An casual article from 1988 detailing the style and substance of Bay Area comedy legend Barry Sobel. Concise and informative, a nice window into scope of Sobel’s career.

Hey Mom, I’ve been published!

[I did an article on Snob Theater featured in Re: Comedy Magazine. Check it out: here (you have to buy it, but please do because it’s low cost and good and me)]

Hey Mom, I’ve been published!

[I did an article on Snob Theater featured in Re: Comedy Magazine. Check it out: here (you have to buy it, but please do because it’s low cost and good and me)]

Comedian Highlight: Jesse Elias

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s with the utmost sincerity that I present these words to you. The following is a combination of truth, facts, opinion, lies, hyperbole and poetry put forward with love and admiration. This article will fall sure in expressing everlasting justice and will only serve as a landmark on an ever-expanding horizon. Still, if this writing increases awareness to a single person, it has served its intended purpose. Without further ado, Courting Comedy gives you Mr. Jesse Elias.

A crest of applause rises as dual spotlights converge center stage and the curtain splits down the middle. The illumination bounces off a frizzy-haired, svelte, bespectacled young man in a powder blue collared shirt and khaki pants: Jesse Elias. He slumps to the microphone; head lowered, left hand stained with dark markings and ojos obscured by lens sheen and head shag. His physicality is skittish yet endearing and his unique tonality completes the facade.

“Um, so yeah.”

Intrigue and assumption clash and cascade in the audience; Elias is an eelias, difficult to grasp and electric upon contact. The gravity of Jesse’s persona is genuine. The subsequent genius is pronounced with great pace, wit and design. His attention to the past gives way to glorious observations in the present leading undoubtedly to a bright future. Elias’ humor is marinated in history: war history, food history, game history, performance arts history, American history, world-wide-web history and most importantly, comedy history. Jesse knows the standards, decries the shortcuts and defines new age classical comedy.

Jesse Elias is the voice of a generation, a foremost speaker on growing up in the Nineteen-Nineties and early twenty-first century. He represents a 4chan champion probing the loneliness and loathing caused by the idolized missed connectivity of the here and now. He is the social disenfranchisement that refuses glorification or being pandered to. He uses aural hypertext mark-up language and acute satire beyond the question of “Why?” in search of the exclamation “Huh?” With Elias, the idea, concept and aesthetic are king. He overlooks the valley of creativity, wrecked by deforestation perpetuated by hacks. He cringes with disappointment. Then, with a green tongue, he pollinates the field with hope.

Jesse once explained the loose gravity he feels on stage that allows him to hover so effortlessly. According to Jesse, the stage and microphone creates another existence, an unreal reality. The outside world is very cold, the stage is usually warm and the microphone is always hot. Elias feels, looks and sounds comfortable on stage and it’s a beautiful realization to know you’re free.

It’s exciting to see the seemingly small stone make so many waves and ripples. The majority respect and admire the rapid brilliance pulsing in Jesse work and personality. The minority quakes with jealousy, green eyes observing the prestige and ascension. Elias barely plays by show business’ politically rules; he perpetually grows because and in service to his talent. Opportunity seeks Jesse because it knows the wiry prodigy will deliver in amazing fashion.

In addition to his stand-up ability, Elias processes a cache of talents in other mediums. Portraits, hypothetical landscapes, 8-bit illustrations, MIDI compositions and an excellent countertenor voice are a few of Jesse’s skills loosely showcased on the Internet. It’s daunting to know that Elias’ exploits are stymied by a lull in time and funds. One can only anticipate and imagine the wonderment of a Jesse Elias film, animation or video game.

Of course Elias will shy away from all this adulation, shrink from the attention and praise. It is apart of Jesse’s loveable nature, the shell of humbleness he retreats into. For now the shell is beneficial; Elias incubates in the nurturing goo of his consciousness, warmed from above by the Bay Area’s comedic posterior. Nevertheless that shell will crack one day and a fully formed Jesse Elias will emerge as the cult protagonist he’s destined to be. Until then the hip will marvel at the golden wunderkind, blinding the underground with his saturated reflection.

Jesse Elias, illustrated by Leslie Winchester

Comedian Highlight: Nina (Key of G)

The misunderstanding of Miss Understanding

Great, grand, gracious

Mind sharp, heart spacious

Truth holding defender

against the ignorant and racists

Nina from Alameda

An inspiration and a leader

Whose brain requires her to be a syllable repeater

Whose mouth becomes a heater

to roast ye hacky cheaters

Who mockingly repeat her

But surely can’t defeat her

As she speaks ether through the speakers

Changing the grey matter of all receivers

Turning unknowing to true believers

The miseducation of Miss Education

Truth be told, she would hold

Dreams of bounding boards since eleven years old

Martin, Radner, Pryor inspired

Nina to speak through wires

but internal fire met a world quite cold

And her special speech turned to fear

That kept her growth in stunted control

Her voice silent for years

til an epiphany told her need to be bold

And weave back breaking straws into comedy gold

In demand from Vegas to Sacramento

Her art to create, destiny to take hold

The misadventures of Miss Adventure

And now she stands bookended by bookers

Trying to book her or trying to “book” her

A minority within a minority within a minority

A fresh commodity for the majority

Quickly rising despising conformity

A crusader smuggling social justice in sex jokes

Satire in words spoke

of where she’s been and where she’s going

All the while enjoying

Sharing in the artform of Bruce and Carlin

The daring darling

Nina with two “N”s

Double birds til the end

For cocksuckers and friends

whilst in a key of “G”. 

Nina. Photo by. Imran G (no relation). 

Comedian Highlight: Roman Leo

In the foggy palace of Berkeley, ten minutes from the movie theater, down a gentle slop of matted grass and up a procession of man-laid stones licked with mossy macula is a log cabin. This redwood cabin: sapping, rugged and quaint, stands crystallized in steamy ambiguity. No fence, no mailbox, an empty yard beyond a large, unmarked stone rumored to rest upon a late bear. The chimney pumps carbon triple time, a never-ceasing eruption of silver plum. Every night ‘round dusk the cabin’s inhabitant appears: an ice-eyed, Viking-visage mountaineer named Roman. In his hands is a machine.

The machine is a curious thing. It rests on its side coiled with coils, compressed with springs, washed with washers, screwed with screws, polished with polish, rivets and bolts and copper and steel and nickel. It looks like it performs a number of functions with its abstract mid 20th century design but it doesn’t. The machine has no basis of utility. It’s pretty, clever, inside is a pulsing core of gold and every day something is added or removed as an organic, inorganic piece of modern ingenuity. Still, the machine has no purpose beyond pleasure, pride and gratification. The machine simply is and every night Roman Leo takes it out to be gawked at, measures its success and returns to his cabin to work on it again.

I Feel You Pulling For Me, Especially in the Bathroom – OH!

The machine started over a year ago in little galleries on 7th and Folsom, Larkin and O’Farrell, Columbus and Kearny. The galleries are where machinist show off their inventions and improvements. Roman’s machine is well regarded in the community; some enjoy the crude oil lube, some enjoy the well-structured design, some enjoy the encroaching rust, some like the shiny passive aggressiveness. It’s a hard machine to compartmentalize. It’s also made of metal.

I Feel I’ve Wasted the Last Ten Years of My Life

Roman wasn’t always a machinist, he used to live in Ohio. Swimming, fratting and facing rejection in barber shops, Roman was the any man. He collected compact discs and went on measured adventures. Eventually he became married and he never really thought of machines, let alone being an inventor. But machinists are born, they possess a certain mind and it’s hard to ignore the call to build especially when blueprints inexplicitly start tracing themselves on napkins and notebooks.

The rest is undoubtedly a mystery. How did Roman become an everyman machinist living in a log cabin in Berkeley? How does Roman cultivate an insane work ethic that leaves his fingers cut, burned and covered in metallic drippings? How does Roman take white guilt and create white gold?

Just Trying To Get Better, Y’Know

Roman operates under a constantly thinking, critical mind. Shifting through a series of misleading poses; he’s consistently analyzing himself, colleagues and the encompassing environment enveloping them. The brain can get away from Roman while observing the great inventors passing through San Francisco. As he observes the brilliant machines of O’Neal and Burr, Roman finds himself in doubt. This sensation hardly lasts; it lacks the mass to alter the gravitational pull of talent and determination. Confidence is built within the machine; it helps turn the gears and spin the turbines as Roman moves towards his purpose beyond the lodge.

Afterword

Roman Leo is a stand-up comedian. He’s extremely funny and possesses a beard. For any inquiry into Roman’s schedule please continue to visit this site as Mr. Leo detests self-promotion.

Thank You For Reading

-OJ

Feliz Cumplanos Ivan Hernandez

(photo by. Ameen Belbahari)

What can I say about Ivan Hernandez that would truly give the man justice. I used to call him the Tornado, due to his Southernly origins and his habit of ripping shit up on stage. Upon reflection I should have called him the Hurricane because of his Floridian history. Never the less Ivan stands as one of the greatest phenomenons in the City’s comedy universe and one of my recent favorite comedians.

From the first time I saw him riffing geographical connections at Club Deluxe I’ve grown to appreciate his style of humor, his nerdy subject choices, and his strong delivery. I wish I could clone myself 50 times over, or could bus in Warren Ellis fans just so Ivan could get the audience he deserves. Even if the audience is unfamiliar with his references/point of view, Ivan performs with so much conviction that it’s hard not to be charmed.

In addition to being a great comedy talent, he also has a great comedy mind; one of biggest/brightest comedy nerds I know. Bamford, Benson, Oswalt, you think you know these people? Go talk to Ivan and you’ll realize you have no frickin’ idea about the intricacies of comedy apprecition. Some of my favorite moments in my comedy life have included Ivan: Kaseem’s legendary/unsung set at the Monkey Club, the pouch incident, and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass w/ Nicole Calasich and Ashley Bennett.

Ivan is a big deal in my life. He’s a constant reminder of how much sacrifice, dedication, and raw skills you have to bring to the table and overall that learning how to bake bread could be a life saver. Happy Birthday Ivan!

Comedian Highlight: Chris Schiappacasse

Chris Schiappacasse is San Francisco Bay Area comedy personified: persistent, weathered, overlooked, underrated, unpredictable, unfiltered, endearing, revolting underdog. Chris garners immediate assumption and judgment. People discard him, discourage him and dismally view his constant presence. Pale skin and black clothes (so his dandruff shows), Chris is a reverse zebra. Overweight, fringed haircut and a hook nosed, Chris is Marlo Brando playing Julius Caesar. Reflective black aviator glasses, shining like fresh obsidian, hide steely-fierce dark eyes. His appearance is hard to decipher. Then Schiappacasse opens his mouth to unleash rusty-razor blade, grating pig-English glittering with chauvinism and aggression. This is also off-putting and alarming to the outside perspective. The one universal fear of most human beings is that of the unknown and when you look into the abyss, Chris Schiappacasse stares back.

Christopher Fernando Schiappacasse was born to Chilean aristocrats from a once royal family with many silver spoons. He breast-fed on a number of peasant girls until the age of seven when he had his first marijuana cigarette. It prompted an enjoyable nap.

Schiappacasse is a formidable figure in the Bay Area comedy scene. He’s hit a lot of stages, made a few friends, and made a few enemies. He’s been crippled, criticized and championed. He’s the comical equivalent of Daniel Johnston

and 2 Live Crew

combined together surgically. Alongside Vahe Hova, Chris co-hosts “Hanging Out With”, which continues to be the premier video series for the Bay Area comedy community.

Chris believes that comedy is war. He believes that every show is a boxing match between him and the audience. This holds true in the sense that Chris comes out George-Forman-clubbing regardless if the bludgeoning is deserved; be the audience polar bears or seals. Chris is out for blood (and Coca Cola from the bears).

By the age of ten, Chris had punched twelve homeless people in cold blood. He was well liked by the demon dogs of the Chilean underworld, but other wise, he was quite the hellion. A hellion with an ascot. He spent his time on picturesque beaches wondering of far away lands.

Inflated by delusions of grandeur, Chris throws his weight around. He’s been known to use seniority and support to justify absurd claims like the ownership of a 13-inch penis. If a young comic asks Chris for advice or criticism they’ll usually be greeted with such: “What about you? Nobody gives a fuck about you man. What about Chris? What about me man,” said the Bizarro Dangerfieldesque comedy bully.

Chris F. Schiappacasse is an avid listener. He once held a twenty-minute conversation with a former reformed woman of the clergy. Chris concluded the quaint conversation with the “c-word”… (cunnilingus)

Women typically hate Chris Schiappacasse. His act is crude, chauvinistic, racist, offensive and grotesque. Some nights it sounds like ear-rape in a whale’s stomach: the “p’s”, “c’s”, and “s’s” of “Schiappacasse reverberating loudly off the rib cage hall walls.

On holiday at the age of 25, Chris sailed the world on the S.S. Santa Cruise. There he met a beautiful Japanese woman holding an umbrella. They made love in the moonlight on a bed of cherry blossoms and pupusas

Men typically love Chris Schiappacasse (behind grimacing smiles). Chris represents the balls lost in emasculating relationships. Schiappacasse is an oddity in the politically correct Bay Area thunderdome: his machismo comes with no charm filter or cunning additives. Chris’ 13-inches of comedy hits with blunt force trauma and is swung with absolutely no mercy. Thusly males can live vicariously through the thrashing asshole that is Chris Schiappacasse who counters the charming assholes that bed women in bulk.

On a bamboo raft, Chris won a pistol duel. The opponent flipped into a school of piranhas.

On the train home it all melts away. With his sunglasses tucked in his shirt and nobody around, Chris becomes human. He goes back to Walnut Creek as a near-middle-aged man, a protagonist in an independent film directed by Larry Clark and written by Mike White that’s rife with comedy of errors. He walks home from BART still loving hip-hop and still feeling disjointed in the youth-obsessed culture that threatens to smother him. Very rarely does the more endearing Chris show up on stage, the down on his luck divorcee on disability: these are signs of weakness and Chris don’t need your pity man.

Tragedy befell Chris when his French bulldog insulted the Prince of Zimbabwe. Chris had to give up his dukedom that he won on the barge “The Lady Luck” and suffer exile to America

What Chris Schiappacasse does need is comedy. It’s frightening to imagine Chris without the warm bosom of the microphone. Strip away the persona, the filth and personal opinion and you’ll recognize that Chris is an undeniable funny being. All day he thinks of funny things to say. Every conversation is a set up for his punchline. Every ticket, every mile, every pair of sunglasses, every black Los Angeles Angels hat, every list, every thought, every ounce of Schiappacasse’s energy all goes into the comic cosmos. Look up at the comic cosmos where Groucho lights cigars on supernovas and Carlin tells seven dirty words to Taurus. Comedy is undeniable, unmistakable, inescapable and as Chris has once said: “It’s my life.”

Comedian Highlight: DJ Real

In one installment of what’s sure to be many, I present: a slice of DJ Real. 

Let’s start a movement people!

Personal favorites from this album:

Tiny Cheeseburger

Evil Paper Bag

Mustache

Getin’ Out At Two 

Forsaken

but they’re all dopesauce. Check it out. 

Onion Juice: Countdown to the Purple Onion (Melanie O’Brien)

So hopefully you know by now that I’m performing at the Purple Onion on August 28. Tickets are in the mail and I will start hounding everybody I know to see if they want in on what’s going to be an amazing night.

Recently (yesterday) at the Brainwash, I was accosted by Melanie O’Brien. She’s apparently a fan of the blog but questions why she hasn’t been present in the popular word collages of phrases from the nights previous. Her tone was angry. I explained to her that I hadn’t seen her in a while and that I usually just include jokes I remember. No Melanie sets heard, no placement on the collage. She blows me off to talk to the nearby Jabari Davis (Promoter/Headliner of my show at the Purple Onion) so I explain to Vlad that I already had plans to highlight Melanie in the “Onion Juice” portion of my blog as one of my favorite things about the show occurring. That exchange sped the process up considerably. This is that blog…

I love Melanie O’Brien.

From the first syllable of her act on an off chance night at 800 Larkin in the Tenderloin to the confines of forever I’ve been/will be huge appreciator of Melanie as a fan a comedy and a fan of people. 

It’s hard to quantify what Melanie does, because any one statement can sideswipe the deck of cards that she’s crafted for herself. Parallels can be made, but I refuse to make them because Melanie is gutsy beyond allusion. She ultimately lives in the same vein as I try to: to become legendary.

Fame is great (I guess), infamy is more fun, but legend is the true goal. With legend you become beyond oneself as faults are cast aside or glared at forever. Your accomplishments are a laundry list when you’re a legend. People know about you without even meeting you. It’s good to be a legend.

But legends don’t happen all the time. It takes a long time of living life to the fullest, making the most of every situation. To become a legend you have to be special. And Melanie is special.

I’ve seen her murder rooms, I’ve seen her bomb. I’ve seen her execute her act flawlessly, I’ve seen her argue with bar patrons about the basketball game they’re watching. I’ve heard the coyest, most adorable, and ultimately horrifying statements come out of her mouth. I’ve heard stories about the bluest sets in front of the youngest of children. I’ve seen her talk about being on a bike and getting hit by a car, and still having impeccable comic timing (“I’m on the phone!”). I’ve seen her talk about that story, while her cuts still bleed. All the while, Melanie remains poised and endearing. She’s mastered one of the annuls of show business: keep the people wanting more.

So, low and behold who is the same Jabari Davis and Associate flyer as me.

That’s right, one of my favorites: Melanie O’Brien.

She’s on the same list as Kaseem Bentley, Donny Divanian, Mary Van Note, and DJ Real: comedians that I love. She’s up there for a good reason too: she’s following two dreams.

Mel gets my respect because in addition to being an uber-talented comedian, she’s also chasing her dream of practicing law. Two very demanding careers running concurrently. I know from first hand experience that it’s a major sacrifice and draining to a ridiculous degree. And thusly, kudos and excitement are in order for Melanie O’Brien.

I can’t wait until my mom hears one of her rape jokes. 

First Brainwash (Journal+Review+Highlights)

Three weeks into my tenure at Sony and already the job was causing complications. At the Alternates meeting the group made plans to take BART to the Brainwash Café in San Francisco. I couldn’t attend the journey; I’d have to meet them there.

Room Review : Thursday Brainwash (7th and Folsom)

Everyone knows the Brainwash; it’s the place of modern legend. Part café, part Laundromat, part Internet terminal and for the last eleven years it has been a comedy venue. It is the premier Thursday destination of first-timers, open microphoners, showcased talents, headliners, middlers, openers, out-of-towners, local legends, dream chasers and doomed hopefuls. It’s one of the biggest comedy landmarks in the city and stands as a uniquely vibrant experience.

On the average Thursday night, you will see a lot of failure but you will also see something special. Special happens often at the Brainwash and being apart of something special makes somebody special. Special times of microphone feedback, dancing Native American prostitutes, boom boxes, interventions, farewells, sugarboos, delights, and Sweet Gale.

Brainwash is one of the few venues for younger performers to get their reps in sans hassle. Most open-mics happen at bars, which serve alcohol, which many governments deem to be so magnetic a person under 21 cannot be allowed near for fear of massive alcohol poisoning and corruption. At the Brainwash though, a 16-year-old can sit next to a pitcher of beer and nobody bats an eye. I wouldn’t recommend bringing your baby to the Brainwash though; the combination of amplified voices, chatty comics in the back, smokers near the door, Laundromat rumbling and food ordering could potentially rupture a child’s ear drum. Also, there are black people at the Brainwash. Some of them smoke crack.

The venue is a hotbox of energy; when DJ Will is spinning, the microphone is clear, and certain choice laughers are sprinkled into the audience; the Brainwash becomes a comedy colossus. To put simply: the room is made of a lot of love to which credit goes completely to the Godfather of San Francisco, Tony Sparks.

Comedian Highlight: Tony Sparks (The Godfather)

 

Tony should have a statue or a hospital named after him because the man is a saint. Never have I seen somebody so committed to a craft and a community than I’ve seen with Tony. There would be no San Francisco comedy scene without Tony Sparks and if in an alternate reality Tony Sparks didn’t exist, San Francisco would be covered in tar and eerily quiet meth-addicted orphans would drink tomato Slurpies through crazy straws.

Tony functions primarily as a host, as the conductor and buffer between the audience and nervous comedic pieces of meat. It’s a hard job because the host has to be enduring and funny to keep the crowd warm but punctual and aloof to not supersede the would-be talent. Some times this involves bumping those with patience for those with prevalence, or riling up a dead room, or negotiating with the manager for a little more time, or breaking up a fight, or flat out lying against personal opinion and experience.

“Alright good people your next comic, uh not you playboy, that guy right behind you, your next comic is extremely clever and hilarious so on the count of three I want you to go fucking nuts. And the girl in the front row, please don’t heckle alright because if these comedians are really messed up and it’s hard up here. Alright sugarnasty? Okay sweetness? Thank you. On the count of 3! 1…2…3.” (Note: a fictional introduction for a well-tenured comedian from Los Angeles by way of Boston whom Tony has never met)

Hosting does have its benefits. It’s a way to gain extended sets, an opportunity to riff and a quick way to become good at crowd work. It’s a gift and a talent to be a good host, and Tony is the best I’ve seen.

Tony is also a great stand-alone stand-up. Tony’s humor comes from truth and justice. Every comedian desires justice. The justice to make light of and amends to life’s injustices against them; the injustice of their weight or their race or their love lives is vindicated with the audience’s approval and laughter. The truth comes from stone cold experience; the things seen, read, or done. Tony has a lot of truth and justice and thusly a charming wisdom that’s highly relatable. He makes me laugh, he makes my twenty year old friends laugh, he makes my mother laugh. Everybody loves Tony (which may not be true due to the jade nature of comedy but I’ve never heard a word against Mr. Sparks nor would I tolerate anybody speaking negatively about him).

Tony always threatens to use his experience and expertise to barrel through the halls of Hollywood. I could definitely see Tony getting on the road; he definitely has an audience and he’d be a fresh face to the world but a veteran on stage. I could even imagine a campaign to develop a cult following, some memes or perhaps “The SugaNasty Tour”. I’d attend for the merchandise alone. Yet in all the stories of deserved success, Tony’s would be the most bittersweet. If Tony left, the scene would lose its biggest supporter of new talent. Tony is willing to talk to amateurs, give critiques, suggestions and even joke ideas all in an assuring manner. Tony’s spirit is best epitomized by the following paraphrased speech given as an introduction for first-time performers at the Brainwash.

“Alright good people we have a special introduction for new comics here at the Brainwash. If you don’t know it watch and do what we do. So, your next comic is new to the room so I want you to give them… (Crowd: A lot of love!) Louder! (Crowd: A LOT OF LOVE!) Give it up for…

I went on late. The Brainwash closes at elevenish and I climbed the stage in the final hour. I had spent the majority of the time hanging out with studious Rich and Maig in the back, or with Stuart in the wings of the stage, or dodging claims of being Kaseem Bentley.

Comedian Highlight: Kaseem Bentley (You Should Kill Yourself)

Photo By. Takeo Hope

The first thing Kaseem said in addressing me was “My mom had three abortions and I think one crawled out of the dumpster. This is Kaseem: raw, quick witted, brutal but oddly charming. Everybody knows Kaseem and they all have something to say about him good, bad, or otherwise. Polarizing, magnetic, opinionated and understated, Kaseem is considered to be one of the best comedians in the Bay Area and sadly one of the most underappreciated as well. Every set I’ve seen of Kaseem he’s killed. Every friend I’ve introduced to Kaseem they’ve co-signed. Every virgin teenager I’ve left at his house… you get the picture. Kaseem is a class-A comedy nerd, a broker of culture and has a million molecules of experience and yet he chooses to slum it with the open mic kids to his utter frustration and dismay. I think he has a problem.

Kaseem’s comedy comes from the gift of gab and the truth of bullshit. He speaks with so much clarity and conviction that you have to believe him even if you disagree with his views. I’ve seen Kaseem convince people out of their ethnicity. People hold on to their insults from him like precious metals. He does an infamous blog with Emily Heller entitled Sex Talk With Kaseem. It is my unwavering campaign to get him to do a podcast. He’s also thinking about moving to Israel to open up a Volkswagon dealership.

Kaseem and I (and others with eyes) joke about how similar we look yet how inverse our personalities are. Kaseem is characterized by bitter frustration, as I am lovingly optimistic. Yet, this is not entirely true because Kaseem has shown his true colors of compassion. Case in point: 2/11/2010 at the Brainwash.

There is no cure for the first time. Hands shake, knees lock, voices faint, and ears are overly sensitive to any laughter. Some carry paper to augment their nervous shivers, some memorize their set to the last syllable, some tell one joke and crumble. I told a joke about my love for girls in boots which concluded in a C.S. Lewis reference. I told a joke about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I told a long-winded meandering joke that started with Lady Gaga and ended with the astrological sign for “cancer”. I received the light and walked off the stage to sparse applause. Tony complimented my ability to read and Kaseem took the stage to roast me in the kindest way possible (i.e. saying I was aborted). Just as Stuart, Rich and Maig were starting to leave Tony and Kaseem pulled me to the side. Tony complimented me on my cleverness and stated my potential. Kaseem gave me his number (message me for that information) and then suggested a few places for me to perform (800 Larkin & the Impala Lounge). In one brief conversation, two might figures mentored my pursuit of comedy, and set expectations for me to meet. My homework was to make Tony and Kaseem laugh.

I remember walking to the BART alone; my Berkeley compadres had to leave with much haste. I remember being filled with a myriad of emotions: fear, anxiety, hopefulness, and elation among other things. I remember writing this message to my good friend Mr. Maxwell Tweets: “Comedy, one of the few places I feel like I belong. Thank you Brainwash open mic.”

And Thank You For Reading

-O.J.