Friday the 13th – The Blog!
4-Alarm Fire in North Bergen.
What’s up party people. Its Friday the 13th and I’m just glad its Friday! Lots of adventure this week. On Wednesday I came home from work to a huge 4-alarm fire a couple of blocks away from my apartment. It looked like a war zone with fire, police, helicopters, and what seemed like every news van on earth. They closed down my entire block and you could see the black smoke from a mile away. Every time their is a fire in my town a large group of people gather like lemmings to witness it. It’s like a morbid block party. The irony of it all is that my girlfriend just dropped off her expensive suit jacket to the cleaners in that building just a day before. Since they are Chinese she still holds out hope they’ll clean it anyway.
I recognized one of the reporters from Pix 11 news and I was tempted to jump into one of the live broadcasts and yell “BABABOOEE!”. I noticed after broadcasting these reporters would just stand around in the cold and wait until the next one. Some would pile into the tight news van with their crew and suddenly the reporter’s job didn’t seem so glamorous.
A lil common sense goes a looong way.
It seems as though the past few years have seen a slew of comedians who passed away too soon. Patrice O’Neil, Greg Geraldo, and Mike DeStefano to name a few. While living in LA it seemed like every other week I’d hear about another young comic’s demise and it was unsettling. A heart attack, a drug overdose, or a car crash were just some of the many causes of death. My Facebook page quickly began to look like the daily obituaries. I wondered if the proliferation of the social networks made it seem like their were more deaths or was the business of comedy just reaching a dangerous new level.
According to Steve Martin’s book “Born Standing Up”, their were about 100 or so comedians traveling the country in the 70′s. Today it seems like every Tom, Dick, and Harry call themselves comedians. The competition is fierce and for the most part not based on talent at all. Rather its based on what I call the “What can you do for me” syndrome.
Comedian: I’m interested in performing at your club.
Booker: How many people can you bring?
The fact is that comedians are getting the shit end of the stick. Club owners and bookers are getting rich by promising exposure instead of real life dollars. Comics are nervous about pushing for compensation because another comic will just do it for free. The bottom line is we are working and providing a specialized service that we should be compensated for. I don’t hire a painter and then tell him he should paint my house for the exposure.
I agree that new comics should be hungry for it and pay their dues but that’s what open mics are for. While this isn’t the only contributing factor to what’s happening to these young comics it certainly is the big fat pink polka dotted elephant in the room. Until we demand our fair share we will never elevate ourselves in the field. Maybe if these guys were making a better living they would have longer lives.
Congratulations are in order!
My good friend Mark Viera just landed a new sitcom on Fox. George Lopez is executive producer. I wish him all the luck in the world. It’s nice to see truly funny artists making it!