Fun show at the Milk Bar SF

Last night, I did a show at the Milk Bar San Francisco. It’s a little club in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood. It’s also the site of my first paid comedy gig in August 2016. Tony Sparks hosted and was hilarious working the crowd.

One of the comics, tall Paul, was nice enough to capture it on video. Check it out below.

Speechless and Limbless

Last Thursday, I checked out Speechless Live in San Francisco with some of my fellow Bay Area comic friends. It’s an improv show where people give PowerPoint presentations in randomly selected formats based on topics blurted out by the audience. Formats vary from TED Talk, to Wedding Toast, to Startup Pitch. The twist? The presenter has no idea what slides they’ll be using.

I gave it a try, and my assignment was toasting a couple getting divorced. I started strong, but ran out steam around the two minute mark.

Having faked my way through a fair share of presentations, this was hardly the worst.

It was 1997, Seybold, a huge publishing trade show at Javits Center in New York. My friend Jason and I were there as contractors doing filler presentations for different companies. I was working for Apple and he was with some telecom company promoting some broadband like telephony called ISDN.

Jason wanted to schmooze some woman at Xerox and asked me to fill in for him. I said yes, but I didn’t know anything about his topic. He said, just read the slides and you’ll be fine.

I slogged through his deck slide by slide, bullet point by bullet point. All through the talk, I could hear a whirring sound like someone playing with a dental drill. It was coming from this cranky dude in the front row who was giving me the stink eye. He had one of those mechanical prosthetic arms with a rubber hand. For some reason, he wouldn’t stop moving the fingers. It sounded like it needed oil. For the rest of my preso, I couldn’t stop looking at him and his hand.

Most of the audience split way before I was done, but he stuck around. As he approached, I thought, “oh shit, he saw me staring.” Before he could said anything, I said, “look, I’m sooo sorry…” And he cut me off, and growled, “You sure are! I had an ISDN line installed 6 months ago, and it’s still not working.” Relieved he didn’t notice my staring, I just gave him a big dopey smile and thanked him for his feedback.

I still go in front of people unprepared, but now I know to look slightly over people’s heads instead of making direct eye contact.

 

Bot or Not

I’ve been fed up with Comcast for a while, and today I did something about it. But I wanted to at least try the other behemoth before I pulled the plug.

I go online to order, and of course, there are millions different options, and none I want. If you really fast Internet, you always have to get like 4000 HD channels and 12 landlines. I know they’re not stupid. They realize someone with a huge pipe will just download everything they want.

But if you’re like me, you just need some basic channels and something good enough to work from home, you’re shit out of luck.

And here, I thought ordering online would be lightyears ahead of calling on the phone. It was actually worse. Nothing like losing an hour of your life to an aggressive chatbot upsell.

As soon as I started clicking on stuff, up comes the little chat window.

“Good afternoon, my name is Alex, and what can I help you with?”

I never know if it’s a real person, so I always answer just in case.

“I’m good. I can handle it from here.”

I love how “help” is really just another word for getting you to spend more money.

“I noticed you ordered the basic package. Did you know you can get the super bundle for just $4 dollars a month more?”

Never mind that it’ll $200 more two months after I sign up.

“Yes, but I don’t need all those channels.”

I love how they can’t fathom not being totally into TV.

“There are a lot of great kid channels. Disney, Noggin, Nickelodeon, Sprout?”

Now I’m sucked in and I can’t believe I’m answering him instead of just placing my order.

“My kids watch YouTube”.

Then this tired old saw…

“But the educational channels? TLC, NatGeo, Discovery, The History Channel?”

It’s okay, I already know everything I need to know about sharks and nazis.

At this point, I’m ready to kill the deal. My God, if you said “yes” to even half the options you’d be paying like $1200 a month for cable.

“Do you like sports? There’s the NFL package, the MLB package. ESPN 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. No that’s okay. I’ll catch the games on network TV.”

I finally figured I need to give Alex an answer he isn’t programmed, or trained, to answer…

“I’m a blind amputee. I can’t change the channels.”

Just finish this god damn order!

“Okay. If there’s anything else I can help you with, have a great day!”

So now, it’s time for the next stage, waiting for the installer to show up tomorrow between the equinox and summer solstice.

Nasty

I used to sell furniture at Sears, and one day, two women came in to look at couches. They were eyeing a large white sectional. I asked if they had any questions, and one replied, “Do you come with it?”

I said, “Yes, but you’ll have to pay extra for the Scotchguarding.”

Hand Dryers

God love the inventor who finally came up with a hand dryer that actually works. I’m not talking about those lame Dyson Airblades that still take five or six passes. I mean the XLERATOR De-lux. It’s like they stuck a Pratt Whitney jet engine inside the metal case.

They’re so powerful, I don’t know how they stay mounted to the walls. You can literally see the contour of the bones in your hand when you stick them under the blower. My hands go numb as all the blood is forced back up my arms, then my watch and wedding ring falls off.

Telepathetic

I love how women, and by women, I mean wives, think they can read your mind. Whenever I ask mine a question, she answers the one she thinks is coming next – instead of the one I asked.

Last night we were out to dinner, and I noticed she hadn’t been eating her meal.

So I asked, “How is it?”

She replied, “No! You can’t finish it!”

Another time, I asked if we had anymore coffee, and she immediately shot back, “I’m not going to the store!”

Happy Valentine’s Day

A friend of mine had a Valentine’s Day party back in college. Everyone going was pretty much single or detached. And while we were all too cool to admit it, we all wished we had somebody that weekend. For the party, I made a mix tape full of the most dreary songs and called it “Wishing You a Shitty Valentine’s Day”. It included songs like, Last Night I Dreamt the Somebody Loved Me by The Smiths, Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game, and probably something from Depeche Mode.

Every time I tried to put the tape on people gave me a hard time. Over the course of the evening people paired up and split. Around midnight, those who were left and out of options were begging me to play it.