Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Twelve years!

As of this past Sunday, June 18, this blog has been around for 12 years. That's almost as old as some children! Specifically, 12-year-old children.
Not much has changed since the beginning, but I don't write left-handed anymore. And who are those two other guys?

Look at all the things that were cool in 2006 but aren't anymore (unlike this blog)

The traditional anniversary gifts for 12 years, representing luxury and comfort. I'm gonna get some of those and take a nice long nap. I deserve it!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Guest blogger: Kelly Hickman!

You've probably heard the axiom "never read the comments" and you probably already know why that's a good idea. Just in case you don't, or you just want some validation, my friend Kelly Hickman took it upon herself to document some of the real-time comments that showed up on Facebook last night as news of the fire in London was breaking. The names have not been changed, nor have the egregious spelling and syntax errors, to protect those of us who aren't as stupid as this collection of morons. 
Please enjoy your sure-to-be cringe-inducing experience. - Clark

Good evening ladies and gents! It's time for a new show called "Obnoxious Live Video Comments" curated by your host, the lovely and very sleep-deprived Kelz Hickman
On tonight's show we will be reviewing Facebook comments during the live video of the fire in London.
As always, we want to be clear that we are in no way making light of this very devastating situation. We are, however, making fun of the stupid mother fuckers who comment on live videos. Is my audience with me?
Ok great. Let's introduce our contestants...
First to respond is Jessica.. Everyone say hi to Jessica!
*audience says hi to Jessica*
Jessica was too lazy to read the one sentence description of the fire, so here is her comment...
Nest up, we have our predictable group of folks who know their terrorism!
And of course there's our moderates who don't believe that *everything* is a terrorist attack. I mean, c'mon guys.

We introduced those guys first because we know that they will be there and what they will say. Yes, boring and at the same time comforting? Let's continue...

We also have the wino...

...the honesty keeper.

Captain Obvious...

The nursery rhymer...

The veteran...

The Fox News Watcher... (PS We can guarantee you, Lisa, that it did not start on the second floor)

The "News-is-so-Unfair" guy...

The philosopher...

Ricky Ricardo...

The pragmatist...

The Emoji Police...

The OCD...

The poet...

The stroke victim...

The exhausted...

The movie buff...

The conspiracy theorist...

The NRA...

The smart ass...

The one who doesn't know how to use a clock or a calendar...

The bat-shit crazies...

The chemist...

And last but not least, those who are sending out prayers. From literally every corner of the universe...
Hugs and kisses, burning London!
And that concludes tonight's show. We hope you enjoyed it and we'll be back soon with more live video comments! Stay tuned!

Thanks, Kelly! - Clark

Monday, June 12, 2017

You know what to do...or not do. Whatever.

It's time for this again...
"It's that time of year again! We're gearing up for our annual Best Of The Bay issue and party, and it's time to nominate your favorite Bay area people, places, businesses and events for our Readers' Poll awards!

We're looking for the folks you want to single out for voting in these four areas:

Arts & Entertainment

Food & Drink

People, Places & Politics"

Go there, do that. If you want to.
These are nominations, not votes. It's to decide who gets votes later. It's a whole process, with this being the first part of it, the non-voting part. I'll bug you about the voting part later.

And honestly, gosh, it's just such an honor in and of itself just to be nominated.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Letters to Torianne

I work with a guy named Jonathan. He has a twin sister named Torianne. Sometimes, when we talk about stuff, Jonathan will say something that requires getting Torianne involved for no good reason whatsoever...

Letter #1: Torianne vs The Walking Dead (12/27/16)

(Background - Jonathan blamed a visit from Torianne for not binge-watching The Walking Dead over an extended holiday weekend)

Hi there,
My name is Clark. You don't know me but I work with your brother Jonathan.
A co-worker named Hayden (I don't think you know him either) and I have been trying to get Jonathan to start watching "The Walking Dead" on Netflix. There are five seasons there! We wanted him to at least watch the first episode, which is so good on its own that we knew he'd be immediately hooked. He promised us that he would binge-watch a whole bunch of episodes this past weekend over Christmas. We were given four days off, allowing him plenty of time. However, he said you were in town and basically because of that, he didn't have time to watch ANY OF IT!!
Anyway, so Hayden and I both hate you now and I think you deserve to know that. Thanks...for nothing.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Clark Brooks

Her reply:

Hi Clark (and Hayden),
First off, I think me and my brother share the same sentiment for "The Walking Dead"…I never got into it.  I also never saw the first episode, so maybe if I had, I would've been hooked. I guess we'll never know. Second of all, I arrived on Wednesday night and didn't hang out with Jonathan until 5 pm on Friday. That means that he had all day on Friday to watch at least a couple of episodes. Therefore, I'm merely an innocent victim in this scenario, falsely accused of stealing my brother's time.
I think you owe me an apology.
Looking forward to meeting you one day! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :)

Letter #2: Torianne and her family calendars (5/2/17)

(Background - Jonathan said he almost forgot his mom's birthday, until he consulted his copy of the calendar Torianne makes for the family every year)

Hi Torianne,
It's me, Clark. Remember me? How are you? Good, I hope.
I'm writing to you today because your twin brother (Jonathan) just told me something that made me sad. He told me about how you make calendars for the people in your family and now I have an image of you home alone during the Christmas holidays making calendars and how that's the only source of joy in your life.
That. Is just so sad.
This is May and I know Christmas (aka "Time To Make The Calendars") is a ways off. I'm hoping that between now and then maybe you can find some sort of social interaction. Perhaps a calendar-making club that meets once a month at the library ("Look Lorraine, I found these pictures of doggies you can use!"). Or maybe you could at least get a cat. Anything better than the false comfort of belonging to a family that comes from making calendars all by yourself that your brother doesn't even reference to find out when your mom's birthday is.
Let me know if that happens but please don't reply if it doesn't. Getting through the holidays is hard enough as it is.
Clark Brooks

Her reply:

Hi Clark,
It's great to hear from you again! It is so thoughtful of you to reach out to me and I want to sincerely thank you for trying to help my lonely social life here in Nashville. I have been wracking my brain trying to think extra-curricular activities to get involved with outside of work. But then I thought....those calendars are a lot of work and take the perfect amount of focus (focus that can only be accomplished by making the calendar alone. In my house. With no distractions). Think about it. How would my mom feel if I carelessly forgot to include her favorite picture of her from last year's Thanksgiving, or what if I didn't make the background of her month her favorite color (shoot, speaking of...time to turn the family calendar to May!)? More importantly, Jonathan (my twin) doesn't remember any of our family members' birthdays. How would he ever buy them any gifts (MOST importantly, how would he buy ME a gift) if I didn't mark their birthdays on this calendar?
My family would disown me if I slipped at all on these calendars. I better stick to making them alone. With "This Is Us" on in the background. Sometimes I pretend I'm a part of the family on "This Is Us". See, these little things get me through the day. Social interaction is VERY overrated.
Shoot, you have me typing this long email when I should be starting on my calendars. You know what I always say...the calendars aren't going to make themselves, Torianne!
If you're lucky you just might make the calendar this year, Clark! This is the most human interaction I've had year.

Letter #3: Torianne vs Charley's Steakhouse (6/1/17)

(Background - Jonathan talked about being taken to Charley's Steakhouse to celebrate his high school graduation...with no mention of Torianne being there)

Hi Torianne,
Jonathan just regaled us all with the story of how he was taken to Charley's Steakhouse to celebrate his high school graduation. Wow! Epic tale! However, there was no mention of your graduation and this is troubling. Somebody (not me) asked him about that aspect and he said, "I think she got to go too". He THINKS! He thinks?!?
Naturally, now there are questions. Serious questions that demand answers:
  • Did you even graduate from high school?
  • If so, why would you be excluded from the steak celebration at Charley's?
  • Was Jonathan that much better of a student (maybe compensating for less-than-stellar grades with conduct and participation in various recognized HS organizations like the newspaper or student council or some other bullshit) that he got to go to Charley's while you had to wait at home for a bag of Burger King they picked up for you on the way home?
We need answers to these questions as well as any additional background you can provide regarding this situation. Nothing is getting done here in the office until we can move forward.
Thank you.

Clark Brooks

Her reply:

None, so far.
Uh-oh. I think we broke Torianne.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

It really is all about the LOLZ

"What did you say to me, motherf...?"
It's been more than two years since I started doing stand-up comedy and I've already learned a lot and continue to do so. One of the things I've learned is that comedians are generally good people who will gladly help others with whatever when asked. I've also learned that many of those good people are also kinda full of shit about it in public.
There's a stereotype about comics being moody and dark and brooding because they're so deeply troubled and the comedy is merely an overcompensating coping mechanism to deal with all the blibbity blabbity scarring and hurt. Sure, a lot of comics, maybe most, get some necessary therapeutic value from writing and performing. But the scowling misanthrope who hates everything is mostly an affected cliche.
Writing "Dark Knight Returns" checks on a "Batusi" bank account
There's a group on Facebook called "Comedians Helping Comedians" and here are some samples of "advice" given to someone asking a question about being perceived as 'too mean' on stage by someone in the audience...

  • "Be meaner"
  • "I smile and nod. Then say "excuse me, I hear a beer calling my name" and walk away laughing."
  • "It sounds like you're mean."
  • "I'd just say "thanks for coming, I'm probably not your type of comic" and walk away."
  • "I complain to them about how sensitive they are"
  • "Sorry you didn't like it, but I know I'm not everyone's cup of tea. Besides, I treat the WHOLE audience the same."
  • "You can apologize, even if you don't mean it." (this one was mine)
  • "Let them complain but were you mean and funny or just mean? If you're just mean then you're a bitch and not a comedian."
  • "Say "Thank you!" and tell them you've never been so flattered, then try to give them a hug, sign an autograph and take a selfie with them. If that's part of your stage persona, own it."
  • "Kidnap them, take them to a damp basement, tie them to a chair, shine a light in their eyes and repeat the joke till they get it."
  • "I follow them to their car and press my asshole against their windshield."
  • "Tell them to fuck off."
  • "I told them to suck my dick...They had nothin to say after that...I can be mean..."

Wow, what gritty, edgy and unhelpful (with the exception of mine) responses! Don't mess with those guys! Also, what a crock. I don't know any of these people (they're not local) but I know for a fact that not one of them would respond with a "fuck you" or something along those lines in reality. At least not if they're actually funny and/or a professional who wants to stay that way. And that's because in spite of how cool and aloof and prickly we think we want to come off, we're actually a lot more warm and fuzzy than we are sour and hard-boiled. Most of us are like Russell Howard here...

Yeah, there are comics who fantasize about saying "fuck you" to somebody in their audience. But there are a lot more who would rather have a story like this to tell.
And that's because it really is all about the LOLZ.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

I guess she would know

Tomi Lahren in March, reacting to losing her job on the "The Blaze" TV show after making remarks claiming she was pro-choice...

Tomi Lahren on Sunday, reacting to University of Notre Dame graduates walking out in protest of vice-president Mike Pence delivering Saturday's commencement speech...

For some people, the only thing more difficult to grasp than a snowflake is the concept of irony.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Faith in humanity re-restored...unfortunately

One night last week, I was feeling a little down about the state of humanity. It's something I go through from time to time and it seems harder and harder to feel good about lately. Granted, it could be my fault for having unfairly high standards for people, which sets me up for inevitable disappointment. I just think that we (people) can usually do better, just in general, in our day-to-day lives and how we interact with one another, and it bothers me when we (people) don't even make a half-assed attempt to do so.
Thankfully, when I was just about at my lowest ebb, somebody shared this article:
"28 People Who Are Too Good And Too Pure For This World"

There were some truly heartwarming stories in there and it worked! I felt much better!
And then I made the terrible mistake of going back to regular Facebook, where the very first status update I saw was this...
"We went to eat yesterday and I ordered nachos.... they came with no cheese on them... I had to ask the guy for cheese... so it came back with cheese on it that wasn't even melted. That is wrong. If you have never had nachos, you shouldn't be in the kitchen trying to make them."
Well, so much for that. From people doing beautiful, creative, compassionate things to somebody bitching at length about the injustice and resultant trauma they suffered because of poorly applied cheese on their fucking nachos in .5 seconds.