To return to a tree

I feel serene today.

When I die, I would love to be reborn as a tree.

Trees keep on giving and nurturing everyone and everything around them. They become one with life. They are life.

Apparently all bacteria, plants and animals have a common ancestor. LUCA. Last Universal Common Ancestor.

Weird how some of us evolved into this human form with intellect and some into plants and some into airborne bacteria … so peculiar.

comedy helps us move past pain

I wonder if a lot of other youths nowadays share the same pain as I did. Not enough enriched environment around them, even now … laughter helps us forget about the pain and loneliness even for that one hour of open mic, we are together despite the conflicts and etc. 

Perhaps it’s even more severe with digital media, digital games, digital addictions and more parental discourse too … maybe a lot of us are really the same inside the comedy scene.

Parable of the Apple

I once had the best apple in the world. It tasted better than anything else in the world. It could cure you of all ailments. It could give you ever-lasting life and wisdom. I wanted to give it away, as a present.

I tried to give it away to a traveling foreigner. He said he didn’t like me. He said he didn’t want it. He said he doesn’t accept strange gifts from strangers. And there he went.

I tried to give it away to a bar maiden. She said she is okay for now. She said she would not like to try apple and prefers bananas instead. She lived the rest of her life on bananas only. She never got to learn the taste of apples.

I tried to give it away to a young boy. He bit into it and didn’t like the taste of it. He said he’s tasted better fruits before. The apple was too tart for him, too weird. He left. He never found a better fruit later.

I tried to give it away to a sophisticated professor. She took a few bites and appreciated the apple but she said she was afraid of it. “If I taste the best apple in the world now, I would be dissatisfied with other apples for the rest of my life!” She had a point.

I finally cut up the apple into little pieces and blended them all into a juice. I poured the juice into a nearby river. All animals, deers, elephants, lions, cheetahs, birds, alligators, goats, horses, you name it … came to drink from the river. Soon, the river became a popular oasis for animals.

“Wow, this must be an amazing oasis here. The animals love it!” the crowd murmured.

But I tried to give you my apple before. You didn’t want it. Only nature could appreciate what I was doing.

But at least I released it into the river. I’m glad I didn’t give up.

The End.

Mental Health Awareness Month

I had always been ashamed of my paranoia, anxiety and depression. But the same brain that’s prone to paranoia, anxiety and depression is the same brain that’s capable of being creative, divergent thinking, less filters, out-of-the-box thinking and imagination in storytelling … similar to certain autistic individuals who show talent in other aspects of life and the arts.

Of course if you don’t maintain your mental health properly, you will become not functional in daily life with all these problems. But with age, wisdom and life experiences, I believe you can gradually train your fragile brain to become better and better, more and more stable, instead of falling victim to its negative aspects all the time.

If you learn to tame your mental demons, you can then leverage them for good … and for creativity. It’s a blessing and a curse.

Advice from Kobe from Heaven

What I’ve learned in my life after my last basketball game in NBA. 

The lesson I cherish the most is … how important it is to Love what you do.

If you love what you do and is making you happy, 

All that hard work and perseverance will pay off

If you know you are truly giving it your all, there’s no greater feeling in the world.

There was a guidance counselor that once told me I should stop playing basketball that it will never amount to anything.

Well, I took his advice. I took it and I used it to become the best basketball player I can be.

His negativity towards me made me stronger.

You cannot stop others from trying to limit your dreams. But you can stop it from becoming a reality.

Your dreams are up to you.

I encourage you, to always be curious, always seek out the things you love, 

and always work hard once you find it.

Please know that I’m thinking of you, supporting you and encouraging you always.

LeBron James writes he's 'heartbroken and devastated' after Kobe Bryant's  death

Peace.

Creating our own ultimate freedom.

All this senseless competition … will never stop. Ultimately you need to go find your own tribe.

A few friends I had back 10 years ago told me getting passed into one big club doesn’t mean anything because she can’t get consistent work there regularly. You still have to keep hustling, keep putting yourself out there, and find your tribe any way possible. If you can create your own fanbase, you can go anywhere and do anything. You will truly be free.

Maybe it’s okay not to be a huge comedian in the eyes of others

Not everybody will get into places like Improv, Comedy Store, Cellar, wherever … not everybody will get a 1st place prize from a famous festival. Those spots are coveted and the people who pick those winners and comics very often base their decisions on politics, demographics, quotas and more that has nothing to do with a person’s raw comedy potential or skills.

All goes to say, I think it’s very likely that at least in the US, talented standup comedians may actually go unnoticed their entire careers. It has less to do with their comedic skills and more to do with what’s acceptable at the time, which trends are happening, which demographics are “in” and which identity politics are at play, and what kind of doorkeepers are hoarding power and/or keeping people out. Not only that, there’s so much competition that it’s sometimes hardly worth it IMO to waste your time trying to get into a big big club or win a huge festival especially if you are not fitting the “mold” that these big clubs or festivals are looking for.

Not all of us are gonna make it. I would be surprised if I even “make it” whatever that means. Certain clubs might be off-limits to me my entire life. But a shitty comic doing subpar comedy at a big club is a shitty comic no matter how many followers he has or where he gets passed. A great unique authentic vulnerable artistic comedian at a small, tiny club or even an open mic is an amazing comic, no matter how small a following he/she has

No techniques, just heart and presence for everyone.

In LA, I think being real and genuine on stage becomes especially important because it’s so rare to see real and genuine people in general.

All of us comics and wanna-be artists gathered here to make a name for ourselves from all over the country and the world. It took me some time to realize that LA really can be “fake” and “phony” in many ways. Even if somebody is nice to you during interactions, doesn’t mean they care about you. There’s a lot of importance LA people put on “clout”, the number of followers, how popular and well-connected you are, because everybody’s desperate to get ahead and to enlist the help of other famous people, so that they can become famous themselves. It seems like a never-ending marathon of sucking up and impressing the right people, although I guess it’s pretty similar in any other industry anywhere.

So LA’s not all artistic innovation and a haven for sensitive artists to gather and ideate together. It feels more like a cut-throat dog-eat-dog game, and the survival of the fittest. People you think are your “friends” sometimes leave you out to dry or manipulate you so that they can take advantage of your good nature.

That’s why I think a real, true soul is rare but enjoyable to watch. On stage, nothing can really be faked. I mean, yes, you can do material up there that’s been premeditated and full of exaggeration and lies, but I’ve begun to realize that the audience generally has a very discerning eye for truth, authenticity and real-ness. They instinctively feel when somebody is just scripted or being manipulative, like they want something, a reaction. And they also can feel when somebody is completely unscripted, and being genuine, attuned to what everybody’s feeling or needing. Emotion especially is hard to fake on stage because audiences usually have an antennae for picking up on emotions through your face, your body, your voice. Because of this, when I’ve leaned into real genuine feelings on stage, I was able to connect with audiences in a much more profound way and as a result, just get huge laughs in a way jokes cannot.

Because if you care about everyone in the room, and what happened in the room and in the moment, you can make everybody else care about what you are saying, what you are talking about, and what’s going on in the present moment in that room. It seems so esoteric when I try to explain it in words, but I think the ability to bring people into the moment is a gift, whether you are a comedian or a musician or a general public speaker or whomever you are. I think most of the time, we are not in the moment, even as comics. We are thinking ‘oh my god, I hope I do well’ or ‘oh my god, I hope they didn’t just notice the mistake i made in that last joke’ or ‘oh man, when is this show going to be over so I can jump to the next show?’ … But the rare comic on stage who can actually make us all care about what’s going on and value the present moment … who’s totally in the moment and can help us see the beauty and value of the present moment … I think that’s just unique energy and ability altogether even beyond getting laughter.

Hopefully in the future, we can learn to assess our own performance, not just based on the laughs you’ve gotten or how many jokes you told, but on how courageously vulnerable you were and the degree to which you leaned into your own authentic feelings and thoughts during that moment, and how honestly you were able to bring out those feelings and thoughts, and bring the room together.

Comedy book?

I was thinking about different ways I could be of help to the comedy community and other comics. I don’t mean to sound like an expert on everything comedy but perhaps I can create something of value for younger comedians or future comedians who can benefit from reading about some of my experiences and discoveries, the things I’ve seen in the comedy scene