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The Ugly Side of Funny

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Bridges and overpasses be warned I am about to set fire to every comedy bridge I have built over the last 13 plus years. This is my Jose’ Canseco, my deep throat and my Edward Snowden documents all in one.  The time has come for world to know about the ugly side of funny.


Comedy at it’s best is exciting for all parties involved.  I got started in stand up comedy because I felt like I had something to say.  Opinions that needed to be expressed, harnessed and funneled to anyone that would listen.  Also, I started doing stand up because I wanted to feel special, like I mattered in the world.


Comedy provided that, a place at the table of relevance.  If you were good enough you were at the very least accepted by your fellow comedians.  Hopefully though, you were not only embraced by your peers, but by the shot callers of comedy as well.   The Don’s of funny, the boss’ of humor and the purveyor of puns (comedy bookers and clubs love cheese dick titles).


The problem is with the boss’ of humor and their make me rich attitudes.  They are one of the reasons that comedy isn’t as widely accepted as an art form as music, theater or literature.  They are single handedly taking the creativity out of comedy and lining their pockets all at once.  There is no concern for the performers or trying to harness their talent and help them to achieve their aspirations of success.  They just want what they can get from us and then shove you aside when someone else that will work for less comes along.


The boss’ put rules on us “if you work this club, in this town or you can’t work for me.”  Yet if they get the opportunity to open venue in a city where a thriving comedy club stands they jump all over it.  With no regard for what it might do to the comedy scene in that town.  Once thriving cities for comedy are reduced to comedic rubble all for the sake of a few extra bucks in their pocket.


I get it, that is just the way the business is.  But it doesn’t have to be.  We have the power to make a difference in the business.  Make a change for the better of the comedy community.  Say no to the shit pay, say no to the fleabag motels and most of all say no to the bookers requests to “tone it down” or “be clean for this show.”  If that is who you are, clean, then be that.  Just be you on that stage.  Just be the funny you that has gotten you this far.  You have to, who else is going to do it?  Eric Yoder isn’t picking up a microphone and doing a tight 30 any time soon.  Joel Pace isn’t going to headline the next time you say no to cleaning up your show because it’s Christmas time.  YOU know what is funny, they just know how to make money on your funny.


The boss’ of comedy have pretty much ruined something that I loved dearly for over a decade and have driven me to the brink of not wanting to perform any longer.  If I do decide to continue to perform it will be under the terms that I set for myself.  I will no longer accept a show that has come from a booking agent.  I will no longer put one more penny into their pockets.  The amount of money they have made off of me is enough.  I am sure most of the boss’ could give two shits about me and my opinions and sadly, that is exactly the point of this post!

I am A Tenderfoot.

Friday, November 7th, 2014

I like to fancy myself a manly man, even though I just said fancy myself.  However, traveling out west makes me feel like a giant pussy.  The “frontier” is very desolate and isolated and for some reason that frightens me.  I am quite convinced that lurking around the corner is a giant mountain man that wants to wear my ass as a hat.  Add the fact that having Sprint for your cell phone carrier is like carrying a pistol loaded with blanks.  Good idea in theory, however pretty useless in practical application.

There are giant pockets of open space out west and all of them don’t want you to use your cell phone.  While traveling doing comedy I have  lost complete cell service twice.  Once was in Minnesota near the north shore and the other is the 196 mile trek between Missoula, MT and Lewiston, ID.  196 miles without having a phone that you can rely on.  Not to mention you are basically descending down the side of a mountain the entire 196 miles, unless you are going the opposite way then you are climbing the mountain.  Either way, its some scary shit to this tenderfoot.  Some areas don’t even have a guard rail, and when you are being followed by an eighteen wheeler you tend to notice that more.  Giant mountain, no guardrail.  It is the closest that I have ever come to a suicide mission.

You would think the more I travel out west the more I would get use to it, but that is not really the case.  Give me a guard rail and a cell tower and this tenderfoot is one happy, fancy boy.


Elvis Is In The Building!

Friday, September 13th, 2013

I have never understood some peoples fascination with Elvis.  Today I saw a guy that was clearly trying to pull off an Elvis.  He held the door for me when I walked into my building.  I said thank you and he replied with a grunt.  Not very Elvis like I thought.

Maybe I am wrong though.  Maybe Elvis was a huge prick and maybe this guy is the only true Elvis impersonator.  Right down to the shitty attitude.  All those tight jumps suits would rub any man the wrong way after a while.  Probably not, but  a guy can dream can’t he.


My Place In Life – By Shannon Thompson

Monday, March 18th, 2013

My Place In Life

by Shannon Thompson


A sliver of real estate for my smelly ass.

A third of a cushion all for me..

Hogged by the horizontal.

Stinginess and fur.

No place for you!

Put your ass on the floor.

Your space is my space and my space is my space.

You’re just a visitor.

Close the blinds.

Fun Comes To Die – by Shannon Thompson

Monday, March 4th, 2013

This girl was out of place.  She wasn’t a virgin, but she also wasn’t to the stage of most of the other female patrons.  She seemed like she was looking for something or someone.

“Can I help you?” I asked.
“Can I have a Bud draft please?” She replied.  She isn’t from around here, nobody orders a draft in this place.
“Yeah, I am gonna need to see some ID.”

She handed me a Minnesota drivers license.  She was twenty-four, I had guessed twenty-nine.  That is a little game I like to play on slower nights to pass the time.  When it’s busy I barely look at it, let alone guess.  Tonight was slow.  Which made her appearance here even more bizarre.

Sometimes, when it’s busy the occasional young person or people will wander in.  They hear the jukebox and laughter and mistake it for fun.  This isn’t about fun for most of these people.  It’s about trying to recapture fun.  Some where, for most of these people, fun fled their lives.  It ran away with time, age and money.  Now they spend every day using their fives and tens as bait for fun.  Trying to lure him in.  He peeks his head in sometimes to make  sure no one really wants him there, and then he is gone.

Maybe that is what she is doing here.  Waiting for fun to show up.  I don’t have the heart to tell her he isn’t welcome here anymore.

The Hammer – A Short Story

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

“He’s got a hammer!”  Jamey yelled.
Which to me seemed like an unnecessary statement, but people say stupid shit all the time under stress.
“Yeah.” Was all I could muster up.

The asshole wielding the hammer is a regular.  He is in here six days a week and rests on Sunday.  Which is fitting, because his drinking binges are biblical.  Tonight is the first time the hammer has come out.  His usual weapon of choice is a pool cue, which means he must have worked today.  Double Bourbon is a construction worker.  That is what we call him.  Bartenders tend to forget names, but rarely do they forget someones drink of choice.  This asshole with the hammer is Double Bourbon.

Double Bourbon liked to drink with Old Fashioned.  Even though they don’t really get along, they considered themselves good friends.  Old Fashioned was a drunk of thirty years or more.  He was educated and in his late fifties. Thin and frail, from a life time of booze.  Physically he was no match for Double Bourbon who was in his late forties but still in relatively good shape from his part-time construction worker occupation.  Their usual arguments were over politics or sports.  This time though, they were arguing about martial arts, or in particular martial artists.  Double Bourbon was a Chuck Norris guy, which seems like something that should go unsaid.  Even if you had never met him you could walk up and say “I bet you’re a big Chuck Norris guy?”  Old Fashioned, well he was more of a “Jean Claude Van Dame fellow”.  This combined with the fact that he drank old fashions was enough to convince Double Bourbon he was queer.

“Come here faggot!” Taunted Double Bourbon.  Swinging his hammer like a drunken carpenter.
“Go and diddle yourself you homophobe.”  Replied Old Fashion.  Only expert bar tending knowledge would diffuse this situation.

“Look, either put the hammer away or never drink here again.” Jamey said.  That should do it I thought.  Simple and right to the point.  Weirdly enough, it worked.  Had Double Bourbon had a moment unclouded with drunken rage?  Probably not.  He just realized the repercussions of his actions were too severe.  Because to a drunk all you have is your watering hole.  If you fuck up in the place where everyone tolerates you for being less than human then you really have nowhere else to go.  Those other drunks are your fucked up family and without family you are alone.  And lonely drunks don’t live long.

The sad reality is they all fuck it up sooner or later.  They just find a new watering hole and a new fucked up family to argue with.  Until there are no more watering holes to be eighty-sixed from.

Be A Dick Later – Enjoy The Holidays Now.

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

I am in a festive mood.  I can’t help it, tis the season.  I have always liked Christmas.  It seems to bring out the best in me.  How could anyone not like receiving presents, drinking with their friends and family and a Christmas ham?  Not everyone feels like that though.  Some people hate Christmas.  Maybe they are still harboring some grudge against Santa Claus for the Flash Gordon action figure they never got as a kid (I asked for it and never got it either).  Move past it.

My family Christmas parties were legendary as a kid.  My brother, sister and myself all trying to convince my parents that 3 AM was late enough and that we needed to get to bed or Santa wouldn’t come.  Dad would always assure us that Santa would come…when he was good and ready.  Not a minute before. As a kid, I watched these adults party like that and never even realized what the important part of Christmas was.  The company you keep, the laughs (and hangover) you share with your people.  I guess that is why some individuals don’t like Christmas, they don’t like their people.

I have a person in my family that I don’t speak to much and I get along with less, but I am going to try, for the one evening to mend a fence.  To be a person without judgement and spite.  For those thoughts will always be with you, but you can put them aside and find a common ground one day of each year.  Unless someone brings whiskey to the party, then all bets are off.  Merry Christmas!


A Responisble Adult Chaperone?

Monday, November 12th, 2012

I was recently tapped by my girlfriend to chaperone her fifteen year old son’s trip to the Minnesota Zoo, since she had to work.  Since I was not working that week and thought five hours with a bunch of smart ass teenagers would probably prompt some really funny material, I agreed.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Chaperones were to report for duty at 8:30 a.m. for a briefing about the days activities.  I expected a slew of rules and regulations that we would need to follow and force upon the students.  Much to my surprise I was wrong.  They asked for one chaperone to volunteer to take attendance on each bus, and to make sure that we were at the Imax theater by a certain time.  That was the extent of our chaperoning duties.  No watching over a group of kids, no sticking around with the group to answer questions.  Nothing.  Just get on the bus and travel to the zoo.  What a great gig, is there anyway I could do this full-time?

I will admit the ride to the zoo was rather annoying ( I could be on a bus with a group of deaf mutes and still get annoyed).  The annoyance however was more directed at the other chaperones.  Surprisingly the students were extremely well behaved.  It made think of those Stepford movies.  Nobody threw anything, nobody was an asshole to anyone else.  Again, I was surprised and sort of let down.

After getting to the zoo, I saw another chaperone unloading lunches for the students and gave him a hand.  Which, of course, prompted a conversation by Gary (I think that was his name, but I don’t recall).  Gary was an old pro at the chaperone game.  He does it a few times a year.  He asked me which kid was mine and I said “Oh, I don’t have any kids” and I walked away from him without explaining why I was on a high school field trip.  I figured that would spin his wheels enough that he wouldn’t inquire much more about me.

After unloading and the awkward conversation, the rest of the day was excellent.  I have to say it was probably the most relaxing day I have had in years.  I walked around the zoo, ALONE.  Enjoying every minute of silence.  Every wild animal smell.  It was all a blessing.  Occasionally I would get caught up in a heard of students and I would stop and let them pass.  It was a minor inconvenience, that in other circumstances would have probably sent my head into a pounding rage induced headache.  Something about those animals made me feel calm.

Maybe that is where I belong, amongst animals.  Beings with no agenda.  No thought other than self preservation.  Or maybe I am the animal that should be locked in a cage.

The Music Industry.

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

I love music, always have, always will. However, I feel a bit out of touch with the music industry. I am a self proclaimed lover of hip-hop music, but I am really behind on what is out there now that is worth listening to. So, I went to Itunes to look up their current top 100 downloaded albums and I found some disturbing shit. Most people have terrible taste in music. Or at least they download terrible music off of Itunes. Here are the low lights.

1. Topping off the charts at number one was Taylor Swift’s new album Red. I must be the only person in America that doesn’t like this girl. Her music is soulless and underwhelming. Hard to even imaging someone buying one song, but an entire album….

3. Toby Keith – Hope On The Rocks – I haven’t heard much of this album and what I have heard was accidental and followed a “who the fuck is this?” comment. If country music was a club, he would have been kicked to out.

20. Rod Stewart – Merry Christmas – I realize its Rod Stewart, but more importantly it is a Christmas album. Who buys a Christmas album?

23. – Journey – Journey’s Greatest Hits – These guys weren’t cool even when they were. Yet they still crack the top 25 downloaded albums on Itunes? I know, I bet a lot of people were attending Halloween parties as Steven Perry and needed some music to accompany them. That has to be it, right?

30. Rock of Ages Soundtrack – Who knew there large groups of people out there that want to hear Tom Cruise butcher Bon Jovi. I guess if Bon Jovi can shit on acting, Tom Cruise should be allowed to decimate music.

65. Taylor Swift – Speak Now – See number one.

100. Styx – Styx Greatest Hits – It should just be named Mr. Roboto.

On the upside there were appearances on the chart from Neil Young (twice), Pink Floyd, Kendrick Lamar, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, The Black Keys, CCR and GNR. That at least gives me a glimmering of hope that all is not lost. It is just diluted, watered down, tainted and smelly.

How Many Is Too Many?

Friday, September 28th, 2012

As a proud step parent of two used kids ( I like to call them used just to make sure they know I am not their real father) I have begun facing the challenges that come along with parenthood.  Getting them to school in the mornings, making dinner for them, helping them with their home and so on.  I do this all while trying to run a small business (comedy) an even smaller business (comedy record label) and maintain relationships with friends and families.  To put it bluntly, I am one small crisis away from being institutionalized.  Yet, I see people with five and six children and I wonder why hasn’t someone told these people about not being sexual gluttons?  Do you really need five children?  Here are reasons why you shouldn’t have that many children.

1. The world is over populated as it is.  Every time you pump a hot one into your wife, think about the $4.00 gallon of gas you are gonna have to pump on the way to work.  We are over populated, which means we use more resources.  Now because you have five kids you need a larger vehicle to haul them all around.  Gas prices should be the condom industries battle cry.

2.  Self gratification.  Do you remember what that is?  It is doing something for yourself that doesn’t involve your little demon seeds.  When was the last time you read a book that didn’t have a stupid fucking animal wearing pajamas or some dumb shit.  And no, Harry Potter books don’t count.

3.  You have tempted fate too many times.  One of those little shits is gonna end up a career criminal, pill popper or miscreant of society.  If you have three kids and none of them are felons you are lucky.  If you have five kids, you are playing with fire.  Get ready to start hiding prescriptions for the next 30 years.  You can’t be everything to everyone.  One of them is gonna slip through the cracks.  See the Kennedy’s.

These are not facts mind you.  These are merely ramblings of a man on a Friday afternoon.  So take what you like out of them.  But remember, when your youngest eventually is jailed on a burglary charge I won’t be any where near you to say I told you so.  So do what you like.