Like many people this year, I ate, I drank, I slept, I worked a lot, I beat myself up about not working hard enough, and then beat myself up about beating myself up about not working hard enough. At some point, I just accepted part of my brain is a pushy jerk and I deal with it by writing mean blog posts about my jerk-brain. Posts like this one!
Last year, I detailed every little thing I did.
This year, I find myself with too many year-end deadlines to do that, so here are a few triumphs and failures that I’m proud, ashamed, and proudshamed to share! Enjoy!
My podcast Obsessed drove obsessively forward with a bunch of live shows in Minneapolis, at conventions, in living rooms, and more.
Some of my favorite episodes this year included our Jane Austen special, Kevin Murphy’s amazing Jingle-O-Rama, our Star Trek episode, a truly unique and strangely uplifting discussion of Existential Dread, and super special for me was our Roleplaying Games episode.
This episode was recorded on my birthday and my wonderful wife and producing partner, Sara Stevenson Scrimshaw, made her first appearance on the podcast playing an Angry Wizard Kangaroo. Like you do in Roleplaying Games.
I also got a few nice comments from frequent listeners that the podcast helped them through some hard times. To me, this is the highest goal of comedy and I should just stop writing about anything else that happened this year. Thanks to those listeners who reached out!
Next year, Obsessed will be moving to a new format (like this intimate episode with my pal, Josh A. Cagan and some ambient squirrels) that will allow us to put out a new episode every week, so brace your ears.
Verbing The Noun
In 2012, I recorded this stand up comedy show containing terrible dating advice for brainy types. We released it as a comedy album in February of 2013 and now it’s available eight ga-zillion places online including the very awesome site Bandcamp.
In prep for releasing Verbing The Noun, we also got this merch page set up on the site so you can digitally window shop my book Comedy of Doom, my plays, and my comedy albums.
And speaking of comedy albums…
It’s an ALL CAPS because this is the big project that was with me all year long.
Flaw Fest is a stand-up comedy show full of fun humor jokes about all of my horrible flaws as a human being.
I wrote and performed the show for Jonathan Coulton’s JoCoCruiseCrazy this February. I was thrilled to be a performer on the cruise and the show went swell. (I also recorded this episode of Obsessed featuring sex noises from Wil Wheaton and Mike Phirman.)
A lot of the musicians on the cruise said nice things about the show so I thought it would be cool if I could convince a bunch of them to write songs inspired by the comedy album so I launched a Kickstarter project to do that.
That worked so then we had to make the album. We recorded it live at The Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis this September. The live show featured an awesome opening performance by the amazingly talented and kind Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy. The musicians all delivered amazing songs.
On November 5th, we released FLAW FEST into the world.
In November and December, I made a bunch of little comedy videos as backer rewards from the Kickstarter campaign including this super-ironic one about Kickstarter Addiction.
I’m super proud of the album and constantly amazed that this weird idea worked and we (all the people who worked on the album, all the backers) caused all these awesome songs to come into the world. For example, Molly Lewis just posted this video for her song about James Bond karate chopping people in the ass:
How To Swear Like a Minnesotan
I wrote and performed a stand-up comedy show about my strange, awesome, and often mysterious home state of Minnesota.
We had an entirely sold out run at Bryant Lake Bowl in March, an entirely sold out run at the Minnesota Fringe Festival–a great performance art festival that has meant a lot to me over the years–then two well-received remounts in August and September.
The show featured some swearing and some advocating that perhaps Minnesotans could learn to express themselves more directly and vociferously. This led to one of my favorite moments of the year. After one of the Fringe shows, a little old lady came up to me and said, “This is very hard for me to do, but I’m going to try to say it. I enjoyed your fucking show.”
One of my favorite parts of the show is my attempt to break-up with snow.
Other Minnesota Performances
I also did a bunch of one-off gigs in Minnesota with great organizations and pals including The Rockstar Storytellers, the local branch of The Moth, Mary Mack, a video project with Trace Beaulieu, and I once again co-wrote and helped produce the big theater awards show The Iveys.
I’ve been performing at CONvergence sci-fi/fantasy convention for years and 2013 was the best yet. I did a bunch of ridiculous fun comedy panels such as Drinking With Geeks (it is exactly what the title implies), I recorded another favorite episode of Obsessed all about Doctor Who, and I wrote and performed a stand-up comedy show all about superheroes called SUPER ISSUES. We recorded the show and will hopefully be putting it out as a comedy album in 2014.
Here’s an excerpt in which I have strong feelings about Batman and yoga.
I was a guest at some other awesome conventions as well including Core Con in May, ConnectiCon in July, and Dragon Con in August/September. I did a bunch of panels, shows, Obsessed recordings, and took pictures of things like this happening:
Comedy of Doom
We released an audiobook version of my geek memoir Comedy of Doom read by me, Bill Corbett, and Shanan Custer.
I took a lot of showers this year. This is one of my failures. I know it’s not a failure to take a shower. It’s the fact that I’m a grown man and I still think showers are secretly little time machines. Like time doesn’t exist once you step inside a shower. Basically, if I ever take a break from posting on twitter, it’s because I’m in the shower. If I could tweet from the shower and have a separate faucet that delivered craft beer, I would never leave the shower. I deeply apologize if you’re picturing this. Stop it, for your sake.
Besides all of my own shows, I continued to write the Dr. Blink twitter feed, did some for-hire sketch and script writing, as well as slowly pushing forward on a few cool writing projects that aren’t far enough along for bloggery yet.
I use the word touring loosely, but I had a ton of fun performing around the country this year. I did multiple shows in Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Atlanta, Madison, and even St. Paul. Which is technically right next to Minneapolis but it still feels exotic. I did a lot of these shows with my good pals, The Doubleclicks, which brings me to…
Nothing To Prove video
I had almost nothing to do with this, but it was still a highlight of my year. I have a tiny cameo in this video of The Doubleclick’s song Nothing To Prove. It’s a great song, a great video, and a great message. I’m thrilled that it went so super viral.
I wrote some of my thoughts about the Fake Geek issues here.
Blogs and Batman
It’s been a very bat-centric year for me. Many kind people also indulged me in my hunt for a good picture of Batman Eating a Taco. Mission accomplished:
We did a Batman episode of Obsessed.
I wrote a blog post imagining Batman’s reaction to “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells.” The blog post was kindly re-shared on the social medias by geek luminaries and pals Wil Wheaton, Neil Gaiman, Bonnie Burton, and John Scalzi. Thanks to the signal boost, it’s the most read thing I’ve ever posted on the site.
Star Wars bloopers
Some rare bloopers from the making of Star Wars were released in 2013. There’s a shot of a stormtrooper struggling through a door then his belt falls off for no reason. I really relate to that Stormtrooper. This isn’t a success or a failure, I just felt like sharing that.
During JoCoCruiseCrazy, I got to be on a special episode of the great Nerdist Writer’s Podcast.
At Dragon Con, I told a story about violence and nuns for the awesome podcast, Five Truths and a Lie.
Another huge highlight of my year is working with James Urbaniak on his podcast Getting On with James Urbaniak. The podcast is a truly amazing mix of comedy, pathos, and general human absurdity.
I wrote the episode “Death By Fire” in March.
I wrote the episode “The Smart Thing” and got to co-star in the episode.
Making sex noises into an incredibly expensive microphone on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the San Fernando Valley was not something I had on my bucket list, but now it’s crossed off.
I was asked to contribute to a geek cookbook called All The Nomz. Sara helped me concoct the culinary horror called The Taco Doughnut.
Finally, I spent A LOT OF TIME on social media.
I set up a Fan List where I enjoy answering real and absurd questions.
In March, I started doing a series of daily tweets on different themes each month.
I spend time on Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, but I spend, uh, even more time on Twitter.
I’m not going to call it a failure, but I’m getting close to the point where I’m going to accidentally try to touch someone’s FAV button because I liked what they said in real life.
In the constant battle to get AS MUCH DONE AS POSSIBLE, social media can be a dangerous time suck, but I do value it incredibly.
Some days, it’s just a vehicle for butt jokes. But to misquote Shakespeare, “A Butt Joke by any other name would smell as sweet.” Just the other day, I spent a pleasant morning exchanging butt jokes with good friends who are scattered across the country. I honestly felt connected to far away friends.
For all the jokes and criticisms of social media, I value all these connections to friends, family, fans, strangers and the exposure to new and different ideas, experiences, and butt jokes.
As I posted on Thanksgiving on Twitter:
“Because of twitter I know what’s going on in your hearts, your brains, your bowels, your barrooms, Mars, and more. Sincere thanks, weirdos.”
And the same goes to everyone reading this.
I’m off to take a shower and think about 2014.
Your flawed friend,