What an Awesome Day to be a Human!

Woooooooo! I’m so happy for today!

What an amazing day!

Got to help some kids bring their scripts to life – these kids are poets and geniuses and the rockstar artists of tomorrow – and I got to do it with a super talented ensemble of actors and improvers. Thanks to Tom Jenkins for the opportunity and to Jillian Dunn for connecting me!

Hung out with the wonderful Fernanda Perez and fan girled over the new “Saved By The Bell” reboot. (Fernandx is coming back on Saturday December 11!)

Went to Canter’s – and it was awesome! That Pastrami Reuben, y’all! 

Finally, Samantha Jane and I debuted the first ever live Dazed and Confused Poetry Club at Tao Comedy Studio! We had some fire booked poets and some surprise wordsmiths in the open mic. And Bobbie Oliver did some standup for us too! It was so good we’re going to do it again.

Its days Iike these were the universe validates your life choices and gives you the energy and direction to go deeper.

Thanks to all these beautiful human beings who gave me a great day. Also, my parents rock! Do what you love and good things will happen.

#improv #writer #theater #fernandx #dazedandconfusedpoetryclub #poetry

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The Improv Life: My First Comedy Teacher, Norm Macdonald

The Improv Life: My First Comedy Teacher, Norm Macdonald

You learn comedy by mimicking the people you look up to, the people who make you laugh the most.

In my early forays into comedy as a teenager, I was just ripping off Norm Macdonald bits and tried to pass them off as my own.

I learned to say outrageous things, just flat out lies, in the most straight man way possible, just like he did in Weekend Update.

I guess you would call it deadpan, but I never leaned into the punchline, or hinted that I was doing a bit. I just said bizarre, absurd things in a very matter of fact way to whoever was around.

My friends knew I was doing a bit, but other people would just continue talking to me as normal with me being an emotionless ass.

I would always say, “Note to Self,” pantomime a tape recorder, and record some absurd sentence that I thought was funny. “Note to Self: create secret language for my friends and I to talk about that thing we all do in private when no one is watching, but people know what we’re doing.”

I always used “Note to Self” to make a zinger about whatever was happening around me while the thing was still relevant. I guess I was learning timing from Norm.

Or even now, I still do his fake shock. In Dirty Work, or Weekend Update, he would say a joke with some surprising piece of information, act a wee bit shocked (but not really) to drive home how insane or absurd is the joke he just delivered.

Like he would say a joke with a little bit of shock, expect the audience to get it, hold for a moment, and then either address if the person got it or moved on.

Dirty Work taught me how to fish for funny people in life. If you’re working with someone and you softball them a joke with a light delivery, and wait for them to get it or not, their response (going along with your bit or going over their head) will reveal if they’re cool or not.

Out in the wild comedians have to sniff each other out. Bits are a way for us to find each other and seek refuge in each other’s company.

You always gave me refuge, Norm. And you taught me more than I ever knew. RIP, brother.

#normmacdonald #weekendupdate
#snl #dirtywork

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The Sketch Comedy Life: Don’t Let Ideas Escape You

The Sketch Comedy Life: Don’t Let Ideas Escape You

As a writer, you’re only as good enough as your ideas and your ability to bring them into the world.

That’s why you you have to write every idea down and then see which ones are worth further development.

Man, getting ideas is easy. Go read a book, watch a movie, take a walk. Live life basically and ideas will come.

But, you’re presence of mind to write down ideas as they come to you will make all the difference when it comes to have something to write about.

I’m not trying to play down the difficulty in getting ideas; I’m emphasizing the importance of cataloging your ideas for some future use.

I write a poem every day, and there are some days that I’m just bombarded with different lines and verses, each exploring a specific subject or theme that’s on my mind.

I’ll think about them over and over, writing the poem in my head for later publication.
Or, if it’s a lot of things coming at once, I’ll go journal. More often than I like to admit, I acknowledge the idea but get on with my life – the idea dies as the thought that birthed it disappears.

That happened to me a few times today. Or I’ll be asleep, wake up with a profound thought, but then go back to bed. Believe me, I regret not writing down a lot of these lines.

But here’s the positive: when I do write down an idea that just comes to me, it now has the potential to become something else, something bigger and more meaningful, or maybe just something I can revisit later when I have more insight for how to approach it.

I think one of the secret goals of National Sketch Writing Month is to get people to write down their ideas more because who knows, you might write something amazing that will crush it with an audience.

One more thing. For this to work, you can’t judge your ideas. Judging your ideas will kill your ideas because finding a flaw in them will be easy and you’ll get discouraged. When you’re panning for gold, you’re going to get rocks, but if you want the gold, you’re going to have to sort through the rocks.

#improv #sketch #writer #ideas #creativity #journal #habit #poetry #comedy

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The Improv Life: What I Love About Producing Shows

The Improv Life: What I Love About Producing Shows

So between Sunday and yesterday, I produced two amazing shows on Twitch, each with their own concepts, voices, audiences, and great lineup of writers and performers.

Writing and performing are two things I live for, but doing it with people who you genuinely like and excite you creatively, takes those two passions to another level.

And that’s what I love about producing shows – the level of talent and creativity you are a witness to while being a participant.

People are just so damn talented. It’s always a trip (the good kind) to see how people create, how their worldview and life experiences affect the art they bring into the world.

A lot of times I’m just in awe of what people are doing on stage or the writing they’re sharing. I have a front row seat, just thinking to myself, “How are they doing this? Who thinks like this? This is amazing.” And sometimes I’ll even forget to hop back into the show because of how much fun I’m having as an audience member.

Don’t get me wrong: there are bad shows. But the less we talk about that, the better (this isn’t the moment).

It’s just that everyone walking around is a secret genius, and when a person finds the platform that best fits their gifts, you can see that genius on display, and be witness to a singular energy you’re never going to see again in this specific moment. Yes, I’m a sentimental bastard, but that’s because I want to hold onto things that will be erased by time, and every show unfortunately – good or bad – will be erased by time.

So I guess what I really love about producing shows is witnessing amazing talent in a moment that will never be again.

Thank you to all the amazing artists who did the 69 Steps with Jon Lopez and the Dazed and Confused Poetry Club to all the tech people who made it possible, and to the Pack Twitch Channel and San Antonio Learning Annex for hosting us.

#poem #improv #blog #producer #writer #performer #packtwitch #sanantoniolearningannex #packtheater #learning #shows #theater

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The Improv Life: Be a Cool Person That People Want to Work with

The Improv Life: Be a Cool Person That People Want to Work with

I got one piece of advice that had been taught to me by experience and repeated by lots of my teachers: be a cool person. People want to work with people who bring a chill vibe. 

Basically, don’t be a dick, jerk, asshole; in general, a person people would prefer to not spend time with because of the energy you bring and the reputation that follows you.

Not that you have to be fun 24/7 (although that helps) but people have to feel safe to be themselves around you. If you got that, than collaboration will be a lot easier.

Also, it’s emotionally draining to have to deal with an asshole who might not be aware their an asshole.

Maybe asshole is too strong of a word. What I mean is someone who is not considerate of others, puts their needs first, judges others harshly, isn’t aware of how their energy and behavior can affect a social ecosystem – just someone people wouldn’t want to hang out with.

Okay, Fernando, enough! I know how not to be an asshole! How do I become a cool person?

That’s a good question! I don’t know?
I guess be nice, kind, considerate, giving, listen, be a friend, try to do good when you can, etc. I’m not saying you have to be some goody two shoes trying to save the world.

You just have to be someone people want to spend time with because of the energy you bring, the vibe you maintain, and the contributions you make.

And by the way: I’ve been an asshole too. I’m pretty sure I’ve turned people away from working with me because I was selfish, lacking empathy, asked for too much, didn’t trust enough, projected onto to people, came off insensitive, unsympathetic, and arrogant without realizing how I was making other people feel – I’ve made mistakes.

But I’m learning from every experience. I’m not trying to be a cool person because I want to be liked; I’m trying to be a cool person because I want to work with people who excite me creatively, and I want to see what we can bring into the world when we collaborate.

#improv #people #cool #networking #empathy #eq #emotionalintelligence #safe #mistakes #grow #comedy #producer

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