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how to suck at comedy Lessons on how to suck as a comedian

18May/121

Psssst…Here’s a few things I’d like you to know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok I slacked off yesterday and I actually couldn't come up with anything to write.  So now that I'm kinda stuck in TX things morning, I'll take it upon myself to concentrate.

Today's installment of Diabetes Blog Week is “What is one thing you would tell someone that doesn’t have diabetes about living with diabetes?”.  Well me being the kinda person I am there can't be just one.  So I've made a list of several things I would tell people (specifically people I know and meet) about living with diabetes.

"You have no idea what the hell you're talking about"

"Yes I ate a lot of candy as a kid. Simply because I was a kid and not a cow and spent my days eating grass"

"You cannot catch my diabetes. So to the hot chick that was hesitant about hugging me,  I will never forget that"

"No my blood does not taste sweet and why are you biting me sir?

"Yes I can take my pump off dear. And no its not the same thing as that whip"

"I'm about to miss my flight. Yes, I repeat its an insulin pump"

"I'm diabetic. No its not heroin. I would be in a much different mood if this was heroin. Yes you're an idiot."

"I'm going to be really pissed if I miss my flight. I-N-S-U-L-I-N PUMP."

" You know *insert known sexy celebrity's name. Insert porn star's name in case of emergency* is a diabetic" (it doesn't have to be true because do you honestly think I can pick up a woman by telling her about Wilford Bremley??!!)

"Screw it! I'm gonna drive from Atlanta to Kansas.  Where's the rental car booth? Stupid TSA!"

Enjoy your Friday folks!!

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16May/121

We gotta’ get it together!!!!!!! STOP THE NEGATIVITY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok now that I'm in the hotel I can write from mu laptop again.  I almost went crazy posting from my phone but thanks for reading!!

Now on to today's post about what I think needs to be improved within the DOC. (Sounds so gangsta') I'll keep is short and to the point because I'm really serious about this one.

Stop the whining.

Yeah I said it. Whatcha' gonna do about it? That's what I thought.  So somebody wrote a dumb joke or Paula Deen pissed you off.  So friggin' what?! Whatcha' gonna' do about it?  That's also what I thought.  Whining, complaining, moanin' or whatever is a waste of time.  You don't like what Paula did, either get to work or get over it.  Because nothing of what she did is going to help your diabetes or your loved ones diabetes.  If you want to do something then collectively get together and go after her advertisers.  Because all the online negativity makes the DOC look like a bunch of nuts to the people who have no clue what we go through.  And THAT is whats more important.  We need to help educate others who don't understand in whatever means we have available.  So lets get it together folks.  Ok I gotta' go tell some jokes now.  See you tomorrow.  I'll await your comments.

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15May/121

One thing I know I do well “Diabetically”

Today's post for Diabetes blog week comes from my phone since I'm on a 16 hr ride to Texas to perform.

Today we're covering one that we do well while dealing with diabetes. Some folks do well at testing their BG levels.  Some are good at exercise or being prepared for emergencies

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I like to think that in spite on my complications I'm good at getting back up.

About 8 yeras ago I had blood vessels leak in my left eye and I had no insurance. I survived for over a year driving and whatnot with blood inside my eye. After I got a decent job my insurance paid for the surgery and I got my vision back but not 100%.  Some time during the haling the same thing happened to my right eye.  I had another surgery but now I have very limited vision in it. I can still work but I don't like driving at night.

I thought about giving up many times but I didn't. I thought about suicide but I didn't do it (obviously). What I did I got on stage. Comedy is the one thing I know I can do in spite of my vision. It makes me feel good when I have a good set and I look forward to the next show.  I also like talking about my condition in my comedy because I think I can paint a different picture about diabetics for people without the disease to gain a better understanding of what we go through every day.  I don't make fun of my condition, I make it relateable.

Don't ask me how I do it cause I don't know. But if you ask me why I do it, its because its damn sure better than the alternative. Hang tough folks. We'll get through it.

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14May/122

Meet my Diabetes Friends!!!

Yeah, yeah I know. You’re saying “Hey I thought this was a comedy blog!” Well if you didn’t know I am a Type 1 diabetic.  I’ve been diabetic since I was 25 and I perform for diabetes benefits as well as my own creation Sugar Free Comedy. No diabetes itself isn’t funny but the crap I have to go through certainly is. But this week is Diabetes Blog Week and I wanted to participate in my own little way.

Today’s installment is about introducing you to other diabetes blogs that I think you should know about.  If you knew me you would realize that I’m the worst person for this job. Why?  Because I bury my head into so many other things online except blogs about diabetes.  I should read more blogs about diabetes and I have lately.  But prior to me finding so many blogs about diabetes I was spending a great deal of time trying to find ridiculous things online like why Anthony Bourdain is such an assclown.  I mean Paula Deen seems to be a sweet enough broad that I trust her better judgment when it comes to butter. (For the record I feel that if God wanted us to be strict about our health he wouldn’t have made salt and butter taste so good together. I’m just sayin’)  But Bourdain needs to chill cause he’s really not a better advocate for healthy eating. Especially in that episode of No Reservations where he’s stuffing an In and Out burger in his pie hole.  What was this post supposed to be about again?  Oh yeah…

Now, after I got wise and started meeting more and more people from the DOC (that’s not really a gang. Well it could be) *Diabetes Online Community*  I discovered some really good blogs by some awesome advocates that I’m glad that I met.

First is Kelly Kunick at Diabetesaliciouness.  What I like most about Kelly is she’s funny. I first met her through a conversation we had on Facebook and I hope I get a chance to work with her sometime. I have a great deal of respect for anyone who can look at a disease like diabetes and still find the will to help others and not feel sorry for themselves. I’m  big believer in by teaching you become smarter. And I think by helping others the look past anger and self pity through humor its also a great medicine for the for the deliverer of the funny (Note: I tend to write the way I talk so please don’t blame my computer) Please check out Kelly’s blog and you’ll see what I mean!

Next is Diabetes Social Media Advocacy. Its not so much a blog but and online community. Once again Facebook had dropped a great community in my lap and it has been great getting to know them. Cherise Shockley, Scott K. Johnson and George Simmons are the folks that put it all together and they reach out across the internet looking for other like minded advocates to create and community of really great people.  Each week they have a live chat through Twitter and it has a great following.  If you area diabetic or you’re a diabetes caregiver you’ll love the chats as well as the BlogTalk Radio show they do every week on Thursday nights

Last and by no means least is Michelle Litchman.  A few couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of traveling to Salt Lake City, UT to perform for The Diabetes Mixer. It was something I’ve never seen before.  A social gathering of Type 1 diabetics meeting vendors as well as experiencing entertainment and awesome food. What?! A bunch of diabetics gathered together without having to hear about horror stories of diabetes complications?! Yep, you heard me.  And I was the entertainment.  Much of my material is about my diabetes and the craziness I have to deal with.  I was referred to Michelle about performing at the mixer and I think we were both nervous as to how it would be received.  Some people aren’t very open to humor when it comes to conditions like diabetes or cancer.  I know I was nervous because I wanted everyone to have a good time and enjoy themselves. I couldn’t have had a better time and Michelle and her friends who put together the Diabetes Mixer were beyond awesome. The mixer attendees keep increasing and in time I think they’re “gonna’ need a bigger boat.”  Michelle is a Family Nurse Practitioner specializing in diabetes care. With all that she does she’s also studying for her Phd. ( I like being friends with doctors, it sounds cool when I hang out with other broke comedians!)  Michelle offers some great personal insight to her experience working with diabetics in a comfortable manner.  Usually we think that healthcare folks are always bringing the bad news and making us feel worse.  We she’s not like that at all and you’ll enjoy every post.

This is only a fraction of the great diabetes blogs and online advocates so definitely do a search for others or use the ones I wrote about to help you find more.  Here’s to Diabetes Blog week!!  See ya’ tomorrow.

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27Dec/113

If I were a Poor Black Comedian

I don’t understand I guess. I see so many great things going on in comedy today.  Technology has put so much power in the hands on the artist its astounding.  The success that Marc Maron and Louie CK have gotten just shows what is possible when you put the work in and study more than just joke writing and performance.  The knowledge of the business is really starting to outweigh performance in some ways.  Because let’s face it, after Dane Cook blew Myspace out of the water with his millions of “friends” that let a lot of comics and bookers know that those so called friends equate into a fan base thus putting butts in seats. The internet?  It’s another stage. Plain and simple. Twitter lets you toss one liners out there for your fans to retweet and reply to. What happens after its retweeted to someone that’s not following you?   They follow you and *poof* a  new fan/butt  in seat is born. Yet there seems to be some divide in the nation of comedy.  I don’t see a lot of black comedians taking advantage of the opportunities.  I’m just being real.  Not even the more established black comedians with screen credits.  I see a larger population of these comics still hustling cds and DVDs from their trunk.  Still trying to get a “hookup” from a touring comic and riding coattails. Hardly any online presence or a very poor presence if any.  Now I know there are other comics of other races that are using the same dated methods but I’m looking at this from my own POV and it just doesn’t make sense when I hear a lot of black comics complaining about not getting a break and not getting any attention. The attention comes from doing the work and being creative. Along with studying more than other comics. You gotta’ get inside the books on new methods of marketing. So anyways, if I was a poor black comedian this is what I would do.

  1. Stop thinking urban comedy is the only style of comedy you can do. The lines between urban and mainstream comedy are fading IMO. Audiences are actually getting tired of the suits with 18 buttons and jokes about “bad ass kids” If you talk to audiences you’ll see that this hackness is getting old. It was hot in the 90s but now people want to hear honesty and POV. If all you have is recycled kool-aid jokes give people a break please. Step outside your comfort zone and explore the possibilities of a wider audience. I.E write about something different and at least interesting.
  2. Read! Blogs, books, Tweets. Anything you can  about current methods of marketing.  Do a Google search for Josh Spector. You probably have a Facebook page,  but do you know how to use it effectively? Read all or as many Seth Godin and Gary Vanerchuk books you can.  You ever notice there aren’t many new books on the art stand up comedy?  That’s because much of that info is pretty much understood and hasn’t changed.  Sure the basics still need to be taught and learned but the point is the game HAS CHANGED and it’s all about marketing today.  The bookers and club owners want you to bring people in and it’s not their job to provide them outside of putting your name on the posters or website. You have to know how to market yourself and build a fan base ON YOUR OWN!!!  You are the business so why not do business smarter? And it’s not about numbers it’s about engaging. (Read about current marketing methods and that will make sense)
  3. Get technical.  Learn how to edit and produce your online videos. Create better videos and learn your way around Facebook, Twitter, SEO, web design, WordPress, Youtube, Viddler, Dailymotion, etc.  I read the other day Louie CK edits his show Louie on his Macbook HIMSELF!!!  Which made me wonder if Dave Chappelle took more advantage of controlling the technical aspect of his show as well as the writing, would things have turned out the way it did?  Is Dave watching Louie right now?  Do you think he should? Anyway, start a blog or vlog. Learn to link them to Twitter and Facebook. Delete your Myspace page (I actually thought about posting porn pics on my Myspace page so they will delete it for me.)
  4. Stop thinking Tyler Perry is the end all to black comedy.  We’re smarter than that.

I’m not a fulltime working comic yet but what I do a lot of is search for new and better ways of doing something.  I like learning and figuring out stuff.  I like computers and techie gadgets and whatnot.  I’m just curious.  So I hate it when I see so many black comics spend a great deal of time complaining about the business and slamming Twitter and Youtube for taking people out of the clubs.  Here’s the truth.  Those people didn’t leave the clubs necessarily. They just found a new venue to be able to find what they’re looking for.  So why not take advantage of it and learn how to make it work for you?  I’m also sick of the “stage names” Why?  What the hell is wrong with your own name?  Unless you’re portraying a character I don’t get it.  Its one thing to limit yourself because you can’t travel or  you’re located in a state with one comedy club.  But the internet has so many avenues to promote yourself and find you’re your niche audience.  It just doesn’t make sense with the vast amount of unique voicse there are in the black comedy community that there should be so many that aren’t interested in reaching out past what they see and know. This post was aimed at black comics but it also applies to older comics who are either afraid of learning or too damn stubborn to wrap their heads around learning something new.  It’s a comedians game out there now but you have to be smarter to make it happen.  Stop thinking of comedy as a hustle and think of it as a business and you are the product.  See the truth is the bookers know all this.  It’s just there are too many comics that don’t. There are younger guys coming up getting deals with 2-3 years under their belt if any at all.  One comic went to LA after getting out of college doing sketch and improv  and came back home with a movie deal AND a sitcom deal.  That comic is now getting booked as a stand up comedian without ever having intentions on being a standup.  I’d be pissed if I were you.  I am pissed and I’m not you.  Be smarter my friends.

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1Dec/111

3 Shocking things to know about being a clean comedian!!!

Ok you’ve tweeted and posted on Facebook about you thanking whoever  for your blessings and how you want to spread good clean comedy and whatnot.  Well boys and girls here’s a few things you didn’t know.

 #3  Nobody cares

Nobody cares. Yes I know it sounds mean but hear me out.  In the grand scheme of things all that should matter is whether you’re funny or not.  You going on and on about how comedy should be “clean” and how its easy for a comedian to use profanity to get a laugh is getting really old.  You being clean does not in any way make you a better comedian. Why?  Because getting a laugh will always be the most difficult thing to do in comedy. And that is a struggle whether you’re clean or not.  Its true profanity can be a crutch but then again so can being clean sometimes.  Lately comics are getting bashed over whats funny and whats not.  Comedy is subjective like any other art form and your likes or dislikes belong to you and you alone.  This goes for the comics as well as the audience.

#2 Nobody cares

One thing that can be said about comedians who use profanity is they are more likely to be totally honest.  Speaking from your heart and saying whats really on your mind and being unique is what doing stand up is all about.  Franklyn Ajaye said that Richard Pryor gave him some great advice.  He said not to worry so much about being funny but rather concentrate more on being  interesting.  Now I’m not saying you have to drop an “F-bomb” to really be honest,  but are you being honest in your jokes or are you just going for the chuckle factor? Are you limiting yourself by thinking you can’t talk about adult issues without using profanity?  Cause in all honesty I’ve heard some really clean yet hack stuff out there.  Why not follow Jerry Seinfeld's example?

#1  Nobody cares

Why limit yourself by calling yourself a clean  comic?  Why not just be a comedian and let the jokes speak for themselves?  Better yet, just do YOUR clean material and let your booker or the audience label you as good or (*groan*) clean comedian?  Stop prefessing to the masses that you’re a clean or (cough) Christian comic like nobody even knows that comedians can be clean OR like you’re looking down your nose at other comics who don’t follow your example.  Here’s a little nugget…you’re not exactly reinventing the craft with that label.

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4Aug/110

How to be a comedian who succeeds! Awesomeness from Josh Spector

microphone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here's a great post by Josh Spector, creator of Connected Comedy.

"Did you know that more than 3 million people a month search Google in an attempt to figure out how to be a comedian?

But while millions of people want to become a comedian, significantly fewer understand what it takes to actually become a successful comedian.

That’s why I’ve put together the following list of 50 things that will help you figure out"

Read More!!

 

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7Jun/112

4 Things you Should Know Before Taking a Comedy Class or Why paying $200-$500 for an intro comedy class is a waste of money

I actually did a post about this some time ago but I think it got lost through some technical error. (or I didn’t pay my service charge)  Anyway, I’ll do it again with some added stuff.

I’ve been seeing a lot of ads for comedy classes and one thing I’ve noticed is the prices.  Are the prices of these classes matching what you take away from the class?
Well I say no.  Here’s why:

1. I’ve been doing comedy almost 10 years now and I paid $85 for my first class.  I took 2 other classes for $200 each and didn’t learn anything new.  In fact the second $200 class was more of the same info from the first $200 class.  So I was pissed.

2. Nobody can teach you to be funny.  You can be taught how to write comedy but there are more than a few methods in doing this.  There’s no one true way.  Its about what method fits YOU.  Pick up The Comedy Bible, The Complete Idiots Guide to Comedy Writing or The Comic Toolbox to learn the many ways of writing comedy for way less than $200 - $500.

3. You know how to get stage time?  Show up.  That’s it.  Keep showing up.  When you find a comedy open mic, sign up.  If you don’t get picked that night then you show up the next week and sign up.  The comedy class won’t give you a free pass to an open mic.  That part is all on you.  Cause after the class is over its time to go to work.  There’s no comedy summer school.

4. Comedy is about working.  You work when you write, you work when you promote, you work when you try to get stage time and you work to motivate yourself to keep at it.  You can’t get that in a class or a book.  You get it from meeting people and encouraging each other.

So what have we learned?  Do you still want to spend all that money? Let me know what you think.
**I’ll go one further: For $85 I’ll show you how to be a comedian.  We’ll look at writing, promoting, and getting on stage.  Call it guerrilla comedy class.  Total real world stuff.  I’m serious if you are!**
Let me know if you’re interested

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6Jun/116

Here’s real talk about why comedy sucks

Somebody asked me the other day, “Hey Chelcie, why don’t you just concentrate on being a comedian and not worry so much about finding a real job?”

Ok…so I paused for a moment because I had to realize that most people who watch comedy on tv or in clubs have absolutely NO clue as to how the business of comedy works.  So in today’s blog update I’m going to break it down for the folks who don’t know and the newbies who are so wide eyed at the prospects of running off into the sunset to be professional comedians.

When you start out as an open mic comic you don’t get paid nor do you deserve to get paid. PERIOD.  You’re doing it to learn and get better.  That’s it.  If you luck up and find a show that will give the open micers five bucks or so then all praise to the show producer and club owner for taking a chance on you cause it ain’t gonna happen often.  After you’ve done open mics for a while (at least 6 months to a year if you’re serious) then its time to look for work. That being emceeing in a club or local show.
Emceeing is a job.  Its not your time to shine.  You’re being given a responsibility to represent the club and to warm up the crowd for the feature and headliner (who both make more money than you) Most clubs pay anywhere from $0-$50 a show to emcee.  Be thankful if you get food and drink in that too.  So emceeing is something you should do locally at first.  And be sure you have a real job if you try to emcee out of town because you won’t get paid travel money. What have we learned?  Keep a real source of income at first because to branch out you’re going to have to travel and that costs gas and lodging (if its really far)

So after a year or so of emceeing you think you have enough material to feature.  This is where the rubber hit’s the road.  Features make a varied amount of money per show based on the club. B rooms pay less than A rooms.  Maybe you can find a bar that books comedy shows or a booker that does one nighters which anywhere from $100-$250 a show from what I’ve seen.  Maybe less sometimes.  That’s it.  You have to spend gas money to get to these places and if you’re lucky enough to get a hotel with it that’s even better.  But say you want to do a one nighter in Kansas that pays $150 and a room but you live in Charlotte.  Wanna fly or drive?  With the price of gas, what’s the difference?  Bus? Maybe.  Amtrak?  They both use fuel so the prices are going up.  So you have to do some mad planning to be a feature.  So a full-time  or part-time job would really make sense, wouldn’t it?

Headlining I’m not really going to go into because I think (or hope) you get the picture.  Doing festivals is fun but they don’t pay.  Corporate work is FANTASTIC, pays on time and the best but really competitive.  College shows are damn near locked up like Fort Knox and really restrictive. And don’t even get me started about trying to start your own room.

So then they asked me “Damn. Why do you even want to be a comedian if you have to suffer so much to make a living?”  and I said, “Cause being on that stage expressing myself and having fun coming up with real life ideas, seeing different places and leaving behind a real legacy beats the hell outta’ having to go to some shit job and have somebody stick a piece of paper in my face every month telling me how unworthy I am and expect me to agree to it then wondering why I don’t look or sound happy when I’m at work.
Do the math

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12Feb/110

Look at ME!! PLEEEEEASE LOOK AT ME!!!!!

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I hate people who brag or boast.  I just hate it.  It gets on my nerves every time I hear a comic tweet or update a status with "I blew it up" or going on about a killer set they had.  Shouldn't it be an audience member who says that.  But there is something to be said about promotion.  Whats the difference you may ask.  Well the difference is reaching your audience and developing a relationship or engaging them.  In my opinion nobody gives a crap about how funny YOU think you are.  They want to know how funny somebody they don't know thinks you are.  You have to come up with plan to market yourself.  Idiotic videos, posting your set, posting yourself bombing.  Thats the kind of stuff that gets you noticed today.  Cheesy you say?  I agree and I'm not happy about it either.  It used to be about the art but if you want to work you're going to need a following.  A following can easily get you booked.  Even if its just a showcase or open mic.  (I know it smells like a bringer show tactic but hey, I don't make the rules)  Anyhoo, think of creative ways to engage your fans and keep them wanting to know what you're doing.  Twitter and Youtube are great places to do that and comics are using them everyday.  Make a plan and ask yourself who your audience is.  One important thing is to know is yourself.  Don't promote yourself as being something your not.  I don't come off as an "urban" comedian so posting videos about making fun of Kool Aid and stank breath wouldn't work for me.  Because when I do my set and I don't have those types of (hack) jokes the audience will be disappointed.  So be true to who you are as a comic.  Carry on

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