On Marriage Equality – A Message to Both Sides

A Message For Both Sides: Today is one of those days where half my friends on Facebook will dislike the other half of my friends on Facebook. That saddens me.

I have great friends who are gay. I treasure our friendship and wish nothing but good things for you and success in the future. As a Christian, I believe you were created by God as I have been and regardless of what my fellow believers tell you, you have access to God’s Unconditional Love, Sacrifice and Blessings as I do.

To my fellow believers, remember that we can not control the course of history. That’s God’s job. We are fortunate to live in a country that values our beliefs. Did you know there are countries out there that will literally cut off your head because you are a Christian or you are gay? Is there no common ground?

We can become spoiled living in a world of religious freedom, compared to the world that Christ actually lived in 2,000 years ago. Sure, we can bunker in, protect the last vestiges of Christianity left in America and shield ourselves from perversion. Or we can take the high road and act as Christ would if he were to walk the earth today. There was a time when the poor and the sick was our responsibility. A time when we loved our neighbor (sinner and saint/gay and straight) as ourselves. A time when we were servants, washing the feet of our even those we considered our enemies.

Faith, hope and love? The greatest of these is Love. Let’s stop being clanging cymbals to a lost world.
To those who wish to argue, show me in the Bible where legislating God’s Moral Will takes precedence over loving our neighbor and I’ll happily engage you in conversation.

Creating Sketch from Improv – My Day with Kevin McDonald

I’m super late in posting this. Last summer I took a weekend trip to my friends, Dorian and Krissy Lenz, improv theater in Phoenix-National Comedy Theater. I visit about once a year. Last year, I had the privilege of visiting the weekend Kevin McDonald from the Kids in the Hall was leading a workshop.

We learned the tricks of the trade as many of the Kids in the Hall sketches started as improvisations, often bad improvisations. At the beginning of the workshop, we broke up into groups of four and quickly performed an improvisation.

I’ve learned that improvisers can be incredibly judgmental people. I am certainly on that list. Almost immediately upon entering the classroom, I began separating the good improvisers and the bad ones. I’m so horrible. Fortunately, humility got the best of me, and I let fate decide my team. My team consisted of myself, a main stage performer and two novices.

We banged out a good improv based on the suggestion of Hunchback. Once our basic improv was set in stone, we were given three opportunities to refine it as a sketch and perform it in front of Kevin and the other classmates.

One thing I learned is to stop telling people how I would do it. Sure, I’d make a suggestion but ultimately the individual performer has to be comfortable with his/her performance and I’m just meddling if I expect more.

That night, all of us performed the sketches, and our hunchback sketch was the last sketch of the night. Check out the video and if you’re ever in Phoenix and want to see some amazing comedy, check out National Comedy Theater in Mesa.

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.