a priori/a posteriori

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Is John Mayer a Badass?

For the first time (that I know of),

I'm posing that as a serious question.
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I feel like, as comics, we kind of blew this one.

John Mayer thinks this art form is cool.

Is NOBODY actually thinking about how good that news is, for all of us?
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Mostly:  No.  Of course not.  Because we're a selfish industry.  (no disrespect)

For the most part, this industry is just a bunch of retired comedians, and future comedians

And so, it's most people who don't want to see the cool guy get to take this from us.

And I totally get that.

But here's the thing:

John Freaking Mayer was willing to be real, onstage.

You can be in denial about who he is, and what his role in society is, and blah, blah-blah, blah-blah.

But I've seen clips of him doing stand-up.

And you want to know something?

I can tell he was actually TRYING.
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To me, a big part of stand-up comedy -- and what makes good comedy actually funny -- is the idea of someone going out on a limb.

It has to be possible to lose something, in order for the stakes to be high-enough for me to laugh.

With John Mayer,

he has a lot to lose.

And I honestly do think that says a lot about his love of stand-up comedy.
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I know I'm in the minority right now,

but I think the more that comics think about it,

we are a group that I believe would rather understand the reality,

than deny it.
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Certainly, Patrice-followers can understand:

If John Mayer sticks with it,

he could be a real-deal comic.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Do Stand-Up Comedians Need a Union?

Well, I've successfully waited until the last minute, to write this.

(I'm on deadline, of course)
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So:

Is the Major League Baseball Players' Union destroying baseball?

I say yes.
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Nobody talks.

Jeter was likable.  And he dated Miss Universes.  Which may or may not mean he has dated aliens.  I'm not sure.  I haven't become the guys' friend yet.

But there are only a few left like him -- guys with enough chutzpah
(or whatever non-Jews call it)

with enough...savvy

to be a celebrity, but not reveal too much about baseball's inner workings.
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The problem is, the Union is too strong.

(Am I in trouble for saying that?  Or am I completely wrong?)
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In basketball, the union is hilariously weak.  They can't even get FIFTY PERCENT  of the FAKE REVENUE NUMBERS.

These teams are selling for billions with a B, and turning profits yearly on top of that,
and players are getting laughed at once a month, by 29 rich white guys (and Michael Jordan, who teleconferences in from a golf course, where he's losing to 3 other laughing rich white guys)
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Baseball players GET PAID.

An NFL player can't even get the SECOND year of a 5-year contract guaranteed, and meanwhile,

over in BASEBALL BIZARRO WORLD,

Bobby Bonilla is making a million a year to play baseball

until he's 62 years old.
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Here's the only problem with the baseball union's strategy:

The game is dying.

And it may be the union's fault.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Best Point Guard in Comedy, Chapter 2

This is building on an earlier post, about Jeffrey Joseph.

Joseph is a massively underrated Brooklyn comic.  And he's helped me a number of times with brilliant advice, since I met him a few years ago,

at the "Tipsy Hustle" open-mic, here in Bed-Stuy.
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Writing about him got me thinking:

In basketball, they used to just count who scored the points.

In comedy, we just count who told the joke onstage.

Who

got the laugh?
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But a lot of times, somebody passed them the ball.

Somebody helped them be that funny.

In basketball, before too long, they came up with a statistic for that:

the assist.
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In comedy, we haven't appreciated that--

not nearly enough, in my opinion.

So,

I want to start figuring it out.

Who are the best "assist men" in comedy?
In comedy today?
In comedy history?
In each comedy scene, around the country?
Who is the best "comedy point guard," in Seattle history?
In Denver history?
Austin?
Boston?
DC?

Is Aaron Kleiber the best comedy point guard in America, right now?
(Pittsburgher, great comedian, terrific guy, has helped build one of the best new scenes in the country)

Is a dude like that more of a "point forward" -- someone who can distribute (help others with advice/opportunities), and can also score (have been impressed every time I've seen him)
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What about "big picture?"

Is Johnny Carson the best point guard of all-time?

How high is Ellen making her way up that list?

What about Abbott, from Abbott and Costello?  Where does he rank, "all-time?"
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I don't know.

But I'm curious.

And I'm a comedy fan.

I admit it.  I'm a fan.

I like stand-up comedy.
Who are the best "stand-up point guards," in your city's comedy scene?
Let me know -- send me an email at brysonturner.com




Who is the best Point Guard in Comedy History?

Jeffrey Joseph is kind of like my comedy-fairy-godmother.

Hmm.  That may not come across as the compliment I want it to be.

Let me try to explain.
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Jeffrey Joseph is a comic who is somewhat legendary, in the New York comedy scene.

"Legendary" in the old-school sense of the word.  As in,

legend (noun):  
1.  a story from the past that is believed by many people but cannot be proved to be true
2.  a famous or important person who is known for doing something extremely well
3.  a list that explains the symbols on a map

That's how Merriam-Webster defines the word "legend."

At various times in my 5 years doing stand-up, here in New York City,

Jeffrey Joseph has been all three.
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Just for comparison's sake:

celebrity (noun):
1.  the state of being famous or celebrated
2.  a person who is famous
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Note the difference:  only the "legend" is known for doing something "extremely well."

A "celebrity" only assures you of fame.  The path you took to your fame doesn't matter.

I don't know if Jeffrey Joseph is "famous"

--I've had comics come up to me before open-mics, and tell me part of the reason they moved to New York City to do comedy, was because of this blog.  I may not think I'm famous, but the distinction isn't up to me.  It's up to each individual, to decide.

famous (adjective):
1.  having a widespread reputation, usually of a favorable nature; renowned; celebrated

And then we're down the rabbit hole...

"What does 'widespread' mean?  What does 'favorable' mean?  What does 'celebrated' mean?  Does it mean they have to throw me a party, and then I'm famous??"
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This is the journey that I believe many comedians -- who start out as just regular-old funny people, and then grow into whatever you know them as --

are afraid to take.

The journey of "where is this all going?"
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Maybe I'm wrong, for asking.
Maybe I'd be better off, if I just sprinted forward, and didn't worry whether "forward" was North or South.

Maybe I should have just kept sprinting.
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But I don't think so.

And part of the reason I don't think so, is Jeffrey Joseph.

Because every time I talk to him--

which is only once or twice a year,

he strikes me as one of the happiest people I've met, in 12 years of doing comedy.

And not just in comedy.  But in life.

And shouldn't that be the goal?  When I started following comedy -- when I was too scared to do it, back in the 90s -- the whole reason I thought it was cool was because it seemed like those guys just...got it.

It seemed like comics were willing to be more honest than most people.  Like they were truthtellers.  They were the people I could go to, when I wanted answers.

But if someone is telling me they're happy, and then I meet them, and their energy is negative and miserable,

what then?
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I guess that's what I like about Jeffrey.

Every time I run into him, I'm happy that I did.

That's the type of comic, I always wanted to be.

I wanted to be someone who felt balanced, in their life.
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You know something funny?

And I mean, funny?

When Lucas and I moved here, 5 years ago, we were trying to figure things out.  I think that's the idea of any "hajj," really -- you don't know what you're looking for, exactly.  But you trust that if you take the journey, you'll guide yourself to something.  And you'll understand that whatever part of you did that guiding...is not just inside you.  It's in many people.  And in fact -- it's really possible -- in all people.

Lucas was, and is, on his own journey.  I can't speak to it.  But if he decides to write again, I'm excited to read it.  I'm not waiting outside his brain's door, holding an all-night vigil.  But if I get an invite in the mail, I'm definitely making the trip, to come say hi.

These, to me, are the legends.

Jeffrey Joseph
Lucas Molandes

I came to New York, wanting to be a famous comedian.

I still do.

But I'm not willing to give up my legend.

And if I want legends to be appreciated more, I've got to start telling their stories.  And not just mine.

I think
(Maybe I'm wrong)
I'm learning how to be

a point guard.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Quitting Facebook, to become a Comedian

I want to go back.

Of COURSE I do.

Do you think it's fun over here,

on BLOGGER, for the schmutz sake???
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And 

Yet I continue.

Because I want to make a living writing so badly,

I quit Facebook.
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Yeah.  I'm that guy.

You know -- the second one.

The first was Scott Moran.

(And there was probably a girl, first-first)

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That's how bad I want this.

And I'm going to figure a way how.

Even if it means,

(duh, duh, DUNNNHH

going back to open-mics.
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Look out, young-uns.

It's Spring Training.

And A-Rod is getting warm.

Who is the Hannibal Buress of "sports"?

Hey, younger professional athletes.

Let me give you a quick warning:

One of you is your industry's Hannibal Buress.

Whooo,

oh whooo
will youuuu

be?
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I don't know -- but I can't wait to find out.

Hannibal, of course, is our industry's golden child.

The next-Second-Coming, or whatever that thing is.  The one to carry the torch.
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Well, the handle got hot.

And resist he could not.

So Hannibal

turned cannibal

and swallowed Cosby whole.
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I think that's how it's going to be remembered, historically, comedically.

As far as legacies go, though,

I think we really need to make sure we're paying attention, here.
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Cosby is a guy, it now appears, who did a lot terrible things, to women.

And at some point, we have to decide,

as a group of people who claim to be "trying to figure out the truth,"

etcetera,

we're better,

etcetera,
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Can we look at any of his old specials, and be able to actually feel good about ourselves?

Or is it going to feel the same as when middle-aged men look at clips of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, belting homers 500 feet, back in 1997?

Do you think he did it right after that one?  What about that one?

Do you keep someone out of the Hall of Fame, based on immoral decisions, that negatively affected a lot of people, in profoundly painful ways, and I'm adding extras commas, into this long sentence,

so we have time to remind ourselves,

that Cosby appears to be a pretty terrible man, by 2015 standards.

--Pretty run-of-the-mill celebrity, by 1960s standards.

And I'm not happy to report that,

if anyone thinks that's "news"
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Monday: 9:00 -- 9:30 am. BrysonTurner.com

The idea of "schedule" has always been the struggle.

For those of you who are already long-time readers, you know this.

You know -- from one of my eleven-hundred blogs -- that I have an adventurous spirit, big dreams,

and not always the best follow-through.

Well...I'm working on it.
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This week, I'm committing my first half-hour of the work week -- 9:00 to 9:30, Monday morning -- to my very own website,

brysonturner.com
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So, I posted a video from a stand-up set I did last night



and I'm writing this blog.
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It's still only 9:20.

Who knows -- I might be in for a good, productive week.
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That has been the goal, this whole time.

I think a lot of comics go into this career thinking it's a way to avoid work.

I never wanted that.  Part of me wanted that, sure.  I liked the idea of not working.

But deep down, that didn't appeal to me.  I always wanted to be productive.  I always wanted to get things done.

In many ways, I pissed away my twenties, pursuing stand-up comedy, and not pursuing a better, more-disciplined self.

I trusted some people who didn't have my best interests as their goal.  I don't blame them, looking back.  They were trying to pay their rent.  I was funny enough that if they were the ones who "found me," they would get the credit, and they would be able to pay their rent.  And the rent for their business, too.

I'm a little older now.  I am trying to pay my own rent.  And I'm hoping to own a business of my own, at some point.  So I understand a little better, that those people aren't "mean," or "evil."

They're just human.
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Age becomes irrelevant, once you realize there are two types of people:  people who are present, and people who aren't.

I'd go into more detail, but people like Ram Dass and Eckhart Tolle pretty much have it covered.

I'll say this:

When we think about life in terms of decades, we can get bummed out pretty quickly.

So when I think about my "twenties," I could get bummed out.  I had sleep apnea, and it went undiagnosed.  My brain wasn't getting the necessary amount of oxygen.  I was in a constant state of exhaustion, and the whole time, I just thought I was "lazy."

I missed out on lots of opportunities, all throughout my twenties.  Jobs.  Sports.  Memories of moments that never happened.
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Then I ask myself this:

If I turned my twenties around on my 23rd birthday, after missing out on my 22nd year...

would I still feel like my entire twenties were lost?

No.  Of course not.  I'd be thrilled that I got it figured out.
I'd be thrilled that I get to spend the last 70 percent of my decade, kicking butt, and becoming a better and better version of myself.
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That's how I feel about this century.

If my life is my 20s,

I'm 23.

Happy birthday to me.
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Mon  9:32  AM