I am not a steak


A comedian friend recently told me that his favorite thing about being a comedian is that there is “no front office.” No single authority figure. No one person who holds your career in their hands.

But that can sometimes be a double-edged sword. I mean there’s something to be said for having superiors, filters — shit let’s be honest… someone to whom you can pass the buck. If I worked for Hoover and I sold you a vacuum cleaner that didn’t work, I feel for ya, but it ain’t my problem. Call corporate. If you order a steak and it’s not to your liking, you can send it back to the kitchen…

But comics are not vacuums.

Or steaks.

In an industry where, not only is the product you’re selling intangible and subjective, but *you* are actually the product, being a one-man/woman company isn’t always glamorous. If I sell you *me* and you decide after the transaction has taken place that you didn’t like me, what recourse do you or should you have? It’s not like I can offer to go backstage, come out and do the the show again… And it’s likely you wouldn’t ask me to even if I could.

I recently performed at an event where nearly two weeks later the event coordinator contacted me to tell me that the organization was totally dissatisfied with my performance. I’d been paid (AFTER the performance — mind you, sans complaints). Check cashed. To revisit my earlier metaphor, the entire steak had been eaten and paid for, but the diner still wanted to send it back. I was literally asked to cut the organization a check for the difference between what I was paid and what I felt I deserved. Yeah, really. I’m surprised my pride even allowed me to type that last sentence, but I did it to illustrate my point.

Most folks outside of the industry don’t have a clear understanding of all the things that impact the dynamics of a show… Format. Flow. Energy. Venue setup. It’s why people don’t understand why you can’t just tell them a joke on command at a 4th of July picnic and have it hit the same way it would in a club.

“Yeah we’re gonna put you up right after dinner has been served and have you do 15 minutes… Then we’re going to have our director come up and talk about how contributing to cancer research can greatly improve the quality and reduce loss of life… and then we just need you to do a tight 5 to close the show out.” Word? This incident is actually not the one this blog is about… but this happened as well. Strangely I did really well at the cancer fundraiser, but it was in spite of the format.

Anyway, when the show organizer called me up it was literally my worst comedy experience ever. Of course as a comic I know that there will never be a time when everyone enjoys your show equally. But just the suggestion that I send them back money based on what I felt I deserved made me boil because I had charged them a lot less than I normally would have based on the nature of the event. My pride puffed up and I told him he could have the entire check back. I was pissed, not just at the request, but at the manner and tone in which it was presented and the fact that the issue was not brought up until so far after the event. I handled the call with all the professionalism I could muster, but it was the angriest I’d been in years. I WISH I’d had someone else to field the call… Continue reading →

Contribute to what, exactly?

So my mom got an e-mail from ‘Hillary Clinton’ this morning. Yesterday she took Hillz up on her invitation to go to her website and tell her how she felt about her campaign and her candidacy… Below is the reply she received. Whatever. The most confusing part of the whole letter for me is the ‘contribute’ button at the bottom.


What exactly are people supposed to be contributing to? It’s over.

Fall back, ma.


But really, do our breasts have to touch?

Alright, so all comics — all people for that matter — have their own neuroses. Anyone that knows me even casually is probably pretty aware that I am not a fan of unsolicited or unwarranted hugging, European cheek kissing, etc. In fact ‘not a fan of’ is really an understatement.

I absolutely hate it.

A lot of people assume it’s because I’m a “germaphobe” or something. But that’s not the case at all. I just think hugging is a really intimate a gesture. I used to do a bit about how I reserve hugs for people I’m dating and really special occasions — when I see people I haven’t seen in a really long time. Like if I saw my grandmother, I’d hug her because she passed away in 1993 and reincarnation is a legitimately hugworthy event. Blah, blah, blah. There was more to it and it was only moderately funny, but I loved the bit because I felt like I was being really honest about something that really bugs me that I think a lot of people could identify with, but apparently it just made me seem like an icy jerk.

People would come up to me after the show and say stuff like, “Well, I really enjoyed your show. But I’m NOT gonna hug you…” Real snarky-like. As if they were punishing me. And I’d always be thinking GREAT!!! Cause in case you missed it, NOT hugging me is exactly what I want for you to do.

(I mean, scientifically, has not hitting the bitch achieved the desired result?)

Please pardon my A.D.D. That last sentence just reminded me of this episode…

But back to the point. Why would you even think a hug is the appropriate gesture for this situation anyway?

“Hey, I really think you’re funny. Now let’s rub our boobs together.”


A couple of weeks ago I went out to help my friend Dawan celebrate his birthday, and he and a few other folks thought it would be cute to take a series of photos where people were trying to hug me or put me in semi-headlocks. And you know what? It WAS cute.

Please read the irony.


Right about here I was thinking, “If it wasn’t your birthday I’d probably try to fight you. And you with the camera, Walk home.”


I hated every second of it. My mom says I was like that even as a kid. I’m sure I should probably be in therapy somewhere… But until I can find a therapist who accepts CVS Extra Care Bucks for payment, I’m gonna need y’all to stop it.

John that means you ;)

If cab drivers in D.C. didn’t pick up Black people

They’d be unemployed. That’s a given. But even though I managed to hail a cab last nite — 4 cabs actually  — I never got a ride home. And that’s just as bad.

Now, of course I’m not new to the concept that cab drivers, chinese food carry outs drivers, etc. don’t always wanna travel to what folks consider the hood at nite, but dammit, if you refuse to enter an entire quadrant of the city, it’s time to rethink your career choice.

I’d been out of my house since 7:30 AM, so by the time I got off stage at about 9:30 PM I was ready to hop in a cab, go home and make myself a turkey sandwich and go to sleep. I was in Adams Morgan and I got a cab pretty quickly…

I got in and shut the door and here’s what transpired next:

Punk-ass cabbie #1: [Inaudible grunt] Where you going?

Me: [Street number, Street name] Southeast.

Punk-ass cabbie #1: NO.

No? Really? Cause I think the answer is yes. That is absolutely where I’m going. But he didn’t move. He didn’t look at me. He didn’t even ask me to get out of the cab. He just sat there. So I flicked him off and got out of the cab.

So now I hail another cab, and here’s what transpired next:

Bitch-ass cabbie #2: [Gurgle]

Me: Hi, I’m going to [Street number, Street name]……………….. Southeast.

Bitch-ass cabbie #2: Sorry, I have to pick someone up by 10.

Me: Then you shouldn’t have stopped.

Bitch-ass cabbie #2: Sorry, No.

Again no movement. Just a No. Once again I flipped him off and got out of the cab. Pissed. To the point of maximum pisstivity… But I tried again.

This time I was picked up by an American Black cab driver. I’m not saying that for any other reason than I figured., “Finally… This brother is gonna understand where I’m coming from. He knows people who live in Southeast. Hell, he may live over there too. Yay!” So I get in the cab, shake it off — ready to tell him about the 2 other drivers who wouldn’t take me home when…

Bald-Uncle-Tom-ass cabbie #3: Good evening, sista

Me: [Exhale] Hi, how are you? I’m going to [Street number, Street name] Southeast.

Now at this point I’ve unclenched my jaw. I’m rolling my neck around, ready to close my eyes for the 20 minute or so ride across the river, when…

Bitch-ass cabbie #3: Awww, hell no. You gon’ have to find another ride.

Alright, am I being punked. Really? What happened to “Good evening, sista?” This time as I was getting out of the cab, I added some colorful profanity to my bird flipping. It felt good to get that out, but I was still standing on the corner with no ride home. I won’t even go into what happened with Cumin-smelling-ass-cabbie #4 cause I think you see where this is going, but suffice it to say I had to go back into the show and wait for it to be over so my friend Jason could drive hella out of his way to take me home. (Thanks, J).

Now I know some of you are thinking, “That’s illegal, EJ. They can’t do that. You should have gotten their permit numbers and reported them.” And I gotta tell you. Each time it happened I thought the same thing. But I was exhausted and in disbelief and each time I told myself… No way is the next guy gonna do the same thing… Now I wish I’d done it, because as my boy John pointed out, D.C. Mayor Fenty is big into cracking down on this type of thing. A letter with the four drivers’ numbers may have done some good.

Also as I was typing the paragraph before last,  I remembered the “Looking Ass N***a Youtube clip that I saw on a friend’s blog and it made me smile. Maybe it will make you smile as well. Here is his explanation of the title phrase in case you don’t quite get it… ENJOY!

For those of you not familiar with all the ins and outs of black culture the term, “Looking Ass Nigga” is an insult. It’s like playing the dozens. Here’s how it goes, You think of an insult about a person, and then you say the insult and follow it with the phrase, “Looking ass nigga”. For example, an insult one could spit at Michael Jackson would be a “Ol Chimp Loving Single White Female Looking ass Nigga.”

Get it?


Get your own damn statue!


This is one of my favorite pieces of art in D.C. It’s a sculpture called The Awakening and for the last 28 years, it’s resided at Hains Point in D.C.’s East Potomac Park. It’s huge — like 100 feet long and though a lot of people think it’s creepy, I think it’s beautiful.

Hains Point sits right on the Potomac and has always been my favorite summer cool-out spot. On Sundays people just drive up there and play music, chill at the picnic areas… And whenever I have friends visit I love to take them there. In college my girl Jess and I spent more than a few drunken nights climbing the statue and taking ridiculous photos–none of which I’m willing to post here. “Look it’s grabbing my butt. Now you sit in the hand…” Oh those were the days…

But today they’re digging up the statue and moving it to a burgeoning new ‘hot spot’ in Prince George’s County–the National Harbor. Some guy bought it for like three-quarters of a million dollars and it’s now gonna “anchor the main promenade at Prince George’s County’s National Harbor project.”

Well, booooooo! P.G. County needs to get their own damn statue and leave ours the hell alone. Really rich guy? Just “I want that one!” like Michael Jackson in that souvenir store? Y’all remember what I’m talking about… If you have $750,000 to spend, you could have just paid someone to build you your own. I hate rich people. I can’t wait til I’m rich so I can give some rich people a piece of my mind.

No thanks, Curtissss…

OK, in case you haven’t seen this yet, 50 Cent endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.

On the O’Reilly Factor.

Curtis, could you PLEASE go somewhere and sit down. Do we really need to give this man any more ammunition? You are effing it up for the rest of us. You are NO LONGER RELEVANT, and nobody believes that you’re registered to vote. I’m sure this is one Hillary’s willing to throw back.

Don’t make me exhume the word…

And I thought myspace was bad

I did everything I could to prevent this.

I stayed away from Friendster and Facebook and Linked In and every other social networking site. I only had time and space for one Internet addiction–and Myspace was it. But then my best girlfriend Keisha and my boy Antonio–both fellow Howard University alum–kidnapped and tortured me and forced me to sign up for Bisonroundup.com, a social networking site just for Howard University graduates. For weeks I had been ignoring requests from all kinds of people asking me to join. And I was doing fine… But today I was bullied into visiting the site, and I haven’t been able to get off.

Everyone on the site is either someone I know or someone I would pretty much consider family (that’s how HBCU alumni are). It’s so great to see what everyone is up to. It highlights fellow alum who are doing amazing things in their careers and communities… And even with all that awesomeness I feel like someone needs to stop this. I can see right now, thousands of intelligent, ambitious beautiful young Black folks are going to lose their jobs because they’re spending all day on the Internet reminiscing about how much we still love it when the Showtime Marching Band plays that Cameo song at the football games (Heeeeeeeeeey…. you talking out the side of ya neck) or how some of us almost didn’t graduate because we didn’t pass Beginning Swimming. It really is a shame.

Damn you Bisonroundup creator. Damn you.