Recently I had the pleasure of joining some great people of the comedy world in a new podcast about the business of comedy. Connected Comedy is a great website created by Josh Spector. Connected Comedy provides business, marketing and career strategies for comedians. This is something hardly being done in comedy today. There’s also a Facebook group called Connected Comedians comprised of over 600 comedians from the US, Canada and abroad discussing different topics pertaining to comedy business.
Also on the podcast is Jordan Cooper of Blenderhead Media and NY comedian Josh Homer
Ok I slacked off yesterday and I actually couldn’t come up with anything to write. So now that I’m kinda stuck in TX things morning, I’ll take it upon myself to concentrate.
Today’s installment of Diabetes Blog Week is “What is one thing you would tell someone that doesn’t have diabetes about living with diabetes?”. Well me being the kinda person I am there can’t be just one. So I’ve made a list of several things I would tell people (specifically people I know and meet) about living with diabetes.
“You have no idea what the hell you’re talking about”
“Yes I ate a lot of candy as a kid. Simply because I was a kid and not a cow and spent my days eating grass”
“You cannot catch my diabetes. So to the hot chick that was hesitant about hugging me, I will never forget that”
“No my blood does not taste sweet and why are you biting me sir?
“Yes I can take my pump off dear. And no its not the same thing as that whip”
“I’m about to miss my flight. Yes, I repeat its an insulin pump”
“I’m diabetic. No its not heroin. I would be in a much different mood if this was heroin. Yes you’re an idiot.”
“I’m going to be really pissed if I miss my flight. I-N-S-U-L-I-N PUMP.”
” You know *insert known sexy celebrity’s name. Insert porn star’s name in case of emergency* is a diabetic” (it doesn’t have to be true because do you honestly think I can pick up a woman by telling her about Wilford Bremley??!!)
“Screw it! I’m gonna drive from Atlanta to Kansas. Where’s the rental car booth? Stupid TSA!”
Ok now that I’m in the hotel I can write from mu laptop again. I almost went crazy posting from my phone but thanks for reading!!
Now on to today’s post about what I think needs to be improved within the DOC. (Sounds so gangsta’) I’ll keep is short and to the point because I’m really serious about this one.
Stop the whining.
Yeah I said it. Whatcha’ gonna do about it? That’s what I thought. So somebody wrote a dumb joke or Paula Deen pissed you off. So friggin’ what?! Whatcha’ gonna’ do about it? That’s also what I thought. Whining, complaining, moanin’ or whatever is a waste of time. You don’t like what Paula did, either get to work or get over it. Because nothing of what she did is going to help your diabetes or your loved ones diabetes. If you want to do something then collectively get together and go after her advertisers. Because all the online negativity makes the DOC look like a bunch of nuts to the people who have no clue what we go through. And THAT is whats more important. We need to help educate others who don’t understand in whatever means we have available. So lets get it together folks. Ok I gotta’ go tell some jokes now. See you tomorrow. I’ll await your comments.
Today’s post for Diabetes blog week comes from my phone since I’m on a 16 hr ride to Texas to perform.
Today we’re covering one that we do well while dealing with diabetes. Some folks do well at testing their BG levels. Some are good at exercise or being prepared for emergencies
I like to think that in spite on my complications I’m good at getting back up.
About 8 yeras ago I had blood vessels leak in my left eye and I had no insurance. I survived for over a year driving and whatnot with blood inside my eye. After I got a decent job my insurance paid for the surgery and I got my vision back but not 100%. Some time during the haling the same thing happened to my right eye. I had another surgery but now I have very limited vision in it. I can still work but I don’t like driving at night.
I thought about giving up many times but I didn’t. I thought about suicide but I didn’t do it (obviously). What I did I got on stage. Comedy is the one thing I know I can do in spite of my vision. It makes me feel good when I have a good set and I look forward to the next show. I also like talking about my condition in my comedy because I think I can paint a different picture about diabetics for people without the disease to gain a better understanding of what we go through every day. I don’t make fun of my condition, I make it relateable.
Don’t ask me how I do it cause I don’t know. But if you ask me why I do it, its because its damn sure better than the alternative. Hang tough folks. We’ll get through it.
Yeah, yeah I know. You’re saying “Hey I thought this was a comedy blog!” Well if you didn’t know I am a Type 1 diabetic. I’ve been diabetic since I was 25 and I perform for diabetes benefits as well as my own creation Sugar Free Comedy. No diabetes itself isn’t funny but the crap I have to go through certainly is. But this week is Diabetes Blog Week and I wanted to participate in my own little way.
Today’s installment is about introducing you to other diabetes blogs that I think you should know about. If you knew me you would realize that I’m the worst person for this job. Why? Because I bury my head into so many other things online except blogs about diabetes. I should read more blogs about diabetes and I have lately. But prior to me finding so many blogs about diabetes I was spending a great deal of time trying to find ridiculous things online like why Anthony Bourdain is such an assclown. I mean Paula Deen seems to be a sweet enough broad that I trust her better judgment when it comes to butter. (For the record I feel that if God wanted us to be strict about our health he wouldn’t have made salt and butter taste so good together. I’m just sayin’) But Bourdain needs to chill cause he’s really not a better advocate for healthy eating. Especially in that episode of No Reservations where he’s stuffing an In and Out burger in his pie hole. What was this post supposed to be about again? Oh yeah…
Now, after I got wise and started meeting more and more people from the DOC (that’s not really a gang. Well it could be) *Diabetes Online Community* I discovered some really good blogs by some awesome advocates that I’m glad that I met.
First is Kelly Kunick at Diabetesaliciouness. What I like most about Kelly is she’s funny. I first met her through a conversation we had on Facebook and I hope I get a chance to work with her sometime. I have a great deal of respect for anyone who can look at a disease like diabetes and still find the will to help others and not feel sorry for themselves. I’m big believer in by teaching you become smarter. And I think by helping others the look past anger and self pity through humor its also a great medicine for the for the deliverer of the funny (Note: I tend to write the way I talk so please don’t blame my computer) Please check out Kelly’s blog and you’ll see what I mean!
Next is Diabetes Social Media Advocacy. Its not so much a blog but and online community. Once again Facebook had dropped a great community in my lap and it has been great getting to know them. Cherise Shockley, Scott K. Johnson and George Simmons are the folks that put it all together and they reach out across the internet looking for other like minded advocates to create and community of really great people. Each week they have a live chat through Twitter and it has a great following. If you area diabetic or you’re a diabetes caregiver you’ll love the chats as well as the BlogTalk Radio show they do every week on Thursday nights
Last and by no means least is Michelle Litchman. A few couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of traveling to Salt Lake City, UT to perform for The Diabetes Mixer. It was something I’ve never seen before. A social gathering of Type 1 diabetics meeting vendors as well as experiencing entertainment and awesome food. What?! A bunch of diabetics gathered together without having to hear about horror stories of diabetes complications?! Yep, you heard me. And I was the entertainment. Much of my material is about my diabetes and the craziness I have to deal with. I was referred to Michelle about performing at the mixer and I think we were both nervous as to how it would be received. Some people aren’t very open to humor when it comes to conditions like diabetes or cancer. I know I was nervous because I wanted everyone to have a good time and enjoy themselves. I couldn’t have had a better time and Michelle and her friends who put together the Diabetes Mixer were beyond awesome. The mixer attendees keep increasing and in time I think they’re “gonna’ need a bigger boat.” Michelle is a Family Nurse Practitioner specializing in diabetes care. With all that she does she’s also studying for her Phd. ( I like being friends with doctors, it sounds cool when I hang out with other broke comedians!) Michelle offers some great personal insight to her experience working with diabetics in a comfortable manner. Usually we think that healthcare folks are always bringing the bad news and making us feel worse. We she’s not like that at all and you’ll enjoy every post.
This is only a fraction of the great diabetes blogs and online advocates so definitely do a search for others or use the ones I wrote about to help you find more. Here’s to Diabetes Blog week!! See ya’ tomorrow.
I don’t understand I guess. I see so many great things going on in comedy today. Technology has put so much power in the hands on the artist its astounding. The success that Marc Maron and Louie CK have gotten just shows what is possible when you put the work in and study more than just joke writing and performance. The knowledge of the business is really starting to outweigh performance in some ways. Because let’s face it, after Dane Cook blew Myspace out of the water with his millions of “friends” that let a lot of comics and bookers know that those so called friends equate into a fan base thus putting butts in seats. The internet? It’s another stage. Plain and simple. Twitter lets you toss one liners out there for your fans to retweet and reply to. What happens after its retweeted to someone that’s not following you? They follow you and *poof* a new fan/butt in seat is born. Yet there seems to be some divide in the nation of comedy. I don’t see a lot of black comedians taking advantage of the opportunities. I’m just being real. Not even the more established black comedians with screen credits. I see a larger population of these comics still hustling cds and DVDs from their trunk. Still trying to get a “hookup” from a touring comic and riding coattails. Hardly any online presence or a very poor presence if any. Now I know there are other comics of other races that are using the same dated methods but I’m looking at this from my own POV and it just doesn’t make sense when I hear a lot of black comics complaining about not getting a break and not getting any attention. The attention comes from doing the work and being creative. Along with studying more than other comics. You gotta’ get inside the books on new methods of marketing. So anyways, if I was a poor black comedian this is what I would do.
Stop thinking urban comedy is the only style of comedy you can do. The lines between urban and mainstream comedy are fading IMO. Audiences are actually getting tired of the suits with 18 buttons and jokes about “bad ass kids” If you talk to audiences you’ll see that this hackness is getting old. It was hot in the 90s but now people want to hear honesty and POV. If all you have is recycled kool-aid jokes give people a break please. Step outside your comfort zone and explore the possibilities of a wider audience. I.E write about something different and at least interesting.
Read! Blogs, books, Tweets. Anything you can about current methods of marketing. Do a Google search for Josh Spector. You probably have a Facebook page, but do you know how to use it effectively? Read all or as many Seth Godin and Gary Vanerchuk books you can. You ever notice there aren’t many new books on the art stand up comedy? That’s because much of that info is pretty much understood and hasn’t changed. Sure the basics still need to be taught and learned but the point is the game HAS CHANGED and it’s all about marketing today. The bookers and club owners want you to bring people in and it’s not their job to provide them outside of putting your name on the posters or website. You have to know how to market yourself and build a fan base ON YOUR OWN!!! You are the business so why not do business smarter? And it’s not about numbers it’s about engaging. (Read about current marketing methods and that will make sense)
Get technical. Learn how to edit and produce your online videos. Create better videos and learn your way around Facebook, Twitter, SEO, web design, WordPress, Youtube, Viddler, Dailymotion, etc. I read the other day Louie CK edits his show Louie on his Macbook HIMSELF!!! Which made me wonder if Dave Chappelle took more advantage of controlling the technical aspect of his show as well as the writing, would things have turned out the way it did? Is Dave watching Louie right now? Do you think he should? Anyway, start a blog or vlog. Learn to link them to Twitter and Facebook. Delete your Myspace page (I actually thought about posting porn pics on my Myspace page so they will delete it for me.)
Stop thinking Tyler Perry is the end all to black comedy. We’re smarter than that.
I’m not a fulltime working comic yet but what I do a lot of is search for new and better ways of doing something. I like learning and figuring out stuff. I like computers and techie gadgets and whatnot. I’m just curious. So I hate it when I see so many black comics spend a great deal of time complaining about the business and slamming Twitter and Youtube for taking people out of the clubs. Here’s the truth. Those people didn’t leave the clubs necessarily. They just found a new venue to be able to find what they’re looking for. So why not take advantage of it and learn how to make it work for you? I’m also sick of the “stage names” Why? What the hell is wrong with your own name? Unless you’re portraying a character I don’t get it. Its one thing to limit yourself because you can’t travel or you’re located in a state with one comedy club. But the internet has so many avenues to promote yourself and find you’re your niche audience. It just doesn’t make sense with the vast amount of unique voicse there are in the black comedy community that there should be so many that aren’t interested in reaching out past what they see and know. This post was aimed at black comics but it also applies to older comics who are either afraid of learning or too damn stubborn to wrap their heads around learning something new. It’s a comedians game out there now but you have to be smarter to make it happen. Stop thinking of comedy as a hustle and think of it as a business and you are the product. See the truth is the bookers know all this. It’s just there are too many comics that don’t. There are younger guys coming up getting deals with 2-3 years under their belt if any at all. One comic went to LA after getting out of college doing sketch and improv and came back home with a movie deal AND a sitcom deal. That comic is now getting booked as a stand up comedian without ever having intentions on being a standup. I’d be pissed if I were you. I am pissed and I’m not you. Be smarter my friends.