Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Harry Potter, Tequila, and Comedy


Last February, I joined Patreon. Patreon is a funny sounding word. It sounds like the spell Harry Potter would use to summon tequila.

I like the idea of magically summoning liquor, but I like the reality of Patreon even more.

If you’re not familiar with it, Patreon is a crowdfunding site that fully embraces the idea of artists surviving on their art. Patrons pledge a specified dollar amount (anywhere from $1 to a gajillion, but $1 is great) per thing the artist creates. I’ve been writing comedy blog posts. I’ve been writing two a month so if you pledge $1 per post, $2 quietly slips out of your bank account every month. Accio Living Funds!

I love Kickstarter. It’s made it possible for me to publish a book and a comedy album, but Kickstarter’s project based model makes it difficult to get to that next step. Patreon is old school patronage that directly helps artist pay for food, rent, and sometimes even tequila for your revisionist Harry Potter parody film.

Patreon and the kind support of my patrons have been a huge help to me as I made the transition from Minneapolis to Los Angeles–both financially and artistically.

I decided to produce comedy blogs on Patreon to encourage myself to do more writing. I’ve been using a lot of the blogs as starting points for my live comedy shows. And I’ve been making money while doing it. One stone. SO MANY DEAD BIRDS. Sorry, metaphorical birds.

Patrons also get rewards like custom poems, suggesting blog topics, and even pint glasses with my coat of arms designed by the very talented Natalie Metzger.


The downside is that since Patreon is ongoing, you don’t have the last minute rush of a campaign ending like you do with Kickstarter. Instead you can set up goals. I’ve unlocked a few. This month, I’m going to write a two part story and readers will get to vote on the conclusion. I’m going to perform some stand-up dressed as a squirrel and release it on YouTube. (Most likely I’ll be doing that at this show in Los Angeles.)

My next goal is to record a holiday comedy album. I’ve got a lot of holiday themed pieces I’d love to record with a live audience–Batman’s Jingle Bells issues, the Super Aggressive Holiday Letter, and new stuff. I’ve always wanted to do a holiday album, but I’m not a musician. Then I said out loud to myself, “Why should they have all the fun?”

We’re about $50 in pledges away from unlocking the holiday album. I have a lot of really generous patrons. I would love to find 50 more people to pledge $1 per blog post to get to the holiday album! All patrons will get a free download of the album. If you’re interested and want to help out, you can check out my Patreon here.

Every patron also gets an LOLScrimshaw. I’ve been having great fun with these so I’ll leave you with a few of my favorites. Thanks for reading and for all your support!













Thanks again! For full info, you can check out my Patreon page here!

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Hermione Granger and The Sorority Girl of Anger

Recently, I did a show with my friends and uber-talented musicians The Doubleclicks. We were looking for ways to collaborate. I love writing genre parody pieces for pals to perform such as this one with Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy. I asked the ladies if they had any ideas. Angela said she had always wanted to play Hermione Granger of Harry Potter fame. I had always wanted to hear Hermione use more offensive swear words. I realized that Hermione had it in her to be as righteously pissed off as the Angry Sorority Girl. Enjoy the text and a link to Angela’s performance below, you stupid ass-sorting hats.

If you just opened this like I told you to, sit down in a chair and cast Petrificus Totalus on yourself, because this howler is going to be a rough fucking ride.

For those of you that have your heads stuck up your robes, which apparently is the majority of Gryffindor, we have been FUCKING UP in terms of nighttime events and general social interactions with Hufflepuff.

If you’re reading this right now and saying to yourself “But oh em gee Hermione, I’ve been having so much fun with Neville Longbottom this week!” then hex yourself in the face right now so that I don’t have to fucking find you in the common room and do it myself.

I do not give a flying fuck, and Hufflepuff does not give a flying fuck, about how much you fucking love to talk to Neville.

Flying Fuck, by the way, is a really fun spell that I invented.

Anyway, you have 361 days out of the fucking year to talk to Neville Longbottom, and this week is NOT, I fucking repeat NOT ONE OF THEM.

Yes, I know I said 361 days out of the year. I know that a week is seven days long. I know the math doesn’t work out. I have a time turner, bitches!

This week is about fostering relationships with those boring losers from Hufflepuff, and that’s not fucking possible if you’re going to stand around and talk to Neville about gillyweed.


This also applies to you little shits that have talked openly about Quidditch being boring. Are you people brain dead like Neville’s parents after they were tortured with the Cruciatus Curse by Bellatrix Lestrange?

Of FUCKING course, Quidditch is boring. We get all dressed up and go out to the stands and then some FUCKING CHOSEN ONE PRAT catches the golden snitch in the first thirty seconds and it’s all FUCKING over!

But Hermione, you say in a whiny little bitch voice, “I’ve been cheering on Gryffindor, doesn’t that count for something?”


I’ve not only gotten messages about people being fucking WEIRD at Quidditch (for example, being stupid shits and saying stuff like “durr what’s the TRI-WIZARD TOURNAMENT?” is not fucking funny), but I’ve gotten messages about people actually cheering for the opposing team.

The opposing. Fucking. Team.




I swear I will fucking cast cuntius puntius on the next person I hear about doing something like that.

“Ohhh, I’m now crying because your howler has made me oh so so sad! I’m pulling my tears out and putting them in a pensieve so I never fucking forget. “

Well, good.

If this howler applies to you in any way, meaning if you are a Longbottom loving little asswipe that stands in the corners at night looking at Filch’s fucking cat or if you’re a weird shit that does weird shit during the day, this following message is for you: APPARATE YOUR ASS AWAY FROM TONIGHT’S EVENT.

I’m not fucking kidding. Seriously, if you have done ANYTHING I’ve mentioned in this email and you’re suffering from some rare curse like Smartus Oppositus where you’re unable to NOT do these things, then you are HORRIBLE, I repeat, HORRIBLE FOR GRYFFINDOR!


I would rather have six or seven Gryffindors who are actually relevant to the fucking NARRATIVE, than a bunch of lame Dean Thomases and Seamus Finnegans being awkward.

Seriously. I swear to fucking Godric Gryffindor if I see anyone being a goddamn boner at tonight’s event, I will cast a spell that turns you into an actual walking talking boner. I’m not even kidding. Try me.

And for those of you who are offended at this howler, I understand. Now that I’m getting to the end, I see I’m really just projecting my own feelings on to you. I’m upset with Ron Weasley. And I’m taking it out on you. It’s very hard being the most intelligent person in the room. All the time. I always know the right answer and most of you are really dumb.

Like really fucking dumb.

Like every year, there’s a big mystery going on at the school. Like with monsters and evil wizards and shit and you don’t even FUCKING notice. Wake up, SHEEPLE!

In conclusion, I apologize and take back the majority of what I said.

And if you don’t like that you can go fuck yourself.

*letter explodes*

Angela’s enchanting performance at Nerd Night Out in Portland, Oregon.


If you enjoy my work, you can sign up for my fan list here and make more comedy possible by buying a book, a comedy album, or a script here.


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What did you do, Joseph, what did you do?

I suspect I am not alone in feeling as though I am never really getting enough done. While I try not to procrastinate too much, I do make jokes about procrastinating a lot. When I realize I’m procrastinating, I have a lot of little motivational phrases I say out loud to myself. One of them is this:

“Get back to work, you idiot.”

And if I don’t get back to work, I sometimes follow up with:

“You are a bad and stupid person.”

Then I feel guilty that I’m being so mean to myself and I try to make it up to me by allowing myself to make a joke on Twitter about procrastinating. And the cycle continues.

This year, I decided to actually review my calendar and make a list of (almost) everything I did. Please enjoy procrastinating from your work to read about mine!


I worked with John Kovalic on some spec scripts and started writing daily tweets for @DrBlinkShrink.

I did two shows at The San Francisco SketchFest. CineMadness with Bill Corbett and a short version of my geek stand-up/storytelling show, Comedy of Doom.

I performed the role of “Balthazar, D & D Champion” in promotional videos for a company called Awesome Dice.

I co-wrote an internal awards show for General Mills.

I made jokes on Twitter about procrastinating.


I launched the Obsessed podcast as both a live show in Minneapolis and released the first episode online. There have been 10 live shows that have generated 16 podcast episodes.

I wrote a sketch for a magician.

I wrote and performed (with Shanan Custer) a commentary about smartphones for Minnesota Public Radio.

I did a story with the spoken word collective The Rockstar Storytellers.

I was one of the entertainers on JoCoCruiseCrazy II. I performed a full length version of Comedy of Doom. I was thrilled to get a surprise volunteer named Wil Wheaton for my Star Trek bit. I also played the role of “Ed McMahon” on Paul & Storm’s podcast with Paul F. Tompkins.

I gave a talk in a bar about zombies and Minnesota geek culture for the Minnesota Historical Society.

I made jokes on Facebook about procrastinating.


I performed at the Twin Cities convention Mars Con.

I started working as an occasional writer and performer on Wits. Since March, I’ve written for and/or performed with Tim Meadows, Rhett Miller, Andy Richter, Reggie Watts, Fred Willard, Paul F. Tompkins, Wyatt Cenac, Bobcat Goldthwait, Amy Sedaris, Dave Foley, Mike Doughty, Maria Bamford, and Brandi Carlile. And of course host John Moe, John Munson and The Witnesses, and other frequent Wits performers Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy, and Neil Gaiman.

I went out to eat with my wife on her birthday. She mentioned maybe I should write a book.

I made jokes on Google+ about procrastinating.


I did another story with the Rockstar Storytellers.

I wrote and did eight performances of a one person stand-up show about vampires, stand-up, and vampires doing stand-up called The Sad Vampire Comedy Hour.

I wrote and performed a short story as part of a Minnesota Public Radio showcase led by Kevin Kling.

I did three performances and presentations about using comedy to discuss history for the American Alliance of Museums convention.

I did not get around to making any jokes on social media about procrastinating.


I launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the book version of Comedy of Doom.

I wrote a lot of new material for the book. I edited the material from the stage version. I took photos for the cover and organized all the illustrations for the book. I hit refresh on the Kickstarter page roughly 700 times a day.

My odd little rock band called Math Emergency (composed of a math professor, a public radio producer, a public radio host, and me) played a gig. I played the drums and made jokes into a microphone.

I appeared on the AON podcast.

I made jokes on Twitter about spending too much time on Twitter.


I went on my friends’ annual bar crawl. I only note this because, while fun, going to 13 bars in 12 hours does feel a bit like work.

I appeared on the Vilification Tennis podcast where I cemented my reputation as an Axl Rose apologist.

I did another story with the Rockstar Storytellers.

I did multiple rounds of proofing and editing on the book and we sent it off to be printed. Comedy of Doom was officially published on June 20, 2012.

I wrote the pilot for an animated series version of the web comic Least I Could Do.

I made mean jokes about Google+ on Twitter.


We sent out all the copies of Comedy of Doom to the kind Kickstarter backers.

I attended the big Twin Cities convention CONvergence. I wrote and performed a one person storytelling and stand-up show about romantic advice for geeks called Verbing The Noun. We’ll be releasing a CD and digital download of the show in time for Valentine’s Day 2013. I did a live Obsessed show with Paul Cornell and Bonnie Burton. I did 10 other comedy panels and a signing for Comedy of Doom.

I went to San Diego Comic-Con. I performed at w00tstock. I had fun meetings, fancy parties, and saw a lot of men dressed as Jedi having a hard time at urinals.

I did another story with the Rockstar Storytellers.

I co-wrote and performed a comedy show called Comedy: The Show with Four Humors Theater on the Centennial Showboat in St. Paul, Minnesota.

I made a quick trip to Los Angeles for a friend’s birthday party. I even wrote something for that.

I made mean jokes about Google+ on Facebook.


I wrote, produced, and performed in an hour long one act play called Nightmare Without Pants for the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Here is a three minute live video preview of the show, in which I perform an accidental magic trick with a pair of rip-away pants.

Due to the stubborn forward movement of time I became a year older on August 17th.

I performed and did some comedy panels at Dragon*Con in Atlanta.

I made jokes about Google+ on Google+.


I was still at Dragon*Con. For one panel, I was challenged to sing “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” I attempted to do it in the style of Nine Inch Nails. It’s a better song that way.

I did a performance at Space Camp with Marian Call, Molly Lewis, Ken Plume, Phil Plait, and more.

Obsessed was featured on iTunes as “New & Noteworthy” and a “Staff Favorite.”

I co-wrote, helped to organize, and performed in a large awards show for the Minnesota theater community called The Iveys.

I did a podcast with the awesome Len Peralta and became a trading card for his Geek-A-Week series.

I hosted and performed at a viewing of the Doctor Who episode “The Angels Take Manhattan” at The Parkway Theater.

I tried to treat Google+ with a little more respect.


I co-produced, directed, and wrote a piece for a theater event called Thirst. It’s a series of short one-act plays performed in a bar. The show had three performances and it was a benefit to fight for Marriage Equality in Minnesota. Here’s the monologue I wrote about Harry Potter and kindness.

I joined The Ladies of Ragnarok (Molly Lewis, The Doubleclicks, and tour manager Dammit Liz) for a leg of their tour. I performed in Chicago, Minneapolis, and Madison. The Ladies also appeared on Obsessed.

I recorded the audiobook version of Comedy of Doom. We’re still working on editing and mastering the hours of audio.

I did another show with the Rockstar Storytellers.

I wrote and performed a ghost story for Torch Theater in Minneapolis.

I played another gig with Math Emergency.

I started a Tumblr account and wrote a thing about Halloween.


I used National Novel Writing Month as a motivation to work on some screenplays. I finished plotting and scripting the first drafts of two feature length films. Now working on second drafts.

My wife and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. The traditional gift is iron. The contemporary gift is candy. We gave one another Iron Man Pez dispensers.

I tried to make fun of Google+ on Tumblr, but I felt like I was kicking a puppy.


I wrote and performed the short story Adult Santa for The New Standards holiday show at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota.

I did another story with the Rockstar Storytellers.

We (and by “we” I really mean my wife Sara and my graphic designer, Matthew Foster) made Comedy of Doom available on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, and many stores in the Twin Cities.

I wrote a story about the grim superhero The Leaping Lord for Paul Cornell’s 12 Blogs of Christmas.

I started writing a new stand-up/storytelling show that I’ll be performing on JoCoCruiseCrazy III.

I started writing another stand-up/storytelling show that I’ll be performing at the Bryant-Lake Bowl in Minneapolis in March of 2013.

I booked guests for Obsessed through March of 2013.

I wrote some stuff that I’ll perform for my annual New Year’s Eve show at the Bryant Lake Bowl.

I made fun of LinkedIn on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Tumblr.

I debated whether or not I should write this. I stared off into space and screwed around on social media. I beat myself up about procrastinating. I forced myself to write this. I read it. I thought about all the amazing creative people I got to meet and work with this year. I ran the post by my wife and business partner without whom none of the above would be remotely possible.

Later tonight, I’ll watch some TV, drink a martini, and think about ways to get even more done in 2013.

I’m going to start by coming up with some new motivational phrases.

I think I’ll try:

“Come on, you idiot, get stuff done so you have something to blog about next year.”


“Stop calling yourself an idiot, you jackass.”

And then I’ll hug myself and move on.

Happy New Year’s,



Filed under Comedy Real Life


In October of 2012, I helped produce a benefit show called Thirst: The No Round. The event was an evening of short plays performed in a bar. All profits went to Minnesotans United for All Families to help fight the marriage amendment that would change the state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. (The amendment was defeated in November of 2012.) A lot of people believe marriage equality is a political issue. In my opinion, many of America’s current political issues are matters of simple human decency. This two-part monologue was my attempt to sum up some of my feelings about political activism, romantic relationships, and also Harry Potter. Enjoy.


Excuse me! Hello! May I have your attention? My apologies for interrupting your meals and drinks. I realize you don’t know me. I’m just some guy in a bar. My name is James. There. Now I’m not some guy in a bar, I’m some guy named James in a bar.

Anyway, I was wondering if you would all be willing to join me in a toast? I would like to toast the concept of kindness. If you think kindness is a good thing, please lift your glasses and on the count of three join me in a toast. One, two, three–bullshit!

Kindness is bullshit! That’s right, I said it. I used a swear word right out loud in a bar. And I will do it again if I have to.

I’m sorry to be so edgy, but I’m a little out of control right now. I’m supposed to be getting married next week and I just had a horrible fight with the woman who may or may not still be my fiancée.

We’ve been together for a few years and we’ve never had a real fight. And it was starting to make me nervous, so I said, “Hey, sweetie, before we get married, I think we should have, like, a practice fight.”

She thought that was ridiculous. When I asked her why she called me a name. A horrible name. A vile, cultural epithet.

She called me a Hufflepuff.

By a show of hands, how many people here know what a Hufflepuff is?

It sounds horrible doesn’t it? Hufflepuff. It sounds like a noise an old British man would make when he’s choking on a crumpet. Hufflepuff. Or like a really lame drug addict. Like someone who tries to get high by sniffing Play-Doh or something.

But the true meaning of Hufflepuff is even more insulting.

For those of you who don’t know, a Hufflepuff is one of the four houses at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as featured in the Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling.

People who are in the Gryffindor house are brave. People in Ravenclaw are smart. People in Slytherin are evil. Hufflepuff is for EVERYBODY ELSE.

If Hufflepuff were real that’s where they would put the stoners and the dumb kids who try hard. Hufflepuff is the AV club of the Harry Potter world.

But the most common virtue of Hufflepuffs is that we’re supposed to be kind. Not surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of Hufflepuff characters featured in the Harry Potter story. Just Cedric Diggory. And do you know what he does? He spends about six hundred pages standing around being nice and then he dies.

That’s who my fiancée thinks I am. That’s what she thinks should go on my tombstone: “He was nice until he died.”

Do you know why that’s an insult? Because nice is a codeword for cute. When someone crinkles up their nose and says, “Oh, isn’t he nice?” what they’re actually saying is, “He reminds me of that puppy I had on my trapper keeper in seventh grade.”

Even worse, nice is a codeword for harmless.

No one respects nice people because kindness is a passive virtue. And I am done with that. I am done being a Hufflepuff. I told my fiancée that I was going to show her. I told her I was going to go out to a bar, get drunk, and go nuts in front of strangers.

Which is exactly what I have done!

Except for the drunk part. This is an O’Douls, so I’m not really drunk. But I do feel bloated and I have to pee. So, brace yourselves– because this Trapper Keeper puppy is about to urinate all over your minds!

Who wants it first?

Hey, you! Yes, you! I would like to confront you about an important, divisive issue that a lot of people feel pretty strongly about. I personally do not think that the Harry Potter films are as good as the books. What do you have to say about that?

DON’T ANSWER! I am going to tell you what I think! I think the movies are emotionless, tarted-up turds with too many special effects and not enough Dobby the House Elf.  Saying you know the story of Harry Potter because you saw the films is like saying you know about current events because you watch Fox News.

That’s right, I just attacked Fox News. Does anyone here want to defend Fox News?

Wow! No one? Okay, that makes me feel a little better.

But how about this? I think people who hang their toilet paper under-handed are sick. They’re terrible, manipulative people. I believe strongly in an over-handed toilet paper hanging approach and I’m willing to stand up and fight for what I believe in. I will stand up and fight like a Gryffindor for people’s right to hang toilet paper over-handed!

And I will tell you something else–now that I hear myself say that out loud in a bar full of strangers, I’m realizing that perhaps my issue is not with you people but rather with my fiancée. My cruel, name-calling, underhanded toilet paper hanging fiancée.

So, here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to go use the bathroom. Then I’m going to leave an inadequate tip at the bar to prove I can be as evil as a Slytherin. Then I’m going to go home and face my issues with my fiancée head on.

But before I go, I want to leave you with a good toast. I’m sure many of you here tonight are in relationships. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or celebrating your 50th anniversary, relationships are hell. So, I propose a toast not to kindness, but to something I believe is really universal in all relationships. I offer a toast….to bravery!

Now, where the hell is the bathroom?


Excuse me! Excuse me! May I have your attention again? It’s me, James. You might remember me from earlier as the guy who was yelling about Harry Potter and the toilet paper.

Look, I just came back to the bar to apologize. I brought you guys a flower. It’s just one so you’ll have to share.

Feel free to pass it around or keep it for yourself depending on where your moral compass points. I’m not here to judge.

Anyway, I wanted to say I’m sorry for freaking out and yelling at you earlier. Also, I figure you guys have a right to know what happened when I confronted my fiancée.

So, I went home to yell at her about being so cruel as to call me nice. When I got home, she was sitting on the couch watching a movie. She was crying and eating ice cream out of a tub with a soup ladle because she couldn’t find any clean spoons.

And I was really angry. I was riled up from all that O’Douls I slammed and the movie she was watching was Prisoner of Azkaban—which is the worst Harry Potter film because they don’t even tell you why Harry’s patronus is a stag. And you just have to infer who Padfoot, Prongs, Wormtail, and Moony are, and the Whomping Willow just moves locations. It’s so stupid!

I wanted to just scream and smash the TV, but I didn’t.

I went full Hufflepuff.

I sat down and I hugged her. I made the active choice to be kind. And I realized I’m not sick of being nice, I’m sick of the world acting like being nice doesn’t make a difference.

So, excuse my language, but dammit all to hell I am going to be kind. I am going to be actively, almost aggressively kind.

For example, on the way here, I tried to do as many kind things as I possibly could. I bought you guys the flower, I picked up some litter, I helped an old lady cross the street.

Technically, I tried to help an old lady cross the street. She was moving really slow so I came up from behind and took her arm and she hit me with her cane and blew this whistle she was wearing around her neck.

But! I apologized and clarified what I was trying to do. And she said thanks and gave me a piece of butterscotch candy. The kind of candy that I think just naturally grows in the purses of old women.

Anyway, I’m not here to stereotype people. I’m here to celebrate. Because I don’t want to spend my life being angry about what makes us different, I want to make the choice to celebrate the things that unite us.

Whether it’s over-handed or under-handed, we all use toilet paper. Whether you like the movies or the books, we all like Harry Potter. I accept that there are some people who just plain don’t like Harry Potter. Probably the same kind of people who like Fox News. But that’s not the point.

The point is—I would like to offer a toast. May I borrow someone’s drink? Thank you. Is there alcohol in this? Whatever, it doesn’t matter, I’ll deal.

Earlier tonight, I toasted the concept of kindness with sarcasm. Now, I would like to offer a sincere toast to all that kindness entails—empathy, understanding, love, and just general Hufflepuffery.

After all, what is the point of bravery if it’s not coming from a place of kindness? And so, you nice strangers in a bar, I offer a toast to the power of kindness. Cheers!

Now, I have to get home to my fiancee before she starts watching that piece of crap movie about dragons and formal dances that the producers have the audacity to call Goblet of Fire.

Thank you all and goodnight!

Thank you for reading. If you enjoy my writing, check out other stories like this in my book Comedy of Doom.


Filed under Comedy Story