Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Shovel Ready

I've been giving a lot of thought lately to the state of my career. And I've come to the conclusion that it is indeed "shovel ready" which I mean it's pretty much in a hole six feet deep & ready for someone to shovel the dirt in on top of it.

This isn't an "Oh woe is me, I have it sooooo bad" kind of post. I don't feel sorry for myself and I'm not asking anyone else to either. It's just a cold, logical statement of fact. The good news is, I have a job that I enjoy doing and where I feel appreciated for my efforts. I'm luckier than a lot of people.

The bad news is have zero room for upward mobility. The only way I could possibly get promoted is if my boss left (and even then, the state would probably just do away with the position rather than filling it.) Also, I love my boss & don't want him to leave just so I might get his job and, having seen his job, don't know that I would want it.

In addition, I have had less than zero luck in applying at other TV stations in this market. When you have over 15 years experience and several awards for your work, this can be more than a little annoying. Logically I know that the primary reasons are as follows: I have no full time experience in news promotions (which doesn't mean I can't do it, just that I don't currently), I'm overqualified for the positions I do have the experience for and most stations would find it easier to hire a couple of 22 year old kids at half the salary to do the job.

So, if the state ever decided that my job was unnecessary, I'm pretty sure it would be time for me to find a new vocation. I don't really want to do that. I love working in TV. It's the only thing I've ever wanted to do and I think I'm pretty good at it. But I may not be the one making the final choice in the matter.

Since I love being in Raleigh, this leaves me at a crossroads of sorts. I will send out resumes for jobs that I want (but for some crazy reason don't want me) and I will hold out hope that I can keep the job I have a little while longer....say, another 13 years or so.

Just in case, I'm going out & buying myself a shovel.

Friday, April 24, 2009

An Improvisers Prayer

This is my non-denomenational, ecuminical, all-purpose, all-inclusive improvisers prayer. Non-religious improvisers, please feel free to substitute "Del" for "Lord" where applicable

Dear Lord...
I am about to take the stage.
I am about to make stuff up again.
Please keep my mind sharp.
Please help me remember that the best response is always "Yes and..."
Please help me remember that in the crowd, among the comps, family members, house staff and other improvisers, are a few actual paying customers who've never seen improv before. Help me give them the best show I can.
Please remind me that it's not all about me.
Make my edits timely and keep me from hanging my teammates out to dry.
Should I attempt to steal something from last night's "Office" or last week's "Saturday Night Live," smite me in a way I've never been smote before.
Remind me my fingers are neither a gun nor a phone, but merely pointing appendages.
Help me find a new way of incorporating suggestions like "Jello" or "Elephant" and keep me from flipping off the drunk in the second row who screamed them out.
Remind me a little dirty can be funny and a lot dirty can be creepy and what the difference is between the two.
Make my puns plentiful & painful...indifference from the audience being the valley of the shadow of death.
And finally, no matter how much I want to, stay my hand from killing my scene partner.
Bless my teammates...even when we get on each others nerves.
May we bring laughter & joy & may you bring us all to Improv Heaven one day...Chicago, here we come.
In the name of the True Story, the Harold & the Holy Close...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Musical Epiphany

A few years ago, I found myself at an Iron Maiden concert in St. Louis (Why? Because I'm a good husband, that's why.) Right after having some moron thrown out for using a laser pointer, surly frontman Bruce Dickinson introduced the band. "We're Iron Maiden," he snarled, "We're all about the music. We don't care about dating supermodels." The first thought that ran through my head was: "Then what's the point of being in a rock band in the first place?"

I'm not a musician or really musically inclined in any way. I suppose, if I played an instrument, I would have passion & desire to have my songs heard. But even if you're only marginally talented, you could find a local venue with an open mike night and sing to your heart's content. If you're going to go through all of the stress, work, dedication and potential disaster to take a band to the next level, why would you eliminate the possibility of dating supermodels? I would think having a supermodel even know I existed, much less want to spend time with me would motivate me to become the next big thing.

Even being an ugly rock star doesn't hurt your chances with women. Look at the number of musicians who, quite frankly could scare a vulture off a meat wagon, that have hooked up with women way out of their league: Ric Ocasek & Paulina Porizkova, Billy Joel & Christie Brinkley, Joe Cocker & anyone.

The main reason men do anything at all is to meet women. If you took a survey, 99% of men would say this is true and the remaining 1% would be lying through their teeth. So, yes, Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson, I suppose you're all about the music. I also suspect this is why you're music is so bloody annoying. Say what you will about Poison or Warrant...their songs may not be art, but they sure had a lot more fun.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


From time to time, inspiration hits me & I come up with genius level ideas for surefire hit TV shows...and I thought I'd share a few of them with you!

First up, a reimagining of a television classic. America's favorite scary family has left 1313 Mockingbird Lane, moved to Wisconsin and opened a gourmet cheese shop. That's's Herman, Lily, Grandpa and Eddie in a comedy not for the lactose intolerant. It's The Muensters!

Next...He's a cop on the edge, she's a single mother trying to make her way in the world, he's a bionic labradoodle on the run from the government, they're trying to find their way in the world after high school and he's a wacky immigrant working as a janitor in a school full of geniuses. Don't Miss...CopMomRobodogDimitri Lake.

You loved him in "Footloose," recognized him in "A Few Good Men," and saw waaaaay too much of him in "Wild Things." Now America's favorite reasonably famous actor brings a whole new dimension to game shows. Each week, a panel will try and pick out Kyra Segwick's husband from a lineup of contestants who are pantsless. Be sure to catch the excitement on "That's Not Bacon!"

Three men of the cloth from different backgrounds team up to spread the word & run a small town tavern on the hilarious new sitcom "A Minister, A Priest & A Rabbi."

As you can tell, I am the next Aaron Spelling. All I need is the big TV money to come through & I'll be sitting pretty!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Name Game

A brief word to my fellow genre geeks out there who are considering becoming parents. I produce the Kids Club Birthday spots that air on UNC-TV & UNC-KD. Every week, I witness the horrors perpetrated on innocent children by "creative" parents. Names that appear to be spelled phonetically...Names that have all 5 vowels in them for no reason whatsoever...names that have extraeneous consonants...and I have remained silent. "Not my kid, not my problem," has been my motto. But this time it's gone too far and I must speak out.

Some parent out there felt the need, the desire, the motivation to look down at the innocent face of their (presumably) first-born child, a child who has their entire lives before them, a child who has hurt no one, these parents looked at this baby and decided to name this child "Darth."

Geek parents, listen carefully, I'm only going to say this once...You Name. Your Pets After. Characters From. Science Fiction. Films... NOT YOUR KIDS!

Sending your child into the world with a name like "Darth" or "Anakin" or "Strider" isn't doing him any favors. At best, you're adding another level of stress to what's already going to be a difficult adolescence (and every adolescence is difficult. If it wasn't for you, you wouldn't be naming a kid "Frodo" or "Samwise.")

I know these characters mean something special to you. I have the same love for fantasy & sci-fi that you do. I just think that anything that could make a kid's life more difficult should be avoided.

To quote one of my heroes, Dr. Henry Jones, Sr., "We named the dog Indiana."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Keeping The Faith

I spend a lot of time on the Facebook & the Twitter. As it's gotten closer to Easter, I've noticed an interesting trend that, quite frankly, kinda bums me out.

I understand that not everyone shares my faith. That's fine...religion (or having no religion) is a personal choice and one that comes after long periods of soul-searching. As far as I'm concerned, as long as you respect me & my choice, I'll respect you & yours.

But what's troubling is that it seems like it's OK to be disrespectful & rude to people of faith & mock everything associated with it.

I know that in many cases, Christians have behaved badly to people who don't believe. We've brought some of the anger on ourselves by not living up to what we've been taught.

But Christians, like all large groups, are made up of individuals. Many of whom would never think of verbally abusing others or hating people they've never met. It makes me sad to see all of us painted with the same brush just because a few act like jerks.

Of course, the easy answer is, "Stop acting like jerks.". But when dealing with people, there are no easy answers.

Despite what some say, Christians aren't perfect. We struggle every day to reconcile our faith with a world that doesn't want to know about it.

If you don't believe what I believe & I mock you for it, then you have every right to think I'm an intolerant jackass. But somehow it's OK for you to mock what I believe & I'm "too sensitive" if I take it personally? Is a little mutual respect too much to ask?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Gym Rat

Almost a year ago, I joined a gym. I enjoy it, but it has led to some...interesting observations.

*Women have coordinated workout outfits. The shorts or pants & shirt match. They're put together. Men grab whatever their wives haven't thrown out or hasn't fallen apart yet. Lots of bandannas, big baggy shorts and "Where's The Beef" T-Shirts.

*Anytime before noon is senior citizen time. Treadmills that barely move, lots of khaki pants, plaid shirts & black socks (little old men dress up to work out like they're going to Golden Corral for dinner), and lots and lots of standing around.

*Why are the guys who primarily lift weights so ticked off? I mean, it's obvious they're strong and muscular and if I were strong and muscular, I'd be in a pretty good mood. Not these guys. They look like they're going in for their annual prostate exam.

*If you haven't been inside a locker room since high school, you aren't missing anything. They all vaguely smell of disinfectant, sweat and desperation.

*Speaking of locker rooms...stop walking around naked old guys. Seriously, just because you won World War II and kept Communists from taking over America doesn't mean you get to parade around in the buff.

*Nothing motivates me to work out harder than having every TV tuned to either CNN, Fox News or Fast Money. I'll kick the treadmill up to 20 just to get away faster.

*There's always that one lady who, either because of her looks, workout attire or attitude that you suspect is actually a stripper.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sparkles Over Peace Street

So, tonight is the Season 2 finale of Super Sparkle Showcase. It's been a gas from the start & I expect it to finish even stronger than it began. I wanted to take this opportunity to give a few shout outs.

To the contestants & their partners in Sparkle: I am so proud of all of you & what you've accomplished. Each week you accepted the challenge to take a simple suggestion & make it so much more. Each one of you have blown me away in one way or another during the past 6 weeks. You're all winners in my book.

To my co-judges: It's been so much fun getting to play with and off of you. You've made my good weeks fun, my bad weeks better & the whole run some of the most fun I've had in the past 5 years. So many thanks, so little time.

To Jason: Thanks for bringing this one-of-a-kind show to ComedyWorx & thanks for letting me be a part of it. You, sir, are the wind beneath my improv wings & never once told me to put on a frigging shirt.

So, once more into the breach...let's get ready to Sparkle!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Free Speech

There seems to be some sort of disconnect these days concerning the privilege of free speech. Specifically, the idea that just because you can say whatever you want should you say whatever you want?

I believe that everyone has the right to have his or her own opinion about any topic that strikes their fancy. I've been known to have opinions as well & to voice them whenever it seemed necessary. However, if you insist that I respect your right to have an opinion then I must insist that you respect my right to think you're a jag-off for the way you express that opinion.

Let's take any topic that could be considered controversial (gay marriage, abortion, religion, politics, Joel vs. Mike on MST3K.) Now, for our example, let's replace the hot button topic with the word "cookies." Here's how it's gonna go down:

If you say that you are not in favor of cookies, but I am, then I'm going to chalk it up to a difference of opinion. Live & let live, no harm, no foul.

If you say that cookies are what's wrong with the world today, I'll probably try and engage you in a discussion on the pros vs. cons of cookies and their effects on society. As long as we're having a (reasonably) adult and (somewhat) mature debate, once again: Live & let live, no harm, no foul.

But if you go around saying things like, "Cookies are evil. Anyone who likes cookies should be beaten within an inch of their lives. Cookies are for ignorant, weak willed morons and I will mock anyone who has ever or will ever support or endorse cookies because I am superior to them. Their opinions don't count. If they had any brains, they would listen to me...I like crackers!!" Then, I'm not going to try and discuss our inherent differences even though I might see the merits of crackers.

What I'm going to do is think you're a jag-off who isn't really so in love with crackers as he is with the sound of his own voice. And if you decide to slam cookie lovers on the internet (the national headquarters of hit & run opinions), then you've moved up from jag-off to d-bag pretty quickly.

I know there are people who live their lives with 100% honesty & refuse to sugarcoat their opinions. But the people I know who are like that will deal with others one-on-one when they have a differing viewpoint. They won't throw a verbal hand grenade & hide behind the "I'm entitled to my opinion" defense.

Sure, you can spout off any opinion you's a free country. But don't be surprised when not everyone agrees with you.