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I’m filming a SpikeTV comedy special Thursday, March 5th in Columbus, Ohio

“Fuck yeah!”
Those were my exact words when I found out I was going to be filming Spike TV’s first ever comedy hour March 5th at the Southern Theater in Columbus, Ohio.
The planning of it is a little bit last minute, but the location and time of it feel perfect.
When we talked about doing the special I had to figure out where the best place to film it would be. I did my first CD in Houston, my first DVD in Austin, my second DVD in Phoenix, and my second CD in San Francisco.
I’ve been going to Columbus to do stand up for at least a decade now, and I’ve always had a great time. We have a huge UFC event there in March during the Arnold Classic, a gigantic fitness/martial arts/bodybuilding freak show that fills the city for a week with weirdos and psychos. It’s a perfect time and place for me to do my stand up special. On top of that, they’re going to show this special after 10pm so I’m going to be able to take the shackles off and run wild.
The place where I’m going to perform at is called “The Southern Theater.” It’s a bad ass old theater that was built way back in 1896. It’s gorgeous, and it’s got a fuck load of history and the energy of countless performances embedded into it’s walls. W.C. Fields and May West performed there back in the day.
I’ve only got 23 days from now until film day, so I’ve decided to put up a daily blog until then. I started writing the blog on February 5th, but since it wasn’t finalized yet I decided not to publish them until today.
I’ll throw the first 3 days up today, and then catch up to the rest tomorrow and the next day. From then on out I’ll have a daily blog, and even some video blogs up as I get ready for the show.
As soon as tickets are available for the Spike special I’ll have the info posted here as well.

Day one, February 5, 2009 – 1:15am.

Today was the day I got confirmation that I’m going to be doing a comedy special for Spike TV. This will be the first comedy special Spike has ever done, and it will air in reruns on both Spike TV and comedy central. It’s been about 2 years since my last stand up release, my Comedy Central CD, “Shiny Happy Jihad.”
Since then I’ve been doing a ton of writing and lots of road gigs, so I’m primed and ready for a new special.

We’ve decided that a good time to shoot this thing would be on the same weekend we’re going to have a UFC in Columbus, Ohio which as of the time I’m writing this is about a month away.
Since that’s not a lot of time to get ready, I thought it would be a good idea to start a journal documenting my preparation. For me, it’s a good idea because I can be a lazy fuck, and if I’m writing down everything I’m doing to get ready for this there’ll be no way I can slack off. This special is going to be featuring what I feel is my best material yet and my highest profile special as well, so I want to be 100% geared up come show time.
Ordinarily I would probably want more than a month to get ready for a show this important, but I’ve been performing a lot over the last few months, and my sets have been some of the best of my career. As long as I stay disciplined and do all the things I need to do leading up to the show it should be the best shit I’ve ever done. This journal is going to insure that I do just that.
I also thought the journal would be interesting for people that enjoy my stand up to get a window into my mindset during the preparation.

My initial thoughts were to do this special at the funnybone comedy club in Columbus, Ohio. I like the idea of doing it in Columbus because I’ve always had a great following there, and I was already scheduled to perform there the 2 nights before the UFC in March. I also liked the idea of doing it there because it’s an intimate comedy club, and in my opinion the best pure comedy environment is a small club of 250 to 300 people.
I was all set on this until I got a call from Dana White.
Dana and Zuffa (the company that owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship) are producing this special, and Dana feels like we need to make this thing a big production.
He’s thinking big venue, big stage. He says he’s talked to the big wigs at Spike, and they also want it to be BIG. They think it’ll be more exciting for the viewer at home that way.

I see their point. An intimate club might be the most fun to perform at and might be the most fun for the audience, but there’s nothing like a big, enthusiastic crowd to add excitement to something you’re watching at in your living room.
OK… I see their point, and I shift my focus. Now I’m thinking something in the 1,000-seat range would be a good compromise. This way we can do two shows on two nights so that we can edit the best versions of the bits together. 1000 seats gives us a big stage to decorate, and is still fairly intimate for me and for the crowd.
Now we just have to find a venue.

After I talked to Dana I went to a jiu jistu class at Legends in Hollywood.
I feel energized and focused. I’m so fucking pumped up to do this thing.
I’ve got a lot of shit to go over in the next month to prepare for it. Tomorrow I’ll call my manager and we’ll figure out a new venue and talk about how we want the stage to look.
I’ll also start documenting material and begin the process of putting together a set list.
Another important part of my preparation will be to keep a regular schedule of exercise and isolation tank sessions to keep my body in line and my mind at ease.
I’ll document what I get out of those experiences here as well.

I’m really looking forward to this special, and I’m also really excited about this project of writing a journal.
This special is going to be featuring what I feel is my best material yet and my highest profile special as well, so I want to be 100% ready come show time. Writing about it every day here will force me to think about it in a different way because I’ve got to describe everything that’s going down to all of you.
Ordinarily I would probably want more than a month to get ready for a show this important, but I’ve been performing a lot over the last few months, and my sets have been some of the best of my career. As long as I stay disciplined and do all the things I need to do leading up to the show it should be the best shit I’ve ever done. This journal is going to insure that I do just that.
I also thought the journal would be interesting for people that enjoy my stand up to get a window into my mindset during the preparation.
I’m really looking forward to this special, and I’m also really excited about this project of writing a daily journal. I really just don’t write enough blogs, and this will be a great exercise to get me into gear.

Day two, February 5, 2009 – 7:50 pm.

We’re scrambling to try to find the perfect venue in Columbus with only about a month to go before we shoot. Not exactly ideal, but the comedy Gods have smiled upon us.
Chandra (one of my managers) found a place called “The Southern Theater.”
It was built in 1896, and it’s cool as fuck. Gigantic stage, awesome décor – it’s absolutely perfect. Plus I really love old places. I know it sounds retarded, but when I perform in old venues I can almost feel the energy from the past performers.
The website says that Mae West and WC Fields have performed there.
That’s some powerful history right there. http://www.capa.com/columbus/venues/southern_about.php

We’re trying to set it up for Thursday night, March 5th. I’ll probably get to Columbus real early that week and do lots of press the week of the show, and maybe even a set at the funnybone Wednesday night. I was scheduled to perform there Thursday and Friday before we found out we were going to be recording the Spike special that week, so it looks like what we’re going to do is film the special at the Southern Theater on Thursday and then I’ll do my regularly scheduled shows at the Funnybone on Friday.

I’m in the back of a car right now headed to the airport to catch a flight to Florida.
I’ve got two shows tomorrow at the Improv in Tampa with a hilarious guy named Tom Segura. Tom and I worked together when I did the Maxim comedy tour a couple years back. The way the tour was set up it was John Hefron, Charlie Murphy and myself, and then we would use a local guy to open up the show. Tom opened up for us in Phoenix, and he was fucking outstanding. Really great comic, and a cool guy as well.
We’ve never done a road gig like this together before, but I’ve wanted to work with him again for a while. The shows in Tampa are already sold out, and I’m doing the Bubba the Love Sponge radio show in the morning. I listen to his show all the time on Sirius, so I’m really looking forward to that too. Then of course Saturday night there’s a UFC in Tampa, so it should be a fuck of a fun filled weekend.

Tom and I

It’s 10:44 PM now, and I’m sitting in the plane going getting ready to listen to recordings of some of my past sets and make notes on material. Tom and I just had some awesome gut laughs going over some of the hate mail I’ve saved from Carlos Mencia fans.
When Menstealia-gate went down a couple years ago I started getting these angry emails from his supporters I found them so entertaining that I started saving them.
With every angry, misspelled, illogical discharge of poorly placed words I felt more and more confidant that I was on the right track.
The thank you letters I got were almost all from reasonably intelligent folks, and they way outnumbered the hate mail, but there’s something kinda goofy that I’m just realizing now as I type this and it’s that I didn’t save any of those nice emails. I guess that says a lot about how dopey I can be sometimes.

At the risk of this sounding incredibly gay and insincere, I just decided to create a new folder in my mail program and call it “love.”
Now whenever someone sends me a cool email I’m gonna tuck it into there and do my very best to get back to them.
I’ve responded to hate mail in the past because I thought it was fun to poke back at angry people, but after a while I realized it’s just a tremendous waste of time. It’s also a horrible way to focus energy, for me and for them.
Hating someone you don’t know for no good reason is one of the dumbest things a person can do with their time. There’s plenty of frustration in this life, the last thing any of us need is to add new and unnecessary ones like arguing with something like this, a real email I received:

“..hey your jokes ive herd befor to!!! homes you aint the only one stealling shit !! carlos might have unintentionally sed a joke sed befor but who gives a fuck he sez it funnier !!! foo you just hattin on the raza!!! have you herd the mexican saying…WE LIE….WE CHEAT….WE STEAL….!!!!!!!!!!!BROWN PRIDE AND FUCK YOU JOE ROGAN IVE NEVER HERD OF YOU AS A COMEDIAN ANYWAYS!! ONLY THIING YOUR FAMOUSE FOR IS FUCKIN GAY AS FEAR FACTOR!! GAY AS SHOW…. CARLOS MENCIA IS THE FUNNIEST VATO I KNOW !!! SO FUCK YOU!!!HSAHAHAHAHAHAH”

It’s tough to argue with that one anyway – dude makes some solid points.
Now, if someone is an intelligent, respectful person that just disagrees with me about something I almost always get back to them, and If I don’t it’s just a result of being way too busy to keep up.
There’s nothing wrong with people disagreeing with each other, and if it’s well thought out I personally welcome it. Some of the most important things I’ve learned in life I didn’t necessarily want to hear at the time.
Honestly, even assholes have a point sometimes. You can learn a lot of things from how other people see you, even dumb people.
But at this point in my life I just refuse to spend my energy on negative bullshit and respond to them.
I look at it like a mental exercise. I get an email from someone like that I try to imagine thinking like them. I try to imagine what their perception of the world must be like.
Then I wish them well, and I let them go…
I make sure my last thoughts on anything are always empowered and positive. It’s not easy sometimes, but I guess that’s why it’s an exercise.

It’s 1:37am right now, and I’ve finished my notes on the recordings of a two hour show from Austin a couple weeks ago.
I’ve got a lot of material to go over, but I felt really good listening to it.
I’m a hyper self-critical person, and sometimes I avoid listening to my recordings because I don’t want to feel the uncomfortable feeling of criticizing myself. I just try to perform as much as possible, and do my best to prepare for each show so that I feel good about it, but I really should be reviewing and making notes on my sets more than I do.
I always get something positive out of going over my recordings, and it always makes me improve bits and get a better sense of where I can trim fat, or where something can be explained better, but I’m such a retard that I listen to myself stumble on a bit and I’ll be sick to my stomach for a solid minute. It’s this unmistakable feeling of missing the correct vibration. It’s a horrible feeling. It’s almost as bad as making someone you love cry.
It’s really necessary to feel that, because in order to have that incredibly positive feeling you get when comedy comes together perfectly, you conversely have to feel the exact opposite when it blows up in your face like a gigantic shit bomb.
I avoid doing that work sometimes, but by writing about it here I’m forcing myself to correct that.

I think over the course of my life I’ve developed a relatively unhealthy aversion to “work.”
I love to write, but for some weird reason I think of it as work sometimes. I think it must be some leftover, residual psychic bruising from the confusion and frustration that was my high school experience.
High school to me was just horribly, painfully boring. I was so fucking confused and tormented at that stage of my life.
I really had no fucking idea who I was or what I was doing, and I was painfully insecure.
I was also slowly starting to be aware of how much of this world ran on completely illogical momentum – where miserable people living exhausting lives are training their children to take the next position in the wheel. I had no idea what I was going to do for a living, and I always felt like a loser.
One thing I did know though, is that whatever they were selling with this “get a job” life I wasn’t buying it. They were selling me boredom, and responsibility, and a tiresome, repetitive, unexceptional trip through this existence.
I had no idea what I was going to do with my life, but I knew that there was no fucking way I was going to be able to show up at a job I hate every day.
Because I hated to “work” I always felt like a loser. I always felt inferior to my friends that were able to hold down jobs and put away their savings. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do it, and it drove me crazy. I had no idea if I was ever going to have a successful career in comedy, and I could have just as easily pussied out and never got on stage in the first place.

In my mind I’ve come to associate work with being a boring, tiresome thing, even if it’s work that I really enjoy, like writing. I’ve only recently been able to wrap my head around why I don’t write enough blog entries.
I always feel good when I do it, but for whatever reason I’ll put them off for weeks and months sometimes even after I’ve started a particularly interesting one.

I embrace distractions. I always have. I get completely, insanely addicted to things.
For years it was martial arts, then it was playing pool, then it was video games.
It’s like I get on this path of singular focus, and I find it really hard to switch gears and focus on other things. What I’m going to try to do with this blog, and this monthly journal leading up to my recording of my special is to share this with all of you every day.
I’m going to commit to writing a new blog every single day until I tape my special, and in doing that I hope that I can turn my inclination towards obsession and focus it on stand up comedy.
I’m thinking of it like a 4 week training camp to get ready to film the special.
I heard Louis CK in an interview say that he treats doing his stand up comedy specials like he’s training for a fight. He actually gets in shape for it and works out at a boxing gym. That sounds like the right way to do it.
I’ve never consciously set out and put together a plan to get ready to record anything before. What I’ve done before every single thing I’ve done, whether it was a stand up CD or a TV spot or whatever, I always just kind of did what I always do, just record it.
I’m going to try preparing for this one.

Day 3, February 6th.

Day two officially spilled over into day 3 when the plane touched down at dawn in Florida and I still hadn’t slept yet.
I usually don’t go to bed until around 3 am LA time, and between the hot cup of crank that I bought at the Starbucks at LAX and the excitement of getting ready for this comedy special I was in no position to rest.
I decided to just power on through to the next day and suffer the consequences.

I got the rental car, checked into the hotel room and closed my eyes for 20 minutes before I drove to the Bubba The Love Sponge show.
I listen to the show all the time on Sirius, but this was my first time on as a guest.
Bubba and his whole crew were super cool.
I had a great time, even though with the jetlag and the lack of sleep I was a little loopy.
It’s always weird being on the radio when you’ve been up all night and are exhausted.
I’ve done it a bunch of times and sometimes it’s a little frustrating trying to communicate when you’re running on fumes.
I always sort of feel like my brain is a remote control with weak batteries, where you have to really press and hold a button to get it to work.

I got back from the radio and closed my eyes for 2 hours, then went down to perform my duties as the host of the UFC weigh ins. The weigh ins went off without incident, and I returned to the hotel room to stuff a cheeseburger down my throat and hop in the shower to get ready for two sold out shows at the Tampa Improv.

Tom Segura went on first and killed it. The crowd was perfectly warmed up and rocking by the time I got onstage, and any weariness that I might have had because of my lack of sleep was instantly shoved aside by the roaring energy of the audience.
I hadn’t done a show in Tampa in years, and the enthusiastic crowd gave me an awesome welcome.
Both shows were out of fucking control in the best way possible, and afterwards I stuck around for an hour and a half taking pictures and thanking the crowd.

wafflehouse

Hammered, stoned, and exhausted at 2am we strolled into the waffle house to eat like starving dogs.
I stuffed my face with waffles and egg sandwiches fueling up my body for the long hibernation I anticipated that night to make up my sleep deficit.
When you’re bone fucking tired you really appreciate a good nights sleep.
I turned my phone off and set my alarm for 3pm the next day, then I laid in bed and did a few breathing exercises before I slipped off into dreamland…