#42 – Bury My Stepdad

I was watching Abby Lee Miller have a mental breakdown in the middle of the bank when my Mom text me.

“Baber passed away at 3:25pm…”

That’s how my Mom broke the news to me that my stepdad died.

I don't know how long ago this was, but I am sure it was early on in their relationship because my Mom hadn't made him grow a beard yet. Everyone agreed that the goatee looked a lot better on him than what he had in this picture.

I don’t know how long ago this was, but I am sure it was early on in their relationship because my Mom hadn’t made him grow a moustache yet. Everyone agreed that the goatee looked a lot better on him than what he had in this picture.

I wasn’t shocked. She and I knew it was coming. Just hours prior, arrangements were being made to put him on hospice, because the doctors couldn’t do anything else for him. My initial reaction was more of relief than anything else. It’s not easy watching a family member suffer. I don’t know how my Mom and sister did it for two years. I had already been in LA for six years by the time he got his diagnosis, so I only occasionally saw him at less than 50 percent of what he used to be.

It was Thursday July 2, 2015. On a normal Thursday I would’ve been at work in Culver City for another three to four hours, but because we had the Friday off before the fourth of July, my boss told everyone we could leave early. So I went to visit my girlfriend Zoe at work at her bank. Last fourth of July weekend I was in Las Vegas at Encore Beach Club watching Macklemore and Ne-Yo perform. Zoe was also in Vegas at Encore Beach Club. We weren’t together. We hadn’t met yet. This year our plan was to go to Marina Del Rey. Our friend Michael invited us on his boat to party down there.

I didn’t want to tell a lot of people. I told my oldest friend Matt because Matt pretty much grew up with me in our house. I told my oldest LA friend Chris, because he almost lost his Dad last Christmas. I told Michael because we were going to spend fourth of July with him and he’s a good friend and I didn’t just want to be a no-show. Beyond that, I didn’t speak to anyone, which is not easy for me. In the days coming, I had to tell more people, because I was M.I.A. and people were inviting me to do things, and I had to explain why I couldn’t.

I don’t know how I would have reacted if I was still at work. I probably would have walked outside until I gained my composure before asking to leave early. Instead, I was in a very public place watching a very public figure cause a very public scene. Who knows what the “Dance Moms” star was on but every other customer in the branch was trying to figure it out as she bellowed at the top of her lungs for employees to “do their job.”

I couldn’t ignore the irony of what the past 2 months had been like. Television is my life. I will do anything for it. You have to have that mentality if you work in it and want to be successful. I put a temporary hold on that mentality by turning down great jobs because of things in my personal life. My stepdad’s cancer came back vigorously in April. I got an offer from “Storage Wars: Miami” the day after that news broke. They wanted me to work in Miami for three months. I was also offered my first showrunner gig in New Orleans around the same time. They wanted me in New Orleans for way longer than three months.

I felt I couldn’t leave Los Angeles, not only because my stepdad and Mom are only an hour and a half drive away in San Diego, but because I also moved in to an awesome new place with my girlfriend and upon my return to LA didn’t want to see freshly painted pink walls and a new puppy. The pink walls and puppy aside, I knew he was on his way out, and I had to be there for my family.

We didn’t have a close relationship. That wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t hate him. He didn’t hate me. He was quiet, and I am loud and opinionated. He didn’t like being the center of attention, and I work in entertainment. We had a common love: my Mom, his wife. And we had respect for each other, but that was something that grew with time.

Here we are as a family at the Grand Canyon.

Here we are as a family at the Grand Canyon.

He came into my life when I was around ten. I still had memories of my real “Dad.” My little sister Jamaica didn’t. She took to Baber much quicker than I did. He had to deal with the horrible teen years of me leaving a room and saying, “Bye Mom, Bye Jamaica,” and then closing the door without saying bye to him. I’m sure he felt uncomfortable or pissed or some sort of disrespect when I did shit like that, but he never expressed it.

Here I am being an annoying teenager, making a face during one of our family trips.

Here I am being an annoying teenager, making a face during one of our family trips.

His ability to not bring down others is something I grew to admire, especially in his two-year battle with cancer. He never once complained, even after he had surgery, was confined to a hospital bed, lost his ability to walk without assistance, because the surgeons removed several inches of bone from his leg. And eventually when the cancer returned he still didn’t want to burden anyone with a peep of depression or anxiety. He never once took a painkiller. He never once complained that life was unfair. He never once asked, “why me?” Anyone would have understood if he did any of those things, especially because he pretty much went his whole life without illness. Even when my Mom bought him a bell to ring in case she wasn’t in his vicinity and he needed help with something, he only used it once. I’m sure my smart-ass would’ve rang it at least once as a joke, but he was much stronger than that.

As I mentioned, you couldn’t have met two people who were more complete opposites than us. The one thing we did have in common was sports. He worked for the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club for nearly four decades. Horseracing became a huge part of my life when he became a part of my life. He worked at the starting gate every summer during the Del Mar race meet. My Mom took us every Friday to the races. She would place $2 bets for my sister and me, and we would watch the races and she would watch Baber at the starting gate. We would all wave and he would sheepishly wave back. I’m sure his friends would tease him, because none of their families were there waving at them. I frequently talk about how I grew up in comedy clubs. The other place was at the racetrack.

Baber to the left standing where he used to stand for nearly four decades.

In retirement, Baber still made time to visit the racetrack. It was probably odd for him to be in the stands, so he always made his rounds to his old stomping grounds to visit his friends. In 2012, he took me down to the starting gate where he used to stand for nearly four decades. That’s his head to the left.

I didn’t realize it at the time, and I don’t even know if he realized it, but he had an impact in me becoming a writer. When I was 11 or 12 he signed me up for a subscription to Sports Illustrated. That’s where I discovered a writer named Rick Reilly who showed me that I could make a living writing about sports. Six years later, when I turned 18 I started making a living as a sportswriter. I still have the subscription to Sports Illustrated because he renewed it every single year without saying anything to me. I never understood why he initially bought me that as a Christmas gift, but I’m glad he did, because sports writing led to comedy and TV. I don’t know how else I would’ve discovered my passion and ability to write.

I always wondered how I would react when he passed away. I didn’t know if I would cry. I’m not a super emotional person. I didn’t know how involved I would be in the burial. After all he did have his own kids too. I didn’t know if my family would expect me to talk at his funeral, because after all, I am the one who is good with words. To me, many things were up in the air, especially since I had never gone through this before.

Zoe and I drove down to San Diego a couple hours after I got the news. We met my crying family on the balcony of my childhood home. That was only the third time I ever saw my Mom cry. The first time was when she told me she was divorcing my real “Dad.” That was on the balcony of the same house when I was six. The second time was when I was around 18 years old when she told me she had breast cancer. This third time was especially rough, because I knew she wasn’t just crying about him dying, but also because her breast cancer just came back about two weeks ago. It was the first time I saw her cry in front of a group of people. My Grandma, Grandpa, sister, and girlfriend were all there this time. The other times it was just she and I.

Any question I had about my involvement in his arrangements for the afterlife went out the door when I saw my Mom crying. It’s an unbearable feeling when you see a parent cry. They’re not the ones that do that. They’re the ones who comfort you when you’re crying. I told her I would go with her to anything she needed help with.

Because of the holiday, July 5 was the first day she would have to start getting things in order. I had been to Eternal Hills Mortuary in Oceanside numerous times. Baber’s parents are buried there. His brother is buried there. My Grandpa’s Mom is buried there. My cousins are buried there. Our families have a lot of real estate there. I had never been there for someone I really knew well though. Baber was the closest person in relation to me who has died. For God’s sake, I had only been to two funerals before. Once for my great Aunt Antonia when I was really young and another time for comedian Marilyn Martinez.

July 15 was the day of the burial. I was overwhelmed by how many people showed up to the cemetery. There were at least 200 people. There would have been more, but not all of his former co-workers could make it since the next day was opening day at the Del Mar Racetrack. My Mom totally understood since she remembers Baber’s schedule between mid-July to the beginning of September each year. I think it’s a pretty common thought to wonder how many people will be at your own funeral. I don’t know if he had those thoughts, but I’m sure he would’ve been embarrassed to know so many people showed up, because he never liked the spotlight. It really was a testament to how many people loved him when he was alive. The one thing I am sure he would’ve loved was the people wearing Chargers hats and jerseys. I feel like he was always wearing either a Chargers shirt or hat for most of his life.

Just like him, my Mom is also someone who doesn’t like the spotlight, so my sister and I made attempts to be with her while hundreds kept offering their condolences. We cried a lot. Most people were bawling during two parts in particular, when one of his oldest friends Al shared an anecdote of how Baber went to Hawaii with him to help him pursue his eventual wife. The other time people felt connected and a bit more comforting amidst tears was when his longtime friend Junior had his daughter Susan read a letter about Baber cruising in his GTO’s, tailgating at Chargers games, and hitting the Indian casinos every weekend.

I made this memorial card that we handed out at the funeral.

I made this memorial card that we handed out at the funeral.

I think I cried more, however, when we actually picked out the burial spot 10 days prior. That was more real to me than anything. That day was a bit more intimate and cryptic, because it was selecting where his final resting spot was going to be, and eventually my Mom’s final spot too. I never had to go through the burial process before, and it’s horrible for many reasons but none more so because it forces you to realize your own mortality.

Here's one of the pictures his daughter April made for the funeral. The lei was appropriate given his love for Hawaii.

Here’s one of the pictures his daughter April made for the funeral. The lei was appropriate given his love for Hawaii.

Over the past couple months it wasn’t all sadness though. Zoe got to meet him and understand my childhood and see the full family dynamic for a few months. I got to jokingly take Baber’s side a few more times when my Mom would complain that he could never give her a straight answer about what he wanted when she would present him options on anything. He was so agreeable and a go-with-the-flow person that he was always happy with whatever my Mom wanted, and that would get on her nerves sometimes, so I’d see that as an opportunity to make fun of her on his behalf. After I was done it would always leave the two of them laughing at each other.

This is the last picture we took with Baber. He got really sick after this. I don't even know if he knew that he was in the picture, because it was on Mother's Day. It's not the greatest picture of me, Zoe, and my Mom but we are glad we have it.

This is the last picture we took with Baber. He got really sick after this. I don’t even know if he knew that he was in the picture, because it was on Mother’s Day. It’s not the greatest picture of me, Zoe, and my Mom but we are glad we have it.

This picture is simply for my Mom and Zoe since we all look better in this one.

This picture is simply for my Mom and Zoe since we all look better in this one.

Over the final two months we also shared a lot of stories, laughed a lot about some of his tendencies, and reminisced about the time Baber did this…like how he couldn’t handle rides at amusement parks, but he would take Jamaica on them when she was little; how he would eat only half of pretty much any food, except beans which he hated; how he would take the coast for the view of the ocean instead of the freeway if both routes could take you somewhere; how he would take forever in the lone bathroom in the house to get ready in the morning while the rest of us would be pounding on the door for him to hurry up; and how for every Chargers home game he was first in line at the entrance to Qualcomm Stadium to get in to the parking lot.

This is one of my favorite pictures I have. It's from the starting gate. Baber took me down to the turf right before one of the races during the 2012 meet. For him it was nothing, because he spent nearly four decades in that spot, but for me it was a real treat to standing between those gates.

This is one of my favorite pictures I have. It’s from the starting gate. Baber took me down to the turf right before one of the races during the 2012 meet. For him it was nothing, because he spent nearly four decades in that spot, but for me it was a real treat to standing between those gates.

I remember life before Baber, life with him, and now life without him. Life before him was rough. I was young, but I remember how trying it was for my Mom. He made her a happier person, which trickled down to Jamaica and me. The last day I saw him was on Father’s Day and the last words I said to him were, “Happy Father’s Day.” He was in bed and hunched over to one side with not enough energy to lift himself up. He replied “Thank you,” and gave me a look that we both knew it was going to be the last time we spoke. We didn’t need to say more, because we both knew that was not going to be our lasting memory of each other. Life with him is what I will remember.

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#41 – Move In with My Girlfriend…On Purpose

When I love something, I recognize it immediately, and I go all in.

That’s why I am capable of eating Chipotle seven days a week.

That’s why I used to go to Las Vegas every other week.

And that’s why after dating my girlfriend Zoe after just four months we decided to move in together.

No, I am not comparing my girlfriend to Chipotle and Vegas, but she loves both things too, so I am sure she wouldn’t mind if I did.

My favorite picture of us...of course it's in Vegas.

My favorite picture of us…of course it’s in Vegas.

And yes, it sounds crazy that I’d move in with a girl after just four months, especially when you consider I typically don’t show a girl where I live until after three months.

So, this is the first time I’ve lived with a girlfriend…on purpose. Other times, they kind of just moved in because of proximity to their work and I didn’t even realize it until they had my spare key and were no longer calling me to let them in the front door of my building.

Since the first of the year I basically stayed at Zoe’s place in Sherman Oaks every night. I hate the Valley. I lived there for six years and moved into Hollywood for the past two years so that I could be closer to the studios and comedy clubs. Zoe’s living situation with a roommate was becoming less than ideal for her, and I was getting tired of feeling like I no longer had a home since I would go days and often weeks without seeing my apartment. That’s fine when I was on the road a lot, but when I’m in Los Angeles I want to feel like I have a place.

So we came to the conclusion that we should find a new place together. Neither of us is conventional. We both do things to the beat of our own Pandora stations. And we both knew the other person was in the relationship till death do us part. So why go through the typical BS of societal dating standards? It doesn’t work out for most people who follow that route anyways.

Zoe puts up with this type of behavior, so what else can I ask for?

Zoe puts up with this type of behavior, so what else can I ask for?

We knew people would probably think we were crazy. But we were ready for that. When we began telling people, to our surprise, no one thought we should be looking for a place together in a mental institution. Everyone actually thought it was a good idea. I guess they probably saw that we do everything together anyways, so it made sense.

Although, she has been known to make faces behind my back as well.

Although, she has been known to make faces behind my back as well.

My family loves Zoe and her family loves me. Before her, I never introduced a girlfriend to my family, because whomever I was dating always gave me slight hesitancy in thinking that I was in a temporary relationship and I never wanted to introduce something temporary to something permanent like family. Zoe had introduced several boyfriends to her family, but according to her family I’m the first one they’ve actually liked. So with so much support we were further entrusted in thinking we made the right choice.

Zoe and me with my Mom on Mother's Day.

Zoe and me with my Mom on Mother’s Day.

We chose the first place we visited because we knew exactly where we wanted to live. I lived off Hollywood & Gower and from the day I moved in there was a new apartment complex being built just one block west called EastownLA. The day the complex started showing apartments to be leased, I attempted to take a tour. When they told me the price of the least expensive apartment, I turned around immediately. Zoe has a similar story of wanting to live in the complex that became OURS.

We both make good money. In fact, I don’t know how my poop and fart jokes compensate me so well. But we are both extreme individuals and have got used to paying rent on our own without the help of a significant other, so before we knew each other we both didn’t think it would be smart at that time to move in to a place with such a large financial ceiling.

Our leasing guy showed us several different style units around the complex. Our non-negotiables were a balcony and a lot of closet space. We were hoping for two parking spots and a washer/dryer in the unit as well. Realistically we were sold on the complex the moment we saw the gym and how it offered more equipment and features than 24 Hour Fitness. Then we saw the pool and Jacuzzi, which rivals the W Hotel and offers weekly pool parties with alcohol, food, and live DJ’s for the residents. The other amenities like fire pits and stainless steel barbecues sprinkled throughout the complex’s four buildings are just an added bonus.

The leasing guy showed us several units with different layouts that included our non-negotiables. With the complex only at 50 percent occupancy we had a lot of options to choose from. But for various reasons we didn’t like any of them. Then he showed us OUR apartment.

We aren't done decorating, but it's a nice start.

We aren’t done decorating, but it’s a nice start.

It’s perfect. It has a large balcony with one side that overlooks the pool while the other side overlooks Hollywood Boulevard. The light just pours in from floor to ceiling windows. There’s a walk-in closet, which to my surprise fit all of our stuff in since after all Zoe is a girl. The bathroom is huge. There’s a washer/dryer. All the appliances are brand new. No one has ever lived in the apartment before. And to top it off, the complex threw in free rent for a month.

The view from our balcony.

The view from our balcony.

Just to be sure, we looked at complex’s we figured would be comparable in the area like the Hollywood Tower and Sunset & Vine, but those places were just as expensive and didn’t have anywhere near the space that OUR place offers, plus those buildings are old and didn’t have the amenities either.

I kind of don’t believe I live where I live. After a few weeks now, it feels like a home now that we’ve framed our pictures, bought a couch and organized the furniture.

The one thing that doesn’t escape me is that there’s definitely a type of person who has the lifestyle that fits a building like OURS. There are probably a total of four units leased to families with kids. There’s also A LOT of white people. I’ve seen one black person, one Asian person, and for the first week I was afraid the cleaning staff was going to tell me to get back to doing the yard work.

This was only the third time I’ve moved in my life. Zoe has moved considerably more times than that. Nothing about the move has been discomforting. Four months seems really quick, but both of us could’ve made the move after the first weekend we met. It is easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, because I love Chipotle…err I mean Zoe :)

We took a "selfie" the first night we met each other.

We took a “selfie” the first night we met each other.

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#40 – Attend Comedy Festival

Perception is reality.

Despite growing up in comedy clubs, and all the work I do in comedy I had never been to a comedy festival. I’ve been invited to several of them, but I’m not a typical comedy producer. I completely disregard videos, I never tell comics I’m going to be in the audience, and I believe I can book any comic for some sort of project someday. With that said, I never took up an offer for a comedy festival, because I always believed it was relatively cliche for a comedy person to go to one, until my buddy Devin Roessler invited me to the San Luis Obispo Comedy Festival, which he helps operate.

Here's Devin and I at the festival making unintentional duck faces.

Here’s Devin and I at the festival making unintentional duck faces.

In years past I heard great things about the festival, mainly that it was a party-filled four-day weekend in a picturesque small town. The festival is only five years old but Devin would always talk about it with such passion that this year once February rolled around I told him I wanted to go. I think what appealed to me is that it wasn’t mainstream yet. Rarely do I enjoy mainstream things. He spoke to Eric Shantz, the comedian and founder of the festival, and they gave me a room and a festival pass.

I asked my girlfriend Zoe if she wanted to go. Our relationship is only a few months old so it was going to be our first trip somewhere together. Even though we spend literally every day together, it’s different when you’re on vacation.

Zoe and I sped up the 101 on Thursday night, missed the welcome party but got there just in time for the after-party. Miller Lite sponsored the festival, so a limitless supply of beer got me hammered that first night and each and every night thereafter. I don’t recall the sequential order in which things happened, because of all the alcohol, but here are some of the highlights.

That contraption is called a "Shotski" for obvious reasons.

That contraption is called a “Shotski” for obvious reasons.

Ended the four-day weekend even more in love with my girlfriend – In relationships past I tested the women I dated by seeing if they could hang with me at the Hollywood Improv. Since I met Zoe at the Improv, and she spends multiple nights a week there with me, this festival was a true test of how much comedy she could bare since we saw multiple shows a night and we were surrounded by 40 comedians staying in the same hotel as us. She’s also a great judge of character and we had a blast hanging with some of my favorite comedian friends that she also took a liking to like Flip Schultz, Allison Weber, Brett Riley, and Shawn Halpin. Comedians are not easy people to be around, but she probably fits in better than me.

Zoe is the real comedian

Zoe is the real comedian

Scouted some new talent – I am working on a pilot for CMT and an executive at the network asked me to recommend comedians that they might not know about which should be on their radar. I got to see Chris Cope and Mary Patterson Broome perform, both of whom I had never seen before, and promptly recommended them to the network for future consideration. Both seemed genuinely appreciative and it’s always cool to see that on the face of young comedians. Moments like that remind me of why I do what I do. Comedians often ask me why I don’t do stand-up, and I explain that they get a high off entertaining people where as I get a high off of putting them in a situation where they can get a high.

Spent time hanging with a peer – There’s not a lot of people who have a similar place in the comedy world as me. My buddy Michael is definitely one of those people. In fact, he has probably done more for comedians than I have. He’s a comedy festival veteran, has booked numerous shows including “Chelsea Lately” and “Funniest Fails,” and he’s one of the few people whose opinion on comedians I trust. It was fun hanging with him all weekend, because him being there meant comedians wouldn’t just be kissing my ass all weekend. But most of all it was good to sit through shows and get a perspective from someone who does similar work as me.

Michael and I had many debates that weekend including who's the best comedian of all time. I say Carrot Top. He says Gallagher.

Michael and I had many debates that weekend including who’s the best comedian of all time. I say Carrot Top. He says Gallagher.

Met Rawle D. Lewis – Many of you are probably like, “who?” He played Junior in “Cool Runnings.” At this point in my career, I don’t get star struck. That movie, however, had a huge impact on my childhood. If you don’t know, it’s the movie about the Jamaican bobsled team. John Candy was in it and he was a huge comedy influence on me. It was also probably the first sports movie I can remember watching over and over as a kid, which led to me becoming a sports writer. And finally, my sister’s name is Jamaica so my family has always had quite the obsession with things related to Jamaica. I was pretty drunk on the Friday of the festival and didn’t want to approach him that night. Zoe and Michael teased me about how I really wanted a picture with him. The following night I spent some time chatting with him. He told me about what it was like working with John Candy, and about how he initially started as a stand-up comedian back in Trinidad and Tobago before acting became the path that was chosen for him. Eight-year-old Josh was living a dream.

I get excited over meeting the most random people.

I get excited over meeting the most random people.

Escaped Los Angeles – I love LA, but also hate it when I don’t leave it at least once a month. The people of SLO are so much nicer, as is customary of small towns. For Gods sake, that town is so small they still have coin operated parking meters.

This post is relatively late, because of how busy I’ve been in the month after the festival, but I wanted to make sure people, and especially the comedy community, start to recognize how great of a festival it is. It was run amazingly well, every show was sold out, the caliber of comics were exceptional, and I left impressed and ready to go back next year.

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#39 – Use A Neti Pot

The fact that I started dating someone is only partially responsible for the dramatic change in subject matter from Having A One Night Stand to now writing about my first experience with a Neti Pot.

She is pretty damn great and certainly detouring me away from my debaucherous end to 2014 , but it mostly has to do with the fact that last week my nasal cavity was more congested than the 405 Freeway when I need to be somewhere.

My pain tolerance is very high, and I have a lot of pride. That’s a bad combination for someone who is sick. Two weeks ago I developed a sore throat, so by my nature, I ignored it. My nose started to run, so obviously I let it go. I convinced myself I wasn’t physically sick. I went out seven nights in a row and didn’t go to sleep before 4am on any night. Clearly I was mentally sick, in addition to physically sick.

The runny nose and sore throat turned into a cough with chest congestion, which led to hacking up Double Dare sized slime balls of mucus. I didn’t make time to go see a doctor, so I called my buddy Vinny and he diagnosed me with a sinus infection. It’s OK, Vinny’s Dad is a doctor.

Dr. Vinny said to take Mucinex, Claritin, drink plenty of water, get lots of rest, and to use a Neti Pot. I heard many things about the Neti Pot, but never used one because I have an irrational fear of putting medical devices in my eyes, nose, or butt. I was desperate though.

I had some questions for Dr. Vinny. Does it feel like you are drowning when you use the Neti? Do you use warm water? If I get an erection that lasts longer than four hours, should I see a real Doctor? Ok, maybe not the last one, but the first two were real questions.

Since Vinny isn’t a real Doctor, I thought it would be a good idea to do research on Neti Pot’s before I bought one. So before I visited Rite-Aid, I checked in for a second opinion with Google, which yielded a typical response when searching for a medical diagnosis and/or solutions on the Internet in that it nearly frightened the snot out of me. Type in “Neti” and before you type “Pot” the second suggestion comes up, “Neti Pot death.”

Makes me want to sing, "I'm a little tea pot short and stout..."

Makes me want to sing, “I’m a little tea pot short and stout…”

Needless to say, I skipped Google’s offerings and went ahead with the purchase, despite the more than likely Internet hoax of someone dying from a Neti Pot. I’m not one for reading instructions, because I have this thing called “common sense,” but when it comes to medical devices, I give the manual more than just a look-see or a once-over. It’s the former journalist in me who proof-read obituaries and doesn’t want his obituary to be mentioned in the Darwin Awards for not having read instructions on a Neti Pot.

The device is pretty self-explanatory. Fill with water. Add solution. Pull a Taylor Swift and Shake it (off). Put the spout up one nostril. Place your head over a sink. Tilt head. Breathe through mouth. Allow water to drain out the other nostril. Before switching nostrils, blow nose and realize how disgusting of a person you are if you are judged solely by what’s in your nasal cavity.

I feel like the most important thing in the instructions was to remember to breathe from the mouth. And for some reason I kept repeating in my head, “breathe from my mouth” like after nearly 29 years I was going to all of a sudden forget that I can breathe from my mouth when nostrils aren’t an option.

First I stuck the spout in my right nostril. The water started flowing from one nostril to the other as I tilted my head to the side.

“Don’t forget to breathe from your mouth, Josh.”

“Don’t forget to breathe from your mouth, Josh.”

“Don’t forget to breathe from your mouth, Josh.”

I kept repeating that mantra. You know how when you repeat something often enough you either get it drilled into your head so you don’t forget, or you get sick of hearing the same thing over and over and you simply tune out the message. Well, guess what happened. I stopped listening to the message. A few seconds passed and water was going into my mouth.

Water everywhere...

Water everywhere…

For a slight moment I thought, “I’m going to be the idiot that drowns from a Neti pot.” That may be a worse cause of death than auto-erotica asphyxiation. At least with auto-erotica asphyxiation there’s momentary pleasure before you go. Although, with how congested I was, if the Neti Pot relieved any of it before I drowned, it might be more pleasurable.

After a couple seconds I remembered how to breathe and emptied half the pot in one nostril and out the other. I blew my nose immediately after and became disgusted with myself, which was not the first time that day.

The other nostril was easier to handle since I was a pro after doing it once. That nostril revealed even more mucus after I blew it. The feeling of relief was immediate. There was no more pressure in my head. I felt like a brand new person. It was the first night I was able to sleep because I could actually breathe and my normal voice was returning.

The Neti Pot is a reusable device, so I’m sure I’ll be utilizing it even when I am not sick, because my sinuses and allergies are really sensitive. Plus, it’s just fun to say Neti.

I'm an idiot

I’m an idiot

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#38 – 2014 Year In Review

I am not a perfect person, which is why I always start this annual entry with the stupid shit I did in the previous 364 days of the year.


Stupid Shit I did in 2014

  • Had a relationship end poorly

We weren’t right for each other, but we were good for each other’s progression in life. Despite my best efforts we couldn’t be civil in the immediate aftermath.

  • Had a one night stand with a woman who took my debit card

After my ex and I broke up, I went through a debauchery-filled period. Call it making up for lost time or whatever, but I “dated” a couple strippers, hooked up with randoms in bars, caught mono from one of them, and culminated with having sex with the stranger who had my debit card.

  • Missed family celebrations

I missed San Diego Padres opening day with my Grandpa for only the second time in my life. I missed his 85th birthday on Halloween. I missed my Grandma’s 81st birthday on November 1. There were other events too, I’m sure. I missed a lot because I worked a lot.

I did make it back home to San Diego to spend my birthday with the family.

I did make it back home to San Diego to spend my birthday with the family.

  • Drank way too much

I consider myself a social drinker. The problem is I go out every night. I started the new year off extremely hungover after partying until 5am on new years eve. Minus the month I took off drinking for “The Doctor’s Diet” to go on the show in January, everything I did seemed to include alcohol. Throughout it all, I only threw up once, and that was in Austin, TX. Tequila and my stomach don’t mix well is a lesson I’ve learned many times. This will probably be on my list of Stupid Shit in 2015 too.

Drinking with my sister on her birthday.

Drinking with my sister on her birthday.

  • Didn’t update my blog more

I’ve mentioned more than a few times how this blog resurrected my career back in 2012. It really fell off once I got busier with work in 2013, but in 2014 it nearly died. This is only my third entry in 2014 and I didn’t write my first entry until mid-October. My last two entries got a great response, I think because I was being extremely vulnerable, and wrote about things most people do but don’t talk about. I intend to do more of that in 2015, so this regret isn’t on my list of stupid shit next year.


Things I’m Proud I did in 2014


  • Worked on 6 different TV shows

Last year I worked on 5 shows and couldn’t believe how lucky I was. This year went way beyond my expectations. I steadily see the progress I am making in my career, and its thanks in part to my amazing peers and producers I have been allowed to observe and work with.


America’s Got Talent (NBC)

This show will always hold a special place in my heart, because of how it resurrected my career in 2012. Getting to work on it for a second season with more responsibility felt great. I couldn’t find a top-finisher like I did my first season on the show, but I had so much fun joking around each day with my co-workers as we dealt with daily Youtube fails.

Snapping selfies on set with Justin.

Snapping selfies on set with Justin.


The Chase (GSN)

I met friends for life on this show. It also started my year of work travel by going to New York and San Francisco. This show brought me back to working on a set after a six-month break from it. Brooke Burns and Mark Labbett are great on-air personalities that excel at what they do. This show also taught me a lot about the game show world and welcomed me to the GSN family.

Here I am playing game show host standing in for Brooke Burns on The Chase.

Here I am playing game show host standing in for Brooke Burns on The Chase.


Idiotest (GSN)

I didn’t work on this one long, but it was with people I love. It also became the second show I did for GSN this year. It was also great to see a show hosted by a comedian get a second season pickup.


Boom! (FOX)

This was the most trying show of the year. My level of frustration was pushed to levels way beyond I ever imagined. I had inner battles, outward arguments, and moments nearly on the verge of tears. I was placed in unfair situations, and at the time I didn’t know why I was put in those positions, but in the end I learned so much. I’m glad I went through everything I did because it made my skin a lot tougher, and I really got to see the inner workings of game show development.




Baggage on the Road (GSN)

Without putting down every other show I’ve worked on, I’ve never had a more rewarding experience than working on this show. I got to write a TV show. I got to travel. I got to work hand-in-hand with a living legend like Jerry Springer. He said jokes I wrote. I’ve worked with celebrities before, but he’s at a level of fame only a few people know. People chant his name everywhere he goes. And he couldn’t be nicer. And the people I worked with are basically like family to me now.

Probably my favorite picture from set.

Probably my favorite picture from set.

I Can Do That (NBC)

This was another show I worked on for only a short time. But it was a nice book end to my year, and again it was with people I love who are always there for me whenever I want to work and have fun while doing it.

  • Saw the country

Last year I put, “Didn’t travel more” under my “Stupid shit I did in 2013.” This year I made up for that by traveling to New York, San Francisco, Austin, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, St. Petersburg, Waterbury, Hartford, Las Vegas, and San Diego. Next year my goal is to not remember every city I visited.

New Orleans on Halloween with my coworkers was a blast.

New Orleans on Halloween with my coworkers was a blast.

  • Bought a brand new car

Not going to lie. I grew up spoiled. My Mom and Grandparents bought me my first car, a used 1995 Ford Escort when I was 16. Then my Grandparents bought me a brand new 2004 Nissan Xterra when I was 18. That car lasted nearly 200,000 miles until this year when I bought my brand new 2014 Scion tc. I feel like a grown up now.

Sad to see my old car go after so many great memories. But now I'm making even better ones with this new one.

Sad to see my old car go after so many great memories. But now I’m making even better ones with this new one.

  • Helped other people get jobs

Several people recommended me for jobs this year, for which I am eternally grateful. So, I tried to pay it forward, and each person I did it for, didn’t disappoint me. It’s amazing to finally feel like I have solid people in my peer group that I can rely on.

So glad I got to work with Tessa on a FUN show.

So glad I got to work with Tessa on a FUN show.

  • Remained involved with my alma mater

Cal State University, San Marcos is very important to me. It showed me I could write. I had no clue this was something I could do until I went to college. I have always tried to remain involved with the university in any way I can. One of my favorite former professors asks me every year to go back and be a guest speaker to her current students. I couldn’t do it in 2013, after I did it in 2012. This year I was able to make it back and it was a blast. In addition, the student affairs and alumni association contacted me and asked if they could interview me and write a story on me. It was filled with some of the nicest words anyone has ever said about me. They made me sound a lot cooler than I actually am.

Here’s the article CSUSM wrote on me.

What I love most about that article is that they spelled my last name incorrectly in the headline, but got it right everywhere else in the article. They said such amazing things, but know how to keep my head from getting too big, which is why I continue to love my alma mater.

Here’s to an even more fun-filled 2015. Happy New Year everyone.

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#37 – Have A One Night Stand

I over-eat, over-drink, and over-analyze.

So why not over-share?

I had a one-night stand last month.

I didn’t realize it, but I never had one before. I generally always go back for seconds, hence the over-eating problem.

I did six TV shows this year. I love to work. It keeps me out of trouble. When I’m working it’s usually all consuming, so when I have a break I tend to make up for lost freedom.

I spent nearly all of November traveling the country. On my first night back in Los Angeles, a Tuesday, I went to the Hollywood Improv, my home away from home. Since I didn’t have to be anywhere early on Wednesday morning, I closed down the Improv bar talking to a woman. I probably could’ve taken her to my place, but I was trying not to go down my usual path of hiatus destruction, and was actually more interested in sleep after not having done it for a month on the road.

The next morning I went to the movies, and afterward I went to Subway for a salad. Yeah, I’m the weirdo who orders a salad at Subway. Probably because I don’t like the judgmental look from my sandwich artist when I order a sandwich and say, “no cheese.” Anyways, when the cashier handed me back my platinum blue Wells Fargo debit card, I noticed something was different about the card this time. “My name isn’t ‘Stacy.’”

I had someone else’s debit card. Why didn’t I notice this at the movie theater? Oh yeah, I was hung over. One of my two favorite bartenders at the Improv, Eddie, must’ve gave “Stacy” my debit card when she closed out her tab and he gave me hers at the end of the night since her card looks exactly like mine. Simple mistake. I wasn’t mad.

I had never lost a debit card before, so my natural instinct wasn’t to immediately call my bank and cancel the card. My mind operates in the world of social media so I opened Facebook, typed “Stacy’s” full name into the search box. Through some deductive reasoning I landed on who I thought might have my card, so I sent her a message with my phone number.

I love social media

I love social media

We talked on the phone, had a pleasant conversation, and realized we weren’t serial killers so she asked if we could meet to exchange cards. I cancelled mine already, but I suggested we meet at the Improv, since I was planning on going there again and she obviously knew where it was. She agreed to meet around midnight.

A couple hours passed and she sent me a text message saying she wasn’t going to be able to make it to the Improv at that time, but asked if I’d be willing to drop it off at her place on my way to the club. I said I’d be getting to the Improv at around 8pm, so I’d stop by her place at 7:45pm.

On Facebook I must look really trustworthy or really innocent, because I had her debit card and she gave me her address. All I needed next was her social security number.

Another hour or two passed and she sent me another text message.

It would be rude to say no, and my Mom always taught me to be polite.

It would be rude to say no, and my Mom always taught me to be polite.

I like free beer.

When I got to her apartment she invited me in and told me to grab a seat on her couch. She gave me a beer, and sat across from me on a chair. She was wearing a skirt and didn’t cross her legs. I thought that was weird, but then again, I’m a complete stranger and she invited me in to her place. We talked for a little bit before we moved to her courtyard, so she could smoke. She brought me another beer before I even finished the first one. Looking back now, I think she was trying to get me drunk. Before I realized, an hour passed and her attempt was successful. To that point, all I had to eat was that salad from Subway seven hours prior.

Now, this blog entry isn’t titled “#37 – Have Debit Card Stolen,” because otherwise the story would’ve ended at Subway.

We had sex.

It was pretty damn good. Unexpected sex is always good. I was drunk. She was drunk. She made the first move, because I’m dense and don’t know when a woman is interested in me. We watched “Hello Ladies” in between her orgasms, which is underrated. The TV show, not the orgasms. I got home at 6am Thursday morning, tried to sleep, and couldn’t.

I usually can’t sleep after sex, because I question, “why did I do that?” If you’ve never asked yourself that after sex, then you’re probably a well-adjusted person in a healthy relationship. So congrats to you.

But I’m the type of man who has sex with a stranger that has my credit card just an hour after meeting her, so you can imagine how many times in my life I’ve asked myself, “why did I do that?”

In fact, I am kind of asking myself that question about publishing this blog entry.

I mean, I know why I “did that.” No hassle vagina, and a great story. Plus, I’m attracted to women older than me and “Stacy” was seven years older than me. I’m also attracted to women younger than me since at 29 years old I am at that weird age where not too old and not too young women are interested, but that’s beside the point, because I didn’t even orgasm. So, really why did I do that?

Over the next week she hit me up multiple times for a return trip, but I was frightened by the degenerate slope I was slipping down just one week off from work, so I didn’t return phone calls, texts, or Facebook messages and decided I should go back to work. I got an offer to help out on a new show until the end of the year, so I took it.

I don’t need to spell it out, but there is so much that frightens me looking back. I mean it would be easy for me to say she was crazy for inviting a complete stranger into her place. But I was even crazier to accept the invitation

“Stacy” eventually revealed to me that she was in the middle of a 10-day bender and that she also had a boyfriend. Despite that, I still gave thought to her offers to hook up again, because after all, vagina. But I didn’t.

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#36 – Go on an Online Date

I don’t date.

I never really have. All of my past relationships were a result of the woman pursuing me. That’s not bragging. I’m just lazy. And I think I inherently know that romance leads to heartbreak, so I avoid it unless someone brings me into it.

More or less, I’ve spent the majority of my life having the no strings attached type of relationships, which consist mainly of banging and leaving, and that wasn’t just me doing the leaving. That is until my recent relationship of nearly a year and a half, which was a brand new record for me.

Prior to that relationship, I had “Go on an online date” on my list of Discomfort Blog ideas. I never did it, because I am not that good on paper. I’m more attractive once you get to know me.

In the duration of my past relationship, Tinder hit the world hard. I took enjoyment seeing friends swipe right during down times in their daily lives. I never thought I would create an account on there, because when you’re in a relationship you think it’s never going to end. Plus, I always thought it was kind of silly that people were so desperate to meet someone that they would force a meeting.

After my ex broke up with me I decided to revisit the idea of going on an online date, you know strictly to write about something, not because I’m a horny dude or anything. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the appeal of online dating. If you fear rejection, it’s not face to face unless you want to meet up, and there’s even less risk with Tinder since you only talk to people who think you are attractive as well.

So, I scavenged through my Facebook for skinny pics and joined up a few weeks ago. I got quite a few matches rather quickly. More than I actually thought I would, which is a result of having a poor image in my head from being a former fatty. I did a whole bunch of messaging, but didn’t meet anyone in person. Frankly, I was too busy to meet anyone. I just started working on a new TV show, which ironically is the dating game show “Baggage on the Road” hosted by Jerry Springer. Only I would become recently single and start working on a dating show.

My Tinder profile pictures equipped with emojis and a cheesy line.

My Tinder profile picture equipped with emojis and a cheesy line.

The night before I left for Austin, Texas to start shooting the show I got a match from a woman who gave me her number within five messages. While out of town she text asking if I wanted to go to a concert at The Wiltern. I thought she was attractive and I appreciated the forwardness since like I mentioned previously, I’m lazy when it comes to this dating game. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at her forwardness since she is 37 years old, nine years my senior. Women that age tend to not waste as much time as younger women.

I didn’t flinch at the age gap, because I’m a bit of an old soul and I’ve been in relationships with larger age gaps. When I was 23 I dated a woman who was 35. Before you start thinking I have Mommy issues, my last girlfriend was six years younger than me.

I rescheduled with her for the Sunday after I returned from Austin. I had no idea what we would do, because our exchanges were very limited. She didn’t have a bio on her profile, and all I knew was that she liked yoga and posing with the man who we in Los Angeles call “Sunset Jesus” because he walks up and down Sunset Boulevard dressed as Jesus. I didn’t even know how to pronounce her name. It looked French, but she didn’t.

She suggested we go to a concert again. I told her I couldn’t because I agreed to be a guest on a podcast that night. Since it was Sunday, I asked if she liked football. She said “no.” I almost broke up with her right there even before we even went on a first date. She suggested a museum. In my head, I laughed because after all it was Sunday and football is my religion. Long story short, I suggested the Grammy Museum at LA Live, because if I’m going to have to go to a museum it can’t be a real museum.

I arrived to the museum first. It pains me even writing “museum.” I sat there semi-hoping she wouldn’t show up. I know I set the date, but I was already regretting it now that it was real. Plus, I could see the Chargers driving down the field on a TV in the distance.

She showed up and looked like a slight variation of the four pictures she had on her profile. I wasn’t disappointed. I mean you have to assume that online everyone puts their very best pictures up. She was exotic looking. From her pictures I had no idea if she was African American, Native American, Indian, or all of the above.

We went through the typical get to know you questions. I did my best to take interest in her likes, but I could tell we didn’t have a lot in common. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that awkward, mainly because I can converse with just about anyone thanks to years of being a journalist and working in casting. The only level of discomfort occurred when she asked, “So what do you do for a living?” I’m honest, so I told her, “I work in TV.”

I should have assumed her follow-up question would be, “What show?”

But I didn’t think anything of it when she asked, so I said, “I’m writing this dating game show called ‘Baggage.’”

“Wait, a dating show, I’m not on it right now am I?” she said without missing a beat. “That’s not what this is right now, is it? Is this one of those hidden camera shows? You’re not going to use anything from this date on your show, are you?”

Only in LA.

After I answered “no” four times, and got past that hurdle, we conversed some more. I wish that was the first time I’ve had to reassure a woman I wasn’t filming her.

She was nice, and the next day instead of telling me to take a hike she asked if I wanted to go for a hike at Griffith Park. So, I guess that means the date was a success. But I really had no interest, so I passed.

Overall, I really don’t think online dating is for me. I don’t like forcing a meeting. I prefer chance and circumstance. Tinder definitely serves as a great ego boost, but for me I don’t think it goes beyond that. Plus, my favorite thing has been stumbling upon women I know in real life and texting them screenshots of their profile.

Side note, I’ve got way more matches in cities outside of Los Angeles, like San Diego and Austin, which I think speaks to the superficiality of online dating in the plastic town of LA. As much trash as I’m talking about online dating right now, I just realized I’ll be in Baton Rouge, Tampa, Hartford, Las Vegas, and San Diego in the next seven weeks and the road is lonely. So what I’m really saying is that I’m full of shit and I love Tinder.

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35 – Write A Second End of Year Review

It’s time for my second annual list of Stupid Shit I Did & Things I’m Proud Of from the past year.

Stupid Shit I Did in 2013

I know I am getting older, because I look at the things I’ve written below and there’s no raw-dogging chicks or falling asleep with strippers in my lap. My regrets are also far less in numbers, and a bit more personal in spirit.

  • Quit a TV show: I have always been astutely aware that I am fortunate to work in television. The fact that people pay me for this shit is ridiculous. I never thought I would quit a TV show. But I did. Some days I regret it. Most days I don’t. I was good at the job. The people I worked with liked me. I was even friends with the host. I had job security. I left it all though. Maybe I gave up too early. It was a stupid move at the time, because I didn’t have something else lined up. The thing that bugs me most is that I gave up. And I’ve never given up on something before.
  • Gained 10 pounds: I put in a lot of work to get down to 150-160 pounds in 2012. And in 2013 I put in a lot of work in my career, which meant significantly less time working out. Add in the stress eating and drinking, I find myself at 170 pounds at the end of 2013. The fat boy inside my brain will always think I need to lose weight, and even though I know 170 is still skinny for my height, I still consider this to be something stupid I did in 2013.
  • Didn’t Travel More: Last year it seemed like I was in Las Vegas every other weekend. I’m ashamed to say that I only went three times this year. I did go to Chicago for the first time as well. And in traditional form I also went to San Diego a dozen times or so, however, work prevented me from cashing in on trips to New York and San Francisco. I should’ve taken the time to venture out of Los Angeles more often.

Things I’m Proud I Did in 2013

The one thing I learned from the list below is that I worked a lot. I think I need to find a balance between fun and work, because last year was my party year and this year was my work year. These accomplishments, however, are substantial, which is all that matters.

  • Work on Five Different TV Shows: This was the first year I worked on more than two shows. It’s the first time I’ve actually felt like I have a legitimate TV career.

January-February: “America’s Got Talent” on NBC

Career-wise, this show started off my hot year.

Career-wise, this show started off my hot year.

April-May: “The Test” by CBS

I found every opportunity to nap on The Test. 100 hour work weeks will do this to anyone.

I found every opportunity to nap on The Test. 100 hour work weeks will do this to anyone.

May-July: “Let’s Make A Deal” on CBS

Working on set of "Let's Make A Deal" was a blast. Felt food to see people excited to be on a show, after spending the prior month sleeping at my desk.

Working on set of “Let’s Make A Deal” was a blast. Felt food to see people excited to be on a show, after spending the prior month sleeping at my desk.

July-August: “Wall of Fame” coming to NBC

Just messing around with Jason. Means a lot working for someone who will look out for you. Had a blast in Chicago working on Wall of Fame with him. With LMAD and WOF I learned a lot about game shows in 2013, thanks to him.

Just messing around with Jason. Means a lot working for someone who will look out for you. Had a blast in Chicago working on Wall of Fame with him. With LMAD and WOF I learned a lot about game shows in 2013, thanks to him.

September-November: “Operation Repo” on TruTV

It felt great to get back into the field on "Operation Repo." Working as the AD on this show was my highest ranking credit I've ever had, and I think it's taking my career down a new path. We shot in cars, planes, and boats, and I had the time of my life in all three.

It felt great to get back into the field on “Operation Repo.” Working as the AD on this show was my highest ranking credit I’ve ever had, and I think it’s taking my career down a new path. We shot in cars, planes, and boats, and I had the time of my life in all three.

October-Present: “America’s Got Talent” on NBC

  • Start A Relationship: I’ve been serially single. I’ve always said I would remain that way until I found someone who was just as intelligent as me and worked in the same industry, because that’s the only type of person who wouldn’t give me crap about the amount of time I put into my career. I found her, and have been happy for eight months now. Probably not impressive to most of you, but definitely a new record for me.
It has been pure joy with this one. A lot of laughs, for sure.

It has been pure joy with this one. A lot of laughs, for sure.

  • Help Make Someone Else’s Dreams Come True: I spent the prior five years in Los Angeles working with people who I thought had my best intentions, but really were pieces of shit. In November of 2012 I told a comedian friend he should audition for the reality competition show I just started working on. He was hesitant and just like me, not in a great point in his life. 10 months later, Taylor Williamson finished in second place on “America’s Got Talent, is selling out comedy clubs, and is a household name. Talking out his strategy each week from the initial unaired audition to the season finale in Radio City Music Hall was an amazing experience. Unlike the assholes I associated with in prior years, he had my back, and ensured that the higher-ups on AGT knew what I did, thus securing my return to the show. We helped each other out, and he restored my faith that there are good people in show business. Below is my favorite performance that he did on AGT and the conversation that went into the development of it was one of my favorites from 2013.

  • Quit a TV Show: I quit “The Test” after five weeks because I was working over 100 hours per week. I was falling asleep on the way to work in the morning. If it was four years ago I probably would’ve put up with the abuse because back then I didn’t know when I was going to find another TV show to work on. I quit “The Test” with no promise of another show, but I ended up working on the three shows immediately after, so I pumped up my resume and got my life back.
  • Have Sex with a Friend and Not Have it be Weird: I dated this one girl in 2012 and even though we stopped dating, we remained friends. Before I got in a relationship, we even had sex in 2013 as friends. It wasn’t weird the next morning, I think because we actually have respect for one another. Who knew sex with a friend could be a thing?
  • Continue My Journalism Career: Journalism was my first love, and every year I try to revisit that passion. This year my buddy Jon Gold hooked me up with two gigs when I was in between TV shows. One was to cover an NHL game between the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks and the other was to cover an MLB game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers. Journalism still provides an adrenaline rush that TV doesn’t give me, but I have way more fun in TV.
Getting paid to watch sports is almost as unbelievable as the fact that I get paid to make TV.

Getting paid to watch sports is almost as unbelievable as the fact that I get paid to make TV.

  • Move Into Hollywood: I lived in the Valley for six years. That’s six years of driving with a buzz. That’s six years of spending far too much money on gas. That’s six years of unbearably hot summers. That’s six years of…
  • Not Repeat Stupid Shit I Did In 2012: This definitely means I am growing up.
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34 – Visit Jewish Temple

I am not a religious man….unless you count my devotion to the NFL. And if that’s the case, then Roger Goodell is my Lord and Savior.

I grew up Catholic. I had a communion. I had a confirmation. I have gone to confession. All that means to me is that when I walk into a church I can eat the wafer and drink the Jesus juice.

I guess some people use religion to feel like they belong to something greater than themselves. Others may use it to explain things that are unexplainable. Some people I imagine just use religion because they were told to believe and never questioned its purpose.

I question pretty much everything which is why in the past 15 years I haven’t been in a church other than for a wedding or funeral. I know, the obvious joke is, “what’s the difference between the two? Am I right, fellas?” But I’m not going to say that joke.

Well, that all changed about three weeks ago when the woman I’m dating asked if I wanted to go to Jewish temple on Sunday morning for her younger sister’s Hebrew naming ceremony.

At first, I made the obligatory jokes like, “Wait, Jews don’t get names until you’re 10 years old? Do you just go around saying, ‘Hey Jew, yes Jew, come here.’” For some reason she was not amused.

Then I was offended. I had been dating this woman for nearly six months and she had the audacity to ask if I wanted to go to her place of worship at the exact time on the exact day that my organization of worship, the NFL, holds its ceremonies. It’s like she didn’t even know me anymore.

I did not want to go. I don’t even like my own religion, let alone one I am unfamiliar with. But I went anyways, because I knew it would make her happy, it would give me something to write about…and I was told there would be snacks.

We arrived before her family, so we explored the compound. I made sure to be on my best behavior, because despite my disdain for organized religion I realize other people take it quite serious, and I wouldn’t like it if they treated Qualcomm Stadium, home of the San Diego Chargers, with disrespect.

The woman I'm dating told me it's a Jewish tradition to kiss this plaque on the wall before entering. Part of me believes she was just trying to see how gullible I am. Either way, I made out with that wall and turned it on pretty hard.

The woman I’m dating told me it’s a Jewish tradition to kiss this plaque on the wall before entering. Part of me believes she was just trying to see how gullible I am. Either way, I made out with that wall and turned it on pretty hard.

A female member of the temple greeted us at the front of the compound and asked if we had an appointment with the rabbi. Before I could joke, “I think it’s pronounced ‘rabbit,’ I realized that this woman thought we were there to discuss marriage plans with the rabbi. After I regained consciousness and accused her of planting that woman, we ran into her family. Other members of the temple gathered around shortly thereafter.

A few people introduced themselves to me and everyone was quite friendly. They asked what I do for a living, offered me snacks, asked where I’m from, and other typical get-to-know-you questions. Fortunately, Jews run Hollywood, so I was safe there, and I work on “America’s Got Talent,” judged by Howard Stern, one of the most famous Jews in show business.

I’ve met the father of the woman I’m dating before and that was fun because of how much he enjoys sharing embarrassing stories of her. He had more of those this time around, as did the other family members whom I was meeting for the first time. Meeting family is generally awkward, but this was not, perhaps because all of my concern was focused on trying to grasp my surroundings.

The woman I’m seeing then brought that to a nails on the chalkboard tire-screeching halt when she announced I am not Jewish.

I was feeling like an honorary Jew, one of the chosen people, until she called me out. I even was in full garb.

I was feeling like an honorary Jew, one of the chosen people, until she called me out. I even was in full garb.

“Don’t worry about it,” the rabbit said. “You fit right in with that nose of yours.”

After laughing at my large Native American/Mexican/Catholic nose, we discussed more Howard Stern, Chargers football, and they kept offering me more chocolate candies. The Jewish people were making me feel right at home with their inappropriate humor, love of sports, and infatuation with tasty treats. Boy, do the Jewish people love to offer you food. Not so different from my Mexican people.

I love free candy at 8:30am. Maybe I was born to be a Jew instead of a Catholic.

I love free candy at 8:30am. Maybe I was born to be a Jew instead of a Catholic.

The woman I’m dating explained to me that it is a very progressive temple, and not all of them are like that. I got the hint of that once they started slangin’ jokes like it was open mic at the Hollywood Improv.

The naming ceremony commenced with each young child approaching the front of the room with family in tow, repeating a prayer and answering questions about the name they were given. Her father asked me to snap some pictures and capture some video on his iPhone.

While the individual ceremony took place, other families chatted quietly and munched on their provided candy and coffee. If that was church, I would’ve been hushed several dozen times. In temple, not the case, and I was provided Twix instead of a bland wafer. Other religions should try the chocolate and caramel method.

Apparently that ceremony was not a typical one in the Jewish culture. I was told that the motivation for it was that the children did not know much about their family origin and where their individual Hebrew names derived from, so the teachers felt it would help them learn. I believe in knowing where you came from, so I actually did feel honored that her family would allow me to partake in the ceremony.

I don’t think I could be a real Jew though. I like bacon too much. And the hat is too small to cover the messy salad on my head when I’m too lazy to comb my hair in the morning. I’ll stick to dating one.

I think I'll stick to my New Era ball caps. I do think I can rock the scarf though.

I think I’ll stick to my New Era ball caps. I do think I can rock the scarf though.

Overall, the experience was enriching. Prior to the visit, my whole knowledge base of Jewish culture derived from reruns of Seinfeld and Woody Allen flicks. While that is still my foundation for the Jewish culture, a few rabbits have enlightened me beyond just entertainment.

P.S. the woman I am seeing remained nameless at her request. She claims she doesn’t want people associating an actual name with all the jokes I write on Twitter. After re-reading this blog, I completely agree with her.

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33 – Quit a TV Show

I’m now working on the TV show “Let’s Make A Deal.” Three weeks ago I was working on a different show.

I thought that other show was going to be the perfect 4-month gig. It is hosted by one of the nicest comedians I know, on a major studio lot, for a three-letter network.

One month into the gig I quit because…

The following blog has been interrupted by Joshua’s common sense. He signed a non-disclosure agreement prior to working on said show and under no circumstances does he want his bank account negatively affected with the threat of a lawsuit by said company.

Prior to this, I only quit one gig in my career, and that was after 13 months at the Los Angeles Times. When I quit that place I knew I no longer wanted to be a full-time journalist. Back then I didn’t have another gig to move on to. I just knew I couldn’t waste any more time there, so I left. And I left in a boisterous fashion, with an e-mail to the entire Tribune company where I admonished the assholes and celebrated the scholars.

I don’t think I can get in trouble by simply talking about me, so here goes…

I didn’t want to quit. I loved the people I worked with. That happens when you spend an abhorrent number of hours a week with the same people. (I’d tell you the actual number of hours, but I’m sure that would get me in trouble.) From the host to the production assistants, they are some of the most genuine people I’ve worked with in TV. The only people I didn’t enjoy working with were…

Once again, the following blog has been interrupted by the lawyers inside Josh’s head. We are simply trying to keep him out of trouble. We apologize for the lack of typically fascinating content in this blog. We promise it won’t happen again, unless of course Josh makes another bad career decision.

For years, colleagues told me that talk shows are the most difficult TV shows to produce. I always thought they were bull-shitting me. They weren’t. I’ve done comedies, animation, game shows, talking head shows, competition shows, and many others. Combined, they don’t compare in terms of difficulty and stress.

I was good at the job. But I wasn’t happy. I was falling asleep on my car drive to work. When I got out of work at 1am I’d pound five beers before the bars would close. I was stress-eating and gained at least five pounds. It was the first time working in entertainment that I wasn’t happy. I chose this business for a reason; I didn’t want to be miserable if I was going to put long hours into a job like I’ve seen so many people do.

Working hard or hardly working? Clearly working hard.

Working hard or hardly working? Clearly working hard.

I really didn’t know how to quit. I didn’t want to leave my co-workers in a bind, because I genuinely liked them and went to battle with them. I gave some of them warning before I made my final decision, and they all told me that if I had something else to move on to then I deserved to make the move. That’s all I needed to hear. I rarely care what others think of me (see my full disclosure in past entries of this blog), but I did care what this batch of co-workers thought of me. Since leaving, my mind has been put at ease. I still talk to most of them and they treat me like I never left.

In the past, I’ve given up important things for my career, like relationships, friendships, and sanity, but this was the first time it didn’t feel worth it, because I was unhappy. I think people tend to forget that they are in control of their own happiness. Yes, others can have a huge impact on your emotions, but ultimately you are in control of whom you choose to be around. I didn’t want to be unhappy anymore, so I did something about it.

This is what my breaking point looks like.

This is what my breaking point looks like.

Besides growing up in the entertainment world, I’ve been doing this “writing” thing for nine years, and working in TV for six years. If this was three years ago, there is no way in “heaven” I would’ve quit a television job. Back then I didn’t know where the next gig was going to come from and how long it would take to find it. To a certain extent, I still don’t know where the next gig is coming from, but I’m now secure with where I am in my career. I am a machine. I can handle anything. I could have handled this for another three months, but I didn’t need to, which is a nice place to be.

The most positive thing to surface from quitting is that I now realize my self-worth, and that is a dangerous thing for those who want to compete with me.

*Side Note: The only other time I was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement was when Girls Gone Wild was going to hire me to be a Casting Director. That story, ladies and gentlemen, is a tale for another day.

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