My First Book about Improv Comedy is available now on Amazon Kindle

 

Book Cover
 I did it. I finally published my first book – Yes, And: The Most Overlooked Concept in Improv. It’s available exclusively on Amazon and for the Kindle.

I’ve been a professional improvisor since 1994 and I currently perform with the National Comedy Theater in San Diego. When I first started, improv was just starting to become a popular art form.

I love improv comedy and I believe that anyone can do it. It’s my passion to share what I’ve learned about this art form and elevate the artform.

The concept of “Yes, And” is the foundational principle in improv. The problem is it is one of the most overlooked concepts in improv shows today.

My book takes an in depth look into “Yes, And.” I deconstruct the principle. Show you how we’ve misused it and neglected it. I also show you how to master the principle to improv your improv group and show.

“Yes, And” is the first in a series of books designed to help you produce a short-form improvisation show. Purchase your copy now at Amazon for the low price of $2.99.

Grammy Gods Need to Be Appeased

Kanye West is music’s John the Baptist. He is the worst single voice in the wilderness. He proclaims the truth on the biggest stages on Earth.

I felt bad for Beck. It was not his fault that he had to be nominated alongside Beyoncé. By some arbitrary farcical rule, there must be at least five nominees in every category. This can be confusing to the average voter. Thank you, Kanye for pointing out the obvious.no one dares dethrone the queen. I can forgive Beck to a point, but the audacity to actually walk off the stage and not bequeath the award to Beyoncé is sacrilegious.

“Beck needs to respect artistry and he should’ve given his award to Beyoncé,” declares Kanye. Let’s consider this for a moment. Beck knows he’s a fraud, but rather than worship the Queen, who gave him inspiration and the gift of music, he instead accepts a hollow honor.

“I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us” spoken from the wise Kanye. The Grammy Awards telecast is an antiquated concept. Why can’t we take one night every year and celebrate the perfection that is Beyoncé. Artist from all genres and from around the world come together and worship at the feet of Beyoncé. They converge in gratitude for allowing “those people” to make music. That’s why we love her.

“Because when you keep on diminishing art and not respecting the craft and smacking people in their face after they deliver monumental feats of music, you’re disrespectful to inspiration,” exclaims an embittered West. Truer words have never been spoken. Can you image complaining to God that you don’t like a blue sky or green grass? Why bring Beyoncé to an awards show and not lavish her with rightful praise. It’s clear that the Grammys and awards shows like it, are not only out of touch with the public, who buys Beyoncé music but out of touch with divinity too.

How Conservative Christian Politicians Should Answer the Gay Marriage Question

In case we’re not close friends, long story short, I’m a conservative Christian and at times I like politics and I wish my fellow believers would take a hard look at our stance toward the LGBT community.

So, if God ever had a sense of humor and made me run for office, here’s how I would answer (or not answer) the gay marriage questions.

Reporter: Senator Ng? What is your stance of gay marriage?

Me: Great question. Member of the liberal media elite, seeking to trap me into saying something “politically incorrect.”

As you know, I am a born-again Christian and I hold the Bible, God’s Word sacred. I may go so far as to say, I try to pattern my life according to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

That said, I am called to “Love my neighbor as myself” (Matt 22:39). As I am concerned about children who are hungry, families that are struggling in these hard economic times, the last thing God would want me to waste engery on is preventing people from getting married.

Please let’s not buy into the Pat Robertson BS that predicts gays are the reason nations fall. You know better than that.

My Comedic Heroes

Since I was a child, I’ve always wanted to be a comedian. Now that I’m an adult only a handful of comedians that I call my inspirations. These comedians shaped how I personally approach comedy. Sadly, only one is alive today.

Steve MartinSteve Martin. On my list, Steve is the only one alive. I first saw him on the Muppet Show of all places. He was the scheduled guest, but the Muppet Show was dark that day. He did a few gags, including a hilarious piece with a balloon. Then I saw him on Saturday Night Live with the infamous King Tut song. Dr. Demento would play that song ad nauseam. My brother than introduced me to Let’s Get Small and A Wild and Crazy Guy.

Three Amigos was an exercise in silliness that I love still today. Planes, Trains and Automobiles featured the best and most clever use of the F-word in cinematic history. Parenthood and Father of the Bride is a where I learned that comedy must connect emotionally with an audience. Bowfinger is a classic comedy in its sheer cleverness. I love parody and Bowfinger lampoons Hollywood to perfection.

Steve showed me that that my style was the clever, dry comedy versus the over-the-top wackiness audiences react to quickly but grow tired even faster.

John CandyJohn Candy. I first saw John Candy on SCTV and fell in love with him in Splash and Stripes. It wasn’t until he teamed up with John Hughes in Uncle Buck and Planes, Trains and Automobiles that with great comedy must come great acting. Both movies and Only the Lonely forced John to be vulnerable as a comedian on screen. His heart was on the screen and it was big. Sadly, his career ended way too soon when he passed away due to a heart attack.

He also taught me that nice and funny are a powerful pair.

Phil HartmanPhil Hartman. For many up-and-coming comedians, Saturday Night Live was the dream and when Phil Hartman joined the cast, I was at the age where being a cast member of SNL was a possible dream. Like Dan Ackroyd and Will Farrell, Phil Hartman was the quintessential utility player on the show. He could create amazing characters, speak in any accent and be the everyday man.

What I admired most about Phil was his ability to be a supporting player on stage. Sure, I could star in any scene, but he could also set up and make his fellow actors look better that they could. He was the ultimate team player. This was especially true with his character Bill McNeal on Newsradio. I loved that show and it was never the same after his tragic death in 1998. Only Eugene Levy can dare to take the spot of Phil Hartman as that perfect utility player.

Robin WilliamsRobin Williams. I could go on about Robin’s comedic greatness, but I could not say anything that has no been already said. It’s funny, but I never really like Robin’s comedic performances on screen. It was his dramatic performance in Good Will Hunting, Awakenings and, of course, Dead Poets Society, that showed me that you need to have depth in your comedy. You need to understand what it means to be human in order to make fun of it.

I’m almost fifty and it’s hard to believe that 75% of my heroes are gone. Nothing new will come from them. So here’s to long life for Steve Martin.

 

Innovating The Cups and Balls

Among the many things I love, Magic has a special place in my life. I know I’m the nerd and Magic is not helping my cause to look cool. I’ve seen every trick in the world and seeing the same cups and ball routine makes me hate the trick. But when someone can come along and innovate the routine, you have my respect. You love the art form and you want to win the layman to the cause.

This is Yann Frisch and he simply took a standard magic trick and made it new. He added a story and created a character.

Parenting Advice – How Not to Raise a Sore Loser

Parent alert! I’ve found the secret to ensure your child does not grow up to be a “sore loser!”

The secret is…Don’t Ever Let Them Win at Anything!

My daughter has never beat me at a game of Tic-Tac-Toe…and she never will. It just won’t happen. She’s not at my level. I will crush her at every turn. Rue the day she ever beats me. That day will never come. I pledged to resort to cheating before she ever wins at Go Fish. Once, she almost beat me at UNO but then I told her no “My Little Pony” for a month. That’s right! No sore losers in my house!

My Interview with David Arquette

Posh Beverly Hills EstateI’m getting a little bit better at the interviewing celebrities thing. Here’s the way I would like to spin the experience:

I’m at a posh Beverly Hills home waiting to interview David Arquette in the estate’s pool house. He walks into the room, I introduce myself and he says, “Hi, I’m David.” I sat at a table directly across from David Arquette. I ask a question about his the film, “The Key” and he answers it in a thoughtful and beautiful manner.

I like this story, but I also need to be accountable to the truth:

I’m at a posh Beverly Hills home waiting to interview actor David Arquette and director Jefery Levy about Jefery’s passion project, The Real Experimental Film Festival. The interview comes in the form of a roundtable with 5 other reporters, including myself. I got about two questions in and my first question was the first question Mr. Arquette answered.

I’ll have my full report of the afternoon ready this Sunday for the Secret City Geek Lab show on KTSTfmAnaheim.com.

The Introvert and the Funeral

Today, we buried my aunt. She passed away a week ago after a battle with pancreatic cancer. I have nothing but good things to say about my aunt. My mom is significantly older that her brothers and sisters. I entered my teen years when she met and married my uncle-in-law. As soon as they were married, they moved across the country when my uncle entered the dental program with the U.S. Military.

I was in high school when they had their first of two daughters. They moved back to the West Coast and took residence in Barstow, CA. Needless to say, I would only connect with my aunt at family events and holidays. As the introvert would say, we had a casual respectful relationship.

The clock counts down on my life, revealing the names and images of the people in my life, I should know better. The nagging guilt that you missed out on knowing a wonderful person and explicit guilt that I could have taken the initiative. Thanks universe.

The sphere of those who pass is growing closer and closer to me. My aunt is the first person to pass that I had known, spoken, shared life stories and knew would be around at the next family function. I always thought, I’d see her at the next holiday, which would have been Christmas. My family is supposed to live forever. My grandparents (on my mother’s side) both lived into their 90’s. We are work horses. As I approach my 50’s, I know I need to take better care of myself.

As I sit here at Forest Lawn, I think about my aunt. I also think about my family. At this very moment in time, I’ve given into my introverted tendencies. I talk very little to anyone. Be available and show no affection to anyone. I’m a ghost that everyone sees. My invisibility powers aren’t working right now. Now my apprehension levels rise and self-consciousness kicks into overdrive. I don’t want to be here, but at the same time, I want to be here for my aunt.

Next week is the memorial at my old church. My aunt will be rightfully honored. For me, I will have to manage the guilt, I feel learning about the aunt I wish I knew better.