Storytelling; A Fading Art Form?

Earlier this month, another substitute teacher I work with, invited me to a storytelling event that was to take place on the next Saturday morning. I told him I’d be there to check it out, and at the cost of $Free.99, why not?

On Saturday morning, I woke up to and jumped online to gather information about the event but found absolutely nothing. I looked up the venue to see if the venue had posted it on their website or social media pages, but still, nothing. I wasn’t even sure if the event was still going to go on? I got ready and went anyway.

When I arrived, there was no indication on any of the posters on the venue’s windows that there would be a storytelling event held that morning, but the place was open, so I walked right in. There was a gentleman working in an office inside and I asked about the event and he half-heartedly directed me to the showroom area. I walked into the showroom and was warmly greeted by what seemed to be approximately 10 people. They were so excited to see me and I was excited to see them! They each introduced themselves to me and as it turns out, they were all members of the Tellers of Tales Tucson organization who was hosting the free event. They were all so nice and from the animated way they conducted themselves, I could tell instantly that these were THE storytellers.

I wasn’t wrong. When the event began, some of the storytellers took the stage to tell an original story using the month’s theme, “Haunted”. I’ve been performing standup comedy for 16 years and as a comedian, my goal is to get a laugh every 5 to 6 seconds for 45 minutes straight! I don’t mince words or waste any, for that matter. As I sat there and listed to each storyteller, I was mesmerized at how descriptive their stories were. I was taken by how calculated each detail was. Each storyteller took my mind on a journey I never expected to be taken on. They captivated my attention with only their words and also with the enthusiasm they poured into each and every word. They weren’t trying to hit a Laughs-per-Minute scale. They were capturing my attention with each and every syllable.

I was entertained, and at the same time, saddened. I was saddened by the fact that the only people in attendance were the people of the group and one invitee; me. I couldn’t stop thinking about what a tragedy it would be to lose this type of art form. Groups like these have to contend with the digital world of YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and, well the list goes on and on.

Their next storytelling event is on Saturday, November 5th and I, for one, am not going to miss it. I will also share the event across all of my social media platforms in hopes that I can intrigue at least one or two people to come out and experience the amazing feeling I got from listening to these seasoned storytellers take me to worlds I never thought I’d be a part of. My mind lives in a world it is familiar with, but these storytellers took it to worlds its never thought of. If that isn’t intriguing enough, I don’t know what else is.


I’m Happy!

Here’s an update for the 1 reader of this blog; I’m no longer heartbroken! The love of my life and I made up and talked things through. We hit a bump in the road but were honest enough with each other to sort through it and address some issues that needed attention. I won’t drag out what was said, but just know that we are stronger for it and on our way to a continuously growing relationship.

On a professional note, I’ve left the cruise ship comedy work. I have too many things going on at home and need to be on land when the people in my life need me. It was a great experience, but I had to hang up my sea legs.

I’ve started substitute teaching to supplement my comedy income. I don’t have very many comedy days scheduled to close out the year, so I have to make do and go to work. It’s been a struggle to get a marketing job, for which I hold a Masters degree in, so I’m going to take it as a sign to continue pursuing booking gigs and working when I’m not on the road.

I’ve been a prison guard before, but that doesn’t compare to what I had to experience as a substitute teacher for a 1st grade class. Don’t get me wrong, both experiences were terrible. One guy threatening another for being a snitch, another stabs someone with a shank made out of a pencil, people stealing food, gambling at every table, someone is tattooing people in a corner, shouting obscenities at me… oh, the inmates at the penitentiary were just as bad.

I love you, Alicia!

No One Will Read This

I come here to air my grievances. Things aren’t well. Financially, I’ve reached the point where I’ll have to get a job to support my standup comedy career. I’ve run out of cash flow. I have a few bookings left for the end of the year, but nothing that’s gonna really pay the bills. Oh well, that’s life. It’s time to get to work.

I’ve applied to almost every marketing job I can think of. I hold a masters degree in the field, but for some reason or another, the employer fish aren’t biting. I’ll have to resort to day labor positions. I’m not above working hard, so I won’t be playing that “woe is me” routine.

More importantly, my relationship of 2 and a half years ended today. Rather than go into detail about who did what or who failed to do this or that, I’ll say this, I’m torn up about it. My first inclination is to go to social media and play the, please feel sorry for me role, but I’m done with that silliness. I come here because I can express myself better in written words than having to reach out to a friend to tell my tale of woe.

In the last year, I made a move from one city to another, from one state to another; and I did it for love. I thought I had met the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. No, I knew I had met the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. They just didn’t feel the same way. When you know, you know, right? I think I felt enough to know.

They say that you are in a relationship to get married or to break-up. I don’t know who said it, but I’ve heard it before. In my case, there was no light at the end of that tunnel. I felt like I was in limbo. Feelings were just not reciprocated.

Now what? Now, I keep on living. What else is there to do? I need to make an income. I need to further my standup career. I need to continue to be self-sufficient. I need to do what I’ve always done; survive.

I hope I never to have to blog like this again.


The Top 5 Ways to Move Up in the Work You Love

We all must start somewhere, and the bottom seems like the only logical starting point. I started in my current profession more than 28 years ago when I was hired by a staffing agency. I was hired as courtesy patrol staff for an apartment complex where I was to provide security type services and observe and report as I walked around the property on hourly patrols. I was 19 years old at the time, making $4.25 an hour in a position I thought would lead me nowhere. Now, 28 years later, I’m a District Manager with a worldwide security company and let’s just say that I’d prefer to remain modest about my current income and keep that to myself. No one likes a bragger. 

So, how did I get to where I am now? Here are the 5 way I have learned to grow in any profession:

5.            Just Get Started

                              This one seems easy, but you would be surprised how many people hold themselves back from starting anything because they fear the unknown. Everything you start is unknown, but if you don’t take that first step, how will you ever know?  Remember when you were a kid and got your first set of LEGO’S? You didn’t know what you wanted to build, yet you just started putting those blocks together and before you knew it, you were ambitious enough to contemplate building LEGO Cathedrals. Keep that same spirit and just go for it!

4.            Grow When You’re Ready to Grow

               A mentor of mine once said, “You are where you are, because you want to be there.” Those words have echoed in my mind for years and have always motivated me to move on in life or profession. There will come a time when you will know that you have the skills and experience to improve your professional situation. When you do, take that step and either find opportunities to grow within the company you are working for, or venture out and find a position suitable for the value you offer now. If you want more responsibility, go get it. If you want more money, go get it. If you want to stay where you are, there’s nothing wrong with that either. “You are where you are because you want to be there”.

3.            Get More Training

               We all have room to grow. We never know everything there is to know about what we want to know. Companies love to invest in the knowledge of their employees. Often, employees do not realize that there are learning opportunities that they can take advantage of. Some of these opportunities are just as beneficial as going to school to learn them. Employers know that offering these learning opportunities to their employees makes their employees that much more valuable, so it is in their best interest to retain that employee and use their new knowledge to benefit the company. So, be on the lookout to advance in your position. Even if advancement opportunities are not available within the company, take those new skills and knowledge and seek employment where you can put all that new knowledge to work!

2.            Stop the Rinse-and-Repeat Cycle             

               Pick a profession and continuously be good at it. I have held several positions in my life. I have worked at call centers, convenience stores, factories, retail, fast food, you name it, but I have always gravitated back to my security roots. The more I deviated from any position, the more times I had to start over. Try not to get stuck in Rinse-and-Repeat cycle. If you are in search of finding the work you love, that’s fine, but do not spend too much time trying to figure out what you want to dedicate your life to. Spend that valuable time honing and perfecting a skill you enjoy and use that skill or position to keep reaching new heights.

1.            Love What You Do    

On average, people work until the retirement age of 65. Some people leave retirement to continue working, whether out of necessity or out of sheer love of continuing in a profession that brings them joy. Whatever the case may be, it is important to realize that we all dedicate ourselves to a profession for a huge portion of our lifespan. Find a profession you love and want to improve upon. Then, and only then, will you find room to grow and reach a level of professional contentment we all deserve.

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I Almost Died Today


Perhaps I’m being a little too dramatic with the title of this blog, but after today’s scare, it sure felt like I was gonna get kilt!

I was riding my 2006 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic, headed eastbound on Pershing Ave. I was riding at the slow pace of 25 mph through a residential neighborhood. At the corner of Pershing Ave. there is Walgreen’s store with parking lot exits on three sides of each neighboring street. As I approached one of those parking lot exits, my vision was blinded by another vehicle that was parked along the curb near that parking lot exit. As I approached that portion of that parking lot, a huge truck made it’s way out. The idiot driving that POS, (I’m sure it was a 2016 Chevy POS), failed to stop as they drove through the exit. I saw the nose of the truck come in to my vision past the parked car and I had but milliseconds to react. I hit both of my brakes in an effort to stop my bike’s momentum and not hit the truck straight on. At the same time, the driver of that POS recognized that they made a crucial error by not stopping, and INSTEAD OF BRAKING to allow me to at least have a change to swerve to avoid hitting them, they accelerated and moved even more into my path. The idiot driver then brought their truck to a complete and abrupt stop. As I applied my brakes, my bike skidded to the right, sending my handlebars towards the left. I ease up on the brakes, allowed the motorcycle to continue its momentum as it skidded and I managed to swerve, (onto an oncoming lane of traffic, mind you!) and missed the truck literally by inches!

The driver of the truck did not stop and I pulled over at an O’Reilly’s, where I was actually headed, and took a few deep breaths and went inside. Despite the fact that I managed not to get hit, I can still recall seeing the crowd of people that froze to watch my almost impending doom. People walking outside of the Walgreen’s and on the sidewalk stopped and stared hopelessly at my predicament. It was like when Mike Tyson was knocking people out and people paid buku bucks just to watch his fights end in the first round. They knew I stood no chance.

I have been riding my motorcycle every day since I got it this past April and I have always practiced being safe. I have seen drivers of cars make driving errors each and every day I’m out there. It’s almost inevitable that drivers make mistakes daily in this city. Some of these people have no regard for their safety much less the safety of others. I know I’m venting, but my heart has not stopped beating fast for over an hour now.

Thank you for reading…

You Have to Fucking Work Clean


This past weekend, I had an opportunity to perform at the Sun Ray Casino in Farmington, New Mexico and at The Bridges Gold Club, sponsored by the Canyon Creek Bed & Breakfast in Montrose, Colorado, and I had a blast. I was performing with another fellow comedian from my hometown who works almost as clean as I do , and guess what? The show did not suffer one bit because of it.

Many people starting out in stand-up feel that they have to be edgy or dark to be funny. “That’s just who I am as a comic.” Blah, blah, blah. It is career suicide to think like that. “But you’ve got comedians like Doug Stanhope and Bill Hicks who made a living off of that stuff!” Yeah, well, you’re not Doug Stanhope or Bill Hicks. You’re an open mic’er, who has yet to make a name for themselves. Even the great Bill Hicks and Doug Stanhope had to work clean at one point in their careers.

In an interview with Scott King, Doug Stanhope had this to say:

When you were an MC did you ever have to adjust your material or style for a headliner? I can’t picture Doug Stanhope doing that.

I don’t remember a lot of it. I just wouldn’t get booked. If that was going to be the situation, I already had an act that they just wouldn’t have booked me. If I was featuring, I was featuring with someone else dirty. They’d go, “Oh, we can’t work you with any clean guys.” So there’s not a lot of times I remember headliners giving me shit, but I’m sure there were occasions where they said, “Don’t say fuck,” and I’d have to pull different jokes out. I don’t know anyone that’s played by their own rules one hundred percent for their entire careers. I get lots of emails from comics saying, “Dude, take me on the road, nobody will book me cuz I’m too dirty,” and ninety-nine percent of the time… “Click on my link man. Look at my Youtube stuff.” And they’re saying you’re too dirty because no club owner wants to say you’re not funny, you’re not right for the room, if you’re dirty that gives them a perfect excuse, but they’re really saying you’re not funny. Most people aren’t funny, most people that try to do comedy aren’t good at it. That’s why open mics aren’t popular.
For the entire interview, click on this link.

At our gigs this weekend, the majority of the audience approached us to tell us how much they enjoyed the show and how much they appreciated that we worked clean. Keep in mind, neither of us is 100% clean, but our jokes are well structured and have a purpose. We say things that sound dirty, but they’re not. We let the audience’s imagination take it any direction they want to take it; let them take the blame. One audience member said, “We are always so hesitant when we come to these shows. We want to laugh and have a good time but sometimes, the comedians are over the top and we have to sit there while they perform to absolute silence. We’re pulling for them, but they never turn it around.”

If you’re starting out, you won’t get any comedy club bookings without help from another headliner, or some TV or movie credits, so you’re really left with working for booking agencies who book casinos and monthly shows in rural areas starved for entertainment. if you don’t write clean, you won’t be working very long. If you don’t understand comedy structure and what triggers laughter, you will always be an open mic’er. There are a ton of books that teach you stand-up and if you haven’t invested in them or read them, you’re wasting your time and more importantly, the audiences’ time.

Here’s a list of a few terms you should know if you’re pursuing stand-up. If you don’t, quit now and save the embarrassment for your druken family parties.

  1. Incongruity
  2. Specificity
  3. Ambivilance
  4. Bit
  5. Chunk
  6. Release
  7. Configurational
  8. LPM
  9. Hammocking
  10. JOKE (Learn this definition. It’s not what you think)


Taking a Break From the Stage

Today is March 27, 2014 and it’s been almost 4 months since I’ve performed stand up comedy on any significant stage for the exception of a 20 minute set with El Paso Underground Comedy a few months ago. It’s been a tough stretch but a necessary one. Without going in to too much detail, my unemployment wages stopped coming in and I had to get myself a job. After 9 years in stand up, I am just now scratching the surface of the business but have not had the opportunity to take it full time. Soooo, off to work I go! I have had to take a job working graveyard hours. Unfortunately, that type of work schedule is not conducive to the night life of stand up comedy. This is only one of the few road blocks that a stand up comedian has to go through before they are able to further their comedy career.

Try To Stop Saying These Things


Have you ever had a conversation with someone and all of a sudden, you begin to notice some of the repetitive words or phrases they continue to use? For example, you continuously keep hearing the other person starting their sentences with the phrase, “I mean”. “I mean, that’s how I feel about it. I mean, am I wrong? I mean, what would you do?”

Is it me, or is this not noticeable to the masses? Does any sentence need to start that way? If the thought is going to your brain, then to your vocal cords, then to your mouth, then audibly out of your mouth, I believe the assumption is that this must be what you “mean”, isn’t it? Must you preface your statement with the phrase, “I mean”? I mean, right? It seems like such a waste of words. Is this perhaps, the comedian side of me thinking this way? After all, brevity in comedy is everything. The shorter the distance from the set up to the punchline, the more laughs per minute I’ll get. I feel this way about the words, “Well” and “So”, or “Look” to start a sentence. Don’t get me wrong, I do this too, but I annoy myself every time I do it. I think I need help. I mean, do you think I need help?

How about this one? “In my opinion…” I hate using that one, but I use it a lot. I think it is fair to say that anything I say, that is not backed up by discernible facts, is my opinion, so why state the obvious? Maybe it needs to be stated so that the other person doesn’t fire back with, “Well, that’s your opinion.” Of course it’s my opinion! It came out of my mouth and originated from my very own brain, thank you very much! And why do you have to start your sentence with, “Well”? Just tell me it’s my opinion and be done with it.

Well, I’hope I’ve confused you all enough. Look, I only say things to entertain. I mean, that’s what I do, right? So, I guess that’s it? You can stop reading now.

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