a priori/a posteriori

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Advice to Myself: Tell a Good Story

Is the Creek and the Cave
the new


of alternative comedy venues?
ESPN is technically a "cable" channel -- even though it is now part of a massive industry that it has massive influence over.
"The Creek and the Cave" is an alternative comedy venue in Long Island City.

my advice to myself:  wear a shirt

Friday, October 10, 2014

11. Love, Bryson

My fiance' convinced me to stop naming everything before it exists.

So I don't know what I'll call this blog.

Let's find out together...
And here's the thing:

I don't know what I'm going to call this special, either.

I can act like I know.

I've gotta put something on the posters,
ya dig?
But I don't know, yet.

I won't know until after it gets filmed,
November 4, 2014.

So for me to worry about the name...

well, it's pretty silly.
So here's what i find interesting:

If the special hasn't been named yet, then it means the special is still changing.

And that means, anybody could be affecting the special -- just by spending time around me.

That's really what this special is going to end up being:

a special made by the 5 people
I spend the most time around.

(Jim Rohn must be wagging his tail in his grave)
So, let's not ask
"What will this special be called?"

Let's ask,
"Who will this special be?"

1.  Vanessa.  aka Miss Butterfly Starfish
-- that's absolutely 1 of the 5.  And some could argue, two three and four, as well.
-- but definitely one of the top-5.

2.  SkyeWalker
-- the step-kid.  I avoid using the name, just because I'd rather she get to have a half-normal high-school experience.  She can decide to do stand-up herself, if she wants to.
-- but I can't pretend she doesn't exist. (even though that's my terrified, part-time adult strategy, most of the time)
-- she's definitely one of the 5


I feel like the last 3 are still up for grabs.

Will one be Damen, the college roommate stand-up comic from Cleveland, who will be opening for me?

Will one be my mom?  My dad?  My brother?

Can a New York comic sneak their way onto the list?  Lawyer Drew?  DeVito?  Lawson?  Drew Dowdey?  Benel?

Elizabeth, the elementary-school-librarian / upstairs roommate who ghost-wrote most of the "Red Sox and Jews" joke?  Will I pick her brain, and add her to the 5?

Will it be Jim Rohn?  Will it be Ram Dass?
--Can it count, if the person I'm spending "lots of time with" is someone who spends lots of time with lots of people?
--or put another way:  can one of the 5 people who influence me the most...be some person I watch a lot of videos of online?
I don't know who 3 through 5 will be.  Koji?  My dog, Sugar?


But that will go a long way toward determining what this special becomes.  And what the attitude of it is.

In that sense, everyone I interact with
between now and November 4
will have some impact
on what the special becomes.

As a lifelong comedy nerd,
I just hope I have the womb

to tell myself what I want.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Rebel without Applause, 10: If you want something done...

...ask a busy person to do it.
I always wanted to be that busy person.

I remember hearing that phrase, as early as middle school.

If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.

Up until this point in my life, I don't feel like I've ever been

a "busy person."

Maybe that's not true.  I remember a time, when I was living in DC.  I remember getting my day job, working for the Department of Defense, and how busy I was, all of a sudden.  And how I was still going out every night, and doing open-mics.

And I remember this moment, when I was walking into my Columbia Heights apartment,
(1368 Euclid, just up the hill from U Street)

and throwing down my work stuff, and running out the door to head to a show,

and thinking,

"Wow, Bryson -- you're really doing it."

At the time, I wrote a joke about that moment.  Because there was an immediate backlash, inside my own mind.

I was so scared to admit that I was happy, that another part of my brain responded to itself by saying,

"Shut up, faggot."
It would be my preference -- looking back now, and with how our society has progressed since 2007 -- that my brain would have exercised better word choice.

But my brain said what it said.  It was an honestly hilarious moment, and I recognized it, even at the time.

I was living my dream -- and I didn't want to let myself enjoy it.  I was afraid of admitting I was trying.
7 years later,
I will not make the same mistake.

I am living my dream,
working hard,
trying my best,


that's pretty darn awesome.
Yesterday, I performed in public for the first time in about 2 months.

It went great.

I tried some of the material I plan on using in this special.

It went over pretty great.

I need to make a tremendous push, these next 26 days.

And I'm more confident than I've ever been, that I'll make it happen.

You know why?

Because I'm busy.

And Miss Butterfly Starfish is busy.

We're both extremely busy, right now.

And because of that,

I'm confident we're going to pull this off.
Do I need to work even harder?

Yes.  I believe it would help me.

Or maybe not.  Maybe I don't need to work harder.  Maybe I just need to work smarter.

Maybe I just need to plan out my days

ahead of time.

Maybe I just need to

plan out my sets

ahead of time.
Maybe those are the keys.
Maybe those are the next steps.

I don't know how this special will go.

But I feel better and better about committing to it, every day.

I will finish this blog,
then write a blog about flossing,
then prepare for the SAT class I'm teaching this afternoon,
then prepare for the small-business class I'm taking this evening,
then go to both,
then come home,
and hopefully get a chance to say hi to SkyeWalker
(though I am usually too chicken to check in),
and then
and then
and then

I just want to keep being present, each moment at a time
and keep working on myself,
and keep working on my set,
and keep working on my material,
and keep working.

I want to keep being busy,
and I believe this special will come together quite beautifully.

And I need to call Marshall.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rebel without Applause, 9: Bryson, not "me"

Bryson is trying.

I just heard a segment on NPR, explaining that we take things less personally when we call ourselves by our first name, instead of saying "I."

So instead of saying "I didn't study enough,"

We could say, "Bryson could have studied more."

Stuff like that.

I want to try doing that.


Bryson is going to try doing that more.

Because Bryson is a good person.  Who is trying really hard, to do something cool with his stand-up career.

And even if it doesn't "work out" that well,

Bryson should still be proud of himself, for following his gut, and for trying his best.  For really following his heart.

1.  I'm engaged
2.  The sex is great
3.  "Up for Whatever"
4.  Single people lying
5.  "Cool" is a myth
6.  I'm old
7.  Internet is a fad
8.  Facebook is MySpace
9.  My mother
10.  White "Trosh"
11.  The Hamptons
12.  Settlement
13.  Money/Gambling
14.  Religion
15.  Drugs
16.  The Eye
17.  Pittsburgh
18.  Sports
19.  Racism
20.  Rap
21.  Gentrification
22.  Hipsters and Jews
23.  Global politics
24.  The Environment
25.  Farewell Tour

26.  I'm a step-dad
Okay.  I wrote that in about a minute.  I forgot one.  Let me go through and see if I can figure out what I left out.  Probably in that middle chunk...

Nope.  Can't remember.  Let me check the list...

Oh yeah.  Bryson crossed out "enlightenment."  That was the 27th.

Okay.  So I guess I pretty much have the set-list down.

Also, I did a set for my fiance' last night.  It took me 92 minutes to get through those 26 things.
And that's without really telling any jokes.  I just hated doing it so much, it took me 92 minutes to even get through the outline.  And I took a call from my brother, in the middle of the set, because I was so miserable that I wanted to stop doing it.

It would have looked pretty brutal, to any outsiders.

Sausage, laws, and stand-up specials.
Okay.  Time to go take a few shots. And then get ready for class.

I almost wrote,  "These next 4 days will likely determine how the special goes."

But that's honestly b.s.

Every moment is deciding that.  And in the end, the moments when I record will determine that.  And the moments I spend editing it.  (though if I had to pick one time that will decide it, I'd say the time that I'm in the room)

But let's say "these next four days."

Then we'll see where we are, after that.
But for the record:

Bryson is trying.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Rebel without Applause, 8: Drink Water

I'm typing this as I sit in my underwear, at the kitchen table.

I've spent most of the morning (11:33 am, as I type this) learning about various conspiracy theories, on YouTube.

And that's okay.
As I am typing this, I also have my "teacher's edition" in front of me, as I go through my lesson plans for tomorrow.

Which is weird.  Because that's the type of sentence I would expect a teacher to write.

And I'm not a teacher.  I'm a comic.

Unless Miss Starfish is right.  And there really isn't a huuuuge difference between "comics" and "regular people."

Unless that entire idea -- the dichotomy that us "comics" have been so desperately hanging on to, for at least the past generation -- has been a lie we've been telling ourselves, the whole time.

And wouldn't that be crazy.

Wouldn't it be...


if it turns out someone can hold down a job,
and perform stand-up comedy as well,
and be fairly good at both?

Wouldn't that be crazy?
And if that turned out to be true --

wouldn't it also prove

that there are people capable of being "stand-up comics"

who have always presumed they couldn't,

just because they think of themselves as being in the category of "not a comic"?
That's what I would love to prove -- or at least provide the first piece of evidence for -- with this special:

I want "non-comics" to realize that

anyone can do stand-up.

It's literally just a matter of getting onstage.
I honestly don't know how this special will turn out.  It's October 7, 2014, as I write.  I have something like 28 days until the special.  I have a rough outline, which I completed the first draft of on Sunday night.

I have very few jokes written out.  Though I do have a lot of ideas that I've talked out onstage, over the past 2+ years.

I have to work 20-30 hours per week, at my "regular" job, until the special.  So I am trying to (quickly) become more efficient with my time.

Or at least, learn how to tell other people about the special.  So that maybe someone else can do something for it.

We'll see.
I'll be honest, though -- I feel pretty good about that outline.  It makes me want to memorize it, in the next day or two.

Let's go with one day.  Let's memorize it.  Today.

What do I know so far?
Let's see:

1.  I'm engaged
2.  The sex is great
3.  "Up for Whatever" Ian
4.  Singles married to each other
5.  "Cool" is a myth
6.  I'm old
7.  Facebook
8.  Internet a fad
9.  My mom
10.  White Trosh
11.  Umm....
12.  Umm....

Okay.  I have 10 of 27 memorized.

Let's work to have that entire setlist down, by this evening.

Good goal.

And if I want to jot down any actual jokes I'll be telling about those 27 topics...well then, all the better.
I may start trying to fast, during the day.  I met a guy named Peach, and he's better at basketball than me.  He seems to believe strongly in the idea of fasting, as a way of getting the most productivity out of ourselves, during the day.

I'm just unproductive enough to give it a shot.
So, why don't I get to work, memorizing that outline.

By tomorrow's blog, I should have it completely down.  All 27 steps.
Hmm.  Great blog today.  I feel like I got something out of this.

Thanks for listening.

Even though most of you won't find this until after you've seen the special.

Which is November 4, 2014.  Filmed live at Legion Bar, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Oh, by the way:

Come.  It's gonna be really fun.

Actually...wait a second.  There's limited seating.  I should probably figure out a guest list.  Right?  Isn't that how this stuff works?  If I only have room for 30...I shouldn't invite 500 people.  That would be a rude move.

Okay.  Homework for tomorrow:

1.  Do the homework for my other classes
2.  Memorize the outline
3.  Figure out a 30-person dream guest list

Monday, October 6, 2014

Rebel without Applause, 7: Sacrifices

I last wrote on Friday.
It is now Monday morning.

I easily could have written, this weekend.

I did not.

And now -- an hour before I go teach high schoolers about the SATs -- I am writing.

What is my logic?

I'm not sure.

That's the scary thing, I guess.

I want to be a great comic.

But at some point, I want to let go of that "need."


I don't know if that's true.

The truth is,
I don't know the truth.

I'm trying to figure stuff out.

I want to make a really beautiful, really funny stand-up special.

A really thought-provoking

stand-up special.
And I don't know if I have anything to say.

I know I can say a lot.
I don't know
if any of it is worth listening to.

Because really,
it isn't.

We should follow the drumbeat we hear from within.

Within yourself.

Not within me.  Not within some rah-rah pastor.  Not within anyone.

I feel overwhelmed.  At times.

I think that's okay.

I wrote an outline last night, with Miss Butterfly.

And I like it.

I could be doing more.
We could all be doing more.
I'm trying my best.
I can stop feeling bad about it.
I can stop feeling bad, period.

Time to go teach SATs.

And that's okay.
Mon  7:48  AM

I'm tired.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Rebel without Applause, 6: Pay Rent

I want to have a sexier blog, today.

I film a month from tomorrow.

But, the rest of the world is still happening, around this special.

And so I will keep this short,
because I have work to do,
and because I have to go to work,
and because I have to go get rent checks,
and then mail them to my landlord,
who is not Jewish.

Though if he was, a lot of people would say, "I told you so."

Of course, they would be wrong.

It's hard to be a good landlord.

It's a legitimate challenge.

Because you can only be as good at a job, as you are a person.

I'll be interested to see how good this special is,

because it will be a real window for me

into who I am,
right now,
in my life.
Smile, if you're reading this--

you're on the brysonturner.com