HOT SOUP is back on Wed (5/29) with Dan St. Germain and more

HOT SOUP is back EVERY WED NIGHT at Ella Lounge at 8:30pm. Free show + happy hour drink prices.

LINEUP THIS WEEK:
Greg Warren
Maddog Mattern
Kevin Barnett
Dan St. Germain
...and more!

RSVP to confirm your spot:
FREECOMEDYWEDNESDAYS@gmail.com

Full event details at Facebook.

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"All head, dead from the neck down"

From Brian Eno: A Sandbox In Alphaville by Lester Bangs.

No. I think the trouble with almost all experimental composers is that they’re all head, dead from the neck down. They don’t trust their hearts, I think, and tend to take themselves with a solemnity so extreme as to be downright preposterous. I don’t see the point, really. I’ve always abandoned pieces which succeeded theoretically but not sensually.”

In theory, theory is a waste of time. At least that's how I feel. Well, I think I feel that way. But now we're back to theory. Hmm.

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George Carlin describes how Bob Dylan and other musicians guided him to being more than just a comedian

George Carlin describes when he learned “not to give a shit.”



Found it at How the Great George Carlin Showed Louis CK the Way to Success. More Carlin goodness: 101 Greatest George Carlin Quotes (example: "If it requires a uniform, it’s a worthless endeavor.").

Just watched "Back in Town" again recently. He is so amped up and does not let up for the entire show. Astounding level of intensity.

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On camera, everything has to be tiny

An interview with Brooke Thomas on casting. Here she describes bad behavior she sees and why you need to be "tiny" for the camera.

Not listening, not taking direction, over-acting. You’re on a camera, everything has to be tiny. You can’t act, you have to just be. People want to act, and I get it – you’re an actor, you want to act – but it just doesn’t work for camera. I can’t take time to work with them, though. “Thank you. Next.” You have three minutes with each actor to put on camera. So my thought is, if you don’t have commercial training, please don’t go out on commercial auditions. It seems ridiculous, like, “How hard can it be to do a commercial?” But it’s a skill. You’re reading a cue card, while trying to relate to the camera, and you have 30 seconds to come across. Don’t think that because you have an MFA from Yale that you can come in and do a commercial. You might not be able to. It’s a skill you need to learn. It’s fast, you have to be prepared, you have to be confident, you have to listen, it is not easy at all.


The more I do video stuff (like Vooza), the more interested I get in the differences between what's funny on camera vs. what's funny on stage. The camera magnifies everything. A subtle look or reaction can make a bit fly onscreen but would get lost onstage. And the hard push you need to sell a bit during standup can come across as desperate when filmed.

Oh, and here's a related recent tweet:

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Interview: How Fear Can Be a Motivational Tool

My big motivator: Fear.



It's from Capture Your Flag's Erik Michielsen latest interview with me. Third year in a row we've done a Q&A like this. Here's the full playlist from this year's interview at YouTube. And here's Year 2 and Year 1.

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Great standup tips on crowd work and more from John Roy and Jared Logan

John Roy's "Entirely Free Comedy Class" is a great way to get off the ground with your standup with tips from a truly funny comedian. I especially liked guest "teacher" Jared Logan's explanation of how/why to do crowd work.

Try the socratic method. The great philosopher Socrates used to ask questions of people and then re-state their answers back to them, often with hilarious results (seriously, most of Plato is like one big long comedy routine). So do that. Ask the person anything, like what’s your name? what do you do for a living? where are you from? — and then repeat their answer back to them, in your own words. Repeating the answer in your own words not only starts to create the tension that will provide laughs, but it also helps the rest of the audience follow along. As you progress, the questions are naturally going to get more complex, because that’s how a conversation works. If you ask a person what they do for a living, they can just say “human resources manager” but your next question is naturally going to be more complicated. You might ask “What does a human resource manager do?” or “Do you enjoy it?” The person has to consider these types of questions more deeply and give a longer, more interesting answer. Then you repeat their answer in your own words. If you are honest, and let a bit of your own point of view start creeping in to your summary of their answer, you will get laughs. If the answers they give don’t make sense to you, don’t worry! That’s a golden opportunity! Re-stating something you don’t understand is funny. Be honest and summarize it in a way that sums up what you think they were trying to say.

This is really all there is to it. But you have to commit! Keep going until someone says something funny. Don’t get nervous and bail early because you’ve asked a couple questions, they’ve answered, you’ve restated, and nobody has laughed. Good crowd work takes patience. If you’re being honest and keeping it positive, something funny will happen.


One of my favorite things is doing crowd work and just telling the truth about how you feel about the situation and getting a big laugh off it. Moments like that are when I feel most like a funny person instead of a guy telling jokes.

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5/15 HOT SOUP Comedy Show with Drucker/Zimmerman/Sims

HOT SOUP is back EVERY WED NIGHT at Ella Lounge at 8:30pm. Free show and ya get happy hour drink prices too.

LINEUP THIS WEEK (5/15):
Mike Drucker (Fallon writer)
Joe Zimmerman (Beards of Comedy)
Zach Sims (Moving to LA!)
...and more!

RSVP to confirm your spot:
FREECOMEDYWEDNESDAYS@gmail.com

Full event details.

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Poke life and something will pop out the other side

Steve Jobs in 1994:

When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.

That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is: everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know, if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.

I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.


Passive vs. active. What's it gonna be?

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Hot Soup tonight (5/8) w/ Katz/Machi/Smith/Lucas Bros.

HOT SOUP is back EVERY WED NIGHT at Ella Lounge at 8:30pm. Free show and ya get happy hour drink prices too.

LINEUP THIS WEEK:
Louis Katz
Joe Machi
Lucas Bros
Doug Smith
...and more!

RSVP to confirm your spot:
FREECOMEDYWEDNESDAYS@gmail.com

Full event details.

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I'm a guest on Offstage podcast

I'm a guest on the newest OFFSTAGE W/ CHRISTIAN POLANCO PODCAST.

Matt Ruby is a comedian and writer who recently wrote a powerful essay about spending the last days with his dying father. It got a tremendous response across the internet and he came by to talk about it, amongst other things.

Listen as they cover relationships with fathers, supporting the comedy community, and preferring women who are strangers over being introduced.


Was a fun chat. Check it out.

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Watch me make fun of Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's, and Canadians

Eater's WE LOVE FOOD, Episode Two.

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Does drinking help or hurt?

"My manager was concerned, he said 'Mitch, don't use liquor as a crutch.' I can't use liquor as a crutch... because a crutch helps me walk. Liquor severely screws up the way I walk. It ain't like a crutch, it's like a step I didn't see." -Mitch Hedberg

Mitch is also the guy who needed to down a bottle of Jack moments before hitting the stage at Letterman. Unfortunately, we all know how that turned out.

A Slate article asks, "Hemingway, Fitzgerald: Did alcohol help or hinder the great writers?"

The great comedic actor W.C. Fields had a similar realization. Fields initially started drinking onstage and on set because he thought it loosened him up and improved his comic timing. But since he had a naturally high tolerance for alcohol, it took increasingly large quantities to keep him loose. (Fields once estimated that he imbibed “eight or ten cocktails, possibly a bottle of champagne, and a half dozen or more bottles of beer and ale per day.”) He insisted that drinking had never interfered with his work—until shortly before his death, when he told a friend from his hospital bed, “I’ve often wondered how far I could have gone had I laid off the booze.”


Being fucked up a lil' has helped me at times onstage. Loosens me up when I'm feeling stiff. But I started backing away from it a few years ago because I hated the idea that it might be something I'd NEED to do before performing. The idea that I have a big set so I'd have to go out and pound some shots first creeped me out. That's not a sustainable approach. You have to be able to bring your A game sober. Otherwise you're on a dangerous path.

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Hot Soup tonight (5/1) w/ Bargatze, Wang, and more

HOT SOUP is back EVERY WED NIGHT at Ella Lounge at 8:30pm. Free show and ya get happy hour drink prices too.

LINEUP THIS WEEK:
Nate Bargatze (Conan)
Sheng Wang (Comedy Central)
Aparna Nancherla (Totally Biased on FX)
Sean Donnelly (Comedy Central)
Matt Ruby (MTV)
Gary Vider (Laughing Skull)
and more!

RSVP to confirm your spot:
FREECOMEDYWEDNESDAYS@gmail.com

Full event details.

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