Japanese Culture Shock


On a side note:

Vivid expression

Vivid expression

I have never really payed much attention to other cultures. As an American and one who hasn’t done very much world traveling. I have only been witness to brief moments of the Spanish culture along with other nationalities through our day to day interaction with them in the melting pot of America. I have hardly been immersed in them. I have seen wide strokes of Spanish traits like their bond to family and their hard work ethics. For the most part I think these are shared traits in most foreign cultures and ones I think Americans have lost along the way.

Sadly I think many Americans haven’t paid much attention to the world around us. Once you start, you can truly appreciate the beauty and humanity in other races. You can also appreciate the humor.

Bottled Sweat

Bottled Sweat?

 Hmm, bottled sweat is something you don’t see advertised every day

I have never at all paid much attention to the Japanese way of life other than what I have read or watched on T.V. None of it does any justice compared to seeing them live their lives and interact with us in their native land. Until arriving here, I hadn’t realised how strikingly beautiful the women are, how respectful and kind both men and women can be and how much pride they all take in every task or job they are hired to do.

From my perspective, this is the heart and core belief system but I am no expert . They’re a very proud nation. Everyone I have met so far seem to be rooted in honor and everything they do they take pride in doing it to the very best of their ability. I’m talking about even the hard labor jobs too, even as small as flipping a patty.

This is the other thing I noticed, the shittiest of jobs aren’t all out sourced to other races as frequently as we do it in America. Does it happen, sure, but not because they believe those jobs to be beneath them. They tend the rice fields, there are Japanese maid servants,   gas station attendants, toll booth operators, and even thankful employees working in the fast food industry.  Most importantly, the work no matter what it is, truly becomes a passion to them and a labor of love. Everyone I have meet seem happy and joyful too.

Am I seeing the underbelly of their culture or the way they live behind closed doors? No, I am not. I am sure it plays out much the same way as our way of life. Humans are humans no matter where they live. I’m positive if I was a fly on the wall, I’d see the sad and heartbroken wife, resentful teen, the ashamed father, the drunk, the angry  and the depressed. I think the difference from what I gather, they just don’t show this side so easily in Public. In America, all I need to do to capture those human traits is spend an hour at the supermarket.

On my first day at Camp Fuji I received the most surprising gift of my trip here so far. This was something I wasn’t expecting and one that grounded me in the moment of what I really am witnessing in my experience as a comedian. I didn’t realise I was going to see Mt Fuji with my bare eyes let alone be in a camp at the base of the foothills of this great wonder. She was a teasy little tramp, always hiding behind the veil of the same cloud… but then she gave me a moment to behold.?

Mt Fuji, teasing me

Mt Fuji, teasing me

The one brief  moment I had to capture her.

Mt Fuji

Mt Fuji

Come back for more.

A day to remember forever: Japan-First leg


Before even leaving for Japan I had so much to do I had to pull an overnighter. I basically stayed up for 24 hrs and boarded a jet to San Francisco where I would begin the real journey. I fell asleep before we even took off and had about an hour an half of rest.

Here is something not a lot people think about. If you do ever have an opportunity to head to Asia, you’ll need to know this. When you fly west for a 10 hour flight across the Pacific and across the International date line, you basically are flying towards the sunset. What this means is, it is daylight… forever!

What airlines do to combat this insanity is to close all the shades, turn off the lights and help give the illusion we are flying at night. Unless there is a meal, you’ll have no idea what is happening outside the magic tube. For the most part this is an effective trick but human curiosity sets in after sporadic sleep for several hours upon waking,  one must look.


Narita, International Airport

This was my view descending into Narita just outside of Tokyo, Japan.

Then piercing light ripped through the cabin and everyone despised me immediately. We all were vampires at that moment. Truth be told, I think I annoyed my neighbors the entire 10 hours. At the point my phone slipped out of my hands and under the seat and somehow rolled back into the row behind me. (Not realizing this until after getting the couple next to me to stand up while I spread across all three seats to try and reach it)  I knew I was the dick of the trip. We had another five hours at that point, too. I effected 6 people’s peace and comfort in one full sweep. Sorry strange east Indian lady behind me who doesn’t speak english, I know you weren’t expecting a grown man to pop his head over the seat and ask for his phone. I was humbled too

Yeah, I was that guy.

 After arriving (still daylight and only 2:00 in the afternoon) I was rolled out in a wheelchair rummy-dummy, dazed and confused. The beautiful woman helping me did not understand a lot of what I was trying to explain to her because of our language barrier.  Despite my concerns about staying by the gate to wait for my POC, she whisked me away because he was not there.  I was taken through immigration and customs, I filled out my paperwork incorrectly, made lots of Japanese officials laugh several times on account of my stupidity. Then she pushed me out into the general area of arrivals and exited stage left with the wheelchair.

I was on my own now. I didn’t really know where to go or how to speak Japanese and I was holding a phone which now is basically a paper weight. I had a suitcase, laptop and a walker. I had one fully functional leg, and one that spends a lot of time in envy of the other leg.  I also had one working hand and one doing its best impression of a working hand. The task of pushing the walker and carrying two large and heavy items simply didn’t match up with the labor hired to do the task.

I was instructed by the woman at the information counter to walk down to the DOD (Department of Defense) desk. I was very happy to have figured a solution to what could become a serious problem should I not rendezvous with my driver. It was the best place to go. According to her, it was just around the corner but of course this meant, just around the corner and then it’s at the other end of the airport. Happiness can be like a cloud blowing in the wind slowly out of reach. or in my case, a cloud blowing away in a severe wind advisory.  How do you remain happy and positive when you can’t carry everything through an airport? You don’t. Instead you swear under your breath and sweat profusely until you arrive at your destination. I even put my laptop backpack  on my back thinking it would make things easier. I haven’t done that since high school because it is fucking dangerous for a cripple with balance issues. I felt like an idiot, I walked and wabbled off balance like an idiot and everyone gave me a wide berth because they were all quite sure I was an idiot.

About a half hour later (a 5 min walk for everyone else) I arrived a the DOD counter and finally an hour later,  it got worked out. I met my POC and the other headliner, Johnny then from there we traveled another three hours to Camp Fuji. At this point the two of us were running on no sleep  from our long journey. I personally was running on about 38 hrs without a good night’s rest.  I had no idea what day it was, who I was, and my body was very confused. In fact,  so confused, the left leg thought it was the right and the right leg was doing a very convincing  performance acting like my left. Finally after the longest day ever, I shut my eyes and went to bed. I didn’t know I was a cast member on “The Amazing Race.”

The positive side of this adventure is that I am here, I made it. I am overseas in Japan and for the first time ever, I am performing comedy on another continent. Hell, my adventure has really just begun.

While waiting for my driver at the DOD desk, I snapped the picture below.The Japanese have a weird fascination with cartoons and even in this photo there seems to be a little baby tentacle penis. Japenese may work like robots but I think they live in a constant state of childhood, which is pretty cool. They are always giggling and laughing at anything  silly, ie me, and I think that’s pretty damn wonderful. When you haven’t slept in over a day, though, I can attest, these colors and the cartoon pilot penis figure is intense!

Pilot Penis Figure

Pilot Penis Figure

Until my next entry.


You don’t get it, do you?

After an amazing preliminary week two (where I took top spot for the week) in the Seattle International Comedy Contest. I’ve returned to Seattle, WA to compete with the top 10 from both weeks and again I’m off to a slow start. I took 7th (third from last) in the first performance at the famous Seattle Comedy Underground.

Here is the interesting part.  I drew the basic same position in the lineup as I did last week. In the first round and on the first night, I went up 9th. This was right after the secret piss break intermission for the judges. In last night’s show I drew 6th but we only have ten comedians now. I was again going up right after the piss break for the judges. Not that it matters and I don’t feel it was why I placed in the position where I did.  I don’t think it had anything to do with in fact. Coincidentally, I also placed in the same spot as last week’s first show. In my first round, I took 13th, three from the last spot. As long as I have time to break down the coincidences; I tripped going up on stage last week which became a bit of a scene. I safely made it to the stage last night but after my show I had an incident with a woman who followed me back to our private green room, and it is this particular incident I wish to discuss in today’s post.

The woman who followed me back, she tried to find the right words and with watery eyes. Now I’m thinking maybe she was about to tell me I was an inspiration. This was not the case. She explained she works with children who have special needs—ah fuck! Here we go. I was informed that because she works with special needs children, she felt passionate about advocating for them.  To make it easier on me, for the rest of this blog entry, I’ll refer to this woman as, “God’s special helper.” Anyway, G.S.H tells me she enjoyed the bulk of my material but she felt obligated to let me know we don’t use the word retard any longer and I should remove it from act forever. Mind you, this was in the green room with four other comedians sitting in the back with me and watching this slow moving train wreck heading right towards me.

You may be asking yourselves right now, how I would react to such an awkward confrontation? Well I calmly let her speak. I did not interrupt, and in fact as she complained to me about how this is a word which has been abolished from the English language, I took a sip of my beer.

After what seemed like five long and painful minutes. After paying her respect by listening to her struggle for the right words just to explain her position and her disdain for the word used in my act, it was my time to speak.

Calmly I explained, I understood why she might be offended and I respected her for making such a difficult career choice but that I have a right to dictate how I tell my story because I am disabled and I am the one who lives with my challenges. I continued to argue my position.  “While you may be upset, you also do not have a right to speak on any of your client’s behalf  because you are not disabled.” I told her, she simply couldn’t tell me what offended them and only they had the right to speak with me about it. “You have the right to be offended but NOT offended for them.”

GSH then got more worked up. “I have been working as a care taker for 40 years and I do have a right to be upset for them.”

My rebuttal, “I am actually disabled and have been for 42 years of my life. I do not get paid for my struggles in life and neither do any of your patients. They live it, I live it. It is offensive to me you would speak on their behalf and then try to tell me what I should and shouldn’t say and we are obviously not going to agree on this issue. So if you feel this passionate, you could complain to management.”

The moment ended with agreeing with this option and then she left.  The comedians seemed stunned and I just kept thinking, I hope she isn’t a judge.

Here what bothers me: It is inevitability ALWAYS someone who works with the disabled or a family member of the disabled that get offended. It is ALWAYS something they must declare too. It isn’t the work of the lord if you have to tell us what you do. Sacrificing comes without bragging rights.   So you clean their asses,  and feed them. Now all of a sudden you think you should speak for them and think for them. THEY’RE NOT FUCKING RETARDS! Isn’t this your argument?

These labels are NOT abolished from our language. Neither is nigger or fagot. So as long as I am alive and have an opportunity to tell my side of the story, I’ll remind you all that you were the ones that first came up with these words. In fact, it was the medical industry who started using this offensive term. I didn’t come up with the word retard, I didn’t come up with the word crippled but I sure in the fuck have a right to use them to make my point. Did you know lady, when I was a child and being helped by one of your colleague GSH’s, it was at a hospital called, “Crippled Children’s Hospital”? Yes. It was on the top of the fucking building in big brass lettering.

People just can’t wrap their mind around the fact that just 33 years ago, the medical community was extremely misinformed about the disabled. They were frightfully ignorant and these were dark times. My parents were told I would always be sickly and I might die. I was put in a hospital bed as a small 5 year old child in lightless hallway. I was left alone, covered in wires and strobes and left to cry and scream at the top of my fucking lungs while they observed me behind a glass window to see if stress would induce seizures. That’s RETARDED!  And to this day, I vividly remember the mid-evil practice.

Oh, and the bit I do, I mention “retard strength” in an argument with a bully. Why, because that is how children actually talk.

I think the most disgusting fact in this entire ordeal I went through is that she had to point out how offended she was with the word retard but completely ignored at one point in my last bit,  I also used the word “Fagot”. I guess the word fagot is fine though because fagots aren’t, “One of God’s specially chosen children.”  Just in case you are still confused, I was often described as “special”. If we are going to discuss offensive and derogatory terms, I’ll start with that word and will continue using the words crippled and retard until all you retards are dead.


One night until showtime Mr. Bruhn

I’m sure by now you already know that I will not be doing a podcast episode this week.  If you don’t know why, you haven’t been in the loop for the past 6 months.  It is weird to say this but tomorrow night I’ll be on the stage at Star Theater performing my new DVD, “Truth Hurts”.  It has been a  gauntlet week of comedy showcases, podcasts and live talk shows just to promote this truly magical experience I’m about to embark on.  I don’t want to blow this out of proportion.  I just know, for me, it is a benchmark play in my career. Maybe I’m not a famous comedian but I’m a lucky one.  I’m a comedy luck dragon. All stupid jokes aside, this will be an unforgettable night of comedy for me… and it is almost upon us.

Chris Smith, who is opening up for me tomorrow night and who has been headlining all week on his first west coast tour.  He has been outstanding in every performance.  Thank you for the love, support and friendship. I’m glad you could share this with me. You all will want Chris to be your uncle at your next Thanksgiving dinner. Crystal Kordowski, you are truly good from the inside out.  I have to say though; you are warped beyond repair. Who really would want to fix that? Not me.  She is hosting people and if you have never seen her.  She is queen mother of honesty, truth and justice. She will tickle your ass with her feather of broken thoughts. It is shaped like a finger and tastes like peanut butter and breast milk. Let Momma hold you until you feel better.

See you on the other side.


Lonnie’s life in a pool

I have decided that I want to write and star in my own show called Lonnie?’s life in a pool. Everything would take place in the pool and I would do normal everyday jobs that I can’t do when I’m not in a pool, like UPS driver or furniture delivery man. Now in return for this treat, please help support my kickstarter project and share it, I only have 11 more days to complete my goal.



You are the reason I’ve gotten so far

Every year there is big change when it comes to my style and my overall goals in comedy; after all, each year my life changes. So why in the hell should my act and opinions of life and comedy be any different?  Now when it comes to the business, in a future post, I’ll have a lot more to say on that subject, especially local scenes but for now let us just focus on me for a second.

This year I have a lot going on.  I’ll be returning to Harvey’s Comedy Club at the end of Oct as their one of two R rated comedian for the year.  Some may be thinking, who cares; you’ve already headlined a special event show every year since the ban was lifted.  Not true, my little cunnys.  I have only done two special event shows at Harvey’s since the lift because I wanted to keep it hugely successful and attendance high.  What makes this different, I am returning to headline the club for the entire week’s performances, something I have never done since the ban or even before.  I can assure you, it is something which will be, not only big, but needed:  A local comedian who will breathe a breath of fresh air of honesty into the club since, well, probably Doug Stanhope.  I’m replacing comedian John Fox, whose act died long before his real death plus, let’s face it, John wasn’t very good at being human.

In March of 2013 I will also be recording for the first new DVD/CD since the release of Cripple xXx in 2007. This will be an amazing event but I will need your help.  I am going to launch a Kickstarter Campaign in the beginning of 2013 to help fund the project.  This is where you come in.

I began thinking about how important you are in the big equation of my career and I’ll be honest here; you are the root to it all. With that in mind, a rebirth of my fan base in this phase of my career is more important than any other time in my 23 years of doing comedy.  I need your help, not just to help raise the money for the project but because the one thing I have realized is that you are the very reason why I have been so successful.   We have always had a very close connection, a bond from the stage I stand on to the seats you sit in to watch me perform.  You were the reason why I was able to return to so many clubs who feared booking me.  You are the reason I have kept the ball rolling despite the fact the comedy industry has been reluctant to get behind my type of act. I am not a comedian festivals beg to have in; I am not a comedian every mainstream club wants to headline, but yet I still perform, I still draw and still win major contests.  You are the factor which has helped in this.

I know now that I need to get back to the grass roots of what helped build my career.  I need to build my future success from the ground up.  I will never get praise from the mainstream industry.  I will only get it from the people who really enjoy my style of comedy, you.  The funny thing is if I can get enough of you to shout my name, the industry cannot ignore me.  So 2013 and beyond is all about you.  I need your feedback on what kickstarter incentives I should put into place as rewards for your donations and support.  Please voice your ideas and help create an intimate dialog between the two of us so I can give you things you really want and have you actually be a part of my next DVD project. Maybe you would want an exclusive and private email, or podcast episode made to you, a credit in the DVD package, a one of a kind signed poster or a chance to rant in a segment of From The Nook Podcast, a VIP seat at the live recording, a drink and dinner with me, a phone call to a loved one or an enemy, a private performance in your living room or just a simple acknowledgement that you were a factor in my life’s work.  The list is limitless but I need you to be involved voicing your ideas.  It starts by you commenting here or join me on Twitter or Facebook and let’s do this together.  I want to have a chance to tell all my critics they were wrong and you will be the secret weapon which allows it to happen


Two firemen are butt fucking in a Smoked filled Room

So I got some bad news late last night from my old road hog, Joe Fontenot.  The great John Fox lost his bout with Cancer; at least I think he did, because sadly, he couldn’t even get press on his own death.  When I Googgled (can you believe that’s a verb now) John Fox dies, nothing of importance came up; that fact is depressing because Google gives us searches we were not even interested in until we typed two words together.  “Does hitt” brings up “Does hitting a dog work?” I’m sure if it no longer works on women than dogs caught on too. “Will Hum” brings up “Will Humans live forever”  No, and John Fox proved to us that at some point even God had seen enough of his 40 year old act and gave him the proverbial light…Time to get off stage.  What would have entertained me is when I put, “Did John Fox die?” into Google; it came back with “Yes, for the last 10 years.”

Am I being insensitive?  No, I am not.  This is John we are talking about.  He was as insensitive as they come.  Any female comedian who had to share a condo with him would certainly give you their two cents about that subject. That is, if she can even talk about it pending the ongoing investigation.

R.I.P. John Fox was the facebook update Joe gave us.  That stands for Rest in Peace, which is an odd thing to say about him because if his soul lives on like he did in life than I can assure you, not only will he not rest but neither will anyone left in the same area of Heaven. I hope Heaven has a bar that stays open late.

Here is the thing: It is a loss, but we lost him long before his death.  He was a legend in the comedy community.  His act was legendary both on and off the stage.  He started doing his rated “R” act his way but unfortunately it never evolved, it just grew as tired as he did.  He didn’t know many comics by name, but not because he was an ass, he just stopped caring.  His stories from at the end of the bar were amazingly colorful.  I personally would have loved to have heard those stories hit the stage, sadly they never got there.

He had an impact on us though; at least he had one on me.  He wanted to do it his way and he couldn’t give two shits about what the industry thought he should be doing.  He had his big moments mostly in the 80’s and certainly gave us a performance at every show.

Audiences loved him.   From stage, John was that character at the end of the bar named Red with a gravelly voice, a drink in hand, and pocket full of standards “jokes” that everyone in the room could enjoy.   You would laugh hard because he was simple that way.  There was no complex style and depth that sometimes ruins comedy, he was just a longshoreman telling us a joke that maybe we had listened to a thousand times before, or maybe we had never heard it before at all, but it never mattered.  It never mattered because he had mastered the way to tell it to us.  Some people have a knack for that, usually it is that guy at the end of the bar but in Fox’s case, he just took it one step farther; into the showroom and from behind the mic.

In my honest opinion John went on stage to hear laughter, he didn’t want to be an artist, he didn’t view his act as artistic, he just wanted it to keep it simple… make them all laugh and in the end, that in and of itself is an art.

A toast to you John Fox for the all the laughter you brought to the people.  “Two firemen are butt fucking in a Smoked filled Room…” Indeed, Mr. Fox, “How do you think it all got started in the first place.”

A message from John Fox in his last months.  It is original, honest and heartfelt.  In the end he wrote something new and hopefully it has impact


The New Tour “This Time It’s Personal”

After my mom almost died last month and then had a 180 degree turn around; it didn’t take long for me to realize that I was being slapped yet again with a harsh reminder- life is to be taken a hold of and lived to its fullest. You must work hard to accomplish what seems to be the un-accomplishable. What a disturbing cliche, I know, but so is waking up out of bed and realizing that you’ve grown lazy again and comedy is now laughing back at me.

My parents gave up a lot to see me through my dream, and I’m not about to let them down. I’m not giving this shit up after all our hard work!  If I have to hit every dive bar across America because shit bookers with empty promises are worried to give me a mic than so be it.  I’ll reach my audience some how.  I’m 40 fucking years old and I want to be noticed.  My show isn’t over and the fat lady can sing all she wants because I’ll probably book her to follow my act.  My audience loves a great singing fat lady.

It aint over till the fat lady dies

It aint over till the fat lady dies

A lot around me is reminding me as of late that life for my age bracket has some sad realities.  Mom and Dads are getting old and tired.  Judge Judy and The Price is Right  isn’t enough anymore to sell them on the idea of sticking around. So some just slip away and sometimes it isn’t pretty to see. It gives someone like me pause and perspective on my own fatality. The road I am traveling on, where it is leading me? When a comedian takes a moment to look at our surrounding, we do what we do best, we observe it, then write it down.

My new tour and CD/DVD project is doing that.  It takes a look at my life at age 40, my kids life and their childish obstacles and big dreams.  It dives into my own childhood growing up, my relationships with my parents, family, friends and lovers.  It will leave me naked to those listening and watching.  It will be me as of old but it will NOT be me busting down walls to prove a point but instead I’ll use “their” rules against them that kept me from playing “their” rooms to prove that I can say what I want and people do listen.  People do listen because it isn’t just a set up and punchline, it is my story and “It’s Personal”