Thursday, June 30, 2016

PLUG: Somebody else's funny web site

My friends and fellow local comedians Colin Means and Zac Townsend have launched their own comedy web site, The Hungover Achiever. They've already posted quite a bit of content in the form of Onion-esque fake news articles but they have plans to do more with it.
"It's basically going to be a satire website, making fun of things. We're thinking of putting up a weekly comic strip thing, maybe some funny videos." - Zac
"Satire's kinda our bread and butter right now, but ultimately the goal of the site is to just be funny, so we'll probably do different types of content. Lists and whatnot, probably along with some videos like Zac said. We don't want to just be another satire site trying to be The Onion." - Colin
Both of them are very funny but they're absolutely terrible when it comes to self-promotion so I'm trying to help drive people to their site, which I'm happy to do as long as people don't stop coming to my site.
Here's a picture of me teaching them things they need to know about how to produce and maintain a high-quality, first-class funny web site. Also about comedy and life itself.
 It only looks like they're ignoring me and walking away.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

My old school

Last year, my old high school in Benton Harbor, Michigan, received national attention because the football team had a historic, storybook season.

Led by formerly retired head coach Elliott Uzelac, the Tigers had their first winning season since 1989 and made the playoffs for the first time in school history. Here's a link to a nice feature that ran on ESPN.

Obviously, I don't live there anymore but I continue to follow the school's teams in the news. As this story was building, I'd see pictures of coach Uzelac.
I decided I wanted one of those caps. So I called athletic director Fred Smith, explained I was a Class of '82 graduate and I'd like to buy a cap to support the program. We made some small talk and eventually he offered to send me one in exchange for me coming back home to speak/perform at the athletic department's golf tournament and dinner fundraiser. Of course I said yes. You can't ever expect an answer of "no" when you offer a comedian any kind of stage time. I got my cap a few months ago and last week, for the first time in many, many years (I moved to Tampa in '86 and have been home exactly once since), I went back to Benton Harbor last week and this is what happened.

I did some sightseeing...
Silver Beach in nearby St. Joseph. That's the pier and lighthouse way off in the distance.
Parts of downtown actually look pretty good. This is off of Territorial Avenue, which used to be known as "The Strip" and was not a good place to be,

I visited some old haunts...
It is impossible to calculate how many baseball/football/basketball/hockey cards I bought at this place over the years. Thousands and thouands. They don't carry them anymore. Probably because they don't come with a stick of pink, powdered, brittle "chewing gum".

There's a car wash on M-139 that used to have a mannequin out in front named "Big Wally". He had an animated right arm and would wave a flag all day. Eventually his arm broke but they left him out there with just a steel rod nub waving up and down without a flag. It was very sad and hilarious. This is Big Wally 2.0 I guess. 
I treated myself to a tour of the high school by just walking right in and looking around.

This looks EXACTLY the same as it did over 30 years ago.

But the gym is a lot more orange than I remember it.
I sampled the local cuisine...
Henry's: Still very inexpensive, still awesome. Bought a t-shirt here.

This is a Roxy's double deluxe, my favorite burger of all time, with a side of fried mushrooms. The secret (to the burger) is chopped green olives. It actually was a little disappointing. I may have hyped it up too much in my mind.

Blue Moon ice cream NEVER fails to live up to expectations, though!
The tour book I picked up in my hotel lobby promised even more excitement...
...but I just didn't feel up to partying with accountants.

Then it was time for the big event, the reason I was there.
I'm on the list. No backing out now.

Silent auction items. Hey, I wonder where that sweet blue sweater (autographed by Anton Stralman) came from?

Athletic director Fred Smith with opening remarks

This is women's basketball coach Lisa Gondrezick. I don't think she remembered me but we were in school together at the same time.

I got to meet coach Uzelac...
...and wound up in the paper the next day.
Pretty nice visit/vacation. I don't know when or if I'll go back, though. I felt kind of weird there. A lot of things look exactly the same but a lot of things are completely different. At any rate, different people are doing the things and patronizing the places that I used to. I felt like a tourist in my own hometown. Like it was a ghost town where I was the ghost. A little unsettling and not what I was expecting from a trip "home". Oh well. 
Go Tigers!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Here he plugs again

Come see me, along with a whole bunch of singers and dancers and musicers and poetry-ers and other comicers tomorrow in Carrollwood.

It's a benefit to raise funds for two worthy causes that help veterans, "Circle of Veterans" and "Expunge US Veterans"

"Circle of Veterans" offers a variety of services and programs designed to helps create a safe haven for veterans and soldiers to go to work on healing and recovery with like minds.

"Expunge US Veterans"  seals and expunges minor criminal histories for men and women who served at no charge. Since a criminal history is often a massive barrier to obtaining both employment and housing, sealing / expunging the criminal history helps veterans better reintegrate into civilian society. This lowers the number of veterans on the streets and restores honor not only to the veteran but to our country as well.

Life Amplified Commends
Benefit Variety Showcase
Saturday, June 25 - 1:30 PM
Carrollwood Players Theater
4333 Gunn Highway, Tampa

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

BatDad has a book

Blake Wilson, known better as "BatDad", a character he plays in hilarious Vines posted on line, has gotten a book published.
It's a book version of the hilarious Vines he posts on line. I'm willing to bet he didn't write a carefully formatted query letter that was rejected a number of times by various established publishers in an effort to get his book published. I'm willing to bet he didn't write any query letters. It's much more likely that a publisher saw the hilarious Vines he posts on line and figured that a book version of the hilarious Vines he posts on line is something that might appeal to viewers of the hilarious Vines he posts on line so they approached him with a deal to publish a book. None of that is writing a carefully crafted query letter and sending it to various established publishers who reject writers a number of times, which is what people who get paid lots of money to lecture at at conferences will tell you is the only way to get published.

If this sounds like me expressing bitterness toward Blake Wilson, I have not done a very good job of expressing myself. I hold no bitterness toward him whatsoever.
After all, I got mine
Quite the contrary, I hope he makes a billion dollars. Seriously! Why? Because he and his book illustrate perfectly, once again, that there is no such as thing as The Only Way. There used to be, but not anymore. Thank God.

Don't waste another minute.
Get out there.
Do something.
Maybe you'll get a book deal out of it! 
Whatever you do, DO NOT allow yourself to let anybody tell you that you're doing it wrong*. 

* Unless you are, in fact doing it wrong, technically. Like trying to get ketchup out of a bottle without taking the lid off. Often, there are certain steps that should be taken that will help you be more efficient. You can get ketchup out of a bottle without taking the lid off, but that's gonna be messy. If someone offers assistance with something like that, accept it with grace and carry on. You know what I mean.

Saturday, June 18, 2016


Holy shit, I have been blogging for ten years!
"What a long strange trip it's been! KIT!!!! RMA!!!!" 
"June 18, 2006: First Post

Hi there. Let me take the opportunity of this first post to go a little more in depth about me than what's covered in the profile. My name is Clark."

And with that, exactly 10 years ago, this blog came into the world not at all like a baby being born. There was no crying, no bodily fluids spilling out, no hemorrhoids. Okay, it was (and remains) purple, but other than that, the similarities between creating a blog and giving birth to a human baby child are non-existent.

Still, it's an accomplishment. Ten years is approximately nine years, 11 months and 27 days longer than the lifespans of most blogs.
Here lies what somebody thought were some really passionate views and profound thoughts at some point.
Of course, there are those who would say I'm not a true blogger by definition. In fact, renowned and respected blogger Peter Schorsch basically said as much back in 2011:
"Clark over at Ridiculous Inconsistent Trickle of Consciousness is an interesting writer, but he posted just 15 times in August, 17 times in July and 21 times in June."
That's not an invalid criticism. For the longest time, I only posted three times a week and recently cut back from that. Hey, I put the word "Inconsistent" right in the title! I knew from the beginning that I wanted to cover myself if somebody dared to try to hold me to some standard of accountability.

I actually never set out to be a blogger anyway. This whole thing began as a writing exercise. Everybody says writers should have journals. I decided to use this format to share mine with the world. Because I think everything I write is worthy of presenting to an audience? Kind of. I wanted something that would force me to write good stuff, better than what you'll find in a typical journals, which are admittedly supposed to be somewhat shoddy, at least unpolished. The idea that these entries would be open to the scrutiny of an audience was my attempt to impose some discipline on myself in terms of the quality of my output. Does that make sense?

If not, just chalk it up to me being an arrogant ass. That's also not an invalid criticism. Sometimes.
"Gather 'round, everyone! I've got some new farts for you to smell!"
 Let's look at some of the positive fallout that's resulted from this prolonged spewage of excessively self-indulgent twaddle:

  • I was able to fulfill a childhood dream when I was recruited to serve as a sports writer, first with SB Nation Tampa Bay (now defunct) and then with Raw
  • I got blocked on Twitter by local old-timey sports pundit Gary Shelton. Actually, I have no idea why he blocked me, but this blog is as good a reason as any.
Whatever, dick.
"Oh these silly things? I won these in other categories."

The obvious question to ask here is What Will Happen In The Next 10 Years? I have zero clues. All of the stuff I listed above happened since June 18, 2006, and it all happened without drawing up anything that resembles a plan. Things seemed to have worked out pretty well so why mess with it? See you next Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Plea to the People of Pinellas

Another day, another plug.
Ha ha ha ha ha!

Okay, here's what's up...

Tomorrow night, I'll be performing at Bula Kafe in St. Petersburg, in a competition presented by Kava Komedy. Performing is lots of fun in itself. Winning a competition as a performer is even more fun. Please come out to the show and help me have as much fun as humanly possible.

Now, I realize that as a call-to-action, that doesn't have, or deserve, the kind of urgency of "please donate blood!" or "please recycle!" or "please contribute to my GoFundMe account so I can establish a catch-and-release program for wayward spiders!". But there are (potential) perks for you if you show up:
"Kava Komedy has taken stand up comedy at Bula Kafe and turned it up to 11! We've got a brand new format mixing professional headliners and a weekly competition where the winner returns for a shot in the finals. It's not just a better show, we've also added VIP seating with table service and a raffle where guests can win a $20 tab with multiple drawings for bigger crowds."
Try getting that by donating blood to recycled spiders or whatever.

So, if you live in St. Pete, Clearwater, Largo, Pinellas Park or anywhere else, please seriously consider coming out for this. Okay? All right.

Comedian BC Murphy headlines Kava Komedy at Bula Kafe
Thursday, June 16 - 9 PM
Bula Kafe
2500 5th Ave N, Saint Petersburg, Florida

"Professional stand up comedy has arrived at Bula Kafe. Every 90 minute show includes a fast paced and hysterical 45 minute performance from a professional headlining comic. In addition, audience members will be treated to an opening show consisting of four guest comics performing 5 minute sets and competing for a cash prize. The best of the four will be returning in a finals round later in the season.
Join us in the VIP section for the best seats in the house, a server, and bonus tickets for our weekly raffle."
"Murphy moved from NYC to rural Florida and the culture shock still has him reeling. Silly, Smart and Sarcastic... Murphy turns his quick wit on himself, his family, and his fish-out-of-water view of the world."

Be The Lou

There is huge chaotic vibration permeating everything these last few days. It is a wave of pain, fear and unknowing.
Love is Welling in the hearts of millions of people in the form of sorrow and pity.
Innocent blood does not go unvalidated.
This tragedy will eventually evolve into a higher level of understanding, acceptance and love among human beings.
The sexuality will be minimized and we will recognize each other , soul to soul.
Let us love our Source and our Creator in a more tranquil and forgiving way.
We must pray and meditate for the removal of confusion from the hateful people's minds.
The process of pain transforming into love is a grueling experience sometimes. Millions of people will find their true path through this tragedy.
Let these painful moments pass as quickly as Grace permits." -Lou Angelwolf 6/14/16

Lou Angelwolf is a beautiful person and a very funny comedian, in that order. I need to be more like Lou.

Be The Lou. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Comedy plug-a-palooza: now with charitable causes!

Okay. Hi. How's everybody doing?
Downer last couple of days, eh?
I'll say!
Might I suggest the healing power of laughter? I might.
In fact, I will!

Here are some upcoming shows I want you to know about. A couple of them are benefit fundraisers with proceeds going to good causes, so you can make yourself feel good while doing something good for others. Win-Win!
I'm not trying to guilt you into coming out... unless that works, in which case, Win-Win-Win!

First up, we have a variety show that will benefit "Circle of Veterans" and "Expunge US Veterans" and I will be there making with the Ha Ha Hooey
Life Amplified Commends
Benefit Variety Showcase
Saturday, June 25 - 1:30 PM
Carrollwood Players Theater
4333 Gunn Highway, Tampa

Next, as in the very next day...
Humor to Help
with headliner Jim Florentine
All proceeds from tickets and silent auction will go to the victims and families of those affected by the tragic shooting in Orlando
Sunday, June 26 - 7:00 PM
Side Splitters Comedy Club
12938 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa
(NOTE: I don't expect to be performing at this show. It's possible I could be invited to participate at that level, and if that happens, I'll happily say yes. But I don't think that's likely to happen and that's perfectly fine. I've offered to help out in whatever capacity needed because I think it's a worthy cause and I want to be involved. We'll see. I'll be there regardless. Just probably not with jokes. Again, perfectly fine.)

This one is not a charity fundraiser and is of no benefit to anyone but me (hey, I'm just being honest)...
Last Comic Stranded Competition
with headliner Nick Griffin
I'll be competing for a chance to perform on Calta Cruise 10
Friday, August 5 - 10:15 PM
Side Splitters Comedy Club
12938 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa
(including all fees) when you purchase tickets on line (link below) and use my initials ("CB") as a promo code at checkout!

IN SUMMARY: For less than $50, you can see three shows, only having to put up with my jibbity jabber twice (probably) and benefiting some worthy causes in two out of three of those cases. That is the sweetest deal since doctors accepted candy as payment from diabetes patients.

Points taken

From the sarcastic...
"Remember: No matter what happens, it's all about you. Now is the perfect time to share your political beliefs and relate it to a tragedy." - Michael Murillo

To the sublime...
"My mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother's words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world." - Mr. Rogers

Yep. I get it.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Come sail me away

Have you ever wanted to put me on a boat so I could be sent off somewhere far, far away*? 
It's okay, you can answer honestly. 
Of course you have! I know I have! 

Well, here's your big chance! 

I'll be participating in the "Last Comic Stranded 2016" competition at Side Splitters on Friday, August 5th at 10:15 PM. Each comic will get 5 minutes of time. From this night two will move on to the final on August 26th. The winner of this competition will get to go on the 7-night cruise and open for comedians Ralphie May and Bert Kreisher. Popular vote will determine who wins this round and gets to compete in the finals, so I need as many people who love me unconditionally to pack the place and totally sandbag the vote. Also, you people too.
Here's some added incentive to attend this event: the great Nick Griffin will close out the show that night!
It's true; he's been on Letterman. And Conan and lots of other shows.

Here's some even more added-er incentive: Using my initials (CB) as a promo code at checkout when you buy tickets on line (see the link below) gets you in for the depravedly low price of $6.42, including taxes and service charges and everything!
This is how much of "Captain America: Civil War" you'd be able to see at that price.

Calta Cruise 10 presents:
Last Comic Stranded 2016
Friday, August 5
10:15 PM
Side Splitters Comedy Club
12938 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa
(Don't forget to use CB as your promo code)

* = I'd be coming back at some point, you dicks.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The talk my dad never had to have with me

Sit down, Clark. We need to have a chat.

You're my son and I love you. And as a result, I will support you in any endeavor you choose to undertake. I don't care if you grow up to be the President of the United States or if you're a plumber or a doctor or a retail clerk or a short-order cook. It doesn't matter.

Unless you turn out to be a raping piece of shit.

If that happens, you're on your own.

Let me explain. You're young and you may be prone to taking things too literally. When I say "piece of shit", I don't mean feces, waste product or excrement. I mean a bad person who is so bad that the only accurate way to describe them is to compare them directly to feces, waste product and excrement. And by raping, I mean being a rapist or one who rapes. Do you understand? Good.

Don't hurt other people. That includes, don't take things that don't belong to you. Don't cheat. Don't bully anyone. Be kind to animals. Don't damage property. Basically, don't do anything to anybody else that you wouldn't want done to you. Avoid that and you'll be guaranteed of not being a piece of shit. And especially don't rape people.

There are instances where you could probably get away with being a rapist piece of shit. In all likelihood, you're going to be bigger and stronger than many women and overpowering them for the purpose of violating them will not be all that difficult. Also, you're white so even if you get caught, your chances of getting a relatively favorable outcome in a court proceeding are pretty good. But that's just all the more reason to not be a piece of shit. Exploiting an unfair advantage is a real piece of shit move. Let me be clear about that; if you develop athletic skills that make you a better athlete than other people, by all means, utilize your abilities to be the best you can be. But don't play against small children or the disabled, and if you do, don't strike them out with 85 MPH curveballs or dunk on them. You know who would do something like that? A real piece of shit. Apply that mindset to how you should treat women; don't rape them.

I'm telling you this because while these things may seem to be obvious and self-evident to any sentient being with a conscience, I don't feel like I can leave that up to you. Sorry. You might be a piece of shit in waiting and I don't want to take any chances. I don't necessarily think you are but I have no way of knowing that at this point, other than hoping my own personal actions have set some sort of example and that you were born with at least a modicum of common sense and basic morality. Who knows, though? If you do turn out to be a piece of shit who rapes people, I don't want anybody saying I didn't do everything I could to keep it from happening. It's a small world and I have to live in it after you shit it up.

In case you're on the fence right now, contemplating which direction you want to take in life, believe me when I tell you that there's no long-term benefit to being a piece of shit rapist. You may enjoy some temporary, superficial sense of satisfaction. You may even profit from your horrible actions. That may last for years and years but it will eventually end and you'll be alone. Eventually, usually sooner than later, people will hate you and you'll hate yourself. Why? Because you'll be a piece of shit. You may be a piece of shit who got over on decent people for a while, but you'll still be a piece of shit. And nobody likes a piece of shit.

Now, if you decide to ignore all the reasons not to be a piece of shit who rapes people, including this talk we're having right now, you need to know what responsibility and consequences are. Responsibility is being accountable and the ability to act independently and make decisions without authorization. Consequences are what happens as a result of a particular action or set of conditions. They're two equal parts of the same equation. You are responsible for your actions as well as the consequences of those actions. When you're a piece of shit, you're responsible for the shit that happens as a result of your shittiness. Nobody else. Just your shitty self. That not only means it's nobody else's fault and you shouldn't blame me or anybody else for it, it means you shouldn't even expect to be able to pull that shit. Get it?

Let's say you do something shitty. Like, oh, I don't know, say you regard women as anything less than human beings and you rape them and you get in trouble for it. You call me up to tell me about it and here's how that conversation will go:
"Dad, I've done something shitty. In spite of everything you taught me and my own sense of what's right and wrong, I raped somebody."
"Well, I guess you're a piece of shit."
That's it.

Don't get the wrong idea. I'm not talking about making mistakes. That's going to happen. You're going to make mistakes. Lots of 'em and some of them will be really shitty mistakes. As long as you learn some kind of lesson and don't fall into a pattern of repeating those mistakes and you don't disregard a person's humanity by raping them, I'll help you out. No, I'm not talking about lapses and errors in judgment. I'm talking about living your life with a general lack of regard for others and a sense of entitlement that prohibits you from taking responsibility for your actions.

I'm saying don't be a piece of shit. And specifically, don't rape.

Okay, son? Good talk.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Here's me, not telling you what to do

Guess what time it is?
It's Creative Loafing Best of the Bay 2016 time!

Woop woop!

As you may recall, after years of various levels of passive-aggressive campaigning, I finally won last year.
I got mine!
Thank you, thank you (and suck it, Susan Edwards).

Now, being as that was the successful conclusion of a quest, I don't feel like I need the validation that comes with winning an award like that. Please don't vote for me. Actually, at this point they're accepting nominations. Voting comes later.

So don't nominate me and then also don't vote for me later.
Unless you want to.
Who am I to tell you what to do?
Do whatever you want.

You have so many options! Here they are, along with the consequences of each action, because an informed voter is a voter who is informed:

  • Don't nominate anybody or vote for anything at all. PRO: Saves time. CON: I probably won't win, which is fine.
  • Nominate somebody besides me, whomever you want, and then vote for them later. PRO: Somebody who is not me will win, which is fine. CON: I definitely won't win, which is fine.
  • Nominate me if I'm the somebody you want to nominate, then follow up with voting later. PRO: I might win, and that would really piss off the haters who were super-jammed about me winning last year, which would be kind of hilarious. CON: I might not win, which is fine.
The choice(s) is (are) yours. Whatever you decide to do is fine. Honestly.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Sad clowns

Nobody likes complaining.
Actually, that's not accurate: Everybody loves complaining. Nobody likes listening to complaining.
I'm no different. Even though I now recognize and appreciate that I have very little to legitimately complain about, I still do it. And since I'm not truly suffering in any meaningful way, that means when I rage about something trivial like how much of my day is spent sitting at traffic lights and how they serve no purpose other than impeding me from getting somewhere, it is strictly a recreational activity that I must secretly enjoy.
Welcome to Tampa
But I do not enjoy listening to others complain. Not on any level, not at all. It's their thing and brings me no enjoyment whatsoever, so what's the point? Keep that shit bottled up inside where it can kill you or whatever it takes to keep me from hearing about it.

Especially if you're a comic.

(Most of what follows applies to just about any job or creative pursuit or any endeavor that you are passionate about and should be at least somewhat fulfilling. Heed my words because I'm enough of an expert on everything that I should totally be telling people what to do.)

Here are two articles I've come across recently written by comedians about what a drag it is to be a comedian.

Boo. Hoo.

Yeah, comedy is not easy.
Yeah, people who don't know better say things and ask questions that aren't fun to hear.
Yeah, nobody understands The Struggle.

And guess what? Nobody cares. Nor should they. That's the territory. It's a medium designed for unpredictable give-and-take and that naturally means it isn't always going to go the way you want it to. Listen, if the rewards you're experiencing don't outweigh these petty annoyances by at least a 2/1 ratio (two good things for every one shitty thing), you might be chasing the wrong dreams. This is where I could insert some corny metaphor about how embarking on journeys is always far more meaningful than arriving at destinations but I'm not going to, even though it would be apt, because you should already know that, having heard some variation on that theme hundreds of times. You're going to spend more time reaching than getting and if that's making you miserable, STOP, for God's sake! 
At least consider that option and read this article while you do so.

Because here's the thing: most, if not all of those people who don't understand what you do, who say or ask what seem like insensitive things to you, think you're a fucking hero. I haven't even been at it that long and I've lost count of how many times someone has told me how BRAVE they think I am, how they can't imagine having the COURAGE it must take to stand up in front of strangers and try to make them laugh. On one hand, I kind of get that: doing stand-up comedy gives people the chance to hate you and the material you produce, plus you're up there all alone without the benefit of being able to blame a bad performance on dudes in your band. On the other hand; Bravery? Courage? I'm not jumping out of helicopters and saving lives, for cryin' out loud. But that's how people see it and their perception is their reality. You might want to cut some slack to people who see you in that light.
Be gracious, you prick
Here's another thing: you might have started doing this as a means of gratifying yourself, seeking approval or "love" or whatever is lacking in your life or some other completely selfish desire AND THAT'S PERFECTLY FINE! As long as you understand that at the same time, you committed yourself to serve others (in the from of audiences) as an entertainer. You get self-gratification and instant feedback in the form of laughter and applause (ideally) in exchange for what you give the audience. They're not your adversaries. They have shown faith in you by paying money and paying attention to what you have to say (again, ideally). They're entitled to expect it's going to be good. That's the contract you signed when you started this. You can opt out anytime you want, but the terms are non-negotiable. 
There's also a "no bitching about it" clause
Look, I'm in no position to present myself as anybody's mentor. But I'm not above offering help if I can. So with that intention, here's a little mantra I've cooked up for myself. Feel free to use it if you think it could be helpful to you...
  • Show up on time
  • Hit your mark
  • Be good
  • Get out
  • Repeat
Or there's always the abbreviated version...
  • Shut up and be funny
Either way, good luck out there.