Monday, April 13, 2009

Goodbye Stand-Up

Well, it looks like this will be my final post for my stand-up blog. I definitely feel accomplished and content with all the posts that I have made. More importantly, I believe I've developed a better understanding and appreciation for the art of stand-up. Hopefully, all the viewers have taken something away from reading my posts as well. Some of my writings can be a little subjective to say the least, but I am a firm believer in learning from others' perspectives. Even if you might disagree with some of my issues on stand-up, you are still learning something from my experience. 

Something about writing my ideas out on paper (or in this case, a computer) have cleared my thoughts and opinions. I believe people should do this kind of activity more often. Whether if its on a blogging site, a personal journal, with people viewing, or without people viewing, people should get their thoughts and ideas out. Not just for the sake free speech or expressing one's self, but also for the sake of rhetoric thinking. Writing makes you a better conversationalist, a better critical and abstract thinker, and writing also gives you a better appreciation for writers in general. And I am not just saying this to sound pretentious. Since starting this blog, I have felt more fluidity in my words and speech; and my thoughts have been clearer when talking as opposed to before where they used be jumbled up. 

I would like to thank all the comedians who have given me so much comical pleasure over the years and provided me with good writing material such as: Dave Chappelle, Dane Cook, George Carlin, Brian Regan, Bill Cosby, Jim Gaffigan, and Jim Breuer. Through watching these and other comdians' routine, I feel like a little part of their act lives inside me. Like a habit, I find myself repeating similar jokes in a subconscious fashion. I say "similar jokes" and "subconscious fashion" because there is nothing that I hate more then hearing someone else intentionally repeat an exact joke, word-for-word, from a comedian, and not giving rightful acknowledgement. That is like plagiarism, only worse. (just a joke) 

To finally wrap up my blog, I would like thank all viewers and comments on my blog about Stand-Up Comedy. I hope you have learned something about the art of comedy; and even if you felt as though you did not, I hope you have acquired a better understanding and appreciation for the blogger, in general. Maybe this will influence you to start a blog of your own, if you haven't already. At the least, maybe start reading a bit more. I know I will... God Bless 

Monday, April 6, 2009


Ideas can be a difficult thing to explain. Especially, if it is an idea that is new which no one has heard of before. Even if this new idea happens to be a good one, you can sound pretty stupid if you do not think it through, word for word. Sometimes if you write or type your new idea out, this can help clear not only your thoughts, but also the listener's interpretation of your thoughts. However, even words have their limitations in the explanation process. I am sure everyone has been in a situation where someone, maybe their boss, teacher, preacher, parent, or friend has tried to reiterate an idea and it just does not come out clean. This person might of used the right words and tone, but because of the difference in perception due to different life events, you just cannot grasp the same viewpoint. 

This is where the power of analogies come in. When I have trouble relaying an idea to my friends due to a "lost in translation", I always use an analogy to help explain my idea. Works every time. Using a simple concept or story that everyone is familiar with, establishes a sense of familiarity and understanding. Without analogies, communication has a missing link as a result from different life events and thinking patterns; but with analogies, that missing link is connected through familiarity. See, I just used one to explain my idea...

One of the best examples of analogies in practice is Jim Breuer's bit on alcohol. Although most people are already familiar with alcohol and its aftermath effects, Breuer uses an analogy to further explain the process of drinking.

First, Breuer starts off by saying, "People never learn when to quit drinking. If you don't want to get sick, it's very simple. There is an easy analogy for everybody: next time you go drinking, you have to remember, it's like having a party. But, the party is in your stomach. The stomach is the bouncer, he's the door guy. You don't want to annoy him." This is how Breuer sets up the joke, with an analogy of a party scene. Nearly everyone has been at a party and most have been a host of one. So, as the joke continues, people get a better understanding of Jim Breuer's  idea of how the stomach and alcohol mix and mingle. 

Beer is the first alcohol invited to the stomach, or in Breuer's story, beer is the first group of friends invited to the party. "People find out about parties, so does other liquor." With this comment, people can also relate with the story, because occasionally at parties, there are people, in your opinion, that should not have been invited. This creates tension between you and the person/persons. This same idea correlates with booze. Once you start mixing different alcohol, that is when tension and uneasiness settle in. The viewer apprehends this theory as Breuer introduces Scotch, Jagermeister, Sambuca, Soki, and eventually Tequila. Breuer puts on an accent accordingly to each alcohol to further embellish his act. For Scotch, he acts Scottish. For Saki, he acts Japanese. And for Tequila, he acts Hispanic. When it came to Tequila, the door guy was hesitant in letting him in because of what Tequila has done at prior parties. Drinkers tend to share the same feelings on this, at least I do when it comes to Tequila. At first, I try to deny the shot; but with all my buddies egging me on, peer pressure tends to supercede. I, like most tequila drinkers, often regret that one shot because it is always followed by several more. The door guy also becomes regretful for letting Tequila in the party because of what happens later on.  

With all the heavy stress and tension, the stomach has had enough. There is no solution other than kicking everyone out of the house. This analogy is an explanation of why we throw-up after drinking too much of different alcohol. Maybe if the booze was all from the same group, the stomach wouldn't have to throw it all up. And maybe if the door guy only let in the one group of friends, instead of the whole neighborhood, he wouldn't have to kick everyone out either.

Analogies are used more often than people think. The only trick is how to use an analogy the right way. I believe Jim Breuer's story was a perfect analogy for stating his idea on alcohol and the stomach.  


Monday, March 30, 2009

Jim Gaffigan's Lovable Character

You know the phrase "If it works, don't change it." This saying goes for one of today's beloved comedians, Jim Gaffigan. With the same comedy routine recycled one act after another, one would think Gaffigan's comedy may become a little dull and predictable at times. But on the other hand, every successful comic has recycled his/her act accordingly in order to stay on top. It is too risky to completely alter your persona into a new one. The audience might respond negatively. This is why, if the act works and people love you, do not change it. 

Going back to Jim Gaffigan, the man has literally used the same routine over and over again to achieve acceptance and a good reputation. His routine mainly composes of these two subjects: laziness and food. Although these two topics may seem dull, they are actually a great catalyst for laughs through the fact that almost everyone can relate to them in some way. Everyone has gone through times of laziness and everyone eats. Jim Gaffigan merely uses these two ideas to create comedy.

Using general everyday issues are not the only reason for Gaffigan's success. Obviously, his personality plays a large role. I have said earlier that Gaffigan sticks to one persona. Well, that persona actually comprises of several personas, or personalities with different voices..

Jim (himself) - This voice lets the audience know he is acting as a normal person, telling a story. When acting as himself, Jim uses his dry humor personality. This creates a sense of integrity for the viewers. He usually begins jokes with this personality, as a hook, then later changes as the story transitions into the actual joke. 

Cranky Old Man - This time, Jim disguises himself as the lazy-man of the joke. Whether it's not finding the remote control or just too tired to get out of bed, this voice really paints the scenario into the viewer's head. Everyone has had their share of lazy-man syndrome, which is why people can relate and ultimately appreciate Jim's comedy.  

Moron - This personality/voice is simple: Jim depicts himself as an idiot. Sharing embarrassing moments and dumb statements is often tied into his lazy persona. But in a way, it is different. People are aware of their laziness. Ignorant people, on the other hand, are ignorant of their ignorance. This requires a different level of comedy. The moron personality, Jim acts as, produces this vision for people to laugh at. However, people subconsciously know they make similar mistakes which again, helps people understand the mind of Gaffigan. 

The Conservative - Occasionally after a joke, Jim likes to pretend as if he is one the audience members in the crowd. This character is your conservative, politically-correct evangelist who is somehow put off, after a joke. This is how it works. First Jim starts in with his joke, making fun of somehthing, then he shifts as a viewer and reacts in a defensive way. 

Gaffigan has a few other personalities, but these four make up most of his act. If you watch Jim long enough, you will eventually come across all four of these voices. 

Out of Gaffigan's success, I would say 90% of it consists of two subjects and four voices: laziness and food, and Jim (himself), Cranky Old Man, Moron, and The Conservative. But it is through this style why Gaffigan continues to be loved. His persona captures the behavior of the average American.  To watch some of Gaffigan's work, go to:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bill Cosby: The Storyteller

There is just something about a good story that mesmerizes us. I am talking about good stories though, not the blah, blah, blah "hurry up with it, so I can get on with my life" kind of deal. But there is no clear answer whether storytelling is a gift or skill. Can a person train themselves to be a be a good storyteller or is it something you are born with? I do not know. What I do know, just like most people, is how to identify a good story. I believe out of all the comedians out there, Bill Cosby is the best. He is one of the few comedians that can make me laugh and try and keep quiet at the same time, in order to hear the rest of the joke. This is what a good story does: entertain as well as keeping the listener attentive. 

Bill Cosby's "Bill Cosby Himself" was the first stand-up act I have ever watched. I highly recommend this particular stand-up for young viewers for the funny, yet clean humor. One part I remember most from this act was his story about the birth of his first child. The way Cosby describes this story is so regal, so pristine, you actually start feeling as if Bill is your grandfather and you are ten again, sitting cross-legged on the floor. 

It all starts off with Cosby's appearance. With a light brown suit and tie, you already get the impression of Cosby's professionalism. This immediately gives him well deserved integrity which demands respect. Body posture is another influence that most people might not realize from a good storyteller.  The way he positions himself in his chair, he seems calm, cool, and collect. Cosby gives off the attitude as if he doesn't care of the audience's reaction, he's going to tell his story, the way he wants to, regardless. But he does so, enthusiastically. The combination of energy and emotion, along with poise and swagger is a craft that can rarely be pulled off. This combination is what makes Bill Cosby one of the best storytellers.  

When telling wild and zany stories, the average storyteller does not go into detail about his/her emotions. They just assume the listener understands the matter being described. This failure is what leaves stories bland and boring. But not Cosby.. It is nine months into his wife's pregnancy when she starts going into labor. He immediately lets the viewer know the distress and panic he was enduring. He transports the listener into the car, which he and his wife take to get to the hospital. Later, they arrive at the hospital and it is here, where things get serious. Without morphine, and his wife contracting, Bill describes the pain his wife was going through. Then he would jump back to and play his role as the husband and soon to be father. Then he played as the doctor and all three roles back and forth without missing a beat. It was an impressing performance that I love watching again and again.

Monday, March 9, 2009

My Personal Favorite

With all the great comedians out there, it is hard to sit down and say "He is my all time favorite." Fortunately for me, Brian Regan sticks out more than any other as the funniest man alive. Now, like I have posted in my previous blog, this kind of decision is based entirely from my own perspective so it does not mean he is the best comic and everyone should like him just as much as me. It is just my personal taste in comedy that attracts me to his technique. However, even critics agree that Regan has achieved that level of greatness and has been doing so for ten plus years.

I am a fan of originality and this man's act is chop full of it. Regan has a particular style where he pokes fun of his own mistakes and flaws instead of targeting the negativities of others, like so many comics so often do. But he self-ridicules, in a way, where the mistakes and flaws are so common, that it turns into a spectacle that almost everyone can relate with. Funny slip-ups such as: saying the wrong thing at the wrong time and embarrassing moments in front of strangers. Brian Regan also has the tenacity to transform average scenarios, like a day at the airport or hospital to dealing with UPS or buying a refrigerator, into sheer comical brilliance. But it's not just turning average moments into funny ones, it's how Regan pulls these jokes off, that destinguishes him from any other stand-up artist out there.

In most of his stories, Regan portrays himself as an idiot by changing his voice, body position and facial expressions into a character that just demands laughter. This character that I cannot even begin to describe, is the epitome of his act. On the flip side, it is this same character that annoys others. These people say "That although Brian Regan can be funny at times, he tends to overkill that idiot character too much and drowns out potential fans." But me, on the other hand, I can't get enough of this comedy. I believe the only thing Regan is missing in his act, is more lines with that idiot character he pretends to be. 

I have listened to Regan so much, that I believe his routine has manifested into the way I act. 
For anyone who wants to watch and laugh, go to  


Monday, March 2, 2009

Is there Such a Thing as Bad Comedy?

Yeah, unfortunately there is such a thing called bad stand-up comedy, at least in my eyes. But the funny thing about bad stand-up is that no matter how awful a comedian's act may be, someone in some place is enjoying that very act. Comedy is all based on perspective. The only thing that is important in becoming a successful comedian, is gaining respect from the majority. 

In the stand-up business, there is no such term as "indie" like you may have in the music industry. There is not going to be groups of people only attracted to the non-pop comedians like there is in music. Some people only follow underground low-key bands/singers because they feel they have a stronger relationship with that band/singer. And when the singer goes main stream, those people can say "I've been listening to him/her years before they were on the radio." or even "I've known them years before..." even though those people never met the band/singer face to face. You've might of been in a conversation with a person like this or you may even been that person. This is nothing wrong with idea because music is relative to how you think and feel in that moment in time. When listening to lyrics in a song, one might take those words and brainstorm how they pertain to that person's situation in life or just life in general. Examples would be: love songs, break-up songs, songs about materialistic objects, songs about peace, hate songs, and the list goes on and on.  

Even though comedy and music share similarities, comedy can only thrive by the audience's acceptance. A musician can play the piano or guitar with no one around and still gain satisfaction and pleasure. On the other hand, the only time a comedian will say a joke to him/herself is during rehearsal, unless that person is a nut. There is no self-satisfaction in telling yourself your own joke. The gratification only comes from sharing the jokes with others and having them accept it. This point proves why good stand-up is based soley on the perspective of others while good music can be based on both the musician's and/or other's perspective. 

The other day, two of my co-workers were crack'n up laughing their asses off about something during work. Me, being the intrusive person that I am, interrupted their affair to ask what was so funny. Both of them immediately started going off about Mike Epps's stand-up routine. For those who do not know, Mike Epps is primarily known for acting in such films as: All About the Benjamins, Next Friday, Friday After Next, and a few others. He is actually a pretty funny guy in those films, but I never knew him as a comedian. After my friends reenacted a few of the man's lines I immediately became anxious to watch Mike Epps. One of my co-workers lent me the comedy, I went home and watched it. Shortly said, it was awful. It seemed though Mike Epps was improvising his whole act, in fact, I think that is what he did. He had a few shiny moments, but there was no transition from joke to joke. Epps just simply jumped from subject to subject in a random manner. There was even times the audience wasn't laughing at his jokes, and to avoid the awkwardness, Mike Epps would shout a popular line from one of his movies just to distract the obvious: he is a bad comedian. 

Later on in the evening, I tried to convince myself that my two friends from work just do not know comedy. Maybe this was the first time either of them watched stand-up which would explain why they were so easily amused. Or maybe they just watched Mike Epps from a different perspective than I. Maybe an act does not need to be perfectly pieced together with original material to make some people laugh. And although, I felt Epps was not a good comedian, he was funny enough to make my friends laugh. 

Perhaps in the end, all you need, to be a good comedian, is to make two people laugh or even just one... Good thing this isn't a traditional essay because my conclusion does not reflect my opening statement here. Turns out I have learned something through typing this post.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Brett Favre is Great for Football

Isn't it amazing how America, as a country, has alzheimer's disease. When dealing with certain people and topics, all we seem to care about is "what's happening now" and completely forget about the past, especially when it comes to the entertainment industry. Things like music, movies, tv shows, electronics, and sports all flow in the direction of what the masses want. These five categories pretty much control how the economy works and ironically, it is the American people who completely control how these five categories work. But I digress.. I merely brought this theory up to explain another: Brett Favre is great for football, yet the media tends to piss on his name and legacy.

Sport talk shows trying to one-side Brett's latest story on retirement has became nothing short of comical. However, it is this negative gibber gabber that is bringing down his image, not his actions. But what is the source of this gibber gabber? Was it the majority's opinions which reached its way up to the sports writers and inturn, re-fed the public what it already wanted to hear? Or, was it the coporate executives that dictated what the public should think and believe? A classic "What came first? The chicken or the egg?"

I, however, see past the flow of things and strongly voice my own opinion. Brett Favre is one of the greatest players who ever stepped onto the gridiron; and football is a better sport because of him, regardless of the past year and a half. Saying that, the past off-season and sixteen games have been anything but picture-perfect, nonethelesss, it only makes up one eighteenth of his career. People quickly forget about his glory days in Green Bay lined up behind center, shotgun formation, hike! "Favre pulls back, looks to his right, pump fakes, Oh Sapp's got'em, wait! He spun out of it, he's on foot, scrambling, sees Freeman, launches... Touchdown Packers!" I made that one up for you Buc' fans. 

How about the Freeman catch against the Vikings in overtime, or when he passed Marino in touchdown and yards (records no one thought could be broken), or that Monday night after his father's death, and let's not forget Suber Bowl XXXI. What about the 269 consecutive games he has played through. That's sixteen plus years in a row.. How many people can say they have worked more than sixteen years without missing a day? Not too many. But, I can talk on and on about his great moments that ever football fan has already heard. These stories are not going to change the opinions of those who think he's a sale-out, overrated players, who also owns the interception record, as well. It is the stories behind the glamour, however, is it what made me a Favre fan in the first place and will hopefully change the point of view of others.

Besides football, Brett has a similar background to the average Joe. Born in a small town in Mississippi where he mainly played football and baseball. Only an average quarterback at the time, Favre received one scholarship to Southern Miss, a mediocre school at best. After college, Brett was drafted in the second round by the Atlanta Falcons where he was later traded to the Green Bay Packers in '92. It was through his early years in Wisconsin where Favre started his legacy. It was also through these years where Brett developed an addiction to pain killers and alcohol. Fortunately for Brett and his family, he sought help by entering in the league's substance-abuse program where he gave up his addiction for pain killers and later, alcohol entirely. Like I've stated earlier, Favre's father, Irwin Favre died early in 2004 and later that same year, his wife, Deanne was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

All of these stories are similiar to the average Joe. He battled against drug and alchohol, married his high school sweet-heat, stuck to his roots that so many people forget about after success, and dealt with death and sickness in the family. But, the story that has stuck out the most about Brett Favre is his passion for the game. Some people think Favre acts childish when celebrating touchdowns or big plays. And I couldn't agree more. That same childish intensity is what has drove him year after year, play after play. He is one of the few people that plays this game with a competitor's edge and at the same time, haves fun doing it. However, he is a different man after a loss, though he will be the first to take blame. Reversely, after a win, he'll be the first to say it was the great play of the team and good plays called by the coaches. A true player on and off the field. Speaking of off the the field, Brett is also very open to his fans, as well. He let's the people know of his faults and failures as a player and a person, and also his feelings towards the game. A good example of this was during his retirement speech after the 07' season. 

Like I said earlier, Favre would be the first to admit his mistakes which he did on how he handled his retirement. But, I do not believe that he should take all the blame. Ted Tompson, the General Manager of the Packers, pressured Favre to make a decision just weeks after the Giants loss in the NFC Championship game. Favre was feeling tired, old, and inadequate at the time so he made a decision best as he could. He felt he lost his passion, the passion that drove him all those years. Brett did not want to cheat himself or his teammates if he came back the following year as uncommitted. That was his monumental mistake in life? Denying his love for football? So what if he wanted to come back the next year, big deal. I'm sure Favre and everyone else on this planet has made a worse mistake than that. His just happened to be broadcasted on television. 

So, before the media and the trash talkers out there decide that Brett has no integrity and is a sham, just remember that Brett is just a regular guy who is prone to make a mistake from time to time. More importantly than that, remember all the good things he has done as a player and as a person. And instead of overlooking the past sixteen years of his career and focusing on the last one, let's try and do the opposite. Between you and me, I hope he comes out of retirement again.