SNL – Dicks-appointing…Discuss.

11 03 2015

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I was watching SNL this weekend. With the exception of Kate McKinnon who gets into so many different characters hilariously, I think there were more “dicks per minute” in terms of jokes than are probably needed for a program that is supposed to be surviving for 4 decades. I mean even during Weekend report there was 8th grade humor being woven in.

Needless to say, I found this a little disappointing. I know I can write better than that show currently has and it is so frustrating. For me and thousands of others, I am sure. A lot of comics and people just write SNL off but I feel that at some level, it would be great to get to Lorne Michaels and really challenge a lot of the crap that is on there.

I don’t know where I am going with this post other than frustration that again, it’s who you know, not what you know.

Until next time,

Marc





My Millennia Moment

6 03 2015

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Until I started working more with comedians and writers, my experience with “millennials” was pretty much limited to people at work and a few younger siblings of my (then) wife. I got along with them well enough and enjoyed their sense of humor but, at the same time, was always stuck by the sense of inner confidence and security they seemed to carry around with them.

My younger sister-in-law (at the time), upon graduating (just barely) from college, proclaimed “of course I am living in NYC” as if there were any question. I remember both of us were taken by the sheer surety of her statement. In contrast, after sending out 77 resumes, (yes, I remember the exact number), I moved outside of Trenton, NJ because that’s the one interview I was granted and ultimately, where I got a job. I never even considered there was another option.

At work, I would have colleagues just barely out of school sit down across from my desk to ask when they could expect their next promotion of move. I always felt like saying: “I was basically someone’s bitch for my first 10 years – why not make some coffee or fax something? Oh, don’t know what a fax is? Google it, find one and then learn how to use it.”

To be honest, that hasn’t completely gone away. I am not good with any sense of entitlement, regardless of age. However, what I realize is that I had it somewhat wrong. It hit me this evening when I was doing a G-chat with two good comedy buddies of mine working on our individual material. This was my millennial moment, if you will.

I try to collaborate on creative projects with those that I feel are both smart, driven, creative, trustworthy and have a great work ethic. There are more than a few “millennials” in the mix here. In fact, what i may have mistaken as entitlement or arrogance was really a culture shift from my generation (or at least from me) where their expectations are just more solid. They are willing to be more open and upfront and not settle in a way that compromises their principals. They also bring a level of expectation to the table that, while it may seem unrealistic or entitled at times, is often purposeful and goal oriented.

I have gotten some great ideas and feedback from these so called “less experienced” friends and even recognize some of these traits in my own kids.

The millennial generation also seems more likely to take risks, try lots of different things and test them out – more entrepreneurial in spirt, maybe because they do not have the job security that previous generations had and there is nothing to lose. There is no better foundation for stand-up comedy, if you ask me.

It never ceases to amaze me where we can get our lessons from. I can be difficult for sure and have waxed poetic many times about the “good ‘ole days” where people connected over a beer, not email, or had stricter limits on work/life balance but the truth is that progress is not comfortable and if overall, the good outweighs the bad, then we are moving forward.

I think the verdict is still out on how history will look back on the dramatic shift our culture has taken over the last 20 to 50 years. In the meantime, it is my perspective that, as long as there are positives to be gained, I need to remove my Archie Bunker mask, (now THERE’s an old reference) and get with the program.

I do have one thing on those millennials, though – comedy is like a fine wine – it really does get better with age.

Until next time,

Marc

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. If you did, please sign up for this blog and find me on twitter @marckaye1.

Every time you do, an angel gets her wings.





Great Expectations (or living life on the side)

4 03 2015

Marc Kaye Today

Ill-Have-What-Shes-Having

“I’ll have what she’s having.”

For those of you hoping for a lively review of the Dickens classic or an examination of cinematic treatments of the female sexual response (see graphic above) – my apologies. Yes, I may have lured you in with that nice graphic above but this is about me and my “great expectations”. However, not unlike the protagonist, Pip, in the literary classic, who wanted something so opposite of his orphaned beginnings – to be a “gentleman” – I, too, had aspirations greater than that of my humble beginnings. (Or I hope that that sounds interesting enough to read on, anyway.)

I spent most of my life living ‘on the side’. Much like the famous character of Sally played by Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally”, ‘on the side’ was a very big thing in my family. This wasn’t a food thing either. It was a…

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Great Expectations (or living life on the side)

3 03 2015

Ill-Have-What-Shes-Having

“I’ll have what she’s having.”

For those of you hoping for a lively review of the Dickens classic or an examination of cinematic treatments of the female sexual response (see graphic above) – my apologies. Yes, I may have lured you in with that nice graphic above but this is about me and my “great expectations”. However, not unlike the protagonist, Pip, in the literary classic, who wanted something so opposite of his orphaned beginnings – to be a “gentleman” – I, too, had aspirations greater than that of my humble beginnings. (Or I hope that that sounds interesting enough to read on, anyway.)

I spent most of my life living ‘on the side’. Much like the famous character of Sally played by Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally”, ‘on the side’ was a very big thing in my family. This wasn’t a food thing either. It was a life thing.

It seems like almost anything and everything I was interested in really didn’t fit into the norm growing up and due to lack of money, lack of comfort, or both, I was often relegated to pursue things ‘on the side’. What I have realized since, however, is that I never stopped categorizing things between the main course and the side dish. As an adult, I neutralized any excitement to pursue things ‘on the side’ due to the mismatch with my great expectations.

If you’ve ever been passionate about something, you may recognize how difficult it is to scale back and have that thing take 2nd or 3rd fiddle to anything else – in other words, work on your passion ‘on the side’.

The older I grew, the more responsibilities I encountered that not only mandated that anything that I was personally excited about – music, comedy, writing – would have to be ‘on the side’, but that the ‘side’ kept getting farther and farther away.

As some of you may have read from previous blogs, I have been learning a lot about the complex web that impacts a person’s happiness. It turns out that expectations have a lot to do with it. If our expectations are too great, it is almost impossible to achieve them and even if that does occur, the process and self-talk is so tortuous that it makes the entire thing worthless. What is the point doing the thing you love if you don’t enjoy it anymore?

It has occurred to me that I let my great (and completely unrealistic) expectation of being the best I can be in anything I pursue get in the way of me actually just doing it. Having “great expectations” of yourself is a wonderfully cowardly way of simply masking fear. “I would love to try (fill in the blank) but I won’t be very good at it and don’t have the time…etc.”

My kids are older now and that definitely has freed up some time for me to pursue things that I hadn’t pursued in well over 10 years. But, more than that, as I start to just type that first word or play that first note or throw that first punch, I am learning that my ‘on the side’ doesn’t have to be that small. Maybe one day, it will even be the main course and then as the infamous scene in “When Harry Met Sally” notoriously proclaimed, you might even have what I’m having!

Until next time,
Marc





Fill your Comedy Prescription!

2 03 2015

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“No that’s ok, I’ll just stay in and watch my favorite program “Apathy.”

I was really fortunate to be part of two great shows this past week. One was a new show I produced and the second was a show I was invited to be on. They were both great.

Each had about 30 people in the audience, which depending on your frame of reference, could be either impressive or not. Trust me, it is.

It always amazes me the disconnect between attendance at these shows with just amazing comics – the audience was laughing hysterically at both, for example – and the difficulty in getting people out to shows. You get 4 to 6 comedians for anywhere from the price of a drink to $15 and it feels like pulling teeth.

I have had several discussions about this and the reasons behind it, what happened since the heyday of comedy in the 80s, how the internet may have “killed” live comedy, etc. etc., but none of that really matters. What matters is that there is a pool of talent that is just unreal. I guarantee, that for most of you, you can find a great show within a 30 minute ride, if not closer.

It keeps occurring to me that, in the same way Uber has “disrupted” the traditional way in which taxi services are purchased and managed, there is a business model for comedy that is also waiting to be developed and executed. The only big difference in my mind is with respect to demand. City dwellers will always need a cab ride to somewhere. Comedy as a demand? Unfortunately, not so much.

The demand is ready, though. Here’s the thing that people are missing: seeing a good comedian is one of the healthiest and rejuvenating things you can do because laughter is a drug. Like music, sex and yes, real drugs, laughter actually impacts your brain and the way you feel. If I could somehow reach out to the medical associations around the world and actually help write and implement guidelines for “laughter prescriptions”, I would do it.

This is not self serving. It is a real thing and yet we choose to sit at home and watch YouTube, which is not the same thing! In fact, the social aspects of laughing together, or listening to music or other things you can imagine doing “together”, have benefits far greater than doing them alone.

A little research on the scientific and health benefits of laughter reveals the following:

  • Dr. Lee Berk at Loma Linda University found, in the 1980s, that laughter helps in the regulation of stress hormones and were linked to the production of antibodies and endorphins, natural pain killers in the body.
  • In 2003 in the journal Neuron, it was found that humor can help regulate the brain’s dopamine levels associated with mood, motivation, attention and learning.

This is a real thing and I ask each of you – if there is one blog post that you forward on to the 1,000 people in your email distribution list or Facebook, let it be this one.

Go see a comedian! It costs less than a co-pay, it is incredibly good for you, there is no pain involved (sometimes just for the comics) and we have a chance to be part of a comedy resurgence when the talent pool is ripe for the plucking.

And, it last’s longer than sex (or that’s what I hear).

Until next time,

Marc








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