Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Enough with the public shaming already

Here are two things that folks believe:
  • There are people in need who benefit from government assistance programs.
  • There are people who aren't that needy who abuse and exploit government assistance programs

Both of those things are true. If you're arguing either of those points, congratulations! You and your opponent are both right and the only things in dispute are degrees and solutions for reducing or eliminating abuse (unless you're arguing for completely abolishing those programs or making everything free for everybody, in which case you're just an asshole). Either way, again, congratulations. You win.
But can we get away from this kind of thing, please?
Hey, I have a question: Whatever happened to minding your own goddamn business? Remember when that was a thing? That was a pretty good thing, as far as things go.

Do you work hard?
Do you provide for your family?
Have you survived tough times without help?
That's great! Good for you! You deserve to be proud of yourself. THAT is your reward.

What's the point of confronting someone that you perceive is beneath you and shaming them over their situation? There's no way this lady, or any of us, knows what's going on with this guy, or anybody else for that matter. He might be the biggest welfare cheat in the world. He also might not be. Either way, what difference does it make? If your circumstances in life are better than someone else's and making them feel bad about it is how you get satisfaction, you're warped. Of course, walking around judging human beings as beneath you based on perceptions you form within your own mind based on their appearance is also warped in itself. And what do you need with all those paper towels anyway, you psycho? (See? Not helpful.)

You're also not doing anybody any good. Even if you sincerely believe that you have a legitimate gripe about a system that you see taking money out of your pocket and even if this guy is the biggest scumbag on the planet, what changes after you climb off your WalMart soapbox? You feel a little better within the smothering confines of your own tiny, personal universe because you blew off some steam. Great. On behalf of everybody else in the world, thanks for literally nothing.

So how about this? How about we all take a break from thinking we know what's best for other people, whether it's how people get and spend their money, what clothes a woman chooses to wear, who somebody falls in love with or any other goddamn thing else that has zero impact whatsoever on our lives, keep our heads down and our mouths shut and work on putting our own houses in order for a change?

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Clearing up all the confusion about tonight's event

This happens soon.
Really soon.
Like, in just a few hours!
Literally nones of you have been bombarding me with one burning question...
"Now, I've seen it advertised as 'LOLZ for a cause' but also as 'Relay for LOLZ'. This is tremendously confusing. Which is the actual official correct name of the event?"
I'm glad you didn't ask because the answer is: Who gives a shit?
Call it whatever you want. As long as you show up at Urban Phoenix Studios located at 2002 E. 5th Ave, Suite 103, Tampa Florida (in Ybor City), donate $20 to the American Cancer Society and come inside to watch me, Tyler Horvath, Colin Means, Melissa Nicholas, Zac Townsend and Victoria Yepes tell jokes, that's all that matters.

Whew! Glad I could clear that up!

Monday, May 02, 2016

This week: Come see me, me, me and some other people and me!

Hey, this is a big week in comedy for me, isn't it?
That was a rhetorical question because yes. Yes, it is.

It starts Tuesday with this:
I may have mentioned that once or twice.

Comedians Tyler Horvath, Colin Means, Melissa Nicholas, Zac Townsend and Victoria Yepes have been bickering non-stop on Facebook, which means they're ready to give you a great show. Plus, it helps benefit the American Cancer Society, so, you know, come on.

And then starting on Thursday, I'm back at good ol' Side Splitters to host for Andy Woodhull all weekend.
Andy was the first comedian to make his network television debut on the Tonight Show: Starring Jimmy Fallon.  He has also recently appeared on Conan, Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen, and Gotham Comedy Live on AXS. In 2009 he appeared on Comedy Central's Live at Gotham. Andy has appeared at many comedy festivals and contests including Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, and The Great American Comedy Festival.  He has been featured on the nationally syndicated Bob and Tom radio show, and was a semi-finalist in CMT's "Next Big Comic".  He has won the Best of the Midwest Competition at Gilda's Laugh and his album "Lucy" was named top 10 comedy albums of the year by "comedy reviews"  Andy was named one of four comedians to watch by the Chicago Tribune.

So if you want to come and see me (and why wouldn't you?) and them, here's the where and when at-a-glance:

  • Tuesday, May 3, 8:00PM "LOLZ For A Cause" - Urban Phoenix Studios, 2002 E. 5th Ave. Suite 103, Tampa (Ybor)
  • Thursday, May 5, 8:30PM - Side Splitters, 12938 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa
  • Friday, May 6, 8:00PM - Side Splitters, 12938 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa
  • Friday, May 6, 10:15PM - Side Splitters, 12938 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa
  • Saturday, May 7, 6:00PM - Side Splitters, 12938 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa
  • Saturday, May 7, 8:00PM - Side Splitters, 12938 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa
  • Saturday, May 7, 10:15PM - Side Splitters, 12938 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa
  • Sunday, May 8, 7:00PM - Side Splitters, 12938 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa
That's a lot of days and times. I'm going to show up at every one of them. I don't see a valid reason why you can't show up for at least one of them.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Tuesday's show: Fun facts about the comics!

Next Tuesday, there will be a comedy show in Ybor City that will raise funds to benefit Relay for Life on behalf of the American Cancer Society
Here are some Fun Facts! about the comedians who will be performing in the show. You can always tell when Facts are Fun by the use of exclamation points!
I didn't ask their permission but I'm putting their personal business out there. Because this is raw! This is real! This is Fun Facts!

Tyler Horvath
  • Tyler used to work at Arby's!
  • Other than the United States, Arby’s currently has locations in Turkey, Canada, and Qatar!
  • All together Arby’s has over 3,400 locations all over the globe!
  • There are only two states in the country without an Arby’s branch: Rhode Island and Vermont!
Colin Means
  • Colin is tall! 
  • I don't know how tall he is!
  • He's taller than lots of people!
  • But not all of them!
Melissa Nicholas
  • Melissa is one of two women performing in this show!
  • There are six (6) people performing in the show!
  • 33% of the performers in the show are women!
  • Melissa represents 50% of all women performing in the show!
Zac Townsend
  • As far as I know, Zac has never worked at Arby's!
  • The original Arby’s opened in Ohio and had less than five main menu items available: roast beef sandwiches, Jamocha shakes, Texas-sized iced tea, and potato chips on the side! 
  • The founders of Arby’s were Forrest and Leroy Raffel, who were often called the R.B. brothers or RB’s!
  • Arby’s famous Beef ‘n Cheddar sandwich made its debut in 1978!
Victoria Yepes
  • Victoria's last name starts with Y, which is the reason she's listed last and not because of sexism!
  • Technically, I'm actually the one who is listed last, so there's no issue with sexism at all!
  • Sexism is wrong!
  • Please don't sue me!
Clark Brooks
  • I'm Clark Brooks!
  • I will be serving as your humble host for the evening, and will be introducing the talented young comedians listed above!
  • I will probably wear the same shirt seen in this picture, or one that looks pretty similar because I have a lot of shirts like that one!
  • I'm Clark Brooks!
Now that you know so many deeply personal things about all the participating comedians, how can you possibly miss this show???

LOLZ For A Cause!
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Urban Phoenix Studios
2002 E. 5th Street, Suite 103
Tampa (Ybor City), Florida

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

One more dummy for the road

If you've ever worked a 15-hour day, you know that desperate feeling of just wanting to go home when it's finally over. Maybe eat a bowl of cereal before getting in bed, but more than anything else in the world, you just want to get back to the place where you sleep at night already. Odds are at least 50/50 that when you've experienced that feeling, life has thrown at least one dumb thing in your way to keep that from happening as easily as you would like.
A couple of weeks ago, I was leaving work at 1AM, departing a basically empty parking garage. Except for one other random person, a person that just happened to back out in front of me as I was on my way out. Now there are only two people leaving the garage and somehow, we're a line. That's mildly annoying. What drove it up a notch was how this person handled his attempt to exit the garage.
Can you see what's happening here?

He's paying the machine so he can exit the garage.

Did you happen to notice the position of the gate?

That's right. Not only was I behind someone, I was behind someone too dumb to notice that the gate is open and that he could have driven right out if he wanted to.

Look at him. Look how dumb he is. Here he is paying with the dumb money he got from some dumb job, because some company was dumb enough to hire him to do dumb things. And of course he has a fistful of singles because that's probably how he demands to be paid. Dumb people love to have a whole bunch of singles because that way you can have a lot of money even if you don't have very much money.

I yelled at him, because when you want something to happen at 1am after you've worked a 15-hour day, you yell.
"The gate is up! Just go!"
I yelled this twice and then decided to take the picture because he was obviously ignoring me and I felt like this incident needed to be documented. Because what if I told this story and nobody believed me? No, there needed to be some sort of record to prove the existence of someone this dumb.

Then, because I was frustrated, I yelled again. To this, he stuck his dumb head out of the dumb window of his dumb car and yelled back, "I lost my ticket and you have to pay a fee of $9 when you lose your ticket!"
I replied, "I know you lost your ticket". I didn't know anything about this person beyond this situation but of course I knew he had lost his ticket because dumb people can't be trusted to hang on to things that cost $9 when they lose them.
"But you don't have to pay anything. When the gate is already up, it's not necessary to pay anything to make it go up. The fee is actually zero dollars to make that happen. Because it's already happened."
He simply wasn't having it. Nothing was going to stop him from taking nine crumpled one dollar bills and inserting them into the machine, sometimes successful on the first try, usually not. "One...two...three...oops, how many did I already do?"

Eventually, he got all nine dollar bills to be uncrumpled enough and facing the same direction to be accepted by the machine, which caused the gate to do nothing, of course, and he drove off.

I'm sure I'll see him again soon, driving the wrong direction on a one-way street because this is Tampa. Maybe then he'll actually manage to kill me.

Monday, April 25, 2016

LOLZ For A Cause!

Hey, remember how we hate cancer? Remember how we used to do all kinds of silly things in an effort to fight cancer? Remember how I said I was going to continue to use the blog to promote events and stuff? Remember how I do stand-up comedy now?
I don't. 
Good thing I wrote it all down, huh?
Remembering stuff is hard!

Well, let's tie all of those things together...

LOLZ For A Cause!
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Urban Phoenix Studios
2002 E. 5th Street, Suite 103
Tampa (Ybor City), Florida

An evening of stand-up comedy with the proceeds going toward The American Cancer Society's Relay For Life. There's going to be food and drinks and prizes and lots of laughs. Featuring the considerable talents of:

Tyler Horvath

Colin Means

Melissa Nicholas

Zac Townsend

Victoria Yepes

Also, me.

I'll be there, too.
(Please come anyway)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prince is gone

I've written about Prince here before, lots of times, because I considered him something of a hero, at least to me. I'm not really processing the news of his death very effectively right now; dealing with a combination of shock at his passing and already feeling adrift in the very short time that he's been absent.
I saw him perform live three times. That's as close as I ever came to meeting the guy, but he was still tremendously influential to me.

Over the years, I've encountered a lot of people who didn't understand. "You?? Seriously? Why are you a Prince fan?!?"
He was innovative, imaginative and fiercely, defiantly independent. He did what he wanted to do and didn't allow those who didn't share his vision to hold him back. Things didn't always work out but he refused to let others define what was a success or failure and didn't let the outcome either way restrict him in future endeavors. He believed in himself. A lot of people saw that as undue arrogance, but he had the talent and ability to back it all up. If somebody couldn't or wouldn't participate at his level, they could see their way out and he would do their part himself. He simply refused to deviate from the way he wanted things done for the sake of compromise.

I never dressed (or danced) like him or even know how to play music, but how does anybody who considers themselves in any way to be creative not draw inspiration from someone like that? There are other people like that out there. Not many, but some. Prince was my guy though. He spoke to me through his work. Without following his example, it's safe to say that I never write this blog or publish a book (there's a reason both of those are purple) or ever get up in front of a crowd to tell jokes. He made me want to be better.

I've never needed someone else to write a status update for me on Facebook, but my friend Jim Choquette posted this earlier:
"Prince taught me that it's ok to not conform. Who's going to carry that torch now...
I dont often apologize, but Im feeling extremely humbled today. I can be a real pill at times. If I've ever been a complete dick to you, I'm sorry.
Chances are, it was me - not you. I never meant to cause you any sorrow...."
It was perfect so I copied it and added this:
"Yes, exactly. Same goes for me. Every word of this."
And so now, how does one honor the legacy of someone they considered a leader? Well, JB Ball, another friend, posted the following, also earlier today:
"Don't stop grinding you guys. Don't stop critiquing yourself HONESTLY. Don't be afraid to take chances. I know this message can be perceived as corny but who cares. Do this and you'll be headed in the direction you want." 
I don't even know if this was inspired by the sad events of today but it's really good advice and totally appropriate.