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Episode 64:
Bryan Cook
Notes: Released Sep 01, 2014
Comedian/Writer/Podcaster Bryan Cook stops by TIFAH and gets real about high school band and playing in an orchestra. It comes off the rails early and stays off. Enjoy!

Money Mayweather Can’t Read

Sat Aug 23, 2014

That was the title of a video I saw on the front page of YouTube today. Here is the video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vskxj22-1c -

Now, let me first say my feelings about Mayweather range from admiration to confusion.  He has taken some cheap shots in fights (after cheap shots were taken at him) even threatened to beat up Larry Merchant after that fight, the list could go on and on for the negative. I think it is hard, even for him, to separate the image he created to sell fights from the man he really is. But at the end of the day, none of that is any of my business.

That being said, the truth is he is a self made millionaire and one of the most successful athletes alive today. And people want giving him shit because he struggled to read radio copy.

When I was 30 years old, I had a one-year-old son and was working at Starbucks. I was lost. I thought things would be different by the time I was 30 but the weight of my poor reality got heavier and heavier every day. The store I worked at was just off Mulholland Drive in the Bel Air Hills. You wouldn’t even know it existed unless you were super rich and lived up there. It just happened to be the store I got assigned to when I applied at a job fair.

I got pretty close to a couple customers up there as they seemed to know what the fuck was going on with this thing called life. It wasn’t just the fact that they were wealthy, but they were content, they knew how to make their money make money, they had confidence. All the shit I lacked during that time in my life.

One day I was sitting across from this 80 year old guy who always wore paint covered khakis and a ragged t-shirt. I thought he was a construction foreman. There were always construction guys coming in, taking a break from working on the multi-million dollar estates that pepper those hills. But he was not a construction foreman. He was a billionaire. He made his money in real-estate and still worked on the houses and buildings he bought himself.

One day I was sharing a coffee with  him while I was on break. I hate to say it but I was bitching and moaning about my current situation, broke, baby, no hope, no options.

“What do you wish was different?” he said.

I’m a writer and a comedian and I don’t think those skills will get me very far. I wish I knew how to do something else but I feel like it’s too late to learn anything, I whined.

He laughed and asked me if I ever heard about the story about the Temple Shamus?

I hadn’t. And that’s when he told me a story that changed my life.

A man walked into the temple and asked the Rabbi if he had any jobs. The man was poor and willing to take any work he could get. The Rabbi said that he was looking for a Temple Shamus, a man who would fix things up around the Temple, take the trash out and do odd jobs.

I’ll take it, said the man.

The next day he came in early excited to work. The Rabbi had the man clean all the windows, take out the trash, then straighten up the office. When he was through, he asked the Rabbi if there was anything else he could do?

Yes, said the Rabbi, I need you to read some notes I took and write them into a document.

The Man’s head fell. Ashamed, he admitted that he didn’t know how to read or write.

The Rabbi said he needed somebody who could read and write so he fired him.

The Man thanked him for the opportunity nonetheless and went home brokenhearted. He was still broke and without options. While going through his sofa looking for change, he found some buttons. He had an idea. He remembered his grandmother had given a small box of buttons that he stored in in the closet. He took all the buttons and went down to the corner.

Anybody that walked by, he told them about the buttons. He hustled so hard, by the end of the day, he sold all the buttons. The next day, he found a wholesaler and took the money he made and bought all the buttons he could.

He set up a small table on the corner and within months, was knows as the “Button Man.” Within a year, he had a small storefront shop and within 2 years he had four more.

Finally, he decided to open a bank account and possibly buy the places he was renting from.

He went into the bank with a suitcase full of money. The Banker was so impressed with all the good business the man was doing he offered The Man loans for any amount he needed. He slide the loan agreements across the table for The Man to sign.

The Man smiled and said, I’m sorry but I don’t know how to read or write.

Oh, my god, said the banker, imagine what you would be doing if you could read and write.

I’d be a Temple Shamus, The Man replied.

When I heard that story, I realized two things. Use what you have and hustle until dreams come true.

That’s what Mayweather did. If you want to hate on Mayweather because he doesn’t read the way you think he should, go be a temple Shamus.

 

 


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My New Comedy CD is here!

Fri Jul 25, 2014

I can’t tell you how amazing this whole experience was. The last time I was in Chicago, I told some stories at Sean Flannery’s Blackout Diaries in Chicago and less than a year later, here we are recording a full hour live comedy album. INSANE! It was recorded at Timothy O’Tooles on Saturday July 12th, 2014 at 8pm in front of a standing room only crowd. I don’t want to charge anything for this. If you’d want a copy, leave a 5 star written review for the #TMBS podcast on iTunes or Stitcher or share this comedy MP3 with 5 of your friends after you listen to help get the word out. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! Mick

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My many fathers…

Sun Jun 15, 2014

My father was 16 years old when I was born. He dropped out of high school and got a shitty job working for shitty wages to be a father and take care of his kid. He had no real examples of fatherhood or any role models. We were poor with alcoholism and abuse around every corner. One day my father came home from work visibly upset. He looked sad but he’d never say anything. As a matter of fact, I never knew how he was feeling. This was Chicago in 1974. Men did not talk about feelings. They were viewed as a liability. He was always covered from head to toe with black grime from factory work. He worked on machines, repairing them, so that they could whine, roar and manufacture. But this day, something broke inside him that he could not fix. So he went out and bought the one tool he knew would work – a case of beer.

My father is the guy on the left.

We walked in silence down to the liquor store on Chicago avenue. I tried a few times to say something but he wouldn’t even look over. We strolled out of the store with a case of Old Style under his arm and headed over to the corner. He cracked open a beer as the CTA bus pulled up. We jumped on and walked all the way to the back.
We rode that bus to the end of the line. Then waited for another, taking it in the opposite direction, the case of beer getting lighter and lighter with each pass. The old ladies stared at us with a smug look of disdain. The look old ladies give when you’re clearly doing something wrong. They are old and frail but their looks pack the punch of Silver Back gorillas. My father turned away and looked out the window, towards the magnificent giant sky scrapers reaching toward the sky.

We reached the end of the line. I’ll never forget the look the bus driver gave my drunken father when he told us we had to get off and my dad couldn’t stand. He leaned on me to walk, then fell off the bus onto the sidewalk. The bus driver looked at my father with sheer disgust. Chicago is a tough city. The bus driver looked over at me and said “Good luck. kid”

My father slumped against a building and passed out. I sat next to him as the wind slithered off the lake through the buildings and licked our feet. I looked over to my right and noticed we were at the base of a bridge that ran over the Chicago River.

I wondered if that was his original idea. It couldn’t have been to take a drunken bus ride with his six-year-old son and then pass out on the street.

Maybe he crossed this bridge once and it was so beautiful, he knew he had to bring me here and show me.

Maybe he wanted to walk me over the bridge, hand in hand, and show me this magnificent city. Maybe he was going to take me to City Hall and explain politics. Or maybe he was going to walk me over to the Board of Trade, where millions are traded every second, and explain finance to me. This is how you save for your future son. This is how to invest in stocks. This is what money is and how you deal with it. Maybe he was going to walk me over to Wrigley Field for a game. We’d sit in the bleachers and he’d explain the game of baseball to me, what each position was and how you play it. This is how you swing a bat son, you swing from your hips, not your arms. Head down and swing right through the ball.

But we never made it over the bridge that night.

When he came too, he stumbled to his feet trying to figure out where we were.

As we waited for the next bus, he turned to me and said – “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, Dad. I love you.”

He went missing a week later.

My father atop the wheel of poverty.

When you grow up around chaos and alcoholism, somebody not making it home for the night does not raise alarm. Maybe they partied too hard at a pal’s place and passed out. Surely they’d wake up in the morning, walk through the door, head hanging low, full of apologies and promises that it would never happen again. But my father did not come home the next day.

On day 2 when there is chaos, you call around the local police stations and hospitals. Maybe there was a fight and he got locked up. Maybe he got caught holding and they took the drugs and gave him an night in the drunk tank.

On Day 3 when there is chaos, you call the morgue. And that’s where a man matching my father’s description had been lying for 3 days under the name John Doe.

He died alone, without ID, next to the railroad tracks.

Nobody really knows what happened that night and whatever the beginning and middle was, the ending was always the same – John Doe found dead by the side of the tracks.

I was six-years-old.

It still hurts.

There has been a tremendous amount of chaos in my own life. My own demons and alcoholism encouraged history to repeat itself but I’ve been sober for 12 years now.

I’d like to thank the following men and women who have mentored me and given me, through example, lessons on how to be a better man and father (they are the same thing.)

My Gramp: For hugs I can still feel to this day.

My Uncle Matt: For showing me the power of a creative mind.

Clay: For showing me what a friend is, what a brother is and what courage is.

My father-in-law Hal: For showing me how to show up day in and day out and love your family unconditionally, no matter what your past was like.

My mother-in-law Eileen: For showing me what having a big heart really means.

Bobby Spillane: For showing me how to have patience, reminding me that everybody is carrying their own cross.

My Mother: For showing me how to throw a baseball. It’s the same way I taught my daughter and son.

Tom Egan: For treating me like a man when I was at the most dangerous crossroad in my life.

Steve Ogle: For showing me how to live one day at a time, sober and sane, so that I could begin the life I was always supposed to have.

Larry Novak: For showing me you can be strict and loving at the same time and one can nurture the other. Also how to hang my dress shirts.

Patty Novak: For knowing I was up to no good most of the time and loving me anyway!

Laurel: For showing me that love and kindness is the only way out of complete darkness.

These people were my fathers. Because of their kindness, friendship, loyalty and love I was finally able to walk over the bridge and this is what I saw…

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So on this Fathers Day, I celebrate the people who helped me grow as a human being and as a father. I make so many mistakes as a Dad it’s embarrassing. But at the end of the day, as long as my children know they are loved and that life is to be lived and not endured, then I believe I am doing my best. But there is one thing I want them to say about their father, and one thing I’d like them to posses as people – Never give up trying to be a better human being. No matter how far down you go, now matter how many mistakes you make or how high you may ascend, never give up the search for a better you. Love and Kindness is the way out and there is no such thing as forgiveness until you learn how to forgive.

Happy Fathers Days to everybody out there holding it down and taking care of their business. Mick

 


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Thank You!

Mon Jun 09, 2014

Big thanks to everybody who came out to the show Saturday. I’ll be emailing you the set later this week when I get it back from the editor. I learned a lot from putting up the new hour and am looking forward to getting up June 22nd and June 25th at Flappers with the new and improved material. A special thanks to Bob Romanus aka Damone from Fast Times at Ridgemont High for letting me put the show up at his spot. Check out Bobs Espresso in North Hollywood anytime you’re in town and tell him Shitty John sent you!

MickBob2


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Coming home this Saturday!

Mon Jun 02, 2014

Hey Everybody,

For the past 17 years I have been performing stand up comedy and loving (and sometimes hating) every moment. Throughout all that time, I always felt a bit fraudulent, that somehow, someway, I could be giving the audience more. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until just a few years ago. The reason I felt like a fraud (way harsher than I needed to feel but that’s how I felt) was because I was doing something I thought I should be doing instead of something I wanted to be doing. At my core, in every area of my creativity, I am a story teller. So for the last two years, I abandoned a style of performing that had brought me great success for a style of performing that has brought me great joy. I feel like I have now honed my style enough that it is bringing the audience the same amount of joy it brings me. It took many many sets of “bombing” to figure it out but now I feel like I am finally home. I want to thank comics like Kyle Kinane and John Roy for being mentors to me through this growth period. So to put my money where my mouth is, I am assembling a new hour of stories I will be working out at Bobs Espresso 5251 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601 this Saturday (June 7th) at 7pm. John Roy will actually be performing at the show too! I am workshopping this material for a show I’m premiering in Chicago at The Subterranean July 12th. The premise of this show is one hour of my most insane drinking/drug stories which will finally be put to bed after 12 years of sobriety. So please come early as seating will be limited. Tickets are only $5 bucks and all the money is going to Bobs to keep such an awesome place going! Can’t tell you how much I appreciate everybody supporting me while I try and put this show together. Email me with any questions. See you there, Mick

MICKBOBSESPRESSO_2


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