I Hope This Helps

This is me at an open mic as a baby comedian in 2014. Photo by the Southern Bureau of the Sunday Paper.

This is me at an open mic as a baby comedian in 2014. Photo by the Southern Bureau of the Sunday Paper.

(Sunday Paper, Year IV, Issue 2)

One of my greatest weaknesses (I’m glad you asked, job interviewer) is that I don’t take shortcuts.

It’s a big character flaw.

If I learn one way to do something I’ll repeatedly do it that way, even if there’s a shorter way.

Sometimes this applies to car directions, although I’m no dummy…I have learned to save myself time if indeed there’s a shorter way to get somewhere.

But I might still log on to certain websites on my phone instead of using an app, for example.

All of this is to say I’m not afraid of a little hard work…and I appreciate others who are willing to put in the work.


This summer I will have been performing comedy for five years.

I have been thinking about that a lot because of the Exhibit ‘A’ show finally starting and the fact that I’m finally hosting my own show.

It was always a route I knew I’d have to try pursuing, but I dragged my feet on making it happen, mostly because I was afraid it would fail…and if it failed so close to home it would be embarrassing. (Side note: I no longer fear either of these things because shows are constantly starting up and shutting down for a variety of reasons, and I have worked hard on this show and if it doesn’t work out in the end it’s nothing to be ashamed of.)

But I also think about when I was starting out, and how I looked at the people who were five years into the comedy scene. I’ve said this before to people, but I’ve never written about it extensively: It was weird, because I was usually one of the older people in the room, but I was also the least experienced. And now I am still usually among the older people in the room, but I have some of the experience to back up my seemingly-veteran presence.

And I don’t know for sure that there’s anybody out there who looks at me the same way I looked at people who had been doing comedy for five years when I was pretty new, but I try to treat people the way I wanted to be treated back then.

And it’s a big part of why I write this every week…or at least the ‘comedy’ section.

I did a lot of work back when I was first starting out in comedy. (Writing, too, but that’s another story for another day.) I was working alone, I didn’t have any peers in the industry (though a few people were super-nice to me, sitting and talking with me and either giving me direction or confirming that I was headed in the right direction). But I dug deep - I read people’s websites, looked at their calendars, checked up on the shows they were doing, and tried to gauge what shows were worth pursuing.

I like to think there are people who are doing that with me - It’s not very hard to find my website and see that I’m actively writing each week and talking about shows I’ve done. If I don’t write extensively about a show there’s a chance that I forgot….or maybe it’s just something that wasn’t worth writing about. If I’m raving about a show I did….there’s probably something good going on there.

I’m not going to roll out the red carpet for you…but I might sprinkle a few flower petals to help you along your way. Because similar clues were helpful for me to piece together when I was starting out in the Boston scene.

And if someone sees me somewhere and cares enough to look me up because they’re working to get better at the craft and they think I can offer them something….well, I’m not much for letting people down.

I hope this helps.


*Wish I had something exciting to tell you here, but it was the first full week after the holiday craziness and it was just back to work.


*I performed in Portland, Maine on Monday night - and I won’t lie, I’ve had better sets. It was one of the first times I let an audience member get the better of me. Usually I can ignore someone calling out, but this person did it twice right before I delivered a punchline and i had to stop and ask him to shut up (I actually shushed and made the zip-lip motion with my hand…I guess I’m still teacher-y). So I stewed about that the whole long car ride home. But I generally love going to Portland and the Monday night show at Blue.

And I got to get that bad taste out of my mouth on Tuesday night at the Comedy Studio’s open mic…it was a pretty packed room and I did 3 minutes with two new jokes sandwiching one I’ve told before. The new jokes got a good response - worth telling again. (I’ll do them at a couple of more open mics before they work their way into a real set.) It was one of the more fun open mics I’ve ever done.

I’m going to assume Comedy Night at Exhibit ‘A’ was a rousing success. We’ll find out in next week’s Sunday Paper.

What I’ve Been Enjoying

*(Hey. It’s Saturday night John, popping in to tell you that the show went well and it feels good to have people come out to see something that you put together and I’ll definitely write more about it next week but tonight was definitely the highlight of my week.)


*In case the above didn’t make sense - I mentioned this on the Facebook page, but if you came to the Sunday Paper from another route I’ll repeat it here: I didn’t feel like staying up late Saturday writing and recapping the Exhibit ‘A’ show…so I’ll do that for next week’s Sunday Paper.

*I posted last week’s Sunday Paper differently - since I was not at the house (I was at a dear friend’s wedding and it was a wonderful time) I posted it from the phone and I am not sure it got the traction it usually gets but here is the important takeaway from it that you need to know: GO SAINTS!

*Friday was the day the New York Times announced on its Wordplay blog the winners of the Super Mega Crossword grand prize. Spoiler Alert: For the third year in a row, it wasn’t me. I posted on Facebook a couple of weeks ago that I had solved the puzzle (and yes, I know in the picture I posted of myself and the crossword there’s a mistake in there…) and found the secret message (…and the mistake had no bearing on deciphering the message), which each year seems impossible to me when I start the puzzle but then somehow happens. It’s pretty astounding to me that 4,422 people sent in correct answers….of which there was one grand prize winner ($1,000), and 25 runners-up (who got a crossword puzzle book…which is quite a step down from $1,000, in my humble opinion). Anyway, I guess I have to get my $1,000 through what is often much less hard work for me than solving a 50x50 square crossword puzzle.

*Here’s what I do know about the Exhibit ‘A’ show as of this writing - a bunch of people came out on a cold night for the show. (Next week I’ll be able to tell you if they enjoyed it.) [Saturday night John again: they did.] If you were one of them, thank you. And I hope to see you again. If any of you want to keep tabs on me or the upcoming shows, follow me on social media. This is where you can ‘Like’ the Facebook page, and this is where you can follow me on Twitter. Thanks!