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 832: College Tour Day 2, Carthage College, Wiscansin

I wake up at 6 am even though my alarm is set for 7. This will give me time to jog and shower before rushing to my flight. I get back from my jog and see a text from Southwest that my flight is delayed by 2 hours. Nice, I got up early just because. I take my time and make my breakfast, then head to my cousin Paul’s office and he drops me at SFO. I stand in a long line at a cafe and when I go to order my sandwich the guy tells me this is the soup line, and points to an even longer line that’s the sandwich line. I get a sandwich, get on the plane, 4 hours direct to Wisconsin, where it is freezing balls, if that is a proper term. Under 40 degrees, still snow on the ground. I rent a car from Hertz and drive about 40 minutes to Kenosha, home of Carthage College. It’s right along lake Michigan which is nice, but freezing as hell. I am greeted by the student group who shows me to my green room. I change, put in my contacts and have 15 minutes to get food before I perform. I ask the kid at the cafe if the Louisiana fish is good. He says, eh, not really. And then I ask him about some other things and he says the same. I say fine, I get the fish. It is definitely not good. I should have trusted the kid and gone to another food place. I wash my hands, and next moment I’m on stage to do an hour for about 40 kids in a small auditorium. It’s fun, they’re all smart and easy going, but I’m feeling tired, and I think so are they. I ask them what their mascot is and it’s a superhero looking guy called Torchy. We have some fun talking about that. Then I get a picture taken for my streak and I ask what their signature motion is, and they say Torchy does pushups so I do some for the picture. I close with some bluer stuff and they really wake up…I see Wiscansin, I see. The whole time by the way, I’m speaking in a mild Wiscansin accent, it rubbed off on me right away. After the show I sell two shirts which is nice, since most kids just went on their merry way. I ask them where a good place to get food is, nobody knows of anything, so I just figure it out myself and go to a place called Klopp’s frozen custard. I get their special Bear Paw ice cream, caramel swirls with cashews, so good. I call a number on Travelocity to ask about availability at La Quinta Inn. A guy answers and is taking really long to answer my questions, finally says theres one available, so I say cool I’ll head over there, he says no sir, don’t worry we can make the reservation right here on the phone. I was like ok…so we start making it, and then he keeps asking for more info and I’m like look I’ll just come there…he’s like dont worry! Then he asks for my credit card info. I’m like dude, I’m just gonna come there. He’s like look, this is the last room we have! I’m like I’ll take my chances. He’s like c’mon whats the problem? I’m like your being the definition of sketchy…you’re being pushy when you don’t need to and asking for my credit card over the phone. I hang up and drive there. That guy is not even there, and they have plenty of rooms left. That was weird.

Day 815: College Tour Day 1, UT Dallas

For years, I’ve wanted to play colleges, ‘get in’ the college market, build that youth fan base, play for those warm young giggling crowds, and get that college money…and now it’s finally here! After booking over 50 colleges at NACA nationals in Nashville last month, I’ve been getting mentally ready for a lot of traveling. Fortunately, this spring is light for me, just a few scattered colleges, and then for Fall term it will get heavy.

My first date, on the last day of winter, is at the University of Texas in Dallas. I was just here a few months ago and it was nice to surprise my grandma in Dallas with the news that I’d be returning. I wake up before my alarm in my LA apartment, one of those mornings where you just lay there not falling back asleep because you know you will be woken at any minute by a paralyzing alarm. I get out of bed and pack my bags, and my roommate Toby who I had no idea would be up at 7 am, walks in and sees me naked and quickly runs back to his room. My buddy Michael James Benson picks me up and drives me to LAX. I had no idea how bad traffic is at 730. It’s one of those rides where you keep loading your gps directions to see if the ETA changed, and it keeps getting longer and longer, it’s not looking at all like I’ll make my flight. But suddenly things clear up as we hit the carpool lane, and we make it just in time. I run to my gate and fly to Dallas!

My Nana and my great Aunt Ida pick me up at the airport. This was great, normally for colleges you have to rent a car. It’s nice that my first date is like starting with training wheels. They ask if I’m hungry I ask them to take me to a juice place. We find a real good one with lots of raw juice and homemade kombucha. The place is called the Juice Bar, and I get the Purple Haze, with blueberry banana, greek yogurt, and some other stuff. Yum. Then they drop me off at the gym where my grandpa goes. It was an old past time that I’d roll with him to his gym, it’s mostly really old people, moving really slow, I look like a star athlete. I can’t find him in the gym, but I do my thing, and then hit the showers, where I see him (provide your own mental image). We hug, he insists that I use the great lotion they have, like he always does, we get dressed and then drive home. I meditate for 15, and then Nana has cooked us a great dinner of roasted chicken, rice w/ vermicelli, asparagus, and focaccia bread. She’s part Italian.

They lend me the keys to my grandpas SUV (it’s Texas), and I drive to UTD. I’m greeted by the students, who tell me their mascot is the Comets, they don’t have a football team, but they have a kickass chess team. I like them already, my kind of school. Kids start pouring into the auditorium, and then comes in Nana, Ida, and their friend Beth, the golden girls coming in to see me in the midst of a bunch of kids.

The show is just me, so I can do as long as I want. And I do. A full hour. They were in it the whole way, not a dull moment. Colleges are sweet. They take a pic for me and insist I do the ‘whoosh’, which is their school pose. Afterward I sell my Abearica shirts that I just got. I sell 4 and give 2 away, and give out a load of cards. Things are looking good. I just increased my twitter fan base by 5 as of now.

So this is how you do it eh? Travel, perform, promote, and then you’ve made it. Cool. Just gotta repeat this 50 times.

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.

Day 781: Cross-Promotion; Saucee

Today I met with my close friends and old college roommates, Mohit and Himanshu, who have teamed up to start their own sauce-making enterprise, Saucee, with slogan ‘Eat More Creatively’. All sauces are organic, and original. Just like my comedy. Here’s a link to their Kickstarter:

They have hired me to offer my comedy talents for investors who pledge a certain amount of money. They also gave me a Saucee shirt, which I wore on stage tonight at Tommy T’s. When you believe in someone else’s product and they in yours, you have the option of synergy via cross-promotion. That’s what we are doing. I wouldn’t do it for many products, because a) I only lived with one group of guys in college, and b) most other products suck. I wouldn’t do this for Red Bull, because I don’t believe Red Bull is a good thing. I mean if they paid me millions, in theory I probably could believe that, but why get into hypotheticals?

Plus, comedy and sauce have a lot in comedy. Without it, life is dry, and bland, and boring. Essentially, comedy is the sauce of life. Life was given to us with all sorts of emotional, expressive, and cognitive capabilities, but without laughter, all of this would suck. That’s why next time you head out to a restaurant or make food at home, grab some Sauce (TM)! And likewise, next time you head out at night, come to Sammy Obeid’s comedy show (TM). God knows you’ll have a chance to do that every night…at least for 219 more days.