"Does this taste funny to you?"
When I was growing up, my father would say to me (at least a few times a month) - out loud for all in the room to hear: "What are you a comedian?" Dad would ask me this so many times that I started to wonder if he was trying to give me career advice.
Another one of his "go to" comments was: "NOBODY LIKES A SMART ASS".
One time our family was having lunch at a diner and Dad saw this plate hanging on the wall. "How much for that plate!" The owner of the diner said it was not for sale. "Name your price!" says Dad.
So $100 later, Dad has his smartass plate. And then, he hands it to ME, across the table, with a big grin. Mom and my sister knew what was coming.
I paused, and then said: "Wow. I almost bought this exact same plate for YOU. They are selling these plates nextdoor at the Five and Dime store for $10."
I think every comedian was once a smartass, but not every smartass can become a comedian.
At least not a professional.
We have been doing our "Coffee in the Clouds" podcasts for a few years now. Thanks to the power of Zoom we upgraded from audio only to video podcasts. Sure you can just listen to the audio file, but humans are visual creatures, and VIDEO killed the radio star, right?
I met Shaun Eli a few years ago when his comedy show was in BOONTON, NEW JERSEY! Boonton, around 25 miles west of Times Square. NYC COMEDY comes to Main Street BOONTON! I'm in.
The Second City WORKS, the corporate education and entertainment arm of the world-renowned Second City comedy theater. They would use the same methods pioneered on stage to drive individual growth and organizational improvement. They created engaging, fun virtual learning and on-demand digital content to help dispersed teams to stay connected, engaged, and performing at their best. Man, that "is" NYDLA.org right? I felt the connection in my bones.
SO: here comes COVID-19 and the global pandemic. The world gets flipped on its head in 2020. And, the world of COMEDY and COMEDY SHOWS becomes decimated. Amazing professional comics who would normally be doing sold out shows in NYC (and around the world) are now doing NO SHOWS AT ALL.
None, Zip, Nada.
AND: Probably because we had too much time on our hands, and after all these many years, we did a CoffeeInTheClouds - with COMEDIANS. At first I think we were just going to do a Zoom interview, talking about the pandemic, talking about show biz, and discussing how SOME people are using technology (ala Zoom Shows) and are trying to do SOMETHING while we are all on quarantine at home.
One show lead to another, and another and then another...
And now we are doing Coffee in the Clouds - with ACTORS. And AUTHORS. And ATHLETES. And we are talking with so many thought leaders, subject matter experts and business leaders that have been deeply affected by the new world of COVID-19.
NYDLA.org runs on Zoom. We were selling, marketing, promoting all things "Zoom" before Zoom became a verb. Today, we are honored to help people to get back to work, whether it's hosting fitness classes, planning events, or any of the other imaginative ways people run their lives and work "in the clouds". Being separated from our teams, our family and our friends is never easy. But even in the most trying times, we are seeing new ways to come together. From dance parties to pitch meetings, happy hours to hair care, life's biggest moments are still happening.
One of MY last happy life moments with Dad was yet again at the heels of another one of his: "What are you, a comedian?" bits:
ME: "Well Dad, I see you peed your pants again. Was that me, or do we have something else going on here?"
My mistake was being a smartass standing too close to his wheelchair when I delivered the punchline. Man, he still "packed a punch" in his old age.
Ah, so THAT is where the term "punchline" comes from!
My best joke is "The Pig with the Wooden Leg" story. My jokes tend to be stories.
Maybe I'll tell you about The Pig with the Wooden Leg one day over Zoom. But my days of working for free are OVER! It's gonna cost you at least a dollar.
After all, I AM a COMEDIAN.
I'm old enough to remember the birth of MTV:
The Buggles - Video Killed the Radio Star