>Make Ward Famous…And Eat!

>Alrighty, fans and friends and everyone in between.

It has come to my attention that, despite what I believe in my own mind, I am not yet famous. Nope. Not even a little bit. On the “Fame” scale, I’m still “Obscure”. This, despite the fact that I’m absolutely hilarious and downright handsome, too. Can you believe it?

Me neither, which is why I am happy to bring to you my newest campaign:

MAKE WARD FAMOUS…and Eat!

What is this brilliant strategy, you ask? Well, it’s quite simple: Make me famous, and I’ll buy you dinner. Yep, that’s it. It’s JUST THAT SIMPLE! It’s a great idea, and one that can help all of us. I want to be famous, and YOU want to eat. Everyone wins.

“But, Ward, how can I help you with this? Sure, I want dinner with you. But what does this challenge entail?”

Glad you asked. Here it is. There are, on a regular basis, 1000 people who read my blog, email me, and check my website for updates and information. If each one of you tells ONE PERSON PER WEEK about me, that’s 1000 new people each week who have heard The Word of Ward, as I like to call it. That’s over 50,000 people per year! Now imagine if you each told FIVE PEOPLE PER WEEK ABOUT ME! See where I’m getting?

Eventually, I’m going to know just who is spreading the Word of Ward the fastest. And BAM! Dinner is on me! And it’s YOUR CHOICE of how you want to do dinner, too. You want me to treat you to Olive Garden the next time I’m rolling through Little Rock, Arkansas? You got it. You want me to cook you some chicken at my place in Toronto? Damn skippy. Make me famous, and I’ll make you dinner.

“Hey, I’m a true Wardiac,” you say, “I tell people about you ALL THE TIME! I want dinner, but I mostly want to spread the Word of Ward. What else can I do?”

Glad you asked. Because I’m also currently looking for a sponsor. Do you have access to an energy drink, type of booze, or line of clothing that needs to jump on this runaway train we call “Ward”? Well, that gets you dinner, too! Helping me stay in the public eye and gainfully employed will TOTATLLY entitle you to some grub at Pizzaeria Uno or maybe even a fancy place like Applebee’s. And who wouldn’t want to see “WARD ANDERSON – BROUGHT TO YOU BY ALMOND JOY”?!?!

MAKE WARD FAMOUS…AND EAT!

It’s sweeping North America, people, and you absolutely want to be holding your share of that broom.

You’ll notice that I didn’t say “RICH AND FAMOUS”, eh? That’s because I’m certain the fortues will come as my fame increases. And you know what that means, don’t you? BETTER DINNERS FOR YOU! Get me some TV time, and your stock just went up in the Ward World. A local TV interview in a major city will get you a sweet T-bone at Ruby Tuesdays! But a national TV spot or syndicated TV appearance that YOU arrange? That’s good for a filet mignon at The Cheesecake Factory! HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY RESIST?

And, hey, you don’t want to have dinner with me? FINE. A gift certificate can totally be substituted where a real, live Ward isn’t required.

So, let the competition begin! I will patiently wait by my computer, checking my email and preparing my taste buds.

Isn’t it about time? The clock is ticking, people, and the time for Ward to be famous has long since been necessary. You want me to be famous, don’t you? Well, so do I! You want to see me on TV more, right? Well, so do I! You want to feed my uncontrollable ego and rampant narcisism, right? WELL, SO DO I!

And you’re hungry. So am I.

MAKE WARD FAMOUS! After all, you’ve gotta eat!

See you at the buffet,

Ward

Kiss my A**

>A phone call from a booking agent yesterday told me that the Stand-Up Comedy industry continues it’s downward spiral into absolute absurdity. Two more comedy clubs that I regularly work have now decided that they’d rather focus on “Clean Comedy”, and will be censoring comedians who come through. From now on, all acts must refrain from using what immature (yet somehow fully-grown) adults have labeled “F-bombs”, and no overtly “blue” comedy will be tolerated.

2009 fast approaches, and I feel as if the industry in which I work is moving backwards in time. As if old Doc Brown crammed Comedy Club owners into his Delorian and took them back to the 1950s, the goody-two-shoes-types are once again running rampant over entertainers and trying to tell grown adults what they want to hear.

I toured 49 weeks on the road last year, traveling to 38 states and 5 Canadian provinces. I can tell you first-hand that the average comedy club audience does not want a watered-down, sanitized, or censored comedy show. In fact, I’ve been amazed at the fact that many crowds have caused me to push my otherwise PG-13 show straight into R-rated territory, made clear by their overzealous reaction to the dirtiest jokes and tepid reaction to the same routines when cleaned-up for certain situations. Hands down, the more “adult” the show, the better the response from the crowd…and that includes when I was simply witness to other comedians performances and not just my own experiences onstage.

Yet I’m amazed to find more and more comedy clubs censoring the comedians who work there. That’s exactly what it is, by the way: censorship. To call it anything else is an insult to both the performer and the audience. It’s a decision made by nothing but a combination of ignorance and arrogance, by the way. It assumes that a comedian (you know, the guy who actually has to perform in front of said audience) doesn’t know what audiences want or in some way needs someone else to tell him how he should do the act he wrote for himself to perform. I rarely hear musicians tell stories about how concert promoters insist they change up their chord patterns, yet I always have non-comics telling me exactly how I should be writing my act.

The first thing people need to know about comedians is this: We don’t set out to fail. It’s not dinner theatre, nor is it a tragic one-man show being performed to teary-eyed crowds on Broadway. It’s stand-up comedy. The intention is for the audience to actually like the guy onstage and, in turn, laugh at what he has to say. The comedian is looking to entertain, not anger, the audience. If you’re paying a guy to be a comedian, you should trust that he’s in it to succeed. He’s going to try and give the audience what it wants. Chances are, he’s going to figure out what works without you having to tell him.

The worst part of censoring comedians, however, is that it’s an insult to the audience. It’s one person (or a handful of people) making a decision for hundreds of others. I can tell you without hesitation that if I asked the average comedy club audience if they prefer an “Adult” or a “Clean” show, the “Adult” show wins every time. Sure, there will always be a few in each crowd that hate vulgar language and dirty jokes. But do you really want your entertainment decided upon by the minority? Believe it or not, many comedy clubs make decisions just like that.

See, no one is louder than the guy who complains. And no one complains more than the uptight audience member who is easily offended. I’ve had thousands of people slap me on the back and tell me how hilarious it was when I ranted for 10 minutes about masturbation. But one person who hated one phallic joke I told once tried to get me fired from a comedy club and even wanted me thrown out of the hotel in which I was staying…all because he hated a joke about a penis. The fifty people who like you shake your hand; the one person who hates you screams, makes phone calls, and writes letters. Guess who the comedy club winds up paying the most attention to?

No one is forcing “dirty” jokes upon anyone. If you’re a patron of a comedy club, you’re not an innocent victim. You paid a cover charge, bought the two-drink minimum, and sat in a chair that faced a lighted stage. I’ve got news for you: you’re guilty. You have every right to get up and leave, but when you expect your view to speak for the crowd, you’re trampling all over what’s supposed to be so great about comedy in the first place.

It’s been over forty years since Lenny Bruce was arrested for obscenity simply because he was doing “dirty” humor. It has been thirty years since George Carlin was arrested for the “Seven Words You Don’t Say on Television”. It’s also been that long since Richard Pryor broke taboos about what a comedian can say to an audience. It’s been twenty years since Sam Kinison did it again, in his own way, and made young people just like me re-think how we looked at stand-up comedy.

Now it’s almost 2009, and we’re forgetting the lessons taught to us by some of the biggest legends in comedy. Think of the most revered names in comedy over the last twenty years. The list of comedians who dared to use adult language and talk about adult situations far outnumbers the list of clean comics who played it safe, every single time. So, why are grown adults now allowing a vocal minority of buzzkills ruin the party?

Keep in mind that there are plenty of places to find clean stand-up comedy. I know many comedians who do church shows just so they can deliver a show that is free of adult language, even if they aren’t religious shows. Every year, companies shell out thousands of dollars to “Corporate Comics”, guys who do clean private shows for office functions. The average comedy club has plenty of “Clean Weeks”, where the comedian advertised is brought in for just that reason. Best of all, you can catch clean comedians right now, for free, on your television set in your very own home.

But comedy clubs should be left alone. They are the one place where grown adults can still go, have an alcoholic beverage (maybe even a smoke, depending on where you live), get away from the kids, and listen to one adult speak like an adult to a roomful of adults about things that are adult in nature. If you wanted to be spoken to as if you’re a child, or wanted your stand-up comedy to be watered-down, non-offensive, and completely void of anything taboo…why did you come to a comedy club? You could have found that almost anywhere else.

I understand that we all have different tastes and opinions, and not everyone wants to hear penis jokes and sexual humor for an hour. But the rest of the world is dominated by rules that restrict just that. For those who want to escape censorship, political correctness, sexual repression, and the onslaught of a child-obsessed society, let us have the comedy clubs. Stop trying to decide what’s best for everyone else, because everyone else never asked.

In closing, I’ll point out that this article has be completely void of expletives and adult humor. That was on purpose. I’m just trying to show that I know that there is a time and place for all types of humor, no matter the point I am trying to make on this subject. So, with my point now clearly made, I will quote my idol, George Carlin, when I say “Shit, Piss, Cock, Cunt, Fuck, Motherfucker, and Tits”.

Have a nice day.

>"Joe Sixpack" Sucks

>With an election upon us in a matter of weeks, I find myself being reminded that–yet again–it all comes down to this mysterious fellow named “Joe Sixpack“. Every politician in the country wants this guy’s vote, and they want to remind the rest of America that Mr. Sixpack is exactly the guy who they’re talking to at any given point. It’s not Corporate America’s pocket that our leaders in which our leaders are firmly planted. No, they’re hanging on to the denim threads of Joe’s overalls. It isn’t wealthy businessmen or Wall Street tycoons who are influencing our political heroes these days. It’s just Joe.

I can’t stand Joe Sixpack.

I am amazed that I find myself in my mid-30s, a citizen of the most-powerful and wealthiest nation on the planet, and am having major leadership decisions made by a guy who is, to put it bluntly, a complete douchebag. Every four years, when I watch the Presidential candidates shlupping their campaign from coast to coast, my skin crawls as I watch them lie to the general public about whom they really give a shit…and then watch the ignorant people everywhere lap it up as if there’s any actual validity to it whatsoever.

Joe Sixpack is a douchebag.

First of all, Joe Sixpack is a jackass because he doesn’t understand how to buy things. Why the hell is he buying a sixpack in the first place? You save money by purchasing food and beverages in bulk quantities. Everyone knows that. Joe should really spend a few extra bucks at The Piggly Wiggly and become “Joe Case”. Joe, you’re going to drink all twelve beers anyway, so stop blowing your money away on these sixpacks.

Secondly, Joe’s taxes won’t change no matter which candidate he votes into office. Let’s be honest. Joe Sixpack lives in a trailer. He drives an old Trans Am because it’s what The Bandit drove. He likes movies starring Jean Claude Van Damme that even Jean Claude Van Damme won’t watch. Those enormous “Hungry Man” dinners that you see in the supermarket? Joe’s got a fridge full of those things. Needless to say, Joe is not going to be in a tax bracket remotely affected by the outcome of the next election. Yet the candidates are still talking to him. Thanks a lot, Joe.

Thirdly, Joe will likely never really have to encounter a homosexual. This closest Joe has ever come to interacting with a gay man is when he went to a Judas Priest concert. Joe’s local bar has a jukebox with nothing on it but Bad Company CDs, he’s lived in the same town his entire life, and he doesn’t travel, except the occasional trip to Daytona Beach for a bike rally. He will likely never have to even have a conversation with a homosexual that lasts longer than three minutes. Yet he’s got plenty of opinions about homosexuals, and feels that everyone needs to know exactly how he feels. He’s against gay marriage and will vote accordingly, regardless of the fact that he has no real reason to believe one way or the other. You’re a dick, Joe.

Joe has also never seen anyone who isn’t the same religion as he is. He doesn’t like Jews because someone told him that the guy who runs his banks is Jewish. He hates Muslims, too, but prefers to call them “ragheads“. So, Joe is going to make sure that he always votes for anything that is going to promote his own religion, and crams it into schools and government institutions wherever possible. Joe also thinks there’s a “War on Christmas”, even though it’s not out of the ordinary to hear “Silent Night” playing in Wal-Mart in October. Happy Holidays, Joe.

Joe is also a dick because he hates immigrants but lives 1,000 miles from the closest border; He bitches about foreigners but drives a Toyota; He’s racist, but says things like “Hollaback” and listens to Eminem; He complains about the “liberal media” but only listens to AM Rado; He also thinks that “Support the Troops” means putting a yellow ribbon on his truck and calling anyone without one a “faggot”; Joe’s idea of feminism is someone who thinks exactly like an old, rich, white man…but just so happens to have a vagina.

Mostly, Joe is a douchebag simply because he’s ignorant about the very people who call him important. Joe has somehow been led to believe that Jesus likes elephants better than donkeys and, if he were alive today, would definitely be a white American dude. Joe spews nonsensical sound bytes about tax reform when he’s been filling out the same “E-Z” paperwork for twenty years. Joe has been led to believe the word “Liberal” has the same definition as “Communist”, and believes that “Family Values” refers to being allowed to hit your kids with your belt buckle as long as it isn’t across the face.

Joe has changed the world. It isn’t one politician that’s speaking to Joe these days. It’s every politician. Because of Joe, the word “intelligent” was somehow replaced with “elitist”. Because of Joe, being smarter than the other guy became a bad thing, and now every other Yale graduate running for office has to pretend he likes to buy Beanie-Weenies every day at K-Mart. Because of Joe, no one wants someone exceptional to lead the nation anymore.

Instead, Joe just wants to elect someone he’d share that sixpack with. He’d rather vote for the guy who throws a ball well and spends his free-time “working” on his ranch. When people used to say “Anyone can be President”, what they didn’t really mean is that just anybody can be President. That’s another problem with Joe, too: He takes things way too literally. While everyone else scoffed, he was actually outside trying to put lipstick on a pig.

Because of Joe, people think that being a decent public speaker is the same thing as “holding your own” in a debate. Joe thinks that that pretty lady on TV was actually winking at him when she was talking. Joe hears absolute bullshit wrapped in obviously fake “folksiness” and thinks it must be genuine. Joe hears words like “hockey mom” and think it actually means something. He’s been so misled, he doesn’t realize that the only thing important about him is that vote he’s going to cast in November. After that, the candidates will go right back to not giving a shit about Joe.

Everybody wants to talk about Joe. Everybody wants Joe to know that they care about him. Everyone wants Joe to run out and vote.

Me? I’m pissed that Joe votes at all. Enjoy your sixpack, Joe, because I think you suck.

>35 Today.

>Today is my 35th birthday.

Honestly, I’ve never made a big deal over my birthday; not since I was ten, probably. Never had parties or anything like that, and only a couple of times did I even go out for drinks and dinner. In fact, the past four years or so, I’ve been on the road, far away from anywhere I lived. Even now, as I write this, I’m on the other side of the country from my apartment and everything I’ve gotten used to calling “home”.

Still, this year is a bit different for me. I’m thirty-five. Not old by any stretch of the imagination, but not the kid I still see myself as and (perhaps too often) identify with. Billy Joel once wrote, “I’m young enough to still see the passionate boy that I used to be, but I’m old enough to say I got a good look at the other side”. At this point in my life, I can finally say that I know exactly what he was talking about.

…and I can’t complain.

It’s so easy, in the course of a day or a week or even a year, to focus on everything that is wrong, or all that is difficult in life, and let that be the thing that leads you. It’s so easy to look at your life and think, “I wish I had more money, I wish I had more fame, I wish I had better things. I wish I was younger, faster, stronger”. What we always fail to tell ourselves is the opposite. I find myself all to rarely thinking, “I used to have less, I used to be worse. I’m better now”.

At thirty-five, I think I’m starting to get it.

One thing I do, every year, no matter how unimportant my birthday is to me, is spend a little time alone reflecting on the years that came before. I pour myself a glass of wine and look back over what happened to lead me to this spot that I’m in on this particular June 16th. I’m still a young man, but I often feel like I’ve lived three or four lives when I think about the different paths I chose as the years rolled by.

Six years ago, I was only a part-time comedian. I was working by day in wine sales, and I had a cozy apartment in North Jersey.

Ten years ago, I was a restaurant manager, living in Detroit, Michigan. I was also forty pounds heavier and hadn’t been onstage doing comedy for years.

Now I tour all over North America, I’ve published a book (with another due out next year), done several TV appearances, and worked my way up to headlining my own shows forty-nine weeks per year. It’s amazing in how many directions you can turn in such a short amount of time.

I don’t feel old. In fact, I can easily say that there’s a comfort in being in your thirties that I never, ever thought possible. When you’re in your twenties, thirty-five seems pretty old, and the thought of someone telling you that it’s a pretty confident place to be sounds absolutely crazy. It sounds like the delusions of a man fighting a crises as he faces mid-life fast approaching.

Be that as it may, it’s very true. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t trade this year to be twenty-five again. If I could freeze time and stay one age for my entire life, you know what age that would be?

Ten. Ten years old is the best. Don’t kid yourself into believing anything else.

But, after that, I’d likely choose any year between thirty and thirty-six. I’m a healthier man that I was ten years ago, I’m a stronger man than I was ten years ago, and–anyone will tell you–I’m much more likeable now than I was at any other age. I can feel funny without feeling obnoxious. I can feel confident without feeling arrogant. I can feel curious without feeling naive. And I can feel like I finally have a clue as to what the hell I’m talking about, at least fifty percent of the time.

So, I’m not regretting thirty-five today. Sure, I could have a lot (a whole lot) more money than I do…but I’m still working on that. I could also be huge and famous…that one’s still in the machine, too.

But I’m luckier than I give myself credit for being. I have a family that believes in me, a girlfriend who (somehow) loves me, and plenty of people who enjoy watching me do this crazy thing I’ve chosen to do with my life. In thinking that things could be better, sometimes it’s easy to forget that they could also be a hell of a lot worse.

Also, I’m told I don’t look my age and, for that, I’m truly grateful. People tell me I’m talented sometimes, too, which puts me ahead of the curve. And, unlike when I was twenty-five, I don’t think I sound like a moron and I’m not ashamed to take my shirt off in public.

See, when I was twenty-five, that kind of talk would get me labeled an “arrogant, cocky, young punk”. At thirty-five, I’m called a “narcissist”. If that’s not a true sign of aging like fine wine, I sure as hell don’t know what is.

>Monster Laughs in Tampa

>Hello, gang…

Normally, this blog is not a “hey, here’s what’s going on” kind of rant. Normally, I try to make it more like reading a humor article or something like that. This time, however, I’m breaking format to do a little shamelss self-promotion.

So, I have this big show in Tampa on May 21st. As many of you know, the gig is sponsored by Monster Energy Drink. Several big whigs from Monster are going to be at the show, deciding whether or not to sponsor me full-time and if they might want to do a big tour in bigger venues. Needless to say, the show in Tampa is a big deal. So, if you know people in the area, or you’re already there, please come check out the show.

Earlier today, I was told that a DVD of the performance will be made, and a video will also be placed online once it has been digtially mastered or whatever people do to make my enormous head seem less cartoonish on TV. So, even if you can’t make the show, there’s a good possibility you can see it.

I’m doing several interviews on ESPN radio (those of you who really know me should get a kick out of that) over the next few days, as well as radio all over Tampa. I’m also going to be appearing on “Studio 10”, which is the CBS Morning TV show in Tampa, Florida on CBS Channel 10.

On Thursday, May 22nd, I’ll be on the nationally-syndicated NBC morning show “Daytime”, talking about “The Ultimate Bachelor’s Guide” and my current tour schedule. It airs in several cities, so check local listings. I’ll, of course, post the video here and on youtube when it’s all done.

All of this is to help promote my tour, Monster Energy Drink, and the big show at Sidesplitters in Tampa. Needless to say, I’m quite excited, even if I am a little nervous about the whole thing. This is what I’ve been working toward for the past several years of non-stop touring and promotion. All I can do is hope that it all finally pays off.

I’m excited, and happy that all of you are out there supporting me along the way. I never thought I would find so many people who believed in me talking about my penis onstage…but, ‘lo and behold, here you are…

Check out http://www.sidespliiterscomedy.com/ for more info, and http://www.wardanderson.net/ for other stuff.

See you in La-La Land,

Ward

>Who the Hell Wants to Live This Way?

>I love being a comedian. That is, to say, I love standing onstage, making people laugh. There’s rarely a time when I’m as happy or as comfortable as I am when I’m in front of an audience, doing my show. That time I spend in front of a crowd is enough to carry me through the entire day and, if it’s a good enough show, the entire week.

That being said, I hate almost every other single detail about my profession. When I say “hate”, I don’t mean the same way I hate the line at the coffee shop or the crowds at the mall. I’m talking about the kind of hate reserved only for people who have killed a family member or kicked a dog right in front of me. That hour onstage every day is wonderful, but it pales in comparison to the awful, soul-crushing world that inhabits the other parts of my career. There are so many aspects to being a comedian and, oddly enough, the performance every night is probably the smallest part. No, there is an entire lifetime of daily suffering that goes on in a comic’s world, with a deluge of annoyances that help it take shape.

First and foremost, there are the bookings agents. These are the people who represent the clubs for which I work. Sometimes they are also comedians or former comedians; sometimes they are the managers of the club in question. More times than not, they are people who get paid to write on a calendar and make decisions no one else wants to make. For that reason, booking agents are very powerful, and the people who make the most profit in my business. They know how much comedians need them and, with that in mind, often milk it for all it’s worth. I’ve never kissed an ass the way I’ve kissed a booker’s ass.

The bookers who are failed comedians are difficult to deal with simply because they are the biggest hypocrites on the planet. They spent years in the trenches, being overlooked and treated horribly, only to finally leave the performance side of stand-up and venture to the opposite end of the business. What happened on the other side? Well, a majority of them became exactly what they always despised. They are now exactly like the people who once ignored their phone calls, patronized their every word, and altogether belittled the comedian at every turn.

Sure, there are a few bookers I admire, like to work with, and might even call my friends. But, make no mistake; they are few and far between. Until you are famous or, at the very least, very well-known (and well-managed), dealing with booking agents can tear you apart. You can spend months leaving messages that never get returned, emails that never get read and mail that is simply tossed aside all because a booking agent doesn’t feel like changing the routine he’s been in for the past several years. And he doesn’t have to. There’s only one of him and dozens (perhaps hundreds) of comedians waiting to work for him. They, more than anyone, control this business.
These same people who are in control of most of the stand-up comedy world are also the same people who know the least about it, have no passion for it or the people who perform it, and are incidentally some of the laziest, two-faced, liars a person will ever encounter. They get used to booking the same comedians in the same clubs, year after year, without changing a thing or lifting a single finger to attempt something new or challenging. If they can find a way to make more money by doing the exact same thing (or less) over and over again, they will do it, especially if there’s someone else (especially a comedian) footing the bill. The only difference between a vampire and a booking agent is that one is soulless, bloodsucking demon…and the other is a vampire.

Agents aside, there’s more to my business than just the constant searching and tap-dancing for jobs. The travel is exhausting and a comedian rarely has any time (or money) to truly enjoy the many different locations he is able to visit. A comedian never seems to know anything about the local monuments or museums but everything about the nearest mall or cheap place to eat. Sometimes a comic travels as many as 12 hours in one day, only to find that the show wasn’t advertised and there are only 8 people in attendance.

The accommodations are often insulting, from horrible hotel rooms that even cheap, truck-stop hookers would find offensive, to a poorly kept condo where the sofas are supported by old paperbacks. Cheap hotels rush you out as early as possible, regardless of what the “Do Not Disturb” sign reads, and many clubs require that the comedians clean the condo themselves before heading out on their next venture. One club I’ve performed in (more than once) is notorious for putting comedians up in a hotel that is downright nasty and, unbelievably, only across the street from a very nice chain hotel that charges—no kidding—just ten dollars more per night.

Comedians these days are paid exactly what they were paid twenty years ago. There has been no pay increase to combat the rising cost of living, or the rising cost of expenses. Even though tickets have increased over the years, as have the prices of food and drinks, comics are still being paid as if gas was only ninety cents per gallon. In order to make a livable wage, the average comedian, one without extensive TV credits or top management (which come via luck these days more so than via talent), has to tour constantly, rarely taking a break or spending very long at home. People wonder why comedians always seem to be single.

So, when a comedian says “you’ve been a great crowd” and seems to thank you as if you just saved his life, that might just be the case. I’ve often spent an entire day trying to talk myself into staying in this business when every sensible ounce of my brain tells me to quit. I’ve finally decided that I just can’t convince myself to stay in this business any longer (not because of lack of talent or persistence, but for sheer exhaustion and utter disbelief at its sheer absurdity), only to have thunderous applause at the end of the night do what I couldn’t accomplish all afternoon. I go to bed deciding, yet again, to stick it out for another week, or month, or year.

Audience members are often the only saving grace, treating comics like celebrities when sometimes the club owners treat us like we’re a nuisance rather than the very backbone of their business. One club owner didn’t return my phone calls (made once per week) for almost two years. Once I finally got him on the phone, I was informed just how busy he always is. It doesn’t take an industry veteran to figure out that no one in this business is so busy that they can’t return a phone call for two years. After I got to know this same guy, I found out that he plays golf no less than three times per week.

A fellow comedian, very new to the business, once said to me “This is the greatest business on earth to be a part of”, to which I laughed and corrected him, “No, this is the best job on earth to have”.

See, there’s a difference. Standing onstage, making people laugh…that’s a great job. But stand-up comedy, as an industry, is an awful, terrible business. It’s run by people who hate comedy, dealing with comedians every day. It’s a business that expects performers, with no experience in business, to somehow be good businesspersons. It pretends to be about talented performers when, in actuality, its performers are amongst the lowest paid in show business. It isn’t even about being funny as much as it is about selling alcohol and food and, at a time when everyone seems scared of their shadow and censorship is running amok, it’s not even the goal to be “funny” as much as it is to be “safe”. Mediocrity isn’t a comedian’s goal, per se, but it certainly is rewarded with steady work.

Why am I writing this? Because I had a bad day. Or a bad week. Or a bad month. Or all of the above.

Many of my fellow comedians consider me lucky. I was able to move up quickly in my field and work quite a bit all over the country. Last year alone, I toured over forty-nine weeks straight, barely taking a break. After all, what choice did I have? There’s no “day job” that would let me tour that much and still have employment and, if I plan on being a full-time comedian, I have to tour that much just to keep paying my bills. So, I did it, both to engulf myself in my craft and, at the same time, experience everything—good or bad—this business had to offer me.

Still, that’s more work than most of my comedian pals were pulling in. So, why complain?

Let’s see:

· My last “real job”, before going full-time as a comic, I was in sales. I made seventy-five grand per year and lived by myself in a nice apartment all by myself. When I left my job, I paid off all my debt so I could bury myself in my comedy business. Eight months later, I was back in debt, deeper than before, and was forced to move in with my girlfriend just to keep making ends meet. I wasn’t unemployed, just underpaid. That year, I put thirty-thousand miles on my car.

· Three years later, after I was gone for a majority of the year, trying to earn a living, my girlfriend finally left me. Even though she made three times per year what I was pulling in, she got to keep the apartment we shared, the car in my name, all of the furniture (except my recliner) and anything else we bought while we were together. It was decided she “earned” everything by supporting me during my struggling years. Anything she didn’t want was boxed up and moved into a storage space. I moved in with a friend, staying on his sofa until I “got back on my feet”.

· A month later, my ex called me and demanded the remainder of my things, all shoved in a closet, be removed so that her new boyfriend could move in. When I explained that I’d be on the road for over a month, now touring even more than before the split, the new boyfriend emailed me and reprimanded me for my “irresponsible career and life choices”. Six months later, I house-sat my old apartment while the two of them went on their honeymoon. The utilities are still in my name.

· That year, I put over fifty-thousand miles on my car.

· Six months after I moved all of my belongings there, the storage company sent me a letter to inform me that they decided randomly to raise my rent by twenty-five dollars per month. Sure enough, in fine print, my contract allows them to raise the rent whenever they want for no reason whatsoever. I haven’t the time nor money to move my stuff elsewhere.

· A club I’m working at tells me that, in order to save money, they only allow the comedians to order off the children’s menu.

· I find out that my mechanic, whom I’ve been using for two years, has been deliberately screwing me over, overcharging me, and making sure I’m constantly having to bring my car in for service that only he can do. Calculating backwards, I realize I’ve overpaid him by about two grand.

· Two months after the warranty expired, my laptop suddenly stopped working out of nowhere. It cost me less to buy a new laptop than to fix my existing one. My new warranty on my new laptop cost about half as much as the laptop itself. When I told my brother, a computer programmer, how ridiculous this is, he informs me that laptops are supposed to be replaced every few years. Christ.

· A booking agent, whom I’ve been trying to get in touch with for over two years, informs me that she has lost another one of my “promo kits”, which includes several publicity photos, random articles, and a DVD of my show. She will not book me without viewing the promo kit. I have to send another one to her, at my expense, and this is the fourth time I’ll do so. She’s already lost three.

· I get a letter from a toll-booth company that informs me that, four years ago, I underpaid them for tolls incurred in my old car. They want eight hundred dollars. If I agree to not contest the bill, nor to seek council, they’ll take payments and accept four hundred dollars instead. I start making payments the following day. In actuality, I don’t even owe them a dollar.

· I get hired to be the opening act for a comedian who is on a popular TV show. Two days later, I’m fired for being “too funny”.

· I’m informed by a club that my booking with them now qualifies as “summer pay”. “Summer Pay” is normally doled out by clubs in the middle of July, when business is slower. Comedians are paid less in the summer than they are in the other months of the year when that club decides to adopt a “summer pay” clause in their contract. The saddest part is that some clubs insist on summer pay even when their club remains busy that time of year. And the clubs who insist on “summer pay” seem to believe that summer is longer than it actually is. In this case, the club in question has decided that summer starts the first week of May, and my pay has been cut by 30%. Meanwhile, every show is almost sold out with ticket sales at full price.

· A credit card I cancelled two years ago posts a delinquency on my credit report, even though I paid them two years ago and haven’t even had the card since then. I’m told by a credit counselor that proving my side of the argument to the credit reporting agencies will be nearly impossible and might take years.

· A guy in the front row of my show gets drunk and talks on his cell phone while I’m onstage. When I complain to the club manager about it, I’m told that I shouldn’t complain about “paying customers”.

· A comedy club books me but neglects to inform me that, as part of the deal, there is no hotel for me to stay in for the week. I have the choice of blowing half my pay for the entire week and putting myself up in a hotel or staying on the sofa of a local comedian who is, subsequently, opening for me for nothing but a free meal. I spend the week on his futon, wondering if George Carlin ever lived like this.

· My agent calls and informs me that a college wants to hire me for a show and have offered $250 for one show. I accept the gig, only to find out later that the offer was for $1000. Instead of taking the 15% we’ve agreed upon, the agent secretly decided he deserves 75%. I only discover this when the college accidentally makes the entire check out to me instead of my agent. Keep in mind that even Elvis’ manager only took 50%, and everyone considered that unethical.

· I get cancelled from a gig one week before I’m supposed to be there. The club manager made a mistake and accidentally booked two comedians for the same week. He flips a coin and I’m out of work for the week with no compensation for the mistake. I spend the next week sitting on the couch.

· I agree to take a pay cut and work at a comedy club for half-price, just to get the booking agent to notice me. He doesn’t show up for any of the shows that week and asks me to work half-price the following year, as well, since he never got around to being there. He drives a sixty-thousand dollar car and pays me what literally comes out to be minimum wage for the week. I get a standing ovation that he’s not even there to see it. He later tells me that, since he wasn’t there, it doesn’t count. He asks me to return the following year at that same, discounted rate.

· A club calls to inform me that it no longer has a Wednesday night show and will have to cut my pay for the week by $250.

· A TV show I was supposed to be on suddenly decides not to use me because they already have chosen to use some other comedians who, they’ve decided, look similar.

· I find out that my new mechanic has overcharged me by $200. As I drive away from his shop, my car starts making a noise it wasn’t making when I brought it in.

· My girlfriend’s father constantly reminds me that I don’t make very much money, have almost nothing saved for the future, and work in an industry with complete uncertainty, no health benefits, and more failure than success. Incidentally, he doesn’t think I’m very funny, either.

· Two months after I move into a nice, pre-furnished apartment with a friend-of-a-friend, my roommate decides to move out…and takes all the furniture with her. I’m about to go on tour for six weeks, suddenly stuck with an empty apartment I’ll hardly be in, and have to cover the entire rent by myself.

· After two years of trying to get an agent to take my call and book me at his club, the agent finally agrees and offers me a date…for half-price.

· My accountant gets me back $900 for the year…then bills me $600.

· This year, I put 65,000 miles on my car.

· I get bumped from my week of work at a club because some guy from “Best Week Ever” on VH-1 has decided to reschedule his date and he wants mine. He does half the time onstage that I do and is going to be paid three times as much. Hardly anyone seems to watch “Best Week Ever” and, those who do can’t name this guy, but he’s considered “A-list Talent” by the club booker anyway, so I get bumped until next year.

· A booking agent tells me to call him the first week in October in order to get some work from him for the following year. The day I call him, he informs me that he already booked the entire next year…in September.

· Because he feels like it, and without my asking, a club manager keeps sending me Jaegermeister shots while I’m onstage, only to take the price of them out of my pay for the week without telling me.

· A guy who was my opening act a year ago suddenly gets a job booking the very same club we worked at together. He bumps me out of the date I’m scheduled to be there because he’s got “other plans for that week”. That plan involves booking himself for that date and then never taking my phone calls again.

So, do I have a great job? That depends on which way you look at it. Sure, I get to see the world, meet all kinds of people, and tell jokes for a living, but that’s one hour a day. It’s the other 23 that are driving me completely nuts, and those are the hours I’m supposedly not even working. My job is keeping me active, positive, and alive. It’s my off-time that’s killing me.

That being said, I hope to see you all next week, when I’ll be headlining at Uncle Chuckle’s Yackety Shack. I’ll be the guy arguing with the car mechanic out front.