About Flip N Funny

My photo
Initially, this blog was designed to track my development as a comic. Although that remains true today, the blog has evolved into something more. The FlipNFunny Blog is now a catchall medium to express my thoughts on any subject whether it concerns comedy, films, sports, or life in general. Essentially, if I feel strongly about something, you can expect to see my thoughts here. Thank you.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Lesson from Joe Louis

When Joe Louis was “The Next Big Thing” he ran into the clever Max Schmelling and was knocked out in 12th Round.  Two years later, after becoming Heavyweight Champion of the World, he avenged his upset loss with one of the most devastating performances of his career by not letting Schmelling finish the 1st Round.  In 1937, Louis fought Bob Pastor and won unanimous decision.  In his eighth defense, Louis once again fought Pastor and this time around he stopped him in the 12th Round.  Louis did this trick with four other fighters where he had problems the first time around and then crushing them in rematches. 

Joe Louis is often included in discussions about who the greatest boxers were.  More often than not, his supporters point to his record 25 defenses and his one punch knockout power.  However, from my vantage point, it was his talent for making bad performances an afterthought by erasing previous mistakes with dominating performances in the rematch.

The lesson taught here by Joe Louis is that if you have an opportunity for a re-do, make sure you erase any prove the last performance was an aberration.  If you’re given a second chance, you better run with it and take full advantage of the opportunity. 

On Wednesday night, I was at a club doing a 10min set and I had one of my worst performances there in years.  To make matters worse, I was showcasing for the new manager to get weekend bookings.  Even though I didn’t bomb, I felt that I was the weakest act of the night and that is never a good feeling.  Even before I left the club last night, I was already looking forward to my next spot at a different club tonight.  I knew that the best remedy for a bad set is more stage time.  More stage time means an opportunity for redemption.
The difference between the two nights is striking.  Last night, the crowd was offended by Box Set.  Tonight, the crowd gave me the biggest laugh for the same joke.  Last night, I failed. Tonight, I redeemed myself.  Last night, I didn't win the audience over.  Tonight, I knocked them out.  Tonight, I pulled a Joe Louis

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

GOD Whoops Dennis .... Again

And by GOD, I mean Group Of Death

When I “started” comedy in 2007, there was an annual competition that Yuk Yuks would hold called the The Great Canadian Laugh Off. Once the franchise agreement expired back in 2010(?), the now independent Comedy Mix decided to keep the tradition going with their own competition. Although the stakes weren’t as high (the Yuk Yuks version sent the winner to Toronto to compete against other comics from across the country), it was just as a competitive because the Vancouver comedy scene has such a high caliber of talent that the competition was a fierce battle till the end.

On a related note in 2007, a personal tradition started for me as well – being selected to be in the annual Group of Death. Every year, it seems that I was placed in the toughest group. This year’s group is no different. In fact, it’s worse! I have two Canadian All Stars who have done every comedy related thing you can do in Canada. There’s also a bonafide headliner from the States, two or three people who are starting to tour, and a couple others I would rather not compete against because their material is strong and unique.

Without further ado, here is 2012’s Group of Death –

Kevin Foxx - The advice this man has given me these past five years has been on point. He had his own radio show in Toronto until he decided he wanted to be in a city that didn’t suck. Forget the fact that he has had his own Comedy Now Special and has done every comedy festival in Canada, the dude has worked with Richard Pryor. Yes, that Richard Pryor.

John Beuhler - This guy is a Comic Genius. No, seriously, he won a competition called Comic Genius. This guy was mentored by the Canadian comedy gem known as Brent Butt. John has also done every imaginable festival in Canada because he has an efficiency in his comedy that is second to none. Every word spoken on stage is integral to each piece he does.

Dino Archie - Like me, Dino is likeable onstage. Unlike me, he KILLS every time he’s onstage. First he charms them, then he slays them. If I didn’t like the guy so much on a personal level, I would tell him to go back where he came from.

Sean Emeny - Last year’s winner of the People’s Champ Comedy Competition, Sean is a good friend of mine and I wish him best …. unless I’m competing with him! Then I wish the hilarious bastard would get Strep Throat.

James Masters - Another guy I want to yell, “Go back where you came from!” Unfortunately, like everybody else in this group, he’s a good guy and he gives me spots from time to time. James is also funny and he’s banged Sam Neill’s daughter. Yes, that Sam Neill.

Katie Ellen Humphries - Forget “she’s funny … for a chick” BS. Katie Ellen is just plain funny. Always nice and personable offstage and hilarious on it, Katie spreads her talents between standup and sketch. In moments like these, I wish she focused more on sketch.

Manraj Sidhu - I hope this guy focuses on teaching because if he put all his focus on comedy. If he did, I’m sure he would leave me in the dust. Manraj has that quirky, intelligent, hipster shit that’s uber popular right now. On a bad night, Manraj is good. On a good night, he could squish me like a bug.

Art Factora - Although our styles are very similar, Art is better on his feet than I am. That said, on any given night, I can easily outshine Art on the simple fact that people often mistake me for him.


With such a strong group, I will probably get knocked out like Spink against Tyson.

With such a strong group, my best hope is that I can pull off a Tyson vs Bruno I, in that before I get knocked out, I'm able to rock them and know that I at least have the ability to dent them.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Importance of Being Earnest ... In Doing 5 Minutes

I was at a Pro-Am not too long ago at a comedy club and saw something I didn’t expect to see – every single amateur went over their allotted 5 minutes of stage time. The parade of overtime on stage didn’t just end at that club. A week later, I saw another comic go over their allotted time and after the set the booker actually said that he was over but it was okay because he was doing well. This blog entry isn’t written from Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man perspective, but in my day, there were repercussions for going over your time.

If being funny is the first rule of stand up, then keeping your time surely must be the second. Not keeping time is the most selfish thing you can do as a performer. If you take 2min more than your given time in a tightly produced show, inevitably, that 2min will be taken away from another performer somewhere down the line up. Guess what that makes you? On the flipside, if you do 2min less time than you’ve been given, at times, that 2min will have to be made up by another performer down the line up. Again, guess what that makes you?

The very first time I went over by a substantial amount of time I was taken aside by the booker and told the truths I just mentioned in the previous paragraph. Then after the show, another comic told me the story of a comic he heard about that did a show in Vegas. Apparently, this comic was crushing the room, so he decided to do more time than he signed up for. Once he finished his set, the casino manager took him aside and told him that an average casino makes x-million amount of dollars per minute, so for every minute that an audience stays in the comedy room laughing is another minute where the audience isn’t losing x-million dollars to the casino. Then the manager said, “that if you go over time again, you will be paying the amount of money the casino just lost.” After hearing that story from that comic, I have heard the same story told by Rosie O’Donnell and Jay Leno. To be honest, I don’t even know how true that story is. Now, I think it’s just an urban myth told as a cautionary tale for newbies who like to go over time.

Aside from being a douche move, going over time consistently when you are new is counter-productive. Like I mentioned earlier, keeping time is the second rule of comedy with the first rule being “be funny.” A new comic shouldn’t look at the 5min and think that it’s a 5min limit. Instead, they should look at it like a 5min challenge. There is a reason why comedy has a term called “Laughs Per Minute.” The challenge is to cram as much laughs as possible in 60 seconds. The challenge is to be as concise as possible in your setup and just as efficient in your punchlines.

So, if you’re an amateur comic, the question isn’t why you’re not being given weekend spots performing 30min sets. The question is how many laughs can you fit in 300 seconds?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Greenlight 2013

Originally written on Feb.26.2012

In reviewing my comedy “career” in 2011, I was little dismayed by the lack of progress I made. In keeping with the promise I made in 2007 which is to quit if I stopped improving, my accomplishments from a year ago barely gave me the pass to continue my “career” in comedy for 2012. So far, 2012 has been a far cry from a year ago. I am off to a roaring start!

In a matter of a couple weeks, I have been offered to showcase for the CBC and to write a column for a magazine!!! These offers couldn’t have been any better. The CBC showcase, proves to me, that my work is being appreciated and certain decision makers are acknowledging my growth as a comic. Granted, the showcase is not a sure thing as I will be going head to head with a handful of Vancouver’s best up and coming talents for the final spot for the show CBC is recording the next day. Like an actor losing out on an Oscar, I’m just happy I was considered.

As for the offer to write, it is for Canadian Immigrant magazine. I was contacted by the one of the writers that interviewed me after the first Flip n Comedy Show. It’s funny because I was just talking to someone at work recently about the ripple effect of things you’ve done and forgotten in the past and how those actions comes back to make a difference in the present. My contact immediately thought of me after they had a discussion and concluded they want someone to write about their immigrant experience from a comedic perspective. Like the showcase, this opportunity with Canadian Immigrant is not guaranteed. I will be submitting a test column in a couple weeks. If they enjoy the piece, I will be given the opportunity to submit other recollections of my younger days getting acclimated to the Canadian experience.

It’s only February and I have already given myself the greenlight to continue into 2013.