When I was a child I wanted to be like everybody else. I did not want to be seen wearing a yarmulke ever because all of my friends were Christians and a yarmulke would make me stand out. I wanted to wear designer clothes because my friends had designer clothes. We could not afford that. I resented the fact that my BMX bike had rear view mirrors, and lights and my mother insisted I wear a helmet because no other kids had that. I wanted plain tighty whities when I got dressed in camp but instead I had under wear with planes & fire engines on it. I got made fun of. My Mom said they were jealous. I do not know if that was the case but I did stand out and it did not feel good at all. When you are a kid, especially a fat one with a different religion you just want to blend. The last thing you want to do is possess something or do something that will hold you up to ridicule by your peers. When you are young there is nothing more important then what your “friends” think. Of course if they were really your friends they would not taunt you in such a way. A young mind does not realize that. We are all so insecure and just want to go with the flow and not get noticed. At least not most kids anyway.
Now I look at who I am and I just don’t give a shit what you think. I mean I do but I don’t. Obviously I want to be liked and accepted but I beat to my own drum. It scares people. Especially people in power when they realize I can’t be controlled and at the end of the day I am comfortable in my own skin. A lot of people are not comfortable in their own skin. They have a hard time coming to terms with who they are. I know exactly who I am. I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses. It allows me to grow professionally and personally.
I am a comedian. People always ask me who my influences were. My answer is always nobody. I watched a lot of comedians growing up. I respected a lot of comedians growing up. I wanted to do what they did. I just never wanted to do it how they did it. I knew I could never be Tim Allen, Dice Clay, Bill Cosby, or Dennis Wolfberg. When I started comedy I did not know you could even steal jokes or do party jokes. It never occurred to me. I always assumed that you had to write original jokes. Now I am more saavy and I see people trying to be Mitch Hedberg or Doug Stanhope. I always wonder to myself why. Why would you want to be a copy of somebody when you can be the only you? Maybe they are insecure with who they are. Maybe it is easier to be somebody else. Lord knows when you fail in comedy it feels personal. It feels like the audience hates you. Maybe that is lessened when the person you are putting out to the public has nothing to do with you.
Now that I am transitioning to radio I am following the same formula. I loved Opie & Anthony 15 years ago. Use to listen all the time. I have been fortunate enough to do radio with Anthony on my show. Talk about a mind blowing dream. I consider him one of the iconic comedic talkers ever. When it comes to radio I think he is a genius. One of my co-hosts is one of his best friends. It would be very easy to mimic what they do. Lord knows a lot of people in radio try to mimic them & Howard Stern. I just never wanted that. One rule we made is that we would not be as mean as Howard use to be and O & A are. We would not attack the innocent. We are plenty mean to each other. If you are a dick we will savage you but we have never pranked anybody or been mean to anybody who did not deserve it just to make some great radio. I did try to emulate the honesty of Stern. I always thought that is what made him special. That is a rule for our show. We do not lie to you the audience. We might not tell you everything behind the scenes but we will not lie to you. Sticking to that code is what made it possible for Joe to seamlessly rejoin the show which is where he belongs. There was bad blood between me & Joe. But as hurt as I was I never trashed him on the air. He never trashed me on social media. Brothers fight. We had a doozy of one. I had to go on the air and explain what happened with Joe and the show because we still had an audience and you deserved to know. I could not lie to you and I did not lie to you. I told you the truth but I did not tell you every little detail. I felt in that way I kept the trust I built with our audience and the trust Joe & I had even though at that point I was not sure if we would ever talk again.
Anyway, back to being unique. I think our show is now unique not only because there is only one Joe, Pip, and myself but now because of a killer combo we have. We can deliver some great comedy. We can talk about serious events. We are brutally honest about our lives. We have a bit with the scammers in which we combine humor, empathy, and education. I am told from people who have been in the entertainment industry a long time they have never seen a bit like our scammer bit. The only reason we had that bit initially was because I was comfortable enough in my ability to read on the radio. That was scary. That could potentially be terrible radio. Still I trusted myself. I thought I would figure it out. Pip immediately trusted me. Joe it took a bit longer but now he trusts me with the bit. Our audience trusts me with the bit. And it is quite possible that soon some powerful people will trust us with the bit. None of it happens if I wanted to be like everybody else. None of it happens if I was afraid to fail.
I just wonder if I had not spent so many of my early years trying to be like you if today I could be a much better me.