Never Meant to Publish This

Michael Before & After

Lol I’m so mean to myself sometimes, but goddamn that middle picture is hilarious…

This is a story about mystical experiences had whilst practising P90X Yo-gaahh… Not Yoguh, Yo-gaahh…

Copped collard greens; rolled it like tassa. Bissessar. In the old vitamin bottle. Took it with a yoga mat to the park in front of the water. Laiid mat down. Yoga blocka. Picked the lighter up; you know the route. Breathe In and out and in. Let’s do it again. In and out and in. Let’s do it again. In and out and in. Let’s do it again. etc. Cherry Popper, roach keeper, let’s save the rest. Yoga gwaanin. Head buggin. When bugs start buggin, I say fuck it. Roll up the mat; save second tassa. Bissessar. Cross the street. Cross the Street. Cross the Street. Into the yoga room; fly-ass condo. Laid the mat down. Yoga, Blocka. Yoga goin on. White ting working out in the lulu lemon nightclub selection. She checkin’ the kid, but I’m all up in the stretchin. I might have skipped a side once or twice, but my reverse triangle is really nice! I touch the ceiling, and I know we’re almost through. That’s it, we’re done. Now I can breathe, too. Come back upstairs. I earned rice and squash…and the bag of all-dressed…

I left one thing out. On the walk back, I couldn’t help but keep repeating with unblinking eyes, the following phrases:

  • I see how it is now.
  • Do they know who I am?!?
  • Don’t they know I am exceptional?!?

Over, and over, and over, and over, and over again.

[ ]

Fuck it I had to put a chune!

DO YOU HEAR THAT HI-HAT PATTERN AT 0:35?!?!

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NO CROWD WORK ALLOWED

It’s the day of the comedy competition at Absolute Comedy, one of the top 4 comedy clubs in the city, and I’m nervous.

Not as nervous as I used to be, though.

I start preparing around 4ish. I’m just not that concerned about individual sets anymore. It’s probably why I don’t blog as much; there’s nothing to worry about.

So anyhoo, I practice my set once, and then stop – I’m worried. I’m worried that they’re not gonna laugh. I’m worried that the other comedians are going to be better than me. I’m worried about my crowd work not hitting. I’m worried about bombing in front of a notoriously easy crowd.

So I figure it’s time to meditate. I put down the mic, go into the bathroom, turn off the light, and sit on the toilet.

I hear my voice ask, “Do I deserve to win this competition?

I hear my voice reply, “It doesn’t matter. You aren’t trying to be the best. You’re becoming a MASTER at your craft.”

That puts me at ease. At the end of the day, my only responsibility is to be the best ME when they call my name. That means performing comedy without a worry filter colouring everything badd.

So I’m on my way to the competition, and again, nervous. But then I realize, “Hey man, be grateful that you get to perform at Absolute! You went there to do research before you even stepped on stage four years ago! You get to perform at Absolute!”

I become so calm that I literally stop at the used bookstore and pick up The Fall by Albert Camus.

Being master of one’s mood is the privilege of the larger animals. – Camus, The Fall

So I get to the club, and thank the Booker for the spot. I find the green room, but fuck the green room. I want to get a feel for the ROOM. So I walk the room. Notice who’s sitting in front. Think of crowd work options. Walk to one side. Walk to the other.

The Owner comes by to tell us the rules. He mentions no crowd work, but it’s included in a five-minute barrage of advice, so I don’t mark it. After all, I’m here to be funny.

I find this sweet spot in the corner, and await my turn.

Everyone’s doing well. Fuck. I mean, good. Lol.

What do you see?

Absolute Comedy competition

I see three things: a guy that looks like Walter White from Breaking Bad, an attractive older gentleman, and an attractive middle-aged gentleman.

I’m up next. I practice my Walter White intro a couple of times. Now the host is about to call my name. I go blank.

So yeah, the crowd work isn’t all fire, but I do get a mini applause break out of it in the end.

I listen to the other comics, and start counting all of the people that are doing better than I did. Fuck. At least four. AT LEAST. They all have their material down, and aren’t deviating one bit – and why should they?

They announce fifth place. Fourth place. Third place. Fuck me. Second Place. Oh I have no shot – First place.

That’s it. I lost. Damn, I didn’t even make the top five in a group of nine?? LMAO. Wowzers.

I’m not that upset, though. They all did great. In fact, I’m more shocked that the one girl who crushed it didn’t move on. I’m literally more upset for her!

Luckily, I get a chance to speak with the owner, who tells me that when he said no crowd work during his five-minute speech, he meant NO CROWD WORK. MATERIAL ONLY.

Fuck me. Pass the joint.

I’m almost in the subway when I realize that I forgot my book in the green room. I head back, grab the book, and descend into the subway. I start reading.

Wow. This book is SO MUCH BETTER THAN I THOUGHT. Oh that’s right, I’m high; I almost forgot. I start mouthing the words to myself, ACTING THEM, on the subway ride home.

Haven’t you noticed that our society is organized for this kind of liquidation? You have heard, of course, of those tiny fish in the rivers of Brazil that attack the unwary swimmer by thousands and with swift little nibbles clean him up in a few minutes, leaving only an immaculate skeleton? Well, that’s what their organization is. “Do you want a good clean life? Like everybody else?” You say yes, of course. How can one say no? “O.K. You’ll be cleaned up. Here’s a job, a family, and organized leisure activities.” And the little teeth attack the flesh, right down to the bone. But I am unjust. I shouldn’t say their organization. It is ours, after all: it’s a question of which will clean up the other. – Camus, The Fall

Before going home, I get a large bag of Ruffles Sour Cream & Onion to drown my sorrows in/have for dinner.

I’m upset that I didn’t win, but I’m glad that I did comedy the way that I like doing comedy. Material only is boring to me. I’m not putting down other forms of stand-up, but improv and crowd work makes me feel ALIVE, and it makes comedy fun for me.

Another set in the books. I’ve now done Second City, Yuk’s, Absolute, and Comedy Bar. What’s next?

  • Working on improving my weekly show that I just started at 596 College (6PM on Sundays).
  • We’ll see if Canada’s Smartest Person gives me a callback (I passed all their tests/interviews and now it’s up to a pantheon at CBC).
  • My Headhunting business is slowly taking off.
  • My Uncle challenged me to see who could get abs faster. Did I mention he’s 65 years old? When we both have abs, I’m going to fly down to Florida and we’ll take a picture together.
  • Read more Camus.
  • Have a Cheat Day.
  • Do more research for the book (it’s not about comedy).

So yeah man. Link up.

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This Is What Happens When You Face Your Fears

Background: There are five comics and three audience members in the bar. Two of the audience members, a white girl and a tall black guy, appear to be a couple.

  1. Crowd Work/Improv – 0:00 – 1:01
  2. Material – 1:01 – 1:50
  3. Crowd Work/Improv – 1:50 – 3:06

You can hear them laughing throughout! You would’ve heard it louder but they were waaaay on the other side of the room. It’s happening, guys. And somehow the material is just finding it’s place in between it all.

And you know what the craziest thing of all is? I planned on doing stuff like this…three years ago.

Guys. It’s happening.

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How to Grab Your Fuckin Balls and Overcome Your Fears

Disclaimer: This post will make more sense if you read this first.How To Overcome Your FearsDear Diary,

Right as I was about to take the stage, the host whispered in my ear,

Hey man, we’re running late; I don’t know you, and so I can only give ya two minutes.

I’m gonna do my best shit!‘ I reacted with a confident smile.

I ran out of my best shit in a minute and a half. On the way home, I realized that doing well on stage didn’t mean that I had to use my best jokes. That was breakthrough number one.

But what then? How could I make people laugh? The other options were clear: crowd work and improv. But how did you do that?

The answer was simple: you just fucking did it. You just started talking to the audience, and hopefully they talked back. You just started improvising, and hopefully something funny came out of your mouth. Either way, I couldn’t bomb any worse than I was with my material!

Now, did I implement that strategy the next day? No fuckin way! I was scared as shit to do that! I was afraid of the silence, afraid that it wouldn’t work, afraid that I’d offend someone.

But as Don Juan said, the first enemy of a man of knowledge is fear. So last night, I did a set at an open mic, and you know what I did? I did ZERO fuckin crowd work, and ZERO fuckin improv.

Luckily, I had a chance to do another set right after. Even more luckily, there was a man and a women sitting side by side that weren’t comics! Two actual audience members!! Even MORE luckily, the host called the man out for hitting on the woman, which I realized I could piggyback on!

Now, it’s not like I got a crazy amount of laughter, but I got chuckles throughout, and that’s a start. And hey, it got more laughs than most of my material has for the past three weeks!

So what’s the story here? Meditation has quieted my mind so that I’m sensitive to what’s happening/not happening on stage, and it’s also exposing the fears that are holding me back. And now that I know fear is the number one obstacle I need to overcome right now, I’m going to do crowd work and improv every chance I get until I’m completely at ease.

So yeah man.

Jagdeo

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Getting Back On The Horse

Dear Diary,

On June 2nd, I entered a comedy competition. Here’s the email I sent:

how to be a standup comedian

It’s June 27th today, and I don’t even recognize the person who wrote that. Long story short, I’m back. Here’s my advice for anyone looking to start comedy or get back into it.

how to be a stand up comedian

Healthy Body

You need to stay in top physical health to do two sets a night after working a long day and taking care of your family. To get back on stage on a regular basis, I began eating veggies three times a day and working out 6 days a week. Click here to see what was the breakthrough that lead me to change my ways for good.

Healthy Mind

Previously, the fear rejection and embarrassment sent me fleeing from the stage. A combination of an 8-month stint with marijuana (I quit), twice-daily meditation, and a book referral from an old professor did the trick for me (see #5). Disclaimer: I know there are comedians that are able to do stand-up in spite of their mental issues; I just wasn’t one of them.

Write a lot, Get on Stage a lot

This is Tom Segura’s advice, and he’s put it as concisely as anyone. You’re trying to do more than be a comedian: you’re trying to discover, accept, and share who you are. Make writing and going on stage a habit, something you don’t even think about. At night, you leave the house, because that’s what comics do. This is way more complicated than just learning how to write a good joke, and you’re not going to know what those complications are without writing a lot and getting on stage a lot.

Find a Mentor

It’s hard when you’re the only one in your corner. Really hard. Next to impossible. Quinn C. Martin’s never told me how to do stand-up. Rather, he’s encouraged me to be get my body in shape, get my mind in shape, write a lot, and get on stage a lot.

Identify and Overcome Your Fears

Sounds easy enough, right? Comedy is simply one of many paths in life, and all paths in life involve fear. Don Juan makes the best argument I’ve heard on the subject:

Here’s the good news: if you love comedy like I love comedy, take solace in the knowing that you’ll find a way. You’ll just…find a way.

PS – Absolute Comedy, Tuesday July 21st, 2015, 8PM :)

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