5 Years Today

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I have been sober for five years today. It's kind of hard to believe how quickly it went by, but I'm really happy it did.


Occasionally, my friends will ask why I stopped because they don't remember me as someone who had your typical problems with alcohol or other substances. It comes as a surprise to some that you don't need to be a fall over drunk and completely self-destructive to feel like you need to hang it up.


Right before I turned 30 I was miserable: relationships, career, accomplishments, friends, all of it. I thought about killing myself more often than one should. Drinking, even though it wasn't something I did to a Leaving Las Vegas degree, wasn't making me happy anymore. It was starting to add to my depression and anxiety. I knew if I had to act soon. I wasn't sure I needed AA, but kept my mind open. It has done a lot of good for a lot of people.


I decided to go solo for a couple months. About six went by and I was feeling good. A fog had lifted. I knew I still had to be careful and do a lot of work on myself in order to stay on the right track. People would say it won't work if you don't do the program. Well, for me it is working. For me. There are options.


I've learned over the years firsthand and through talks with friends and strangers is there's a spectrum. There's a huge gray area. Not everyone needs to become the town drunk in order to quit drinking and not everyone needs to be locked down in rehab and attend meetings for the rest of their lives if they do. Some people just need to grow up. Some people need the structure of meetings and programs. Some people need therapy. Some need a combination of all those things. And all of that is fine. We're all trying to get to the same place. Let's show each other there's more than one way to get there.


My life is infinitely better now than it was five years ago. I'm still working on myself every day. And I'm happy to do it.


My dad used to tell me when I was younger and first pursuing comedy: you only get this life once so make sure you live it right. That advice continues to move me in the right direction every day. ☀️✌🏽

1982 on Vinyl

The wait it over! It's finally here! The vinyl release of my latest album '1982.' This is a very limited run on pink vinyl available online right now and in record stores very soon after. It's my second album with (the now Grammy award winning) ASpecialThing Records/Literally Figurative Records and I couldn't be happier with how it came out. Order it now before it's gone forever!

And don't forget to take a photo and post it to social media when it comes in the mail.

Click here to order. Or here.

Some Thoughts on Tower Records for All Things Must Pass

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Hi guys. Hope all is well with everyone.

Last week my pal Colin Hanks was kind enough to come on Occasionally Awesome (my podcast. Subscribe already!) to discuss his new documentary, 'All Things Must Pass.' It's a great doc about the history of Tower Records that you should all see. Afterwards, he asked me to write a few things on my experiences there and put together a playlist for the All Things Must Pass station on Rdio (a streaming music service. Subscribe already!) I was honored to do it. My playlist is in good company next to playlists by Patton Oswalt, Les Claypool, Albert Hammond Jr, Fred Armisen and way more. 

I know a lot of people use Spotify and Apple Music so I'm putting what I wrote here too. I will also include links to the playlist for you current Rdio users and hopefully this will also lead to some of you giving Rdio a chance. It truly is the best streaming service available. Anyway, here you go. Enjoy.

My Tower Records

What I miss about Tower Records is the conversations. Conversations with yourself about artists you would see on giant posters or peppered through aisles on tiny jewel cases or whether or not you should take a chance on a $5 classic rock bargain bin album only because the dudes on the cover looked like they knew how to party. More importantly, I miss the conversations I had with other music fans. It was not uncommon to talk prog rock with a total stranger, have it turn into a heated argument and minutes later be laughing at how refreshingly eclectic and crazy the jazz stylings of John Zorn can be. No one ever took it too personally. At the core we were all just being passionate about the music we loved.

            The last Tower memory I have was on a new music release day, which always fell on a Tuesday. The Tower on Sunset Blvd would re-open Monday nights at midnight for an hour to give hardcore fans their late night fix; because why wait an extra ten hours for a new album especially since I would be sleeping through most of them when I NEED TO HAVE IT IMMDEDIATELY? In 2001, a new Tool album was coming out. I calmly walked over to the Sunset Tower after a set at The Comedy Store and-- Ok fine. I ran and cheered the entire way. The line that week was especially long because that same night some massive teen pop band was releasing a pile of overproduced sugar pop into the world. We stood, we talked, we waited.

At the time it was uneventful. Looking back from the world we live in today, where albums and singles are downloaded and streamed from a couch and the majority of conversations are one-sided blog posts or insults traded in comment sections, the memory of that line grows more important each year, because a bunch of black t-shirt and jeans wearing metal heads and bright pink and white clad bubblegum pop fans stood together and got to know each other. We asked one another about our musical tastes. A few of the pop kids enjoyed metal because their older brothers were fans. Judgment subsided and all that remained were fans and music together under a once familiar red and yellow sign.

 

The playlist is some of my favorite albums I remember purchasing in CD form from Tower.

Wilco – Being There

Gordon Lightfoot – Gord’s Gold

The Mars Volta – De-Loused in the Comatorium

Counting Crows – August and Everything After

Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning

Jeff Buckley – Grace

Queen of the Stone Age – Songs For the Dea

 

Click here for the All Things Must Pass Rdio station

 

Click here for my playlist

A Guide to Buying, Washing and Wearing Raw Denim

Featured in Denim Hunters Magazine!

 

Premium raw denim can be quite an investment, which is why proper care will ensure a long and healthy life for the jeans your girlfriend just said you were an idiot for purchasing. Below is a Q&A session with a highly qualified and fairly intense denim expert who has chosen to remain anonymous. Discussed are the different types of raw denim, what will work best for you and how to keep your denim healthy and looking great for many years. This will hopefully serve as somewhat of a starter guide to owning and enjoying your first pair of raw denim.

 

CUSTOMER: My girlfriend won’t stop yelling at me. She said $350 was too much to spend on a pair of jeans. What do I do?

 

EXPERT: This is one of our most common questions. Let’s look at it this way: high quality denim made by companies such as Roy, Iron Heart, The Flat Head, The Strike Gold, Real Japan Blues and many others are meticulously crafted and made to last much longer than your average pair of Levis, G-Star or Lucky Brand. Since jeans are a guy’s most commonly worn article of clothing, these denim companies go to great lengths using the finest materials and machines to help ensure a long life complete with unique and beautiful fades. The value attributed is similar to the purse or heels she spent the same amount of money on. So next time she brings it up just yell “OH YEAH?! TELL THAT TO YOUR CHANEL BAG!” then run away.

 

CUSTOMER: I just told her what you said about them being well crafted and she responded with “$50 Levis look well crafted to me.”

 

EXPERT: Just yell the Chanel thing and see what happens.

 

CUSTOMER: That did not go well. I’ve been hiding in my car for about a half hour now. Running was harder than I thought it would be, by the way. These jeans are so stiff. I think my knee is bleeding. What the hell?

 

EXPERT: Don’t worry, the more you run away from your problems the quicker your denim will stretch and soften. Insiders call it ‘The Forrest Gump Effect.’

 

CUSTOMER: Why is it called ‘raw?’

 

EXPERT: Great question! Anything else?

 

CUSTOMER: I was told to never wash my raw denim. Is this true?

 

EXPERT: No, this is a myth spread over the years by hardcore denim heads who believe only the deepest fades and contrasts will come from never letting a single drop of water or detergent anywhere near them. Never washing them is ultimately a preference. If you don’t wash them you can look forward to the following:

1.     Nobody wanting to share an Uber with you ever again.

2.     A sharp increase in stray dogs following you around your neighborhood.

3.     Your girlfriend finally leaving you.

 

CUSTOMER: If I don’t wash them and they start to smell can I just throw them in the freezer for a few days to kill the bacteria?

 

EXPERT: The only thing that will achieve is making your ice cube tray smell like your crotch.

 

CUSTOMER: Fine, I’ll carelessly throw them in a washing machine right now with a bunch of other clothes and see what happens.

 

EXPERT: NO, WAIT! I wasn’t done.

 

CUSTOMER: Oh, sorry. My bad. Now would probably be a good time to mention: I’m a millennial, so I have very little patience and an extremely short attention span. I also feel very offended right now for no other reason than it makes me feel important.

 

EXPERT: I apologize for offending you. Now, there is a right way and a wrong way to wash your raw denim as they do come in different forms, so read carefully:

 

Sanforized: In 1930, a dude named Sanford Lockwood Cluett realized he wasn’t man enough to wear untreated denim capable of sick ass fades so he created a shrink-to-fit machine that would stretch the denim while applying steam, water and heat to relax the fabric and take care of the initial shrinkage. He originally named his invention the ‘Boo Hoo Hoo My Jeans Hurt Process’ but later changed it to ‘Sanforization.’ Anyway, denim labeled ‘sanforized,’ or any denim that is not specifically labeled ‘unsanforized,’ ‘shrink-to-fit’ or ‘loomstate’ have gone through the aforementioned process before hitting the shelves. Upon first washing or soaking, shrinkage will be minimal (1% – 3%) so you can wear them for a couple weeks or months get your fades started then throw them in a washing machine for a light, cold to lukewarm water wash and hang dry them inside out. Always, always hang dry.

 

Unsanforized: This basically means your denim has not gone through the ‘Boo-Hoo-I’m-scared-of-being-a-man-shrink-to-fit’ process and once put in a washing machine or soaked could shrink fairly significantly in the waist, thighs and inseam. Most manufacturers recommend a tub soak for these upon purchase. Depending on how much ‘shrink to fit’ you care to achieve, the longer you soak them and warmer the water, the more they will shrink. The reason this process is recommended right away is because if you ever do need to wash them, the honeycombs you worked so hard to get from hours of riding your fixed gear to pretentious coffee bars and yoga studios in the Urban Outfitters theme park formerly known as Williamsburg will move from the back of your knee up to your mid thigh. You’ll essentially look like a guy who stole pre-worn jeans from a defenseless, yet really hip 11 year old.

 

EXPERT: Now, to recap: when you wash either sanforized or unsanforized denim how do you dry them?

 

CUSTOMER: Throw them on the floor and binge watch Netflix.

 

EXPERT: NO! HANG DRY! All right, now that you know the difference between sanforized, unsanforized and basic washing techniques, check out some intermediate to advanced ways to wash your jeans and get some great fades:

 

Washing:

- Swim in the ocean for thirty minutes allowing the salt water to soak into your denim. Hang dry jeans.

- Buy a used Slip-N-Slide on eBay. Pour Fiji water on it and slide back and forth for one hour. Hang dry jeans.

- Get shot at with Super Soakers for two straight hours. Hang dry jeans.

- Fill a bathtub with coconut water (not from concentrate) and sit in the tub while wearing the jeans. Hang dry jeans.

 

Fades:

- Wear them during gym workouts and long distance road cycling events.

- Wear them during sex.

- Wear them while you high kick the asshole who tried to take the last jar of organic locally sourced honey at your local farmers market.

- Get a weekend job unloading crates at a dock. Let your co-workers wear them on your days off.

- Join a backyard wrestling league and fight your way to a championship under the name ‘Denim Don.’ Retire from fighting and join the lecture circuit.

- Enlist in the armed services and wear them during a tour of combat.

 

EXPERT: Keep in mind, you can always call your local raw denim retailer to ask them what the best way to wash your denim before making an irreversible mistake. There are stores located all over: Self Edge has 4 locations in Portland, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, Blue in Green is located in New York, Woodlands in Portland, OR and Imogene + Willie in Nashville just to name a few. These places specialize in this stuff so it is literally their job to know every make and model they sell as well as inform you on how to make your jeans fit perfectly and comfortably. You still with me?

 

CUSTOMER: Netflix has the worst movies…

 

EXPERT: HEY!

 

CUSTOMER: Oh, right. Sorry. Call your retailer with any questions and concerns. Got it. Hey why are the Japanese so obsessed with Americana and denim anyway?

 

EXPERT: THAT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. Anything else?

 

CUSTOMER: I heard that guy Roy from Roy jeans lives in the woods in a cabin made of Horween leather and only eats berries and rivets. Is that true?

 

EXPERT: Do you believe everything you read on the internet?

 

CUSTOMER: Yes.

 

EXPERT: Good. Because in this case that rumor is absolutely true. Much like this entire Q&A. 

Why Taylor Swift is Important: Confessions from a Music Snob

Taylor Swift cannot be ignored. Take it from someone who tried. Her early praise was easy to dismiss because it came from young people whose opinions are articulated with the phrases ‘OMG!’ and ‘I literally can’t even deal.’ Then something changed. On Oct. 27th, 2014 she released her 5th studio album, ‘1989’ and the outpouring of love and adoration regarding her music and talent started coming from my non-idiot grownup friends whose musical tastes by and large command my full respect. Friends who you would never imagine doing such things: adult, heterosexual males who worship poets such as Leonard Cohen and Gordon Lightfoot, friends who I used to argue with over whether or not Deicide or Slayer had more evil sounding song titles (the answer is Deicide). Friends I was now worried about. Could they really be openly and non-ironically discussing their enjoyment of Taylor and her new album? I needed to know why this was happening. I looked at the facts: she is a cultural phenomenon. Her career as it stands now is an impressive accomplishment, especially in an age of disposable music. There had to be something to it. So, I invested a grand total of zero dollars and illegally pirated my very first Taylor Swift album. And I listened.

In the 90s, we had the stars we were given by three or four major music conglomerates at CD prices ranging from $18 - $24. We turned on the radio or MTV, explored our limited options and begrudgingly handed over two weeks worth of lunch money. There was the good (Radiohead, Tool, Nirvana, Eminem, early Metallica), the bad (Candlebox, Hole, Live) and the ugly (Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach, 98 Degrees, later Metallica). Like everyone else at the time, I wanted more choices at much lower prices. I knew there was better, more interesting music out there and I wanted access to the artists who made it. In retrospect, the 90s was a desert of musical choices. We found sustenance in any puddle or under any rock we saw in front of us. Technology through the mid-2000s, however, brought a biblical flood of file sharing, iTunes and streaming services like Pandora and Rdio, turning that same desert into the bottom of an ocean floor. And I for one could no longer see the surface.

This new age of music all but decimated the reign of the pop superstar. They are nowhere near as common now as they were in the 90s, 80s and the decades prior. They can’t be forced down our throats anymore. We don’t need them, because we have options. You don’t like what is on the radio? No problem. Plug in your iPhone. Turn on Sirius/XM or Pandora. Search an artist on YouTube. You want some jazz? Well, get ready to pick from literally all of it. You’re in charge now! The fact that Taylor Swift not only managed to make an impact, but become a megastar in this against-all-odds environment further heightened my curiosity. So I listened.

When you’re talking to music snobs, pop music usually carries many a negative connotation; it’s too safe, predictable, boring. Its only inspiration and focus is a mass appeal. It’s a fair assessment. ‘Pop’ is short for ‘popular’ music. And as far as formulas go, it’s a great one. In my opinion, the best art shines a light on the flaws and struggles of the human experience through a desired medium. I never really used music as an escape, but always for insight and companionship for the periods in life when I felt like there was someone or something out there that indentified with my pain and struggles. Pop music, especially the super polished, ultra light fluffy stuff never did that for me. I always leaned towards darker, deeper songs with more complicated lyrics and arrangements made by the deeply flawed and tortured. I’ve always identified with songs and artists who challenged me as opposed to made me feel like I had just been transported into the Sugar Rush game from Wreck it Ralph. The pop genre, by design, takes those flaws and challenges and stuffs them in a Care Bear mummified with high fructose corn syrup. That’s just how mass appeal works; you catch more flies with Katy Perry than you do with Elliot Smith. And again, I’m not trying to bash pop music. Throughout history, there have been many successful and respected acts with heavy pop sensibilities that I’ve truly enjoyed: Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Madonna and The Beach Boys, to name a few.

Back to Taylor Swift. This may not come as a surprise, but I didn’t fall in love with her album. However!! I didn’t hate it either: far from it, actually. I’ve listened to it now in its entirety a total of six times. In fact, I’m listening to it now as write this review. Guess what? It’s fun, catchy and at times interesting. Taylor Swift set out to make a pure pop music album and she succeeded. Big time.

The fact that this album is good isn’t surprising at all. Moreover, I would’ve been shocked considering she had 11 producers, yes 11 producers, collaborate with her on it. These 11, yes 11, producers have a combined total of over 80 top ten pop hits, including: Katy Perry’s ‘I Kissed a Girl,’ Fun’s ‘We are Young,’ Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want it that Way,’ Britney Spears’ ‘Baby One More Time,’ Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Since You Been Gone,’ and the list goes on and on. If you’re working with a dream team like that, you can’t really go wrong. This group could produce Charles Manson’s next parole hearing and make him not only a free man, but one with a Billboard chart smashing comeback album. This is not to take away from Taylor’s talent, which is abundant. She is talented, but not without a lot of help. Taylor, like a lot of modern day pop acts, is the skilled racecar driver who by the finish line is celebrated for the achievements of the team- the team of designers, technicians, engineers, and pit crew responsible for assembling a vehicle able to hug sharp corners and slice through the air at 150mph. These teams rarely get the recognition they deserve. I’m not taking any credit away from Taylor Swift. I’m merely splitting it 12 ways.

So, why do I like Taylor Swift’s album? I suppose I can boil it down to one very important and liberating realization: the best music makes me feel less alone. As corny as this phrase comes off, I believe it’s true: music is the soundtrack to your life. You carry it with you in the present, as a reminder of the past and as inspiration for the future. As a teenager, punk and metal only did it because I was immature, angry and didn’t know better. Immaturity limited my scope. Sure, I heard the occasional pop songs that I secretly liked, but I couldn’t admit it because it didn’t fit the misguided rebel image I was trying to construct for myself. In my early to mid 20s I liked artists like Bob Dylan, Tool, Neil Young Jeff Buckley and Radiohead. They sang divisive war protest folk songs, prog-rock that was near impossible to bob your head to and heartbreaking love songs that were the sonic equivalent of slicing your wrist in a bathtub. I was broadening my scope and becoming more mature, yet there was still a large part of me pushing away anything that didn’t represent rebellion and darkness and pain. By my late 20s I had calmed down and opened myself up to a lot more classic rock, folk, pop, country, R&B, jazz, and blues. I had finally learned there was lots of great music out there across every genre. It’s all in what you’re seeking and whether or not your search is conducted with an open mind.

Now I can tell people without reservation that Third Eye Bind had some great singles. I can say in the same breath that Counting Crows ‘August and Everything After’ and Tool’s ‘Aenima’ are two of the best albums of all time. The Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want it That Way’ is a tremendous feat of pop music right there with The Beach Boys’ ‘Good Vibrations.’ I’ve gotten all that angst out of my system. I’m comfortable letting the syrupy sweet innocence of ‘Welcome to New York’ remind me of all the great times I’ve had in that city. I allowed ‘You are in Love’ to take me back to the beginning stages of relationships I was sure would last forever; the hours of staring into each others’ eyes with hope, lust and plans for a white picket fence-lined future we were sure would come. Do I connect with them as deeply as the best Wilco or Bright Eyes or Neil Young songs? No, but life can’t be heavy all the time. Sometimes you need music that just goes great at barbeques, a drive to the beach or with a girl who keeps begging you to put on ‘1989,’ because to her, it’s Taylor Swift’s ‘OK Computer.’ Sometimes, you just need to let yourself take a vacation. Accepting that has been one of the most mature decisions I’ve ever made.

In the end is Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ a groundbreaking album that will go down in history as influential and lyrically astounding? Will it be the next Pet Sounds or Thriller? No. But you know what? Who cares. Because the haters are gonna hate, hate, hate and I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake it off and enjoy a well crafted collection of pop music.

 

Depression, Drugs and Stand up Comedy

 

I started comedy 14 years ago at The Comedy Store, home of some of the darkest, most tortured and most brilliant comedic minds in history. From the age of 15 it was a dream of mine to be a part of the institution that gave the world such geniuses as Richard Pryor, Sam Kinison, Robin Williams and the list goes on and on. Something always appealed to me about the place and the comedians who came out of it; the rock and roll vibe, the drugs the drinking the unfiltered raw insanity. It was pure, real comedy. And I wanted in. I always believed the greatest artists, comedic or otherwise were dark, depressed and fueled by a death wish.

This belief was shaped by popular culture romanticizing the tortured artist. Tales of the greatest rock stars writing their best songs thanks to such muses as heroin and cocaine. Stories of how the greatest comedians grew up in broken homes, had no friends, lived in abject poverty and only were able to survive by escaping the cruelness of reality with their imagination and humor. They were parts of every story. It seemed like a prerequisite.

As a child, I somewhat identified with these sad, misunderstood creatures. I grew up in a lower-middle class immigrant household in the suburbs of Los Angeles. From the day I started public school I stood out as different. I didn’t have nice clothes, my parents spoke a different language, my ethnic features looked different, I had a different sounding last name. All that coupled with some light molestation left me very confused, angry and afraid and depressed. I was socially awkward and didn’t know what to do. I kept to myself and slowly developed a resentment for anyone or thing that represented a normal state of happiness I thought I could never have. The world was unfair and my way of letting everyone know was by acting out. I yelled at teachers, ditched school smoked cigarettes and by the age of 13 I started drinking alcohol.

Beer was a magic elixir. I didn’t drink it a lot but when I did it gave me confidence to be the person I thought I should be. I was funny and entertaining. I made new friends (mostly other angry troublemakers who enjoyed negative attention as well), but I didn’t care. It felt good to belong. My depression and thoughts of suicide slowly started to fade. The problem, which I didn’t realize until much later, was depression and addiction ran in my family. Back in the 80s and 90s though, mental health issues and addiction weren’t talked about in our media with the seriousness they deserved. And if you come from a family of working class immigrants, the only therapy you believe in is hard work and finishing the day off with half a bottle of whisky and some WWF wrestling.

By the time I was 16, I had been arrested, kicked out of my high school and was heading nowhere fast. I didn’t care though because I was committed to starting and pursuing standup comedy for the rest of my life. I thought it was the only path to happiness. I could express myself creatively and be at home with other rebellious broken individuals. In 2003, I had been doing open mics for about 3 years when I got a job at The World Famous Comedy Store. At the time, standup comedy in general was on its deathbed. Long gone were the days of multiple clubs in every city, money and cocaine falling out of the sky and the fame and fortune that went with it. Some of the comics from that era were still there walking around like ghosts from a bygone era. Along with them was the longstanding belief that comedians needed to be dark and tortured to make it. You would hear quotes such as “Pryor grew up in a whorehouse. That’s why he’s a genius.” At the same time, I was looking at the countless headshots that lined the hallways of the club of other comics who came from broken homes and hopeless childhoods. They weren’t geniuses. In fact, I had never heard of most of them. Occasionally these older ghost comics would tell you stories.

“So and so killed himself,” they would mutter.

“But this guy went on to be a famous director. And that guy played Batman. This woman disappeared and was never heard from again,” they would add.

The cautionary tales blended in with the success stories. We all kept up the illusion that the more raw and damaged you were, the more likely you would be a famous genius like Richard Pryor. Comedians wore damaged goods patches like proud boy scouts.

“Whatever man, I was molested by like 4 different people,” one would proudly exclaim.

“Oh yeah! I drink every day AND night because I want to be dead by thirty. That’s how all the greats go out,” another would offer.

That kind of environment allowed a lot of us to all live in excess and treat ourselves, and one another, like garbage. Hell, we were being supportive if anything. This was the path to our collective success.

As I entered my late twenties, I had been inching along in the entertainment world. I booked a few roles on some TV shows and a bunch of commercials. I wasn’t reaching the heights of success I imagined after ten years in the game. I was working hard. I wrote jokes and performed all over town every day and I was working the road a little too. I had the respect of my peers. I was even out partying and living the life of all the icons I looked up to, but the only thing I was feeling was more and more pathetic and miserable. Every day was as empty as the one before it. I wasn’t making any career strides either. I was miserable. The depression and hopelessness I felt growing up had started to come back. I started drinking more. I became sad and lonely. I started to contemplate suicide.

As I approached the age of 30, I started to freak out. I had just ended another failed relationship, due to the selfishness and misery and drinking. I wasn’t happy. Thoughts of suicide had started to dance around my mind more and more. I didn’t want this life anymore. Around 2008, I took serious notice of how the world of entertainment had been evolving. Comedians were no longer all on drugs and hoping to die by 30. They were openly discussing the importance of mental health, sobriety and getting the help you need to live a happy life and be an artist at the same time. Comics I looked up to when I was younger were sober, in therapy and happier and more successful than ever. I had been romanticizing a lie. The simple truth is there is no denying that the escapism of the creative arts draws many of those who believe the world is unfair to write and sing and dream of a better one. The reality is this: most do not. Statistically, depression and addiction prevent most people from achieving their dreams. It happens all around us: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Elliot Smith, Robin Williams, Greg Giraldo. The list is long. A lot longer than the list of entertainers who drank and snorted their way to fame and fortune and happiness. We rarely heard those stories though. Ironically, for many years, they were only memorialized on the walls at The Comedy Store- a black and white 8x10 checkerboard graveyard of misguided people who didn’t seek the help they truly needed.

This realization scared me. It shook the foundations of everything my naïve mind thought was the one true path to artistic salvation. But what was more important was that I didn’t want to be miserable anymore. I didn’t want to lose another girlfriend or become more distant from my family and friends who were constantly reaching out and trying to understand why I was so isolated and miserable. I didn’t want to kill myself.

On April 2nd 2012, I got sober. I didn’t go to AA. I have mixed feeling about it. But that’s neither here nor there. The important thing is there are programs like that out there in many forms and seeking them out is the most important first step. Now two and a half years of sobriety does not make me an expert on the subject by any means, but as we’ve been seeing over the years, no time is long enough. There is a constant struggle. I write about this now because most of the articles I’ve read are by people who have been sober 10, 15, 20 years. That number can be overwhelming. I’m 2 1/2 years in and so far I’m happier than I’ve ever been and funnier than I’ve ever been too. I have more confidence and less fear of failure. Instead of being down on myself when my creative pursuits fail (which there have been many), and drinking and being sad, I go work out. I talk to my friends. I’m learning you can be inspired by both the dark and the light. It has made me more driven and creative than ever. I care about my own well being now.

This is only the beginning of this new journey and I’m still learning and growing. I’m looking into therapy and getting on depression medication. Because they work. Successful and hilarious comedians all around us are on them and they’re alive, happier than ever and at the peaks of their creativity. Comedy is different now. Funny people come from all walks of life. Happy sad, rich, poor, black, white, Indian, gay, tall, short, thin, fat, pretty and ugly. The old model is out. There are more successful sober, medicated and happy comedians who are proving you don’t need to be tortured and miserable to be a great artist. And I want to be one of those. I only get this life once and I want to make it count.

Testimonials from E-Harmony's 15 Reasons to Date a Comedian

The E-Harmony 15 reasons to date a comedian, complete with member success stories:

 

1. Comedians Want to Make People Laugh. Get ready to be entertained.

 

Testimonial: Comedians need constant attention. Get ready to be emotionally exhausted.

 

2. Comedians see the humor in the otherwise unfunny stuff of life and can look at the same situation from different perspectives.

 

Testimonial: He kept blaming the audience for not laughing at his holocaust-rape joke. I said it would be fine and he muttered “nobody gets me,” and left the diner. I had to pay for dinner and a cab home.

 

3. Your Date Will Be the Life of the Party- at the party.

 

Testimonial: He hated social situations. He always referred to non-comedians as “boring civilians.” Once he decided my birthday party was the perfect place to get way too drunk and test out his holocaust-rape joke.”

 

4. At home, however, comedians are often introverted and sensitive. Your steady support will be very welcome.

 

Testimonial: Even if you’re one of those fixer types your work will be cut out for you. Do yourself a favor and date a musician because they’re at least fun depressives. A comedian's depression is a bottomless well.

 

5. Comedians are usually following their dreams. You might be inspired to start following your own.

 

Testimonial: He found my goals threatening. His dream eventually became my nightmare. I don't remember who I am anymore.

 

6. Is standup comedian a lucrative job? Not always. But how many people can say they’re doing what they love? That’s very admirable.

 

Testimonial: We dated for three months and he quit comedy about 37 times. I’ve never seen a person experience so much pain from the simple act of bringing joy to other people’s lives.

 

7. Related: no one will accuse you of being a gold digger.

 

Testimonial: This was true, but being called a "chuckle fucker" didn't sound much better.

 

8. Because of the unstable nature of their careers, comedians appreciate healthy, stable relationships to come home to.

 

Testimonial: THIS LIST IS A TRAP! THIS LIST IS A TRAP! THIS LIST IS A TRAP!

 

9. Introverts, rejoice. Date a comedian and you’ll have most weekends to yourself.

 

Testimonial: You'll also have weeknights to yourself. And holidays. You'll also be alone when you're together because he spends all his free time in his head re-tooling that awful, awful holocaust-rape joke.

 

10. Comedians share their life stories with strangers every night. They’re good communicators and are willing to be vulnerable with others.

 

Testimonial: He was only funny onstage and constantly depressed and introverted before and afterwards. I told him he should go to therapy because he’s a terrible communicator when not holding a microphone. He responded with, “You're wrong and do you mind if use that line onstage?”

 

11. You can visit your date at work- and actually have fun while doing so.

 

Testimonial: Literally all our dates were at a comedy club. No movies, concerts, nothing. Night after night it was all the same people doing all the same jokes. I don’t know what laughter is anymore.

 

12. Your date will introduce you to plenty of interesting characters.

 

Testimonial: An alarming amount of these comedians are severely depressed or drug addicts or both. And they would hit on me while he was onstage. 

 

13. Your friend will think your significant other is hilarious. Related: bragging about your date’s newest comedy routine will do him/her good.

 

Testimonial: I got a lot of “Your boyfriend is quiet and rolls his eyes every time we make jokes. Is he some kind of snob or something?” God was he. He told me once my brain was broken for not liking the original Office. I hope he finds true love with a nice six episode per season British comedy program. And therapy. He needs therapy. Lots of therapy.

 

14. Not every comedian exploits his personal life in his act. Most will outline boundaries with you. (Jerry Seinfeld doesn’t diss his wife onstage and he’s done okay for himself).

 

Testimonial: I asked him not to make fun of me for losing my job. He protested and said  “First of all, don't get in the way of my art, and second I don't use your name I call you an unemployed she-pile." 

 

15. A common love language for comedians? Words of affirmation. Build up your partner verbally and you’ll likely be the recipient of praise too.

 

Testimonial: That relationship was the darkest three weeks of my life. This list is the sickest joke of all. I’m going to try my luck on Match.com.