A Teaching Moment

A Teaching Moment


As you read this, I’m between gigs in Wisconsin, Chicago and Indiana. I’ll be hanging with the best friend I ever made in this business, Nick Gaza. He’s the complete opposite of me. A gregarious, outgoing guy who makes friends and people around him laugh easily.

I, on the other hand, am an introvert offstage and people who don’t know me are usually afraid to approach me. I like it that way. On the other hand, psycho’s feel comfortable around me and approach me all the time. I don’t know why that is. I have no explanation.

Anyway, I will be taking the rest of the week off from this post as Nick and I work on what I hope will be a very funny video. Maybe two. If no videos come from our time together it’s probably because we finally got on each other’s nerves.

When I get home, I will be starting the next round of classes I teach. Beginning in October, I will have a second class at Community College of Allegheny County. One of the main things I stress in my Stand-Up classes is not to have an attitude before you have an act. You really should never have an attitude, but some people can’t help themselves.

My reason for writing this is a new person trying to get into the business, is starting by digging himself into a hole.

Apparently, he showed up for his first open mike and didn’t like the way things were handled. He put his name on the list and the list got shuffled and people were moved ahead of him. Here’s the deal. YOU’VE NEVER BEEN ONSTAGE BEFORE!

When I first signed up for open mikes, I was last. Nobody knew who I was and I had no experience. That’s how it works. Just because you think you’re funny. Nobody knows that yet. You have to prove yourself.

If you’re good, you will get moved up to earlier spots. Just because you walk in and put your name down, they’re not saying,

“I think this guy will be really good. We should put him up whenever he wants.”

This guy also wasn’t happy because some people walked in and got spots before him and others. Well…maybe these people have been doing this for a while. Maybe they even make money at it. That’s the deal. If a good funny act walks in, they get precedent.

If I walk into an open mike night to watch some of my students, I’m always extended the courtesy of

“Do you want to go up?”

Then, I have the choice to go up whenever I want. That’s because, I’ve been doing comedy professionally, longer than most of them have been alive…One of the privileges of getting old…That, and twenty percent off at Denny’s.

The reason I know about this person’s displeasure with his open mike experience is because he took it upon himself to post a bad review on Reddit.

Would you bad mouth a restaurant before they brought your food? Would you give them the chance to add whatever they wanted to it before it left the kitchen?

Trashing the local scene before you’ve ever been onstage is not the best way to make friends in this business. I always tell my students, be nice to everybody. You never know if they can help you down the road. It takes more effort to be an asshole than a decent person.

Yeah, I could go around trashing people. Of course then I wouldn’t have a great friend like Nick. Oh, I’ll bad mouth him when I get home. But, like I said, I’m hanging with him right now.

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