Happy Belated New Year, or bloated New Year, if the post-holiday weigh-in at my gym is to be believed. My trainer gave me a body mass index test and it told me that I’m 30% body fat. That’s like and entire leg made of fat. That’s a problem. What’s an even bigger problem is that an entire leg made of fat sounds delicious to me right now. It’s a never-ending cycle. My fitness goals will be even harder to hit thanks to my recent introduction to another scrumptious obstacle: Strawberry Pretzel Salad. Stop making that face and let me explain. It’s a Pittsburgh delicacy made using strawberries, Jell-O, Cool Whip, and cream cheese, with crumbled pretzels as the outer crust. So far, it’s my favorite stretch to the the definition of “salad”.

The new year is about new beginnings, and what better way to clean the slate for 2016 than to win the Gross Domestic Product of Burundi. The Powerball lottery jackpot is a staggering $1.4 billion at the time of this writing. Your odds of winning are slightly less staggering, but only in the way getting hit by a piano from ten floors up is less staggering than getting hit with a piano from twenty floors. I do not care. My disregard for the odds is Han Solo-like. All I know is that somebody has to win, and why can’t it be me?

When the lottery gets to Scrooge McDuck swimming pool levels, people who focus on the astronomical odds will take the sour grapes mindset, “I wouldn’t want to win anyway, because that kind of money would ruin me.” Well, to those people I say that kind of money could ruin a person, but it could also turn them into Batman. Listen, I get that money doesn’t buy happiness, but with that kind of money you can afford to make everyone else around you miserable, making you seem happier by comparison. It’s all about perspective. I saw a piece on the news at a local liquor store filled with hopeful people. One woman was asked what she would do with the money. She said, “I would buy a new car and pay off some debt.” SOME debt? How many payments do you have left on your space station, lady?

I worry that whoever does win the jackpot won’t have the imagination to properly enjoy it. Obviously, some of it goes in the bank, so you can live the life that Hans Gruber was denied at the end of Die Hard. He just wanted to be, “sitting on a beach, earning 20%.” The cash payout for this jackpot is going to be roughly $800 million after taxes. Even if you put half of that away, you still have $400 million to play with. So, for the imagination impaired, I have some suggestions for what to do with the money…

  1.  Tila Tequila thinks the Earth is flat because she can’t see the curve, so you can use part of your winnings to shoot her into space, thereby solving two problems.
  2. Hire a mobile orchestra to follow you around and perform your theme song that you contracted John Williams to compose for you.
  3. Reboot Titanic.
  4. The Playboy Mansion is for sale for $200 million. The only problem is that Hef conveys and he gets to live there until his Faustian contract is up.
  5. Interstate zip lines.
  6. Pizza party.

Just a couple ideas I’ve had floating around. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the passing of rock icon, David Bowie. I will admit to not being familiar with a lot of his music, but he had a hand in shaping my childhood as I’m sure he did with many of you as Jareth, the Goblin King in Labyrinth, the modern (in 1986) muppetational take on The Wizard of Oz. The soundtrack to that movie was one of the first albums I ever owned, and I have a special place in my heart for movie characters that have my name (Jareth was close enough when I was 11). I think I speak for everyone when I say, “Fuck Cancer.” Maybe whoever wins the jackpot can funnel a couple hundred million into eradicating it, but they’ll probably just buy a car. Ziggy, we hardly knew ye…


The Man Called Tomorrow

Hey gang… As time continues its inevitable march toward the new year, I wanted to give you something to distract you from the holiday doldrums. I’m writing from my mother-in-law’s apartment in sunny Florida. Although, that isn’t much of a brag considering that most of the eastern seaboard currently resembles L.A. without most of the self-delusion. Why do I bother spending the holidays in Florida if I can’t shove it in the numb shivering faces of friends and family back home? Oh well. Enjoy frolicking in shorts and sun dresses in December. Mother Nature will balance the scales with a blizzard in March that will sock everyone in for a week and a half. The toilet paper aisle at Harris Teeter will make Black Friday at Best Buy look like Arbor Day at Radio Shack. It doesn’t make sense now, but trust me, the metaphor holds up.

I’m always amazed at the interesting lives led by other people. As the selfie-obsessed ego-maniacs our society has evolved into, we all think that our lives are in the top percentile of interesting. If you take the time to listen to other people and what they’ve done, you realize maybe that fifth picture of the linguini you had last night wasn’t the culinary game changer you thought it was. I attended the Christmas party in my mother-in-law’s building last night and met a couple people who might be the most interesting I’ve met all year, possibly in the last five years. The first guy worked for the Air Force. His job? Packing parachutes into pilot ejector seats. What was my first question upon hearing this? “So, how accurate was the ejector seat scene from Die Hard 2?”

His answer, unfortunately, was that it’s total bullshit. That type of plane had no canopy, and when pilots need to evacuate, they jump out of the side door. I then proved I knew what a canopy was by referencing Goose from Top Gun. Thank goodness movies provide us with a universal language for describing real life. I felt like I was in that episode of Star Trek:TNG telling him about Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra. I love talking to people about stuff that I will never do. He has also flown a jet and worn a G-suit. Here’s something I never knew, the G-suit squeezes your body, so that your blood doesn’t all plummet to your feet while you are pulling multiple G’s. Anyway, I found it all fascinating. The second guy I talked to was in a motorized wheelchair. He wore a Harley Davidson t-shirt, a Harley Davidson necklace, and had Harley Davidson tattoos on both arms. The guy was brand loyal. As I got to talking to him, he told me that he rode a 1000 miles a day on his motorcycle, and his goal was to ride 1,000,000 miles. It was cut short at about 600,000 when he fell asleep at the wheel while riding in Alaska, paralyzing him from the chest down. He still rides, though. He’s having a trike built so he can pick up where he left off. He owns 14 motorcycles, including a Harley from 1912. He’s also a member of the oldest motorcycle club in Brazil. Think Sons of Anarchy, but with more plantains. He also told me about breaking one of his legs and not realizing it until someone pointed out that the bone was poking through. Two things about me: 1) I’ve never ridden a motorcycle. 2) I’ve never broken a bone. I was enthralled by his zest for life and was made very aware of the distinct lack of zest in my risk-averse life. When I asked him his name, he told me it was “Tomorrow”. It’s actually Tomauro, but he got tired of explaining the pronunciation to people. Anyway, I could’ve talked to him all night.

I should also share my thoughts on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, since that is now the dominant focus of popular culture. It’s mildly ironic that, until recently, Star Wars was just the culture of unpopular people. Well, I saw it, thoroughly enjoyed it, then thought about it, and realized it was pretty much just a retelling of the first movie. Oh, sorry, SPOILER ALERT. I’m legally obligated to put that in front of anything that might give you a hint of what might happen in the movie. It’s been out for a week, people. Don’t get me wrong, it was everything it needed to be. It felt like a Star Wars movie, it had heart, the new characters were engaging, the old characters weren’t just there for nostalgia’s sake, everything fit together nicely. But, it’s another droid with an important message for the rebellion dropped off on a desert planet, discovered by an unlikely hero who doesn’t realize they’re a part of something much bigger, being pursued by a draconian military force with a giant frickin’ laser that can destroy a planet. I liken it to the 2006 reintroduction of Superman to movie audiences. A beloved franchise that newer audiences might not be as familiar with because the last installment, which stunk, came out almost 20 years ago. Superman Returns was pretty much an exact retelling of the first Superman: The Movie from 1978. The folks at Disney wanted to ease the new audience that was raised by parents that grew up on this stuff into the basic story of the franchise. That’s being generous. It could also just be lazy storytelling on the part of J.J. Abrams, who wasn’t above milking original Star Trek nostalgia to make his reboot seem more palatable. Either way, I liked it, I plan on seeing it again to try and catch stuff my teary fanboy eyes might’ve missed the first time.

One last thing. I’m getting back on the comedy horse and I’ve been booked to play a show on New Year’s Eve. So, if you happen to be in the Harrisburg, PA area, I’ll be at the Harrisburg Comedy Zone on Dec. 31st and Jan. 2nd with none other than Dustin Diamond, Screech from Saved by the Bell. See you there.

Have a very merry and a holly jolly. I’ll see about getting one last installment up before year’s end.

The Blog Awakens

Hello neglected readers. Again, the perfect storm of procrastination, distraction, and general malaise has lead to blog atrophy. Since I’m no longer encumbered by a day job, I figure there’s no time like the present to put off the job search and give you something to wrap your eyeballs around.

The big day is on the horizon. The newest installment of Star Wars will be forcing itself on the movie-going public in a matter of days, shattering box office records and re-branding just about every consumer product in the known universe. Before it gets here and sets the new standard by which all seventh movies in a franchise will be judged, I thought we should take a moment and figure out which movie series is the current holder of the title: Best Seventh Movie. Obviously we’re not going to use any objective metric like box office gross or award nominations. In many cases, except for a couple of the ones on this list, any franchise that has gone that long is at the point of self-parody by plucky number seven. Let me point out that I haven’t actually seen all of these, but don’t let that dampen my expert-sounding tone.

7. Diamonds Are Forever (James Bond) – I’ve never been a James Bond guy. Sure, Sean Connery is the definition of cool, but when I was a kid I was more drawn to his turns in Highlander and Time Bandits. Awesome as being a super spy was, I wanted to be immortal and time travel with a group of British midgets. So, this belongs in the category of “haven’t seen,” but since this is the first major franchise to have a seventh movie (besides the Bob Hope and Bing Crosby “Road to…” movies), I figured it deserved a mention.

6. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (Nightmare on Elm St.) – While I wasn’t much of a James Bond guy, I am a die hard Freddy Kruger guy. I’ve seen all of them. The recent reboot, like most recent reboots, is sacrilege. With franchises that run this long there is a general rule of thumb as far as quality. With the Nightmare on Elm St. movies, it’s the odd numbered ones that stand out. This first is a classic, Dream Warriors is fantastic (with a cast that includes Lawrence Fishburne and Patricia Arquette), and Dream Child is one of the campiest entries, with Freddy at his catch-phrasiest. Which brings us to the New Nightmare. This was Wes Craven’s attempt to make Freddy relevant again by rooting him in the “real lives” of the people who made the original film. Freddy has now transcended the screen. He’s pissed that the series is over and the only way to stop him is for Wes Craven and Heather Langenkamp (Nancy) to make another movie. They try to up the creep factor by making Heather’s son, who looks like he just came home from the Overlook Hotel, the conduit for Freddy’s reemergence.

It mostly pays homage to the original movie and tries to recreate some of the iconic deaths. Even if it’s not close to as scary, this was the precursor to Wes Craven’s Scream series about a “real life” horror killer that you have to follow a set of cinematic tropes to take down.

5. Star Trek: Generations – Like I mentioned earlier, there’s a general rule of thumb when it comes to any long-running franchise. With Star Trek, it’s the even numbers. Wrath of Khan, Voyage Home, and Undiscovered Country are all varying degrees of awesome. The only redeeming quality of Search for Spock was Christopher Lloyd as the lead Klingon… funny that they ended up time traveling in his ship for the next movie. Anyway, Generations had a tough legacy to overcome. Not only that, this movie was to be the bridge between the decaying original cast and the new class of Federation heroes that would carry the torch. Obviously, in order to do that, time needed to be rendered irrelevant. So, we’re introduced to the Nexus, an extradimensional realm which allows those who enter to experience their pasts over again, whenever and however they choose, to ultimate and unending ecstasy. Kirk is stuck there and Picard must convince him to leave so they can team up to stop Soran, Malcolm MacDowell, from chewing the scenery into oblivion. It’s a fun romp and we get to see Kirk get one last hurrah before taking up the mantle of Priceline Negotiator.

4. Furious 7 – This goes into the category of ones I haven’t seen. I take that back. I have seen the first Fast & Furious, so I’ve technically seen them all. Cars, guns, bad-assery, and combinations of all three jumping out of planes, crashing through skyscraper windows, and ignoring any basic laws of physics. Not a complaint, mind you. Movies like this are about spectacle and this one bugs the viewer’s eyes out like the love struck wolf in a Tex Avery cartoon…
Plus, now that I’m looking at the cast, you’ve got Tony Jaa as a henchman. Holy shit. If you don’t know who Tony Jaa is, allow me to enlighten you…

Long story short, do not fuck with this man’s elephant. Furious 7 also features the emotional goodbye to Paul Walker, who died doing pretty much trying to rehearse for the movie. Again, haven’t seen it, but I plan on giving it a looksee.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 – The first half of the last in the Harry Potter series finds Harry and his pals on a quest to destroy Voldemort’s horcruxes. I think that’s the plural of horcrux. The plural of vortex is vortices, so maybe it’s horcuces. I’m not going to try to parse the grammar of made up words. I’m just glad it’s not a damn emoji or something. This movie marks the first time in the series where it wasn’t super creepy to look at Hermoine in the way that most creeps were doing since The Sorcerer’s Stone. This was also the first movie in the series that broke from the formula that was established in the first one: Professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts turns out to be a tool of Voldemort, Harry figures this out, wins a Quidditch match, uses whatever object happens to be in the title to beat back Voldemort, rinse, repeat.

2. X-Men: Days of Future Past – The X-Men franchise has been spotty. It’s got two real quality entries, X2 and X-Men: First Class, and two that are widely regarded as two of the worst comic book movies ever made, those being X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Days of Future Past, much like Star Trek: Generations, serves as a bridge between the original cast (again with Patrick Stewart) and the prequels that have rejuvenated the franchise. Wolverine, who is basically just walking sinew at this point, is sent back in time to prevent the cataclysmic future that the X-Men are currently facing: Sentinels that can adapt to their mutations to take them out. This movie hinges on two great set pieces. The first is the prison break of Magneto with the mutant Quicksilver. Since Marvel and 20th Century Fox both technically have rights to the character, both decided to include him in their respective sweeping super storylines. This is the superior handling of the two.

The second awesome set piece is Magneto picking up RFK Stadium and dropping it on the White House lawn. The action in the movie is great and Michael Fassbender does a great job lending gravitas to a role that was previously inhabited by one of the best actors of a generation.

1. Creed (Rocky) – If you haven’t seen Creed, GO. SEE. CREED. When I mentioned that many franchises that go this long become a parody of themselves, this was where the Rocky franchise had gone. People forget that Rocky won the Oscar for Best Picture. Rocky II was a good movie. Rocky’s III and IV are 80s cult classics, but they’re cartoonish as hell. I need to go back and watch the boxing sequences in the first two movies, because watching the matches in Rocky III and IV, it’s a wonder how any of those fights went longer than 30 seconds. They just pummel each other in the head with no thought of defending. The fifth and sixth in the series are hot garbage. Creed brings the respectability back to Sylvester Stallone that makes you all but forget Stop or My Mom Will Shoot! Google it. It follows the story of Apollo Creed’s illegitimate son, Adonis, who seeks out Rocky Balboa to train him. I mentioned the boxing from III and IV, well they actually make the boxing look and feel real this time. The only thing that was missing was a dream sequence that could’ve brought Carl Weathers into it somehow. Sort of like in Happy Gilmore. Or maybe as a ghost Jedi.

Thanks for reading. I hope I can make a regular go at this again, but I’m easily distracted…

Stupid People Are People, Stupid

Hey gang… Again, I’ve neglected you. Just when I thought I was in a good bloggy rhythm, I went on vacation, got distracted, then just plain got lazy. Before you know it, I’m a week away from going 0 for April. So, in the hopes of getting back on track, here I am for your mild amusement. A quick update before I get started.

Thank you to everyone who voted for me in the Washington City Paper Best of DC 2014 Reader’s Poll. If you look to your right, you’ll see the fancy new widget declaring my runner-uppery. I’m winded from running up. My nipples are chafed. It was a long race. So, the pressure is off this year, since I’m only “one of” the best comedians in DC for 2014. Congrats to my buddy, Jimmy Meritt for taking the top spot. Next year will be the tie breaker.

Onward to my pithy musings…

I saw on Good Morning America that people are getting plastic surgery so they can look better in selfies. These people apparently have low selfie-esteem. Plastic surgery isn’t going to fix the problem because they’re flawed on a deeper level. Since they’ll be under anesthetic already, why not take a melon baller to the part of their brain that gives a goddamn about selfies? I don’t understand the obsession with selfies, probably because I’m old. Maybe they think because artists paint self-portraits that their duck-faced vanity is a form of expression. I think these people would be much happier with themselves if they had friends to take pictures of them.

Another thing I saw on GMA was a segment with chef Emeril Lagasse. They had viewers tweet him the leftovers in their fridge so he could find creative ways to “kick it up a notch”. The stuff people were sending in didn’t take a master chef to figure out what to whip up. The one I saw was basically, “Brace yourself Emeril. I’ve got eggs, bell peppers, mushrooms, swiss cheese, and flour tortillas. I can’t wait to see what you do with that! I’m uncreative and I’m starving.” I want to see what he does with the contents of the average American refrigerator, “I’ve got day old bologna, half a tuna fish sandwich, a six pack of Miller Lite, a box of baking soda, and I heard a voice say ‘Zuul’.” If he can come up with something besides the number for Poison Control, then color me impressed.

For the love of all things holy, please peel the stickers off of your baseball caps. I don’t care what race you are, you look like a moron. You might as well leave the price tags on your clothes and make a boutonniere out of the receipt. Congratulations on your purchasing power.

As I was washing my hands (I know, “Stop bragging.”), I noticed that the soft soap had directions on the back of the bottle. They read, “Use to wash hands as you would use any liquid hand soap”. Listen, if you’re going to assume that someone is dumb enough to need directions to use your soap, then don’t assume they’ve used any other soap. Your apparent target audience is a feral wolf-boy who has only recently entered civilized society. You can’t use the word you’re trying to define in the definition. It’s lazy and if it was genuinely meant to instruct someone to use soap, then give them a three step method or something. Shampoo does “Wash, Rinse, Repeat”. Don’t you guys have the same writers?

Thanks for indulging me. To be continued…

Big Money, No Whammies

Hey gang. I’ll pretend you both noticed and cared that this entry is late and apologize accordingly. I just got back from a fun show at the Bucks County Playhouse in quaint New Hope, PA. I had the pleasure of working with my good buddy and frequent comedy co-star, Kelly Terranova, the funniest comedian in his price range. A good time was had by most.

Everybody dreams about having a dump truck full of cash emptied in front of their house. Sure, earning money is fine, but we’re a nation of dreamers, and dreaming takes no effort. Over the past couple weeks, I’ve missed out on a possible $1,400,001,500. Let me break that figure down for you. Many of you may have heard that Warren Buffett has offered up $1 billion for anyone who can fill-out a perfect bracket. Through the first four days of the tournament, only one bracket is still eligible for the prize. Some guy named Biff Tannen. That guy has a bright future.

I filled out a bracket, hoping to take my 1 in 9.5 quintillion shot at the contents of Scrooge McDuck’s couch cushions. My chances disintegrated after the first game, when Ohio State lost by one point to Dayton. $1 billion out the window. I’m horrible at picking these games. I had a couple 12 over 5 upsets, but those are easy to pick when 3 of the 4 5-seeds crap in their hat and get bounced. The tournament is great theater. The plucky underdog vs. the national powerhouse, over and over again. Once my brackets got busted for gambling purposes, I just started rooting for chaos. If I can’t be right, let’s see if I can be the least wrong. And sometimes it’s great to be wrong. I had Duke getting out of the first round and I’ve never been happier to watch my incorrectitude. The sun shined just a little bit brighter after the Duke, the Cobra Kai of college basketball, took a crane-kick to the mush and got ousted by a 14-seed. Yeah, so what if UMD didn’t even make the NIT? Shut up!

One digit down from the billion, the $400,000,000 was the size of the recent MegaMillions jackpot. I’m starting to think the numbers you get from fortune cookies don’t mean anything at all. And it turns out the numbers of my anniversary and my birthday aren’t that special after all. It’s hard to maintain a sense of self-importance when the universe seems so oblivious to your demands.

A couple zeroes down the line was my most realistic missed opportunity to cash in. I meant to bring this up in the previous entry. A couple weekends ago, I got a call from a comedian buddy of mine. Someone had cancelled last-minute for a show at a synagogue and he thought I might be a good fit. Unfortunately, I was already booked that night, so I told him I couldn’t do it. His reply, “That’s too bad, because they’re paying $1500 for 30 minutes.”
“Give me the number,” I said. “I’ll find a way to make it work.” I gave the lady organizing the event a call and, unfortunately, they had just filled the spot before I got to her. I was still in disbelief, so I asked her, “How much were you offering again?”
“We have a $1500 budget. Why, how much do you charge?”
“Significantly less,” I said. I told her to keep me in mind for anything they have going on in the future. Congrats to the lucky bastard who snagged it. It’s just crazy how much people outside of comedy think our services are worth is in stark contrast to the money we get at actual comedy venues. Just sayin’ is all.

 For those of you who enjoy pro-wrestling, do me a favor and mark June 19th on your comedy calendar. I’ll be opening for the hardcore legend, Mick Foley when he comes to the DC Improv. The stage will be surrounded in barbed wire. Have a nice day.


Hey there ‘Redheads… It’s cold outside. The kind of cold that makes people deny global warming because they’re personally freezing. Remember kids: Think Globally, Bitch Locally. I don’t even need to step outside to know it’s cold, because everyone on Facebook is instagramming pictures of their thermostats with captions like, “Wow, that’s cold!” Kind of an Ansel Adams by way of Topper Shutt. C’mon, people, show me, don’t tell me. Snap me a picture of a bobsled on the beltway or a penguin migration down Pennsylvania Ave. Your numbers are not interesting. Snow is in the forecast for Friday, which will no doubt send people screaming frantically to loot grocery stores for necessities, lest they never see the sun again. A word of advice for those of you who plan to ransack your local Harris Teeter for bread, milk, and toilet paper. If they’re out of toilet paper, just buy more bread. I’m not easily fazed by the idea of snow, since my gal left town for a business trip, I’ve been playing a ton of Skyrim, so 3 to 5 inches isn’t terribly impressive unless I’m absorbing the soul from a dragon husk.

This past weekend, I took my first comedy road gig of 2013 up to scenic Harrisburg for a slate of shows at the 2nd St. Comedy Club. I had the privilege of working with Caroline Rhea, who could not have been nicer. It’s rare when a big name headliner takes a genuine interest in the feature’s set and offers advice in a non-condescending (nondescending?) way. She was also very gracious to the 4 sold out crowds that came to see her, taking pictures with half the population of downtown Harrisburg… and me…

I also had another unexpected brush with celebrity. Apparently, Caroline met up with a friend who she hadn’t seen in 10 years who now lives in Harrisburg. That friend was none other than Terry Farrell, who played Dax on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine…

This sent a Trill down my spine…

While I was sitting in the downstairs lounge between shows, I took a moment to check out the pictures of some of the comedy greats they had adorning the walls. There was Steve Martin, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Cosby, and there was this curious picture…

At first glance, it didn’t seem out of place. That’s Richard Pry…oh, wait. Yeah, whoever decorated their lounge thinks Smokey Robinson was hilarious. They probably think he was the star of Smokey and the Bandit. He did sing Tears of a Clown, so maybe that’s the connection. Either way, I’m sure none of the drunk Harrisburgers noticed.
Before I sign off, I’d like to call your attention to a couple things that are very me-centric. First, please VOTE FOR ME FOR BEST COMEDIAN IN DC in the CityPaper’s Best of DC 2013 Reader’s Poll. It was an honor just to nominate myself, really. Please feed my ego. It hungers.
Also, I’ve got a very cool show coming up on Feb. 2nd in the DC Improv Comedy Lounge with three hilarious friends of mine, Tim Miller, Rob Maher, and Jon Mumma. Do yourself a favor and get your tickets now. 

One Way

Hey there, ‘Redheads… As you can see, the resolution to resurrect the blog is 1080p. As for content, a babbling stream of consciousness will do for now.

Andrea and I are looking at potential caterers online for our impending nuptials. As much as I enjoy eating food, reading about it is a bit tedious. To make things more interesting, I started reading fancy menu items out loud in the shrill Monty Python Old British Woman voice. BURMA!

I’ve got the 1960 version of Ocean’s Eleven on in the background while I’m typing. Despite having the Rat Pack in it, it’s not quite as slick as the remake. A bit more musical too. Also, I noticed that Mr. Roper from Three’s Company is in it. And Cesar Romero a.k.a. The Joker from the old Batman TV show too. He’s taller than I remember.

Spotted this walking through DC…

Better than seeing a Dead End sign in front of a funeral home, I guess…