Tony Vinh

comedian

My GoT Prediction.

1. Westeros will divide in half.

2. Daenerys will rule South Westeros.

3. Jon will rule North Westeros with a bowl haircut.

#got #gameofthrones #westeros #youhearditherefirst #markmywords #idrinkandiknowthings

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Cheers To Moms.

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Moms. Am I right? They made us! Like, I'm not talking in the figurative sense about how they shaped our weird, shitty personalities. I mean they actually made us! If you're a 6'4" 240 lb. dude out there, your mom created you inside her belly and pushed you out like a Toyota factory makes a Corolla. And now you're bigger than her. Wtf! That's like if the Corolla was now bigger than the Toyota factory. You know how weird that'd be for everyone who worked in that factory? But moms don't care. The bigger you grow, the happier they are so they can brag to their friends, "My child is the biggest Corolla out there. Now I don't have to struggle to reach the top shelf anymore."

But for 9 months, we all completely fucked up our moms' bodies and they didn't care! They threw up all the time, ate like a feral beagle, and their bodies turned into something from Aliens where their toes got pudgy and it made our fingers and eyeballs and then weird tubes started feeding us. The only other times I've ever seen this are in sci-fi horror movies. If dads had to go through that, they'd go hide in the woods under some leaves and die. And what'd we do in return? Us being the shitty fetuses (fetae?) that we were, we'd kick them from the inside. Just big, cheap Draymond Green kicks when they weren't expecting it. But did they get mad? Noooooo. They were happy and invited everyone to touch their bellies and immediately signed us up for a soccer team at the YMCA, which is why we all had to play soccer.

And after all that, they had to push us out! All of us. No, I don't mean collectively like the Persians in the movie 300 trying to pass through a narrow passageway, I mean our entire bodies had to come out of them. You ever try to suck watermelon through a straw? No, because that would be ridiculous. But moms did that! Well, some moms cheated, but I understand. I wouldn't want to wreck my straw either.

And now we're here today. Mother's Day. Paying back the ones who literally shaped and carried us with a cheap card from Walgreens, flowers that will die in a week and a shitty lunch at some casino buffet. But do moms care? Nope. They still love us. Because they're moms. #happymothersday

Clocking In.

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I hit 3 open mics last night. The most I've done in one night was 5, but 3 was pretty good for a Monday. They were pleasant, fun rooms, too. Still, I hate doing mics so much.

They can be very judgy. You can doubt not only your jokes, but your whole existence. And the waiting around for your name to be called is unbearable. But in this world, there are no shortcuts or magic potions to make you good. You just have to do it. It's like getting abs. You just gotta do your sit-ups and crunches.

So I have to remind myself that this is my job now. These rooms are my office. The stages are my cubicle. The microphones are my keyboard. My mind is my boss who constantly wants to fire me and never gives me a raise. The few, if any, folks who aren't staring down at their phones and are paying attention are my clients. And my product I'm trying to sell them is a stupid pet rock I'm hoping will inexplicably be a hit someday. Why a pet rock? Because there isn't a more ridiculous epitome of the American dream, which is what this stand-up thing feels like most days.

The funny thing is, with every real job I've had in my life, I've shown up late to work almost every day (us people of color call that CP Time). But with this job, I've always shown up early. Sometimes way too early, like when white kids would anxiously wait for the new Harry Potter book to come out.

Guess I'm still excited to go to work and wait my turn.

How It Feels To Do Comedy At A Hipster Open Mic When You're Not A Hipster:

1. Go to a wedding reception you weren't invited to.

2. Ask the DJ to stop the music while everyone is dancing so you can give a toast.

3. Give the best toast you've ever given.

4. Cue sweat on brow from way-too-hot spotlight.

5. Cue microphone feedback over silence.

6. Cue stone-faced stare down from bride's dad.

7. Wait for slow clap.

8. Wait for it.

9. Wait for it.

10. No slow clap.

11. Say, "That's my time. Thank you and goodnight, everyone."

12. Hear your footsteps echo throughout silent room as you walk off stage.

13. Music, dancing and good times resume.

14. Go straight to In-N-Out and order fries, animal style.

15. Take off clothes and rub animal style fries all over your body.

16. Go into forest and throw yourself to a pack of hungry wolves.

Power On

A poem I wrote 17 years ago when I was in an Asian militant group called the Yellow Panthers ✊ (it was just me). Still pretty much rings true today, Hollywood.

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An Open Letter To Open Letters

Dear Person Who Writes Open Letters To Whomever/Whatever Upset You This Week Because You Are Way Too Sensitive And Now Have To Get On A Passive Aggressive Soapbox Hoping To Get Likes For Your Bullshit Cause Versus Just Having A Direct Conversation With Whomever Or Just Giving The Middle Finger To Whatever And Moving On:


Shut up.


Sincerely,

Me

Vinhsane

Being a stand-up is exhausting. People think you just need to be funny, but that's only 20% of it. The other 80% is you having to be insane. Like, seriously, if you want to succeed, you have to be somewhat out of your mind.


Because on one hand, you have to see the world for the truth it is- that's what all the great comedians do. They call reality out for its nuances and on its bullshit. But on the other, you have to constantly lie to yourself about your own reality to keep yourself moving forward.


You have to believe it's perfectly fine to stand up in the corner of a bar at 1 am on a Tuesday night every single week sharing your thoughts and pouring your heart out to a bunch of strangers, if any, who are so wasted or tired they don't even know you're there.


You have to believe it's perfectly fine to drive 4 hours to a club you're trying to get into then drive 4 hours back home the same night just to do a 10 minute set for an owner or manager or booker who's so busy or wasted or tired they don't even know you're there.


You have to believe it's perfectly fine to be lied to or rejected over and over and over again to the point where your feelings are so calloused you don't even know anymore if they're there.


You have to believe in yourself - and that you're perfectly fine - when no one else will. When no one else is there.


And all that gets so tiring. It's not easy. It's not for the lazy. It's not for the normal people.


So cheers to the batshit crazy comedians out there who aren't normal. And kudos to the ones who have lasted and endured. And a big, Wayne's World-we're not worthy-bow to the ones who have made it to the top of the game.


And if you're just a normal person but you know a comedian, please go out and support them at 1 am on a Tuesday night, or at any time. Because while they may only be 20% funny, and they may definitely be 80% nuts, I promise they are giving 100% every last bit of their exhausted selves. And that's sure as hell worth appreciating.

Advice From Colin Quinn

When I first started doing comedy, I saw Colin Quinn perform at Caroline's in NYC. After the show, I went up to him and said I was a brand new comic, and he kindly told his agent and friends to wait for him upstairs while he chatted with me for a bit. They were annoyed but he didn't care. I couldn't believe it.

He then sat me down in a booth and talked comedy with me for 20 minutes. He told me there are 3 T's to comedy: Talent, Timing, and Tenacity. He said the first anyone can fake. The second can be taught. The third, you either have it or you don't. And the ones who make it in this business have it, because that's the one you need the most when you're getting rejected over and over and over again.

I remembered that advice and, for the next few years, hit the stages at the open mics, clubs, bars, coffee shops, restaurants, colleges, bowling alleys, elk's lodges, moose lodges, any other kind of animal lodges, etc. as hard as I could, getting rejected over and over and over again in between.

A few years later, he came through Kansas City and I was booked to open for him. I was really excited to talk to him again and show him how I've stuck with it. I didn't get a chance to see him before the show because he got there late, a little drunk. But after the show, I went back to the green room and said to him that I took his advice from years ago, and now, I'm definitely faking the Talent, I'm working on the Timing, but I think I have the Tenacity.

He looked up at me and said, "Who the fuck are you?", then took a swig from a bottle of Jameson.

Shhhhhhhhhhhh...ut The F🙊ck Up.

 

A little tip for anyone going to see a comedy show at a club or anywhere: No one is impressed by you being a heckling smartass. Shut the f🙊ck up. 

We are not on stage tossing out Facebook posts where you can just troll and throw out your shitty, hacky comment in return and hope others will "like" it. And you know how usually you only get 2-3 likes on that comment? Same goes for when you heckle at a comedy show. No one likes your fat mouth except the other 2-3 shitheads at your table. Trust me. Shut the f🙊ck up. 

We work hard to get up on that stage and perform for the audience. PERFORM. Like musicians. Like actors. Like those weird Cirque de Soleil acrobats. Like any other live-action artist. Give us the same manners as you would them. And give the people around you the respect of zipping your mouth-breathing mouth so at least they can enjoy it. Yes, just shhhhhhhhhhhh.

-ut the f🙊ck up.

If you don't like us, feel free to get up and leave. We won't mind. We won't pick on you. We get that comedy is subjective and we may not be everyone's taste. But just go. Step out. Or jump out the window. We'd much rather you bail and have a good time elsewhere than sit there and think you can make the show better with your dumb, stupid "fast wit" that really isn't that funny. Not in our world. Because if you think you can, you're just an outright asshole. And if you're not like that but is with someone who is, tell them that they're just an outright asshole. If you're all outright assholes? I hope all your heads blow up on the drive home. So you can shut the f🙊ck up forever. 

Okay? Got it? Good. Thanks for being a future awesome audience member. I'll shut the f🙊ck up now. 

Oh, I lied. One more thing: Quit looking down at your goddamn phones and look up at life. Shut the ph☎️ne up.

Some Break-up Advice. In Bed.

 

Despite my Asian youthfulness, I'm old. And in my many years I've had to remove myself from situations that just didn't feel right to me. Or sometimes, I was unfortunately the one who was removed. Neither was easy, but I've learned a few things from all of it. This was some advice I've given to three people this week going through some sort of breakup. Each was told separately on their own to whomever I was talking with, but I think they actually work well together. I don't know- maybe these are stupid. Maybe these will help you in a moment you're having right now. Maybe I should've been a fortune cookie writer. 

1. Go with your gut, not your guilt. 

2. Just because you shared a past with someone doesn't mean you have to share a future. 

3. Don't agonize over hindsight. Another gal ALWAYS comes along. And she's always better than the last.

4. LUCKY NUMBERS: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42