Apologies to regular fans of my Friday blog. I’m going to do things a little differently today.
I’ve been writing Shit that Pissed me off most Fridays for the last three years. I enjoy it as an exercise in writing humor and in exploring my opinions about what is happening in the world around me. Since I’ve started writing the column, it has never coincided with my birthday.
Well this year, it has.
So I decided instead of spending my birthday thinking about stuff that annoys me, I’m going to write about things that make me happy. I’ll post this week’s shit that pissed me off on Monday. Because even on my birthday, there are things that piss me off.
I begin my 48th year today and in honor of that, here are 48 things that make me happy.
1. I’ve been married to the same amazing woman for the last 25 1/2 years. She is brilliant, courageous, thoughtful, sexy, and supportive. She laughs at some of my jokes. She listens when I’m in a bad mood. She corrects me when I’m wrong. There is not a night that goes by where I am not happy we share a bed, a home, and a life.
2. I’ve got one fantastic mother. She loves math and has spent her life finding ways to help others love it too. She loves being an amateur artist. She is a fun travel companion. Any day I know I’m going to see her is automatically a good day.
3. My oldest son is great. He’s clever, cheerful, fun, and affectionate. He grew several inches in the last year and is starting to show signs of facial hair. Pretty soon, he’s going to learn how to drive and get a job and start looking at colleges. I’m not sure I’m ready for any of that.
4. My youngest son is wonderfully creative. The way he builds new Lego structures and describes ideas for new games or parks or dinosaurs shows boundless inventiveness. His head must be such an interesting place to live.
5. My Brother is full of passion and energy. He has been remarkably successful in not just the field he has chosen to pursue, but most anything he decides to accomplish. We have a great relationship hampered only by the distance that separates us.
6. My Sister-in-law has a sharp sense of humor, an infectious positive attitude, and seems like a perfect partner for my brother.
First off, we made our pre-event goal for Die Laughing and that is amazing! The board offered a $500 matching grant prior to the opening of Die Laughing and we have already raised $500. That means we’ve actually raised $1000. Which is amazing.
This blog entry is about my weekend schedule. I’m not just the Artistic Director of Fearless Comedy Productions, I’m also a performer. I’ll be performing a lot this weekend so here, in tiring detail, is what I’ll be doing.
Friday, March 6th
7:00 PM – We kick off the marathon with Fearless Lab. I’m going to be judging a Vilification Tennis match featuring the last four winners of our amateur show – Nick Glover, Molly Glover, Eric Thompson and Duck Washington. There will also be stand-up comedy, short form improv and a variety of other stuff. We also kick off the marathon with a $250 matching grant so help us get started right!
Saturday, March 7th
Midnight – PowerPoint Karaoke. I’m one of the presenters in my favorite improv game of all time. Presenters are given a series of slides that make no sense and must make up a presentation based on the slides. Also presenting will be Windy Bowlsby and Dawn Krosnowski. It should be amazing. Also, we have a $250 matching grant from CONvergence during that hour!
I hate asking people for money. It makes me uncomfortable. I know I’m not alone. Asking for money is hard.
But one thing I’ve learned in the last several years is this: The best way to get people to give you money is to tell them you want it. Nobody has unlimited funds but everyone is prepared to pay something for a thing they feel strongly about.
The Dregs are able to get five dollars per requested song because we have set the price and people want to pay it. We make it clear that there is a price for our services.
So what I’m asking for today is your money. Fearless Comedy needs your support this weekend and there are a lot of ways you can help us out. As I wrote yesterday, we have a lot of plans for the funds we are raising.
First, if you are thinking about donating at least $50, consider a matching grant. Pick an hour during the event and match donations up to a certain amount. This has a great impact because it means people are more likely to contribute because their donation is effectively doubled. The donation you were going to make anyway is also doubled.
Your donation can be anonymous or we can put your name on it.
If you would like to set up a matching grant, e-mail email@example.com and I will help you set it up.
I’m spending most of this week working on Die Laughing for Fearless Comedy Productions and that means I’m writing about the event. A lot.
So please forgive me if you’ve seen this information before. It’s important so I’m making sure that it shows up in a lot of different places.
Today’s blog is going to discuss why we are doing a fundraiser in the first place. It is really easy to ask people for money. It is a lot more important to make sure they know why we are asking for money.
Our goal for this event is $10,069, which is a juvenile joke. That’s our specialty! It also is probably not enough. We’d be much happier if we made closer to $15,000. I’m going to try to explain why.
I’ve developed a lot of friends at the Fringe over the years. At first, I would try very hard to see all of their shows because that’s what friends do. Over time, I’ve reached the point where watching every show by a friend could mean I’d never see anything by someone I don’t know.
So I reached the point where I realized that everyone I knew was in the same boat as me. Making a choice to miss a friend’s show isn’t personal. You are only going to see so many shows over the course of eleven days.
When you reach that conclusion, it takes a little bit of the pressure off.
So if you are a friend of mine and I missed your show this year, I’m sorry. If you missed mine, that is OK too. I’m sure we can all still be friends.
David is another very new friend. I’ve known him for less than a year. He tried out for Vilification Tennis at this year’s amateur show. He didn’t make it into the cast because I only have room for one person this year but we did invite him to be a part of Fearless and that has proven to be a great choice.
I have so much respect for anyone who tries out for Vilification Tennis through the amateur show. It’s about the scariest possible proposition I can think of to try out for a show in front of a live audience. It’s a lot like American Idol without the slightest possibility of achieving any kind of celebrity.
David is well-known in geek circles as Captain America. He’s got the look and the costume and he clearly exercises a lot more than I do.
As a part of Fearless, he’s been willing to jump into just about anything we need him to do. When we wrote the halftime show for CONvergence this year, we decided to plug Captain America into the show because we had the perfect Captain America.
His small role underwent a whole lot of changes between first draft and final staging and he was a complete pro about all of it. As a producer, it is great to have people who you can plug into a small but important role and know that they are going to rock it.
There are a lot of people who try out for Vilification Tennis and only a few make it into the cast. The ones who don’t make it into the cast are typically pretty gracious and I don’t see much of them ever again.
The cool thing about Fearless is we have an opportunity to bring some of those new people with us into other performing opportunities. I’m really glad that we made that decision because it has allowed me to get to know David a lot better over the last few months.
I’ve known Salsa since the day he asked me if he could try out for Vilification Tennis. He got up on stage that day and did…OK. But he’s gotten a lot better since then. In fact, I think he has improved with each passing year.
Salsa is always trying to get better. He is very analytical by nature and that means he spends a good amount of time looking at what he is doing and trying to figure out how to do it better. It also means he is very good at analyzing what others are doing well and doing poorly.
As part of Fearless, he is putting together some new shows and I really enjoy watching him work to expand what he is doing creatively. He’s been doing that for a while now with the Fandazzi Fire Circus as well. He’s got that bug to create new things and I think that’s great.
He’s grown more confident on stage in the last few years as well. It has really made a big difference in his stage presence and in the audience’s response to his material.
He’s also completely willing to give something new a try. When I decided I wanted to do a radio play at a Vilification Tennis show, he volunteered to do sound effects. That turned into a regular gig with Big Fun Radio Funtime.
Why did he agree to do it? It wasn’t because he had any experience. It was because he wanted to try something new. He’s been learning as he goes but it sure does seems like he’s enjoying the process.
Since I met him, Salsa has gone from a young guy trying to figure out how to be good at things to someone who is viewed as a leader and a mentor. He has gotten there through hard work and careful thought.
It has been a pleasure to watch that process happen.
Salsa is a co-host of the Apropos of Nothing Podcast. You should check it out!