Donald Trump Supporter Heckles Stand Up Comedian

By Jasper P. Gold

March 16, 2016

Yet another Donald Trump supporter has attacked a frail ethnic person, albeit this time, an emotional attack.  And unlike the settings of the previous incidences —Trump rallies and anti-Trump protests— this was actually somewhere fun (in theory): a stand up comedy show.

Known worldwide for his eight-second appearance on the Food Network in 2010 (I personally don’t eat food; also checked out a few of Obeid’s clips online, he’s not that funny), LA-based comedian ‘Sammy Obeid’ was headlining The Comedy Bar in Chicago last weekend, and I mistakenly bought tickets thinking it was David Blaine.

Wearing a v-neck (speaking of mistakes), Obeid begins his set with jokes about ‘Israel/Palestine’, a popular topic amongst elite buzz-killers.   But just when you’d think Obeid’s choice of subject matter can’t get any more stupid, he scurries into math jokes, displaying his mastery of dividing a room.

While a handful of tables feed Obeid sympathy laughs, a particularly wealthy/conservative/‘Bush was right’ looking table in the stage-left wing (ironically not stage right-wing, you like that writing?), doesn’t seem to be laughing or even smiling at Obeid’s better-suited-for-a-Monday-night-poetry-open-mic material.

After twenty more minutes of the sad clown’s audible garbage, one of the laughing tables applauds, and a positive (so he thinks) heckler  exclaims, “We love you, Sammy!”   To which the overly-excited Lebanese-Palestinian American (which he insisted on letting us know early in his set.  Why do ethnic comics always announce their culture as if we are taking a census?), asks, “Wait, is that sincere?”

Before the heckler can answer, he is interrupted by a second heckle, coming from the conservative table.  A man in a festive orange Cosby-esque sweater utters a perfectly sincere “No.”

A perplexed Obeid (my new stage name for him), trying to determine if the two heckling tables are there together, asks the second heckler, “Wait, you don’t like me?” (LOL as if he doesn’t know that people like us exist).

The orange-sweatered heckler, instead of confirming his dislike, fires back with an even more cryptic,  “I don’t know you”, sending a chill through the room that welcomes the v-necked LA boy’s nipples to a Chicago winter.

We see the wheels turn inside Obeid’s oversized head, as he tries to rationalize out loud, “Well yea, that’d be weird if you did  know me.  Like if my uncle came to my show to heckle me, he’d be an asshole, am I right?” (I may have added the ‘am I right?’, it just sounds like something this hack would say)

The heckler finally speaks the truth, “You’re an asshole.”

And the Cosby sweater holds up to it’s name in assault, as the room breaks into “Oo’s” and “Oh, no he dih-in’t”s.

It’s at this point where our prayers are answered and Obeid is given the 5 minute light to get off the stage (and also where I begin to wonder, as someone who’s been killing it in internet journalism for at least 2 years, how does a comic of 9 years not have a good comeback?   Like I would have at least told the guy to suck my dick or pointed to my dick and thrusted or something clever like that).

As the math-major, turned comedian struggles to calculate the wreckage, the original positive-heckler, yells, “We love you man, don’t mind that asshole, keep telling your jokes!”   A traumatized Obeid (even better stage name!) still can’t even tell if that’s sincere, but the remainder of the crowd — even the other people at orange sweater’s table— cheer for for more comedy (I cheered too because I didn’t want to look weird, but I silently hated it).

Obeid, realizing he’s only got a few minutes left, abandons the hecklers and finishes his set, which he does, in a surprising second wind of absolute mediocrity.

Even as the crowd empathetically cheers his final joke as they would a nine year old learning to ride a tricycle, Obeid is still clearly affected by the seemingly random act of verbal abuse just moments before.  He leaves the stage, teary-eyed, with what seems like a well rehearsed (probably in the bedroom), “Sorry about that, guys”.

Moments after walking off stage with his head down, a server at the club reveals to Obeid that the orange sweatered man had been loudly boasting his support for Trump before the show.  No coincidence, right before the attack, Obeid had told two Trump ‘jokes’ (I use parentheses because none of them even compared Trump to Hitler, like a real joke does).

In the first ‘bit’ Obeid says, “I’m going to go to a Donald Trump Rally. I think I’d get a lot of face time on the camera.  Just make crazy poses and wear a shirt that says ‘Muslims for Trump’”, followed by a lame act out of him dancing.

Even less amusing, the next bit: “I hope Trump makes it all the way in the race, does really well to where he’s about to win, but then doesn’t.  Just so a lot of people get scared shitless for a moment, and then realize how much we appreciate each other and our sublte differences.” (Ugh, I feel embarassed even covering this story)

After the show I was able interview the crying lil bitch Obeid and ask him the real question that matters: are Trump and Hitler the same person?  He answers, “Well, Trump is a Gemini, and Hitler was a Taurus, which shows you that..” I cut Obeid off right there, because I was tired of hearing his bullshit.

“Why are people so mean?”  he cries, the saline rolling down his naive, unfunny cheeks.  I wasn’t sure if he was still talking about the heckle or a just general remark on how today’s world gets off on mean humor.

He wipes his tears, crawls out of fetal, and continues, “The bright side is, the rest of the audience felt sorry for me, so I sold 20 of my Abearica T-shirts after the show, which is a record high!” (I don’t know what  ‘Abearica’ is or didn’t bother to look up the reference to his stand up, but it sounds like stupid pun).

He chuckles (and only he chuckles),  “I made so much money off of merch tonight, I think I’m just gonna make crying my new closer haha.  I mean, yea it’s not the moral choice, but it will be good for me financially.   WHOA, maybe, I’m the Trump supporter?!”

Yikes.  Leave the irony to the journalists, Sammy.

 

Follow Jasper P. Gold on Twitter: @SammyObeid

I’m Gonna Blog Again

A few weeks ago I’m talking to a beautiful girl at a bar in LA (I won’t name names but let’s just say the girl’s name is Sassafras and the bar’s name is Jessica.)  We just met, but we’re hitting it off, she seems to be strangely in tune with my comedic sensibilities (I’m getting butterflies just telling you about this), and she suddenly stops, looks me deep in the eyes and genuinely laughs (I don’t want to spoil this story, but I’m in love, and she’s the one)…she says, “This is weird, but you look so familiar…”

!!  As dreamy and awesome as it is to hear this, I have been on TV, and thus know how to handle this situation.  Take a deep breath. Even though the ego wants to rejoice, you must maintain a humble tone, and say something low-key, so I say “Ahh…well, you must have seen me on one of my various national TV appearances, including Cona-“  She interrupts, “No, I mean you look like my boyfriend.”

Record scratch.  Awkward silence.  F#ck.  Ok, not a problem, I’m also experienced with life’s cruel misdirection, so I just roll with it, “Ahah ohh cool!  That’s so Cray cray!!”  But really, inside I’m so cry cry 🙁

A sad beat.  She asks, “Are you a comedian?”

Yes!!  Finally, here we go!  Forget that boy at home, you’ve got a funny man here!  Wanna see this funny bone?? UHHH wha whaaat— I MUST BE TRIPPIN RIGHT NOW, CUZ IM FALLING IN LOVE WIT U JESSICA…I MEAN SASSAFRAS!  Alright, chill out, act natural.  ”That is correct, my dear.  I AM a comedian… You must have seen one of my historic TV sets, including network appearances, broadcast to millions, such as Last Comic St-”

“No, I’m asking because my boyfriend is a comedian, and you remind me of him.”

Jesus f#@cking…ugh! How many bf-bombs is she going to drop before my shrapnelled heart dies from the radiation of other people’s love and happiness.   But wait, more importantly, is EVERY dude out there doing comedy now??  Goddam, wasn’t there a time when what I was doing was rare and special? (The 60’s)  Now, a kid makes a few twitter memes and locks down a hottie without even having to make an eight-second appearance on America’s Got Talent (Episode 4, Season 7, scroll to 12:33 and look in the bottom left corner).  UGH!   Ok ok, maintain composure.  “Neat!  Maybe I know him?  Does he also perform at Flappers?”

She pulls out her phone, “I’ll text him.  What’s your last name?  How do you spell that?  O-b-e-i-d.  Stage name I’m assuming?  Sounds fake, you should take a class on branding. K, asked him if he knows you.  He might not, he doesn’t really do open mics. ”

Um— Nice, wow, ok, maybe you should just invite him over so I can find out it’s Kevin Hart, and the universe’s kick to Sammy’s balls will be complete.  Why does this happen to ME?  Of all people?  Did Carrot Top have to go through stuff like this?  Is this paying dues? Sure I’m just a thirsty boy, inconsiderate of other people, living in my own delusions of grandeur, but does fate think it can change me by hurting my feelings like this?  Seriously, either let me get the girl or just kill me already! Why is being a comedian such a sexual obstacle course!  I’m feeling the same sadness I felt the day I gained 100 Twitter followers, then a few hours later I lost 2,000 IG followers because it was the day Instagram cleared out all the spam accounts.  The whole time I didn’t even know I had all that love in the bot community?  And I didn’t even pay for those follows!  Well, I guess love can’t be bot ☹

Before my mind can even continue this downward cycle of self pity, her phone lights up.  “Oh!  He says he knows you!  He says you’re really funny, and he reads your blogs.”

I feel a tear dangling in the corner of my eye.  Sensing activity in heart region…Systems..processing.   My brain flickers.  Instead of relishing this precious moment, my thoughts go to, “Holy shit …Am I still blogging?!”  I haven’t blogged in nine months.  Did someone hack my account?  Or, shit…do people out there actually think I might blog AGAIN?   I figured that’s something you can just stop doing and no one will notice.  I don’t even think I can write another blog, I have zero inspiration.  I mean things happen to me, but does anyone care?  Like if I blogged about this girl, would anyone even read this far?

And in this moment I realize that the reason I can’t be happy is that comedy has wired my brain to always complain.  Maybe that’s why the bots left.   And why I met this girl.  It’s a sign!  Shoot, I need to turn this around and become Mr. Positive!  I’m probably funnier than this guy anyway!  She catches me spacing out, “Hey, you should be happy, my boo’s not easy to impress.  I mean..he’s Kevin Hart.”

“WhAAA??”  Fate’s right leg to my nuts.  *fainting*

“Jk, his name is Chester.  He’s only been doing it a year.”

WHEW, yes!  My eight-year comedic ego suddenly returns, feeling eight-fold funny over my competition, like a spider fighting a… One legged, something…ugh, metaphors are harder than an octo-cock.  I relax and recline, “Ahh, well he has a ways to go.  I can teach him.  But enough about him, wanna get out of he-“

“Nope, like I said, I’m taken.  And he’s got a huge dick.  Unlike you.”

Cut to me, revealing my pants have been down this whole time, micropenis exposed… or, even worse, eight of them…like the tentacles of a tiny octopus, which shrieks “You’Re stUcK with mE, MaTeY!  AhaHahA!”   The screechy violins play as I scream in terror, bursting out of sheets into my dark, empty bedroom.  A nightmare, except the curtains make it feel like night, it’s actually 10 a.m.

“Shit, I need to blog again.”

Announcing My Retirement From Comedy

Oops, I meant “Home,” not “From.” “Announcing My Retirement Home Comedy” is what it should read.  You are a sly one, auto-correct!!  Ugh, I don’t feel like going back and fixing it, but yeah, I’m still doing comedy.

In fact I’m doing even more of it!  In even more adverse locations!  I’d like to announce a new series of shows that I’m producing at retirement homes in the LA area.  Well, so far just one in Torrance and one in Sherman Oaks, but watch out Glendale!   “Awww, what a proud humanitarian,” is what I hope you’re thinking. Though it’s probably, “Yeah right, he just wants stage time and is trying to make it look noble,” or “I’m still pissed about the title baiting me in.”  Truth is, my friends, it’s all of the above!

Performing at a retirement home isn’t easy, as it requires extra charm, relatable material, and the ability to yell above their hearing aids without seeming angry.  However, unlike most comedy shows in LA, it’s rewarding for both parties involved.  For the residents, it’s therapeutic, like a rare visit from their ungrateful child.  And for comedians the stage time quality is A-1 (bingo reference).  Here’s why it’s so good:

1) Old people will watch you like a hawk.  Do you remember the way your grandma or grandpa looked at you when you were a child at the dinner table?  Studying your every move like you’re about to spill the mujaddara again.  Disgusted with your sloppiness, but still somehow thankful for your existence.  The awe and scrutiny from an old crowd will make you feel like a celebrity, though more like a grandchild.

2) They will rarely walk out on your show.  Walker maybe.  But it’s a lot of effort for them to move around. So you’re guaranteed an audience that stays put until the end.  Or at least until a nurse notices that they hate you and then helps push them out.

3) Their memory isn’t great so you can repeat jokes.  If you only have 15 minutes of material, you can loop back around and stretch it to 30.  Retirement homes turn openers into headliners, baby!  If you’re feeling extra ballsy, you can try just alternating between the same two jokes the whole time. If they complain, just say you’re an alternative comic.

4) Old people have seen some sh*t.  Believe it or not, you can’t offend them.  Sex?  They taught your parents how to do it.  Drugs?  They’re on them right now.  Race?  Old people are more racist than we’ll ever be, as they grew up back when it was a parent’s job to teach their kids that other races suck.  Retirement crowds will cough in laughter at a good racial joke (quite possibly for the wrong reasons), as it reminds them of the good ol’ days.

5) The elders are experienced judges of comedy, as they’ve seen all of the old greats, from Bob Hope to the Marx brothers to Abraham Lincoln or whatever dated acts old folks think are funny.  And they’re not afraid to let you know where you rank in their perceived history of comedy.  Win their hearts and they’ll put you above Louis CK!   Simply because they don’t know who he is.  But still, you essentially have a shot at becoming the iconic comedian of this era in their old minds, and they could potentially leave this life thinking that you’re about to take over the whole industry.  Sounds a lot more fulfilling than winning teenager fans who will ditch you for the next Bieber.

6) Even if they can’t understand what you’re saying, they’ll smile and laugh…  When they like you.  If they don’t, they’ll stare you down with permanent angry face (it’s either happy or angry; too much effort to change faces often).   Either way, what a great way to measure your likeability!

7) Your jokes about rap lyrics and iPhones will bomb. As they should.

8) Retirement shows are early in the day, so you can still do your night shows.  That’s right, you can work twice as hard for the same pay!  (These retirement shows don’t pay, sorry, wasn’t sure where to sneak in this news.)

9) Most importantly, the happy seniors are thankful for you being there.  You’ve succeeded at one of the most challenging good deeds a human being can undertake: you’ve brightened an old person’s day.  Just make sure to leave right after getting your praise, as their mood tends to plummet past 5 pm.

10) FREE HARD CANDIES!

So, I hope I’ve made a convincing argument to come check out one of my retirement home shows. If you’re an interested comic who can perform clean without being mean to an audience or feeling entitled to a payment, please send me a message.  Up next, I’ll be producing shows for veteran’s groups, sober homes, and, get ready for it… Mental patients!  Those’ll be insane.  Performing for people just as crazy as us, but with the decency to withdraw from society.

Some of you may be thinking I’ve gone insane myself, and you’re right!  But such is comedy.   It’s an insane job: to constantly figure out more ways to get people to laugh at you.  The only nearest-to-sane thing that I could do at this point would be to retire from comedy altogether.  And let’s face it, that’s not happening any time soon.

No matter how much my hatin-ass autocorrect wants it.

3 Simple Steps to Find Love

I am no more of an expert on love than Dr. Drew, though I definitely talk less about molestation.  My background is not in psychology or biology, but If there is a mathematical formula for love, I could teach the proof to children.  My credentials: UC Berkeley Applied Math’06,  3.91.  That’s GPA, not inches.

I may not have the best track record with love relationships, but then again, who does?  That’s right, your old high school friends Dave and Suzie, who dated at 16, went to prom together, got married at 22, and now they live on a farm somewhere.  Or their house feels like a farm because of all the kids and animals.   Look, not everyone can be Dave and Suzie.  But there’s a valuable lesson we can learn from them: they simply gave up early.  There’s a fine line between committing to someone and just giving up on trying to find other stuff.  Dave and Suzie are still together, because they let their respective egos die a long time ago.  They didn’t bother wondering what else is out there or setting crazy high standards that they impose on one another.  They just love each other deeply and sincerely.  And it makes all of the rest of us sick.

That said, everyone wants to find their own Dave or Suzie.  But how do we know?  How do we know if it’s the real Dave or the real Suzie?  There has to be some test we can put them through.  Some convoluted, selfish, idiotic test of love.  Hence, the way we date in today’s society:   Games and tests that we put our ”partner” through to see if they really love us. But there is no solid test of love.  Those who pass your tests may not really love you.   Those who don’t may actually love you, but your painful tests make them realize they can do better.  “If I break up with Danny, and start seeing Thomas, will he fight for me?” Hell no, Danny, run!

I believe that a test of true love has nothing to do with what another person does for you, but everything to do with how you feel about them.  A simple test to know if you truly love someone is if you play the game ‘f*ck, marry, kill’ and you can’t decide, because would put that person in each of those categories equally.  Lust, longevity, insanity.  That’s true love.

Okay, enough preaching.  I really don’t know sh*t.  But, the other night, I looked like I did,  at Tommy T’s in Pleasanton (where I was booed off the stage a few weeks ago… Yeah, I came back for more).  I’m stopping by to do a guest set on my buddy Ric James’s show.  Ric has just gone through a terrible break up, with the girl he was with for seven years… She was his Suzie, and now it’s over.  Just entering the room, you can feel a sentiment of deep heartbreak in the air.  He picks at his chicken tenders, unable to eat, and then goes up to host the show, just talking about how much it sucks and how sad he is. “I f*@kin hate this”, he keeps saying.  And the crowd just reflects the sad energy back.  As if everyone in the room is going through it too and can’t help.  However, I am not heartbroken, so while he’s on stage I ponder what is going on while eating his chicken tenders (why let them go to waste?)

After a few more comics, I go up, and at the beginning of my set, I ask a girl in the crowd, who looks troubled– like she’s not having fun– what she’s learned so far tonight from the comedians before me.  She says, “nothing”.  I say, “Well that’s too bad!  Surely you’ve learned something!  At least some stuff about d*@k and p*@@y, you feel me!”   The crowd laughs. And then I go on to do my jokes, starting with sex puns to get these animals on board, but then moving to deeper stuff.  I do genuinely want her to feel like she’s learned something.  Why else should she leave the house?  To hear stuff she already knew?  The set is going well, but at the end she still looks wanting , so I ask, “Okay, what do you want me to teach you?  I’ll teach you about anything you want.  Anything. I used to be a teacher you know”.

She looks at me blankly for a second, then looks down, and looks up, and says, “Okay… Love.  Teach me about love.”  We lock eyes for a moment, and I understand completely.  She’s recently been heartbroken, and now she’s trying to understand love, and how to find it again.  “Okay, great.  I’ll teach you how to find love,” I say.  She looks pleased, and eager to hear.  The crowd looks at me like “there’s no way he’s going to pull this off.”

I start riffing on love, using parts of jokes I’ve already written that have the word ‘love’ in them.  They get a few laughs, but people can see I’m not really going straight for the heart of the topic; more just falling back on jokes.  So then I really try to dig.  I start thinking out loud.  “Love is a four letter word.”  The audience stares, silent.  I continue, “If you rearrange the letters in the word love, you get ‘velo.’  Which means ‘veil’ in Italian and Spanish.  Note that veils are worn at weddings.  And funerals.  So love is both uniting, and parting.  Happy and sad.  White and black.  Spanish and Italian.”

The audience can tell I’m struggling to find something with this.  I try again, “If you rearrange the letters in the word love… You can spell… Evolve.. If you add some more letters.”   The crowd chuckles at this ridiculousness.  I’ll ride with this.  “That’s right, if you add an extra v and an e to love, and rearrange a little, you get ‘evolve’.  Because real love makes you evolve as a human being!”  The crowd is on board now.

“So, to find love, you have to first evolve, then give up the extra v and e.”  People are laughing… But mostly because it doesn’t make sense yet.  I press on: “That’s right.   “If you’re a young lady looking for love, first focus on evolving yourself. You can only find love when you first evolve, and then… Give up the V… Which stands for… Vagina! And E, which stands for… Expectations.”  The crowd is laughing now, because I got them with their favorite topic… Genitalia! But they’re also still asking “what the f*@ck?”

I’m like “Right ladies? First, evolve, and then all you gotta do is give up the p*@@y a little bit, and relinquish your expectations, and THEN you’ll find love!”  And suddenly it all made sense.   All the dudes in the room are clapping.  The women are laughing, because it’s true.   I still have a few minutes on stage, but I get off at that pulse, because I’m not gonna top that.  The crowd cheers, and I can see her smiling.  I just helped some fella in Pleasanton get lucky tonight. 🙂

Okay, you may not think what I did there was funny, but I guess you just had to be there. More importantly, one week after this night Ric actually ended up getting back with his girl, and they are now getting married on Valentine’s Day, 2/14/14.  Crazy, right?  I’d like to credit my moment on stage for him calling her and saying the right things to get her back (though it was probably just loneliness).  But the point is, even guys have to evolve, let go of expectations, and then give up the p*@@y of their minds to find love. Yeah, the p*@@y of your mind.  Believe it, y’all.  True love.  Dave and Suzie.

Now, get out there and find someone to die slowly with.

The Last Month of my Twenties

It’s fairly human to not appreciate your youth until it’s gone. I’ve never met a five year-old who says, “Wow, I’m so thankful to be young and taken care of. This is the time of my life! Y’all other ages ain’t sh*t! High five! Get it, ’cause I’m 5?” No, the five year-old wants to be the twelve year-old, who wants to be the 18 year-old, who wants to be the 21 year-old, who is confused and puking on his/her shirt.

By the time many of us reach our mid-20s we realize we’ve burned our youth and then we start the stupid “I’m old!” speech. I admit, I’ve done it throughout my 20s, and it’s annoying to anyone older who hears it. Because the 20s are still young. In this country, at least. The median age of the world is 29– that is, about half of all people are over 29 years old. But for the US, it’s 37 (we love our oldies). Compare that with the Gaza Strip, where it’s 18, or Uganda’s 15 (yikes). So, sure, there are hundreds of countries where us 20-somethings would be dead by now, which in that sense makes us kinda old. But here in the land of social security (for now lol), you ain’t “old” until you reach 38.

I’m currently in the last month of my 20’s, a decade which I spent changing my mind about almost everything. They say you spend the 20’s figuring yourself out, though I think that’s a lifelong process. That, in fact, we never find out who we are, and at some point we just settle into a sense of pretending that we do and we create a routine accordingly, for convenience’s sake. And the 20s happen to be the time where a lot of us sift through all the options of what we could settle into. My grandpa, for instance, only eats ice cream if it’s vanilla with chocolate sauce on it. You offer him cookies ‘n cream, he slaps it out of your hand. He says it’s because he’s been like that for as long as he can remember. Though back in the day there weren’t as many flavors or styles of cold dessert. If in his 20s he had lived next door to a Yogurtland, he’d probably be more open to variety. I wonder if the old people that my generation yields in 30 years will be more open to variety in all aspects of life. We grew up in the era of globalization, where we can have anything we want at any time (given we have money), and we are told we could be anything we want to be by our parents (given they have money). Or maybe we will also choose one flavor. Cause that’s what old people do?

What I’m saying is that I think there’s a fine line between getting old and thinking you know who you are… Thinking that you’ve seen it all, that you know what you like, and that there’s no changing that. Not saying there’s anything wrong with this. Hell, it makes life more convenient. Like Nietzsche said: freedom creates anxiety. Too many options can be overwhelming. Maybe if I just ate vanilla ice cream every day, my life would be simpler, and I’d be able to appreciate the little things and be happier. But I’m still a 29 year-old sh*thead living in a time when being a sh*thead is embraced in pop culture. For example, our pop music is targeted to and created by the youth. Listen to the Top 20 (ironic that it’s 20 and not 30?) and tell me that the lyrics have been written by mature, intelligent people in their 30s and 40s, shedding wisdom and life experience. Sure, some of the music producers and writers are over 30, but they are filthy rich and have none of the responsibilities and worries of their 30-something peers. And they’re writing music at the high school level. And they probably do cocaine.

We live in a time where youth has more power than ever. And it’s driving all the subsequent ages into acting younger as well. The saying that “30 is the new 20” is pretty right on, and it can be further extrapolated to “60 is the new 40” to “90 is the new 60” to “120 is the new 80,” and thus “death is the new life.” Yeah, people on the other side are probably saying “death is the new life” to make themselves feel younger and more alive. But they are dead.

Meanwhile, all the 20-somethings are acting like kids again. Stats show that 40% of us move back home with our parents at least once in our 20s, with 20% of men in their 20s still living with their folks, and 10% of females (more independent? Or they found a dude’s house to crash at?). 2/3rds of us spend time living with a romantic partner– I’ve failed this one, unless you consider my relationship with my parents romantic. Sometimes it does feel that way. It’s also said that we go through an average of seven jobs in our 20s, which isn’t true for me, but it’s about the number of times I wanted to quit comedy and change careers, so it makes sense. My job is like an abusive partner that won’t let me leave.

We also go through way more romantic partners nowadays than we used to, which has pushed marriage back. In the 1970s, the U.S. median age for marriage was 22, and now it’s 27. But back then, life expectancy was 70 and now it’s 80. So we’ve traded five single young years for ten old shackled years? Sounds about right. As life expectancy continues to rise (until overpopulation and climate change begin to kill us and our children), marriage becomes a bigger commitment. Since, back in the day, you’d get married at 20, die at 40. A quick 20-year investment. Now it’s like 50+ years! Even worse if you’re healthy and have good genes. Yikes. Often people think they’ve figured out who they are, they get married, and then realize they haven’t. Hence, the prevalence of divorce. So if you are set on marrying in your 20s, you gotta figure yourself out fast (aka slut it up in the early 20s), or more realistically, find a partner who is amenable to the both of you figuring yourselves together out over the years.

I’m not saying confusion is the one mark of young people, since old people get confused too, and it’s often worse. (“Is it Monday?” “Where are my pants?” etc.) But in today’s society, younger people are given the space and permission to figure themselves out. Whereas those in their 30s, 40s, and on are told that they are grown-ass adults and need to put the pipe down. Subscribe to whatever school of thought you want, but I will say that if you are the type of person who thinks they know themselves to a T, you will continually be disproved. You don’t know sh*t. No one does. So take this essay with a grain of salt, because what do I know?

As I end my 20s in these next few weeks, I don’t feel any extra pressure to “live it up.” I have the rest of my life for that. That’s what keeps me feeling young, knowing that there’s no rush. When you create the rush, you age faster. “But by 30 I need to have a husband, kids, house, dog, 401k, and back problems!” Go for it. Die at your own rate. Like the late Aliyyah said: “Age ain’t nothin’ but a numba.” She would have turned 35 last week, and probably still looked 21. Of course, black don’t crack, but also note that brown don’t frown, yellow keeps like jello, and white… Stay out of the sun.

The moral of the story is: if you think you’re old… You are! It took me my whole 20s to realize that I’ll never be old, as long as I make a vow to keep discovering myself, and my world, at every age. And also to surround myself with people who are older than me so I feel youthful by default. Yes, that’s the key to youth, using the oldness of others to feel great. That’s why I’ll never go to Uganda. Not enough retirement communities to hang out at. But in Florida… I’m forever young.

Booed off the Stage at my Home Club

There’s a story comedians will often tell each other after a bad set, and that is the story of Dave Chappelle getting booed off the stage at the Apollo Theatre, back when he was a teen in the early 90’s. It’s a comforting story to a comic who just bombed, because Chappelle became such a huge success after what sounds like a bombing way worse than anything you or I (until recently) have experienced. Even back then Dave was funny, but he was young in comedy and this Harlem crowd was merciless. He recounts the experience as being one of the defining moments in his career, that shaped him into the comic he became later on. And thus, as a comedian, you hear this story and think, well, “Even if a crowd boo’s me off stage, I just might go on to be the next Dave Chappelle!”

Sadly though, sometimes you just get booed off stage because you…suck. The universe is trying to tell you something. I mean, it takes a lot for a crowd to boo someone off stage. The crowd is not just sitting in silence like a normal bombing; a booing takes effort, moving around, and raised voices. You really do have to anger a whole group of people all at once, which requires a special talent in itself. It’d be really interesting to have a competition, where the crowd doesn’t know, but each comedian on the show’s goal is to get the crowd to boo them offstage. I guarantee that even some of the worst comedians we know could not pull it off! Well, my friends, I pulled it off.

It’s the night after Christmas, and all through the house…no one laughs, not even their spouse. I’m returning to comedy after 2 nights off, which is the most I’ve taken since my 10 day hiatus right after my 1,000 days. I’m the kind of comedian who gets rusty real fast. Even between nights, I rust. If I take a full week off of comedy I’m like a junkyard, ready to trash the whole show and give them tetanus. Why, I’m not sure. But I know it has something to do with me being very antisocial. Whereas some comedians spend their off-time yap yap yapping, I prefer to bask in my own silence. Less noise coming out of me, the better. I often go through whole days without talking to anyone, and so when I hit the stage it’s like I’m coming out of a cave and learning words again. Suddenly, there’s a group of people in front of me expecting me to be some sort of ambassador of communication, and yet they’ve been talking more than me all day! I’ll stutter and jumble words, looking like I just started comedy for the first time. My brain will freeze and I start worrying that people will demand their money back. This is how I feel every time I return to comedy after a night or two off. It’s an icky feeling. And that’s why I did 1,000 days in a row, just to not feel that way for a while.

Maybe I should just start talking during the day? … Naaaaa.

So here I am, at Tommy T’s in Pleasanton, the stage that raised me in my early years, where I learned the art of stage presence, and how to simultaneously get a weird mix of a suburban and urban crowd on my side without being able to use my full vocabulary of words I learned at Berkeley. This is the club that’s closest to my parent’s house in Fremont, the club that called me up to perform every week when I was less than a year in and nobody knew who I was, the first place to headline me on a weekend, and the place where I won a $5,000 competition between 100 comics just less than a year ago. What I’m saying is, I know this stage. If there’s any stage I know, it’s Tommy T’s Pleasanton. I know what pleases them, and also what prickles their pickles (make them angry). I’d never had to resort to using the latter…before this night.

I’m the feature act tonight, and I notice from the opening sets that the crowd is not being very responsive to the comedians. But if anyone shouldn’t bomb, it’s the feature act, since it’s the prime middle spot, where the crowd is warm and not anxious to leave yet. So I go up thinking, “I got this.” Famous last words of a comedian before he/she bombs.

I get on stage and start doing jokes, not my best ones, and my delivery is rusty, but still I feel that I deserve more laughs than what I am yielding. I notice there’s a lot of chatter from a few of the tables. So I talk to them to get them to quiet down. But they don’t. Then I go into a joke about crack and ask if anyone there has ever done crack before, which is a rhetorical question that usually just gets a laugh, but this time, two young women raised their hands, and it was sincere. They really do crack, and one was very proud of it. “Hell yea I do crack!” she exclaimed as she raised her hand. Then, the table next to them started calling them crackheads and laughing, and then a war broke out between the tables, which started to result in an altercation, but then the pissed off members just left. So now the room is now divided, the right hates the left, and the left hates the right. Meanwhile I’m on stage doing a horrible rusty job of choosing the right jokes to keep the rest of the crowd engaged. I start talking to the table in the front that is listening, and it’s this guys first comedy show ever. I say ‘Give it up for this guy, it’s his first show!’ and no one claps. Jeez, this crowd does not want to be controlled.

I continue with jokes, getting a few laughs, but there are tables still talking over me. Finally, I snap, and say, “You know what, let’s get civilized here so I can tell my jokes and you guys can shut up and listen, because we are effectively ruining the show right now, you all by talking, and me by letting it happen” (or something like that). After I say this, I can sense their anger just boiling up. I go on with a few more jokes, and now they are laughing even less, because they, collectively, don’t like me. They already didn’t want to like me, and then when I suggest that they shut up, they liked me less. Except one table in the back is laughing. I say, ‘You guys are the best!’ which makes the rest of the crowd even more hostile because what I said seemed backhanded, even though I was really just trying to bond with the only part of the crowd that likes me.

So now, my show is almost in complete silence, so I just take a break to reshuffle my thoughts, and sigh it out. My brain freezes…. Crickets…You can hear me breathing. And then I say, ‘Well guys, I’ve got about another 10 minutes up here.” Suddenly crowd explodes with a massive “BOO!”. Here we go! It was as if they turned to each other like ‘Holy shit! 10 more minutes of this guy??! No way! We can’t let this happen! We need to boo him off” I was shocked by how the boo came out of nowhere, from complete silence, and furthermore that they were able to coordinate the boo so well with each other, when previously they seemed like a crowd that was not capable of working together to do anything. It was certain they all wanted me off. Part of me is saddened by this deliberate insult to my art, but the other part is surprisingly happy that I emitted a definite reaction from them for once. And now the purpose of this set is at least starting to have meaning.

So now I got a crowd of 100 booing at me, and of course, when all is falling apart, the club gives me the light. I could just get off now. But your boy likes to do his time, and I kinda want to punish this crowd some more. I keep moving forward with jokes, and now it’s like fighting a hail storm. I remember once watching a clip of comedian Bill Burr, where a crowd in Philly was booing him, but he kept going, and ripped on them for his remaining time. I’m not the type to rip on people, so I just keep doing my jokes. I have one guy and his girl laughing in the back and everyone else in silence or boo’s. I look at the guy in the front whose first comedy show it is, and he’s one of the crowd members booing the hardest! Really man? You have no frame of reference, this is your first show! Now I’m really feeling like a piece of sh*t. But I keep going. Now I’m doing jokes that I know they specifically won’t like. Higher brow, jokes about linguistics and religion. I start using words that I know most of them don’t understand, like ‘paradox’. I can feel the hate boiling. People are looking at me like I’m the Satan of comedy who has come to destroy the art form they once knew.

“I’ve got a few more jokes guys”, I say, and the crowd explodes again with an atomic ‘BOOOO!” Well, at least I’m unifying the crowd on something. A crowd that was once fighting each other is now in full harmony with their communal hatred for Sammy Obeid!

So I start going into sex jokes, stuff they would actually like, and it’s all still falling flat to their joke protest. That’s how much they hate me now, that they are hating jokes that they know deep down in their soul that they find funny. And I can sense, after a few of these jokes that they would like, they are starting to realize that I do have value to them, yet we’ve committed so hard to our enmity that we continue to play the game. Well, let’s play then!

“Last joke guys” BOOOOOOO.

Now part of me is feeling bad that I’m doing this at a home club of mine, so I say, “Okay, there’s two things I want you to take home tonight. 1) Keep coming back to Tommy T’s and supporting live comedy. And 2) go fuck yourselves.” The crowd is in shambles, full of “Oh no he didn’t!” and “Get this guy off!” I close with one of my best sex jokes, normally my strongest joke at Tommy T’s, it’s so right for this crowd that it actually has a lot of them laughing against their own will. I can tell the laughs hurt them. It was like I sprayed them with bullets, and then I walk off stage, and I’ve never seen a crowd so excited and rejoicing for my exit.

Walking off stage like that I felt all of embarrassed, failed, yet accomplished, and liberated. I stood my ground and didn’t surrender to them or tell them they were great when they weren’t. I don’t think I could have handled this experience a year ago or before. It would have crushed me. But even if I bomb now, I”m still the guy who did 1,000 days of comedy. I”ve been through worse.

And I didn’t let this experience stop me. I picked myself up and came back to Tommy T’s the next 3 nights in a row and did well on every show. Complete 180. Since the weekend shows at Tommy T’s are normally hot. A few nights later, I”m headlining the Crow’s Nest in Santa Cruz, and a guy and a girl come up after and say, ‘We saw you at Tommy T’s last week’. I was like, “uh-oh, what show?” They said, “The bad one, but we were the couple at the table in the back laughing” I said “You guys! You laughed when no one else did!” They say, “Yea we thought you were so funny that night that we looked you up and came out to this show to see you do a longer set. We’d also like to buy a CD.” I gave them a CD for free, signed with a big heart. Even at my worst, they were fans. And way to not follow the lead of the others that night. That’s what I like to know, that my fans are leaders, not followers or crackheads.

I won’t say that my getting booed of the stage in front of a hundred Pleasantonians was as horrifying of an experience as it was for the young Chappelle in front of thousands of Harlemmers, but I will say that it felt like a defining moment for me as well. One where I learned that I have power over people’s emotions in ways that I didn’t even know I did. And one where I learned that I could take a booing and shrug it off, because I have enough faith in myself as a performer. And I also learned that even when one bombs, there still may be future fans in the room 🙂

Either that or I completely failed to hear the universe trying to tell me to quit.

2013: Worst Year of Life, Best of Career

What can I say about 2013 other than it was a huge mindf*@k. The year that kicked me in the nuts when I was down, but then made my dreams come true. The year that I accomplished the one thing that I put more heart and effort into than anything else in my whole life, was also the year that almost killed me, inside and out. Yet, leaving 2013 I feel nothing less than strength and fearlessness. My whole paradigm has flopped after what this year has put me through, and I now understand what’s most important in life…uhhhhh NUTHIN.

Here’s the highlights:

1/1: Celebrate New Years alone in my car, no phone calls, and one mass text from some Indian dude I don’t really know
1/6: Jump in the Pacific Ocean naked with a bunch of random Europeans
1/14: Get my first commercial ‘on avail’ for role of ‘Brazilian soccer player’
1/16: Start seeing a therapist
1/26: Perform for my Texan grandma at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas where she went as kid in the 1930’s
2/9: Turn 29, 5 people show up to my birthday show
2/18: Book 50 colleges at NACA nationals in Nashville, income suddenly moves up to 6 figures
2/19: Record my first comedy album in SF on 1 hour of sleep
3/17: Walk an angry crowd member in SF after a 9/11 joke
3/24: Graduate the UCB improv program in Hollywood after 2 years of struggling
3/31: Win a $5,000 competition at Tommy Ts on Easter
4/7: Almost die in my car after spinning circles on a slippery freeway
4/25: First time in Hawaii!
5/6: Perform for 2.5 hours at a bar in SF, new personal record
5/9: Rejected by the Montreal festival for the 3rd time
5/24: Told I’m ugly and look like sh*t by 4 people in 24 hours
5/25: Discover that a medication I’ve been on for 2 years is destroying my hair, skin, and liver
5/26: Get off medication, begin 6 months of severe burning pain on my head and sun allergy
5/27: Anxiety attacks begin
5/28: Dream I’m on Conan and bomb so bad that I get booed off the stage
6/5: Headline Comedy & Magic Club for my 6 year anniversary in comedy, and get heckled the whole set
6/23: Bomb at my college buddy’s Punjabi wedding during an anxiety attack
6/24: Start intense detox diet to help lessen the head pain
6/29: Consider suicide in my Arizona hotel
6/30: Decide to postpone suicidal thoughts until after 1,000 days is up
7/9: Zimrider pukes in my car
7/13: OKCupid date from hell
7/31: Bomb at Comedy Juice in Hollywood, decide I’m quitting comedy, for good this time
8/1: Get booked on Conan, back in comedy again
8/8 Secure Largo in LA as the venue for my 1,000th day
8/22: Lose my driver’s license on a 2 week college tour across America, have to bum rides and take busses
9/6: Randomly find my license at the Dallas airport on a layover
9/17: Perform my Conan set for naked women playing with toys on Playboy Radio
9/18: Perform and air on Conan on TBS
9/19: Sign with a manager
9/20: Make the New York Times on my 1,000th day of comedy
9/21: Sell out the SF Punch Line, completing 1,001 nights of comedy, standing ovation
9/22: Discover Netflix
10/4: Start a 2 month long college tour across America
10/8: Hike the Appalachians, high
10/13: Jog the Rocky steps in Philly
10/14: Climb the Statue of Liberty hungover
10/24: Head pain starts to go away after 4 days in cold Chicago
11/7: Recognized for being on TV for the first time, at a cafe in Peoria, IL
11/14: Book 50 more colleges for 2014 at NACA
11/17: Smoke with my old friend from Junior High in Columbus, OH
12/1: Feature at San Jose Improv and Rooster T Feathers in the same night (make South Bay history)
12/11: Hire my assistant, the great Brian Regan
12/17: My one hour of sleep album makes ‘Best of 2013’ on iTunes
12/26: Get booed off the stage at my home club in the East Bay, Tommy T’s
(not always a happy ending)

Hope your 2013 was just as much of a hellof a ride as mine! And wishing you best in 2014! 2014 is OUR year! Yes, all of us! All of us, except Tim. F*@k that guy.

To Find Your Voice, Lose Your Voice

A common tradition in comedy is when older, more veteran comedians scare younger comedians by telling them how horribly long it takes to really get good and be respected. I’ve heard legends of ’15 years in the game’ before you can actually call yourself a comedian, or that don’t even find your comedic voice until at least 10 years in. So who am I up until that point? Just a confused college student trying to figure out my sexuality?

‘Finding your voice’ can be a perplexing, even frustrating idea to grasp. Find my voice? When did I even lose it? Last I checked, people hear me and respond when I talk. Even if I’m talking just like Daniel Tosh.

It’s true that when we begin comedy, we most often emulate others…whether it be one certain comedian, or a synthesis of many. And as time goes on, we tend to think less about phrasing our words in terms of what we’ve heard before and what we know works, and instead we just start saying things straight from our gut, our heart, or our mind. It can be a long process, of letting go, and finding the confidence and individuality within to do this. But to say our voice was never with us in the first place is a fallacy.

Here’s my theory, thanks for not asking. There’s two things going on here. First of all, we always have our own unique voice within. We just get nerves on stage and focus so much on what we have prepared (our act), that we disconnect from our natural voice, which is always there. The more time we put into our craft, the more comfortable we get, and connect with that voice. Seconldy, as time goes on we grow as a person, so our voice actually becomes more mature (in most cases) and distinguished. The voice I had within me at 23 is not the voice I have now at 29. Thus ‘finding your voice’ to me, is a process of continuously getting more and more connected with the voice you already have, while it simultaneously becomes more refined.

That said, every now and then we will go through a stretch time where we feel very disconnected, like we don’t even have a voice. At the time it just seems so hard to connect back to that feeling of ‘knowing’ your own voice. I’ve been having a period like this recently, where I’ve just been going through the motions. Doing my jokes like words on a page. I think I have this problem more than most comedians. I forget that you have to connect with the audience and be a person. Yikes, can I just hook up a usb to usb and deliver the jokes straight to source? I don’t want to think about changing my intonations or for god sakes making any eye contact. I don’t know how I end up here, but I’ll have the realization some time after the fact. Like, wow, I really wasn’t present during that set. Why am I hiding behind these jokes? What is my voice? I don’t even know who I am anymore!

Then, the most wonderful time of the year blessed me with a cold. Each year around this time the viruses come out with a new release in the cold & flu department, stronger than last years. The virus release of 2013 was super strong, and took down a bunch of us humans. I got a sore throat and stubborn cough, which, after one day, stripped my physical voice away from me. I can barely speak audibly, and have to whisper in order to emit any kind of words. But I have an important show tonight. A show that I was told would have a lot of ‘industry’, at the Soho House on Sunset. I’d never been to or heard of the Soho House, so I assumed, because it was an ‘industry’ show, that it would be more of an alternative show, so the venue would be like a bowling alley, or shack that used to be a farm in the 1980’s. But turns out the Soho House is a private member’s club for people in the film and entertainment industry. It literally was a purely industry show. And in I walk with my sweatshirt from Target, a backpack, and no voice.

I look around and all the people look like they bathe in money. How am I going to relate to them? Fortunately the stage is set up nice, so everyone is focused and attentive. I tell them that I have no voice and will have to whisper, and that it might sound creepy. Knowing that I would be quiet, they listened even harder, which gave me more authority, and the space and time to really make my words clear. And the fact that I had no voice forced me use my physical presence more, through motions and facial expressions. I quickly realize there’s so many more dimensions to comedy than just the words of your jokes. I use my face and body to emote things I would normally just ignore. I remember how powerful my silly faces are. And the crowd is on board with it all. Of course they shudder a little when I say my Palestinian bit, but that’s expected in Hollywood film central.

And though I’m doing the same jokes I’ve been doing, I’m expressing them differently, I’m embodying them. And when you become your jokes, you remember that personal connection that you have to them. At every moment I’m thinking, “Oh! I remember how I was feeling when I wrote this!” What a liberating feeling. It’s like I’m not even working anymore, just speaking my mind. And at that point, I’m no longer a joke machine, but a person. A person with a distinct point of view. And what is that point of view, but my voice. The voice inside, that is. I realize that, with or without sound coming out of my mouth, my voice is always there. But I had to lose the noise coming out of my soundbox to really hear that voice within. Deep, right?

So next time you’re having trouble trying to connect with that voice within, don’t panic…just let someone sneeze in your face.

I Just Signed with the Great Brian Regan!

A good name goes a long way in show biz. My name is Sammy Obeid (pronounced ‘Oh-bade’), and phonetically, it’s a complete sentence. The cop yelled ‘put the gun down!’ Sammy obeyed. Yea, that’s right, I carry guns.

There’s a lot of great comics out there, and one of them is Brian Regan. He’s clean, clever, and successful. If you haven’t heard of him, look him up. If you work with him, it’s an honor and a sign that you are doing well. Now, I’ve never met him personally, but I recently hired an assistant with the same exact name. That’s right, Brian Regan is working for ME!

A few months ago I decided I could use an assistant due to both the extra money and responsibilities that the college circuit has granted me. I hate booking flights, rental cars, hotels, etc. It’s so time consuming, and I am an artist…I need my time for creativity. I first hired an assistant in New York and she quit after one week, that’s how annoying these tasks are. It takes a special soul to be a comedian’s assistant. The right amount of sacrifice and tolerance of narcissism and bad humor. I wondered where I could find my assistant soul mate, and then my agent handed me the resume of a young up and coming gentleman who just moved to LA from ATL. His name is Brian Regan, he’s clean, clever, and soon to be successful with all the sh*t we are about to get done! Again, he is not the famous Brian Regan, but you can still find him on twitter/tumbler/instagram as FMchubs.

I know, you’re wondering, ‘Wow Sammy, did you just hire him off of his name alone?’ The answer is, yes! Sure he went to NYU, has extensive experience as an assistant to a comedian, and just loves being involved in the industry, but all I care about is that when I put his name on paper, it’s going to say ‘Created by Sammy Obeid and Brian Regan’. Hell, I may even put his name first. ‘Brian Regan and Sammy Obeid’. People are going to be asking, ‘Wow, who’s this Sammy Obeid that Brian Regan picked up as a partner? He must be a very special person to be chosen by THE Brian Regan!”

I’ve been working with Brian for a week now and I must say he’s amazing. I like him even better than the famous Brian Regan. And most importantly, he’s all mine. This is a full time position, signed in contract. And though some of you may be lucky enough to meet him personally, you will know him through all of the posts he will be making as me on social media, because I hate doing that sh*t too! In an ideal universe, the comedian should simply be doing the creative work, in order to function at optimal levels, and produce the maximum funny content for the world. It’s a greater good thing…it’s really not as selfish as you’re making it out to be…I’m all about efficiency and specialization. And this isn’t just my theory, it’s one of the many laws of economics. The universe created these laws for us. We were given the choice to either obey them or struggle to accept them. And guess what?

Sammy Obeid.

How to Tell if Your Career is Impressive

I’ve tried a lot of new things this year, 2013, from skinny dipping in the ocean to personal training to seeing a therapist. But one that really stuck, is sharing rides with strangers. I’ve met all types of folk this year, driving up and down highway 5 between the Bay and LA. Some of them inspired me, some of them became fans, and one of them even puked in my car.

But today, on my last trip down to LA for the year, I picked up a guy who just came to America two months ago. His name is Alok, and he is from India. Coincidentally, I did a ride share with his sister about exactly six months ago, and now he is going down to visit her. His sister, who is in a medical research program at UCLA, didn’t really consider comedy a real job. “So when are you going to stop?” she asked me. It’s like no matter how many times I mentioned I opened for Russel Peters once, she was not impressed. So my mission today is to convince her brother that comedy is, in fact, a legit profession. The fact that I get a chance to meet her brother 6 months later is a sign from above. A sign that you have to set goals for yourself to measure your effectiveness in your career, in this case, how impressive it is to an outsider. And my metric is Alok. I couldn’t convince his sister 6 months ago, but hopefully today I’ll impress him to the point where he has to tell his sister. And the best tool to prepare for this mission, is for me to get high as f*@k before I pick him up. I’m a much bigger talker when I’m stoned, and also I have to smoke right before I get him because I don’t want to smoke in front of him during the ride, and getting blasted is my only way of staying sane whilst driving down the 5 hour 5.

My car swerves as I cough and cough, choking on the fat hit I just took. I grab out the air freshener and pick up Alok in front of his San Jose apartment, my eyes blood shot red. Immediately, I tell him that due to time constraints we might have to go straight to my show before we drop him off. This is the latest I’ve ever left the Bay, 3 pm, and I’m trying to make my 8 pm show at the Pleasure Chest in Hollywood. I assure him that he will get in for free and that we will have a good time. He agrees, and tells me he’s never been to a comedy show. Alas, another person who is not contributing to our industry. Comedians and the industry as a whole, don’t seem to take this into account…that we just need better marketing. We are too busy following norms and trying to please the people who already find comedy conducive, and we forget that there are billions of people…the majority of the world…that hasn’t set food in a comedy venue, because we haven’t even invited them. And then don’t get me started on the people who came once and we scared them off by making fun of their physical appearance…

Immediately Alok and I start talking about our respective fields. Turns out he is a commerce major who is now doing his second graduate program in IT. He’s maybe a few years younger than me, and already has 2 more grad degrees than I have. Sh*t, I don’t know how easy he will be to impress. I’m already feel like I’m losing the battle. I tell him of my background, Berkeley Haas business admin and applied mathematics, 2006, 3.91 GPA, no big deal! He can see that I’m able to talk shop, and we talk about the current realities of consumerism and internet commerce. I ask him what his area of interest is, and he says database management. For those of you who don’t know, this is the future of marketing. Every click, every site we visit on the web, is stored to a database, so that when suddenly an email pops up saying ‘Sammy do you want to fly from San Jose to LA?” I’m like how did they know that’s where I go! It’s because they are constantly stalking us. And you think those porn sites you visit go unnoticed? Ha! The internet is like an elephant. It’s fat, remembers everything, and is largely made in India. And it’s only growing and becoming more retentive. The more information that is able to be sent to the database, the better they can find ways to sell you on stuff. And Alok and I both agree, as scary as it is, let’s use it to make us some money! Brown guy high five!

I ask Alok if he can take a turn at the wheel. That’s really why I do ride shares. I don’t need the gas money, I just hate driving, and love to be able to nap or get work done. “But I only have an Indian license. Is that okay?” says Alok. Lol. I’m like “C’mon! Roads are roads.” He hops in the drivers seat, saying, “Yea this is a bit confusing since in Bombay the wheel is on the right side.” Luckily I trust his mathematical mind to understand the simple application of reflection. We start driving slowly. I’m like, ‘You can go 80’. He’s like ‘Really? Wait the left lane is the fast one right?’ I’m like “Yes, Alok, just keep drivin!”

Since Alok is in the driver seat, I ask him if he wants to listen to music if he has any. He gladly agrees. And first we start listening to some modern Indian hits, with rap/r&b beats and lyrics in Hindi. But then we get to his American selection, which is essentially, the top 40 charts. We’re talking Miley Cyrus, Avicii, Rhianna…any song a radio station has played ad nauseam. It’s not even Thursday, but we’re throwin back songs from Lil Jon and ‘Tell me Whyyee’ from the Backstreet Boys. And, as much as I hate all of these songs in theory, seeing Alok enjoy them like they were the thing to do just made me bob my head, proud to be an American, harmonizing with him on ‘I waaant it thaat way!” We laugg, we cry, we hav the time of our lives with his i-pod. If only I could bring him with me to every night club I go so I could have the same sentiment. The best part was when I heard him rap along to ‘shots shots shots’…’ladies love us, when we pour shots, they need an excuse, to suck our c*cks’. Yes, Alok!

We enter LA and pull up to my show at the Pleasure Chest, where I’m instantly reminded that this show is at a sex shop! What will Alok think? Does he know what sex is? Has he had it? I mean I did see those rap lyrics. Maybe he secretly a huge sex enthusiast and goes to sex stores all the time. I warn him that it’s a sex shop, and he definitely finds it intriguing. We enter the shop and are surrounded by dildos and lube, listening to comedy which is largely about similar subject matter. I warn him that he might not get all of the jokes because of American references, but he still sits and enjoys the show. A great lineup too, though I’m watching him watch the comedy, and I don’t think he quite gets it. Finally, I go up at the end, and at first he just stares, but soon enough I start talking about China and catch him smiling in the back. Maybe its because he knows me, or because my comedy is all based on mathematical reasoning, but he comes up after and says “Really funny man! I liked your content.” Sweet, he’s impressed! He digs my comedy, and is starting to see that it’s a legitimate profession. Mission almost accomplished! Now if he just tells his sister. I’m feeling victorious. Shots, shots, shots, shots..

We hop back in the car. He asks, “So how much did you get paid tonight?” Shit. Abort mission.

Maquise’s Gap

I look out of my plane window to see a snow covered St. Louis. This is the last day of my 3 month long national college tour, and I’m ending it in the heart of the country, a city I’ve now been to 4 times. I did my America’s Got Talent audition here just last year, where I got a 3,000 person standing ovation and was praised by Howard Stern for choosing the right career. I came back in freezing February of this year to headline a show for 15 people, and then again in the heat of August to headline two packed shows downtown and visit the renowned St. Louis zoo. And now here I am, in the pre-Christmas December, when it’s all winter wonderlandy everywhere, with holiday decor, and people in mittens. It’s kind of sad that this nice Christmasy feel gets wasted on a city like St. Louis. Just saying, we could enjoy some cute holiday snow and mittens in Cali.

I’m greeted at the airport by my good buddy Ben Flug, who rented me a car on his corporate Hertz account. We take a shuttle to the Hertz lot, scrape the snow off of the car and drive to our buddy Marquise Moore’s house. Marquise is a hilarious St. Louis comic, and a great personality. I always urge him to move to LA, but he insists that he is so comfortable living in his mom’s basement. He greets us in his jammies, as he’s watching the game next to a fully decorated Christmas tree. He asks me if he can perform on my college show tonight and I tell him that I contractually cannot put him up, which saddens me too, because I wish I could. It would be an issue with the school and my agent. I see the look on his face, he just wants to perform. That’s how you know he’s a great comic. Looking at me, I’ve flown thousands of miles, driven sh*tty roads, and am just plain old beat. I wouldn’t mind just kicking back and watching Marquis do all of my time. But contracts are contracts. And money overrides what is right in our hearts.

We get in the rental and head to Marysville University, where we meet the students who are taking me out to dinner. They give me two options, Buffalo Wild Wings or St Louis’s own 54 Street Grill. I rule out the first, and we head to 54 where there’s a 20 minute wait. I go off to find a seat and get some work done, cause 20 minutes is a lot to just sit and talk. I take advantage of the fact that Ben and Quise can keep the students company and vice versa. I come back in 20 minutes to find the 4 of them laughing, having the time of their lives. They scold me for not being social, which is nothing new for me. We order our food, and I get the salmon and shrimp, yet again. I have a motto that, when the school pay, it’s a seafood buffet. When I see lobster, I order it. Parents pay good money for their kids to go to school, so why can’t I make the best of it?

At dinner Marquise starts talking about the gap that he has between his two front teeth. It’d definitely big, but quite cute and lovable. That which makes him, him. The girl student says, “Hey I know what it’s like, I once had a gap.” Quise interjects, “Once! You ain’t got a gap no more, so you can’t be talkin like you know what it’s like. I gotta live with this! Once a gap, ain’t a gap!” We all start laughing. Quise has one of those voices you just laugh at regardless of what he’s saying. I’m super envious because I’m the opposite. I can say things that are horrendously funny, but my voice is so monotone and serious it actually makes it less funny. That’s why people more often just tell me ‘you’re a good writer’.

We finish our dinner and head back to the venue, where kids start pouring in. I’m approached by a gentleman who looks older than a student, “Hi, Paul Steensland’ That name sounds familiar, like I’ve seen it in text. He says, ‘We’re friends on facebook.” “Right!” I’ve never met him, but I’ve seen his likes and comments and turns out he lives here and finally is coming to check me out. So now I have to please both students and adult. Classic Obeid juggling. I start the set, and they are a bit quiet and conservative. A security guard walks in, and sees 2 of my racial jokes back to back, shakes his head and walks out. I do a joke with ‘balls’ in it and the students get all weird. Is this a Catholic school or something? After all, their mascot is the Saints. What an intimidating mascot. ‘Oh yea, our football team is gonna tear your’s apart! Just like St. Augustine would. He was a man of great deeds.”

I’m doing decently, and then I go into my portion where I ask for suggestions. One guy yells ‘What’s the difference between pop and soda?’ I’m like, ‘Well they are the same thing I think, do they call it pop here in St Louis?’ He says, “No, they call it soda.” I say, “well where do they call it pop?” He says, “I’m from Omaha.” I’m like, “Well yea, I think Omaha is the only place that would call it pop.” Then the male student who went to dinner with us in the front says “Talk about Marquise’s gap.’ The crowd gets confused. What a weird topic from him to bring up though. I look back at Quis, who is staring at me clueleslsy. A lightbulb goes off in my head. ‘Quise, get up here.’

I bring Marquise on stage, and decide to conduct an interview on him. This way he can get the stage time he wanted, without me violating a contract, and after all, it was the student leader’s wish to talk about this. I start asking Quise questions about his gap and how it affects his life, and this allows him to go into his bits about it. The students start to really warm up, and then Quise goes into his bit about eating p*ssy with the gap. The students go wild. I go, ‘Wow, not so Saintly after all are we??” Marquis leaves the stage with a good applause. Not only did we get him his set, but we cracked open the crowd, so that now I can close with my own eating p*ssy bit, with them nicely warmed up to the concept. I look over and see Paul Steensland dying. Nice job, Quise!

Because that’s what the holidays are all about. Giving to others, bringing different kinds of people together, and eatin p*ssy.

To book me at your college, visit my website, www.sammyko.com.

Happy holidays!