Archive for the 'Open mic standup' Category

Beards, beards, beards

March 14, 2011

Andrew Hicks

In any business, it’s all about who you know. I’m still only an armchair comedian — I do my one open mic a month in Springfield, and occasionally I get booked to open weekend comedy shows. But because I worked with somebody at a movie theater a decade ago, now I get to go open a show in St. Louis in a couple weeks for four guys known collectively as the Beards of Comedy.

This girl and I, we worked together and partied together a few times in the early G.W. Bush days, but unlike me, she had her shit together upon graduating from the Mizzou School of Journalism. She went to work for the Riverfront Times, St. Louis’s free circulation paper that is one part journalism, one part entertainment and one part tranny escort ads. Then she went to work for Las Vegas Weekly. Now she lives in L.A. and does comedy promotion and booking.

I think the last time we met up for a drink was in 2006, but we’ve stayed in touch through the social networks. Pretty poor touch, I admit — when she contacted me about the show, she didn’t know I’d gotten married, and I didn’t know she’d gotten married since the last time we’d talked. It’s not like people announce engagements, send out wedding invitations, have elaborate ceremonies and receptions and then send you annual Christmas card newsletters to gloss over how it all turned out. Well, I didn’t do any of that, anyway.

So on Saturday, April 2, at 8 pm, I’ll be going onstage at a place I’ve never heard of called Pop’s Blue Moon. Sometime between now and then, maybe in the middle of their Saturday late rush, I plan to call up there and ask a few questions. How big is this place? Where is their show area? Will a dart league be playing in the corner? Are there ample fire exits, marked clearly? If the Beards of Comedy bring pyrotechnics, I’m not going out in a black smoke-billowing human stampede like the folks who died in the Great White fire of 2003.

Meantime, I’m gonna use the power of Facebook to invite friends in St. Louis who might be interested in coming down to see me and four slackers with ample facial hair. So far, I’ve only talked to one person who’s heard of the Beards, and he’s a fellow open mic comedian whose opinion and taste I respect. I’ve watched some of their YouTube stuff, and they’re funny dudes. They’ve got much of the same laid-back, pop-culture-attacking slacker sensibility that marks the majority of my humor, so it should be a good fit.

Another comedian buddy asked me, “Beards? Does that mean they’re all closet homosexuals?” And this guy doesn’t know his gay lingo. Watch two episodes of “Queer Eye,” and you know a “beard” is what they call the woman a gay dude dates to throw everyone off the scent of his same-sex trail. So, by this rationale, the lady spouses of the Beards of Comedy would be known as the Beards of the Beards of Comedy.

These are the kinds of cerebral, intellectual jokes you can expect if you come up to Pop’s Blue Moon three Saturdays from now. Fire exits clearly marked. Possibly.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Advertisements

A man like Annie Lennox

February 10, 2011

Andrew Hicks

EDITOR’S NOTE: Andrew wrote about half of the following post yesterday afternoon, intending to come back and finish it when he had a break from the babies. It never happened.

On the standup comedy front, last night was my first trip to another Central Illinois club, Mason City Limits, in Mason City. From what I was able to ascertain, Mason City consists of about four blocks, three bars and a Dollar General. I’m a little jealous. Where I’m from, we have a Subway and a Christian youth center that looks like a bar from the outside.

I rode up from Springfield in the passenger seat of local C-list celebrity Buddah Eskew*, and immediately, we were arguing about car music. Buddah was like, “We’re listening to Justin Bieber,” and I was like, “Screw that. Justin Bieber sucks. Justin Bieber’s not real music. We’re listening to Miley Cyrus.” Back and forth it went: Bieber, Cyrus, Bieber, Cyrus.

We finally turned on the radio and found shared solace in the song “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” Hearing that song only further cements my feeling that Annie Lennox is one of the great underappreciated male vocalists of our time.

In the back seat were Saad Ahmed, a razor-sharp comedian with an inimitable dry delivery and timing, and Rich Mansfield, the one guy in our peer group that really seems to have the stage performance aspect down and isn’t mostly just up there reciting jokes. Mansfield wanted to talk about comedians the entire time. He told us about a Marc Maron podcast interview with Gallagher that went awry, and he name-checked just about every famous ’80s comedian who was given a sitcom after making it big on “The Tonight Show,” along with other comedians who were no doubt just given a crappy pilot that never got picked up by a network.

The open mic is normally on the first Wednesday of the month at Mason City, but last week’s diabolical snowstorm postponed the event to this Wednesday. I want to blame scheduling changes for the lack of turnout, but there was still a foot of snow on the ground, and the temperature was hovering around 4 degrees Fahrenheit, so that also may have had something to do with everyone’s decision to stay home.

With the exception one of the comics’ mother and girlfriend (two separate people, FYI), the audience was made up entirely of open-mic comedians. Meaning, like fifteen people total, including the club owner and bartender. In a situation like this, you should have a pretty good stockpile of bits you want to try out just in front of your peers. You should just get up there, be conversational, leave out most of your tried-and-true set list and have fun with it.

I didn’t have a lot of fun with it, unfortunately. I had to go up first, which meant no time to relax and laugh a little and try to get together a few shared reference points to call back from earlier in the show. I got some good scattered laughs, but mood-wise, I wasn’t feeling social, I wasn’t feeling bold, I wasn’t really feeling “on.” An Andrew with a different mindset would’ve welcomed the opportunity to have a looser, more friendly structure onstage, to chat up a new club owner, to banter with the other comics. This Andrew mostly kept quiet.

I have another open mic at my home club this Wednesday. Five days to get myself back into Showoff Smartass Mode.

* Buddah writes regularly for our humor site, We’re Not Funny, and is a very friendly, amusing dude. I like editing his stuff because the end result is always a good blend of lines that are funny written as is, other lines I can make funnier with a little judicious tweaking and still other lines I completely rewrite based on his premises.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

Noah’s conversation with God

February 7, 2011

Andrew Hicks

EDITOR’S NOTE: Okay, so February 6 was Super Bowl Sunday, and February 7 is Andrew’s wife Tiffany’s birthday, so he’s still behind on his blog posting. Sneaking in basic productivity early in the day isn’t always Andrew’s strong suit. During this game of blog-catchup playing, Andrew has decided to type up an extended version of one of his stand-up bits.

NOAH’S CONVERSATION WITH GOD

Oh, hey, what’s up, God? [PAUSE] Well, yeah, actually, I was asleep. It’s like three in the morning. [PAUSE] Right, right. Time doesn’t exist for you.

So what’s going on? [PAUSE] Humanity’s getting wicked? Yeah, I agree. You should see what people are wearing down here. [PAUSE]

And you’re going to do something about it? Like, what do you have in mind? [PAUSE] You’re going to drown everybody? You mean, like, drown them in your tender love and mercy so they’ll be drawn to righteousness? [PAUSE]
Oh, you mean drown them in actual water until they’re dead. Old Testament God stuff. Well, see, I don’t know, I think that’s kind of drastic. There’s some good people down here. Like me, you know, and my family. We’re cool. [PAUSE]

Name somebody else? Okay, well… what about Jedidiah? He’s a good man. [PAUSE] Covets his neighbor’s oxen? Hmm, well, you’ve gotta admit, Jedidiah’s neighbor has some pretty nice oxen. You know, as far as oxen go, those are good oxen. [PAUSE] Me? No, I’m coveting, I’m admiring… yeah, it’s a thin line, I know.

Okay then, what about Tobias? [PAUSE] Tobias is a sodomizer? Oh, well, actually, some of our wives down here ask us to do that to them. There are a lot of nerve endings and– [PAUSE] Oh, not with women? With some guy named Jamal?

Alright, so what do you want me to do then? [PAUSE] Build a boat? [PAUSE] Big enough to hold two of every species of animal? That’s gonna take forever to build. [PAUSE] A hundred years? Holy cow, that’s a long time. [PAUSE] Right, holy TWO cows. That’s a funny one. You’re a funny guy.

I’m gonna have to get back to sleep now. I have a hundred-year building project to start in the morning. [PAUSE] I love you, too.

5 comedy techniques that have stuck with me

January 28, 2011

Andrew Hicks

While on the phone with my dad the other night, we were talking about comedy and my history with comedy, and he asked me, “Well, what are some of the early types of humor you liked that still stick with you?” I was a little tired, a little brain dead, and my immediate answer was, “Uh… as a kid until now, I’ve always enjoyed silly stuff. But not all silly stuff. Some of it’s stupid silly, some of it’s intellectual silly, and there’s good and bad examples of each, which kinda makes it all more silly.”

I stopped right there, as I was making not a single lick of rational sense, but my dad’s question led me to think a little bit about which forms and methods of comedy I appreciated early on and still carry with me. So I wrote this:

5 COMEDY TECHNIQUES

THAT HAVE STUCK WITH ME

DEADPAN

At the age of 11, after seeing the 1989 Tim Burton movie, I became obsessed with all things Batman. The ’60s TV show, in particular. I took it rather seriously at first, but as I grew into my sense of humor throughout adolescence, I started to appreciate the deadpan genius of Adam West and a few of the veteran character actors on the show.

Neil Hamilton, who played Commissioner Gordon, was a master of finding the super-serious side of funny in the often-outlandish dialogue he was given and performances he was surrounded by. The man was a brilliant straight man, whether he realized it or not. The style and rhythm of his dialogue delivery influence me to this day.

Also, I fell hard for Airplane! at an impressionable age. I loved the combination of obvious, elementary-level jokes and straight-faced performances of Leslie Nielson, Peter Graves and Robert Stack. I recently learned that the studio balked at the casting of dramatic actors in those parts and wanted Chevy Chase, Dom Deluise and Bill Murray instead. Which would not have been nearly as sublimely silly.

 

INSIDE JOKES

This is more tried and true in real-life conversation for me than in written or performed comedy, but when I connect with someone on a comedic level, I relish developing and sustaining inside jokes with that person.

The magic of Facebook has allowed me to create and expand a central group of writers and comic thinkers, and we stumble on new inside jokes every day, lending a sense of inclusion and continuity to our humor.

As an occasional stand-up comedy performer, I strive to create shared references with an audience early on and cash in on it more and more as my routine unfolds. I’m not quite consistent at achieving this, but I get better and better, IMHO.

 

IMPRESSIONS

As mentioned numerous times in this blog, I have a lifetime devotion to Saturday Night Live. I started watching at 11, in the apex of the Carvey/Hartman/Hooks/Jackson/Lovitz/Miller/Myers/Nealon period. Immediately, my favorite SNL thing to imitate whenever I got the chance was Carvey’s George Bush.

Then and now, I have a soft spot for SNL’s comedy characterizations of famous people from pop culture, politics and sports. Most of the impressions I’ve been doing for 15 years or more — Carson, John Travolta, Ed McMahon, Paul McCartney, Tom Brokaw, Pat Robertson — owe their existence to old SNL.

Since being married and having a wife who straight-out tells me most of my stable of voices sounds pretty much the same, I’ve started to downplay that amateur SNL side of my comedy… Aw, who am I kidding? I’ll spend the entire night doing bad Jerry Seinfeld if someone’s there to laugh. Even if that someone is 2 years old. Actually, especially if that someone is 2 years old.

 

MUSIC-BASED COMEDY

When I’m not writing about daytime dad things, a lot of my humor revolves around music. Pop music, hip-hop, rock,old stuff, new stuff. Funny observations about songs and artists. I like song parodies as a genre, though most of them aren’t that great. I never liked movie musicals, but I liked a lot of older TV show theme songs, which are funny for reasons right and wrong but decidedly very geeky.

As a mid-teenager, I went through a brief but pretty intense “Weird Al” Yankovic phase, and now still think he has a couple dozen songs I’ll take to the grave. Only one of my standup bits relies on rewritten pop music for its humor, but right now I’m wishing I would have learned to play guitar in my youth. My father-in-law has contributed a spare acoustic guitar to the cause. Have not yet gotten around to doing anything with it. Unfortunately.

POP CULTURE/TOPICAL COMEDY

I’m sure it started with being in junior high and trying to figure out what current events SNL was parodying and Dennis Miller was cracking his lofty, obtuse jokes about, but I also got into David Letterman for several years as a teenager. The peak of it was during the O.J. years, where Letterman first declared sanctimoniously — to HUGE applause — that he wouldn’t do O.J. jokes because “I don’t find anything funny about double murder,” and later devoted hours of monologue time to the Juice.

Anyway, there’s something fascinating yet revolting to me about our celebrity culture, irresponsible government and corporate-owned media that makes me want to stay current enough on the news to instantly crack wise about whatever’s going on out there. I still strive to stay on the level of Stewart and Colbert, “Weekend Update” and late-night talk show monologues when it comes to current events. Some of my jokes are far better than others in this respect.

There’s more, of course, but these five things formed a pretty wide base for much of my humor over the years and still now. If you’d like to share any of your old favorites and comedic influences, please hit up the comments section.

FAMILY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Sarah, newborn Silas and Tiffany's parents.

2011: A blog a day, I promise

January 1, 2011

Andrew Hicks

Ankle break aside, 2010 was one of the best years of my life. My second baby was born, my first baby really began to grow into her personality, I started this blog, I quit drinking, I made inroads into standup comedy, I met some great Facebook friends, I continued my slooooow progression into adulthood, and I steadily seemed to enjoy everyday life more and more as the year went on.

I didn’t manage to achieve my simplest goal for this blog, though — I want to update it daily. Well, 2011 will be the year I post every day, and to hold myself accountable, I’m participating in the WordPress Post a Day 2011 campaign.

I’m already going to have to cheat and backdate the post time, though, since my blog dashboard seems to think I live in London. Blog time is six hours ahead of actual time, so I’ve already missed January 1st by that definition. I don’t know if that’s the international dateline or if I could easily change the setting to central time with a little poking around. That’s not my concern. My concern is writing every day, even if it means writing about time zone settings I can’t figure out how to change or if I can change. Quantity doesn’t necessarily equal quality, people. First things first.

The highlight of New Year’s for me was spending a total of two hours on the phone with my mom and dad. With the time consumption of the Wife-N-Kids life plus my own lazy procrastination and antisocial behavior, I haven’t devoted enough communication time to either of them over the years. And each, I think, has been too considerate to be the social aggressor in initiating regular phone calls.

I closed out the year with separate high-quality dialogues with both parents. My mom I’ve known all along, but my dad and I have been incommunicado for about half my life. I’m only now realizing he’s twice the talker and thinker that I am. I laughed harder at his end of our phone conversation than I have at any movie or TV comedy since I stopped drinking. I’m at the perfect stage of my life’s journey to seat my parents up toward the front. The peak of my relationship with each has yet to come, and it’ll be a lot of fun climbing to the top.

Speaking of family, today is my stepson Josh’s 18th birthday and the first time I’ve mentioned in my blog that I have a stepson. (He has red hair, too, though I long ago tired of cracking second-rate “redheaded stepchild” jokes.) When I started the blog, I made a decision that I wouldn’t write about Josh until he got to legal voting and smoking and lotto-gambling age. It’s one thing to tell stories about my own kids. Neither of them is old enough to read, write or kick my butt. But I wanted to respect Josh’s privacy. Now that he’s legally an adult, I can feel free to bitch to the world about how he pees on the toilet seat sometimes.

The number-one question I’ve been asked — when it becomes apparent to people that I’m a 32-year-old man with a 38-year-old wife, an 18-year-old stepson and two kids age 2 and below — is, “Isn’t it weird?” And you’d think it would be. When I was 14, and my parents had been divorced a few years, I don’t think I would’ve welcomed having a stepdad living in the house with me and doing my mom. Much less a stepdad who met my mom in April, got married in July and got her pregnant the following March. But the situation, as it developed, seemed natural from the beginning. Okay, I often feel much more like Big Brother than Dad to Josh, but it’s obvious that he values my opinion and my presence. Both good things.

So, anyway, you can find new words right here tomorrow. And every day this year. Who knows? I might even write something funny next time.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Josh holds Silas on the day he was born.

May-December shoes

November 23, 2010

Andrew Hicks

I made the 100-plus-mile trek to my in-laws’ house a couple weeks back, so I could drop the kids off at Meemaw and Peepaw’s Daycare (can’t beat the rates) and follow up with the orthopedist who performed my ankle surgery in September. I got the customary X-rays — for some reason, I love looking at my ankle screws from three different angles — and was pronounced Almost Back To Normal. Which means, first and foremost, I won’t have to drive 100-plus miles to any further appointments.

Snoop Docky Doc* also told me I could go bootless as I see fit. It’s still kinda weird putting that left shoe on again, after being foot-shod in post-surgery wrap, a fiberglass cast and then the space boot. The left shoe sat out for quite awhile. It’s not often a shoe partnership gets split up like that, with Righty continuing to go into battle while Lefty stares at the inside of the closet for weeks on end. It’s like one shoe’s having a midlife crisis, and the other shoe’s counting the days to retirement. I’ve got a May-December shoe situation.

I coordinated the doctor appointment to match up with the weekly big-city standup open mic, and invited the Facebook world at large to come see me. Usually, those kind of invitations provoke a couple half-hearted “I’ll try to make it out” comments and about a half-dozen “I would totally be there, but…” apology responses. I’m guilty of this, too — I love to claim I’d go do something, that there’s nothing I’d love more, but I tragically, unfortunately can’t due to some preexisting, tenuous reason. Which, these days, two babies and a broken ankle is pretty much a catch-all**.

I had a few friends that I knew would come up to see me, but imagine my onset of sheepishness when I got to open mic and found out it was canceled because Doug “Superhigh Me” Benson was in town doing a special engagement. Now imagine that, in the next few minutes, friends kept showing up. Old, close friends I haven’t seen in awhile, making surprise appearances. Nine in all, with the show canceled. I had no choice but to head out to a couple restaurants and bars with the entire group for the next four hours.

I’ve entered the stage of my adult life, previously thought impossible, where I am capable of holding my own socially without feeling like I need to drink. I hadn’t fully tested this until the night everyone showed up for my canceled open mic, so out we went, and I held court while downing ice waters. (I’m one of those customers now. Sorry, entire service industry.) It was a good night and a great group, and there was a strange moment a couple hours in where my assembled group of friends sat on the entrance stairs to the restaurant and I performed the four minutes of standup I’d prepared***.

I mingled, I played some shuffleboard, and I discovered alcohol wasn’t the reason I’ve always sucked at shuffleboard. Most importantly, I had a really good time with a group of close friends, friends of friends, significant others of friends, and my omnipresent ice water. My childless courtship time with Tiffany occurred in a whirlwind, with me quickly going from single party guy to married dude in a different town, working a different job.

Out of necessity, and with no personal precedent to refer back to, I neglected some fun, healthy relationships with some great young people after I got married. Three-plus years later, my life seems so much more valuable, and so does time spent with Hall of Famers from my social golden years. Thanks for coming out, all’a y’all.

*I give all my medical care practitioners nicknames based on prominent hip-hop MCs throughout history, though I have no further examples to offer at the present time.

**Also, this kinda makes me an immature jerk, but I think it’s great to tell someone online that you’ll definitely be there for their four-minute performance in the community college adult piano recital, then later on pretend like you forgot they live two time zones away. I mean, what do they expect when they send out an inconsequential blanket invitation to everyone they’ve ever exchanged a friendly word with?

***This was my second indicator, the first one coming from my clued-in, opinionated wife, that I couldn’t sell the following joke onstage: “When someone asks me a date-related question, I always round up.  Q. How old is your youngest?  A. He’ll be six months in January.  Q. How long have you been married?  A. It’ll be ten years in 2017.  Q. How long have you been waiting for a good laugh on this joke?  A. It’ll be one day tomorrow.”

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Baby Silas chills in his buggy.

Exit through the gift shop

October 28, 2010
Tiffany and I moved from a big city to a medium-sized Midwestern town just after we got married. There’s only one legitimate comedy club around, a Funny Bone franchise, and they only host open mic once a month. Supply and demand in microcosm.

"Happy birthday, Jesus. Hope you like crap!"

My first time up was last December. I had a Christmas music routine ready to go, and I didn’t want to wait another entire year to make jokes about the Captain and Tennille’s holiday album. With each successive year, jokes about the Captain and Tennille get exponentially less timely. Scientists first observed this phenomenon in 1981, and it’s only snowballed from there.

It took me five open mics before I really grabbed ahold of an audience and shook the laughs out of them. On the strength of that performance, Funny Bone booked me to open three weekend shows for Kenny Smith. I’d never heard of Kenny, but I had a plan. I was going to Google and YouTube him then, shortly after shaking his hand, casually reveal myself to be very familiar with his amazing work. I’d like to say I abandoned this plan because it was cheap and disingenuous, but really, I was too lazy to pull it off. Insincere flattery was unnecessary, though. Kenny instantly proved himself to be a super-cool dude, funny onstage and off, and eager to encourage.

I learned a few things working those three shows. One, take every opportunity to interact with the audience. Two, if  a quarter of your act is about the oral prowess of a dentist named Mike Hawk, and you invite your mother and in-laws, make sure they don’t sit five feet away from the stage in the glow of the spotlight. Three, don’t wear shorts.

The “no shorts” rule is one I’d never heard before I showed up wearing shorts. Then and since, any time I bring this up to anyone, they’re like, “Oh yeah, no shorts. It’s common sense. Comedy, acting, music, public speaking — no shorts on stage.” I was used to open mic etiquette, where the club owner hosts the show in a T-shirt and cargo shorts. I should’ve known something was up when I got there for the weekend show and the owner was wearing Godfather, “How’d ya like waking up next to that horse’s head?” getup. Thankfully, my very pregnant wife was able to bring me some actual pants before the second show.

I played to probably 400 people total, and it was a very different atmosphere from open mic. They even had the crowd-control ropes up to route exiting patrons directly into the open bar and dance floor area. It reminded me of those Six Flags rides that make you exit through the gift shop. Whoever came up with that idea was a genius. Otherwise, I never would have considered buying a $30 T-shirt depicting Wile E. Coyote riding the Runaway Mine Train. I was supposed to use that cash to pay my car insurance, not buy a beach towel rendering of Yosemite Sam on the Log Flume.

Guess whose very pregnant wife didn’t buy the argument of, “I was trying to come straight home, but those crowd-control ropes routed me into the bar, so I had to drink a few more free beers.” For the curious, the answer is, this dude’s very pregnant wife. It was my big weekend, though, so she let it slide. Love that woman.

I’ve been sidelined since The Event, 100+ miles from home and unable to walk until the past week. Last night, I ended the standup dry spell. I strapped on the old Aircast, left the kids with my in-laws and ventured out to the weekly open mic at the Funny Bone franchise here. I’m in the big city right now, remember, and this open mic had me feeling like a medium-sized fish in a large pond.

There were 21 open mic comedians, and some of them were really good. The audience had about 125 people, at least 50 more than were at the Mike Lukas show I went to last month in the same venue. After every four or five open mic comics, a professional ringer would pop up and do ten minutes or so. I got my turn in the middle of the lineup, directly after Mike E. Winfield, who was working out material for his Letterman appearance next week. He was the most electrifying, hilarious performer of the night, and he delivered me an audience ready to laugh.

The four minutes was up fast, but I got lots of enthusiastic laughter and applause. Some of that might have been thanks to the host’s introduction — he said it was my first time doing open mic, when I’d written on the signup sheet “first time here.” I didn’t take any of my precious four minutes to point out that I wasn’t a complete rookie, just a semi-rookie. But that crowd was digging me.

Oh, by the way, before the big-city open mic started, the host was running through some house rules with the open mic comedians. He got to the end of his speech and asked, “No one’s wearing shorts, are they?” Wear shorts onstage? What kind of freaking idiot…?

DELETED SCENES

I did a lot of partying in my twenties. Like George W minus the cocaine. Like Charlie Sheen minus the hookers. Like Snooki minus the eating disorder. Seriously, Snooki used to battle anorexia. I don’t think anorexia put up much of a fight.

Marriage and domestication saved my life. Of that, I am sure. Going home to a wife and kids every night instead of going out to bars has added years onto my endgame and given me a true desire to live to old age. It’s also inspired me to resume creative pursuits. I’m back to writing publishable material on a regular basis, and after 15 years of saying I was going to, I’ve finally made forays into standup comedy. Five to ten minutes at a time.

Getting five minutes of standup ready each month is like being in school again. Even down to the fact that I wait way too long to do the work and then half-ass it last minute. The worst example I can think of was in tenth grade. I failed to start my science project until the night before it was due and, when I realized there was snow coming down, gambled that I could put it off until the next night.

It was a lazy kid’s ultimate deus ex machina — that winter storm bought me a snow day on Thursday and another on Friday. We usually had two snow days the entire winter, and when my big, unstarted science project was due, we got an unprecedented two in a row followed by the weekend. I had an extra four days, a completely undeserved gift, and I still put off all the work until Sunday night. Panicked, stressed and sloppy, and I still pulled out a B on that science project.

Even my most bastardized efforts in life have been worth a B, traditionally, but there’s always an A+ in there begging for sunlight and water. Occasionally, it gets out.

It’s hard to hone material and learn to build rapport with an audience when you only get five minutes a month. I’m never as prepared as I could be onstage, and years of bar karaoke have taught me that I have a far better microphone presence than stage presence. I’d do great in radio, I think, and that’s something I’ve wanted to pursue for years and haven’t. Another married, kid-filled year or two might change that, too. Who knows?

Those are the negatives, as I see them, but let’s not forget I’m in a medium-sized town and I’ve been writing comedy for most of my life.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

POV shot of Sarah and Silas sitting on the couch with me.