Saturday, 26 May 2018

#3 - My Love/Hate Relationship with Pro Wrestling (Part 1 - Love) 05/26/18

Just to be clear, I don't hate anything about the art of pro wrestling.

I love it. I have for most of my life. I missed the 80's, the "Hulk Hogan" era, thankfully. (I could do an entire blog on my issues with Hulk Hogan.) But I've caught up on it. I liked it from the first time I watched it, but I really caught the bug hard around WrestleMania 13. The Undertaker won the WWF Championship, Stone Cold Steve Austin became the hero we all needed, Shawn Michaels was on his way to becoming the GOAT (shut up). It was awesome.

I love the showmanship of it. The athleticism, the charisma some of those guys had. I love the idea of making an entire arena "pop" with one move. It's just awesome. People that shit on pro wrestling just don't get it. And people that say "It's fake, y'know" are idiots. There isn't actually a guy in red underwear shooting webs all over New York, and people aren't up in space right now fighting with swords made of light (or whatever they do in Star Wars. I don't know?). Everything is fake. Just shut up and let us have our fun.

I was always drawn to the bad guys (heels). Something about going out in front of thousands of people and doing everything you can to make them hate you just does it for me. Growing up I dreamed of being a wrestler like a million other kids, but I always wanted to be the heel. I wanted to be the guy that you hated so much, you paid money to tell me you hate me. If I could somehow transition into a "heel" stand up comedian, I would in a heartbeat.

So as a kid, and in particular a teenager, I loved wrestling. I had the toys, the video games, posters....my friends and I started a backyard wrestling federation, Cold Lake Championship Wrestling. (For the record, I am STILL the reigning, defending, undisputed CLCW Canadian Heavyweight Champion. 16 years and counting!). Those days in high school, backyard wrestling with my friends are still some of the absolute best memories I have. I think about it to this day, and just how much fun it was. Day in and day out, watch wrestling, talk wrestling, and then wrestle (kinda). We never missed Raw or SmackDown. Monday Night was my favourite night of the week....

Fast forward 21 years, and it's still in my blood. But I don't watch every week anymore. There was a time where I wouldn't miss Monday Night RAW for the world. Those days have long passed. Partially because I just don't have time to watch anymore, and partially because the product just isn't nearly as good as it used to be. The WWE product, to be specific. Pro wrestling as a whole is still awesome. I don't get to go to as many indy (local) shows as I would like to, they usually run at the same time as comedy shows. But I still watch video on YouTube all the time, read results, talk wrestling with anyone that will talk it with me. It's just the best.

I often think about starting a second podcast to just talk pro wrestling as a passion project. The world really doesn't need another wrestling podcast, but it wouldn't be for downloads. It would just be for fun. I did an episode of my regular podcast, 'Adam Wastes Time' (available on iTunes, Podbean, and YouTube!), with my buddy Henry Sir, where we reviewed WrestleMania, and it was one of the funnest episodes I've recorded so far. Hmmm......

Seriously, I don't think a day goes by that I don't watch at least one wrestling video on YouTube. My phone is full of wrestling theme songs, that I listen to way too much. I just fucking love it. It's the perfect form of entertainment. Unless Triple H is in charge of it....

I'll save that for the "hate" side of my relationship with pro wrestling.

Thanks for reading. Below, I've listed my 5 favourite wrestlers of all time. If you read this, and you're a wrestling nerd like me, leave a comment, and let me know who yours are. Then we can fight and argue like people on the internet do.

Adam

My 5 favourite wrestlers of all time (or at least today):
5 - The Undertaker
4 - CM Punk
3 - Ric Flair
2 - Shawn Michaels
1 - Chris Jericho (HE JUST MADE THE LIST!!)

Friday, 25 May 2018

#2 - Minimizing 05/25/18

A little while ago, I watched a movie called, 'Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things'. It was really, really good. One of the best movies I've seen in a long time. It turns out that the two guys behind it have quite the following, and a great podcast as well. I strongly suggest you check them out at the links below.



Basically, minimalism is the concept of eliminating unnecessary clutter from your life. Stuff that doesn't add any value to your day. The most popular form of it revolves around the removal of material possessions. I was fascinated by the documentary, and actually began getting rid of a lot of my stuff shortly after I watched it. You don't realize how much stuff (or in most cases, junk), you have until you really take a step back and look at it. I started selling things that I didn't really need or care about anymore. It was hard at first, you can't help but feel attached to all your stuff. But once I got the ball rolling, it felt really good! Less clutter, less un-organization. It felt the same as it does after you clean out your car, and then take it for that first drive. (So good!)

I ended up putting the money toward some really fun things, too! I bought my podcasting equipment, I got my girlfriend a new computer, and we even took a trip to Vegas! More recently, I've been putting the money toward a tattoo sleeve that I've wanted forever. (I used to describe it as "putting the money into my arm", but that got too many weird looks). It was all stuff that had meaning to me, instead of just having clutter laying around the house, collecting dust. I legitimately felt happier. Life seemed more organized, and I found it easier to focus on whatever I was doing.

My girlfriend and I even went as far as to sell our house, and move into a smaller place, with a much smaller mortgage. We spend the money we saved on doing stuff, instead of buying stuff. We eat out more, go to movies, take vacations. We're under much less stress financially. Moving turned out to be one of the best decisions we've ever made. A big house just meant more cleaning and upkeep. Fuuuuuck that. 

I've started to apply the minimalism concept to other aspects of my life, too. I've cut out things and people that don't add any value to my life. In some cases, it's just stuff I don't want to do anymore (moving from our single family house into a townhouse means I don't have to cut two lawns and shovel a driveway anymore), and in other cases, it's people. I've ended a ton of relationships over the last couple years, for various reasons. In most cases, it wasn't so much that I didn't like the person, but that I found the relationship toxic. It was bringing me down, more than it was picking me up. 

None of those "break ups" were meant to be malicious. I don't hate anyone. And frankly, if I'm not making someone's day better, I'd encourage them to cut ties with me. With no butt-hurt, either. Life is too short to spend it around people you don't want to be around. 

I don't mean for this post to come across as preachy, or arrogant. But I just really find myself happier with less. Less stuff to look at, less obligations to take care of, less people to deal with. As far as I'm concerned, if you're not trying to make every day as enjoyable as you can, then you're not doing life right. 

Wanna buy some of my stuff?

Adam

Thursday, 24 May 2018

#1 - A New Chapter 05/24/18

The past 7 days have felt like the start of a new chapter in my life.

We returned from a fantastic vacation last Tuesday (I'll get into the details in another blog), and at the end of that trip, my girlfriend and I spent almost 48 hours in airports and airplanes. It gave us a lot of time to just sit and talk about our lives, and our future. We have a lot of the same outlooks on life, which is a big part of the reason we've been together as long as we have. One of the opinions we share, is that life is too short to not be doing what makes you happy. It took us some time to reach that conclusion, but we're both there now. And what makes me happy, is stand up comedy.

So as of last week, I don't have a job anymore.

That's certainly not a brag, it's more of a leap. It's like I've been standing on the edge of a cliff for a while now, too scared to jump. But the time has come. I haven't liked working since I was a teenager. I've had some fun jobs, and I've had some fucking awful ones *cough* Uline *cough*, but even when I didn't hate my job, or the people I was around, I hated having to go there. The feeling of someone else telling me how I have to spend 8+ hours of my day has always bothered me. I just always figured that I had to suck it up, because that's how life works. It's what were taught from a young age; get good grades, get a good job, work until 65 and then enjoy the "golden years". That's what most people do. And hey, if that's what makes you happy, then there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

But it didn't make me happy. I've been looking for alternatives since I graduated High School. I've tried many things; traditional work like warehousing and sales. I worked with sheet metal for a while. None of them scratched that itch. I would settle in for a few years, bound and determined to crush it, climb the ladder and become successful. And then I would hit a wall, I'd get bored, sick of routine, and I'd have to find something else. I always knew that I didn't want to have a regular job and a regular boss, but I didn't want to start my own business. That's a ton of work, and I'm not motivated by money, I'm motivated by freedom.

And then I tried stand up. I remember telling people before my first set, I wasn't scared of bombing on stage. I was scared that I wouldn't like performing comedy. In High School, I would walk around with Jerry Seinfeld's "I'm Telling You For The Last Time" in my disc man, and I would lip-sync it the same way I would Eminem and Limp Bizkit. (I know). It seemed like such an incredible thing, to stand in front of a bunch of strangers, and make them laugh. It intrigued me. All this guy does is travel and tell jokes..... 

(For the record, the last couple years have taught me that there's a lot more to it than that!)

So after spending the last 15 years hyping up the life of a comedian in my head, I was scared that I wouldn't like it. And then I would be stuck. "What do I do now?" I think part of the reason it took me so long to try comedy was because of that fear. I could hate my job, but daydream of being a comedian. The thought of trying stand up, hating it, and then not having a dream to escape to anymore was terrifying.

But I tried it. And while it certainly isn't the glamorous, free wheeling life style I thought it would be, it's pretty sweet. And now, I've finally hit a point where I don't have a regular job anymore. I'm a comedian. Not a famous comedian, or a rich comedian, or even a successful comedian, but I'm a comedian. And I'm happy.

And now I have more time to really dedicate to my chosen craft. More time to write, to hit open mics, go on the road. I need to tell jokes to buy food. There's something really cool about that in my mind. I have the most supportive partner in the world backing me up. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world.

I'm 34, and for the first time, I'm not spending my days fantasizing about what I could be doing with my life. I'm trying to wrap my head around the idea that I'm doing it. I don't want to be rich or famous, I just want to be free to do what I want. And I am.

I numbered this post "#1". I enjoy writing, and now that I have a little more free time, I'm going to do a lot more of it. I've been (verrrrryyy slowly) working on a novel, and in addition to dedicating more time to it, I'm bound and determined to blog more. I'm going to shoot for 100 posts in 100 days. I don't care if anyone reads them, I just want to do it. I tried YouTubing a vlog, but it's just not as fun for me to do as this is. So we'll see how it goes.

The only thing stopping me from hitting 100 in 100 is me. The only thing stopping anyone from doing anything is themselves. If you have something in the back of your mind that you keep there as a dream to escape to every day, you owe it to yourself to try and make it a reality. It can change your life.

Start a new chapter.

Adam

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Unorganized

My office/spare bedroom is a fucking mess.

There's just notebooks and scraps of paper everywhere. I have so many bits and jokes that I've started, and then just tossed onto a pile or forgotten about. Podcast episodes that I'm half way through completing or uploading to YouTube. There's a handful of blog posts on here that I've started and not finished (including the initial concept for this one). I need to be better with this stuff.

I can't help but wonder if my new favourite joke, or a new closer or something is just laying in one of these piles, half-assed written out, and forgotten. Part of my problem is that while I love the process of coming up with new premises for jokes and writing out the basic concepts, I HATE the polishing and reworking that goes with turning an idea into an actual salvageable bit. What ends up happening is that I have a pile of half finished jokes just laying on my desk, judging me while I start working on another new bit instead of trying to finish one of those old ones.

For those that don't know, a comedian will often write a joke, try it, re-write, try it again, tweak, etc over and over before they finally settle on a finished bit they put into their repertoire. Coming from a comic two years into the game, I don't think any of my material is completely done. And I don't know if any good comic ever considers a joke "finished". You never know when you'll come up with a new line to add, or a subtle little change to how you word a set up that can make the bit 100x better. I just hate doing that part. Because it's the hardest.

Anyways, the point of this blog is just me calling myself out for being unorganized. I need to get all of these "half-jokes" into one book, clean up my podcasts, and come up with a game plan. I spend too much time sitting here thinking about what I should do next instead of just getting some work done. One of my goals is to make the transition from 45 minutes to 1 hour of material this year, and it isn't going to happen if I don't get my head out of my ass.

The annual "Funniest Person with a  Day Job" competition kicks off here in Edmonton next week. I was the runner up in it last year, and I really want to finish this year's contest one spot higher on the podium. I've been studying "game film" of my set from the competition last year, and it legitimately hurts to watch. I need to stop being as hard on myself as I am for that video, because I'm sure at that time it was the best I could do, but I think it's just awful now. I really hope for the rest of my comedy career I can look back on video from the past year and think it's terrible, because that (hopefully) means I'm getting better. Or at least trying to. I love watching headliners crush, but I can't help but spend the entire time watching the audience laugh, and it makes me think about how far I am from doing what they do. I don't look at that as a bad thing at all; it motivates me. I want to be on their level someday.

Where I was going with "Funniest Person", is that I'm sitting here, trying to figure out which jokes I want to take onto that stage with me, and Im struggling with that because my thoughts and me desk are a disorganized mess. I need to clean this shit up.

That gives me an idea for a new joke!

- Adam

Sunday, 25 March 2018

No Comparison

At the risk of looking like a knob, I really enjoy watching motivational videos and stuff like that. Particularly when I'm feeling lazy, and....unmotivated....

Duh.

I think one of the traps with those types of videos is that you sit down with the intention of watching one, to kick you in the ass and get you moving, and then like with anything else on YouTube, you end up watching 3 hours of them and not getting anything done. I try to treat them like a 5 hour energy. Just a quick pick me up. Because if I start clicking the "next video" links, I'll fall down that worm hole every time.

Anyways, one of the most popular folks in that field these days is Gary Vaynerchuk. I know there are a lot of people out there that don't particularly care for him, but I like his stuff. He talks openly about his dream of buying the New York Jets, and constantly hammers home his message of "work work work". He's a rich, rich, man. Honestly, I could take or leave the "get rich by working hard stuff". I don't want to be rich. But he said something in a video I watched the other day that motivated me to write this blog. I'm paraphrasing, but it was something like:

"People hear me talk about wanting to buy the Jets, and I think sometimes they take the wrong message away from it. You don't need to compare your dreams or your goals to anybody else's. My dream is to buy an NFL team. If your dream is to work for yourself, or take a trip to England, or to lose 30 lbs or 300 lbs or whatever, that's fine. Figure out what will make you happy, and go get that. Don't make it you're goal to get rich just because it's someone else's. Otherwise, someday you'll get rich and you'll just be miserable with a bunch of money."

I have zero aspirations to get rich. The idea of having a 7 or 8 figure bank account that comes with a 7 day/70 hour work week makes me miserable. I just want to be able to tell jokes in exchange for a comfortable living. I want enough money to eat, and travel with Shay. Freedom drives me more than anything on this planet. I know other comics that have goals of being famous, getting on tv, making the big money. I respect that, and I hope they make it. But I see one of them get a gig that will help them get closer to those goals, and I can't help but get jealous. And I have to ask myself, "what do you care?" It's because I'm comparing my goals to theirs, and feeling like I should be trying to accomplish what they're trying to accomplish. Fuck that. I just have to put my head down and work on what I want.

(Maybe that's not why I get jealous at all. Maybe I'm just an ego-maniac, I dunno.)

I'm getting better and better on just focusing on what I enjoy, and what makes me happy. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. I produce my podcast every week because I enjoy it. It doesn't get thousands of downloads, and it probably never will. It won't make me a ton of money. But it makes me happy.  This blog gets a couple hundred views when I update it. Good enough for me.

I just want to be a guy that pays his bills with jokes, and instead of having to go to an office every day I can spend my days booking shows, writing jokes, and working on things that interest me. That's the dream if you ask me.

Ramble, ramble, ramble. I'm going to go play video games.

Thanks for reading.

Adam

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Focusing on Comedy

"Hey Adam, I love your blog. When are you going to post a new one??"

- Nobody. Ever.

Well, nobody, today's your lucky day. A new blog. 

It's been a while, but it always is in between these things. Remember when I was gonna try and "blog once a week"? So dumb....

Anyways, in case by some small chance you WERE wondering why I haven't been posting more, I've been trying to really focus on my act. Frankly, as much as I like blogging, it takes a decent chunk of time out of my day, and there's not really any payoff from it. I've been trying to dedicate the time I'd spend working on this blog, or Youtube, or in some instances my podcast, on writing jokes and getting on stage. All those other projects are still things I'm interested in, but as my comedy schedule picks up, they just fall further down the priority depth chart. They aren't going away, they're just not important right now.

"Season 3" of my comedy career is officially underway, and as I've mentioned before, my big goal for the next 12 months is to make the transition and become a full time comedian. No more day job. I either tell jokes or I starve (or ask Shaley to buy me something to eat). With that goal in mind, I've really been pounding the pavement, looking for work and stage time. I set a personal best for shows in a month in February, and now my goal going forward is to top that number every month if possible. Stage time is to a comedian what the gym is to a.....gym.....guy? The more time you spend on/in it, the funnier/stronger you become. 

I've also really doubled down on my writing. I used to write quite a bit, but admittedly, once I hit a  point where I could comfortably do 30 minutes on stage (which is kind of the magic number to get road work as an opening act in this business), I kind of took my foot of the gas. Not a good business plan. I went on the road with my buddy Brent Ayton recently, and we had back to back shows where we co-featured, and did 45 minutes each. They were really fun shows, but one of the highlights for me was watching Brent tell his jokes for 3/4 of an hour. Brent is a notoriously good writer, and he works harder at it than almost anyone I know. And although he considers us equals as far as comedy goes, I look up to him. His writing ability and work ethic are inspiring, and they motivate me to become better as a comic. 

So, I'm writing more. I've transferred all of my "finished" bits into a new book (I have about 10 notebooks full of joke ideas and bits), and I regularly read through it, looking for ways to add in a joke here, and take out something that isn't funny there. In addition, I have 5 or 6 new bits I'm working on right now, all to various levels of success. Going on stage with new material can be rough, but trying out a new joke and realizing it works is simply one of the best feelings in comedy. It motivates you to keep going, keep digging, until you fid that next bit that works. It's kind of like mining, and you never know when you'll find gold. Or oil. Or whatever people mine for. 

I posted this on twitter and Facebook the other day:


And it's true. When I see a comedian that is further up the ladder than I am, be it a local headliner, a touring comic, Jerry Seinfeld, whoever, and they want to keep getting better, it really kicks me in the ass. If they have that eye of the tiger, I should too. The minute you stop working at trying to get better, someone else passes you. I try not to compare myself to other comics, but I also know there's only so much room at the table. If I take my time getting there, someone else is going to take my seat.  So put Twitter down and get back to work!

Anyways, I guess that's it. That's why my posts on here are rare and spaced out. I really need to put the blinders (or blinder, anyway), and focus on my act. The blog, Youtube, and all that stuff will be there when I have time, but for now, I have work to do.

Thanks for reading, and supporting me, if you have. If you want me to fail, that's cool too. I don't care.

Cheers. 

Adam

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Appreciate Life

I have a friend who has been diagnosed with cancer. Luckily, he's in a position to be able to fight it, and is undergoing treatment as we speak. Or as you read this. Or, whatever.

He's a really good dude. Young. Not the type of person you would initially think of when you think of someone diagnosed with cancer. At least, not who I would think of, anyways. But as we all know, cancer is a bitch, and it doesn't discriminate. As I mentioned, he's in a good position to bounce back. He told me that the way the doctor explained it to him was, "If you're going to have cancer, this is the cancer you want." What he meant is that it's one that can be beaten, but we couldn't help but have a laugh at that description. Some guy crossing his finger in the doctor's office, "c'mon cancer.......!"

Jokes aside, my buddy is tough. He's brave. The amount of respect and admiration I have for him can't be expressed through this blog. He's putting his head down, telling cancer to go fuck itself, and plowing through what I have to imagine is the worst experience of his life. Something that nobody deserves to go through.

I wanted to write this blog to send my support to my friend, and to remind everyone else reading this to appreciate life. You never know when someone will threaten to take it away. Maybe you hate getting up on Monday morning, or you don't like having to shovel the snow, or having to go to school or work. Those are all normal things to hate. Most of us complain about them all the time. I know I do.

But the next time you have to do something you don't want to do, remember that it could be a lot worse. While you're getting upset that it's freezing outside, someone else is sitting in a hospital, trying to stay alive. They'd probably kill to just have to the worst part of their day be having to get up and go start their car in the cold. I think a lot of people take life for granted. The little things like sitting around with your friends at work, making each other laugh. Having dinner with your family. Walking your dog. Take the time to enjoy them, and to enjoy life. Life is a gift. Before you complain about something, ask yourself if things could be worse. 99.9% of the time, they can be.

My friend often comes to my comedy shows, because he likes to laugh, and because he wants to support me. I can only try to pay that kindness back. I think he'll read this, and if you are reading this, know that there are a ton of us that have your back. You're gonna be fine, dude. And then you'll look back on this time on your life, and remember what a bad mother fucker you are. You beat cancer. And then you'll have to go out in the cold and start your car.

Hang in there, buddy. I'm proud to call you my friend.

- Adam