Saturday, February 13, 2016

Dear Future Former Club Owner

Dear Mr. Failure,

I'm writing this "I told you so" letter in advance. I want to be the first one "on the record" to say that it is inevitable that your comedy club will fail.

I tried to help you. I reached out and offered what I had learned during my ownership of a 225 seat comedy club. It was a polite email; it was an olive branch. What did I receive back from you? A smart ass response telling me how since you had been in the Army for 20 years and had a "background in marketing" that you would be "OK, lol" LoL? Really? 20 years in the Army and you use the term "lol" in a business related email?

That told me a lot. Not the lol. The "lol" told me that you don't know how to properly communicate with another business person. I'm wondering what your "background in marketing" actually is? The last time I checked the Army wasn't in "retail". Were you the one who cleaned the sign at the entrance of the base you were on?

The part that I learned the most of was how you didn't even ask me a question. All you did was tell me how you'd been in the military for the past 20 years and you had a "marketing" background.

I think you're basking in a little too much "thanks for your service" afterglow. The last time I checked the military didn't do a lot to prepare you to run a regular business, much less a comedy club. The last time I checked the only "marketing" they did was for enlisted men, they weren't really selling a product.

Now, do I think you're going to fail because you didn't ask for my advice? Absolutely not; I think you're going to fail because you think you have it all figured out. That when you had the chance to speak with someone who had been in the world of comedy for 25 years, owned a 225 seat comedy club located in one of the top 25 cities of the US, has ties with some of the most successful comedy club owners in the business and was the Senior Loan Officer of a bank; you probably should have taken it.

It may not have been advice that applied to your situation. But how would you know until you heard it? That's why you will fail. Because you think you have it all figured out. You'll find out soon enough that you don't, and by the time you figure that out it will be too late for you to pull out of the nose dive that your comedy club will be experiencing.

Even though you haven't asked for it, I'll give you some advice anyway. Instead of putting all that money into a comedy club, burn it; at least you'll get some heat out if it.

Your friend in comedy,


Note: There is an episode of my podcast The Spew that gives the background for this entry. It's short and to listen to by clicking here.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Watch What You Say

There is a war raging in the stand-up comedy community. I'm watching all these stand-up comics debating clean vs dirty. There is a small but mighty group of stand-up comedians that have become very vocal lately saying that going clean is not only the best way to do comedy; but if you don't, you are taking the easy way out. That any comedian that writes and performs dirty material is … well … not as good a comedian as they are.

I wonder how many of these stand-up comics smoke. Hasn't it been proven that smoking can kill you? Yet they do so anyway. What do they say when someone tells them they shouldn't smoke. They say “It's my life, I know what the risks are. Stay out of my business”. Yet these same individuals will look down their nose at me because I choose to work “blue”.

I use the term “blue” because because “dirty” is not really an accurate term. “Dirty” is used in an effort to make what I do different from what it is. “Dirty” gives a person the impression that I'm on stage swearing like a drunk sailor on leave talking in graphic detail about the lurid sexual things I've done or want to do.

That's what people think when they hear the word “dirty” they think objectionable.

Do I swear on stage, yes. Do I talk about graphic sexual things, no. I don't even talk about sex. If you are asking yourself if I could work clean, sure. I choose not to and for a very specific reason, I don't want to. That should be good enough for you and anyone else that may ever ask me that question.

Do I work without the swear words? Sometimes … but it's still blue because of the things I'm talking about. I'm not doing my material in front of kids or in front of a church congregation. Most of the time I'm doing my material in front of a group of people that are in a nightclub that serves alcohol. That's where I WANT to be, that's MY crowd. They enjoy what I do, I enjoy performing for them. Why does anyone feel the need to say what I'm doing is wrong?

It's this “shaming” of comedians that choose to not work clean that irritates me the most. We know what we're up against. We know that we can't work in ANY room. We also know that we probably won't ever be on TV. Yet we still do what we do. Why? Because it's what we feel we HAVE to do. Just like you “clean” comics.

Yet you tell us we're taking the easy way out, that “anyone” can write a dirty joke but it takes someone with “talent” to write a clean one because that takes a greater degree of skill. I saw a comedian post this gem recently; “If you can't write 7 clean minutes, odds are you can't write comedy”.

Really? I have news for all of you stand-up comics that seem to feel it's OK to spout this line of trash out. I hope that in the future the tide doesn't turn against you. Maybe then you'll understand how intolerant you appear to those of us that have decided to do what we feel the artistic need to do. If the roles were to be reversed I doubt that you would hear comics that chose to work “dirty” telling the comics that work clean what they were doing is wrong.

I respect comics that work “clean” do. Why is it they can't do the same? And don't tell me that you do while you're also telling me that by working whatever you consider “dirty” to be. You're contradicting yourself ...

Note: If you'd like to hear my verbal tirade about this listen to this episode of my Podcast The Spew