Wild Animal

OBSRVTNS: February 18th, 2018



Greetings Syrenauts! 


It’s been awhile!  I was going through a bit of a comedy slump, but more importantly I was finishing the first draft of my novel.  That meant book club, and all my other loftly plans for the Patreon fell to the wayside.   I’m happy to report…THE FIRST DRAFT OF THE NOVEL IS DONE!

That’s right, bitches.  I finished my first draft of my first novel.  I had been toiling on and on, when Conner Habib pointed out I’d written three novels and was on my way to the fourth when the first was already finished for a while now.  A few months ago.  So the book is done.  Now I have to go through and begin the first series of rewrites, revisions, line edits, and all the other stuff that goes into getting a manuscript as perfect as possible.  I’m committed to this journey, no matter how long it takes.  Even it is another year before it’s ready to be sent off to an agent and shopped around town. 

In the meantime, the heavy lifted of writing the damn thing is done, which means I can spend a couple hours a day working on the edits; but have my fucking mind back! 

I’m going to finally have time for the book club and to rearrange my living room and get video equipment so I can put the podcast up on youtube.  I’m going to have time to read for the book club.  I’m going to have the time and energy to write this newsletter, and I have the space to write stand up.  I’ve written ten minutes of new material this week. 

I turned the valve, and it all came rushing out. 



Speaking of stand up.  I headlined for two days in Fresno with my friend Dustin David.  Dave Apkarian, a bear of a man and goodhearted as heck, hosted us at his place.  I love visiting home, seeing how much it’s changed and how much it is the same.  I got to visit my dad and introduce him to Dustin.  I’m cagey about letting people that far in, but Dustin is a good friend and it felt nice to let someone see something I’m so protective of.  I grew up pretty poor and I still feel embarrassment from time to time about letting people see where I came from. 

I realized this weekend that I still carry around some of that shame.  It’s why when I’m at friend’s houses that are better off than me, I still fear that I’m letting my poor get all over everything.  I know rationally this doesn’t make much sense, but my brain tends to be wire backwards, as Melanie Vesey says. 

I’m going to be in Fresno again this Friday, and I’m performing two spots in Los Angeles. 

I also went to the taping of Melanie Vesey’s comedy special Wild Animal.  She has an incredible story.  You can find her episode of the podcast on http://sovereignsyre.net/observations or on iTunes or on http://observationspod.libsyn.com

You can find the latest podcast with Dustin David and Dave Apkarian there too. 

For my upcoming shows you can go here: http://sovereignsyre.net/shows.



Speaking of the podcast and patreon; I’ve moved the podcast from SoundCloud to Libsyn.  The old episodes will stay on at soundlcoud, but new episodes will be uploaded to libsyn.  If you’re subscribed on iTunes, Libsyn automatically switched you over to the new feed.  If not, you can always stream the podcast from my site: http://sovereignsyre.net/observations.  If you aren’t subscribed on iTunes, please do!!! It really helps to get advertisers, sponsors, etc to have a high subscriber count.  Please download that episodes as well, instead of just playing them.  Advertisers look at downloads not plays.  And of course please rate and review the podcast on iTunes.  You can do it all from your smartphone and it really helps the podcast out!


My guests this past week were Dustin David and Dave Apkarian.  You can find out more about Dustin at his site http://dustindavidcomedy.com

If you want to know more about Melanie Vesey and where you can buy her special when it comes out: http://melanievesey.com.




Stuff I’ve been into lately:

·         Just discovered Mom on Hulu.  I know it’s all corporate, but it’s incredible.  I’m late to the party, but I didn’t get television until this year. 

·         Marc Maron’s podcast episode with Martha Kelly is really moving.  Martha Kelly plays the best friend/romantic lead in Baskets, a show everyone should be watching.  Here’s some of her standup: https://youtu.be/XpttkQOd3iw

·         And I never get tired of SAD by Kirin J. Callinan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgBSAs5gwGk

·         I’ve really been into Roy Orbison and his balletic voice lately.  Here’s some Blue Bayou: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiMl4yX1JiA






Not Much To Report

Not much to report this week.  I've been doing very good at the lying fallow thing I was talking about last week.  Just working on my book, editing my graphic novel and working on my jokes.  I'm exhausted by politics and I'm really looking forward to the election.  And then the election being over.  I think I've always been in denial about the possibility of Trump winning the presidency and excited about Hillary getting into office because, like most other ladies, I'd like to have a lady president.  And she's the most qualified candidate ever to run, but she also has troubling foreign policy and a strained relationship to queer issues.  I don't like Trump mainly because I think he's very unattractive and his arrogance is off putting.  It's an emotional reason I know. 

I'm most frustrated these days with the culture that's emerged of feigned outrage.  More and more the alt-right and liberal sensibilities seem interchangeable.  I don't have the energy to articulate the feeling better.  It's the feeling you get when you see think-pieces about how offensive it is that people refer to their pets as if they're children, or why Amy Schumer's Formation video was problematic.  If you don't know what's wrong with Amy Schumer's video, a think piece can't tell you, you're beyond hope.

I've really taken to listening to Milo Yiannopoulus's podcast for this reason.  I don't agree with anything he has to say, but at the same time it's refreshing to hear someone saying how they really feel.  Is that weird?  It's weird.  I call it hate listening, and I do think it's important to know what the opposition thinks.  I'm not a conservative, but listening to conservative rhetoric helps to remind me why I disagree with the alt-right and also why conservatives feel what they feel, or even what they feel.  So that's my confession.  It actually feels good to hear someone saying what they really think, knowing it's unpopular. 

A lot of my comedy friends didn't have anything to say about her Amy Schumer's Formation video.  I'm gonna guess it's because they didn't want to potentially damage their careers.  A lot of them know her or have known her.  A lot of fucking voices were silent, which is the same as endorsing it to be honest.  If you really believe that institutionalized and systemic racism is wrong, why not speak out when one of the most famous white women in the world does something so tone deaf?  It left me dejected.  I don't know.  What the fuck do you really care about you guys?  Like really?  Because think pieces about how people talk about their dogs are sign of liberal ideology in deep shit.  We look ridiculous y'all and we need to get in fucking #formation. 

This week's guest on OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre I have stand up Matt Kirshen.  We talk about the experience of being on Last Comic Standing, the difference between English and American comedy and then we get into stuff about polyamory, slut-shaming and forgetting when you have a tampon in. 



I'm Not Gonna Lie

I'm not gonna lie, this last week I did a lot of sitting on my ass and vibrating with my own fear of success shit.  Other people call it bingewatching on Netflix.  The main thing I've learned is that it takes approximately three hours for me to find fictional characters more interesting than the world around me and about five hours to be more invested in their future than my own.  There is some good to it.  I was watching American Horror Story and it was good to get out of the world of the two books I'm working on and just fucking enjoy some TV.  It is some of the best acting on TV right now, even if the writing is fairly uneven and often predictable. 

In it's own way, when you're really living in a project, everything is seen through the filter of that project. I'm always writing my book even when I'm not, so as I watch an episode I'm studying it, how does this narrative thread work, why does this one fail, etc.  That kind of thing.  So even distractions aren't really distractions.  Today I sat down and again was writing in earnest, even more focused because I knew what not to do.  I get mired down in knowing exactly why my characters are doing something, feeling that if it's not very clear why Louis would suddenly feel this way or that way about Marc-Aurelien, well, it all goes to shit.  The truth is, it's not that important.  I just need to write the scene and let the characters have some fucking serendipity.  It's not like most of us know the reason we do half the shit we do.

For me writing becomes very much about restraint.  Holding back the muse like she's a rabid dog on a chain, when what I should do is let her run.  I'll find her eventually and build a strong fence once I know the full extent of the territory. 

Is that enough mixed metaphors for everyone?  Cool.  The good news is, as I edit the script for the graphic novel, I become more confident in my choices as a writer.  Things are good.  Not so used to that.  It means that things can get boring or a little scary.  I haven't done stand up in a week.  I just lost the passion for it.  But I'm forcing myself back out there.  I just have to get in the habit again. 

I tend to sit in the house all day working on one thing.  I forget the importance of getting outside.  The longer I linger inside during the day, the more of a task it seems to go out, and out is where the action is.  At least, there aren't any comedy shows or open mics that take place at my house.  Everything in LA is a drive and man, sometimes you just want to watch the next season of American Horror Story because Evan Peters is so god damned good at his job.

This week's guest on OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre is stand up comic Sarah Hylander.  We talk about auditioning for Saturday Night Live and living on Doug Benson's couch.  She's fucking funny.  Does great characters too. 



I'm Not Sure How To Sustain The Enthusiasm

I'm not sure how to sustain the enthusiasm.  I feel less excited about comedy lately, it's something that wanes quickly when I stop going up.  I started editing my graphic novel script and I was surprised at how good it actually is.  I'm not saying that as a brag, I mean it in relation to how bad I was convinced it was.  When you spend eight months writing something, you kind of forget what you were writing in month one.  I'm looking forward to working on it, it's going to be a lot easier than I thought.  I've never completed such a long piece of work before and I learned a lot along the way.  I tend to over write, I like to layer like Nabokov, but having some distance from it has made it easier to see what can be pared away.  I think it's a really good story and I'm excited to see exactly what shape it takes. 

I've also been burning through the novel I'm working on.  I think about it all day, I dream about the characters.  I feel like a mother giving birth.  It's hard to sustain the enthusiasm for other things...which makes standup more difficult.   I write on stage and I write about things that are going on in my life, but the only thing going on in my life is sitting in front of a laptop writing stories about the lives of imagined people hundreds of years ago. 

I think I'm going to have to go on another one of those quests where I try to go up 100 times before December 20th (the first time I did stand up).  I guess that's what life is, being consistent even when you don't feel it.  Forcing myself to go up and tell jokes even when I don't feel inspired.  I've been working on a bit about rape culture, Milo Yiannopoulos, the alt-right and pc culture.  I think it's good stuff, but I get scared sometimes up there.  The language is strong, though so is the point I'm trying to make.  Wish me luck!

This week on OBSERVATIONSwith Sovereign Syre, (please subscribe, rate and review, it helps) I have Jonathan Larroquette on of the two hosts of the wildly popular Uhh Yeah Dude podcast.  We talk about everything from turning a podcast into a phenomenon to growing up with a famous parent and trying to find yourself.  He has a gold tooth that I'm super jealous of.  I'm getting my own made. 

I have a new clip up over on the media page.  It's Dave Foley helping me read some of my email at last month's Cobra Juice show.  This month's Cobra Juice is October 21st.  We have Open Mike Eagle and a secret special guest.  She's a comedy icon.  You'll regret not going to this show.  Go get tickets!