Welcome to my new blog to those of you who came over from livingwithesrd.com, and welcome to my blog those of you who are finding me for the first time. I was starting to feel like ESRD was taking over my life (more than it already had), and as I am a big believer in manifestation and other such hippie nonsense, I had to pump the brakes for a while and clear my head from thinking about being sick.
In the coming months, I will be migrating most of my blog posts from livingwithesrd.com to my fancy new personal website. I may keep the domain name for a little while at least and just point it to my new site, although I can’t imagine that my blog is linked anywhere on the web besides the posts that I made on social media. But anyhow, this blog and this website will not be going anywhere anytime ever (I don’t expect my name to change).
I have spoken to many people (anyone who will listen, really) about how I had a stroke in April of 2016, but one thing that I haven’t spoken about much is how I lost all confidence as a performer. Every year, I used to put on some kind of performance at my old job. The year before I left, they had a talent show at the annual holiday party. Even though I practiced the songs that I was going to play, because my confidence was gone, I still stumbled a lot, and I don’t feel like I gave a good performance. Lucky for me, everyone there knew me as a bit of a funny guy, so they all just thought it was a part of the performance, but I felt sick about it, and I left the party early.
I quit the two improv schools that I was attending in Los Angeles, and I ran away up to Portland, Oregon with my wonderfully supportive wife. I had no plans to get back into performance when all of the sudden an old YouTube video that some friends and I made started getting hundreds, then thousands, and now millions of views. Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in!
I knew that I had to do something to win back my confidence, and that was about the time that I got word that some people at work wanted to start a Toastmasters club. I jumped at the opportunity, and I am now a charter member of that Toastmasters club and also a club officer. Over the last year, I have given ten speeches, and I have served in every other role many times over, giving me a lot of practice speaking in front of other people. I have completed level 3 of the Engaging Humor pathway, and I am well on my way to completing level 4 by the end of the year (there are 5 levels).
One of the level 4 speeches that I have chosen to give is to write at least eight blog posts in a month and to talk about that experience, hence the reason I am getting back into blogging again. The other reason I wanted to get back into blogging is because I have also started doing stand-up comedy again.
I started doing stand-up way back in the early- to mid-2000s. If I had to guess, I think it was June of 2004. I remember it being in the summer, and I remember doing it twice in two months. Soon after that, I took classes at the San Francisco Comedy College, and I was playing all over the San Francisco Bay Area (mostly the South Bay). I had recently graduated college, and I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life, and I thought that comedy sounded good. My former (and then later) band mate had moved down to Los Angeles to pursue music and entertainment, and I thought that I would maybe like to get into that too.
Skipping to the end, after I had gotten a few chuckles at Toastmasters (people just laugh at the things I say), I decided to dip my toe back into the comedy pool up here in Portland, where there is a thriving comedy scene. Before I took the plunge into doing open mics (scary), I took a stand-up comedy class at the Helium Comedy (club) Academy. In this class, I learned a new method of joke writing, one that gave me the confidence to stand up on stage and yell jokes at drunk people (in the eloquent words of my teacher).
If you have gotten all the way through my rambling, here is a video of my graduation showcase for the Helium class, and I have to say that I am very proud of these jokes.