Brendan Tries Muay Thai

I tried Muay Thai recently for the first time last week.  I don’t have any plans to become a mixed martial arts athlete any time soon, but it’s something I had to do, both because I feel as though one should constantly challenge themselves to develop in different ways so that the through the crucible of awkwardness and near humiliation they can find themselves transformed into a better stronger more pure version of themselves… AND because I had talked about doing it so much that my wife bought me 10 classes at a local Muay Thai school and if I didn’t take the classes, she was going to be really pissed off at me.

My desire to take up this training is complicated.  The most simple explanation is that several years ago, I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that in having lost weight, I had very little muscle tone.  Having had a few on again-off again extended trysts with the gym, in the past, I knew I could do better.  So I started lifting.  Slowly but surely, I became stronger and added actual muscle to my body.  One day at the gym, I saw a heavy bag and thought, I’ll go ahead and punch this a few times.  I’m much stronger than I used to be, I’m going to wail on this thing.  Very quickly, I realized I would get exhausted and really had no idea what I was doing.  Unlike a lot of people in internet discussion threads, when I have no idea what I’m doing, I try to learn more.

Enter months of watching boxing videos, MMA, videos.  Slowly but surely, it became something I would try to learn more about.  I bought hand wraps.  I bought boxing gloves.  I got better, but after a time, I realized I probably wouldn’t really do well if I  were in a physical confrontation.  I was faking it but I had no idea what I was doing.   Don’t get me wrong…

I’m 6’2, 235 pounds and people assume I played football in high school (I didn’t, I wrestled though.  Badly).  People my size generally think it’s not a good idea to pick trouble with me.  It’s a great feeling.  At the same time, I had an older brother who was much more the naturally athletic type, who, though I could easily out-grapple growing up (I sucked in matches but man I could outwrestle most people who had no idea what they were doing), he had MUCH better hands (punching abilities) than me.  Like a Civil War  trauma surgeon’s assistant, I caught so many hands.  I had to figure out what I was doing.

Watching mixed martial arts videos, I generally came to realize that the fighters in the octagon use Muay Thai so much because it’s so damn efficient.  It’s the science of 8 limbs.  There’s no silly forms or impractical stances.  It has basic parts of boxing, but adds kicks, knees, elbows, trips and throws, and makes use of clinching.  In the past, when I watched boxing, I would see boxers lock up and just look like they were hugging because they were exhausted.  It ruined the sport for me for a long time.  In muay thai, it’s not just hugging.  It’s the setup for all of those trips and throws.  And it can be so damn efficient.

So I made an appointment for my first class as this would be a one on one experience.  The impression I got over the phone was that I would just be learning basic things like how to not hurt myself by sprinting headfirst into a cinder block wall.  That’s not part of Muay Thai or anything, but they probably not want me to do that, especially on my first class.  I figured I could get in a quick weightlifting session and a little bit of cardio beforehand and not really suffer any negative consequences.  I took my preworkout supplement, had a good workout and came home with enough time to eat my first real meal of the day and then shower.

I got to the class and my instructor showed me the basics of kicking with my front and rear leg and basics of throwing jabs, crosses and hooks.  Still running high on the tail end of my preworkout, I found myself pouring sweat just standing still.  After a half hour, my instructor said “well that’s the end of the one on one, you ready for your first class?”

Not knowing what I was getting into, I smiled and started stretching.  It turned out I was getting into fighter conditioning.  What followed was 30 minutes of a 60 minute class based in repeating the teacher’s commanded combinations five times and then calling out your partner’s repetitions as they performed them.  I made so many mistakes.  Not just in form and footwork.

I barely ate during the day and hadn’t digested the food I just ate.  I was in the ironic situation of having calories sloshing around my stomach and not having any in my bloodstream.  Being used to hitting a poor heavy bag, I unintentionally put way too much effort into each punch.  Lastly, and possibly worst of all, I didn’t breathe properly.

This sounds incredibly stupid to anyone who has never worked on a heavy bag.  When lifting weights, especially doing squats, one does “valsalva” breathing in which you hold your breath for a time to make your core as rigid and firm as possible.  When throwing a punch, you find yourself attempting to keep your core rigid for the maximum transference of energy from your hips to your hands.  If you ever listen to a boxing match, you will hear lots of hissing between grunts as punches land.  This is because the boxers let their breath out with each punch to maximize core rigidity but not hold their breath so long that they become winded extra quickly from moving around the ring and punching.

After a half hour, I was on the verge of vomiting, my eyes were bloodshot, my face was beet red, and my shirt was soaked in sweat.  My right bicep was so worn out from throwing right hooks that I could no longer hold my arm straight.  My heart would not stop racing and yet I wanted to pass out.  Having made plans before the class, I left at the half hour break.  When I left, I was so exhausted I didn’t even bother putting my shoes back on.  I shuffled off to my car, still gasping for air and started the engine… with my left hand, as my right bicep was still useless.

Before I left, I looked around the room and everyone had a big smile on their face.  Not because they were laughing at my idiocy, that I was some meathead better suited for putting idiotic amounts of weight across my back than fighting.  It was a smile of camaraderie.  Their eyes said “you’re not great yet, but you’re trying so you’re one of us now.  Welcome to the club.”  Before I left, my instructor asked how I was doing.  I told him “it’s the most tired I’ve been in a long time, but it’s the most alive I felt.  This is the hardest I’ve worked since wrestling in high school.”  I then drove home and laid on the floor and panted and asked my wife to rub my cramped arm because I was underfed, overworked and dehydrated.

I can’t wait to go back.

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How to Podcast

So, CB Wilkins and I have been podcasting for a few years with What’s a Podcast.  Occasionally, after listening to it, other folks ask me how precisely one produces a podcast.  When CB and I decided to try to podcast, we had a certain idea but we didn’t know what a podcast should be.  So, we titled it What’s a Podcast and decided to move on.  That being said, I’ve learned a lot.

Step 1.  Decide What Your Show Should Be

Decide what you want your podcast to be about and what to call it.  If you have thousands of dollars to support yourself already and have the time and brains to do fantastic journalism, you can create a podcast like Serial, This American Life or Radiolab.  Marc Maron has mastered the art of  interview.  There’s countless roundtable discussion podcasts.  What should yours be?  Do you want to just discuss current events?  Should your podcast have a local focus?  Perhaps you just want to present audio of your local event like we are able to do with Tell Me More.

You need to figure out a specific sort of content.  Bear in mind, if you decide to do a podcast about the adventures of antique glass bottle collecting, you might have a very narrow audience.  At the same time, if you just djscuss current events, there’s a ton of people who already do similar podcasts, how will yours stand out?

What’s a Podcast, in my mind, is part Opie and Anthony and part WTF Podcast with Marc Maron.  We do interview but also break each other’s balls.  To our detriment, we came up with what is probably the least Google-friendly podcast title possible.  The only worse titles for our podcast would have been Bing, Webcrawler or Lycos.

Step 2.  Purchase Equipment

This can be as costly or cheap as you want, but you ARE going to have to drop a certain amount of coin to get it done.  As technology progresses, people are in a position to produce audio with incredibly high production values for increasingly lower prices.  What’s a Podcast uses the Alesis MultiMix 4 USB, a four-channel desktop mixer with a USB digital audio interface built in.  I lucked out and found it in a pawn shop for about 39 dollars.

Into this mixer we use cheap mics that run around 20 dollars apiece from guitar center.  I believe the brand is Digital Reference.  They have enough low-end to give our voices a pleasant tone with enough mid-end to keep our voices clear and not muddy.  The mixer only accepts two inputs via xlr, thus if a third or fourth mic are necessary we use a splitter to add more mics to each channel.

Additionally we use mic stands (holding a mic produces a lot of noise  you wouldn’t think gets picked up but does) and I use a spit screen because I have a tendency to speak very loudly and thus the power of the air from my P’s an B’s (plosive sounds) cause spikes in the audio that are very hard to listen to and edit out.

This is not the only way to do it.  Many podcasters instead use portable audio recorders.  Zoom has produced a very compact and efficient unit called the H4 that allows its owner to have 2 compact microphones that allow for stereo recording and the addition of up to two other microphones via xlr input.  The quality is high, the space small, and file size is limited to the size of your SD cards.

One podcaster I know uses a barebones setup of a single usb mic.

Additionally you could buy 6 top quality condenser mics in your acoustically perfect studio into an 8 channel USB mixer with phantom power for every channel, run each mic through a compressor, run it on a mac with Pro Tools installed and use an H4 as a back up just in case your computer crashes… but then again you’re reading the beginner’s guide… you’re probably not going to do that.

Step 3.  Record

What’s a Podcast uses Audacity, but again it is not the only way. When recording, introduce yourself, introduce the show.  Produce your content.  Really, do what works.  But really, big things here:

1.  No dead air unless it’s for dramatic effect like Radiolab does.  That’s why it’s good to have two people on.

2.  Don’t talk over each other all the time.  Admittedly harder to do on a solo podcast.

3.  Have a plan.  Stick with it, but don’t be afraid to deviate from it so you can see where conversation wanders.  You can always fix it in post.

4.  Know when to end it.

Step 4.  Editing

Again, our podcast is edited in Audacity Depending on your desired production value, you may want to play lead in music or an introduction or something like a radio show would call a sweeper.  Or you may not.  You may want to cut out bits of audio that your guest wouldn’t want heard in a public forum such as a podcast.  A lot of that is personal choice. In the beginning of our podcast, we would record for 2 hours and cut it down to one.

For me, I like to play a pre-recorded introduction and then get right to it.  Beyond that, I do practice a few tricks to get my podcast sounding slightly better.

1.  Normalization.  This takes away your peaks without distorting the sound quality too much.

2.  Compression.  This makes some of the quieter sounds easier to hear and reduces the harshness of some of the louder sounds.  Hard to get a feel for.  If you do it wrong, any loud noise crashes to silence afterward and then fades back in or you get a loud background hum between a lull in conversation, but when you do it right, it makes the conversation seem to be at a steady constant volume.

3.  Leveling.  This is like compression but makes sure what should be quiet is quiet and what should be audible is.

4.  Equalization.  We usually drop a little tiny bit of the mid level tone and increase the bass so that the voices have a more pleasant richness.

5.  Normalize it again.  You did a lot of weird  stuff, this kind of helps makes sure it’s all balanced.

This takes a lot of practice to get where you’re comfortable with it, my process might not work for you or be necessary.

Step 5.  Posting it

You’ve created an awesome podcast!  You edited it for 3 hours and waited 30 minutes for a file to render… now what?  You might be thinking “well, Brendan, I get it on iTunes and then I’m famous!  To get your podcast to iTunes (which you will want to do.  iTunes allows users to subscribe to your podcast… it’s downloaded every single time automatically by your listeners as soon as you post it) you have to submit them an RSS feed.

If you’re really good with computers you can upload your podcast to your own hosting site, upload a few files, write the RSS coding and then submit that to iTunes.

But again, you’re reading this article, so you’re probably not.  Sites like Libsyn.com and Podbean take the work out of all this for you.  You simply upload your content to their site through their pre-made back end, submit your RSS feed link to iTunes and then you’re good to go.

 

Now share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, at YOUR comedy shows, and hope to God someone listens.

Again, check out What’s a Podcast (@WhatsAPodcast on Twitter) at http://www.whatisapodcast.libsyn.com to see more of how we try to do what we do.

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Tell Me More at the Push Comedy Theatre

If you follow this blog and What’s a Podcast for any time, you’re familiar with the storytelling night I ran.  Being a fan of This American Life and The Moth radio hour, I became enamored with the compelling power of a well told story.  I fell in love with the way comedians like Mike Birbiglia were able to incorporate life experience so flawlessly.  I was dying to bring something like this to Hampton Roads.  It began at one bar, years ago.  The manager working the night I was booked seemed generally troubled by the fact I was trying to run a show.  I remember asking him if I could trouble him to turn on the stage lights  and microphone to which he replied simply with looking away and sighing like a teenager troubled to clean his room.  Still, the show worked.

We moved venues a couple of times, from one bar to another.  One bar, we got a lot of traction because the show simply took place in the smoking room of the bar.  Eventually we stopped doing the show, as whenever you do a show at a bar, you have a certain number of variables.  There’s the guy who just wanted to sit at a bar and drink a few beers in peace and quiet and didn’t really care to hear you talk into a microphone.  There’s the table of guys who would rather be watching the game.  There’s a table of girls who would rather listen to bad bar music and pound sugary drinks while talking amongst themselves.

Storytelling night had a devoted set of followers that slowly but surely became regulars.  Eventually, Storytelling Night ground to a halt.  I was bad at organizing it and promoting it.  Factor in that with it being on once a month on Sundays, it would be canceled some months due to bar maintenance, Superbowl, Easter, etc… and it makes sense.

I felt like a failure.  The art of Storytelling wanted a proper venue in Hampton Roads, and I felt as though I had let everyone down.  Every once in a while, though, some of the people who had been involved in Storytelling Night in the past and say in passing, “hey, that was cool, you should bring that back.”

Eventually, enough people brought it up where I realized there was a real desire in this area for a show like this.  I reached out to people.  People better than me.  People who have much better organizational skills.  No longer was I the sole driving force behind making the show happen.  Now there was a team.  Deb Markham, blogger, podcaster and storyteller picked up the ball and ran with it.  She worked with our friends at the Push theatre and convinced them we might be able to get one or two people to come out.  She submitted the event to the Virginian Pilot’s events pages, which in turn actually brought out a reporter who covered the event.

What had once been me hoping to run a show at a bar all of a sudden became somewhat legitimized… we had a real theatre.  Talent in this area had never been a real concern.  Hampton Roads is so full of interesting people; that had never ever been a problem.  So on our debut evening, a curious thing happened.  We sold out the theatre.  90 seats, 90 butts in them.  There were so many people interested in experiencing the stories in our community that we had to turn people away (obviously I wish they could have been there but better to turn people away than to beg for people to come in)!  Our audience was along for the ride and completely interested.  It was the best Storytelling night (now called Tell Me More) I’ve ever been a part of and it was only our first one.

And I don’t want to brag but the newspaper thought we were more fun than going to Phantom of the Opera.

Alright… I totally want to brag.  But, again, the whole thing is not my sole doing by a long shot.  The only reason it works is the coalition of people working together, Deb, the Pushers and their theatre and the enthusiastic charismatic people in Norfolk who have lived interesting lives.

It went so well.  We’re going to be happening every third Sunday of the month.  The next Tell Me More is Sunday, February 15 at the Push Comedy Theatre. More information can be found at TellMeMoreLive.org.

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Upcoming shows!

I’ll be featuring in Fayetteville, NC on September 7th, more details to come.

September 17th, I’ll be at Top of the Stairs, in Blacksburg, VA, headlining.

The next night I’ll be featuring at Readbeard Brewing Company in Staunton, VA.

Come see me!

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Plan B: Magic, Mammaries and Madness!

As I stated in my earlier improv comedy posting, I’ve been trying to get better at improvising.  I’ve rehearsed some with Plan B improv and they’ve decided to have me appear with them in their upcoming show at the Little Theatre of Norfolk.  This show is going to be great.  Joseph de Paul, a comedian-magician I’ve worked with several times will be doing tricks; there will be burlesque; and I’ll be appearing with Dustin Noack and CB wilkins who are regular parts of What’s a Podcast in addition to the entire regular Plan B cast!  Let’s say you think magic is so so?  There’ll be a striptease.  Let’s say maybe you get angry at the sight of a woman taking her clothes off.  A) You’re probably Republican and B) it’s okay, there’ll be improv and magic.

Maybe you just hate watching improv.  And maybe you don’t need to read this website.

It’s $10.  8pm.  Little Theatre of Norfolk, 801 Claremont Ave., Norfolk, VA.

Be there!

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On Improv

Improv is one of those things like I imagine having a friend with benefits is like.  When it’s good… it’s amazing.  When it’s bad, you just hate every second of it and wish there were better relationships established early on.

Since beginning to perform in 2005, stand-up has been my main focus.  It’s like conducting a symphony.  You write out your notes and ideas and then perform it with all the emotion and intensity you can.  Crescendos, speeding up and slowing down of tempo, all carefully rehearsed until the moment of performance when muscle memory has been established and all of one’s focus simply falls to perfecting the subtleties of the ideas you were trying to communicate.

Improv is more like jazz.  To be sure, I am not an expert on improv comedy.  Local acts such as Plan B and The Pushers have a much better grasp on improv.  However, through my experience, here is what I’ve found.  Instead of having a progression of ideas upon which you extrapolate common themes and make up punchlines for, improv is all about forming a new reality based on a couple of suggestions.

In short form improv, there is a very clear cut game… either a restriction of speech (new choice, accents, speaking in alphabetical order), or a specific scene the audience has already determined.  In long form improv, the game is harder to find, but can produce a more amazing scene if the players have established a good feel of each other’s strengths.

The biggest rules for improv I’ve found so far:

1)  Listen.

My earlier reference to improv being more like jazz is especially true here.  Jazz is made up on the spot, but each player is hunting for their spot in the groove and trying to put down notes that fit in well with what the other players are doing.  So with improv.  If you have a plan for your scene and refuse to deviate from it one bit, your scene will fail.  Which leads us to the next point.

2)  Yes And.

If you are doing an improv scene and a player establishes a fact about your scene, be it something about a relationship or a situation, it should be taken as fact and rolled along with.  Occasionally it can be fun to negate your partner’s suggestion, but improv is all about listening.  If you destroy the ideas your partner(s) have, you’re not going to get anything done and you will not have laughs.  And you will be sad.

3)  Establish a relationship.

This is so simple but people mess it up all the time.  For a scene to work, two people have to have something to talk about.  Who has more of a common conversation?  Two brothers or two guys who don’t know each other but bump into each other while waiting in line for something?

4)  Resist the punchline

As a stand-up comedian, the constant urge is to establish a premise, set up a joke and then kill with a punchline.  The problem is, 9 times out of 10, people don’t have a conversation this way.  So when one person breaks character and looks at the audience and delivers a punchline, it steals all the momentum from the scene.  Are you going to end up saying a sentence that is absolutely hilarious?  Hopefully.  The idea is you don’t want to stray so far from your established premise that it kills the scene.  However, if one makes conscious effort to have fun with the scene and make their fellow players look funnier on stage, EVERYONE looks better.

Like I said, I’m not the best improviser ever.  I do have a blast doing it once a week at Cinema Cafe Pembroke’s once a week Improv Show (Wednesday nights at 9).  When people do the above four things, we have a great show.  The more we stray from these, the worse it is.

 

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Home Maintenance Sucks

Long time since the last post.  I’ve been busy.  My fiancée and I got engaged (hence the second word of this sentence).  Before that we got a house.  At the time we had the typical dreams of home ownership.  No matter how old you are when you buy a house, there is a common sense of teenage independence.  “Finally!  We can play our music as loud as we want!  We can paint the walls and not worry about paying a security deposit!”  And there is a part of you that wonders about it being an investment that you can eventually collect a slight profit on.

Home ownership is not just punk rock turned up to 11 and rainbows.  Nature is trying to destroy your house every single second of every single day in ways you cannot imagine.

Carpenter Bees

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

This is a carpenter bee.  Now, you know usual bees.  Black and yellow, make honey, they love eating Cheerios.  Enter carpenter bees.  These are bees that can still sting you, but they don’t make honey, they don’t give a fuck about eating cereal, and oh yea… THEY BURROW HOLES INTO ANY EXPOSED WOOD YOU HAVE ON YOUR HOUSE.

Now these sons of bitches annoying.  Most bees are polite.  They make their honey and mind their business.  No.  Carpenter bees say “Fuck you.”  And you say “Agree to disagree.”  And then carpenter bees say “Fuck your house, bitch!”  And then they burrow holes into your shit.  It’s not as though these guys go to Lowes and borrow a drill and carefully place holes in your deck or fence.  No, these little manic fucks hover up to some wood and then just hover and SHAKE THEIR ENTIRE BODIES AROUND, TWERKING LIKE A METHAMPHETAMINE FUELED MOLLY CYRUS WHILE THEIR JAWS GRIND THE WOOD AWAY.  And they don’t work alone.  For every one of these insane bastards  there’s a guard.  The guards don’t sting.  They just float in the air.  Creeping you out.
Crabgrass

Photo Credit: Wikipedia.

Crabgrass is one of those organisms that mankind once had a use for and then got bored with.  It’s like a government project that went wrong.  I imagine a lab where crabgrass was genetically engineered and some general being disgusted and saying “the funding’s run out.  Kill it.”  Someone hits it with a flame thrower and then buries the lab under fifty feet of earth.  The next day, crabgrass is outside of the general’s home at 1am.  The next morning the general is dead.  And now crabgrass has gone rogue.

Okay, so it doesn’t kill anyone, but what happens is this.  One day you see crabgrass in your lawn.  The next day there’s a little more.  Then one day in June your entire lawn is covered in the stuff and you don’t know what happened.  Crabgrass produces 150,000 seeds per plant, so if it gets established… you’re fucked.

Ants

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

These 6 legged fucks.  Carpenter bees work in pairs.  Ants work in thousands.  You see one ant?  That means there’s 8 million more.  If you’re in the south, it doesn’t matter what you do.  Boric acid works.  But every spring, they’re in your house looking for something sweet.  Well, that’s if you’re lucky.  Like bees, some of these motherfuckers come in a carpenter variety and THEY DESTROY YOUR FUCKING HOUSE.

Cockroaches

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

You’re thinking “no, Brendan, I don’t know anything about that.  I’m a clean person, you’re nasty bla bla fucking bla.”  If you’re in the south, you have dealt with cockroaches of some sort.  You might say “no, we don’t have cockroaches!  We have had water bugs though.”

 

This is a water bug:

Photo: Wikipedia

This is not:

Here in the south, we have warmth and humidity.  You know what cockroaches love?  WARMTH AND HUMIDITY.  Whenever spring comes back, flowers come in to bloom, it’s time to mow your yard again AND COCKROACHES ARE ALIVE AGAIN.

So yea.  There’s termites too.  Rain will get in your house and warp wood.  Nature hates you and wants to make your house a disgusting filthy place.  You will have to build fences, mow grass, kill bugs, kill bugs, power wash.  You will go to Lowes and Home Depot and just fork portions of your paycheck that will have you needing money several paychecks into your future.  And that’s if you’re LUCKY.  There is plumbing, Chinese drywall, and her getting bored.  Now because DDT is illegal, BED BUGS ARE A THING AGAIN.

And you have to deal with this all by yourself.  There’s no maintenance you can call.  Mom and dad don’t care.  It’s all for you to take care of.  You literally have nightmares about yellow nutsedge.

And you wake up and you spend more money on your god damn house.

Don’t let the bed bugs bite.

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Brendan Kennedy is headlining Cinema Cafe’s Comedy at the Cafe, 9/27 at 9pm

Press Release:

Friday, September 27th, at 9pm, Hampton Roads comic Brendan Kennedy is headlining his own show, “Love is Not The Answer,” at Cinema Cafe’s Independence boulevard location for one night only. The show ties together jokes and storytelling in a unique and hilarious way at one of Hampton Roads’ best comedy venues.

Brendan Kennedy began performing stand-up comedy in 2005. He has performed in colleges and comedy clubs all over the East Coast. In this time, he has developed a stage presence and style that incorporates both simple funny ideas and hilarious experiences from his own life. “Love is Not The Answer” incorporates these skills to paint a picture of Brendan’s life, discussing his triumphs and shortcomings, and the personal connections he’s developed over time. His material is easy to relate to but takes an unexpected refreshing point of view and makes comparisons one might not expect.

Laura Watkins, writer for HamptonRoads.com and AltDaily.com, describes Brendan as having “…a knack for finding that sweet spot between the totally relatable and the utterly absurd. He’s one of the few young comedians who puts his whole presence into his set—armed with a delivery that is energetic, charming and deceptively effortless, Brendan is the kind of comedian who makes it look easy.”

Cinema Cafe, in recent years, thanks to its workshop night and huge local following, has become an integral part of Hampton Roads’ local stand-up comedy scene. What began as one show on Thursday nights with more comics than audience members has transformed into a show that attracts a “standing-room only” crowd and has spawned an additional night of improv comedy on Wednesday nights.

‘Brendan’s show, “Love is Not The Answer” is one night only, at 9pm, September 27th. Tickets are $5.

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What’s a Podcast-Episode 71-Dave Coulier!

If you’ve had access to a television over the last 30 years or so, you’ve probably seen Dave Coulier.  You’ve either seen him as the beloved Uncle Joey from ABC’s Full House, co-starring alongside John Stamos and Bob Saget.  You’ve also seen him doing stand-up comedy.  You’ve also probably heard Dave Coulier and not realized it, being that Dave has done more voiceover work than you can ever imagine, including having done the voice for Richard Prior.  Luckily, Cozzy’s Comedy Club in Newport News, VA, a favorite spot of Brendan and CB’s had Dave Coulier for the weekend.  With CB hosting for the weekend, he asked Dave if he wanted to sit down and talk with us and Dave shared his dinner break with us.  As if this podcast’s main guest weren’t enough, this is likely the only podcast we’ll do with a feature act.  John Floyd, a headliner in his own right was featuring for Dave and was nice enough to sit down and chat with us and tell us about his experience in comedy as well.  We didn’t ask him about Alanis Morisette.  We’re better than that.  Also, CB already asked him and he only had nice things to say about her.  It was a geat time.  It was What’s a Podcast.

Direct download: Whats_a_Podcast-Episode_71-Dave_Coulier.mp3

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How to be a responsible comedy audience member

If you’re reading this blog, I can assume you have either some interest in stand-up comedy.  That, or beer or any other ridiculous thing I feel that the internet needs my opinions on.  Or you’re my mom.  Hi mom.  Sorry I don’t visit as much as you’d like me to.  But let’s say you have some curiosity about stand-up comedy or my opinions on it.

The last blog entry I wrote detailed how a comic should act at an open mic.  If you haven’t read it, scroll below this one.  Sitting in the crowd, there’s few things worse than seeing someone break simple rules that exist to make the whole experience less awkward for everyone.  Because it is awkward… one person grabbing a microphone and sharing their innermost thoughts in the hopes of amusing you bears such a high chance of failure that will leave the audience wanting to be somewhere else.

Sometimes, the audience itself can be a barrier to the greater enjoyment of the show.  There are some simple things that audiences can do to make sure that their experiences will be as pleasurable as possible.  Most of the time an MC tries to condense this down instead of dragging it out as much as I have, but you came to my site to read this, so now you’re prisoner till I reach the video at the end.  Yea.  Now you have to finish.

Sit down, get comfortable, and prepare to be entertained.  Like an LSD trip, your attitude going into a comedy show is going to have a big impact on how the next couple of hours go.  If you sit there, arms crossed, thinking to yourself “I seriously doubt that these people are going to be able to entertain me,” there’s a huge chance that you’re going to experience a self-fulfilling prophecy.  If you really want to have fun, you’re going to have an absolute blast.  If you’re a miserable son of a bitch who didn’t want to come in the first place and would rather have an IV stream of Busch Light into your arm as you sit on the couch, stay home.

Express your approval through laughter, and your disapproval by silence.  Nothing else, unless specifically called for (for example, if a comic says “by round of applause… ” and then asks a question).  The first part is fairly simple.  Comics have prepared some material to present to you in the form of a monologue with the occasional breaks for your laughter.  If a comic says something funny, laugh your ass off.  That’s what you just paid for, right?  If he or she didn’t say something funny, sit in your chair quietly and stare holes through them with your eyes.  Don’t heckle.  Here’s why: if a comic is bombing and you heckle him, that takes the pressure away from them and gives them an escape route.  If you really don’t like something a comic says, be quiet and let them stew in the broth of their own failure.  Alone.  In the spotlight.

Don’t heckle.  Don’t shout shit out, don’t try to help the comic.  Even if you think the comic is doing a great job, don’t say anything or try to help.  The comic has a specific plan he doesn’t want you interrupting.  If he or she asks you a question, feel free to respond.  Otherwise, the comic is going to think you’re trying to derail him or her and then you’ve become a target to destroy so the show may proceed to the point the comic was trying to reach.  Now your feelings are hurt and no one is happy.

If you liked a comic, let them know after the show.  Now that you’ve finished the show, you’ve paid your tab and left your server a huge tip, stop by and talk to the comic on the way out.  We work really hard to amuse you guys and if someone comes up and tells us, it really makes the whole night amazing.  Your laughter and applause are like a drug to us.  But that can be a fleeting experience.  When you come up to us after the show, shake our hand, buy some merchandise, it let’s us know “yea, that really did just happen, you didn’t hallucinate them enjoying you because the lights were so bright.

Don’t be a douche.  Maybe you don’t know what that means.  You’re good.  Just put a little extra Axe bodyspray on your Affliction shirt.

-Don’t bring cats to comedy shows either.

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