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Nostalgia Double Feature

In the past week I’ve watched both The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The World’s End.  Both are movies that got me thinking a lot about nostalgia.

The-Perks-of-Being-a-Wallflower-posterWallflower takes place during the 1991-1992 school year.  It was two years after I graduated, but the world was very familiar.  I had groups of friends I bounced between back then.  I had my closest friends in John and Bill who never overlapped.  John was my metal head buddy and together we played video games and went to concerts.  We’d drive around late at night and talk about girls.  Bill and I went to the community center and shot pool or we’d go to the movies.  I also had my own personal Wallflowers.

My Wallflowers were like the Wallflowers in the movie.  They were the artsy kids.  The creative types.  The kids who in retrospect I probably should have been a lot closer with and it makes sense that they’re the ones who I am in fact closest with twenty-three years later.   Perks of Being a Wallflower made me miss those nights of hanging out at Brian Rankel’s house having philosophical discussions about life and art while The Smiths, The Cure and Depeche Mode played in the background.

Then I saw The World’s End.

worlds-end-posterSimon Pegg’s Gary King character in  The World’s End also missed those nights of hanging out with his childhood friends.  He rounds them up and reluctantly they join him in trying to complete an epic pub crawl from their youth.  When they try to go back they find that everything has changed.

His friends have all moved on with their lives and have families and responsibilities.  The town itself isn’t the same either.  The small pubs have largely lost their unique character.   If you’ve seen the trailer, you probably noticed how there’s a certain sci-fi Invasion of the Body Snatchers aspect to the movie.  It’s a great metaphor for the people becoming as homogenized as the pubs.  Trying to go back ends up being an epic disaster.

The World’s End completes Edgar Wright’s Cornetto’s Trilogy.  Like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz before, at some point in the first act, the entire plot of the movie is spelled out in a clever and throw away fashion.  The movie stands on its own, but there are a lot of little inside jokes for die-hard fans of the trilogy.  Right now it’s the one that I think I like the most.  Granted that may be because Wallflower got me feeling a big like Gary King.

I honestly wanted to write this without reference to my own stand up….but my latest album “nowadays” is largely about being present and not dwelling on the past…or worrying about the future.  The first track PROLOGUE literally features time travel to 1988.  The second track ALABAMA is about me holding on to a grudge with the entire state of Alabama.  HOLD THE DOOR is about me missing a simpler, more polite time.  DICK STRAWS is about the perversion of a mall store where I bought heavy metal collectibles as a kid.  FOURTEEN is a spontaneous riff about my parents trying to do their best to not raise a foul-mouthed child, but those plans were squashed with the first outside influence.  CREEPY COUSIN is about a fortunately avoided sticky situation from when I was a kid.  The cover of “nowadays” itself is a visual play on looking back.  I’m in a parking lot full of run down ice cream trucks looking away from them and towards the open sky ahead.  The trucks show that the epitome of carefree youth isn’t really what you remember.

So while Perks of Being a Wallflower made me miss the “good old days” because it was set during that time…since the writer Stephen Chbosky is just a year and a half older than I am….Simon Pegg (also a year and a half older) and Edgar Wright (two years younger) reminded me that Devo was right.

Maybe you should give the past a slip.

New album AVAILABLE NOW!

Thank you again to everyone who came out to the Comedy Castle this past weekend for my CD release party….and thank you especially to those of you who supported this new album in advance through my Kickstarter!

Bobbitt_CoverNow is the chance for everyone else to get their hands on my third album “nowadays.“.  I’m really proud of this one.  While it’s the dirtiest thing I’ve ever put out there, it’s also the most personal.  The CD opens with a little skit that kind of harkens back to the old comedy specials from the 80s and 90s.   It’s silly.

I’m really proud of the design of the CD as well.  Comedian Jeff Dwoskin nailed the meaning right away.   I’m looking away from a run down ice cream truck lot, which signifies the past not being as great as we remember, to the blue skies and open opportunities ahead.

My friend Chris Capaul from the punk band Capaul was at the album recording.  Afterwards he said something that really meant a lot to me.  He noticed that each joke kind of had a message.  Sometimes the message is buried deep, but it’s there.  And yeah, that’s true.  I’ve always been a firm believer in the fact that it’s a privilege to be able to speak to large groups of people and that privilege should be used for good.  So once you get past the sex toys, shit and other body functions, there is a message there.

nowadays is available on all the digital distribution sites like iTunes, Amazon and cdbaby.  If you would like a physical copy you can paypal me at mike@offthemike.com.  $10 for the album for anyone in the U.S.  $12 outside of the U.S.  Every purchase of the album will also get a free BONUS GIFT while supplies last!

mikebobbittfullfrontal

My previous album “Full Frontal Nerdity” is also available for the same price.   Order both for $15 in the U.S. or $17 if you’re anti-American.  Anti-American….that’s the correct term, right?  No?

Thank you again everyone!

Happy Birthday Jimmy Doom

ALDWhen I was 16 or 17 years old I bought an Almighty Lumberjacks of Death cassette probably from Rock of Ages or Flipside Records.  I never saw ALD live, but I certainly knew who they were.  ALD were Detroit punk rock gods!  That album “Always Out of Control, but Never Out of Beer” struck a chord with me.  The songs ranged from fun anthems like the eponymous Almighty Lumberjacks of Death to the socially thought provoking Motor City Trick or Treat.  Jimmy Doom was my guy.  He was a local icon, but he was also dealing with the same girl problems I was facing because why else would he write Devil Girl?

I loved that album.

Fast forward years later and I meet Jimmy Doom.  My memory of this could be way off.  I was working at one of the many many comedy clubs called Wise Guys.  I think every third or fourth state may have a comedy club called Wise Guys.  Doug Stanhope was coming to town and we wanted to do something different to book his opener.  I had the idea of having a contest.  To find Detroit’s most extreme comedian, we’d have Detroit’s most extreme entertainers judge it.  I brought in locals who wrestled in the WWE, Detroit Derby Girls, and musicians including Jimmy Doom.  Even though I was probably maybe a little bit of a creepy fanboy, we hit it off.

With a pivotal part of ALD moving to Chicago, Jimmy was now a one man tour-de-force spoken word artist.  His album of poetry is raw, insightful and brutally hilarious.  Jimmy doesn’t pull any punches…until he reinvents himself yet again.

These days you may know Jimmy Doom as an actor.  He loves what he does and he should because he’s good at it.  I ran into him in the evening after he filmed his fight scene in the movie Kill The Irishman.  Jimmy reenacted the whole scene for me, with me in the Ray Stevenson spot.  During the day, this would’ve been fine.  This was late at night, and Jimmy had already unwound with a couple beers or so.  But ever the pro, Jimmy can throw a punch at full force within an inch of your face…and most importantly…NOT MISS!

Me and Jimmy in a Deadpan promo shot.

Me and Jimmy in a Deadpan promo shot.

My ex-wife and I wrote a television show called Deadpan about a comedian who was mentored by the ghost of a Detroit punk legend.  When we shot the first two episodes, of course we cast Jimmy in the role. Over the years he’s become a great friend.

Much like the characters we played in Deadpan, in real life Jimmy has inspired me to being more real with my comedy.

I’m really proud of this new album because for me it does things like Always Out of Control, But Never Out of Beer.  There are some moments where points are being made, but over all it’s still a lot of fun.  That’s why I asked Jimmy to write the liner notes.  I’m going to share them now as a sneak preview because since he sent them to me, I’ve just been glowing.  He nailed it!  He really nailed it!

NOWADAYS_Jimmy

Maybe it’s because I’m a bit self-centered, but of all the things Jimmy has written over the years, this is my favorite.  He sees me like I see myself.  I think that not only says that I’m doing something right, but also it goes to show just how insightful Jimmy Doom is.  Jimmy is a real life Buckaroo Banzai.  He can do absolute anything he puts his mind to.

Happy birthday, buddy!

Detroit Zoo Commercial Parody

If you’re 35 or older and grew up around Detroit you probably remember the Detroit Zoo talking animal commercial from the early 80s.  I don’t think a week goes by that something doesn’t jog my memory about this ad. Well…I made a parody of it.  It may actually be the first thing I’ve posted on Youtube that doesn’t contain anything objectionable!

Say “Uncle”!

I’m going back and forth between thinking I’m the worst uncle in the world getting my niece and nephew to say bad words into a camera and realizing that they at least hear way worse at school every day.  Nevertheless, I thought it would be funny.

During my CD recording, I spoke a little bit about how my parents tried to shelter me and my brother.  That only worked until outside forces invaded.

This is the kind of kid I was.  When I was around five, my parents moved us to Sylvania, Ohio for a year.   On the first day the kid across the street came over and within minutes taught me the word “fart”.  Until then, I would say, “my pants burped.”  My mom’s sister’s family wouldn’t even say “burp”!  They’d say, “my piggy came up.”

I wasn’t broken yet.  Well, I was, just in a different way.  Back in Michigan a couple years later I was on the playground at recess with my friend Corey.  He fell off a slide and knocked out a tooth.  When he noticed he said, “shit!”  Being a good kid, I ran and got the lunch lady to….tell her Corey said a bad word.  I neglected that entire tooth business.  I kind of remember wondering if he was going to get in trouble over the bad word.  I don’t remember worrying about the tooth or the bloody mouth at all.

I remember too watching National Lampoon’s Vacation and having my parents telling me and my brother to leave the room during the entire cousin scene.  Of course that only made us want to watch the scene to find out what we were missing.  So we watched from around the corner in the kitchen.  We assumed it was the line, “Ever bop your baloney?”  We went to the refrigerator and tried to figure out what was so bad about bologna and how exactly does one, “bop” it?

I grew up with the Barbra Streisand version of A Star Is Born.  I loved and still love that movie.  In middle school in an English class we had to write our autobiography.  Mine is called A Star Is Born.   I watched that movie a lot as a kid…except for the scene where Kris Kristofferson and Babs take a bath together.  There’s no nudity, no sex, no swearing in that scene.  I guess it’s because Babs puts makeup on Kris and my mom didn’t want me watching that.  Nevermind the fact that throughout the rest of the movie Kris Kristofferson snorts almost a Scarface amount of cocaine.

Somehow that must have worked a little.  I don’t do drugs, but I do get squirmy when I have to wear makeup for TV things.

I’m not sure where I was finally broken.  I know by high school my friend John and I would drive around in his Chevelle and “bowel growl”.  That’s what we called yelling the most offensive things possible in our best death metal voices out his window.  So if you lived in Troy, Michigan and were woken up by a couple of teenagers playing demon between 1988 and 1991, I’m sorry.

So here we are in 2013 and I’ve got a potty mouth.  I don’t know how it happened.  I worked in radio for awhile and kept it clean there.  My first CD is pretty clean to the best of my memory.  I was in a punk band in the mid-90s and sang fairly preachy songs about staying clean…oh wait…there was one about eating shit and another about a friend’s penis.  Oops.  Not sure where I was going with that.

So to the best of my mom’s ability she probably didn’t want to raise a foul mouthed brat.  The good news is she didn’t.  Everyone else did!

“nowadays”: the recap

DSC01084So last week I recorded my third comedy album.   I had a sold out show at Go Comedy Improv Theater in Ferndale, MI.  I couldn’t believe how many people from different chapters in my life showed up to support me.  Five days later, I’m still glowing!

 

My buddy Erik Kitter opened for me.  Erik used to work for me when I managed a Gamestop.  He’s kind of like a little brother to me.  Yeah, I already have a little brother, but if you know the two of us then you know he’s definitely the one who is way more mature!  I bought Erik his first drink when he turned 21 and well…I don’t know…I tease him mercilessly, but that’s kind of what you do to a little brother…who isn’t a head taller than you and collects guns!

Kitter, Haenke & me, me and Hood.

Kitter, Haenke & me, me and Hood.

When I hit the stage the roar of applause almost knocked me off my feet.  For a second I was worried I was going to cry.  That would’ve made for the worst comedy album ever!

“Yeah, for the first ten minutes, the guy just sobs uncontrollably!  It’s funny at first, but then it just gets sad.”

I pulled myself together.

 

My friend Eric Haenke is producing this thing with me.  He and I had four devices recording the show.  I’ve listened to one of the recordings.  It’s 55 minutes long.  There are a few little trims I’d like to make.  When all is said and done it’s going to be a 50+ minute long album of all new material!  I’m really proud of that.

 

My girlfriend Allyson Hood video recorded (I always want to say “taped” but nothing is technically “taped” anymore) some behind the scenes stuff from the show.  I put it together in this video.  I hope you like it!

through the WORMHOLE

Ever since I lived in New Orleans about twenty years ago, I had the feeling that I would love Savannah, Georgia.

In my mind it was going to be like all the good parts of New Orleans without the public drunkenness and abundance of frat boys exchanging beads for boobs.  Side note, if you’ve always romanticized the idea of going to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, ask yourself this question.  Would I like to be stuck in the middle of the world’s largest obnoxious and anarchic frat party?  If the answer is no, but you still want to see New Orleans  when something else cool is happening, go any other time of the year because something cool is always happening.  Go for Halloween or Jazz Fest.  Those are both great alternatives.  If they idea of being in a giant awful frat party is something you’d enjoy, then what are you doing on my website?

Okay, back to the point.  When I saw Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which takes place in Savannah, I thought for sure, “This is it!”  Savannah seemed to have all the historic beauty and character that I had imagined it would have.

One of my favorite things about doing comedy on the road is getting to see cool places I’d never get to see otherwise.  I saw the Earth burp flaming gas in an oil town in North Dakota.  I’ve been to the SPAM Museum in Minnesota twice.  I’ve fallen in love with Madison, Wisconsin.  And I finally got to go to Savannah, Georgia.

Last year my comedian traveling buddy Jeff Scheen and I rolled into Savannah, up from a handful of gigs in Florida in the late afternoon. We drove around until we found a good place to park near a huge park with tons of weeping willow trees and an enormous fountain.  While walking around, we saw kids (young adults) LARPing with their foam weapons.  It was awesome.  It was like a peaceful New Orleans…and maybe it was because we were so close to the ocean, it was like a less ridiculously hot New Orleans!

That night we went to do our show at the Wormhole.  I could tell by the posters in the window that this place was going to be cool.  When we walked inside, I felt like I was home.  It reminded me of the punk and metal clubs I spent so much time in as a teen and in my twenties both in Detroit and while doing my traveling with Gwar.  It had so much character and history.  So many great bands I love to this day have played there and were still playing there.  The staff was friendly and you could tell they felt the same adoration for the place that I felt.

Jeff and I did two shows.  The crowds were small, but a whole lot of fun.  They were smart.  They were enthusiastic.  Yeah, one guy was maybe a little too enthusiastic and never caught on to the idea that it was more of a speech and less of a conversation, but he was good natured and enjoying himself without ruining the show.

Soon afterwards, Amy from the Wormhole texted me to tell me how much the staff enjoyed me as well as everyone who was in the audience that night.  She asked when I could come back.  I told her I’d return as soon as I could.  When I was there, their sound guy and I talked about recording a CD.  He’s recorded a lot of the bands that have gone through there and it sounded great.

Earlier this year, Amy, Steve the booker and I set into plan my return and CD taping.  I’m recording my next CD over the course of two nights.  One night in June, here in the metro Detroit area and then again on July 6th at the Wormhole in Savannah, Georgia…my home away from home.

wormholeposter

The S.H.O.W. must go on…

I don’t agree with the idea that there’s no such thing as a bad audience.  Comedy in itself is a ridiculously challenging art form.  Think about it like this.  You have one person relaying words to a group of people who have nothing in common other than the fact that they’re all in the same room at the same time.  That one person has to not only try to relate to everyone, but do it while the wait staff is walking around, people are in various states of intoxication, money is being exchanged, and who knows what other baggage was brought into the equation before it even began.

Last year I did a show in front of a group whose mission was to create a safe internet environment for children.  Before the show I was dreading it.  I thought how on Earth could my silly potty mouth and socially incorrect song and dance act entertain these uptight assholes.  They ended up being one of my favorite audiences of the year.  I never hang out with people after the show because I’m painfully shy in crowds.  I’d rather be in front of a crowd than inside of one.  These people were great.  They had a great sense of humor even when it was aimed at them….which it was.  I know how every single story I tell on stage ends.  I never know how some off the cuff riffing is going to end.  I also don’t have a filter on my uncontrollable urge to say just about everything that pops into my head on stage.   I’ve always been a person too who likes to see how far I can push things, so I’m sure I pushed them pretty far when I saw they were game for anything.  It was a really fun night.

Last night I did a show in front of a group whose mission was to create a safe internet environment for children.  Sound familiar?  Remembering the last year experience and how great it was, I was confident and ready to go.  I’ve often been praised for my ability to tailor my act to include whatever special group is in the audience.  Before I went on, I grabbed one of their little pamphlets to see if there was anything I could talk about.   I think what this group does is a very noble thing.   I would never make fun of something like that.  Here’s what I did find though….

These guys were big on acronyms, but maybe not the best at creating them.  The pamphlet had three.  M.E.S.S.A.G.E., R.E.S.P.E.C.T. and L.O.S.S.

I hit the stage and opened with my silly little piece that I like to do in Canada where I mistake the highway “Fatigue Kills Drivers” signs for a warning about a Montreal serial killer who targets motorists.  Bam, the audience is on my side…but not nearly as much as they were the week prior.  It’s been a two and a half hour long show already, they’re just tired.  Let’s include them right away and start riffing about their acronyms….

I pull out the pamphlet, telling them that it’s good to have them there and I support what they do, but I have a problem with one thing.  Their acronyms.  The pamphlet starts with M.E.S.S.A.G.E.  which stands for Motivational Educational Sexting Seminar Aimed at Getting kids Educated….or something equally clunky that neglects half the letters in the A.G.E. part.  I suggested Motivational Educational Sexting Seminar for Youths, which is M.E.S.S.Y. but a lot less messy than what they have now.

Some laughs.  It’s been a long night.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T….They had words for the R.E.S. part, but stopped before they got to the P.E.C.T.  You can’t just quit on RESPECT halfway through the word.  It isn’t just R.E.S.  It’s R.E.S.P.E.C.T, find out what it means to me.  Aretha Franklin taught us that!

Really?  Less laughs than on M.E.S.S.A.G.E.?

And finally L.O.S.S…..not acronym at all.  It’s like you bailed on this whole idea during R.E.S.P.E.C.T.  Hopefully you’re raising money tonight to get a new copywriter because the one you have now doesn’t finish what they start.

She bailed on acronyms and the audience bailed on me.

Nothing for the rest of the show.  I couldn’t get a read on them.  Smart abstract heady stuff certainly wasn’t working….of course not, no one in the group apparently noticed that between the 100 of them they couldn’t finish their stupid acronyms.   Dirty stuff worked with pockets of people, but completely turned off a huge majority of the crowd.  They had zero sense of humor about themselves.  And keep in mind, if you’ve never seen me perform, 9 times out of ten if there’s a victim in a joke, I make sure that victim is me.

And by the way, I know the acronyms were created by a “she” because about five minutes before I was done, she started bringing their raffle items up to the stage and placing them in front of me while I was still performing.  I addressed that too…which didn’t deter her.  Maybe her mind was deep in thought trying to figure out the rest of R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

When I finished, she got up on stage and said, “Thanks for….that.  I do like acronyms…blah blah blah.”

A.C.R.O.N.Y.M.  Annoyingly Complicated Resource Of Ninnies, Yutzes & Mother-effers.

Before the show I was talking to the other comedian about self fulfilling prophecies.  He said sometimes he just feels like the show is going to stink and then it does.  I suggested that was manifest destiny.  Shortly after I certainly proved my case wrong.  Optimistically I thought the show was going to be great.  It’s a room I’m comfortable in.  It’s a show I did entirely because I’m neurotic and if I didn’t perform less than a week before the CD taping on Thursday I’d fret and worry.  I could have enjoyed a night off and done something fun.  I ended up filling in on this gig for a friend…which now that I think about it, every time he and I have filled in for each other it’s been a disaster for us.  Maybe F.R.I.E.N.D.S.H.I.P. is over rated.  Find Really Intense Endeavors Needing Dependable Showmen Handling Impatient People?

CD Recording!

I’m getting ready to record my third comedy CD and I’m super excited!  This one is going to be recorded on June 6th at 8pm at Go Comedy! Improv Theater in Ferndale.  Here’s the poster.

goposterGo Comedy! is a great space.  It’s a small 100 seat theater.  I did stand up there a few years ago with Toddy Barry and had a blast.

This new CD is going to be called “nowadays” and I’m really proud of the material.  It’s a lot more personal than stuff I’ve written in the past.  Since recording the second one, I got to work with Marc Maron a few times as well as Louis CK.  You can’t share a stage with heavy hitters like that and not come out a better comedian.  Here’s the pitch for “nowadays“….which I totally know doesn’t sound that funny on paper…I start looking inside my brain and talk about how and why I react to obstacles and the things that cause me stress and anxiety in my life.  Don’t worry…there are still poop jokes.  Oh…this is the rough version of what the cover for that CD will look like.

nowadays_cover

My last CD “Full Frontal Nerdity” is good.  I think I developed more as a joke writer, but there isn’t really a definitive thru-line to the material.  My favorite track on it is “Titty Bars” which to this day may be the most personal thing I ever wrote.  It’s a surreal bit about how I’m afraid of topless bars because I’m worried something bad will happen to me if I go…meanwhile a whole slew of great things happen, but all I do is focus on the negative.  Yep, that’s how my broken brain works.

mikebobbittfullfrontal

 

My first CD “Mikey Pooh” is an okay first effort.  I have a hard time listening to it, but a Gamestop manager recently told me that it was his favorite of mine because he could tell I was still managing a Gamestop myself at the time.  What I do like about this album is that it has a beginning, middle and an end.  It follows me through a fictional day and ends with callbacks to earlier bits.  I think maybe the best stand up special ever is Eddie Murphy “Delirious”  because when he hits that last joke you know it’s his last joke.  So often when you watch stand up, it’s joke one, joke two, joke three, goodnight.  Where did that come from?

Mikey Pooh

nowadays” will hopefully capture the best elements of my first two CDs.  I feel like the writing is stronger and more personal than ever, but there’s also a real thru-line.  The material goes in a logical flow and everything does wrap up at the end.  In fact, I’ve written so much material for this album that I’ve been putting some newer bits on the back burner because they just didn’t fit the story I wanted to tell this time.  The first two CDs were pretty much everything I had at the time.

I’ll have information really soon about how you can pre-order “nowadays”.

Thank you so much!

 

Comedy Pro Tip: The Tortoise and the Hare.

Maybe it’s nerves or the adrenaline rush of doing what we’ve waited all day long to do, but many comedians tend to talk a bit too fast on stage.  Comedian and owner of the Komedy Korner, Leo DuFour once suggested when I got off stage that I slow down and enjoy my time like I would a delicious meal.   Maybe that was a health tip and I’m forgetting that I was scarfing down a Poutine platter at the time….it was Canada after all.   Let me find another example.

One of my best friends asked me after a show why I don’t speak on stage like I speak normally off stage.  He was right.  I didn’t believe in my material at the time so on stage I would yell and ram my jokes down the throats of the audience as quickly as I could.

We need to remember that we’re performing for people who more often than not are in various stages of inebriation.  Maybe they’re stone cold sober, but there’s room noise around them so it’s hard to stay focused on you.  When we speak slower there’s less of a gap for the audience to hurdle to catch up with you.

Dave Landau is both one of my funniest friends and funniest comedians from Michigan.  He speaks on stage about a half a beat slower than he does in real life.  I’d argue that in addition to being a great writer, another reason he’s so good at the craft is because he has a slow, clear delivery.  His jokes are punchy and his timing is impeccable.

There’s also an added sense of confidence when you speak slower.  Rushing reeks of desperation.   Very early on in my comedy career Steve Brewer said, “What you say isn’t as important as how you say it.”  To a degree I believe that’s true.  Delivering “edgy” material confidently tends to make that material hit harder.  If you show the audience that you’re not sure of what you’re saying, they won’t be sure either.

If I can’t understand you, I can’t laugh at your jokes.  If you tend to be a person who doesn’t enunciate well, slowing down may compensate for that.   I have a friend who I understand without any problem off stage.  When he gets on stage, I have a hard time deciphering a good chunk of what he’s saying.   Here’s the one thing I learned from broadcasting school 22 year ago.  Are you ready for this?  This is eight grand of wisdom I’m going to impart on you for free.  W.  That’s is.  W.  Double You is a word that just about everyone mumbles their way through.  Most people say dubyou or dub-o-you.  There’s an L in the word.  They stressed saying W correctly in broadcasting school because this side of the Mississippi and the Canadian border, all radio and television stations start with the letter.  When I’m nervous before a show or feel like I’m just wrestling with my own tongue I’ll repeat W over and over again making sure I hit each sound of the letter.  Dub-bul-you.  I find myself speaking clearer when I’m on stage.  You can paypal me four grand if you want to.  In all fairness I also learned how to edit audio tape with a razor blade and tape on a reel to reel when I was at broadcasting school too.

I love metal.  The best metal bands are the ones who didn’t just play million mile an hour blast beats, but varied their tempo.  Dave Lombardo from Slayer blew away headbangers in the late 80s with his double bass fill near the end of the song Angel of Death.  It’s only because the rest of the song wasn’t all double bass that makes that one of the most monumental moments in Slayer history.  Since then, a lot of drummers have entire albums worth of double bass, but it’s not as impressive because that’s all it is.  If you start at as fast as humanly possible, where can you go from there?  It’s the same with speaking.  If you’re speaking as fast as you can, how can you speed up for impact to stress a point or feeling?  You can’t.  Speaking slower gives you a wider range of things you can do with your voice to make your delivery stronger.

In two weeks I’ll have been doing comedy for ten years.  I learn something new all the time…and I’m always trying new things.  In the past month or so I’ve tried slowing down even more on stage.  I’m speaking slower than I normally speak.  Honestly, I think it’s helping.  I am noticing that I’m speeding up during the beats where I’m not as confident in the material.  That’s making me take a second look at that material to see if I’m not confident in it because it’s not ready yet.  By slowing down a half a beat more than I’m comfortable it’s allowing me to be hyper aware of things like this.

I don’t have a good short set.  For the past few years I’m always most comfortable doing a 35-50 minute set.  Even as my material changes, 35-50 minutes just seems right.  Having a strong short game is just as crucial in comedy as having a long game.  Arguably a short game is even more important.  No one does 35-50 minutes on Conan.  My short set stinks because I try to cram ten minutes worth of material into a five minute set.  My challenge to myself is to practice what I preach and do five minutes of material slowly and confidently in a five minute set.

Remember in the fable about the tortoise and the hare…it’s the tortoise who wins.  Oh…oops….spoiler alert!  In closing, a visual pun on tortoise and hare…er…hair.

Tortoiseshell cat because that's ultimately what the internet is for.  Cat pictures.

Tortoise shell cat because that’s ultimately what the internet is for. Cat pictures.

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