I’m Sick and Tired of All This White Bullshit

The snow!!  Oops, I meant to post a pic of a snowflake.  Eh, too lazy to change it.  I swear I’m not racist, I’d hate snow if it were any color (except whatever color my skin is).  It’s just that I’m sitting out here in New England, where, historically, olivey-brownish guys like me get held down by the Man… That’s right, Frosty the Snow Man!  I’m begging him to give me the D… The vitamin, but he keeps making it snow to the point where it’s seeping into my ears and brain and now I can’t even focus on writing my revolutionary submission piece for Buzzfeed called “19 Things I Hate About White People, Because 19 Is Where I Ran Out Of Ideas.”  So this post will just have to be about snow. :/ But I pulled some strings and got my own blog to publish it!

Last Tuesday I was supposed to fly into Boston for a week of college shows on the friendly Eastern seaboard, but apparently God (who I hate in any color) had Tuesday set aside for what the Weather Channel called THE MOST HISTORIC BLIZZARD SINCE 2013!  Yes, two years of history!  Just like every relationship I’ve been in, haha!  Ugh, I just got really sad.

So Monday night I finish packing my suitcase full of the snuggliest stuff I have, scarves, warm kittens, etc., and then *buzz* I get the text that my Southwest flight to Boston is cancelled.  Dammit.  Okay, no worries, I booked a contingency flight to Queens!  That’s the beauty of Southwest, you can book as many flights as you want and cancel at any time for a full credit refund.  It’s like they don’t even care you stood them up.  I’ve been doing this for years and have a system to beat the syst– *buzz* Flight to Queens cancelled too.  DAMMIT!  Okay, all good, I still got one to Jersey too! *buzz*  MOTHERF– No wait, that’s just my sister texting me!  She says “Hey Sam, wanna get lunch?  Also, I work for Southwest now and this is a courtesy text letting you know Jersey is cancelled too.  Give up.”  AARGH!

This storm must be the worst ever, and you can’t even call out global warming, because it’s cold, so you just have to say “climate change” which sounds like a pussy-ass PC euphemism.  Like “Global warming?  What are you living in the 50’s?  The climate has the right to go both ways now.  And P.S., women can vote now, you chauvinist pig.”  I call my East Coast friend, Tom, to make sure he’s okay, expecting to hear fierce winds blowing into the phone and shrieking fire alarms (I just assume they use those for snow too), but Tom answers with a cheery “Hey!!  What’s up?”

… What’s up??  Are you alive?  “Eh, it’s not so bad over here, we’re just drinking hot cocoa hehe.”  Hot cocoa??! In a time like this??  During a storm that Fox News calls “LIFE THREATENING.  YOU WILL DIE, ALL OF YOU WILL F@#KING DIE (but don’t worry, climate change is not real).”  Tom, you better save some hot cocoa to splash on your gangrened hands after you’re pounced on by a roving avalanche!  I’m not coming out there, no way.  You can’t trust a storm that forecasters named “Juno,” the pleasant month of June’s evil ethnic twin brother.  Ooh, ethnic storm names, that could be reason #20!

So a day passes, and I’m still sitting half naked in one of California’s hottest summer-winters next to a suitcase of screaming kitties, trying to decide if I should cancel this trip completely and lose a year of eating or fly to the East coast to salvage the rest of my lunch money at shows in Maine, New Hampshire, and upstate New York; a.k.a. the area that the weather updates show with a skull and crossbones over it (but the skull has a cute snow cap). To make things trickier, forecasts say the area could get as much 2 feet of snow to as little as negative 2 feet because the sun could come out and everyone might go swimming in the snowmelt instead.  Damn your freedom of choice, climate change!  I ask my agent if she thinks the colleges will reschedule and she tells me that chances are slim, ranging from 2 feet of Probably Not to a record-setting They’ve Already Forgotten About You.  Oh hell no, I refuse to be forgotten so fast!  It usually takes my exes 2 years hahahaha! Ugh, sad again.

I throw some extra cats into the suitcase and fly to Manchester where I meet my comic buddy Lyall, who’s gonna open for me on this run.  You’d think I’d be using him to help with the 30 hours of driving, but he actually doesn’t have a driver’s license, which just proves that I’m a better person than you thought.  So with me behind the wheel and Lyall as our car’s designated ice-scraper, we embark on a four state Juno tour, occasionally stopping to let the kitties get some cocoa as we frolick in the NY snow (#blizzardboyfriends). But Lyall is black, so no snowball fights for us.  Hey, reason #21!

Don’t get me wrong, I love our law enforcement just as much as I love our founding fathers (about 3/5ths of a full love), but I can see now why the Declaration of Independence was signed in July…  If they’d waited until winter, they would’ve had second thoughts.  “I mean, what’s so bad about dependence anyway??  Could we get that hot tea back out of the harbor??”  *scraping ice from their horses*

Long story still pretty long, God hates me (or the Patriots for the ball deflating fiasco), I hate the snow, climate change is real, and I’m not capable of loving anyone for more than two years.  But who can I blame?  Of course, the only possible suspect, as usual: white people.

Day 915: Representation: Do you need a Manager/Agent?

‘Who are you with?’ a common question amongst established comedians in the industry. I’m with Susan, my girlfriend, that’s what you mean right? No, who are you with for management/representation? Ohh, I’m unrepresented. Conversation stops.

Do you need a manager/agent? If so, when should you get one? Do you seek them or let them seek you? All of these questions I will fail to answer in this post. Because truly, I don’t know.

In the 6 years I’ve been doing comedy, I’ve booked everything myself, with the exception of the colleges that I booked this year through my college agent, Gina. I would say that its true that one doesn’t *need* a manager, but a manager can make life a hell of a lot more simple. But they can also make it more complicated, so that’s the problem.

For those who don’t know, agents are there specifically to book you jobs, and managers are there to focus on your whole package, your branding, your career track, etc. Anybody can be a manager/agent if they have enough contacts and enjoy talking.

Managers and agents take 10% of your income, generally on what they book, but quite often on everything that you book, even if you got it on your own. Its fair, if the work they put in is commensurate or above, but that’s not always the case is it. A few years ago I asked Alonzo Bodden what he thought, and he said, it’s not about the label, it’s about the person, and what they can do for you. If they aren’t about you, or have nothing to offer you, you are better on your own, obviously. So, when seeking management, always interview them, find out what they can do for you.

When I moved to LA two years ago, it was on my agenda to get representation. I really really wanted it, so that things would be figured out for me. But it didn’t happen. Even after I got on TV, it didn’t happen. I wondered, am I unrepresentable? Is it because I’m Palestinian? Am I ugly? What’s going on.

Truth is, you never know. Managers and agents aren’t out there all the time scouting talent, and if they are, they might be desperate. So you just gotta kinda wait, until you get spotted or someone puts in a good word.

I’m currently interviewing with managers, I’ve had some good interviews and some so so. Will be making a decision shortly. I’m actually glad now that I’ve waited 2 years because now I can actually evaluate different people, instead of just going with the first thing that comes to me. 10% is a big investment, given that we comedians barely get by as is, so you really should make the choice carefully.

But if you are unrepresented don’t feel bad, feel free! I was unrepresented for over 6 years and had some of the greatest times of my life. Enjoy not being tied down. When someone asks you who you’re with say, myself, and I represent myself the best!

Even though that may not be true.

Day 786: Everything You Need to Know about the College Market

Jk, this was my first time doing doing a college showcase, so I don’t really know much, but that’s a catchy title right? Might as well stay and read the rest of this blog right? Don’t leave! No!

As you may not remember, on Day 668 I got word that I booked a showcase spot at NACA Nationals in Nashville Tennessee. NACA is the organization that books most entertainment for college campuses. A showcase spot here means a chance to get a lot of money. Money is something that us performers don’t know a lot about, but we know it’s good! I spent months thinking about the hot 5 minutes that I would drop on this crowd of 500-1,000 college students. It’s advised to be clean, high energy, and appealing to the youth. I’m able to do all 3 on request, as I love pandering. I got in the showcase through my agency KP Comedy, who I was referred to be a very nice headliner I worked with. They submit my 3 minute sample, got me a 5 minute showcase spot, and now the rest is up to me on this chilly but sunny Nashville Day 786.

After a night of hitting the ‘Honky Tonks’, the strip with all the bars and live music in Nashville which only spans 4 blocks, I woke this morning to the sound of a jackhammer, because the hotel is remodeling their pool in the freezing February weather. I go for a jog down music row and it’s a real hip place, but it’s dead. Not sure if Nashville is a summer town or what. I search the area for a cafe or at the very least a corner store so I can get a drink, but it’s all music stores and industrial stuff, finally I stop at a gas station. Back at the hotel I take a bath to relax, but the jackhammer is still pounding away, and the sound is amplified in the bath tub, if you haven’t experienced that sort of thing before, it’s not ideal. I iron my blue shirt up nice preparing for my first NACA showcase. Blue is a likeable color…it’s cooling and pacifying, and everyone loves the blue sky, right? In competitions I almost always wear blue, and I have a pretty good track record of winning. You’re welcome for the tip. Glad you’re still reading this right?

I really want to get some authentic southern food while here in Tennessee, so I do some Yelping and discover Arnold’s Country Kitchen, in ‘the Gulch’ area of the city. I order the blackened tilapia (fish is brain food, you’re welcome), with spicy greens, butternut squash stuffing, sweet corn, corn muffin, and sweet tea. So, so good. Leave the place with a warm southern feelin in my tummy. I walk 10 blocks to the convention center, check in, and watch an empty room fill up with almost 1,000 students in about 5 minutes. They are loud, chatty, and not paying attention to the first two acts…then they start to get polite, and I go up in the sweet 6 spot, and do my job. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, and I moved a little faster than I sould have, but I got them in fairly quickly, and middled and ended really strong, with the bear and history jokes being major hits. After my bear joke one kid yelled ‘preach on brotha!’ The whole time I was worried about going over time and I actually ended with 16 seconds to spare. Nicely done! Coulda done an extra joke, oh well..

I get off stage not knowing how I did, but knowing it was pretty good at least. My agent said I nailed it. I nailed NACA Nationals Nashvile, that’s 4 Na’s in a row, Just like the song Na Na Na Na…Heyayay goodbye, or Master P’s uhhhhh Na Na, Na Na. I think that’s a good sign. We rush over to the auditorium, where we hang out at the agent’s booth, and just wait for college students at that show to come in and pick the talent that they liked for booking at their schools. Fairly quickly we are swarmed with schools wanting to get me. On one hand I took it as a compliment, on the other hand, I looked at the roster and saw I was the lowest priced out of most comedians, because I’m new and don’t have notable TV credits. But even at the lowest price, it’s more than I make…pretty much anywhere. School after school approaches, and to a lot of them I tell them I have family in their location, and honestly so. I realize I have family all over the US…Texas, Wyoming, the Carolinas, and New York. No wonder I have a pretty good feel for the different parts of the country. I get approached by nearly 50 colleges, some more interested than others…some saying they want me right away, and others saying they want to consider me out of a few others. Either way, I tell them that it’s my dream to perform at their college. Well, because it is.

My agent, Gina, takes us out to dinner, and unfortunately there’s no lobster on the menu, but I do order the salmon, and we get some wine to celebrate. I could have potentially made something like 100 grand today off of a 5 minute set. I remember when I used to pay $5 to do 5 minutes at an open mic, I guess this is compensation for all that. After dinner we have to go back to the booking marketplace again and I seal a few more deals. The next year is going to be a lot of traveling, but I think for once in my career I’ll be living comfortably. I grew up in a middle class family, but always hoarded my money. Maybe it’s because my sister was a splurger and I had to balance things out so my parents could still feed us? I just don’t know what to do with money, because even after a day of getting significantly richer, I walk 30 minutes back to my cheap hotel in the pouring rain instead of getting a cab, and set my alarm for 430 am, as I have to make my long, non-direct flight on Southwest.