#47 – 2016 Year in Review

Normally I start off my Year in Review posts with the stupid shit I did from the past year, but this year I have way more things I am proud of than embarrassed by. Additionally, my stupid shit is not as sexy as it used to be either. Call both those things a result of maturity or whatever, it’s how my year turned out and I couldn’t be happier about that.

Things I’m Proud Of

  • Signed With An Agency

I never had an agent or manager. I barely started using a lawyer in 2015 because that’s when deals being offered began requiring one to look out in my best interest. As far as needing management and agency representation, I never really pursued it, and they never really pursued me. I’ve always heard the negative aspect of having an agent, that they’re greedy, unreliable, etc. That hasn’t been my experience, because my agent was my friend before working with me. He was an executive at various TV networks, so understood the industry from a different angle than a typical agent.


  • Sold A Show to MTV

I’ve been pitching shows for six years with long breaks in between. I have earned some development deals at production companies, and helped develop many shows for networks, but this was the first time I sold something on my own with my partners. It was the easiest pitch I had ever been on. MTV was the dream home, only the third pitch we went on, and we received an offer four days after the pitch.


Josh and I went on a lot of pitches in 2016. The MTV deal was a learning experience that we wont soon forget. This picture was from another meeting we had with Jamar about another show we sold together.

  • Visited Hawaii

I rarely travel other than when work takes me somewhere. This was the second vacation I ever took. Hawaii is everything everyone says it is. Zoe basically had to force me to go with her, but I am glad she did and I love her for that. This was definitely the most relaxing part of my year and one of the more reflective times I have ever had.


This was my enduring picture from 2016 in Hawaii. I love that lady Zoe.

  • Worked at Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival

I wrote about this previously so I will spare you more rambling, but it truly was an exciting career reward to finally be a part of this festival. Getting to work with comedians I highly respect like Lewis Black, Louie Anderson, and Bobby Slayton was truly an honor. And getting to go to Canada for the first time made me fall in love with the peaceful nature of the people in Montreal.


Michael, Me and Mary Lynn Rajskub in Montreal.

  • Worked on 5 Different Shows

My year started off slowly. I didn’t work on my first show in 2016 until May. That was Hellevator for GSN. That show tested my stamina, creativity on a tight financial budget, and my ability to communicate. It was a great reward to see it make it to air while I played a part in the control booth for the first time since Baggage on the Road in 2014, also for GSN. Then I did A LOT of development. I worked on another game show for Matador, the same company that did Hellevator, another game show for Renegade 83, a docu for Furry Prawn Productions, and another docu for Big Fish Entertainment. This year really showed me my eye for working in development with an eye toward the future.


Felicia who hired me on Hellevator also helped me get another show later in the year. We worked well together on two horror themed game shows. The two women with us Jen and Sylvia Soska were two of the best hosts I’ve worked with.

  • Turned down a full-time staff position at Levity

I have wanted to work at Levity for years. They own many of the Improv and Levity Live comedy clubs. They manage many well-known comedians like Jeff Dunham and Trevor Noah. They produce TV shows, many of which you see on Food Network. I was offered a Director of Development position. Without getting into too many details, I felt the deal wasn’t fair for me, so I chose to gamble on myself, which has always worked out for me in the past. Who knows, maybe one day I will end up there in some capacity, but this wasn’t the right time, even though I really wanted it to be since the Improv is basically my home. I am grateful, however, that I have a girlfriend who understands why I turned down the high amount of money that I did, and an agent that understands what drives my career.


Stupid Shit I Did

  • Turned Down Gigs While Waiting on Deal to Close

I love to work. But in all my excitement of waiting for my MTV deal to close I forgot how long it takes for deals to close. I turned down the opportunity to work on The Wall on NBC. It just recently premiered and greatly regret missing that opportunity. I could have worked on that show with plenty of time to spare, but I was afraid I was going to have to leave early and I don’t like to leave a show before production ends, because it feels like jumping ship and possibly burning a bridge or any other metaphoric cliché you can think of.


  • Didn’t Keep Up with My Podcast

At a certain point in my year I got super busy with developing shows and Zoe started working from home where I was recording my podcast, so I stopped recording episodes after episode 50. I was already slowing down a bit from two a week to just once a week, but just like this blog, it was a tragedy of its own success. I will likely bring it back one day, but 50 episodes was a nice solid number to showcase 50 comedians that many people probably didn’t know beforehand.

GIG Logo Lib

All you need to know about me.


  • Lost Deal at MTV

This was through no fault of my own or my partners. A new President came in at MTV in the midst of negotiations. I was so close to getting something on the air. It still hurts thinking back that the deal was killed, but I am now using it as motivation for 2017. And I do have to remind myself that I did sign other deals for shows I created in 2016 so you take the bad with the good.


Looking out at 2017 like, “What up?”


#46 – Start A Podcast

Everyone has a podcast.

I usually hate doing what other people do, because it’s harder to stand out amongst a group of people all doing the same thing.

But I started a podcast.

I didn’t start a podcast for the usual reasons people start a podcast. I am not trying to get attention. I am not trying to get advertisers. I don’t even care about how many people download the episodes. I mean, it would be nice if you listened to it, but really I don’t care.

My only goal: to get people jobs.

Last year I was passed up on a gig that I should’ve at least been interviewed for. I had recommendations from network executives and friends of the showrunner. Even people the showrunner reached out to said I should be considered. The gig was to book comedians for a show, something I have done before. Despite all the recommendations, I didn’t get a phone call.

I wasn’t bitter. It’s part of the game. I took my misfortune as an opportunity to examine myself. I recognize that about every four years I have to alter my career path just a bit to maintain relevance. Show business is fickle and if you stick with the same methods for too long you become stale and people stop caring. All the biggest stars recognize this. That’s why you’ve been witness to so many versions of Madonna and Bowie.

Even mega producers like Judd Apatow have a few flops in a row before switching things up. Do you remember what followed “BridesMaids” and “Get Him to the Greek?” Some stinkers like “The Five Year Engagement,” and “Anchorman 2.” Then he came out with “Trainwreck” which most people loved before Amy Schumer started her path toward becoming the next annoying Dane Cook. OK, I’m getting off track.

I was strictly a journalist from ages 18 to 21. I switched gears a bit and became a TV producer and journalist from ages 21 to 25. From ages 26 to 30 I have strictly been a TV producer and all the other things that come with that like writer and casting director.

During each of those transitions came an influencer to lead the movement in a direction. What launched my last four-year run of non-stop working on TV shows was this blog. It got me a lot of work, because it showcased my writing and that I was hustling on my own. It got me one show, which led to another show, which led me to another show. At the time, everyone had a blog. Hell, everyone still has a blog. But I didn’t care about how many readers I was getting. I have a formula to look back on that did me well.

Now back to the podcast.

I listen to only two podcasts. “WTF w/ Marc Maron” and “The Industry Standard w/ Barry Katz.” By this point, most people know “WTF,” since Maron interviewed Obama last year. His motivation for starting his podcast years ago was that he had nothing of extreme relevance going on in his career. He knew he could talk to people and that he had famous friends, so why not start something that he could control, unlike the inability to acquire a show on TV, which requires an infinite number of executives and people to say, “yes.”

For me, the gig I was passed up on was not the first, and it certainly won’t be the last, but it was the first time I got passed up when I had so many people speaking on my behalf. It got me motivated.

It was easy to come up with the concept for my podcast. I know so many comedians who make a living in comedy, but don’t get the recognition they deserve. They have so many stories to tell, so many questions unanswered about where their path is heading, and so many battles to appreciate the present while keeping an outlook for the future. Also, they all have uniquely different paths to how they got involved in comedy. I have conversations about all those topics with so many of them at the Hollywood Improv, the Comedy Store, the Laugh Factory, the Comedy Cellar, and every other comedy club that starts with “the.” Now, I just record the conversations.

The goal of the podcast is simple. I wanted to get these people work, and in turn get me work. My whole network of people is all in show business. I don’t have normal friends anymore. I believe everyone has a story to tell, and my responsibility in my career has been to find out what a person’s story is, and tell it.


I’ve recorded some episodes in some less than ideal situations like in my old apartment on Hollywood Blvd and this hotel room in San Luis Obispo.

I also didn’t have anything to lose in starting the podcast. In today’s world, everyone tries to stay as private as possible for fear of saying something that will offend others or perhaps be portrayed in an unflattering light. I have always put myself out there and shared more than a safe amount of information about myself. You simply have to read early posts of this blog to realize that fact.

In order to be taken serious about the podcast I knew I had to get some episodes up, and not just do like 20 of them. I have seen podcasts come and go, but the ones that have an impact are the ones that stick around and produce a lot of episodes. My thinking was that if I released two a week I could get to over 100 episodes in a year, which in television is the old syndication model that 100 episodes of anything is significant.

The other aspect of television that I took when building the podcast is that I told myself I have to release every Monday and Thursday no matter what. I took that from the Maron format and decided I would release an episode on the same days at the same times of each week. People told me I was crazy to put those expectations on myself. But just like TV shows, people need to know when to find your show. You don’t see “Modern Family” changing its air date and time from week to week, but so many other people record and release their podcasts with no set schedule. I refused to be like that. Well, at first I refused to be like that.

As of this publishing date I am at episode 47. I kept up with the two episode a week model all the way until episode 43. Then I hit a wall. It wasn’t a creative wall, but rather one of time. I was producing “Hellevator” on GSN 15 hours a day, got hired by Just For Laughs for the Montreal Comedy Festival, pitching my own shows, and trying to maintain the podcast. There’s only a certain amount of hours in the day. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

I didn’t think it was insane for someone like me who is typically behind the camera to start a podcast. I know how to interview because of my prior career as a journalist and in casting you have to conduct interviews in auditions on camera all of the time. I also know how to book people and tell stories, and I have a seemingly endless pool of talent to pull from.

People started telling me that I would run out of quality people to interview at a certain point. Quality is relative. I have taken criticism in the past because I am pretty positive with comedy people. I believe there is a position for everyone in this community. Not everyone should be a stand-up comedian. Not everyone should be a writer. Not everyone should have a sitcom. Not everyone should be a producer. But I believe everyone can find a niche, so that is what I intended to do with my podcast, encourage the person in comedy to find their niche.

My next step was to figure out how to record the podcast. I am not a tech person. I sit behind cameras. I don’t shoot them. Same goes for audio equipment. I asked friends of mine what they record with, did my research online, and decided if I was going to do this then I would buy the best equipment possible. Fortunately, it was November and my birthday and Christmas were coming up, so my Mom asked me how much money I needed to get the podcast started. I told her $700 and she said Merryy BirthMas.

After that, the only things left to do was come up with a name for the show and some cover art for iTunes and the other podcast outlets. I was going to call it “The Grass is Greener Podcast” but I didn’t want people to think it was a show about weed and also that’s a really long name. I like having the medium in the title of all my projects hence why “Blog” is in the title of “The Discomfort Blog,” so “Podcast” had to be in there.

I liked the idea of talking about how everyone in show business thinks the grass is always greener. No matter who you are, you think someone else has it better, easier, or is more fortunate. It doesn’t matter how successful you are, you have that in you. I was playing around with the title and realized that “Grass is Greener” has the acronym “G.I.G.” and gigs, aka jobs, is exactly what I would be talking about with all these comics, since everyone in comedy is constantly obsessed with getting the next gig, getting to a gig, working toward the dream gig, and all of us have a different version of all of those. “The G.I.G. Podcast” just seemed to be perfect, because it could also simply be just “The G.I.G.” for short.

GIG Logo Lib

I took this picture back in 2012. Who knew back then that it would end up being useful?

With the name set, I just needed comedian guests. The first ones I wanted to sit down with were people I had conversations with all the time already so the tone would be natural and not forced. Nick Guerra was someone I always chatted with about how there is no rhyme or reason to anything we are shooting for in show business. He was essentially my muse for this. Other people I had these conversations with were Shawn Halpin, Taylor Williamson, Jesus Trejo, and Sharon Houston. I got them all in on my first few episodes.

It has been remarkable to see some of those people go on to do great things like Nick Guerra doing “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and Jesus Trejo getting New Faces at Montreal Just For Laughs. My podcast definitely didn’t help them get those things, but our conversations discussed their goals, and to see them go on and accomplish some of those goals is pretty special.

Some of the more recent episodes have been with comedians I didn’t know well but met at different events or venues and have since become friends with like Daniel Weingarten, Briana Hansen, and Ron Josol.

I don’t know what will come of this. I don’t know if I will get work from this or if any of my guests will. I think we all will. I wouldn’t spend my time on it if I thought it was a waste of time.

If anything, everyone who comes on the show for a conversation at least appears to leave with the sense that they’re not alone. The hour I spend with the comedian is a time for deep reflection. Some have left with some self-realizations. Others have felt like it was a therapy session. Some are just happy to find out they’re not alone with what they’re dealing with in their personal and professional life. I know they feel that way, because they tell me…

And because I feel less alone after our chat.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

#45 – Attend Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival

I have done pretty much everything you can think of in comedy.

I’ve toured the country with comedians, written stand-up specials, booked comedians for competition shows, written jokes for hosts, produced short films, hosted a podcast, and even gone in front of the camera.

The one thing I had never done was go to the prestigious Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival.

I’ve always wanted to go, but because I work all over the spectrum in television and not every show I work on is a comedy, no show has ever paid for me to go. And it’s super expensive to pay out of pocket.

Through luck, timing, and a recommendation, I was hired by Just For Laughs to be a set vetter for the festival.

Comedians always talk about how big Montreal is for their career, and some comics would literally kill to get in there. The same is pretty true for producers, writers, managers, and agents.

I’ve worked as a set vetter before, but in a much smaller capacity. When I worked on “America’s Got Talent” I helped comedians with their sets for auditions and tapings. I only worked with a handful at a time. In advance of Montreal I got assigned roughly 65 comedians. There was about 200 comedians in attendance at Montreal who were taping sets. I ended up working with nearly all of them.

Comedians were assigned a network they would be taping for, a set length in minutes, and a venue they’d be taping at. Each of the six networks we were filming sets for had different guidelines of standards and practices. Prior to a comedian filming a set, the comedian had a warm up set the day prior where I watched them perform their intended set to give any last minute notes. In advance of that, I worked with the comedians via phone, text, and e-mail when they provided a transcript of their intended set.

One of the venues I was set vetting at is called The Comedy Nest and it's inside the old forum where the Montreal Canadians used to play. They built a mall inside and kept center ice and some of the seats still in tact.

One of the venues I was set vetting at is called The Comedy Nest and it’s inside the old forum where the Montreal Canadians used to play. They built a mall inside and kept center ice and some of the seats still in tact.

The list of comedians I was assigned was like a Mount Rushmore of comedy living legends. Louie Anderson, Lewis Black, Bobby Slayton, Greg Proops, Tom Green, Andy Dick, Brian Posehn, Jo Koy, and many others who are just coming in to prominence like Tone Bell and Cameron Esposito.

Here is one of the amazing comedians I got to work with, Mary Lynn Rajskub.

Here is one of the amazing comedians I got to work with, Mary Lynn Rajskub.

It felt weird to get assignments like Louie Anderson, Bobby Slayton, and Lewis Black because I’m 30 years old and they have been doing comedy longer than I have been alive. Guys like that could have very easily been stand-offish, but they weren’t. They were receptive and willing to work to make their comedy even better than their already crafted brilliance.

There are always some people who are difficult to deal with, and interestingly enough it was never the legends. It was the people who THINK they are legends. Fortunately the problem children were few and far between.

I arrived in Montreal on Saturday July 23rd and came back to the United States on Sunday July 31st. Each day started with a 5pm meeting with the set vetting and programming team of JFL. My first show was at either 7:30pm or 8pm with a second show at either 9:45pm or 10:30pm. Id usually wrap up vetting sets around midnight and then head to the Roast Battle viewing party or God Damn Comedy Jam show before a 1am meeting that usually lasted until 2:30am.

The God Damn Comedy Jam took place in the backroom of a church, which was an extra special touch for the show.

The God Damn Comedy Jam took place in the backroom of a church, which was an extra special touch for the show.

Before 5pm and after 2:30am I was free to do whatever I wanted, but often that involved chasing down comedians I needed to speak with about their sets.

I did manage to try poutine one time while in Montreal. Canadians love their fries. And I love their country.

I did manage to try poutine one time while in Montreal. Canadians love their fries. And I love their country.

The 1am meeting was without a doubt the highlight of my work experience in Montreal. Six of us would gather to discuss the comics we saw that night and paced each shows gala tapings for where each comedian should perform in the lineup. Order of a lineup is something the average comedy fan might not be aware of its importance. Among other things, certain comedy styles go better when placed after other styles and vice versa.

This was a lineup from just a normal warm up show at Theatre Ste. Catherine. With normal shows this stacked, the galas had a lot to live up to.

This was a lineup from just a normal warm up show at Theatre Ste. Catherine. With normal shows this stacked, the galas had a lot to live up to.

The 1am meeting was so completely opposite of a typical meeting. Ignore the fact that it was taking place at 1am, but we also conducted the meeting over drinks, and inside a room where the only thing separating us from hundreds of the biggest names in comedy and entertainment are two doors.

When Blake Griffin asks to take a picture with you at 330am you do it. Or in this case when he doesn't ask you, you still do it. Blake was hosting shows all week and was amazingly funny.

When Blake Griffin asks to take a picture with you at 330am you do it. Or in this case when he doesn’t ask you, you still do it. Blake was hosting shows all week and was amazingly funny.

Each night a comedian wandered into our conference room. Whether it was Jimmy Carr, Elon Gold, or Jessica Kirson it was a welcome distraction that added to the fun.

The thing I loved most about the festival was getting to see international comedians on a regular basis. I had never seen Jimmy Carr before, and he’s someone I have followed for a few years because he’s huge internationally.

Russell Kane is another British comedian who stole all the laughs from the festival. Getting to see someone like that whom I had never seen before was a real treat, especially when he told me that he made a point to crush it this time around after being disappointed with his showing at the festival four years prior.

And then there was comedian Dave Hughes from Australia, who I would never have been exposed to. His style of comedy really forced me to listen to his words because of his accent and how he pronounced words. I can half listen to comedians from the States and predict where the bit is going to go. With the international acts, it’s not as easy because styles from other countries are different.

The U.S. dollar is worth so much more in Canada, which came in handy when I visited the casino.

The U.S. dollar is worth so much more in Canada, which came in handy when I visited the casino.

I didn’t do a lot of sightseeing, but I did walk through Old Montreal, which has gorgeous nostalgic architecture. And as per usual when I’m in a new city I visited the casino. Beyond that, I stuck around the three-mile radius of the festival, because there was just so much going on in the immediate area.

One of the few venues I went to that wasn't a place of comedy. The Marche Bonsecour in Old Montreal.

One of the few venues I went to that wasn’t a place of comedy. The Marche Bonsecour in Old Montreal.

I didn’t have many moments of discomfort in the 8 days I was there. Comedy is my third language. Unfortunately French isn’t my first or second. I really only had a few instances of feeling awkward when someone in the city didn’t speak English and only spoke French. For the most part, everyone in Montreal speaks both languages. My most profound emotion was without a doubt pride. It felt great to be experiencing Montreal with a number of friends who were doing big things during the festival.

Watching my buddy Jamar Neighbors perform each night as part of The Wave on Roast Battle for Comedy Central was pretty dope. Seeing Jesus Trejo attend the festival as part of the 2016 New Faces group was really special. And seeing Gina Brillon perform each night as part of the Ethnic Show and work with her to tape a set for the Howie Mandel Gala filming for the CW was remarkable. Gina and I started out together nearly a decade ago back in the SiTV days when I produced a show called “Latino 101.” To think we came from doing Latino shows to working together at Montreal was a pretty epic experience.

The look on my face in this picture is pretty much how I looked the whole week, big eyed.

The look on my face in this picture is pretty much how I looked the whole week, big eyed.

I could write 10,000 more words on my experience at Montreal, but I’ll save that for another time, because other career things happened in Montreal, which I will share in future blogs. There really was a magical feeling over those eight days. I am writing this over a week after I have returned from the festival and I barely feel like I have recovered, not only because I barely slept but because it’s hard to come back to reality after non stop excitement nearly every moment I was there. Now as for those other career things that happened while at Montreal…I know, cliff hanger…

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

#44 – Vacation in Hawaii

I don’t vacation.

Since I started my career at 18 years old I have only been on one vacation, a cruise to Cabo San Lucas with my family when I was 21 years old and working at the Los Angeles Times.

Clearly "Elation" in the background depicts my mood from that cruise back in 2008. I had fun on that cruise, but in reality I didn't have many real life stresses at 22 years old, so a vacation this time around was much more needed.

Clearly “Elation” in the background depicts my mood from that cruise back in 2008. I had fun on that cruise, but in reality I didn’t have many real life stresses at 22 years old, so a vacation this time around was much more needed.

I didn’t think I would vacation ever again, until my girlfriend Zoe told me I had to go to Hawaii with her. I got back last week.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but there are a few reasons why I don’t vacation. The first being that from ages 18 to 25 I was fairly broke trying to establish my career. All the money I did make during that time typically was re-invested into my career. When I did have extra spending money during that time I typically went to Las Vegas or other party cities where relaxing really isn’t what you go for.

And from 26 to 30 years old I have worked non-stop on shows. During this time of my life I got plenty of invites to go on fun trips, but my work schedule never allowed it.

The other thing is that during this time I also got to visit some pretty cool places because the TV shows I worked on would pay for me to travel, and most of the time I got to go with friends since I typically work with people I hang out with.

Traveling for work has allowed me to see some pretty cool places like the French Quarter in New Orleans on Halloween in 2014.

Traveling for work has allowed me to see some pretty cool places like the French Quarter in New Orleans on Halloween in 2014.

Zoe was planning a trip to Hawaii around the week of March 12, because her best friend Susan was getting married and Zoe was named the Maid of Honor. She had known this date months in advance, but with my schedule I can never plan that far in advance, so I told her to plan on going without me. I know, I’m a really thoughtful boyfriend.

As the date got closer, I still told her I didn’t think I should go, because I was in the midst of looking for my next show, and I didn’t think I’d be able to enjoy a vacation without knowing if I had a gig locked in. Nor did I think it would be smart to spend money on a vacation when I don’t have a gig waiting for me upon my return.

I think she recognized that I would never allow myself to go, so she bought me a plane ticket and said I was going with her. I don’t always make the best choices, but I certainly did when I decided to start dating her.

She left two days before me so she could help put some finishing touches on the wedding plans. When I began to pack my suitcase I made the conscious decision not to bring my laptop. It was the first time I’ve ever left town without it. I would’ve left my phone too if it wasn’t for my need to depict how dope my life is perceived to be on Instagram.

As soon as she picked me up from the airport in Honolulu, I was glad she bought me a ticket. I have been stressed out, and when you’re in the midst of stress you don’t realize just how worn down you are until you power down. For me, that was on the six-hour flight from LAX to HA. I downloaded a bunch of podcasts from Marc Maron and Barry Katz, and the only thing I remember from their conversations was the first two minutes before I passed out each time I selected a new episode. Most people dislike the time spent on an airplane, but I enjoy it because it’s the one time no one in my life can bother me for something they need, especially when it’s on a flight with a company like Hawaiian Airlines, which doesn’t provide Internet access.

Susan and her husband Justin live in Hawaii already, so it was much easier for them to plan a Hawaii wedding. They decided to rent out this giant compound called Hale Koa Phineas Estates for the festivities. The compound has two giant houses on it with a basketball court, tennis court, pool, hot tub, and lots of beautiful landscape. It’s right on the beach in North Shore, and as we pulled into the estate I was even happier that Zoe made me go.

The compound sleeps over 40 people, that’s how many bedrooms and beds there are. The first night was a very big party until the wee hours in the morning. The following Friday morning Susan took a bunch of us on a hike up the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail, which halfway up to the top leads to a hike down a different side of the mountain to the Makapu’u Tidepools.

This is nearly at the point where we started our hike down the side of the cliff.

This is nearly at the point where we started our hike down the side of the cliff. That paved road is where we hiked up from. The path down the side of the cliff is definitely not as smooth.

I consider myself to have great physical stamina considering how many years I’ve been a runner and how much I hike Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles, but this hike down to the tidepools and back up afterward absolutely kicked my ass. I am writing this piece exactly one week after this hike, and I am still sore. Not even joking. This is 30.

The hike is literally straight down with loose dirt in some places and on the way back up you literally have to climb rocks. I am not afraid of heights, but it’s best not to look down at any point. I cut my hands a little bit going down the cliff, and once we got to the tidepools I jacked up my knees because I slipped several times on black slimy rocks while I was trying to take advantage of the photo opps for all the ladies. The hike back up made me question all my life choices. But the time spent in the surrounding water was an experience I will never forget.

No words can do this justice.

No words can do this justice.

The following Saturday was the actual wedding day, which meant I got to do whatever I wanted while Zoe and the bridesmaids got ready for showtime with Susan. What I chose to do was drink and watch TV after hitting the beach in the morning. I was too sore and had too many gashes in my feet for another adventure. I hung out with some of the other guys who weren’t in the wedding. We grabbed some seafood at a shrimp truck and went into town for some last minute clothes shopping for the wedding.

I could eat at shrimp shacks like this all day every day.

I could eat at shrimp shacks like this all day every day. This particular one has been featured on all those travel and food channel shows, so you know it was good.

The wedding was beautiful, and I was happy to be a guest of Susan and Justin. Even though I knew them for only a year I felt participatory in their experience since Zoe had me write their story of how they met for their wedding website, and I went along with Zoe to pick up Susan’s dress and also got into arguments with stores in the fashion district of Los Angeles who didn’t have the wedding reception napkins ready when they promised.

Here is the bride and groom.

Here is the bride and groom.

On Sunday morning Zoe and I woke up super early because we wanted to take advantage of our last day in Hawaii. We both didn’t know the next time we’d both have time for another vacation so we wanted to make the most of the final day. We left for Pearl Harbor at around 8am, because I like getting a little bit of historical perspective on places I visit.

Pearl Harbor offers three-hour tours, but if I learned anything from Gilligan's Island, it's best not to take a three hour tour.

Pearl Harbor offers three-hour tours, but if I learned anything from Gilligan’s Island, it’s best not to take a three hour tour.

From there we went to the beach on Waimanalo Bay, which is a pretty secluded beach.

I snapped some sexy shots of Zoe on this beach for her, but this one of her peeing in the ocean was for me...I don't know why she puts up with me.

I snapped some sexy shots of Zoe on this beach for her, but this one of her peeing in the ocean was for me…I don’t know why she puts up with me.

After a few hours there we went to Waikiki and then on to a location called China Walls to watch the sunset.

Hawaii provides its own filter.

Hawaii provides its own filter.

Spending so much time on the North Shore was certainly an experience. When you decide to stay in that area it’s a solid hour to get to anywhere that resembles civilization. I think I did a great job of disconnecting from social media and the rest of my life. Of course that didn’t go without a hitch though.

I am considering a career move to North Shore to become an Instagram Model.

I am considering a career move to North Shore to become an Instagram Model.

I had to take one business phone call on a job that I didn’t feel was a right fit for me, and I did submit my resume one time for a job that I really wanted, but other than those two occurrences I didn’t think once about my career or comedy. It felt great not to feel obligated to make an appearance somewhere for the good of my career. It felt good to take a breather. It felt good to not have any worries. I thought I would be very uncomfortable, because I don’t vacation and my mind runs on overdrive, but I had the time of my life.

The happiness in this picture sums up the whole trip.

The happiness in this picture sums up the whole trip.

This blog has really just been my 21st century version of showing you a slideshow of my Hawaiian vacation. Tune in nine years from now when I go on my next vacation.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

#43 – 2015 Year in Review

I don’t really know how I feel about 2015. I experienced several big life events, both positive and negative, which only occur once in a lifetime that give me mixed feelings. It was definitely the most emotional year of my life, and the most balanced year. In previous posts I expressed that I wanted to find more of a personal and professional balance. I think I found it after a very taxing and rewarding year. Below is my annual list of “Stupid Shit I Did” and “Things I’m Proud Of” from the year past.

Stupid Shit I Did

  • Turned down an opportunity to work with Scooter Braun

For some reason I have had the opportunity to work with some notable people in the music industry. I never seeked the opportunities, but there is a crossover between music and television, so it makes sense. But this past April I was approached by Dick Clark Productions to work on a project with Scooter Braun and his artist Tori Kelly at the Billboard Music Awards. At the time, her singles were all over the radio. I turned down the gig for a few reasons. The money was crap and I wanted to get some of my own projects off the ground. I felt it was better if I didn’t go to Las Vegas for a couple weeks, because I had just spent a week out there working on a project with Floyd Mayweather. Looking back now, I probably should’ve just sucked it up, because it was only a four week gig and it’s not often you get to work with a guy who shapes musical trends like Scooter Braun. The fact that Tori Kelly was nominated for Best New Artist at the upcoming 2016 Grammy’s makes it sting a little bit more as well. Who knew I was dumber than Justin Bieber?

  • Spent a week in Las Vegas with the Mayweather family

This was actually one of the coolest things I did this year. Someone associated with the Mayweather family invited me to Las Vegas because they wanted to develop a TV show idea for them. Their invitation just so happened to coincide with the boxing match of the century, Mayweather versus Pacquiao. I spent the first week of training camp with Floyd Mayweather Jr. I was in his corner while he first got in the ring with sparring partners. I stood literally inches away with Sisqo and Richard Sherman as we watched Mayweather knock fools out and then do a jump rope floor routine to the songs of Neil Diamond. It was majical. It was like being behind the batting cage while Babe Ruth took batting practice before the World Series or being under the basket while Michael Jordan took part in a shoot-around before the NBA Finals. I was lucky to be granted access into the inner circle, but I did nothing with the opportunity. It wasn’t their fault and it wasn’t my fault why the show idea didn’t have any traction, but I am sure disappointed that nothing resulted from it other than just a fun week.



Ring side in the Mayweather gym.

  • Didn’t travel more

I made seven trips to Las Vegas, one trip to San Luis Obispo, and numerous trips to San Diego, but other than that I was in Los Angeles the rest of the time. I felt like I lived in airports in 2014, so this was quite a different year. I had plans to go to Atlanta, New York and Hawaii, all of which fell through because of work priorities. And I turned down jobs that would’ve taken me to Miami and New Orleans for long periods of time, so it’s really my fault that I didn’t see more of the world. I am already attempting to remedy this by scheduling Hawaii in March 2016.

Things I’m Proud Of

  • Met my future wife

I never thought I would meet a woman who understands my peculiarities, makes me a better person, and shares similar interests to the point where she is also my best friend. We met on December 2, 2014 and it took us until January 6 to come to terms with the connection we both felt. Since then we have spent pretty much every day with each other. In March we decided to move in together and on May 9 that’s exactly what we did. Finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with is one of those things that you only experience once in life and I am beyond belief that it happened this year, and that I wasn’t afraid to pursue love.

Us in Vegas

My favorite picture of us.

  • Got a development deal for a TV show

I spent the good portion of 2014 creating and developing an idea with my comedian buddies Josh Nasar and Jamar Neighbors. We pitched a few production companies and networks and then I put the idea out of my mind to move on to creating more. One of the production companies came back to us and offered us a deal. I am thrilled to see what this deal will bring us, because this company is one that I never imagined would want to work with me on an original idea. I owe much of this success to Josh and Jamar because we all bring our own crazy that wouldn’t have led to success if one of us wasn’t a part of the process.


Josh, Joshua, Jamar, Jon, and Jake. We ran into Jon & Jake at Viacom when we were pitching MTV and they were pitching Comedy Central.

  • Helped my Mom mourn

My Mom lost her husband to cancer while she was also dealing with her own cancer diagnosis. She dealt with loss, sadness and so many other things. She dealt with it all like a champion while she tried to find some sort of peace. I was there for her when I could be and I don’t know anyone who deserves a more fruitful 2016 than what 2015 brought her.


Mom Zoe Me

There were many trips to SD this year to spend time with family.

  • Worked on 5 TV shows

I am simply amazed that I continue to work on multiple shows every year. I know I have talent, but it is truly difficult to have a sustainable career in television, because it’s such a fickle business. It’s extremely validating every time someone recognizes the belief I have in myself. Here are the five shows I worked on this year. All of which were either pilots or first year shows.

  1. I Can Do That (NBC)

I started this show at the end of 2014 and it led into 2015. The show premiered well and did wonders for comedian and friend Jeff Dye who you will be seeing again later on this year on another fun NBC show.

  1. Love At First Kiss (VH1)

This was a pilot for VH1. It was my second dating show after “Baggage on the Road” in 2014. Baggage was more of a game show and this had more emphasis on the relationship. I worked with the producers of “The Bachelor/Bachelorette” and got to experience how that monstrosity of a show operates. This experience most definitely expanded my knowledge base and I was happy to see that the show got picked up for series.

  1. Eat It To Beat It (CMT)

After a 2014-filled year of working on game shows, this was the only one I did in 2015. I got to experience what it’s like to work on a show from the ground up literally by creating the format, developing the challenges, working with the host, writing the script, and casting the contestants. It was a pilot, so who knows if it will get picked up? But I definitely learned some things by working with some people who have been in the business twice as long as me.


Oh you know, just a typical day at work testing out challenges.

  1. The Commune (NBC)

I spent just a few weeks on this pilot that was contingent upon a cast. I think it’s supposed to shoot in early 2016, so I can’t wait to see if the vision came through.

  1. My Lottery Dream Home (HGTV)

In May this show came to me out of necessity. I turned down moving to Miami for three months to work on “Storage Wars Miami,” because my stepdad’s cancer came back and his prognosis was not good. I felt I needed to stay in Los Angeles, which is significantly closer than Miami to San Diego where my family is located. My stepdad died fourth of July weekend, one month into this job. I originally got this job because the Line Producer from “Storage Wars” recommended me to her friend on this show even though she had never worked with me. She felt bad when I explained to her why I couldn’t take her job offer. I couldn’t believe she was so nice to do that. This show ended up teaching me things I never imagined. It taught me that sometimes the simplest act can result in the biggest reward. This show allowed me to see how much patience I truly do have. And this show allowed me to revisit some of my journalistic research skills, because I was in search of some very sharp needles in the biggest haystack imaginable. I also got to work with some very smart people I had never worked with before and in turn give opportunity to some old friends I hadn’t worked with in a while. The show premieres January 1, 2016 on HGTV, and I will definitely be watching the results of my blood, sweat, and tears.


Some of the team that made MLDH a success.

  • Building my brand

I bought a bunch of equipment to start a podcast in 2016. I am not a tech wizard when it comes to equipment. I’m a writer and producer and work with thoughts and vision. I know what I am good at. But I know that if I want to reach new levels I have to learn how to do stuff that makes me uncomfortable, so I researched podcast equipment, purchased the domain, and have been developing my format so that I can continue to showcase my passion in new and creative ways. I am proud of what I have done thus far, and in asking others for help, which I hate to do, I have learned that I have a large support system of people willing to help me out. I can’t wait to showcase this idea, the other things I’m proud of and even all the stupid shit I do in 2016.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

#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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

#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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

#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.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

#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

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

#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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,