There is a time and a place for a little self-pat on the back: now

Remember Padawan,

Feeling tired is a side effect of working hard, and can be accepted as a type of reward. With a sore body, one can enjoy the simple pleasures of stretching and relish a rainy day. With a weary mind, you can finally lay those rapid cycle thoughts rest. With a weary cock, have a Gatorade and get back to work.

Eric Wong is a writer and comedian. Something clever here.

Life is like The Room: Amazing For All The Wrong Reasons, And We Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way

Hello there handsome,

Today you made your first appearance on a podcast radio program! Check it out here:

http://www.facebook.com/l/KAQFY4qi7/www.fccfreeradio.com/?page_id=4601

Danny Dechi is a great guy. He runs several shows around town, including a weekly show at Neck of the Woods on clement street. It was the first place I bombed, so I have a special place in my heart for it. Iron man 3 had just come out and I thought I would do my whole set in his voice. It was also still bright outside.

But they were the kind of bombs that mattered. Those first few failures are so important for the learning process. It’s one of those things where you have to realize that as a starting comic, bombing is inevitable, so you have to face that eventuality. When it’s over you can either feel bad about yourself and give up, or you can acknowledge that you’re still alive, it wasn’t as bad as you thought it would be, and no one will remember you for it.

No one, three years from now is going to think, “Hey remember when we saw that tall Asian guy bomb at an open mic? What was his name? Eric Wong? Let’s look him up on YouTube and laugh at his failures.”

When was the last time you got together with your friends and said, “Hey let’s to an open mic and film people bombing, take the time to learn their names, and then put it on the Internet to humiliate them in the future!”

??

Never. Doesn’t happen. No one is ever that big of a dick.

Okay, yeah I’m sure it happens.

(Checks YouTube)

Hilarious.

Oh Kramer, you crazy bastard…

Remember, your dad is only good at pinball because he put invested a lot of tooth fairy money in those machines. He dropped a lot of balls, and went out on zero dates. And now he is the pinball king

And waterlogged with pussy.

Anyway,
Remind yourself that to get good at anything, you need a lot of practice. Writing is a craft of unlimited difficulty and I do tend to get really impatient with my rate of progress.

But be proud.

Putting together this blog was a great way of forcing myself to look at all the work I’ve done over the past two years. I can see the progress in my writing, especially when I go back to my college writings.

Just keep practicing. And enjoy yourself. Enjoy that process.

Okay, go to sleep. You’re working both your jobs and you have an audition tomorrow.

Love you, you.
Love,
Me.

Eric Wong is a writer and comedian. He is up past his bedtime.

A Comic’s Reflection on Bill Nye’s Debate With Ken Ham

 

I come from a background where both science and religion were introduced to me at a young age. I have spent time assessing each field, and I knew what to expect from each speaker. Instead of trying to assess who was right, or wrong, I looked to their rhetorical tools. I looked to how they tried to sway their audience one way or the other. The techniques a rhetorician uses can and will inform you of motivation and their internal logic. Here were my observations:

Mr. Ham’s style of argumentation was to provide examples of reputable scientists who believe in creationism. He played videos or testimonials from other scientists who support his viewpoint. He used much of his time reminding people to visit his website for more information. He appealed to the emotions of a crowd who started out on his side.

By contrast, Bill Nye almost exclusively used logos (or classical logic) to illustrate the many inconsistencies in a viewpoint which insists the Earth is six thousand years old. Nye’s appeals for learning were not limited to a website with a specific agenda. He encouraged unfiltered curiosity. He kept telling people, go out and observe the universe. Explore. Be curious. Learn with veracity. There were times in the debate, where I could read sustained expressions of disgust, revulsion and anger on Nye’s face while listening to Ham, but at no point did he (while speaking) ever become aggressive or frustrated by the lack of response from the questions he was posing to Ham. At multiple points he asked Ham, “What can your model prove?” He was given no response.

I understand the frustration the scientific community had when it was announced that Bill Nye was partaking in the debate, but I also understand Nye. For most high minded intellectuals, the idea of engaging in such a discussion was absurd. There are some people who’s minds you will never change, so why bother?  But Nye is at heart, an educator. He took the mindset of a teacher who refused to let a student fall behind, or not understand something. His mission statement for his popular science program was to change the world. Unlike Ham, he does not make any attempts to write things off. He is inclusive. He walked into a room that was not on his side, threw out some jokes that (as a comic) I would have been horrified by the stifling response. But in spite of that particular rhetorical tool not working out for him, there was an internal mechanism which issued out a pervasive sense of positivity, curiosity and most importantly, the possibility that he could be wrong.

Ham on the other hand, as the debate was wrapping up and he had plugged all his website plugs, could not address anything that was not prepared. He resorted to mocking Nye at multiple points. Whenever Nye made the honest admission that science cannot currently explain certain things (ie where atoms in the singularity came from, where logic or consciousness originates) Ham would quip, “well there’s this book that has all the answers…” which would consistently draw chuckles from the crowd.

Now, as a piece of rhetoric, and as a practicing comic, I know this move very well. This is a self-defense mechanism usually employed by an individual backed into a corner. It is used by someone who knows they are ill equipped and under prepared in comparison to their opposition. When I was in middle school debate, this technique could work wonders. Because middle schoolers get bored by debates and will side with anyone who can make them laugh. They also enjoy watching a passionate nerd get humiliated. But unfortunately for Ham, he was not speaking to middle schoolers. This is not a debate for middle schoolers. This is a debate as to how we educate said middle schoolers for a better tomorrow.

If this was suppose to be a popularity contest, and at the end of the debate everyone in the audience was to fill out a score card and vote on a winner, then Ham probably would have won because he stacked the deck having the debate held at his venue and filling it with his supporters. But this isn’t a bringer show.  The man sold DVDs of the debate. Bill Nye  had something he wanted to say. Ken Ham had something to sell.

Eric Wong is a writer and comedian. Science rules.

With A Diet of Velveeta Skillet Kits and Nearly Expired Hostess Zingers, I Expect Tomorrow’s Poop To Reverberate Through History

Aloha, Eric. Aloha, and Aloha. Buffalo?

Last night, I had a really good night. Stand-up went really well and I had a lot of really nice conversations with some truly fantastic local comics. I got to apologize to another comic for being a dick to her some four months ago, and that felt nice. I went to bed feeling really happy.

Today, not so much. I ate a Hostess Zinger on my break at the library, and Jesus Christ did it undo my stomach. It put me in a really bad mood, sapped a lot of my energy, and made everything around me seem really annoying. Even normal things that I do everyday, things that happen in the library every single day, seemed quite unbearable. Knowing that I was going to be interacting with my girlfriend later, I had the foresight to send her the following text message:

"Hey. Ate a bad Hostess Zinger. My stomach hurts now. If I’m grumpy later, it’s because of that and that I haven’t eaten anything else today. Just a heads up. It’s not you. My stomach hurts."

She replied minutes later,

"Okay, we’ll get soup."

Amazing girlfriend.

Old Eric would have thought, "This is your burden to carry, so don’t say anything about it. Just deal." Or something like, "IT’S NOT ME! IT’S LITERALLY EVERYTHING AROUND ME THAT IS TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE AND HELL BENT ON UNDOING MY HAPPINESS."

So what changed? Instead of looking for someone or something to blame for my own subjective poor state, I starting thinking of ways to mitigate the bad mood, and actively communicate with those around me that I was not at 100%. Because I had the foresight to do this, my lovely, darling girlfriend could have another opportunity to be AMAZING and not get blindsided by my potential bad mood, and definitely-going-to-happen Hostess farts.

And now that we’re both on the same page, and I know I have some soup to look forward to, I don’t feel as bad anymore! So good job communicating in a healthy and effective way.

Now a secret for just you and me: I’ve been farting on annoying patrons at the library.

Love,
Me.

Eric Wong is a writer and comedian. You have no proof of flatulence.

Review – Eugene Mirman’s God is a Twelve-Year-Old Boy with Aspberger’s

God is a Twelve-Year-Old Boy with Aspberger’s is Mirman’s fifth comedy album. How does this individual have such a high level of output? It was his college major. Because he’s a bad-ass.
What I enjoy most about Mirman’s style of humor is that while it is surreal and absurd, it is still very grounded in reality, in that he will essentially play pranks on the world, and then tell an audience about said pranks. I’ve only listened to two of Mirman’s albums, (the library only has a limited selection, and I’m still waiting for my hold on the Invite Them Up compilation. Sue me, I’m a human being who’s also writing this blog for free. Why am I getting so defensive over something you don’t care about? I don’t know. Write me a letter and explain it to me.) but from what I’ve gathered from the two, a common trope of Mirman’s stand-up is reading the letters he writes to companies. Again, I don’t know the comedian’s body of work well enough to know whether or not he actually sends out these letters, but in the moment of listening to the album, I am on board. Did he actually take out a newspaper ad with his published letter to his cable company?
Lemme Google it….
Okay, yes he did.
Did he write a letter to Delta Airlines, and then have his audiences send in massive numbers of postcards to Delta Airlines insulting the company?
Maybe, and absolutely.
That is probably, for me, what makes Mirman a great comic and successful at what he does. He keeps things real. Part of what made Jerry Seinfeld great, and what makes a lot of comedians great, is that they say the things we’re afraid to say. By contrast, Mirman is doing what we’re afraid to do.
I originally intended for this to be a strict review of the album, but if you only know Eugene Mirman from his voice acting, do yourself a great personal favor and check out his stand-up. He has a degree in it.
He is also doing many shows at Sketchfest, so he is in San Francisco right now. I don’t know if they have all passed or not, I’ve already Googled something for this post and I’m not doing it again. But he’s supposed to talk with Bill Nye. Awesome? Yes, awesome.

Hug Your Brain With Words Like an Octopus Sucking Crab Juice Out of a Shell and Other Personal Stories

Well Hello, Good Sir!

I just want to acknowledge that projecting positive energy is a tedious, time consuming, thing that requires constant attention. It’s hard to stay positive throughout the day, and any efforts to do so must carry the expectation or possibility that one may fail. Especially for those of us who are new to the positive mode of thinking, it’s really hard to maintain that, especially because the formally negative tend to surround themselves with like minded negativity, and that projection of negative energy tends to be stronger, or more contagious than the first attempts at being a more honest, open and positive person.

Some of the best advice I got doing stand up was to fail, and not be afraid of failing, but fail better every time.

This is an idea that probably translates into many, if not every facet of life. For instance, I grew up with a strained relationship with my mother. We used to just rip into each other, and say unspeakable things in the midst of our fights. It got to a point where we couldn’t be around each other and my dad suggested that I just not come around the house anymore.

Then I started dating my girlfriend, and when we got a little more serious, the issue of meeting parents became unavoidable.

To make the leap between where I was in my relationship with my parents to where I wanted to be, I had to stop thinking about the equation as a whole, and then just assess it on an interaction to interaction basis. How long can I make nice with this woman at a time? How many things could I let slide in an afternoon?

And of course, it wasn’t an overnight switch, but once I made that conscious effort to improve something and acknowledged mothers own humanity, then it became easier to “work towards” a better failure. Do I still cringe when she tries to hug me, sure. Is that healthy? No. But are we screaming at each other about the rights of the poor, when really what we’re arguing about is the happiness of my father? No, we’re not.

And that’s why I’m proud of you.

Love,
Me.

Eric Wong is a writer and comedian. He will be on Radio Ha Ha this Thursday with Danny Dechi between 4 and 6.

A Very Life-Affirming Title

My the day seems bright for you, dear fellow!

An important message must be brief.

Open and honest communication is vital to any relationship. It is good to have the courage to put yourself in a vulnerable place and be a little uncomfortable because that is what honesty feels like right before you start. Afterwards it feels really good.

Jeff Liu is a badass.

Love,
Me.

Eric Wong is a writer and comedian. He is running out of salutations.

Congratulations, You’re An Addict And I Love You!

Greetings and Salutations My Good Fellow,

I had a landmark performance yesterday at Cafe International: the first bomb of 2014.

But wait, Eric!
I thought bombing was bad…

Wrong again, asshole. (I don’t think you’re an asshole, you’re great.)

First of all, it was a great experience because this was the first time I tried doing a mixed open mic that included musicians and poets. There were a lot of differences between that and regular comedy mics that I was aware of, but hasn’t experienced first hand.

And I’m not trying to make excuses for myself. I sucked because I sucked.

But it was interesting to see the different dynamic. Everything was more low key. The host took minutes in between performers, which I can understand with the music context. Another factor that threw me off was that the order was given at random. That lack of control over where I was also threw me a little.

However, my biggest mistake was leading with a hacky gross dick joke and blasting it out with way too much energy. The atmosphere was so sterile from all the very lovely music performances. I thought if I just came out guns blazing, I could just slap them in the face.

Then I saw most of them were drinking wine.

How often have you seem a bunch of people having sips of coffee shop wine, and being SUPER IN THE MOOD for weird/dirty comedy?

If you answered zero, then you are correct.

To top it all off, I had just started and not finished, probably one of the more intense discussions I have had with my dear friend Hayley, who had to suffer through me eating raw shit on stage.

I won’t get into the specifics of what we talked about
But if I could give you some idea out discussion went like this:

Eric: hey!
Hayley: hey!
Eric: so is it okay if we hit up that open mic?
Hayley: sure! I have cancer. Good luck making people laugh about life!!

That’s not what happened.
Hayley doesn’t have cancer.

A snippet of the lighter side of our conversation can be found here

http://soundcloud.com/cedar-waxwing/hayley-zuercher-talks-mind-and/s-aWmVp

But in spite of all of that, and now that I see it all on the page, I’m thinking, “yes that was a lot.” But in spite of all of that, as far as my experience as a stand-up goes, there were a lot of good things.

I had a great discussion about comedy with Zorba Jevon Hughes. He is a comedian who has been at it for over twenty years and has probably seen me bomb more than any comic on the scene. If you ever get a chance to see if, I suggest you do because the man knows how to work a show. We talked for over an hour about the craft and theory of comedy.

Then after my set, I had another talk with a very nice comic named Misha (I didn’t get his last name). He was really supportive and gave me some great advice about what was going on in the room. He helped me learn a lot. Some rooms require different material. I’ve been used to dive bars where raunchy is good, and to get people’s attention, you have to blast them. This place was different and I didn’t recognize that.

Also, when I say bomb, that doesn’t mean that it was just silence the entire time. I did get the a little at the end once I pointed out just how much they all hated me.

I started heckling myself.
They loved it.

Then once we were all on the same page/side of hating my guts, the material actually started to work.

At the end of the day though, the experience left me with this desire to go right back to the mic and try again. I got off stage knowing “these people hated me.” And it made me want more.

A licensed therapist might tell you that this is mentally deficient behavior
But a comic will tell you, “ok, now you’ve got the bug. You’ll be good.”

Some of the first pieces of advice came from comedian Joe DeRosa. He was coming through town with Big Jay Oakerson and I asked him what it took to do what he does, and that’s what he told me.

If you have that drive to get right back up there, even or especially after you bomb, then that means the life style could work for you.

When I first started doing open mics last summer, I would bomb and not go back for two weeks. It would really bother me until I “figured out what went wrong.” I knew I still wanted to go back, but I wasn’t excited about it like I am now.

Finally, the experience as well as the advice from Misha and Zorba helped inspire me with the next step of my writing project. So all in all, a great day.

Love,
Me.

Eric Wong is a writer and comedian. He will show you, Cafe International. He will show you all.