Stuff I Think and Shouldn't Say: How I Got My Black Belt in Keepin' it Real!

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And…

Michael Chadwick’s Under the Influence: This week he talks about Radiohead’s forgotten classic, The Bends

And Now, Words of Wisdom…from two Readers

Email from reader BiggDeez53:

ridiculous rant about tipping, get used to it or get a new job

That was really all I got from this guy. I understand that some people won’t agree with what I said, or how I said it last week, but I wanted to get more feedback on this issue.

I pressed on, and got this:

i usually like your column, it just seemed like you were bitching about one group of people for no apparent reason

Hmmm, it wasn’t as though I was bitching for NO reason. There was, and is, a reason…I hate shitty tippers. I don’t know any server who does, and if someone wasn’t one, you really can’t understand.

It’s like saying that you, as a white guy with black friends, “gets” racism and how oppressive this society has been at times.

I just tend to call people on it. That’s all. Biggdeez, as I affectionately call him, finished up with this last email:

that fact that you do stand-up is one of the reasons i read you, i’m interested in getting started in stand-up just haven’t ever done anything about it.

I didn’t hear from Biggdeez again, so I felt bad that I didn’t get to tell him how to get started. Gosh, I may not be everyone’s favorite writer here at InsidePulse, but I will be damned if I won’t spread a li’l wisdom when it comes to getting starting in stand-up.

1. Have lots of friends that think you are funny. This way, when you end up at shitty open-mike nights, at least SOMEONE will chuckle at your bad jokes. Plus, you build confidence in this setting, get to work on material, and fine tune your delivery. To be honest, I haven’t been doing that as much as I would like lately.

2. Find a friend that you can work with, and tag them as your “comedy buddy.” This wasn’t my idea, I actually got this idea from a truly great book, Judy Carter’s The Comedy Bible. This woman has instructed everyone, and I would KILL to get into one of her summer workshops. I just don’t have the finances just yet.

Anyway, this comedy buddy is there for you to bounce stuff off of as you write things. I have two. I am lucky.

3. If you want to succeed at any profession, or even with the opposite sex, being funny NEVER hurts. I am hyper as hell, so that hurts me, but that’s beside the point. Even if you consider yourself a writer, this book/program helps. I am not exaggerating when I say that I look at it a few times a week, just to find ways to keep the jokes I am writing “fresh.” Hell, seeing that I am a disgruntled 20-something, it helps to remember what it is that I am angry about.

Last week’s column was such an example. A lot of my co-workers read it and were rolling.

4. Always keep a notebook or paper around you with a pen, so that the second something pops into your head, you can write it down. You don’t need to do all the work right then, as something that could be a killer joke down the road won’t materialize as a joke, it just kind of pops out.

No lie, the best stuff I have EVER written came to me while I was either first waking up, walking/driving to work, or in the john. Obviously, there are theories on the third situation (especially if you have ever seen my stand-up) but to be honest, the idea is that funny stuff is constantly churning in that noggin of yours, and it is your responsibility TO THE MATERIAL, to help it grow. Like a child.

5. Don’t EVER stop trying. Honestly, this goes for any dream, but especially in comedy, which can be cruel. Believe in yourself, work hard, and you may not become the best, but you will be the best that YOU can.

6. Finally, network. This is a profession that requires you to be approachable. Even people who are the biggest dicks on stage have to be cool to talk to or people won’t want to come back. Other comics will invite you to other shows, and so on and so forth.

Which reminds me…I need to get back on stage soon. I am itching to vent a bit.

Anyway, I hope that anyone considering any sort of future in the performing arts sees this. I am “paying it forward,” in hopes that the advice that I just gave with be as helpful to others as it was for myself.

Another reader, Irwin Sampat, chimed in as well:

Hi Shawn,

I agree with your view on tipping waiters, but I believe it depends on
the quality of service the waiter/waitress provides as well. I always
tip at least the tax; however, if the service is good I’ll leave a
generous tip because I enjoyed their work and would like others to as
well. Whenever I received a good tip, it would put me in a good mood
and I think other patrons would benefit from that. So, a good tip is
kind of like paying it forward I guess. Anyhow, I’ve read your columns
for the past few months and I look forward to reading them every week.
Your links to cool sites and your interesting news of the week are
always highlights. To me anyway, you write with a sense of honesty and
that’s refreshing. For you, keeping it real is not just a cheesy
catchphrase. It’s the truth! Keep up the great work man.

Regards,
Irwin

Irwin appears to be too good to be true. I only wish that he came into my restaurant. I don’t want his money, I just want his good vibes running through my section while I am working.

Especially after last night’s debacle, and the column that garnered this feedback, I think two weeks of “server stories” would be unnecessary.

On we go…

Ssquared’s Album of Da Week!

Lizz Wright Dreaming Wide Awake

I swear I am not just plugging this review because I did a review of it (which can be found here.)

This is a pretty impressive album. Being partial to most alternative-rock, I was a little disappointed that Widro handed me this CD to review. I am glad that my preconceived notions were wrong.

There’s this feeling that I can’t escape, and I think she has the potential to be a huge star. If Norah Jones can cross over into the realm of popular music, Wright just may be able to do the same.

Read the review, check out her site, and let me know what you think.

SITASS NEWS: I Have Seen The Glory of a Brighter Sun …

Remember kids: Don’t Stop Dreaming…Maybe one day, you WILL win Mega-Millions and escape your mundane life. Just tip better once you do…you lucky rich f*cker.

I sit down to type out this awesome column, and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends is running a marathon on Cartoon Network. Good God, I love this show. I know that I don’t have time to watch, but I can’t help myself.

I have ZERO willpower

I am a total geek for well-written television, especially cartoons. I know that Tracy doesn’t get my adoration for the adventures of Mac, Bloo and the Foster’s crew. Honestly, I think that this, and my intense hatred of the New York Yankees, would normally be bad signs, but I can’t help it. Some things just make me smile more than others.

Certainly, watching the “Bronx Bombers” lose is one of them. Foster’s is another.

Check the showtimes, and enjoy the hell out of it every chance you get.

Just a thought….

Liz Phair Hopes to be ‘Somebody’s Miracle’

On the heels of the most critically reviled album of her career, 2003’s slick, self-titled effort, fallen indie rock goddess Liz Phair is set to release her second major label album this fall. Somebody’s Miracle is out October 4 on Capitol, and while her last album was panned for being too poppy, Phair promises that her upcoming release will be a combination of pop and indie.

“I like demos and I like high pop production and I like straight American rock and I like jazzy, minor trippy chords. I like it all,” Phair said in a press release. The first single off Somebody’s Miracle is called “Everything to Me.” Fresh off an appearance at Lollapalooza, Liz is currently on an eight-city acoustic tour, which kicked off July 26 in Boston.

Liz Phair tour dates:

7/26, Boston, MA (Paradise Rock Club)
7/27, Boston, MA (Paradise Rock Club)
7/29, Philadelphia, PA (World Cafe Live)
7/30, Philadelphia, PA (World Cafe Live)
8/1, New York, NY (Joe’s Pub)
8/2, New York, NY (Joe’s Pub)
8/4, Alexandria, VA (Birchmere)
8/5, Alexandria, VA (Birchmere)
8/10, Los Angeles, CA (Troubadour)
8/11, Los Angeles, CA (Troubadour)
8/12, Los Angeles, CA (Troubadour)
8/16, Seattle, WA (Crocodile Cafe)
8/17, Portland, OR (Doug Fir Lounge)
8/18, San Francisco, CA (Cafe du Nord)
8/19, San Francisco, CA (Cafe du Nord)

(credit: Spin.com)

Liz Phair is a great show, so I will see if I can snag a few tickets for her upcoming New York gigs. I just have to figure out where exactly Joe’s Pub is.

Yes, people did pan her last album and saw it as a major departure from her rock roots. It was far too poppy for a lot of people, but I didn’t care. I love Liz Phair, and appreciated the changes she was making. There were some commercially profitable songs on the album, but I don’t think that was her intention.

She just wanted to write some good, fun songs. If you got the un-censored version of her self-titled work, you were allowed to hear one such masterpiece:


H.W.C.

Here’s a sample of this amazing track, one that ALL women should memorize like Alanis’ “You Oughta Know.”

Give it to me, don’t give it away
Don’t think about what the others say
My skins getting clear, my hairs so bright
All you do is f*ck me every day and night

You’re my secret beauty routine
Na, na, na, na, what my body has seen
I am lookin’ good and I’m feeling nice
Baby you’re the best magazine advice

Gimme your hot white cum
Gimme your hot white cum
Gimme your hot white cum
Gimme your hot white cum

I’m gonna pull you back down between the sheets
Everything is fresher when the day is sweet
In the morning light when you’re already on the phone

Face it, one of these days
Without you I’m just another Dorian Gray
It’s the fountain of youth
It’s the meaning of life
So hot, so sweet, so wet my appetite

Gimme your hot white cum
Gimme your hot white cum
Gimme your hot white cum
Gimme your hot white cum

Face it, one of these days
Without you I’m just another Dorian Gray
It’s the fountain of youth
It’s the meaning of life
Baby you’re the best magazine advice

Gimme your hot white cum
Gimme your hot white cum
Gimme your hot white cum
Gimme your hot white cum
Gimme your hot white cum
Gimme your hot white cum
Gimme your hot white cum
Gimme your hot white cum
Your hot white cum

Classy, that Liz Phair. At least she got right to the point…no wonder Fingers loves her.

The QUICKY-FAST News!

brought to you by Strattera

The Foo Fighters have tacked on an appearance at the 2005 Voodoo Music Experience, taking place October 29th and 30th in New Orleans . They join a lineup that already includes Nine Inch Nails, Queens Of The Stone Age, My Chemical Romance, The Bravery, and many more.

Thrice is currently rocking out on Vans Warped Tour, but the band has announced plans for their fall touring. The group will kick off dates October 4th in Las Vegas , supporting their upcoming release, Vheissu, due October 18th.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club played one of their strangest performances yet, appearing at a Ukranian brothel. No, it wasn’t bad scheduling, but rather the set for the group’s latest video. “Ain’t No Easy Way” was filmed by Charles Mehling and can be viewed at the band’s website.

Blindside has filmed a video for their new song, “Fell In Love With The Game.” Shane Drake helmed the clip, which is set against a Great Depression-era backdrop. Blindside’s new album, The Great Depression, hits August 2nd.

The KILLERS will headline the premiere of the U.S. edition of the U.K.’s Download Festival, on October 8th in Mountain View, California. MODEST MOUSE, the ARCADE FIRE and DOVES will also perform.

Starbucks will release Hear Music XM Radio Sessions, Vol. 1, featuring original songs by JEWEL, TRACY CHAPMAN and JASON MRAZ, on August 3rd.

INTERPOL will kick off another North American leg of their tour behind their second album, Antics, on November 9th in Dallas.

(credit: Krockradio.com, Rolling Stone.com and Westwood One.)

In “The Most AWESOME Thing I Have SEEN This Week” News

Why shouldn’t you bring the family weiner dog, Rover, along for 4th of July festivities?

Because shit like this is bound to happen!

Dumbasses…it totally astounds me that the ASPCA didn’t take this dog away. Or PETA. They always seem to be pissed at fur owners. Maybe this will give them something new to look out for.

Hey, I love a puppy as much as the next guy, but these owners are ridiculous.

A Taste of Honey

Links, links, and plugs to boot!

KDP is high on mix tapes. Way to keep the dream alive, Kyle. I miss the actual “tape” aspect, though.

Gloomchen MUST have a crush on me. Seriously, there is no other reason for her to be so pissed at me. You know what they say: hell hath no fury. Also, she’s still helping out the bands on MySpace, so I have to give her props.

My advice, though, check out my friends in both Matador and Bipolar. Two great bands from Upstate NY.

Mathan relives a whole bunch of music deaths in one column. It brought back some bad memories remembering the day that Aaliyah died, but that I had said the night before that the only way her album, A was going to sell was if she wasn’t alive.

She died that night.

I’m a dick.

If someone you know and love tells you that my column sucks, remember, “f*ck ’em if they can’t take a joke!”

Keep it real!

Ssquared