a priori/a posteriori

Monday, August 11, 2014

Comedy Hajj: basketball

I don't know what I want to write, right now.

I'm at the Brooklyn Public Library.

I'm fairly happy.

Hungry.  But happy.

I haven't written a post in a week or two.

Part of me wants to have firm details, before I post anything.  But why lose sleep?

I e-mailed Legion Bar -- a bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn -- about filming my next special there in November.

The two people in charge there seem pretty cool.  I talked to one on the phone, and I've been e-mailing back and forth with the other.

Legion Bar was the first place I ever performed, in New York City.

I can't remember if that's actually true.

It might have been that same place that Bruce Springsteen performed for the first time.  I forget the name of that place.

But Legion was the first place I ever riffed in New York City.

It was one of the first places I riffed.  Ever.

I had just gotten a new winter coat.  And I was excited about the coat.

It was one of those cowboy coats.  Made out of real leather.  But like, the light-brown kind.  Camel-skin colored.  With the little bit of puffy, peeking out the neck and wrists.

And then my brother made fun of me for it.

At least, I think it was my brother.  I don't even remember.

I just remember that room.  And I remember Andy Haynes getting me on the show.  And Sean Patton being there.

I don't think Rory Scovel has ever thought of me as a peer.  Which is fine.

It actually is.  He was already well-established in the DC scene, before I ever moved there.  So it wouldn't really make sense for him to think of us as peers.

But I think because of that set, Patton and I will always feel like peers.  Which is nice.  The guy has a heart of gold.

No, wait.  Damn it.  He was at that other show.  And that's how we got to know each other.

I don't remember anything.

I mean, I do remember doing that show.  And I remember that room.  And I remember being terrified the whole time I was riffing.  Because up until that set, I'd always tried to go with my "A" material, when I did shows.

For some reason, I didn't that show.  I just...went for it.

That's why I'm hoping I get to do my next special there.

I like that room.  And I like that stage.

It's a great place to say, "fuck the industry."


(and hey, Wrion.  Let's get lunch soon?)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Follow The List

Joe List is one of the funniest comics alive.
What's that?  You haven't heard of him yet?

Go buy his album.  "So Far No Good."

It's hilarious.

And not in a generic, "nice use of the 'Rule of Threes'" kind of way.  It's a Tour de Force of the rare comic who's old-school enough to weave a Dizzy Gillespie reference and a Kerri Strug reference into the same story about some religious clarity he gained from a conversation with a homeless dude.
"So Far No Good" is completely unique.  It's pure Joe.  He completely captured himself.

The puns come fast and furious, but with a bounce to them that most one-liner comics don't have the courage to add.  And he weaves them in and out of stories, taking you down 30 "road-less traveled" moments,

before he pushes on the brakes, kicks the story into reverse, and lets you continue on the path of what he actually did, in the much-less-badass version known as real life.

It's a super cool style that lets him combine the random fun of brilliant writers like Mitch Hedberg and Steven Wright, and the flow of extended story-tellers like David Cross, Ellen DeGeneres, and Bob Newhart.

It's the DeGeneres comparison that never occurred to me, until I listened to a full album of Joe.  I don't know if you're supposed to cross the "gender wall" in terms of comparing comics, but if we're not, then that's obviously a dumb rule.  His let-me-take-that-back-as-I'm-saying-it moments remind me a lot of Ellen in her prime.  And the unnecessary-in-a-good-way details that he adds into bits like "Dirty Talk,"

(like I said:  BUY IT)

make it one of my favorite albums of our generation, so far.

I don't know if I'm "supposed" to say that, either.  It's one of the most underrated, for sure.  There are a ton of people who would listen to it repeatedly, if they ever heard it.
Want a new favorite comic?

Buy "So Far No Good."  Joe List's debut album.  And brag to your friends that you found him first.

More fun than sitting at Table 6
(and by the way, I know Joe.  He's a real person.  And real people can use more money in life.  If you like what you find online, support him.  Don't listen to his album.  Buy it.

And when you see him live, tell him The Wind says hello)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Book 2, Chapter 7: The Legend Buffet

While we wait for me to realize I can do that ANY TIME I WANT TO...

That's the style I have.

The "style" I have.

A lot of people ask comedians that.

So get ready for that.

Oh.  Have you not realized yet?  You got this book, because you're a comic.

You may not know it yet.

Or you may not want to admit it.

But, if you are reading this sentence,

have long-since-been-destined -- by the Universe (capital U!) -- to get on a stage, and

start "getting to know yourself."
That sounds like a euphemism for masturbating.

...annnnd that's honestly not for nothing.
(I'm trying to stop using the word "honestly."  I'm trying to be honest all the time.
(pauses thinking)
(look of a thought being swished around the brain, like cheeky morning mouthwash)


I should be honest all the time.  Or certainly strive to be.  So I will do my best to eliminate that mis-used use of the word "honestly," moving forward.

I honestly will.  (may it rest in peace, in my elephant-graveyard full of formerly undisciplined writing habits)

Where were we?  Ah yes -- "getting to know yourself."

That's what it's going to feel like, the first time you get onto a stage -- like you're jerking off in public.

As an author, it's funny to think about the metrics of it all.  I have to make decisions, based on how value-able each word of my writing is.

"Hmm...a 'jerking off in public' reference?  How many more copies will I sell if I put it in there?  And how many will I lose, by making the same decision?  What's the difference?  Okay...if I put it in the first page, I'll lose 10 percent right away.  If I play it smart and draw them into the story, then drop it on page....41?  It'll be a blip on the radar screen.  People will probably literally use this part of the book to tell their friends about it.  Maybe they'll even find it back when it was a blog, not even a book yet."

If my brain stopped there, I'd be great.  But it keeps going, adding up those totals, and bla-bla-blah-ing until I get lost in the parenthetical of a footnote of a side note.



for you, too.  You see? (I prefer "you feel me?"  Because sometimes we have to shut our eyes to actually understand things-- or so I'm trying)

1.  Stand-up comedy is honestly (uggh!) not that hard.

2.  Okay.  That means I was lying.  It is that hard.  It's terrifying.

I've come back from the dead, in one of the best captured heckler moments of all-time (I don't compare "moments" to  "events" or long stretches of sustained brilliance, such as Bill Burr's Philadelphia rant, Patton Oswalt's rant on Werewolves and Lollipops, or a couple of other shining moments in stand-up history)

So just get up there, n make a nigger joke.

Go ahead.

The audience will applaud you, for your guts.  For your courage.

So...sounds good!  We'll see you at InkWell Jazz and Comedy Club, 1165 Bedford Avenue, right here in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.

10 pm shows every Saturday -- and yes, they give you a guest spot, the first night you show up.  On the real show.
_____  _____

Glad I could help!  Let's get more comics and more people to New York!!  ~Fast!!!


(End of journey.  Back to planet Earth.  Welcome)

As I was saying,

I try to allow all the brilliant things of every comic I watch, become a part of my style.

Maybe it's imbalanced at times -- more heavily influenced by Patrice, these two years; leaning more toward Hicks, for the 2007-2009 seasons -- but for the most part, I try to take at least 1 thing from everyone.

That didn't used to include people I was jealous of -- probably because those were the comics I was most scared were better at being me than me.

But now?  I say "dive in."  What I didn't realize was that those are the peers I would have had the most respect for, if I didn't feel that we were competitors in the same "high-school class," so to speak.  A little competition can turn "respect" into "resent" very quickly.


Back to...

Go stand-up-exploring on YouTube.  Find people you've never even heard of.  Go deep sea diving, in terms of finding comics you might really vibe with.  It won't take long:  comics are quickly realizing that just a few legitimate keywords can cause a video to be one of the "options" when a better-recognized comic's clip finishes...and so would every additional future view, as well.

Don't be afraid of what you'll find.  Don't act like you're looking for the next Bob Newhart (one of the 10 best careers ever, massively underrated -- cover of Time in early 1960's, two top-30 sitcoms all-time, hilarious capsule (speaking at Krusty's funeral) on The Simpsons, pre-Season-7 decline)

Back to...  Don't worry about finding perfect sets.  Don't get angry at the comic you're watching, for not making you laugh.  See if you vibe with her.  Or him! (I picked a terrible time to be a feminist and change that to a female pronoun!)

Oh.  That, too.

Look up comics opposite your gender.

That's the one real way you can make up for lost time:  talk in a way, onstage and off, in which you are trying to connect.

(End Lesson 1.  Now, let me explain "trying to connect" to myself)

Hey, buddy.  You gotta get your tutoring stuff done.  You can't just become a comic.  You have to want to become one, first.

That means putting yourself in a position to not get knocked off balance, when you're onstage.

You have to find a way to make more money.  Or to get more traffic -- and soon after, more dollars -- to brysonturner.com

I think if you go public with your reality, people would want to support you.  I do.

You have been "flaky"  -- to be kind -- for most of the past 20 years.

But the whole time, your heart has been in the right place.
(inside your chest.  if you ever notice it somewhere else, tell me immediately)
Okay.  We both know what I'm doing.  I'm avoiding nailing down the squiggling squirm that is the term,

"trying to connect."

What do I mean by that?

I mean realizing that I didn't choose my gender, and no women chose theirs.  So even if I'm not a woman, I can still hear stand-up written by them, and understand the thought-process.  And if it's something that connects us, then I'm ALLOWED TO LAUGH OUT LOUD.

Just do your best to realize that no matter what "role" you have in the dating "game,"
everyone is allowed to quit saying the "lines" on their "script,"
whenever they want to.

This week's homework play:
Length:  1 hour
YouTube "stand-up comedy."  And ride the waves

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Book 2, Chapter 6: Getting the Band Back Together

I've never seen "Love and Basketball."

I've never watched "That Other Movie About Basketball I Can't Think Of"
You know why?

Because I'm scared.

I'm scared of that one movie.  That I think was kind of a double-documentary.

About New York kids, who are trying to become professional basketball players.

And then they didn't become famous.
That's all I know about them.

I know neither of their names are "LeBron James," or

"Bryson Turner.com"
So I know they didn't "Succeed"
It didn't "Happen for Them"
They aren't "Legendary"
They "Failed"



My homework is to track down that movie,
and watch it.

I can't pretend I'm trying to document myself 
becoming a legend
when I haven't watched any of the previous times 
when they tried.

"Fuck the Industry" Homework/Homeplay

1.  Learn the name of that movie
2.  Buy that movie or book (or check it out of a library)
3.  Watch that movie
4.  Write a review on here

(HOOP DREAMS!! I think that was the name)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book 2, Chapter 5: What Am I Missing?

1.  When I first moved to New York, I would freak out about not going out.

2.  There's so much to do in New York City;
3.  Even if I hustle my butt off and go to 5 clubs in one night,

4.  There are

10 clubs,
20 shows, and
30 open-mics

5.  Where I don't exist.

6.  So, I spent a lot of nights running.
7.  What I didn't realize

Is the concept of the Tao.

So basically,

I got this book about a year ago.  Called "Carry Tiger to Mountain."  It was given to me by Kevin Rusty, who was one of the people I met during my short-lived stint working with BrainStore.

(BrainStore, for those who forget, is a super-cool Swiss company that essentially crowd-sources the process of producing innovative ideas.  As opposed to most "consulting firms," which limit the potential ideas by limiting the sources of creative input -- i.e., they pay a few people a ton of money, and more often than not, they're just a bunch of old white dudes)

It took a year, but I opened the book this past weekend.

It's about the Tao.

I think that's how you say it?


There is no "right" answer.
There is no "right" way to spend your time.

Just be a present observer.
And let the world happen.
So, for comics:

8.  Could you "hustle" and run around the city, chasing stagetime?
9.  Yes, you could.

10.  And if you do, you will miss the experiences you would have gained, if you had done something else with that time.

11.  For most of my first decade of adult life,
12.  I was terrified of "missing" something.

13.  What I didn't realize was,
14.  So long as I'm present,
15.  I literally can't miss something.

16.  I will gain from whatever experience I have.
17.  I will grow from listening to and learning from whoever I am around.

18.  I don't know if I agree with 17
19.  I still feel so much more energized,
20.  When I get to be around certain people.

21.  I don't know what that means.

22.  I'm not worried.

23.  I am spending more and more time at home,
24.  With my fiance'
25.  And her daughter

26.  I'm at peace with that.

27.  If I'm missing something,
28.  that's okay.

29.  Because if I were doing that "something" instead,
30.  I'd be missing this.
31.  Live your life
32.  Trust your gut
33.  Your writer,
34.  Bryson Arthur Turner

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book 2, Chapter 4: 5 minutes a Day

1.  That's what I don't think I realized.

I do now.

I'm learning, like a sunrise.  It's not just "bright" all at once;

2.  It gets lighter and lighter,
3.  Without you getting to "put your finger on it"

4.  Sometimes, you just have to keep going

5.  What was I referring to, back up in Number 1?

6.  Five minutes a day.

7.  I didn't realize that I'm five minutes a day,
8.  Away from having the life I've always dreamt of,
9.  But been too scared to admit it's my dream,
10.  Because I want it to happen so badly,
11.  I don't -- literally don't know -- what I would do,

12.  If it ever came true.

13.  It's 3:28 pm.  I've been writing for 3 minutes.
14.  I will write for 1 more.
15.  Then take a picture.
16.  And then move along with my day.

17.  Even five minutes

18.  (Five minutes!!)

19.  Is enough to start bringing "stand-up" back into my life,
20.  Into my world again,
21.  And if I give this website
22.  Five minutes a day

23.  I'll be making my living off of monthly donations given to my PayPal account,
24.  As a way of people supporting me and encouraging me to produce content and comedy specials,


26.  Well.  I guess that's up to me and you.

27.  (brysonturner.com)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Book 2, Chapter 3: Teaching is Learning (aka We're Students Forever...yay!)

1.  I'm a teacher.
2.  Yep.  That guy.  Lazy eye and all.

3.  I suppose I can officially say so, now that I've started teaching my first official class.
4.  And yet, another part of me still feels very reluctant to anoint myself a "teacher."

"Teacher" is one of those words, that I've never felt very comfortable defining.  It's similar to words like

"Comedian,"  Or


5.  When do people make the cut?
a.  Is someone a "teacher" as soon as they've taught their first class?
b.  Is someone a "comedian" when they get offstage after their first open-mic?  Their first paid gig?
c.  Are they a "philosopher" as soon as they've had their first thought?

6.  How the hell do you know when you're anything?

7.  I don't know.

8.  I have no idea.  And frankly,
9.  I can't worry about that.

10.  I have 23 high schoolers who expect me to know what I'm talking about,
11.  Tomorrow,
12.  For 3 straight hours,
13.  From 2 pm to 5 pm.

14.  I've pursued stand-up on and off (mostly on) for my entire adult life.
15.  I'm 30 years old.

16.  The idea that you can "start too late" in stand-up is ridiculous.

17.  It's a convenient lie that current comedians tell to future comedians, to try to dissuade them from adding more choices to an already-overcrowded marketplace.

18.  What both sides -- current comics, and would-be's -- don't understand is this:
19.  If you can get your discipline under control,

20.  anything is possible.
21.  Anything is in play.

22.  I have not led a very disciplined life, up until this point.
23.  I've still managed to have some success, as a comic.

24.  But the potential career gains are MASSIVE...
25.  IF......

26.  I can learn how to be disciplined.

27.  I am working hard to do so, now.
28.  It is with the support -- and legitimate artistic inspiration --
29.  provided by my now-fiance', Miss Butterfly Starfish.

30.  That has really been the catalyst, for me.

31.  This does not discredit every person who I have met,
32.  And particularly those who have invested so much of their time, love, and energy,
33.  And I am eternally grateful to all of them.

34.  We are working hard to become more disciplined, together.
35.  And it's exciting.
36.  And I feel myself growing.
37.  Both mentally and physically,
38.  Which I am now pretty sure actually go hand-in-hand with each other.

39.  And so I push forward,
40.  To prepare for tomorrow's class,

41.  Even though a part of me is terrified.
42.  A part of me feels like a fraud.

43.  That feeling will be converted into confidence,

45.  That's something I am thrilled to be learning:

46.  I can't really "choose" to get rid of fear.

47.  Fear is converted
48.  Into COMFORT

49.  And every single moment of preparation
50.  Converts some portion.

51.  How much, I can't say.  There are no promises.

52.  But each moment of presence

53.  Helps.  Forever.

54.  No "stand-up" update today.
55.  I have to get to work.

56.  Why?
57.  (See #1)