Monday, 31 October 2016

Looking back on October 10/31/16

It's been almost a month since I quit my job. As has been well documented on here, I really struggled with it at first. I'm starting to adjust to a new lifestyle, though. October was fantastic for comedy, being able to dive in head first and not worry about getting up at 4am every morning made it a lot easier to just relax and enjoy the ride. And it's been a sweet ride :)

Earlier in the month, I got to be a guest on Nick McQuik's podcast, "The Quik and Slow Comedy Show." I listen to it pretty regularly, and McQuik is a good dude, so I was pretty excited to get the chance to record it. I think we spent more time talking superheroes than we did comedy, but it was a lot of fun. Did you guys know Nightwing hit his dead and that's what killed him? Or something like that, anyways. DC sucks.

Speaking of podcasts, I finally got mine on the internets. You can listen to my annoying voice any time now! "The Comedy Odyssey" launched on October 8th, on iTunes and at . It's been a real learning experience, not only learning how to record, edit, and upload a podcast, but how to interview someone as well. The show is pretty rough around the edges right now, but the feedback from friends and family has been fantastic. So thank you very, very much to everyone that has downloaded/listened to it. I promise to try and keep improving the quality of it, and I have a few guests upcoming that I'm really excited to talk to. 

My girlfriend's folks came out this way for Thanksgiving, and I got a chance to tell jokes in front of them on one of my favourite stages, Chicago Joes here in the north end. We had a great time, they're really good people, and they've been nothing but supportive of me since I first got into comedy. I made sure to tell every single joke I had about their daughter :) 

I got an opportunity to host the weekly "Battle to the Funny Bone" show at The Comic Strip in West Ed. The regular host, Ryan Short, was out of town, and he threw me a bone. The crowd that came out that night was outstanding, the battling comics killed, and Ken Hicks was the special guest helping me out. If you've never had a chance to check Ken out, you don't know what you're missing. Just one of those dudes you can't help but like. So big thanks to Ryan and the Strip for taking the chance on me. I really enjoy hosting, and it's something I hope to get more opportunities to do in the near future. Maybe I'll have to try and start my own room.......?

I spent some time on the road this month as well. I got to open for Lars Callieou in Fairview. We met some fantastic people out there. I'll be heading back up there in December with Mike Dambra, it should be a really good time. The next night, Lars and I got to do a show in Spruce Grove for their Chamber of Commerce Awards Gala. Big thank you to Lars and Norm Shaw for the opportunity, the crowd was incredible, and the room was great.

Norm, me, and Lars in Spruce Grove. I couldn't figure out how to tie my tie.

Then for the last week of October, I headed out to Thunder Bay with Lars and Ryan to kick off the opening weekend of a new club. We stopped over in Winnipeg on the way out, checked out the historic Rumour's Comedy Club, and got to do a spot at Ben Walker's open mic as well. It was a pleasure meeting some great Winnipeg comics, and a really fun show.

We checked out the Jets/Stars game Thursday night, and gave Ryan a crash course in hockey. I'm so glad that team's back. The atmosphere in the MTS Centre is crazy! I just need to check out games in Ottawa and Montreal (save the best for last!), and I'll have seen a game in every city in Canada. I don't have as much time to watch as I used to, but I love hockey. What the hell is up with the Oilers, too???

We picked up a Winnipeg comic, Carole Cunningham, and headed out to Thunder Bay Friday morning to kick off the first weekend of the Cricket's Comedy Club. We went on to put on 4 wicked awesome shows in 2 days. The club set up was rad, the crowds were RED hot, and we had some great chemistry on stage. The staff was great, and I can't thank Chris Mulawyshyn enough for having us. I really hope to get back out to your club again. We couldn't stop talking about how much we had on the shows. If you're in Thunder Bay, check it out!

Lars Callieou took me along to do a guest spot on all those shows. In just 9 months of doing comedy, I've been to BC for the Okanagan Comedy Festival, done shows in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and now Ontario. All because Lars gave me a chance to come along, work with him, and pick his brain. There are 50 other comedians in this city that could have gone instead, but I got the chance. I'm very humbled, and grateful to Lars for giving me an opportunity to start living a dream, and see what life is like as a pro comic. Some people might think this is me kissing ass, but anyone that really knows who I am know that that's not what I'm about. And frankly, I don't care what anyone thinks. I'm just a very appreciative person, who understands that nobody owes anyone anything in life. I'm proud to call Lars a colleague, and more importantly, a friend. I had more fun on that trip than I've had in a long time. Thanks guys.

Finally, on a note outside of comedy, a couple weeks after I left my job at the box factory, I got a call from Jack and Ken Cookson, asking if I would be interested in going back to work for their company, Pro Am Sports. They deal in sports memorabilia, and if you're into the hobby at all, you probably already know them. If not, you're missing out in the worst way. I don't just say that as an employee, and a friend, but as a collector myself. Their stuff is authentic, and top notch. 

It's the best job I've ever had, and they're willing to work around my stand up comedy. It's a dream scenario for me; hang out with friends and talk sports by day, and hang out with friends and tell jokes by night. Please, do me a favour and check us out, or pop by and say hi. Christmas is coming up!!! 

So that was my October. I took a massive chance when I left my old job, but I was miserable there, and I knew something had to change. I stayed positive, and now I'm in a spot where there isn't one part of my life I don't enjoy. Waking up excited every morning is a surreal feeling. When someone would ask how my day was going at my old job, my favourite response was "living the dream". It's still my go to answer, but now I actually mean it :)

Thanks for reading.


Thursday, 13 October 2016

Positive Thinking 10/13/16

*This is a big ramble of a blog, but I'm in a good mood, and feel like rambling. So I'm gonna ramble*

I don't like negative people.

Those people that just spend all their time complaining or getting angry. Everyone has their days, but when it's 24/7, it gets old fast. I was turning into that guy at my old job, I hated it there, was always losing my temper. So I made the decision to walk away last week. Best decision I've made in a long time.

I try to make a conscious effort to be happy and positive. I spend as much time as possible around people and things that make me happy. If there's someone/something I don't like, then I minimize the time I spend around it. More people need to make a conscious effort to surround themselves with positivity. If you focus on something positive, it'll spread into all aspects of your life, including your mind. And once you start thinking positively, positive things start to find you.

I've had my fair share of bombing lately. Working on new material can be tough, you never know how the crowd is going to react, and it can be harder to have that confidence that I think you need to have on stage when you aren't sure if a joke is going to work. I was starting to get into a negative mind set, and that reflected in my work. Head down, less enthusiasm. Thankfully, a couple friends/fellow comics pointed it out to me. I knew I had some negative thoughts about the material in my head, but I didn't realize how quickly it had spread. My body language, my delivery, was all negative. How am I supposed to convince someone that something is funny, if I don't believe it myself? So last night I did a show, worked on the same new material, but went into it with a positive mind set. And the stuff worked. It's all about positive thinking. Law of attraction.

I've been a little down on myself since I quit my job. I know it was the right thing to do; that place was the most toxic part of my life. I've just had a hard time convincing myself that it's ok to do something different. But diving headfirst into comedy has started to shift my mindset. I felt like a loser with no job, chasing a fantasy. So I took a step back, and worked hard to convince myself that I'm not a loser, I'm a dreamer. Why can't I make this my job? I just have to work hard. Nothing is impossible, you just have to be willing to work. So everyday, I tried to convince myself that I'm not wasting my time, I'm just not letting anyone else tell me how to use it. Surround myself with positive energy, and things/people that make me happy. If you do that, the rest will find you. I got a call yesterday from an old job, that I really enjoyed, and we came to an agreement for me to return there on a part time basis. It's perfect, I can help do my part for my family and bring in some money, but do it doing something I enjoy doing. And not only do I enjoy doing the job, but it's a job that gives me free reign to chase this comedy dream full time as well.

Some might say that it's all just a coincidence, but I don't think it is. I decided in my mind that this is what I wanted, and I got it. A month ago, I was exhausted, and spent 50+ hours a week at a job I hated. Now I have a job I love, that gives me time to work on something that I love. There isn't one aspect of my life I don't like right now, and it all boils down to having a good attitude, and thinking positive.

If you're unhappy, think about what makes you unhappy. Is there a way to fix it? Then do it. If there isn't, start taking steps toward removing it from your life. Everyone wants to be happy. The only way to really get there is to surround yourself with things that make you feel good. Set yourself up to think positively every day. Good things, and more importantly, good people, will find you.
I really believe that.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

I quit my job 10/6/16

Monday was my last day of work at the box factory.

I hadn't been happy there for some time. The early morning and long days weren't jiving with my new found night life, and I finally decided it was time to move on. For the first time since I was about 14, I don't have a regular job.

My plan was to start job hunting right away, but my girlfriend convinced me to take the month of October off, and just hit the reset button. I've been very fortunate to have a good friend that has hooked me up with a few paid gigs, and I'm going to take the month to just focus on my comedy, and try to figure out where to go next. It's everything I've dreamed of doing for months, and now that I have it, I've spent part of each day struggling with it.

I've never not had a job. I feel weird not having one. I have phases where I feel like a loser. Like Im just mooching off my girlfriend. Since I left my day job, I haven't turned on a video game, and I think I've watched 20 minutes of tv this week. I've spent my days getting odd jobs finished around the house, or working on my comedy. Writing, rehearsing, doing shows, and I've started learning the business side of the industry as well. But I can't shake the feeling that I should have a job, no matter how much I hated it. Like I'm letting the world down by not getting up every morning and going to work. We aren't struggling to pay the bills, we're not in any trouble at all. I have the blessing of my girlfriend to take this time and really focus on my future, figure out what will make me happy. But it's harder than I thought it would be.

I feel like Brooks in Shawshank Redemption, when he talks about life outside of prison. He's so used to life inside, that everything on the outside scares him. I'm not just going through the motions for the first time, and even if it's only temporary, it's terrifying.

Trying stand up comedy was one of the best decisions of my life. More than anything, I just want to get good at it, and do it for a living someday. I'm struggling with that lifestyle after 3 days. Writing jokes, getting on stage, performing, all the work? I love it. The freedom that comes with it? It isn't sitting right so far. I really hope I can convince myself to just embrace it and take the next step. I've been handed an opportunity most aspiring comedians would kill for; I don't have to worry about money, and I have all day to just focus on improving as a comedian. My girlfriend is supporting me, and I have people in the industry doing everything in their power to help me as much as possible. And all I can think about is how I should be at work. I suck.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

My 5 favourite shows (so far), and thanking anyone that's given me a microphone 10/1/16

On Thursday night, I performed my 100th set of stand up comedy.

For the record, 100 sets is a drop in the bucket to any accomplished comedian. Absolutely nothing. But if you want to do 10,000 shows, you need to do 100 first. I've said it on this blog before, but if you told me 8 months ago I'd be at this point I never would have believed it.

I might have been able to reach this "milestone" earlier, but I approached comedy pretty casually for the first few months. I track every show I do, and I did 4 shows in January, 7 in Feb, 4 in March. I started taking it a little more seriously around April, and that, paired with a new shift at work that opened up more evenings for me, helped me start racking up the stage time a little faster. I did 43 shows my first 5 months, compared to 57 in the last 3. My initial goal was to get to 125 by my anniversary at the end of January, and I've bumped that number up to 175. I'm excited to see how it goes down the home stretch.

So I've decided to dedicate this blog to listing my 5 favourite shows so far. I've met a ton of great people, and had a lot of fun this year. Every show has been a good time, but these are the ones I look back on fondest.

Before I get into that, though, I would like to thank everyone that has given me a chance to go after this dream of mine. Nobody had to put me on their show, and all these people have, multiple times.

Lars Callieou, Ryan Short, Jamee Nall, Ashley Soper, Nadine Hunt, Simon Glassman, Carina Morton, Travis Howell, Celeste Lampa, William Hannigan, Sterling Scott, Stephen McGovern, James Ross, Kevin Light, Arturo Grijalva, Mike Dambra, Alex Fortin, Simon Gorsak, Brett McCrindle, Scott Porteous, Ben Proulx, Ronny Lugoma, Hector Velazquez, and David Kopp. Thank you for the opportunities, the advice, and the good times. I owe you all at least one!

January 21, 2016 - Yuk Yuks

My first ever set of stand up comedy. Frankly, my set sucked. But this night changed my life. There's a recording of this set that I plan on never letting anyone else see again. So bad......

August 21, 2016 - The Druid

The last ever Druid Comedy Night. I went to this show almost every Sunday for 7 months. Some people went to it almost every Sunday for 7 years. It's still weird not having it around. I've spent more time on that stage than any other. Some nights it was awesome, some nights it was pretty rough. It was my favourite place to try new material, because if it worked at The Druid, it should work almost anywhere. That final night was incredible. Red hot crowd, 50+ comedians, 7 hour show. I took bullet that night, which I considered an honour, and stuck around to watch the entire show. That stage helped me improve more than any other. 

August 27, 2016 - Dakoda's Comedy Lounge (Kelowna)

I got the opportunity to be part of the third annual Okanagan Comedy Festival this year. We did 2 shows in Kelowna on the Saturday night, and they were in front of the hottest crowds I've ever seen. We could do no wrong those nights. Add in getting to spend a few days with some great people, and how beautiful the city of Kelowna is, and you get the highlight of my Summer. Plus David Kopp is a beauty.

September 7, 2016 - Dinwoodie Lounge

I did a guest spot at the Dinwoodie Lounge on the U of A campus. They do shows throughout the year, but the "welcome back" show is the biggest one of the bunch. The lineup featured some of my favourite comedians, and it was the biggest crowd I'd worked in front of to that point. It was an incredible show.

September 28, 2016 - Yellowed Casino (Jokers in Training Finals)

My first comedy competition. We performed on the big stage at the Yellowhead Casino, with a trip to Los Angeles on the line. I had a ton of friends and family there, and the crowd absolutely crushed. They were so good. I came up Short (get it??) and finished third that night, but it was still an awesome experience. I posted about it the next morning and said it made all the late nights and bombs from the last 8 months worth it. 

So that's it. Like I said, thank you to everyone that has ever given me a spot on their show. They've all been fun, and I'm grateful to all of you for letting me do something I love to do.

I look back at my first show and I'm genuinely happy with how much I've improved from then until now. My goal/hope is to look back on my 100th set when I get to 200, and feel the same way. Keep working hard, keep focusing on getting better at whatever you're doing, and learn to enjoy the process. Comedy is awesome.

"Doesn't staying out late every night doing comedy make it hard to focus on your work?"
No. Getting up early for work makes it hard to focus on my comedy.