Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Welcome back to real life in the post-holiday world!

Hey there! So how was your Christmas? Or the start of Hanukkah? Or the beginning of Kwanza?
"Oh man, it was nuts. My family is crazy! Crazy!!"
Oh yeah, I bet. Grandma is a racist. Uncle is drunk the whole time. Sister-In-Law is just an asshole. Mom and dad treat you like you're still a kid. That does sound crazy! I wouldn't know; most of my is dead, so I don't have those problems.

But it's entirely possible that your perspective on life in the rest of the world has been skewed by so much time spent in close quarters with your own bloodline. And as "crazy" as your holidays may have seemed, let me assure you that it's still straight-up insanity out here. To help you re-adjust to life in that reality, here are some headlines from Tuesday's, a major media outlet that spent much of the day screaming this in our faces...

Ginger ISIS fanatic orders beheading of elderly prisoner in front of a baying crowd after accusing the pensioner of being a WIZARD

Woman 'watched her stepdaughter being molested by a man in a park - but didn't intervene because she got distracted talking to other people'

Refugee worker, 31, is stabbed to death in Christmas bloodbath in a leafy English village

Penguins prefer to eat sexually aroused jellyfish to krill and shrimp, study finds

'I warned you, do not approach the bear!' Grizzly in a ridiculous costume attacks TV presenter who got a bit too close 

Witch doctor accused of burying evil charms under the homes of his rivals is stripped naked, beaten and paraded around his village in a wheelbarrow
Worst Uber ride ever

Shoe retailer under fire for telling women to take wolf whistles as a 'compliment' and to 'cover up and wear loose clothing' while running

'Heaven has gained another angel': Heartbroken daughter pays tribute to murdered father, 43, after he was 'battered to death by a bodybuilder'

Boy, 10, has his penis sliced in half with a laser during botched circumcision operation

Angry mall elf 'MACES family who brought three-year-old to meet Santa' after they tried to take a picture of her

Teenager, 19, born without arms and legs and forced to live in a plastic BUCKET in Nigeria dies on Christmas Day

Trump adviser who hoped Barack Obama dies of mad cow disease and wanted Michelle to live with a gorilla now says he's 'not a racist' and sent the cruel jokes by 'mistake'

Chaos reigns as malls across the country break out into mass brawls

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Viva Ybor!

Now that I spend a lot of time doing this stand-up comedy thing, I spend a lot of time in Ybor City. Because stand-up comedy happens in bars and taverns and Ybor is where the bars and taverns are. For those of you unaware, Ybor City is Tampa's equivalent of the French Quarter in New Orleans or Rush Street in Chicago. I'm not saying it's better than or even equivalent to, but it is Tampa's party district so maybe I am.

It wasn't always that way. Ybor was originally the first real settlement in the Tampa area, home to thousands of hard-working immigrants from Cuba, Italy and Spain who came here to make cigars. Now it's where people come to get weird. I spend a lot more time there now than I did when I was an age where getting weird is not only acceptable but encouraged. Maybe I'm a late bloomer or just slow on the uptake. That's just how it goes, I guess.

Ybor City is a strange place full of strange people doing strange things. I love it! In Ybor, you'll come across homeless people who will try to sell you a crucifix that they've made out of fallen palm fronds. Great. Religious symbols and yard waste; two things I don't want in my home. Yet, in Ybor City, this is a business somehow.
During my brief-but-anxiety-ridden tenure as a taxi cab driver, my one sure source of revenue was to make sure I was in Ybor at closing time and look for the white girls, sitting on the curb alone, abandoned by their pack, crying. "I am sooooo mad at my friends right now!" Hop in. Clearwater? No problem! What? Sarasota? Even better!
I don't drive a cab anymore but life goes on and so does Ybor.

A few months ago, one of the bigger clubs in Ybor burned down. Why? Because a non-licensed contractor screwed up while trying to mount a disco ball.
At the time, I thought that was a pretty good summation of what Ybor is all about. But then this happened...

A couple of weeks ago, a bunch of dudes got into a brawl outside of a bar in Ybor at 3:30 in the morning. That ended when somebody drove their car into the bunch of brawling dudes and also into the bar innocently minding its business behind them. Here's video of that happening, followed by some observations...

  • First of all, who mounted the security cameras in Ybor, Martin Scorsese? This entire thing is framed and focused PERFECTLY.
  • It's impossible to tell who's on whose side here. It's six or seven dudes, all fighting each other. When are there ever six or seven sides to an argument, all worth defending by getting into a fist fight?
  • Apparently, it's really difficult to stand up when you're wearing red shoes. Or wasted. Or both.
  • My favorite part of the whole thing is how everybody just kind of saunters away after the crash. As though to acknowledge, "well, nothing is going to top that."
  • I couldn't find the particular news report I saw when I first heard about this, which is a shame because I could have shown you the TV reporter who felt obligated to speak on behalf of the chamber of commerce, commenting "This incident doesn't represent what Ybor City is all about." Um, yes it does! It's the most Ybor thing that's ever happened in the history of Ybor. The only thing that could make this more representative of what Ybor is all about is if had been homeless drag queens fighting and not just random bro dudes. Sorry, generations of hard-working immigrants. This is Ybor today. They should figure out a way to make this video into a flag and fly it over the Columbia Restaurant (see photo at the top of this story). That's how representative of Ybor this is.
    Artist's MS Paint rendition of how that would look.
  • The reporter also mentioned that the bar didn't plan on closing for repair. Well, of course the bar didn't plan on closing! Why would anybody even think that might happen? I guarantee they didn't even open late the next day. Slap some plywood up there and open the taps! This is Ybor, baby!
  • The reason Tampa PD made this video available is that at the time, they were having difficulty tracking down the driver of the car, as well as the brawling dudes. This in spite of having the car. Now, I'm not a detective, but...did nobody look up the license plate? Or the Vehicle Identification Number on the dashboard? Or any of the dozen or so (I'm presuming) other ways to track down the owner of a car available to the police, especially when that car is in police possession?
  • Apparently it's harder to solve crimes when the people involved leave the scene before the cops get there. I'll bet this was not received well by all the people in jail to whom it never occurred to just get out of the vicinity. "You mean we didn't have to stick around after we robbed the bank? Well, shit!". So many perfect crimes foiled by criminals inability to plan an effective escape (effective escape = going somewhere else after).

If all of this sounds like I'm bagging on Ybor and that I don't like the place, then I'm not conveying the right sentiment. I love it! The Double Decker Lounge used to host the open mic where I did stand-up for the first 30 or 40 times so it'll always be home to me. Plus, I adopted the owner's cat, Muschi.
As seen when it's time to get up and prepare her breakfast
My friend Amy DeMilo is an Ybor personality, hosting Drag Queen Bingo at Hamburger Mary's and performing at the Honey Pot and other venues.
When not modeling for book covers
I've performed and had lots of fun in other places in Ybor. Such as Liquid, a gay bar that features a stage with a pulsating column of lights throbbing in the middle of it.

You have to navigate high and narrow steps to get up there and I thought about complaining, until I thought about how many people have managed to climb up there wearing 5" heels.

It's important to put things in perspective.

And that's why I can happily say I love Ybor City.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Just some suggestions...

Hi. Let's take a look at your calendar, shall we?

Here's you:
"Oh shit, what am I gonna do for Christmas?!?"

Here's me:

Here's you:
"Whew! Thanks! But...OH NO!...What about ringing in 2017?!?"

Here's me:

Here's you:
"Okay, good. Nice call. But...DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN!!...What about exactly two weeks into the new year?!?!?!?!?"

Here's me:
"An exercise in artistic protest, The *Not Normal Show will feature the great upcoming performers in this area, featuring comedy from Becca Childs, Melissa Nicholas, Blake MacIntyre, CJ Hernandez, and Clark Brooks. Musical performances from Tory Masci, Official.DMT, and Jâŷ Çâmârø.

$15 donation at the door, the proceeds go to the Hillsborough Naacp Branch, and The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay." 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

"Homesick" for the holidays

I recently came across an ad for Homesick Candles. Pretty simple; they make candles with scents that represent certain areas, presumably for people from those areas who miss them. For example, if you're from Michigan, like I am, the Michigan candle "Takes you back to The Great Lakes State, with scents reminiscent of indian summers, cherries, and chocolate".
No, it doesn't smell like rust and Flint tap water.

I don't want one because I don't really miss Michigan all that much, but it's a pretty great idea. If the concept takes off, they can boil it down to very specific niches.

For instance, lots of people who start out in stand-up comedy don't stick with it for long. They don't like the hours. They get frustrated by a lack of success. They meet someone who loves them. For any number of reasons, they decide it's something they don't want to pursue. But maybe they remember their experiences fondly and kind of miss it a little bit. Well, here's the perfect gift for them...
It's the Homesick Open Mic Comedy candle!

Shipping note: Product ships by 12/20 and Christmas delivery is not guaranteed.

* Takes you back to those Wednesday nights when you were 28th on the list of 29 comedians scheduled to do five minutes ("you'll get the light at four and don't go over, or I'll cut your mic and you'll never do time here again, you sonuva...") at a dump called 'The Fiddlestick Grill' (or something equally stupid) in front of less than 10 actual customers who all thought it was supposed to be karaoke night ("Well, fuck. We might as well stick around for a while, since we're here..."), with scents reminiscent of nicotine, beer, despair and all the shitty ideas you wrote down in your old notebooks.
Standard issue for all comedians

* Made from all natural soy wax in the USA
* Typical burn time is 60 - 80 hours (which is 40 - 60 more hours than you invested in your comedy, if you're being honest about it)
* Candles weigh 13.75 oz each
* Hand-poured

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

It's annual holiday extravaganza special time again!

Once again, we're smack in the middle of the holiday season and once again, that means it's time to bring back your favorite immature robot with a foul mouth in lieu of writing new stuff!

Enjoy as much as possible!

Hey, do you want to see more videos? Then click here! (WARNING: Not all of them feature profanity-spewing robots.)

Friday, December 02, 2016

Lend me your ear holes

Tired of reading my nonsense? Listen to it instead!

I will be on Rachel Rowan's "Afternoon Delight" show on WUSF radio (1620AM / 89.7FM or right here on your on-line computing device machine) today (Friday, Dec. 2) at 5:00PM!

What will we talk about? I have no clue, but that has never stopped me from talking in the past.

I'm sure I'll be delightful. Rachel is, so I'll follow her lead.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

The standard for getting a town named after you has changed

I'm performing at a show in Brooksville, Florida this weekend. Specifically, this show:
Hey, Brooksville! My name is Brooks! Maybe I'm related to the person the town is named after and it'll be a big deal for me to perform there!
Well, I sure as hell hope not, because the town is named after this guy...
You don't see a resemblance, do you?
"Preston Smith Brooks (August 5, 1819 – January 27, 1857) was an American politician and Member of the US House of Representative from South Carolina, serving from 1853 until his resignation in July 1856 and again from August 1856 until his death.
Brooks, a Democrat, was a fervent advocate of slavery and states' rights. He is primarily remembered for his May 22, 1856 assault upon abolitionist and Republican Senator Charles Sumner; Brooks beat Sumner with a cane on the floor of the United States Senate in retaliation for an anti-slavery speech..." - Wikipedia

His greatest achievement was beating the living shit out of a senator for speaking out against slavery, for which they named a town after him. That's equal parts badass and horrifying at the same time.
Step yo' game up and get on great-great-great grandpa Brooks' level of intolerance and hatred, Trump. You pussy.

Yeah, I think I'll just slip in, do the show and leave.

The Brooksville Comedy Show
hosted by Melissa Nickolas
1320 Commercial Way
Spring Hill, FL
Sunday, December 4th - 6 PM
Me, Tim Chirikalov, David Wayne