Saturday, May 29, 2010

Scoot Over

I was caught up in complete scooter fever while in Rome. Every block is littered with Vespas. Business men scoot to work. Young women scoot to meet their BFFs. It’s a scene man. They also have stores that sell Vespa apparel. I considered buying some Vespa gear but then I thought I better hold off until the day I actually get a Scooter. There’s got to be a special place in poser hell for people who front like they ride a scooter. That would be like telling people you reached a higher level in Dungeons and Dragons than you really did. What’s the point really?

When I do get a scooter, if my current spending pattern is still in place, I probably won’t buy a Vespa anyway. Then I would be the guy with the Vespa gear rolling in a Vespa knock off. That’s even worse than not having a scooter. That would be like putting your Hyuandai keys on a Mercedes key ring. There are some cases where “fake it ‘til you make it” simply doesn’t apply.

Then again riding a Vespa while wearing Vespa apparel may be akin to over accessorizing. I think I will get that Vespa T-shirt and stand tall in the face of scrutiny from real Vespa riders and people who would clown me either way. I wear a Yankee jersey and I don’t play for them. Here we go Vespa….Here we go!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Size Matters

Okay, I went to Rome, maybe the most important city ever in the history of civilization and so far I’ve written two blogs about run-ins with panhandlers. Mi perdoni l'Italia. Of course Rome has much more to offer than skillful beggars. The coliseum, the forum, the Vatican, majestic structures that are clear evidence of man’s intellect, boldness and faith.

This blog isn’t about any of that though. Rome is proliferated with scooters, smart cars and such. At first sight, to my American eyes, it looked like the city was a great big bumper car ride that someone had decided to build a city around. I’ve long since yearned for a scooter but friends nudged me away from the idea. LA being a sea of SUVs, they didn’t have to nudge very hard. A smart car would be safer if you don’t mind waiving your manhood and being shun by the community.

Here I was in Italy, where machismo was born and it’s perfectly okay for a man to ride a scooter or a smart car. I grew up next to an Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn. Nothing girlie about that hood or its inhabitants. Especially on Friday night if they’d been drinking.

It’s called smart for a reason but even the name can evoke jeers in the US where smart has somehow become synonymous with suspicious and elitist. Rome moves with grace and efficiency in no small part due to the small car sizes. I’m not saying we should all trade in our SUVs for smart cars. Just the people who have absolutely no need for SUVs should. Then again I completely understand feeling like you need an SUV just to drive and have a fighting chance amongst all the other SUVs. I still don’t have my scooter after all.

I just don’t know how success or manhood became dependent on car size and horse power. We need a champion UFC fighter to endorse smart cars. I’m not sure If I’m quite tough enough to turn the tide.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Waste Not, Want Not

I’m always amazed at how wasteful the US is compared to most of the world. We run through napkins at Starbucks and McDonalds like the Tasmanian Devil. It’s like every napkin becomes contaminated with cuddies upon making contact with our mouths and to fold it or use another part of said napkin would put us in grave danger.

But the wastefulness doesn’t stop there. We leave lights on like we’re expecting extra terrestrials to stop by and need a beacon of light to guide them in. I’m guilty of it too. I sometimes leave my television on in hotel rooms when I’m gone just to avoid the God-Awful Hotel menu station that pops up whenever you turn on a hotel TV. Wasteful, but that hotel menu station is painful to watch and good luck finding TBS again.

The contrast is stark when you travel overseas. Lights are all on timers, hotel rooms require the key to be inserted into a slot for the electricity to work in the room (which also drastically cuts down on key misplacement) and don’t even think about getting more than one napkin with any food order.

You might expect this type of miserly approach from a place low in resources. A place that might not have enough napkins to go around or operates on generators installed around the time the hula hoop came out. But the place I’m describing is London. I wouldn’t be surprised if London used ½ the electricity and paper that New York uses. Even the soda cups are smaller.

For a person visiting the US our portions and general approach to everything must seem like a stop over in Wonderland. When traveling abroad it takes a day to adjust but then you realize that unless you’re really throwing down some serious barbecue, one napkin is more than enough and your hotel doesn’t need to be illuminated for your imaginary friend (let her imagine the light J

I can’t see us changing our ways significantly anytime soon but until we stop binge eating at buffets, driving humongous cars we don’t need and wearing white sneakers with khakis, we’re going to be the butt of a lot of jokes on the international scene.

Not to worry though I’m spreading coolness everywhere I go to counter the khaki effect…well me and Mos Def.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Entertainer Has Become The Entertained (Funny blog from Comedy Central’s and NBC’s Dwayne Perkins)

It’s funny how we are always on the prowl for entertainment and good times. All over the world people clock out on Friday, leave their place of business and turn their attention to the business of having fun. Sometimes they find themselves in a comedy club. Then it’s up to me and my peers to provide the good times. We proudly oblige them.

Being a part of the entertainment wing of the services industry means I’m working during the peak hours when others are consuming entertainment and in the midst of so called good times. This by no means means I get skimped on being entertained.

For the best things in life truly are free and if you haven’t tried going out some nights without drinking, I highly recommend it. As a non-drinker I can tell you that the joy I get from watching drunk people usually far outweighs the annoyance factor from suffering them. It’s legal voyeurism. I’ve seen friends throw up on friends in San Francisco, people bloody and sobering up from their injuries in England (she wasn’t really injured btw), people shirtless in the freezing cold in Chicago.

It’s the best form of entertainment. Completely real and unconscious of itself. I think every person who gets completely wasted should be videoed and forced to watch the video the next day while nursing their hang over. Then again that might take away from my entertainment.

People tend to be suspicious of the person not drinking. For they will truly remember what happened the night before.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Whole New World (Funny blog from Comedy Central’s and NBC’s Dwayne Perkins)

I recently wrote a blog about a run-in between a bus driver and passenger in Birmingham, England. The passenger had the last word as he said, “Welcome to the real world” just before exiting. I guess my question is did hearing that statement usher in the driver’s arrival into the real world? Or, was he already in the real world and not aware of it as no one had formally welcomed him? Kind of like driving to Las Vegas and missing the “Welcome to Nevada” sign. You may not know it but you are in Nevada. The different color police cars are the best proof of that fact.

I think when people say welcome to the real world they think it will have a profound affect on their listener. As if that lone statement will cause the person it was directed to to do a complete 180. Change their ways, as per the welcome-er.

FRIEND: Bill you’ve changed? Is it your hair?
BILL: No, I finally joined the real world.
FRIEND: Thank God! I was afraid to tell you. Feels good right?
BILL: Feels great! I’m a little bummed that now I can be affected by gravity. I’ll miss stepping off cliffs and not falling.

The next time you’re tempted to welcome someone into the real world (and basically play God) try saying “It is what it is” Instead. It’s way cooler and just ambiguous enough to be open for interpretation and not make you sound like an A-hole.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Go England! Get Busy (Funny blog from Comedy Central’s and NBC’s Dwayne Perkins)

I’m writing this blog from a Bed & Breakfast in South Africa while Vampire Weekend’s plays from my laptop speakers. I have their song “Horchata” on loop, in lieu of not having any. South Africa is home of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It always makes for a great story if the home team wins. But even the locals here know that Bafana Bafana* winning it all is a massive long shot. So besides South Africa winning and instantly becoming the feel good story of the decade, I would have to say I’m going for England. Even though the English, like Red Sox fans, seem to revel in losing, I think a country so dedicated and in love with soccer is due for a victory on the game’s grandest stage.

I don’t know enough about soccer to know if England has a legitimate shot or not but it would be cool. Although I would not want to be a part of the clean up committee there if they do win. Why not good ole US of A? It would be awesome if we won and I’m told we have a fighting chance. But how American of us would it be to win the biggest event in a sport that’s not even our 4th most popular sport. Soccer is currently 6th or 7th in the states, maybe. Nestled snugly between WWF (which is not even real) and Lacrosse (also, not real. A stick with a net at the end? Really?!)

Case for the U.S. winning? The U.S. winning the World Cup could do wonders to further soccer’s rise in the states. The term “soccer mom” has been in our lexicon for the past twenty years so it makes sense that some those “soccer kids” would have kept up with the sport.

I just hate it when a person or team that couldn’t care less beats out people with real passion about something. That’s why I’ve never taken up the harp. What if I’m a harp prodigy? How awful would it be for me to sit there at the philharmonic with the other harp players who’ve dedicated their lives to the harp, while I’m eating Funions and reading a comic book in the much coveted 1st harp chair.

And after the show when we go for drinks and the other harpists start sharing horrible harp teacher stories and they turn to me and I tell them I’m self taught, how annoyed do you think they would be? The rest of the world are those harp players. Go England.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lawn Jockeying

So today I did my P90X routine in a small park in London, well more like a big garden with a nice lawn. The Plyometrics routine consists of a lot of jumping. I was staying in a 200 year old rickety building and not sure if the people below me were in the mood to hear the pounding of my 190lb frame landing over and over and over. So I figured I would tip toe through the tulips across the street.

It was a glorious day for outdoor jumping: Perfect weather, plush green lawn, vibrant flowers emitting agreeable scents. The only way it could have been better was if I had a ghetto blaster accompaniment blaring either Kriss Kross’s “Jump Jump” and/or House of Pain’s “Jump”. Yes, I said better.

About 3 quarters way through my serene vigor some landscaping guys came in to do some sprucing. A frequent occurrence, I’d imagine given this park’s, appearance. Although they were basically gardening and I was doing the “mother of all P90X” routines (as dubbed by Tony Horton, the P90X man himself), I still thought to myself that these blokes were way more manly than me. Sure I could probably do more jump squats than either one but they were working with earth. They were installing grass, moving dirt, pushing wheel barrels using leveling devices and digging with shovels. The very things my workout was meant to emulate and substitute, given my sedentary coffee shop, comedy club lifestyle.

And me? Well, I had to do a Google Image search on “gardening tools” to figure out that thing they were moving the dirt in was called a wheel barrel.

Sad, but boy is my core strong.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

World Tour With Muhammad My Man

So two weeks into my World tour and I’ve finally decided to call it a World Tour. I was reluctant to use that moniker as there’s no affiliation to Live Nation, No ticket stubs, backstage passes, groupies or crowds waving lighters but I am touring the world doing comedy so flipping the word “tour” and “world” is not at all a stretch.

There’s a time to be humble and a time to strut your stuff. Friends tell me my strut count is anemic. Today, while talking to a friend of a friend here in London he remarked on how cool it must be to be on a world tour. I shrugged it off. He seemed a bit thrown by my nonchalance. He mentioned how for some comics getting a few spots in New York is a big deal.

He’s right. There must be dozens of comics right now who would sell their little brother for a few minutes at the Chuckle Farm in Topeka. (FYI Topeka doesn’t have a Chuckle Farm but you get my point) I’m performing in England, South Africa and Scotland and I actually had to turn down a gig in Bahrain because it didn’t line up right. That would have really been hurtful if I could have done the Bahrain gig.

So…I am in the middle of a World Tour. I hope it sounds more convincing coming out of my mouth then it feels in my head. I’ll slowly embrace it. Maybe someone could have a “Good Will Hunting” moment with me and keep telling me I’m on a World Tour until I break down in cheers and finally admit it.

Shout out to Owen, a New Yorker in London who encouraged me to strut.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tea Time

While crossing the street here in London is still a dangerous proposition for this fast walking New Yorker who’s still looking left for traffic coming from the right, the ubiquitousness of tea almost makes up for the life size game of frogger I must play every time I take a step off the side walk.

It’s quite liberating to be in a country where you can literally have tea in any drinking situation. No cackles from the peanut gallery when I straddle up to a bar and ask for hot tea. No dear in the headlights look from the pubescent headphone wearing sandwich maker at Subway when I ask for Earl Grey with my value meal. This must be what Harry Potter felt like when he first stepped foot into Diagon Alley, “Finally, I’m normal”. Even the construction workers here drink tea, PG Tips. It’s their house blend but in the states PG Tips is some gourmet ish.*

Somehow tea is not considered manly but England conquered the whole world sipping tea with their pinkies out. I think we need 50 Cent to sip on Earl Grey in his next video. Maybe come out with his own brand of tea. Ja ja ja Darjeeling!!

England is the country that basically spawned us. When did we give up the tea drinking? Perhaps we lost the taste for it that cold day back on December 16th 1773 when we dumped all the British tea into the Boston Harbor. Great day for America but a bad day for tea and some 200 years later, for me as well.

And to make matters way worse, a new band of crazies with twisted facts and misinformation are running around associating themselves to my favorite aromatic hot water infusion. The nerve!

*ish - slang for Sugar Honey Ice Tea

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mind Blowing Bloke

So I was in the green room at a show in Worcester, England and one of the other comics was prepping for a whole new act he had been working on. Apparently he had taught himself to be a mind reader. It’s not everyday you meet a mind reader let alone a self-taught mind-reader. Being comics, the rest of us were of course cynical. Being entertainers, we were supportive of a fellow entertainer and we couldn’t knock the hustle.

So our funny medium gave us a huge book of all the works William Shakespeare and told us to open to any page. We obliged and the mind reader proceeded to read the mind of the comic holding the book from across the room and pretty much guessed a word on the top of each column of the page the book was opened to.

Of course we flipped through the book to make sure that it wasn’t in fact filled with just that same page. It wasn’t. We were thoroughly impressed, not buying the mind reading angle, but impressed nonetheless with the trick.

Then it dawned on me just how lucky slash odd my life is. I’m backstage, in England, talking to a self-proclaimed mind reader like most people would talk to an accountant. There’s a guy reading minds while we all sip on tea and none of it is remotely odd to us. A ventriloquist and knife thrower could have walked in and we would have nodded like co-workers in a factory break room. I feel lucky to cross paths with mind readers, magicians and musicians. I run with an odd lot and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Don‘t Throw Out The Baby With The Toilet Water (Funny blog from Comedy Central’s and NBC’s Dwayne Perkins)

I’ve now been to more countries than I can count on my fingers and toes and what I’ve learned is people are basically the same everywhere you go. Everyone loves their children, enjoys music, skips in line if they can get away with it, and so on. Another universal but not as talked about commonality, apparently, is that we all flush foreign objects down the toilet of business establishments. Every country I’ve ever been to has signs in public toilets asking people not to flush anything but tissue down the toilet. Even the more…ahem.. civilized places like England feel the need to instruct the rank and file to not defile the common toilets.

The thing is, I’ve never seen such a sign at a residence. What is it about a public toilet that makes people push the limits of the flushing quotient? Does the industrial strength toilets make people want to themselves get “industrial” or perhaps industrious? Maybe people sit at home longingly staring at their toilets wishing they could flush down household appliances with the image of a plumber with his hand out being the only thing holding them back.

Maybe it’s the signs giving people the idea to push the flush envelope. “I never even considered flushing anything but toilet tissue, but now that you’ve mentioned it…”

The funniest sign I ever saw: “Please don’t flush anything other than toilet tissue down the toilet…not even pencils”.

Funny because if there’s a sign for it…

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Hey DJ, Won’t You Play Your Song

I did shows in Birmingham, England over the weekend. After one of my shows, some birds invited me to go see Will-I-Am from the Black Eye Peas DJ at a club. The Black Eye Peas have gone #1 in over 20 countries, they sell out arenas; but just in case it doesn’t work out it’s good to see Will can still do weddings to make ends meet if need be. You think he brings his own crates of records?

I actually understand this from his position. A performer performs. An artist creates. The scale of the project or size of the audience is arbitrary. Although bigger is usually better. I have gone from doing television tapings directly to open mic shows. Granted, I have a special brand of tolerance for pain.

REPORTER: Dwayne, you just won the Academy Award what are you going to do now?
ME: To do 15 minutes at the Liquid Zoo in Van Nuys. Two for one beer pitchers and free popcorn yall!

So maybe Will-I-Am is Will-ing-To-Work. But, for the people going to see him DJ, what’s their motivation? Find out what music tickles Will’s fancy? Even worse you pay a premium to go to club and you get Will-I-Am playing Black Eye Pea songs. Do the songs sound better because he’s behind the turntables?

This would be like paying 40 bucks to see Avatar because James Cameron is running the projector.
Cameron’s spinning celluloid down at the Cineplex, yo!

I wonder what odd things people will pay me to do if I ever get super famous…

Come see Dwayne Perkins make Pizza…Live!!

I didn’t go btw, so I can’t speak on Will’s DJ Skills.


Friday, May 07, 2010

Once Again It's on. A 30 Day Blog-a-thon

no time like the present
to messed with
a 30 day blog-a-thon
tell your mom it’s on
and your Nan just ran to put her glasses on
turning non-believers into avid readers
girlfriends waving hands like “you gotta see this”
laugh and bend, abdomen feels like a thousand knee lifts
have to grin, can’t pretend cause you as high as a ski lift
I provide the best medicine, time for an overdose
peep it when you 1st get in, your work day won’t be morose
I’ll always be from brooklyn, so I’ll always boast the most
so glory glory tell my story from the mountain top
shorty forty minus 10 daily dp blog drops