Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A moral, ethical and religious dilemma

I still have the truck I bought a few years ago and it still has this on it:
As was the case then, it's not intended to be any kind of great theological statement on my behalf; I just like dinosaurs and think it's funny. I can see why somebody might take offense and all I can say is that's not the intent. Sorry, but your right to be bothered by it doesn't negate my right to think it's funny. Kind of a First Amendment deal, I guess.
My advice would be don't take it that seriously because I don't.

Flash forward to last Thursday and found this note on my window:
I guess she doesn't know I'm an ordained minister
It says...
"Hello : )
I saw your dino & fish on your truck
God is real
God is good
God loves you & I'm praying for you"
And there was a $10 bill attached! In case this has never happened to you, $10 goes a long way toward alleviating any hard feelings about a stranger violating your personal space to impose their personal religious views. $10 is real money! That's a meal (at a restaurant with a value menu) or a tank of gas (if your tank is smaller than what's typically the standard found on most four-wheeled vehicles)! Am I saying my spirituality has a price? No. But if it does, the bidding starts at $10.

So here's my dilemma: Am I obligated to remove the dinosaur, because she felt so strongly about it and I kept the $10? I seriously considered donating it to a good cause. But ultimately, I didn't do it.
-or-
Do I leave it and start parking near churches to see if I can cash in off of similarly-offended individuals? I'll seriously consider donating the proceeds, but ultimately, I won't do it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

My new "Friend"

Are you on Facebook? I am! Of course you are and so am I. Everybody is on Facebook!
Do you wanna be "Friends"? Let's be "Friends"!
This person wants to be my "Friend":
She seems nice, doesn't she? My first observation is that her name is odd. Like she's listing herself in the phone book. Do you remember phone books? They still make them, every year! The latest edition was thrown into my yard. They couldn't even be bothered to drop it on my porch. Just threw it into the yard. Even the people who distribute the phone book don't give a shit about the phone book.
Back to this "Friend" request. I'm going to assume that she likes basketball. Basketball isn't my favorite sport, but I like it. Basketball is nice. I shared this with a friend that I actually know in real life and he said this means she likes black guys. I told him that was an unfair assumption based entirely on stereotypes and speculation. He's probably right, though.

She may not be a real person, though. I mean, those pictures are of a real person but this Facebook profile could be fabricated by someone with intent to commit fraud or some other nefarious act. We need to do some investigation here.

Let's look at her photos (there are only two of them):
Wow. Okay.

How about some of her other "Friends". We don't have any on common, which could be a huge red flag:
Hmm.
Speaking of stereotypes and speculation, while these might all be fine upstanding gentlemen, it's very easy for me to visualize every one of them sitting in their car in a Hooters parking lot after closing time.

All right, let's take a look at her latest status update, for the sake of not only seeing what's going on in her life but also her communication skills (vocabulary, grasp of language etc.):
Okay, obviously this is totally legit! Nice to meet you, Porter. My new "Friend"!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Read all about it

Everybody has a self-indulgent lotto-winning fantasy, something totally stupid they would blow money on if they could suddenly afford to do so. Mine would be to publish a magazine. Getting into the print publishing business at all at this point in the 21st century is a foolish idea alone, but I would be producing a magazine absolutely guaranteed to fail.
It would be a weekly titled "None of Your Goddamn Business" and it would have exactly the same story subjects and headlines as "People", but every article would say exactly the same thing. Can you guess what that would be?
  • Scary Mommy Blogger; "My Husband Is Gay" - That is none of your goddamn business.
  • Brad's Life Now: How He and Angelina Finally Made Peace - Make peace with the fact that it's none of your goddamn business.
  • Will and Kate's Weekend in Paris - Oo la la, that is none of your, 'ow you say, goddamn business.
  • Exclusive: Savannah Guthrie's Baby Boy 'I Feel So Lucky' - I feel so none of your goddamn business.
  • And the big cover story: What Happened To Richard Simmons? - What happened to him is none of your goddamn business.
This would be on behalf of those of us who think people should have better things to do than worry about celebrities to the point of violating their privacy. And not from a telling-people-what-to-do-when-it-comes-to-harmlessly-spending-their-leisure-time standpoint, but from a leave-people-alone-because-gawking-at-them-like-zoo-animals-isn't-harmless vantage.
 
I might launch a somewhat more edgy sister publication that would be very similar titled "Who Gives A Shit?" magazine. You can probably guess what the format for that would look like.

I know these magazines would fail because the people at whom the messages would be aimed would never, ever buy a single copy. And there's obviously no reason for anybody else to ever pick one up. So, no sales means no advertising sales, so it's an enterprise doomed from the start. But what the heck, it would employ people for a little while so maybe not a totally self-indulgent waste of time and money.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Memes suck

Memes suck for lots of reasons. The main being that most of them just aren't that clever or funny.

That's literally a list of things I need to pick up at the store on a picture of Willy Wonka, but there are people who will laugh at that just as a conditioned response. Because for some reason, some people have come to believe that words + a picture of Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka = Hilarious. I don't see it, but whatever. Humor is subjective and to each their own.

Worse are the ones that are conceptually and/or factually inaccurate. Like this one:
I get it. Of course I get it. It's an allegory, in which dogs represent men and how absurd it is that they're in positions of power when it comes to making decisions and setting policies for cats (women) and their healthcare. Where it falls down is that these are dogs. Dogs are compassionate, loyal and selfless. They are certainly not analogous to the male bureaucrats this meme is attempting to skewer. I'm not a woman and therefor unqualified to speak on their behalf, but I actually can't think of anybody who wouldn't benefit from these dogs looking after their healthcare. Look at them! So attentive. So eager to please. They want nothing more than the opportunity to make you happy. What other "public servants" can you say that about? Rex and Jingles even brought note pads! These are good boys!
See? This meme sucks.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Do what Renee say!

Hi there. My friend Renee Warmack recently wrote these very nice words about me on Facebook...

"I firmly believe in encouraging others and asking for support when I need it.Thus, here's a shoutout to my dear friend and gifted writer/comedian Clark Brooks:He is OFTEN hosting at Sidesplitters and doing his thing all over Tampa Bay (see his gigs here):http://www.clarkbrooks.com/events.htmlWords can't express how proud I am of him and how much I appreciate his love and support.As artists, we have to grind out each day at a time and stay true to our craft, amid obstacles.Clark embodies this and inspires me all the time through his example.Go see him tell jokes! He will make you forget about the baby giraffe and help you enjoy life!"
While I don't want you to forget about the baby giraffe (NEVER forget about the baby giraffe!!), I do want you to follow her advice (she generally has very good judgment on things) and come see me tell jokes, when you get a chance.

What do you know, here's your chance! I'm hosting for a couple of different headlining comedians at Side Splitters Comedy Club in Tampa again this weekend! Here's the schedule:


  • Thursday, March 30, 8:30 PM - Vic DiBitetto
  • Friday, March 31, 8 PM - Vic DiBitetto
  • Friday, March 31, 10:30 PM - Ken Miller
  • * Saturday, April 1, (4:30 PM) 6 PM - Ken Miller, special benefit performance (see below)
  • Saturday, April 1, 8 PM - Vic DiBitetto
  • Saturday, April 1, 10:30 PM - Vic DiBitetto
  • Sunday, April 2, 7 PM - Ken Miller
ABOUT THE HEADLINERS

"An incredibly powerful performer, comedian Vic DiBitetto churns energy, honesty and humanity into nonstop laughter. His pace is frenetic. His material vivid and true. He’s been called a cross between Rodney Dangerfield and Ralph Kramden. The bottom line is, DiBitetto leaves his audiences breathless with laughter.
Referred to by most other comics as a “killer”, it means you just can’t follow Vic onstage. And that has been uttered by many very famous stand-ups over the years... Vic has appeared on television's America's Funniest People (ABC) where he was a $10,000 Grand Prize winner as well as Stand-Up Spotlight (VH1) and Last Laugh at Pips and acted in a pilot with Woody Allen and Danny Aiello. In addition, he has warmed-up hundreds of audiences for hit shows such as Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and The Ricki Lake Show.
Vic has performed at many of the nation's best comedy venues such as New York City's Dangerfield's, Los Angeles' Laugh Factory, Las Vegas' Riviera Hotel, Resorts World Casino and Atlantic City's Borgata Hotel. His schedule is relentless and he is booked thru 2015 at every comedy venue imaginable in the New York Tri-State area. A Pay Per View special and major US Tour are in current discussions." - https://vicdibitetto.net/home


"Ken Miller is just PLAIN OL'FUNNY. In just a few short years he has stormed thru the ranks of comedy. From mcing, featuring to headlining. He has become one of the funniest comics in the state of Florida. He was the 2009 Comedy Central South Beach Comedy Festival winner beating out 88 other comics. After finishing 2nd two years in a row, he finally won the 2013 Florida’s Funniest Comedy Competition beating out over 200 comics. He was chosen to compete/perform in the 2011 Laughing Skull Comedy Festival/Competition in Atlanta, GA, World Series of Comedy in Las Vegas in 2012 and The Great American comedy festival in 2013. Ken was recently seen on NICKMOMs, MOMS NIGHT OUT on NICKJR." - http://www.kenmillerthecomic.com





* The 6 PM show on Saturday is a fundraising benefit for the Wiregrass Ranch High School baseball team (I think I might be the official comedian of Wiregrass Ranch High School), with a portion of all tickets sold going to that program. There will be activities in the lounge beginning at 4:30 with the show starting at 6.

Tickets for all of these shows are on sale now and everything happens at
Side Splitters Comedy Club
12938 North Dale Mabry in Tampa
(813) 960-1197

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Ah, the rewards of a life in professional stand-up comedy!


People often (and by "often", I mean "have never once felt the desire to ever") ask me, "Clark, what's the very best. most wonderful thing about being a professional entertainer person doing stand-up comedy?"

"Is it your name in lights?"
Or chalk, in very small print, near the bottom of the board, as the case may be

"Is it performing in front of huge crowds?"


"Is it having an appreciative audience listen attentively to your every word?"


"Is it having the respect and admiration of your peers?"
NOTE: That's Josh Santos on the left. That is NOT me on the right, believe it or not.


"Is it the glamorous travel?"


"Is it being constantly surrounded by pretty girls?"
Actually, that happens VERY rarely, but when it does, yeah, that's pretty great.
Okay, it happened once.
But it was pretty great.


Believe it or not, it's actually none of those things. It's this:
This is a thank you letter I received for being part of a line-up performing at a fundraiser for a high school's music program a couple of weeks ago. No money, but a I got to perform for a bunch of nice people who showed up to enjoy themselves and then I got this letter on the way out. Perfect!
It probably sounds corny, but it's 100% true: human beings conveying positive feedback (preferably in the form of laughter, but letters are nice too) is the best thing about doing comedy. 


Just kidding. It's the pretty girls.
That really was pretty great.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The End is near

I've mentioned here previously how much I love Ellen Mueller (due in large part to the fact that she's a mad genius) and her art and how much I enjoy participating in her projects.

"Ellen Mueller has exhibited nationally and internationally as an interdisciplinary artist exploring issues related to the environment, hyperactive news media and corporate management systems. She creates experiences that engage with social and political issues through a variety of media." - http://ellenmueller.com/
Now, here's an opportunity for you to be involved in her latest project:

"The End"
Four artist researchers are gathering individual views on the end of the world, both on a global and a personal scale. This information will be compiled into a pocket guide, available as a limited edition artist's book produced by Small Craft Advisory Press.

All you have to do is click this link: http://scap.art.fsu.edu/the-end/ and answer the four questions.

Welcome to being art!

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Look at the size of that thing!

The other night, I was at her house where we worked on re-vamping her web site. It was very late and as I was getting ready to leave, she asked, "Do you want some cooties?" What I thought was, "Yeah I want some cooties! Your cooties? Absolutely, I want them! Gimme every germ you got!!" What I said aloud was more like, "Uhh, erm, huh?" And she said, "Do you want some Cuties?". Turns out she hadn't offered me her cooties. She had actually offered me a bag full of 'Cuties', which are tiny, seedless oranges grown in California.
Actual size
"Q: What is a CUTIE®?
A: CUTIES® are actually two varieties of mandarins: Clementine mandarins, available November through January; and W. Murcott mandarins, available February through April. CUTIES® have several distinct characteristics that make them the perfect anytime, anywhere snack. Unlike other mandarins or oranges, they are seedless, super sweet, easy to peel and kid-sized—only a select few achieve CUTIES® ’ high standards." - http://cutiescitrus.com/faq/

I ate two of them on my way home and they just might be my new favorite thing. They're about the size of a ping-pong ball and as easy to peel as it is to unwrap a Tootsie Roll or a Jolly Rancher. They're bite-sized oranges, fer cryin' out loud! They're great!

Although, if I'm being completely honest, I'd rather have her cooties instead.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Lent-ish


Today is the first day of Lent '17!
"Lent (Latin: Quadragesima: Fortieth) is a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, before Easter Sunday. The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, doing penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement, and self-denial. This event is observed in the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, and Roman Catholic Churches."
and
"In Lent, many Christians commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penance. Many Christians also add a Lenten spiritual discipline, such as reading a daily devotional or praying through a Lenten calendar, to draw themselves near to God."
Me, I use it as a sort of discipline challenge: what can I give up for forty days that would be difficult and therefor, allow me to celebrate how awesome I am for going through it when it's over? Last year, I did without meat of any kind and that went pretty well. Until the first time I had some afterward and immediately experienced a severe case of meat bloat. I had just a reasonable portion of roast beef for dinner prior to a Lightning game and it made me feel like this...
All I wanted to do was lay down right where I was and sleep for three days. It was an awful feeling and I never want to go through that again. This actually turned me off eating meat in general and now, with ocassional exceptions fueled by ill-advised cravings and primitive pre-wired inclinations, I really don't eat it much at all anymore.
Coming up with this year's Lent challenge has been a challenge. What can I give up that will be a sacrifice and will test my stamina and discipline?

MEAT - Fun! Last year (as stated above).

SODA - Too late. I'm already off Coke, Pepsi, etc.

CANDY - I can't remember the last time I ate candy.

SOCIAL MEDIA - Tempting! Not exactly a sacrifice though.

HER - No. Absolutely not. Can't. Won't.

SPORTS WRITING - Too easy, because it would mean not having to associate with sports writers. I love sports. I love writing. But I really dislike most sports writers (old white men who sit around and swap stories about the 1987 NFC Championship and what a swell guy George Steinbrenner was or whatever). The other day, I had the distinct displeasure of listening to one of them complain about having to sit through four innings of a spring training baseball game. Ugh. 

PIZZA - Hmmm. Okay, yeah. I guess I'll do pizza. Here's hoping I don't come out on the other side never wanting to eat it again. Not exactly a spiritual penance, but as stated above, that's not really why I'm doing it. So, okay then. Pizza. All right.

Let Lent '17 (40 days sans pizza) begin!!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Bringing in the month of March, like a whole bunch of humorous lions


Here's who's going to be part of the "Odd Wednesdays Late Nite Showcase" at the Tampa Improv this Wednesday (March 1):
Jorge Gonzalez (hosting)
Sloan
Mike Morris
Justin Cupo
James Bailey
Kristopher Shubeck
Zac Townsend
Nina Ramdat
Katie McCoy
Jeff Klein
...and ME!
While those names may not mean much to you (aside from mine, that is)...yet..., believe me when I say that these are all very funny local comedians. Beyond that and maybe more importantly, I like all of them as individual human being persons. I think if you met them, you'd find them funny and like them too. So, basically, what a wonderful opportunity this show is for you to stay up late on a Wednesday, come down to Ybor City and find these things out for yourself!
(NOTE: This is a show outside of the scheduled open mic there that night)

"Odd Wednesdays Late Nite Showcase"
Wednesday, March 1, 10:00PM
Tampa Improv
1600 East 8th Ave C-112 Tampa, FL 33605
(813) 864-4000




Wednesday, February 22, 2017

My best birthday present

I celebrated a birthday a couple weeks ago (Oh, thanks, that's very sweet of you to say something. That's not the point of the post, but yeah, thanks, still.) I had a ton of people offer best wishes on Facebook, which is always nice. My favorite was this one, which showed up the day after;
"Happy Belated! I saw Graham about 3 weeks ago as we were saying that working at the Cinema was awesome because we genuinely liked everyone we worked with." - Sabrina Hamady
Some background: What now seems like about three lifetimes ago, I managed this little movie theater in Sarasota (seen above). I was hired because of my concessions background in sports while another guy was there to manage the projection booth. That didn't really work out and I ended up responsible for the whole operation fairly soon after the theater opened in 1993. We had three screens, with a total seating capacity of 346 people. We showed artsy, independent and foreign films and served fancy concession items like cappuccino and pastries along with the standard popcorn and soda, which really wasn't done in most movie theaters at the time. It was a small theater but we were always pretty busy, working long hours, so at times it could be a difficult job. Because of the exposure to culture, it should have been a rewarding and fulfilling experience for all involved, but it largely wasn't. That's because the owner of the place, Dick Morris, was the most miserable, temperamental and despotic person I ever had the misfortune of working for. He was the kind of sicko who got off on being hated and often went out of his way to make that happen. His only "friends" were people who had something to gain by kissing his ass or were afraid of him or both. Ultimately, I was neither which is how I eventually got fired (although, I guess a paycheck qualifies as something to be gained, albeit I'd argue that it was earned).
I mention all this for one reason: to justify my focused efforts to staff the place with good, intelligent, hard-working, creative, high-character people who could work together and maintain a pleasant disposition. Most of them were college kids from nearby schools, either the Ringling School of Art and Design or New College. I love surrounding myself with people like that so part of it was for my own comfort, but I sincerely wanted them to not only work as well as possible with each other but to actually enjoy the experience, so chemistry among the staff was always very important when I hired people. I rejected a lot of people who probably would have been okay movie theater employees for that reason.

Sabrina was one of those I did hire and it's extremely gratifying all these years later for her to take note of that. Sabrina went to Brown (Ivy League!) and is a very talented photographer. She referenced Graham Brice, who is now a musician with a wife and kids in Brooklyn. I haven't kept in touch with all of them, but of those I do keep tabs on, they're all doing well and seem happy. That's gratifying too. Not that a silly part-time job they had a long time ago or my role as their supervisor had anything at all to do with it, but it confirms my instincts about them as individuals when I hired them. I think so, anyway.

Anyway, that was nicer than a piece of cake.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Whose side are really you on? And who's really on yours?

This incident happened here in Tampa last week:
"A lesbian couple leaving the Jimmie B. Keel Library on Monday night said they found a harassing note on their windshield..." (read more by clicking here) - ABC Action News (WFTS TV, Tampa)
A friend of mine, who is a lesbian, was understandably alarmed and posted the article above as well as the following comment to her Facebook wall:
"This happened here. What a complete coward and ignorant moron."
That's it. That is her comment on the situation in its entirety.
Here are the first two replies she received in response from friends...
"I'm a republican, but not all Republicans think that way. There are many very narrow-minded people out there, both Republicans and Democrats... John Q Republican [alluding to the anonymous signature on the note mentioned in the story - CB] is a ball-less human being."
"Horrible, but do not lump us Republicans in together. These are just people with limited ability to be compassionate and tolerant. Unfortunately, I see this kind of behavior on both sides of the aisle."
That's funny. Nobody said anything about Republicans. Anybody else find it an unnecessarily defensive reaction from these two people to defend the Republican Party, in spite of the fact that there are no references to any political party (other than the faux "signature" on the note mentioned in the story), critical or otherwise, in the story or my friend's re-posting of it?

More troubling, to me is that they felt the need to do that first, instead of acknowledging that their friend has a legitimate reason to be pissed off/worried/disappointed etc. about the incident itself. Rather than offer comfort and support to a friend who has expressed apprehension about a pretty clearly expressed threat, they chose to stand up on behalf of their party affiliation. The only reasonable explanation I can come up with for feeling the need to do that is a guilty conscience. I wonder if they believe that their 'side' would have their back if they were threatened, to a greater extent than an actual friend (without the quotes). If so, I pity them. For one reason, they're sadly mistaken and there's no way to learn that than the hard way. Second, obviously they have no real friends.

Regardless, making something not about you by making it about you (or some group with whom you choose to align) isn't showing compassion or tolerance. It's preemptively covering your ass because you're more worried about getting some stink on you than you are about the legitimate concerns of somebody you label a 'friend'. And if that's you, you're at least as much of a coward as the piece of shit leaving anonymous hate notes.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Memories: Not what they used to be

We're all getting older. All of us! Even the young folks. Each and every one of us is older now than when we started reading this. Naturally, our memory is rapidly going to seed. There's proof that this is happening to us on a mass scale. There are people who sincerely believe they saw a movie titled "Shazaam" starring Sinbad as a genie that doesn't exist. I mean the movie doesn't exist. Sinbad does, although he is not a genie. But "Shazaam" never happened, in spite of people's convictions that it totally did. Just last week, White House spokesperson Kellyanne Conway cited a massacre in Bowling Green, Kentucky, that also never happened.
This does not qualify
Some might refer to this phenomenon as "misremembering". Or perhaps "not knowing what the hell you're talking about" or "lying". Regardless, it tends to happen a lot. Just look at this list of famous movie quotes that you've been getting wrong all this time...

The Empire Strikes Back
You remember: “Luke, I am your father.” 

But the actual quote is: “Luke, it is I who is the person that am your father."

Apollo 13
You remember: “Houston, we have a problem”
But the actual quote is: “Oh shit, Houston!”

Dirty Harry
You remember: “Do you feel lucky, punk?”
But the actual quote is: “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Because if not, there's really no point in buying a lottery ticket, punk.”

The Graduate
You remember: “Mrs. Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?”
But the actual quote is: “Mrs. Robinson, you’re the subject of a well-known Simon and Garfunkel song. Aren’t you?”

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
You remember: “Mirror, mirror, on the wall - who is the fairest of them all?”
But the actual quote is: “Magic mirror, on the wall, the reflection of light off a smooth service is a simple scientific principle and not so 'magic' after all. Punk.”

She Done Him Wrong (with Mae West)
You remember: “Why don’t you come up and see me sometime?”
But the actual quote is: “Why don’t you comply with the restraining order and stay at least 500 feet from me, punk?”

Casablanca
You remember: “Play it again, Sam.”
But the actual quote is: “Play 'Free Bird', Sam. Wooo!”

Jaws
You remember: “We’re gonna need a bigger boat!”
But the actual quote is: “We should be in a helicopter with automatic weapons. Being out here in a boat is just stupid.”

Field Of Dreams
You remember: “If you build it, they will come.”
But the actual quote is: “If you build it, you will have a full-sized baseball diamond in your yard. Pretty sweet!”

All About Eve
You remember: “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”
But the actual quote is: “Fasten your seat belts, it’s the law.”

The Wizard of Oz
You remember: “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.
But the actual quote is: “Toto, thank God we’re not in Kansas anymore!”

Gone With The Wind
You remember: “Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.”
But the actual quote is: “Frankly, punk, I don’t give a damn.”

Silence of the Lambs
You remember: “Hello, Clarice”


But the actual quote is: “Well, howdy-do, Clarice!”

Mommie Dearest
You remember: “No more wire hangers, EVER!”
But the actual quote is: “No starch! No starch EVER!”

Planet of the Apes
You remember: “Get your stinkin’ paws off me, you damn dirty ape!”
But the actual quote is: “Take your stinkin’ dirty damn paws off me, you damn stinkin' dirty ape!”

…And Justice For All
You remember: “I’m out of order? You’re out of order! This whole courtroom’s out of order!”

But the actual quote is: “Your mama out of order! Oooooohh!! (dabs and blasts air horn)”

Sunset Blvd.
You remember: “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”
But the actual quote is: “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my selfie, punk.”

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

The choices we make define who we are

The other day, on his morning commute, a co-worker struck and killed a seagull with his car.
"It was just standing in the road and didn't move! If I had swerved, I'd have hit some guy riding his bike! It was awful."
You read that right; he had a chance to hit a bicyclist with his car, and he chose to kill a bird instead!
"B-but why didn't the bird move? I don't understand why he didn't just fly away."
Maybe he was busy. Maybe he was eating some french fries. It's none of your damn business. None of that matters. You killed him to spare a bicyclist.
"I had no choice! A bird or a human being!"
A bicyclist. A worthless, dime-a-dozen, zero-contributing-to-life bicyclist. Travels around in packs, annoying people at the beach bicyclist. A begging for food at picnics, constantly squawking, pooping all over the place bicyclist.
"You don't know that. What if he was a good person? What if he was a doctor?"
If he was a doctor, why wasn't he in an operating room, saving someone's life?
"Maybe it was his day off."
It wasn't the seagull's day off. He was clocked in, doing his job: being a seagull.
"Yeah...but..."
Let me ask you a question; was he dressed like this?
"Yeah, he was. So?"
Jesus, man.
"That's what bicyclists wear!"
Why?!? What's the point? Optimal work out performance results? Rocky Balboa won the world heavyweight boxing championship by working out in this ensemble...
You can't argue with history.
I just hope this doesn't blow back on you some day.
"How would it 'blow back' on me?"
What if some day, you find yourself stranded alone on a desert island, starving to death? Who is more likely to find you, recognize your plight, fly back to the mainland, pick up some french fries, fly back and drop them in your mouth? A bicyclist or a seagull? Keep in mind, the seagull can do all of this without squishing up his private parts and cramming them into a spandex romper, strapping on his helmet and filling up his $85 titanium water bottle with a charcoal filter.

"Does a seagull even have private parts to squish up?"
Maybe the seagull is a female! Ever consider that possibility? Sexist!
"I don't believe a seagull would ever do something like that for another living creature. They're gluttonous scavengers, motivated entirely by keeping themselves fed."
Yeah, well, at least they aren't bicyclists!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Happy my birthday to you!

In honor of my birthday in February, Side Splitters Comedy Club sent me an email offer for two free tickets to an upcoming show.

How nice of them!

I selected the show with headliner Chris Roach on Friday, February 17th at 8:00PM. But, uh-oh, I can't sit there and watch that show, BECAUSE I'M HOSTING IT! Silly me, I totally forgot!

Well, what's done is done; might as well let someone enjoy my birthday present and profit from my stupidity. Anybody who expresses interest in wanting these tickets between now and my actual birthday (Monday February 6) will be entered into a drawing to get them. Maybe leave a comment here. That seems like a good way (death threats and ads for knock-off sunglasses will not be considered for obvious reasons).
If you're the only person who does that, your odds of winning are REALLY good! If nobody does it, it'll be my saddest birthday ever and I've had some really sad birthdays. So everybody wins!! Yay!
Did I mention that these are really good seats? These are really good seats. Not in the front row, because I know some people are afraid of that, but very close to the stage.


(w/ your host Clark Brooks and special guest TBA)
Friday
Feb 17, 2017
8:00 PM 
(Doors at 7:30 PM)
Side Splitters Comedy Club
12938 North Dale Mabry Highway
Tampa, FL 33618
(813) 960-1197

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Thank you, Burger King!

I don't know if I've ever mentioned this or not, but I'm pretty much completely off of fast food. I might not have, because I'm not one of these people who feel a need to share every last nuanced detail of my personal life. Then again, I could have posted a 700 word post about it because I'm a self-obsessed jackass who is just as prone to oversharing as anyone else. Who knows? Sure, I could do a quick search and find out for sure, but I don't want to.

The point is I don't eat food from fast food restaurants anymore. Mostly.

SOME BRIEF BACKGROUND: I lost most of whatever attraction I had to fast food (Convenience? Value? Quality? All myths) once when I was eating something from Checkers that was just awful. Three bites into whatever horrendous, hot, salted lard lump from a colorful paper bag, shoved at me through a window by some sullen teenager, I just became disgusted and threw it in the trash. I didn't ask for my money back, choosing instead to let it be a life lesson. "Man, Checkers is straight-up garbage." Since then, I cut way, way back on anything allegedly edible purchased from a drive-thru.

But I'm human and weak. And the other day, for whatever reason, I found myself craving a Whopper (with cheese), the flagship burger from Burger King. Nostalgia? Advertising? Self-loathing? All I know is I wanted one.
Here's what it looks like, according to Burger King...
That is one good looking hamburger sandwich! The perfect sesame-seeded dome on top. Sweet creamy mayo. Lettuce so healthy that it appears to be growing on the sandwich itself, like the ivy on the outfield walls at Wrigley Field. Bright, vibrant tomatoes. Cool onion slices, some crispy pickles and ketchup lying on the burger itself, all on top of a soft foamy bottom bun.
What an aesthetically inviting meat item! I wanted one!

So I went to my neighborhood Burger King and ordered myself a Whopper with cheese.
And this is the exact item that I received...
Quite a difference, eh?
Of course I was disappointed, but I thought, "Maybe they just screwed up. They just got the order wrong and slapped a piece of meat between the (deflated, mangled, fissured) buns. I know there are psychos out there who order that kind of thing on purpose. No problem, it's an error that can be fixed."
But then I lifted the top bun, and I swear to you this is true, all the stuff was there! Lettuce, mayo, tomatoes, onions, pickles, ketchup and cheese. None of it looking like anything from the top picture, though. It was all just kind of...droopy. But it wasn't an employee error. Whoever made it, did so exactly as the recipe demands. Can't blame the craftsman if all he has to work with is a set of droopy tools.

I didn't complain. I didn't ask for my money back; technically, they gave me what I ordered. Even though this isn't a burger that should be presented as the signature menu item of a successful global corporation that's been in business for decades. This is a burger that's fallen on hard times and now blows guys in the restroom at the bus station for crack money. As such, I just threw it in the trash and left.

But thanks, Burger King. Sincerely. Because of you, I think I'm finally completely cured from any desire whatsoever to visit a fast food restaurant ever again.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Why I'm not performing at any of the Presidential Inauguration festivities

Donald Trump will be officially sworn in as the 45th President of the United States tomorrow. Leading up to the ceremony and all the galas celebrating the event has been talk of all the performers who will not be participating.

I'm one of them and I'd like to use this forum to explain why.

First of all, I need to be very clear about this: I wasn't asked. Not only was I not asked, I'm sure I wasn't even considered. I'm positive of that. That's because there's no good reason that I would be. Ever. I'm not exactly a "name" and as such, I'm not showing up on any kind of radar that would make anybody consider saying "let's get this guy" for a high profile event like a Presidential Inauguration or even anything bigger than a medium-sized wedding reception. At this point in my comedy career, I am getting paid to perform but I'm also subject to being bumped by a kid ventriloquist at any given gig. That's where I am in the grand scheme of things.
"Okay Clark, you can still do 10 minutes but you'll be following Jimmy and His Pal Scratchmo."
So yeah, that's a big part of it. The biggest part of it, if I'm being honest, which I am. There was no invitation nor even a slight chance that there would ever be an invitation.

Even if I had been invited, (and barring a late phone call today, it looks fairly certain that I won't be) I would have said no thanks. That's because I simply don't think Trump is qualified in any way whatsoever to serve as the President of the United States and in no way do I want to offer anything remotely resembling validation of him assuming that role. There are dozens of examples of his erratic, ego-driven behavior, complete lack of self-control and utter resistance to being held accountable for any of it. Any one of those should give a reasonable person pause and I don't need to detail them again here. Safe to say I'm appalled at all of it and I'm horrified that he's going to be in a position to do real harm to people, not only in terms of their access to hard-earned Constitutional rights but his total lack of sound judgment in all areas.

Not me, of course. I'm a white, heterosexual male. In all likelihood, I'll be fine, as always.
Unless, you know...
I like to think beyond my own personal preferences and desires when it comes to big things that affect other people, though. And not because I believe that I'm some superior person who is qualified to look down and judge others due to the stellar job I'm doing as a human being. Far from it. I frequently wear underwear that is in such bad shape that it takes effort to determine what holes the legs go through but I don't throw them away because the waistband is intact. 

I am a severely flawed individual. 

However, I look at history and times when people fought oppression and injustice, applied those instances to me and my life and how I think I would have responded and I've always found myself on the right side of these disagreements. Every time. So I think I have pretty good discretion when it comes to knowing the difference between right and wrong.

Granted, in most of these incidents, with the benefit of hindsight, it's hard to understand why there were ever "sides" in the first place. 
It remains to be seen how this all plays out, but based on my grasp of historical context, my understanding of current events and, most importantly, my conscience, I feel good about the choices I'm making around all of this.

People have accused me of hoping Trump will fail, a foolish proposition because his failure affects us all. Well, I don't necessarily want him to fail because that is true. Anything he fucks up is going to be fucked up for everybody. It's just that he's shown me nothing to indicate that he is capable of succeeding in terms of acting in the best interest of a common good. He can't even make it through a week without getting his feelings hurt by skits on Saturday Night Live. Jesus Christ!
Also, if my ability to hope for things had any actual power behind it, I wouldn't give a shit who the President is.
Most of the people who accuse me of that also say I'm too politically correct and therefor, what is wrong with America, just because I don't sprinkle my vocabulary with words like 'retard', 'faggot', 'cunt' and 'nigger' and my belief that while life will never be completely fair for everybody, if the resources are available to help people, they should be used for that. I'm pretty okay with standing in opposition to those people.

I came across this on Facebook the other day:
"It is a mistake for Democrats to boycott Trump's inauguration. When MLK fought segregation he went TO the places that didn't want him. If you are feeling disenfranchised disassociating yourself will only strengthen the disenfranchisement. If you choose to look at Trump as the enemy it is wiser to share champagne than spit it back at him."
Okay. That's an opinion and the individual who posted is certainly entitled to it. I'd just like to point out one tiny but significant difference; when MLK and other civil rights activists visited difficult areas, it wasn't to help celebrate their accomplishments. And he sure as shit didn't drink champagne with oppressive people.
"I know guys, but trust me, the meatloaf here is terrific!"
The point is, doing the right thing not only isn't always easy, I'm not sure it ever really is. But I'm not here to tell anybody what to do or how to think or even to try to exert influence over their opinions. All I'm saying is my eyes are open, my conscience is clear and I believe the decisions I make are sound.

Anyway, that is the reason I will not be among the people performing at any of the Presidential Inauguration festivities tomorrow and this weekend.
Well, I mean, mostly because I wasn't invited and there wasn't a prayer on earth or in heaven that I would be. That's, like 99%, of it, but the other stuff too.