Howdy Friends!

Hope you are well. Things are good for me.

I love comedy and I wish there were more of it.  When I go through Netflix the choices are stabbing, fighting, murder, murder investigation, shooting, guns, kidnapping, pretend worlds of fighting, blah, blah, blah. And then people wonder how it all got so violent in the world. Ah, really?

Comedy is not easy, conflict is easy. Fear is easy. Making someone laugh? Hah! That just made me laugh.

Serious times, we could use a whole big bunch lighten up. When there are not enough laughs people tense up. Citizen, relax.

Think I will go for a bike ride.

Dr. Johnny Biscuit Presents Episode 5: Tom Kumferman

DrJohnnyBiscuitPresents

Ep 5: Tom Kumferman

Are sports a waste of time? After playing football most of his life, Tom “Meat Puppet” Kumferman quit playing sports altogether and took up non-competitive leisure bowling. A Leantimmer resident, Tom talks about how sports affected his life and how he has found happiness by walking away from sports.

Listen on iTunes — Click Here

Dr. Johnny Biscuit Presents Episode 4: Lord Mesmer Eyes

DrJohnnyBiscuitPresents

Ep 4: Lord Mesmer Eyes

Is hypnosis fakery? In a battle of hypnotists, what would happen? Master hypnotist Lord Mesmer Eyes says hypnosis unlocks your true self, tells us about how it works and gives stories from his shows. Also, Dr. Johnny Biscuit and Lord Mesmer Eyes play the seldom recorded and very dangerous “Hynotist Versus Hypnotist” game. Listener discrection is advised

Listen on iTunes — Click Here

Dr. Johnny Biscuit Presents Episode 3: Kelson Burlingham

DrJohnnyBiscuitPresents

Ep 3: Kelson Burlingham

Does technology have it in for us? Our guest, Kelson Burlingham, IT Administrator for Leantimmer City says computers are stupid, so don’t get mad at them. He says a device can only do what we tell it, and most problems are user error. He tells stories from supporting IT users and shares his predictions for the future of technology.

Listen on iTunes — Click Here

Dr. Johnny Biscuit Presents Episode 2: Keoni Kealoha, “Pops”

DrJohnnyBiscuitPresents

Ep 2: Keoni Kealoha, “Pops”

Keoni Kealoha, or “Pops” says life is best lived with a smile. Pops is the Volunteer Fire Chief of Leantimmer, and owner/operator of Big Brudda and Sisters Hawaiian Tours and Plate Lunch. Pops talk about his love of food, his Hawaiian tours and fireworks safety tips.

Listen on iTunes — Click Here

Dr. Johnny Biscuit Presents Episode 1: Dr. Adam Strong

DrJohnnyBiscuitPresents

Ep 1: Dr. Adam Strong, Infinite You

Dr. Adam Strong, author, “Public Speaking is Harder Than You Think: A User’s Guide to Talking Out Loud.”

Dr. Strong says what the world needs is infinite you. Together we discuss social media making the most important thing you, and lots of it. Learn simple steps to blow your own horn that will blow your own mind.

 Listen on iTunes — Click Here

Comedy Stories — Utah Comedy and Comedians

When I opened Johnny B’s Comedy Club people told me I was crazy. They said a clean, non-alcoholic club would never work, let alone in Utah. That’s where they were wrong — Utah is probably one of the only places it could work. We weren’t the first comedy club in Utah and we weren’t the last, but we did give a lot of people a lot of laughs.

The first Utah comedy club I remember was Cartoons which was originally located in the Sugarhouse neighborhood  in a building that has been torn down. I started my club career there at an open-mic competition. How many times have you heard that story from a comedian? Lots. Did well in the competition and kept going. An interesting side note, Utah radio personality Todd Collard of the Todd and Erin Show came to Utah to manage Cartoons.

Eventually I opened Johnny B’s and things took off. One of the things I am proudest of is the opportunity we gave Utah comedy to grow. Many comedians performed on our stage honing their acts, and some are working comedians today. Other people just got the opportunity to perform, to get up on stage and try it. I still have people come up to me to this day and tell me about their experience performing at Johnny B’s. Some of them just tried it once or twice.

One of the comedians who performed on our stage was Keith Stubbs, who went on to open Wiseguys, a Utah comedy club institution. Like Todd, Keith has also gone on to become a Utah radio personality as well. I have performed at Wiseguys many times, Keith is a good guy. Wiseguys is where today’s hopeful Utah comedians can get stage time. You can see it all on Wednesday night open-mic nights. Additionally, Wiseguys brings in known comedians from across the country.

Utah is no different than other places, people need to laugh. Laughter is the pressure-relief valve for life. It wasn’t crazy to have comedy in Utah when I was running a club and it isn’t crazy today. Utah is unique, that’s for sure, but so is every place you go, you just have to take it as it comes and try to understand it.

I enjoy performing comedy. These days I enjoy performing for private events, conventions and parties. I have been at it for over 20 years and I have seen and done a lot, but every time I grab the mic it is a new experience. People hire me to entertain, to make them forget, to just have a laugh and I am happy to do it. It makes me feel good to put a smile on someone’s face. In a world that is increasingly acrimonious, that is something.

Comedy Stories — Meet The Voices in Your Head

I thought I had made it when I started working in Las Vegas. I went out and took a picture of my name in lights. Vegas baby! After three or so years of the grind, of really working Vegas, I was done, burned out. The realities of living in a casino, eating at a buffet, and 3 shows a night with audiences that really weren’t into comedy but were into seeing a comedian in Vegas had taken their toll.

Las Vegas is a different place  to live in than visit. There are many things I love about Las Vegas, I still go there and have been there recently.  The people who work in the casinos have lives outside the casino, and I think it’s those people that hold the meaning for me. You share a bond with people working day-in and day-out in the service and entertainment industry.

So anyway…

There where always 50 or so comedians working every night in Las Vegas while I was there. After three shows we would be all wound up, and rather than go back to the room and watch television and fruitlessly try to fall asleep, invariably a few comedians would get together and go out to hit the late night lounge shows. One of the steady performers was Cook E. Jarr and the Crumbs. Cook E. played from 10:30 PM to 3:30 AM Wednesday through Sunday.

Cook E. and the Crumbs were a trio; keyboard player laid down the beat with a drum machine and provided the background with an occasional solo, while a guitar player did rhythm and solo work. Out front was Cook E. Cook E., an experienced Italian singer from the East Coast, with the heart and voice of Dean Martin/Rod Stewart, and the outfit of the ultimate lounge singer; spandex singlet body suit, hip boots, no shirt, open jacket, heavy tan, long black wig, sunglasses, multiple necklaces and around 20 gigantic gold rings. He sang party songs for people to dance to, and they, and I, did and had a great time. He sprinkled in some of the classic Frank/Sammy/Dean music he loved.  Cook E. always talked in between his songs, sometimes telling stories, sometimes working the room, sometimes selling Cook E. chips, recordings and pictures. I have nothing but respect for Cook E. and he and I have become friends over the years.  He has never been anything but kind and gracious to me. I respect his ability to work, and that fact that he did what he did so many times.

One time sticks in my mind particularly. Cook E. was at one of the worst/best places I ever saw him, the since demolished Continental. The Continental was a rat hole by this point in time, I don’t know what it was before, it might have been great. Located off the strip on Maryland Parkway, the tan stucco exterior was lit with lots of tiny white lights that blinked on and off inside of red neon letters. As you walked in the front door you where met with slots. Behind the slots was the bar, which was long and stretched the length of the slots. The stage was directly to the right side of the bar and at the same height, set back enough to allow a seating area in front. The bar curved around and merged into the stage. To the right of the stage was a small dance floor bordered by a carpeted wall. On the other side of that was was the hallway to the restrooms. Behind the lounge area were more slot machines.

Late at night Cook E. attracted and eclectic crowd. There were plenty of comedians, musicians, waitresses, dealers (of both kinds), hookers and tourists. Occasionally I big name would stumble in, everyone knew Cook E.He would always point performers out in the crowd, listing their many accomplishments before finally saying their name and welcoming them. He was good.

This night was no different. In the waning hours of a long night, the crowd thinning and Cook E. pushing himself to perform for an underwhelming audience, he started talking to someone in the audience in between songs.  A guy sitting at the bar, obviously drunk, stood up and yelled, “Cook E.! What happened to you?! You used to be somebody!”

“What happened to you? You used to BE somebody!” he yelled again.

Then they started arguing, Cook E. from the stage and the guy from the bar. Cook E. had a mic and the guy had a voice. They argued about what Cook E. was doing at a place like this. What was Cook E. doing with his talent? This?! They guy was actually on Cook E.’s side as he destroyed him. He saw Cook E. as magnificent and this was not magnificent.

But it was. Cook E. was doing honest performing work. I saw the blame be the audience’s. What were we doing letting Cook E. perform in a place like this? He deserved better, not we deserved better. We were getting everything he had.  It’s not his fault the crowd sucked. Trust me, it’s a lot harder to play for a few tough people in a tough environment than a large packed, adoring theater. Trust me. The honesty in performing comes when you are not appreciated. Rock that mic. Cook E. was good.

But here was a guy yelling out loud what the voices in many performers head say: What are you doing? Are you any good? You are better than this, or maybe this is exactly what you deserve. Someone was screaming these thoughts out loud to his face. Cook E. brushed it off and kept going, he was a professional. It was like batter taking a fastball to the head. But he got up and kept playing. I respect that.

I will never forget that moment.

I have had my own Meet the Voices in Your Head moment. That story for another time.