to the beach Memorial Day weekend. It's beautiful out there. Goodbye Portland, Oregon you beautiful hippie paradise.
My life is about to change dramatically. Some unforseen events have caused me to seriously consider moving from Washington D.C., so seriously that I have already bought my ticket to Portland, Oregon. Moving is scary as shit I don't have a job or a place to start yet but I am inexplicably confident in my own ability. Honestly D.C. isn't really my scene is too uptight and expensive. I can't wait to get a fresh start.
I'm trying to write a new bit about racism and I haven't quite worked out the wording. However the basic premise is that people say there is no more racism, but my rebuttal is that if you watch porn racism is alive and well. There is abundance of porn with terrible names like "Too Black For my Sister" or "Kung Pao Pussy". Porn titles are almost expected to be racist, in fact racist titles let you know what type of porn your watching. Watching "Me So Horny 32" theres going to be some Asians in that one. "My Black Stepdad 19" thats some white chick banging black dudes.
This concept is fun by itself, but I want to incorporate a fictional character who happens to be racist. This character would have his dream job of naming pornos. This character is the source of all racist porn titles. The premise appeals to me I just have to find a way to tie these two ideas together on stage
I signed up for twitter years ago. My account has been pretty much neglected since the day I created it. The only time I used it was when buddies came down from New Jersey. However recent developments have gotten me back to "tweeting" and its really helped my comedy. Twitter conversations with local artists has pushed me to write more material. It's an inspiration to interact with people trying to find their niche in society.
Recently I moved out of a group house off Connecticut Avenue, and I'm searching for the humor in my former living conditions. One joke I'm working on plays off a combination of two former roommates into one cohesive character. The ladies I reference were straight up hipsters and I use some of their quirkier aspects in a joke about the D.C. hipster lifestyle. Two events that stuck out were when one roommate used some of my things to grow organic vegetables in, and when another used reading glasses with no actual lenses in them. The absurdity of both events hopefully will help me form a solid joke, but it comes down to writing and delivery
I'm very excited to keep performing in the city. Thanks for checking out rpcomedy.com