Tony Vinh



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

We Should Be Ashamed

I'm tired of people getting shamed for "shaming." Because some people just need to be shamed. It's how society puts in check all the assholes and douchenozzles.

If we keep trying to make everything all rosy and Pollyana and let everyone do whatever they want willly-nilly – meanwhile reprimanding those calling people out on their asshole-ness or douchenozzle-dom – it's going to get to a point where we'll just be like:

"Hey, you, quit murder-shaming him! You have no right to comment on his murdering! He should be allowed to murder all he wants! You don't get to control him, you murder-shamer!"

So, if you see someone texting in a movie, shame them.

If you see someone not wiping their sweat off gym equipment, shame them.

If you see someone clip their toenails in the office, shame them.

If you see someone walk really, really slow across the crosswalk instead of quickstepping because they're staring down at their phone, and you're trying to turn, shame them.

If you see someone wearing yoga pants and flip-flops to a formal ceremony, shame them.

If you see someone having sex in the Arts & Crafts aisle at Walmart, shame them.

If you see someone hula-hooping on a unicycle outside of a circus, shame them.

If you see someone taking a selfie at a funeral, shame them.

If you see parents letting their kids run wild and scream through a restaurant while others are just trying to have a nice, pleasant dinner, shame them. Wait, no. Trip the kids first. Then shame the parents.

If you see Donald Trump, shame him.

If you see someone talking during a comedy show, shame them.

If you're a person who shames people who shame others for being just outright jerks, shame on you.

Note To Next President

Dear Bernie Sanders. Or Hilary Clinton. Or Jeb Bush. Or Marco Rubio. Or Donald Trump (Please, God, don't make it be Donald Trump). Or Whomever. It doesn't matter...

Dear Puppet:

If you want something to get done or passed, just do the opposite of what that is. Because chances are everyone else will gang up to push for the other way, and then you'll ultimately get your way. Politics are less about issues, more about posturing. And reverse psychology is a better strategy than reason. The same way it works on children. After all, that's what most politicians are anyways, are they not?

So be like George Costanza when he does the opposite. You'll get the girl. You'll get the job. You'll get the congressional votes from all those who hate your stinking guts.

Take Refuge

During the Vietnam war, my parents came over to America as refugees along with tens of thousands of other displaced, scared and frightened Vietnamese people with no place to call home anymore.

And just like the Syrians currently fleeing from their civil war-torn country, they too were confronted with a lot of resistance and anger. Many were not accepted and treated like stray dogs. Even as a child years after the war was over, I would myself hear, "Gook! Go back to your country! We don't want you here!" And that was from fully-grown adults.

But ultimately, once my parents and all their fellow Vietnamese refugees settled in and became a part of the neighborhoods, communities and country, what was the result of it all?

40 years later, everyone now fucking loves the shit out of pho.

See? Some good did come out of it. So don't be a dick. Open your minds and your hearts. And, if anything, you'll get to eat well years from now.