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I Just Did 5 Shows in 3 Days!

Reading poems at Gatsby Books in Long Beach, CA.

5 Shows in 3 Days!

I just did 5 shows in 3 days!

3 poetry shows (first time I’ve ever done that!)

1 improv show

1 Latinx panel show

Plus, I went to a Latinx Writers Meetup from La Lista Podcast and I bumped into a long lost comedy friend, Rafael, showrunner of the Sin Vervuenca Spanish Standup Show.

Here’s what I learned!

1. Poetry is forever

2. I’m grateful to CLI (Community Literature Initiative) for showing me that

3. You should share your poetry because you never know how it’s going to help someone, including inspiring them to write their own.

4. A poet’s job is to articulate shared universal pain by writing about their specific experiences

5. A space derives its power from its community

6. Like a spirit animating a body, a community breathes life into a space.

7. Poetry has to be read out loud, so I’m going to put up more poetry shows

8. La Lista Podcast has built a strong community of Latinx writers, and I’m grateful to Rubén Mendive for a creating a space for all of us to meet

9. It’s really cool to be part of an ensemble finding its style and voice.

10. I’m grateful for being on Nuisance and creating with them.

11. We had a really fun, bonkers practice, and I think bonkers is the sweet spot for my improv. We had a great show too.

12. Ryan Hitchcock is a good Improv coach. I highly recommend y’all hire him for your improv groups.

13. My long lost bud, Rafael, is a hella funny standup and showrunner. Good to see you, dude!

14. I’m really grateful for Joe Felix. He’s really grown as a co-producer for Cuñados, Cuñadas, y Carnales. Dude is becoming a leader.

15. Andy Lomeli is a leading man, y’all. Dude has gravitas and then some.

16. Cuñados, Cuñadas, y Carnales is coming along. I believe in this show.

17. Also, Menudo is so funny! Book them for your shows!

18. I will always love Richard Aaron, co-founder of the Latinx Comedy Pachanga.

19. Don’t be afraid to put your work out into the universe. You never know how it’s going to change someone, including yourself.

#poetry #bookman #taocomedystudio #gatsbybooks #packtheater #writer #producer #showrunner #improv #dazedandconfusedpoetryclub #cli #nuisance #latinxcomedypachanga #lalistapodcast

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The Improv Life: Show Up Emotionally

Going to show up emotionally more and more in 2022.

Hiding Into Myself

The Improv Life: Showing Up Emotionally

One of my biggest flaws as a human is that I like to hide.

I’ll show up physically in a space, but I won’t show up emotionally.

And I’m pretty sure that’s the result of a traumatic childhood where I was forced to be in abusive spaces with no escape.

When you grow up like that, you learn to check out mentally and be present physically in order to get through an experience.

So I learned how to retreat into myself at a young age. And I’m still pretty good at it to this day.

Now it’s different though: I’m a leader and an artist, and showing up emotionally is part of the job.

For the most part I do, but every now and then, I don’t.

It’s usually because I’m tired (there’s definitely a relationship with physical energy and emotional energy).

Or maybe I got some stuff from personal life that is affecting my performance in these roles.

I mean, it can be a lot of things. Whatever the reason, people notice when you don’t show up emotionally. And they’ll get concerned, and want to help you (if you’re lucky).

The problem is this: emotions are contagious. The emotions you broadcast will be reflected back to you, and then be amplified collectively, affecting the emotional energy of the whole.

And me? I’m a walking power plant of emotion. I’ve always been that way. When I’m happy, people dig that and want more of it. When I’m angry, people get concerned.

Being a big guy also means that I have a bigger emotional broadcast signal – other people can tell how I feel.

Even when I think I’m hiding, I’m not; my emotional signal breaks through, and people want to find out what’s up.

I mean, we’re human. We evolved to read each other’s emotions. So much of being a human is being able to read someone emotionally and respond in a way that fits what you want out of that situation.

So why am I writing this? I’m trying to be more consistent in how I show up emotionally in 2022.

How am I going to do that though!? How am I going to meet this goal?

Here’s what I’m going to do to show up emotionally in 2022!

1). I’m going to monitor my physical energy and health. I’m going to take care of my body and get rest so that I have the physical energy required to show up in a space emotionally.

2). I’m going to check in with myself before I enter a space, and make sure I don’t bring in weird energy into a space that is really unresolved tension from some other aspect of my life.

Side note: Chad Damiani is really great on this. When you do one of his Catsby Workshops, part of the warmup is reminding yourself to show up 100% to the workshop and leave whatever baggage from the outside world behind.

3). I’m going to remind myself of the role that I’m entering a space in, and what expectations are put on me in this role, and how I can best deliver them.

4). I’m going to breath more. I’m going to have moments throughout the day where I just relax and do nothing. Being busy isn’t the same as being productive.

5). I’m going to remind myself that emotional energy is reflected back. Whatever I give will return to me. I’m going to be positive as much as I can.

6). I’m going to stay away from haters, energy vampires, toxic people, and people who don’t treat me with respect.

7). I’m going to say more. I’m not going to hold back. I’m going to share what I believe if I think it can help someone, even if it’s myself being forced to articulate an idea.

8). I’m going to say “No” when I need to. I’ve learned that showing up as a half version of yourself is risky, and that you don’t want to leave someone disappointed when they expected all of you to show up.

9). I’m not going to take life for granted. I’m going to appreciate every opportunity that comes my way, and recognize that every moment is special while fleeting.

10). Finally, I’m going to remind myself that when I show up emotionally I open up myself to receive more than I put in. Mutual vulnerability can lead to amazing things, and I can’t be afraid to take the first step.

There’s probably more I can do, but this seems like a good start.

#improv #clown #leadership #emotions #showup #performance #artist #writer #teacher #coach #life #theater #director #eq #emotions #leadership #emotionalintelligence #growth #feelings

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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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