Happy New Year!

Hello, friends!

Well, 2014 is upon us and I’m excited for what this year has to offer.  You know, it’s hard to beat the amazing 2013 I had, but I’m sure willing to try.  Last year, I managed to sign a two-book deal with Kensington Books in NYC (my first novel is being released May 27th), got my own radio show on SiriusXM (“Ward and Al” airs weekdays, 1pm to 4pm EST on Channel 167), and was named Cadillac’s “Achiever of the Year” (#DriveCadillac).  Needless to say, it was amazing.  All of this, of course, pales in comparison to the fact that in December I became a father for the first time.  Such an amazing year, indeed.

That doesn’t mean I’m slowing down, mind you.  Not if I can help it.  Beginning February 2nd, SiriusXM has graciously given me a second talk radio program.  Thanks to my bosses at SiriusXM and the fine folks at Sharp Magazine, I’ll be co-hosting the new Sharp Magazine Show on SiriusXM, Channel 167.  Tune in every Sunday night at 8pm EST to hear the show.  I have a feeling it will repeat throughout the week.  The great Jeremy Freed, editor-in-chief of Sharp is in charge, taking me along for the ride. It’s going to be a great show.

On May 27th, my first novel is being released by Kensington Books.  I’ll Be Here All Week has been getting some nice advance praise, and I’m looking forward to seeing how readers react once it hits shelves.  As part of the media frenzy preceding the book release, I’ll be doing something I haven’t done in almost a year: I’m going on tour.

Yes, I’ll be filling my calendar with some random comedy club dates this spring and summer.  Stay tuned for dates and details.  Also, my “Ward and Al” co-host, Allison Dore, is going to be joining me for a string of comedy dates all across Canada.  We’re excited about a very busy year ahead.

I’ll also continue to contribute to Huffington Post, AmongMen.Com, and whomever else wants to give me a place to type or talk.  

So, tune and and stay tuned.  It’s going to be a fun 2014.  I hope to see you all soon.  In the meantime, #DriveCadillac.

Until next time,


Five Things You Might Not Know About Comedians

People ask me about the life of a comic all the time. Even if they rarely watch stand-up comedy or never go to a comedy club, they always want to know about the years I spent touring full-time. “Have you ever been on TV?” “How often do you tour?” “What’s the money like?” Here are five quick things you might not know about those who are funny for money.. 

5. We Pay Our Own Travel Expenses. Occasionally, after a particularly long drive from Canada to Florida, I will have someone comment on just how crazy that idea is. “Why drive so far?”or “Why don’t you fly?” If only we lived in such a perfect world. When a comic has reached the level of fame such as Louis CK, the travel expenses are handled by a venue, promoter, or manager. The pay is often increased to accommodate for airfare, etc. That’s successful, famous comedians. The average “working” comic, however, is paid for the gig, period. Just the gig. How he gets to the gig — or how much he spends getting there — is his problem. If the venue likes the comic, they’ll probably have someone pick him up at the airport on those occasions when he’s lucky enough to fly there. But no promises. If you ever hear what a comedian is being paid for the week, remember that his plane ticket or gas money (plus food and taxes) comes out of it. The profit starts after all of that has been taken out. So, many comedians drive to all of their gigs because they have to book them as a weeks-long tour in order to keep expenses lower. 

4. We Work More Than An Hour Per Day. There is a constant running gag that comedians say, onstage and off: “I only work an hour a day”. It gets said by comics all the time, on the radio, during a show, or even just when hanging out with friends. Again, this is a “In A Perfect World” scenario. Famous comedians have “people”, and those people often handle the business aspects of their careers. The average comic, however, has to book his shows himself, call or email clubs and club owners himself, promote his shows by himself, book his travel himself, and manage his calendar himself. There are fifty weeks per year that need to be filled, and that takes time. It means contacting dozens (if not hundreds) of booking agents, managers, and club owners, all week long. Add with that time for writing or working on new material, travel time, time spent doing PR or promotions, interviews, and just getting to and from the gig, and it’s definitely a full-time job.

3. We’re Not Always Funny. Stand-up comedy can be a ton of fun, but it can also be a job. Just like you have days when you find it hard to do your job, comics often have days when our job is difficult, too. And, just like the average guy wants to leave the office at the end of the day and not think about data entry anymore, comics often don’t want to continue showing off once the stage lights go down. So, not everything we say to you on the street is meant to be funny and, sometimes, we just want to be taken seriously. Seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often we hear “Gee, I thought comedians were supposed to be funny” any time we have a conversation about politics at a dinner party, or “don’t try using that one in your act” whenever we make an offhanded remark about traffic offstage. Believe it or not, we have lives outside of the comedy club and sometimes like to leave work behind just as much as the dentist doesn’t want to be looking at teeth while shopping at The Gap. I’ve lied more than once about what I do for a living when asked by strangers sitting next to me on a plane because I know there’s a good chance they’ll ask me to tell them a joke. Sometimes we’re off duty.

2. We’re Worthless In The Summertime. You know how Hollywood has huge blockbuster movies in the summertime? You know how the water parks open up and everyone goes out to barbecues and to the beach? All of that hurts the stand-up comedy business. Summertime is the slowest time of the year for comedy clubs, and the business in some cities drops off drastically once June rolls around. In fact, clubs can go from being packed to almost empty once the summer kicks in. To offset the money lost during this time, comedy clubs came up with an ingenious plan to save money: Summer Pay. Put simply, many comedy clubs pay comedians less during the summertime than they do most of the year. How much less? Up to fifty percent less. Yes, some clubs pay comics half during the summer what they normally get paid any other season. The argument is that business is slower so they have to pay us less in order to survive the slow season. Keep in mind, we usually do the same amount of shows, work the same days per week, and do the same amount of time onstage as we do every other season. Also, keep in mind that no comedy club manager works for less pay during this slower season. Some clubs go the extra step of booking only local comedians during the summer so they can save money by not having to put the talent up in a hotel. So, if you go to a comedy club in July and notice the comedian is doing a lot of local humor, you’ll know why.

1. Constant Touring Pays The Bills. I never tell people the kind of money I make. Mostly, that’s because it changes all the time. Some clubs pay very well, some not so much. There is no industry standard and the money changes from week to week, depending upon everything from experience to location to number of shows performed per week. One thing that is constant, however, is that comedians are not paid through the roof. In fact, the industry itself hasn’t seen a pay increase (or adjustment for inflation) in over twenty years. Sure, when a comedian becomes a household name or has a stack of TV credits, the money goes up and can be quite cozy. Typically, however, the average working “club comic” lives–if he’s lucky–a middle-class life. Recent estimates show that the average, non-famous, working comedian makes around thirty grand per year. Some make more, some make less. What keeps the money rolling in? Constant touring. If we’re not touring, we aren’t working. When you hear a comedian say that he tours five out of six weeks, remember that it’s because that is the only way to make a living doing it.

Stand-up comedy, much like the rest of the entertainment industry, has its share of famous millionaires overshadowing scores of starving artists. This weekend, skip the megaplex and journey down to the local comedy club to see a show performed by some unknown comic who has never once been on television. You might just be surprised and laugh harder than you have in years.

Ward in Sharp Magazine

Ward in Sharp Magazine

I was named Cadillac’s “Achiever of the Year”.

Sharp Magazine ran my profile.

Here’s a photo of it.

Very cool.

Thanks to everyone who made it happen.

5 Types of People Who Suck

You’re a good person. I can tell this about you already. You’re kind to your neighbours and the people you work with say nice things about you when you’re not around. At Halloween, you give out the best candy and the local children will attack anyone who tries to throw eggs at your house. It’s obvious that you are not any of the annoying people listed below, who really need to be told just how annoying they really are.

1. “The Book Was Better” Person. This particular jackass appears whenever someone proclaims to have just enjoyed a movie based upon a popular novel. If you happen to be walking out of the local cineplex, whether it be the Harry Potter series or even the latest Stephen King flick, this person will insist on letting you know “the book was better”. This is that person’s way to be pompous and brag about the fact that he probably reads more than you do. If you are that person, here’s a newsflash: the book is almost always better than the movie. We already know. That’s just a given. A book is hundreds of pages and a movie is two hours. Plus, when you read a book, you essentially create a movie in your head. Of course you think your movie is better than the one that was actually made. So, yeah, the book is better. If the movie was always better than the book, there wouldn’t be books. More importantly, please know that no one is impressed with how much you read.

2. Professor “The New Version Sucks”. This special doctor shows up whenever he sees someone enjoying any kind of remake, especially a cover tune by a popular band. You see, he’s cooler than everyone else because he’s aware that there was another band who did the song first, and everyone knows that automatically means the new version is lousy… especially in music. He gets extra snide if the new version sells better than the old version. See, that means it really sucks. Does he ever like a remake? Yes, but only when no one else has ever heard of it. This also includes the person who scolds you for watching an English remake of any movie originally made in another language. He’s seen the original Swahili version of Fast and Furious 6, and the one made in Hollywood pales in comparison.

3. The “That Band Sucks Now That They’re Popular” Fan. This guy wants you to know that bands are never cool once they decide they want to earn a livable wage. If some band finds success, learns to actually write music, and somehow gets a platinum album, this person will turn his back on them completely and call everyone who likes them a “Poseur”. He’ll let you know that the only “True Fans” of that band are the people who illegally downloaded their badly-recorded demo that is awkward and clumsy and has nonexistent production values. If the members of a band want more than to play to 60 people while living in a van, they’re sellouts and have no talent. He’s always a contrarian, and the only Van Halen member he likes is Gary Cherone.

4.”Cell Phone Screamer”. You’re in line at a coffee shop or sitting on a subway. The guy behind you decides to show the people around him how important he is by speaking so loudly to the person on the other end of his cell phone that he probably could have just opened the window and shouted across town. Sure, it’s the 21st century and he’s screaming into a piece of equipment with a button on it that controls the volume. But that technology ignores self-importance. It’s much preferable for him to stand in a quiet area and scream into the receiver as if he were using a tin can with a string attached to it.

5. The “SNL Isn’t Funny Anymore” Critic. At some point while visiting the water cooler, you might hear a co-worker talking about a particularly funny sketch she saw onSaturday Night Live. That’s when this particular nimrod shows up to proclaim to everyone that SNL hasn’t been funny since the original cast. This often-repeated line seems to be said nowadays because, well… you’re just supposed to say it. But here’s the deal: In over 30 years on TV, it most certainly has been as funny. In fact, it’s often been hilarious. And yet still people show up all the time proclaiming “SNL isn’t funny anymore, and it hasn’t been in years.” Moments later, this same person will freely admit that he hasn’t even watched the show since Anthony Michael Hall left the cast. But, you know, he’s decided that it sucks.

It’s highly likely that you’re not any of the aforementioned five annoying people. If you are, there’s still hope for you, my friends. Put down that book, turn off the original version of “The Pina Colada Song”, and go watch The Shawshank Redemption. Then come outside and tell everyone how much better that movie was than the book.

Ward named “Cadillac Achiever of the Year”

Hey, all.

I’m thrilled and honoured to have been named Cadillac’s “Achiever of the Year”, 2013.  The kind people at Cadillac have chosen to give me this award in recognition of the fact that, yeah, I’ve had a good year…!  As part of it, Sharp Magazine will have a two-page profile on me in this November’s issue, and I’ll be appearing at the release party for the new Sharp Book For Men this September.

Needless to say, I’m quite excited about it all.  Thanks to Cadillac, Sharp Magazine, and everyone who made it happen.



Going Through a Break-up Doesn’t Make You A “Survivor”

I recently caught an interview with a woman on TV who managed to go from being a broke divorcee to being a self-made millionaire. It was impressive, to say the least, that she accumulated such wealth and success in the first place, but also because she did so while fast approaching 50 years-old. The person doing the interview praised this woman’s success and called her a “survivor.”

On another TV program I saw, a woman was interviewed about her new-found independence after going through a particularly nasty divorce. The show host screamed to the audience that the woman was “A Survivor!” The audience, of course, erupted into applause and cheers. Two days later, a friend of mine who lost half of everything he owns in a divorce told me he was “thankful to have survived it.”

Survived what, exactly? Divorce, I guess. You know, that rare disease that claims the life of untold millions every year for which there is no known cure.

No less than 27 times in the past year have I heard someone coming out of a bad relationship call themselves a “survivor.” As if awful splits are, somehow rare and something a random few people get through without succumbing to the Grim Reaper. Suddenly, going through a bad break-up has become synonymous with PTSD and treatment for Anthrax.

The truth of the matter is something no one wants to hear: You aren’t special because you made it through a bad break-up.

These days it seems we want to convince everyone that every single experience is unique and rare; that no one could possibly understand the hardships that come with the demise of a relationship. In reality, most break-ups are difficult, many divorces can get nasty, and about 99 per cent of all people involved in either (or both) manage to live through them. People go through them all the time. We’ve all been there.

Over half of all marriages end in divorce and a majority of all relationships end. The odds of that relationship ending badly (or depressingly) are pretty high already. After all, these things end for a reason. Something went wrong. It “broke.” It happens a lot. Patting yourself on the back for “surviving” it is just a slap in the face to those who actually deal with life-threatening situations.

You and the ex argued a lot and screamed at each other? That doesn’t make you the victim of domestic violence. That makes you a bad fit with your chosen mate. You lost a lot of money in the divorce? That doesn’t mean you were inches away from death’s door. It actually makes you pretty much just like most people who go through a painful split.

The problem here is not people’s feelings of self-importance; it’s the devaluing of certain words. Pre-9/11, we called a good athlete a “hero.” Calling someone who had a bad break-up a “survivor” is a similar kind of First-World-Problems hyperbole. But it belittles those who actually persevere and overcome true, life-threatening obstacles. Imagine telling the rugby players who resorted to cannibalism in order to survive that plane crash in the Andes Mountains that you’re on a similar level because you married a passive-aggressive jackass.

Originally posted HERE on The Huffington Post. 

Somewhere out there, there are actual “survivors” of awful break-ups. Victims of abuse, marital rape, con-artist spouses, and those who can claim to have lost more than their pride and condo. These are the people who deserve to use the term “survivor,” not the person upset she had a bad relationship with the guy that lived in his parents’ basement until he was 30 and never learned to wash his own clothes. You weren’t on the verge of death; you just have bad taste in men. Same goes for my friend whining about losing his “Man Cave” because he married someone who couldn’t put up with his crap. It’s not like he had to endure four rounds of chemotherapy.

If you come through your break-up with your limbs attached, your skin unbruised, your body unviolated, and your future ahead of you, don’t label yourself a “survivor.” Instead, consider yourself pretty normal. Then consider yourself lucky that you don’t actually deserve that label we so glibly throw around these days. In order to wear it, you’d have to have suffered through something far worse than a jerk who got half your stuff and didn’t like your mother.

Bring Back Real Women On TV

There was a time when women on television — much like in real life — were relegated to the roles of housewives, teachers and secretaries. In an industry that has always put breasts ahead of brains, TV is now thankfully portraying women in realistic careers onscreen. Now if they could only go one step further and start using realistic women in those roles, as well.

In yet another example of the networks continuing to underestimate the intelligence of their audiences, every other show this fall is tossing out more T and A than a Scrabble convention. It’s as if the entire season has been created around winners of America’s Next Top Model. I don’t need to name a few of theses shows, since it’s almost all of them that are guilty of doing it.

Click on the tube on any given night, and we’re treated to shows about tough-as-nails female cops… who just happen to wear crop tops and chase the bad guys while wearing six-inch heels and push-up bras. Change the channel and you will you find a show about a district attorney whose most important disclosure is her cleavage. One more click and you’ll find a hospital drama where the chief of staff looks like she’s barely out of high school and her surgeon’s scrubs double as a g-string.

How have we come so far only to grow so little? We’ve put women on TV into respectable roles, from lawyers to cops to doctors to heads of businesses and government. So why can’t we show women who look… real? And, while we’re at it, why are we still so afraid to admit that women don’t cease to exist once they hit forty?

Well-written shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men are drawing awards left and right and inspiring viewing marathons. Is it really necessary to draw viewers in by giving them scantily-clad females at every turn? One would expect such gimmicks from a nighttime soap or reality show dreck. But some of the top shows on major networks, priding themselves on excellent writing and great casts are still trying to make us believe that the head of criminology for the FBI just also happens to be a young cover model with an expensive haircut and apparently plenty of time to go to the gym and count her carbs.

It’s almost entirely sexist, as well, which makes it even harder to watch. Men are pretty much left alone when it comes to such casting stunts. Sure, there’s still the bad stereotype of the “Buffoon Dad” or the “Fat Guy with the Hot Wife”. But at least men are allowed to be somewhat normal looking on TV or — gasp — middle aged. Bryan Cranston is a believable as a suburban dad, and Steve Buscemi looks like everyone’s creepy uncle. Isn’t it time we gave the same treatment to the actresses out there? It’s going to take more than one Melissa McCarthy to convince me we’re turning the corner. And every powerful businesswoman can’t be played by Glenn Close.

It used to be that the gorgeous woman with the great figure was cast in the romantic lead, while every other actress found their way into the “best friend” roles or character bits. But now even the best friend is curvy and half-naked, and the crabby landlord is twenty-five years old. What are we saying to young women and girls when literally every single figure they see on television, no matter the role, is a size two? If the bankers and politicians on TV are all stunning and thin, where are all the realistic women going? Where’s the mother of a teen that doesn’t look like a teen mother?

Women used to be realistic on TV. Lucille Ball was 40 years old when she created I Love LucyCagney and Lacey showcased realistic female detectives dealing with middle age. The Golden Girls remains one of the most beloved comedies of all time, and the entire show was about–get this–women growing old. Nowadays, The Golden Girls would be about four platinum blondes who are all skinny doctors forced to deal with the hardships of brain surgery, dating, and how downhill everything goes as they each approach thirty.

Women have been complaining about this sort of thing for years, and apparently no one is listening. This tells me that the networks are still under the belief that this is what men want to see. They think men won’t watch a realistic, middle-aged actress playing a lawyer on television, so they’re putting lawyers in their underwear on the tube instead. That’s not just insulting to women everywhere, guys; it’s insulting to men. It does nothing more than confirms the belief that we’re more interested in style over substance.

No more than I want to see a twenty year-old Abercrombie model playing a professor at MIT do I want to see a twenty year-old Playboy Bunny playing, well, a professor at MIT. But that’s apparently what the networks think of us. We shouldn’t be okay with that. By not speaking out about how unfairly women are portrayed, we’re confirming the negative way men are perceived. Neither should be okay with us. If it is, then we’re no better than the Buffoon Dads we keep insisting we’re not.

The Real Miley Outrage? The Faux Outrage.

Faster than Justin Timberlake can expose a breast on Janet Jackson, the entire world is alive with mock outrage over the Miley Cyrus performance at this week’s MTV Video Music Awards.  Parents locked their kids in their rooms.  Teachers planned special discussion groups to help students to cope with the trauma.  And Disney is reportedly placing a warning sticker on every single copy of Hannah Montana merchandise in existence.  All because Miley Cyrus dared to act…sexy?

But that’s just it: Miley Cyrus wasn’t sexy.  She wasn’t sultry.  She wasn’t shocking, nor was she scandalous.  Miley Cyrus was, simply put, trying too hard. She so wanted to shock us and to show us what a big, sexualized rock star she’s become.  Instead, she just looked like someone who really, really wanted our attention…just not in the way we’re giving it.

You can’t really blame her.  The twenty year-old singer has been living in the shadow of her Disney character for so long, she’s been beating herself senseless trying to be seen as anything other than a pre-teen bubblegum princess. Anyone who has been paying attention for the past few years has seen this coming for a long time.  It seems pretty obvious that–for a teeny-bopper desperate to shed her skin and re-invent herself as a fully-grown, sexualized adult–the VMA’s would be the perfect place.

Scandals always happen at The Video Music Awards.  The fact that we play along at all is amazing at this point, considering we’ve seen it so many times in the past.  Kanye West was an ass who interrupted Taylor Swift.  Madonna pulled the equivalent of drunken spring breaker when she locked lips with Brittany Spears.  And, not for nothing, but she was the first VMA shock artist when she ungracefully rolled around on stage in a wedding gown singing “Like a Virgin”.  At this point, outrageous displays of idiocy, narcissism and vulgarity are more common at the ceremony than actual music videos.  Oh, yeah…remember when MTV had those?  They should have an award ceremony for them or something, if they ever bring them back.

Now, in yet another attempt to pretend the VMAs are at all relevant anymore, we have the faux outrage over Miley Cyrus.  She stumbled around awkwardly, wearing more clothes than the average Hooters Girl, and rubbed up against Alan Thicke’s son.  Frankly, I was more shocked when Christina Aguilera didn’t come out onstage and join them. After all, weren’t we just as outraged back when she pulled this same stunt over a decade ago?

At least Aguilera was sexy that night, all those years ago. And at least she appeared to know what actual sex is. Cyrus, unfortunately, looked more like the girl you knew in high school who constantly bragged about all the sex she was having yet was secretly a virgin. Tongue wagging?  Crotch touching and butt-grinding?  Her moves weren’t sexy as much as the attempts of someone who has no idea what sexy is trying desperately to make us believe she does.  It was kind of like asking an Amish guy to explain digital porn.

Yet all over The Internet and in the media, people are still acting as if what Cyrus did was remotely as shocking or scandalous as what we actually witnessed.  All we really saw was the equivalent of someone getting drunk at the office holiday party and jumping onstage with the band. The kind of thing we’d snicker at and pat her on the back for the next day, while reassuring her the hangover will eventually go away.  Yet we’re tweeting desperately about it as if it was just revealed she’s been cast to play Catwoman in the Man of Steel sequel.

Instead of being shocked at Miley Cyrus and her shenanigans, be shocked by the fact that MTV apparently still has music videos and apparently still gives them awards.  Be shocked that the statuette is still that Moon Man that Miley Cyrus is far too young to remember.  And be shocked that people tune in to cheer for awards to videos they’ll never see…unless Robin Thicke is in it with a bunch of naked women.

Oh, and for the record, the best video of all time is still Thriller.

Award for Ward?

Hey, all!

I’m thrilled to say that Cadillac has named me one of its Top 10 “Achievers of the Year”, and a finalist for THE grand prize of “Cadillac’s Achiever of the Year”.

Although it’s a thrill just to be nominated, I have to admit I’d be all kinds of giddy if I won this thing.  Mostly, because it comes with the opportunity to appear in an actual Cadillac ad and other fun stuff.

So, if you’d like to see yours truly continue to climb the proverbial show biz ladder, please vote for me.  It’s easy to do, and will only take a minute.  Plus I’ll give you a link to make it easy.  Here goes:


See?  Now you’ll feel warm and fuzzy inside, right?

Thanks and stay tuned!

Keep an eye on summer,