Friday, June 26, 2020

You May Say I'm A Dreamer, But I'm Not The Only One

I want to live in a world where people are kind and decent and we’re not utterly bewildered by honesty and shocked at thoughtfulness and impressed with selflessness.

When did American politics turn into an 8th grade recess playground where angry, resentful bullies run amok mocking and ridiculing everyone not like them, dragging them by the legs through the dirt until they cry and beg for mercy?

How is it that the vast majority of us go to great lengths to instill in our children common values but no longer demand that others adhere to them once we reach adulthood or get elected to office?

Why have we allowed the rich and powerful to divide us into fierce rivals in an endless game of dodgeball and when someone from the other team goes down, the “winners” stand proudly and sneer and jeer and point and name call?

Your neighbors are not the enemy. Your friends are not the enemy. Your brothers and sisters are not the enemy. Our enemies are greed and vanity and misplaced pride; envy and anger and resentment.

I long for leaders with integrity and courage and honor who are honest and decent; patient and strong, resolute and open. I pray for leaders who understand the concept of “for the common good,” who believe that a healthy and educated and empowered, free people can and will create a better world for all of us; not just a few of us.

If all people are indeed created equal as promised by America’s founders in the Declaration of Independence, it’s time we elect leaders who understand this bold but simple pledge and work tirelessly to uphold it.

We cannot turn back the clock. The America of the 1950s and ‘60s and even the relative civility of the 1980s doesn’t exist anymore and to vainly try to rekindle the culture or zeitgeist of a bygone era is a fool’s errand.

But make no mistake: we can and must find our humanity – and humility – again, and soon.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

I Found Mr. "Right." And Now He Must Be Stopped.

To the corporate VP who gave a 40-minute presentation in which he said the word right? 112* times: 

Stop it

For starters, the chances that you made 112 correct assertions are slim to none. I understand you have a Trump-size need to be seen as authoritative and credible. But ending every single declaration and half-baked thought with right? is about as effective at conveying authority and credibility as a Porsche is at conveying penis size. 

The truth is, by the time you said right? for the 20th and 30th times, it not only caused me to question the characteristics you were so desperately trying to impart, it became so distracting that I started to tune you out completely. So you could very well have been correct when you said right? the 50th and 60th times but I wouldn’t know because I was off in La La Land. 

I’m all in favor of a presenter or speaker being confident and knowledgeable, and credible and correct. But I’m not a big fan of pompous douchebags. 

That’s not to say that if you’re a right? over-user that you’re necessarily a pompous douchebag. But it does send up a big, bright-red flag that suggests there's a significant chance that you might be. And then you’ll have to go to extraordinary lengths to prove that you’re not, in fact, a pompous douchebag. And who has time to go around trying to disprove their douchebaggery? I’ve found the best way to not be perceived as a pompous douchebag is to not comport oneself like a pompous douchebag. You also might want to avoid phrases like "comport oneself."

And even though right? almost always masquerades as a question, the speaker's vocal inflection doesn't have the normal rise in pitch associated with a legitimate query. The tone is always much flatter, like when a teenage girl says whatever. 

When someone says right?, it's not a sincere invitation to challenge their assertion. It means, "don't bother answering because I'm telling you I'm right. Even though it sounded like I was asking for your opinion, it's just a rhetorical trick commonly employed by really clever people."

And, look

Just like you should quit peppering your speeches and conversations with right? for the love of Christmas, stop introducing every hack idea in your fat head by starting with look

Look, we get it. Again, you’re trying to establish that what you’re about to say is a truth of Biblical proportions and that such knowledge is the province of only the rarest breed of corporate monkeys, phony politicians and barstool bullshitters. 

Whenever someone prefaces one of their unbelievably insightful proclamations with the word look, my first instinct is to start scanning the area for something I think they want me to see. 

When I realize I’ve been had, I silently countdown from 3 knowing full well that in 2 more seconds they’ll underscore their unbelievably brilliant concept with their first right?, which is the green light to ignore everything that comes after. 

So please, on behalf of everyone you work with, your friends, your employees, your poor family, and every human being you come in contact with, please stop saying look and right.

Right? Of course I am. 

*112. No lie. I rewatched his presentation on video and counted every one. Although, admittedly, I dozed off for a minute or two so it could’ve actually been more.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hire a Clean Comedian! Like.... me!

After performing my stand-up act for a company or other private event, many times the client would ask if I could recommend another comedian to do the same event the next year cuz they weren't quite sure how to hire a clean comedian.

So eventually I started booking other comedians that I knew and admired. Primarily clean comedians who I knew would be a good fit for corporate gigs and other events where the audience was, shall we say, more discerning than those found in comedy clubs.

Sometimes, comedy fans accustomed to getting their comedy fix in comedy clubs and on cable TV are left with the impression that most comedians are just kind of dirty. They seem genuinely surprised when they discover a clean comedian that actually makes them laugh.

The reality is that there are LOADS of super funny, clean comedians working today. In fact, the demand for clean comedy and clean comedians has never been higher.

And in the 20+ years that I've been performing, I've had the chance to work with and establish relationships with some truly great clean comedians. So much so, that when my former clients would contact me for a referral, the hardest part was narrowing down their choices to just one or two.

So in order to better service them, my friend Gina and I started an entertainment agency many years ago called "Starlight Entertainment." If memory serves, the name was Gina's idea. I didn't quite get it but went along with it. Turns out we got more than a few calls from drunk, lonely guys who were hopeful we provided a different type of entertainment.

Eventually, Gina and I went our separate ways to focus on our own performance careers. And the agency we started evolved into Pro Comedians to provide event planners, committee members and other entertainment buyers a trusted, reliable resource for booking professional comedians with the talent, experience and material required by their more-discerning audiences.

Proud to say it's still going strong. Many of my own corporate bookings come from They do a great job of understanding the needs of the corporate market and non-profit groups looking for entertainment that their audiences will enjoy without embarrassing anyone.

So next time you're planning any type of event and you're looking for entertainment, hire a clean comedian! I highly recommend the professionals at Guaranteed Laughs For Any Event!™