Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How to put stand-up comedy on a resume

Always leave 'em laughing. And if that's not possible, always leave them knowing that you're capable of being funny.

Every year, I get to look at soon-to-be-grads' portfolios, and every year I yell and scream at the comedy-writing students, "Why didn't you put your stand-up comedy experience on your resume?!"

Usually, the students look at me blankly as if to say that there's been nothing on Earth to force them to listen to anything I've said so far, and there's probably no point in starting now.

Nonetheless, it's true. Stand-up comedy is a great thing to put on your resume, because:

1. It gives you something interesting to talk about.
2. It shows you have a sense of humor.
3. It shows you're fearless.
4. It shows you know how to write to engage an audience.
5. It shows you're not opposed to having a drink or six after work. 

The key is to highlight that you did the stand-up in addition to other stuff, you also did communications-related duties, you performed at real places for real audiences, and you've got accolades. Of course, name-dropping doesn't hurt either. "I'll never forget the time I got drunk with Mike Wilmot and Derek Edwards at Carlos and Murphy's..." Bad example!

The stand-up experience on my resume:
Stand-Up Comedian, Winnipeg, 2000 to present.
  • Retained to provide entertainment for comedy clubs and events, in addition to daytime responsibilities.
  • Distribute press kits, news releases, and bios.
  • Perform at Just For Laughs showcases, the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, Rumor’s Restaurant and Comedy Club, the Winnipeg Press Club, West End Cultural Centre, Pyramid Cabaret, and King’s Head Pub.
  • Worked with talent, including Harland Williams, Greg Proops, Russell Peters, Derek Edwards, Brent Butt, and Ron James.
  • Named one of Winnipeg’s best, new comics in the Winnipeg Sun.
Then, in your portfolio, include a photo of you doing stand-up. Under that photo, write out your best bit. Leave out the swears.

Done! Now you're more interesting than 99 per cent of everyone else applying for the job.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

CreCommedy Nights hit Rumor's on Nov. 2 and 3


CreCommedy Nights are coming to Rumor's Restaurant and Comedy Club on Sunday and Monday, Nov. 2 and 3, 2014.

Each night features a roster of Red River College's funniest Creative Communications students from my comedy writing class making their stand-up comedy debut - seven hilarious minutes of material each.

Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 7:45 p.m. There is no admission after the show starts. Tickets are $10 a piece, each night sold separately.

You can buy tickets from me between now and Halloween. After Halloween, tickets will be available at Rumor's by phone (204-488-4520) or at the door on the night of the performance (but last year sold out in advance - so you know what to do).

The talent:

Winnipeg communications jobs for Winnerpeggers like you - week of Sept. 21, 2014

1. Marketing and Events Manager, Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba

2. News Producer (contract), CTV

3. Fund Development Events Coordinator, Manitoba Lung Association

4. Content Specialist, IC Group

5. Marketing Coordinator, Birchwood Credit Solutions

6. News Announcer, Corus

7. Marketing Coordinator, North American Lumber

8. Communications and Public Affairs Specialist, Fairtrade Canada

9. Digital Content/News Writer and Editor, DEL Communications

10. Digital Broadcast Journalist, Shaw

11. Fund Development Manager, Society for Manitobans with Disabilities

12. Communications Specialist, Great-West Life

13. Communications Officer, Genome Prairie

14. Strategic Business Writer, McKim

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

These are a few of my favorite student advertising clients

 Today we salute you, Toad Hall Toys. 

The client has a bad rap.

Long famed in the advertising business for not understanding creative and providing unsolicited feedback when none is warranted, I think it's time we rebranded the client - because one of my most-favorite things in the world is meeting clients with awesome businesses and helping them promote the living hell out of them.

As a teacher, I particularly appreciate the ad client who allows advertising students to not only work on a campaign for his or her business, but also takes the time to weigh their ideas and give feedback at the same time he or she has a business to run.

In 10 years at Red River College, I've had the pleasure to work with these great clients on student campaigns; real men and women of genius, the lot.
Sample student work:

Now, may I please have some free stuff? Haw, haw...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Five things no one tells you about being a homeowner

Props to my homies.

As I approach my 10th year as a homeowner, I can't help but reflect on everything I've learned over the decade: how to paint a wall while ruining everything else in the house by spilling paint on it, spot a neighbor with a meth addiction (hint: he's covered in blood!), and shrug my shoulders, look into an imaginary camera, and say, "It's a living," after the roof caves in.

Before purchasing a house, Tom Hanks and Shelley Long, be sure to consider my words of wisdom:  

1. Water is your mortal enemy.

If water doesn't pour in from the side of your house, it will froth up from below, or seep down from above. Water doesn't sustain life, it destroys it, and it will destroy yours if you think you can somehow stop it.

The best bet? Move to California where there is no water, or open a public pool in your home and charge admission to get in. Ka-ching!

2. Everyone has an idea about why your roof sucks. None of them is right.

Why does my roof suck? It's ice damming. Or maybe it's old. Or maybe it's the ventilation. Or maybe it's the drainage spouts. Or maybe it's the sun. Or maybe it's climate change. Or maybe I'm radiating too much heat from my giant head.

In fact, it might be all or none of these things, but it doesn't stop people from offering their concern and two cents, delivered with the smug certainty of someone who can only be talking out of his or her arse. Bonus points if the person expresses grave concern about possible damage to a "load-bearing wall."

3. Something is always broken.

After you purchase your house, do this simple experiment: paint your entire house. Now, take a step back to admire your work. While you do, the fence will fall down.

4. Before you buy, look in your next-door-neighbor-to-be's yard.

If there are kids smoking meth on the neighbors' front porch during the day, things will really get going at night. Then again, if sleep isn't important to you, you might get a really sweet deal on the price.

5. You can actually pay it off much more quickly than you think.

It's not all bad news, homey. 

My real-estate agent once said, "Save $1 a day, and at the end of the year, put that $365 on your mortgage." I did what he said and, thanks to the miracle of compounding interest, it's almost paid off - about 14 years before it was supposed to be.

With my debt nearly paid off, I'm looking forward to retiring early and concentrating on fixing my house full time.

Winnipeg communications jobs for Winnerpeggers like you - week of Sept. 14, 2014

1. Communications and Marketing Director, WTC Winnipeg

2. Communications Coordinator, CPA

3. Video Graphic Artist, CTV

4. Creative Producer, Citytv

5. Manager, Program Development, Canadian Blood Services

6. Marketing Communications Generalist, Manitoba Blue Cross

7. Marketing Coordinator, Birchwood Automotive Group

8. Marketing Coordinator, Navitas

9. Digital Marketing Specialist, the Dilawri Group

Friday, September 5, 2014

11 new and brutaful words

Elsie: see number 6.

1. Brutaful - Lovely and awful at once.

2. Content Vampire - Writer by day, blood-sucking plagiarist by night.

3. De ja ewww - The strange feeling of having been grossed out before.

4. Disimprovement - Ruining stuff you own by trying to improve stuff you own. Example: spilling paint on a couch.

5. Dogpeople - Humans who hang their faces out of bus windows to catch the breeze.

6. Elsie - The rare photo you take of someone else.

7. Glasshole - An easily identifiable jerk.

8. Gruntled - Happy and satisfied.

9. Hacoughany - Inharmonious throat-clearing.

10. Juliable - Predictably good weather in the summertime.

11. Moose Jawdience - Spectators in Saskatchewan. Usage: "The Moose Jawdience was blown away by Carrie Underwood."