It doesn’t have to end in a bunker: an open letter to Melania Trump

It doesn’t have to end in a bunker: an open letter to Melania Trump

Dear Melania: In the madness of this unusual campaign season, too much time has been spent comparing your mate, Donald Drumpf, to Adolf Hitler, and far too little time dedicated to the parallels between you and Eva Braun. Let me explain: I’m in no way seeking to vilify you, Mrs. Drumpf. Quite the contrary, I’m hopeful that we can save your life. In fact, I should acknowledge that you two women are really more different then you are alike: Eva was born in Germany; you, Melania, were born miles away in Yugoslavia When Eva met Adolf, she was 23 years his junior, and was working as a model – yet there are 24 years difference between you and The Donald (although, as this election cycle has shown us…what a difference a year makes!) While both of your husbands have a spotty record in terms of their treatment of women, to date only one of these lucky fellas has actually murdered millions of them. What you ladies have in common are the worrisome trajectories of your beaus. Let’s set aside the violence taking place at Donald’s live shows – the NC Sheriff’s Department has already cleared him on those possible incitement charges, and as hubby himself has explained, the clashes are part of the entertainment. You don’t see Civil War reenact-ors suing the Gettysburg Foundation over the occasional bayonet prick! Too soon? Anyway, the problem isn’t the women-bashing, racist, xenophobic rhetoric, or – on the other side – the hurt feelings of people who just can’t take a joke (they should learn from Donald, by the way, who doesn’t even remember being called a short-fingered vulgarian in Spy magazine more than 25 years ago. That’s how thick his skin is.). The...
Great tasting whiskey and Stand-up comedy: pay it forward

Great tasting whiskey and Stand-up comedy: pay it forward

I love premium whiskey. I’m no purist, mind you. I need an ice cube – or at least a few droplets of water in there – to let it breathe. And I like it cold. But I start every drink neat, so I know who I’m dealing with. I’m also a lifelong practitioner of “bueasure,” the confluence of business and pleasure inherent in many professions. Simply put, it means making work fun. That can come in many forms, and drinking is but one of them. As a publicist and marketing director, schmoozing was a big part of the job. I’m social by nature but sometimes, admittedly, a little sumfin sumfin took the edge off my nerves and helped me become the life of the party. When I got back into standup, I experienced a rude awakening. There’s a difference between holding court and performing a show. In my early 20s, I didn’t really drink, but I’d nurse a rum and coke (that’d never happen now, with my cultured palate and middle-aged body) as I sat at the bar with Colin Quinn, Denis Leary, Dave Attell and Louis CK (whatever happened to those guys, am I the only one who made it??). In those days, there were no open mics; you just waited til 2:30 in the morning to go on at Standup NY, ComicStrip or the Cellar, or wherever/whenever Barry Katz told you to come over. Anyway, back then I was innocent. I hadn’t accrued years of experience being the funniest ad guy at client dinners and award show after-parties. This time around, I fell back on booze –...
How to make money in 10 easy payments!

How to make money in 10 easy payments!

While the politicians and the establishment hacks argue about issues like “jobs” and “economy” and “caucus”, what no one will tell you is this: none of it matters. This is America, it’s the world, in fact, and to succeed and rise above yourself, I’m about to tell you all you need to know. But first, a little secret: all those people up on those stages at those rallies? They’re rich. Even the “poor” ones – the ones without billions of dollars – are rich. Except one, but he is in the single digits in the polls and we’re not talking about him. The point is this: with wealth comes freedom, and wealth comes from money. Money, and this is true, comes from, get this: other people. That’s right. In order for you to have it, someone has to give it to you. I’m going to tell you how to get them to do just that. Now, you may think the easiest route is to get all the money you need from one person. That’s actually ridiculous. I don’t say this to make you feel bad – although if you’re going to be a success, you’ll need to develop a thick skin, which is why some of the most successful people in the world are the product of hard times or at least dysfunctional families. Or inheritance. Speaking of which, there are some successful candidates for President who got all their money from one person – a father – but that was a loan and they paid it back. And from there, they made all of their considerable money on...
This “We’re funny & have good ideas for brands” boutique has a brand-consumer entertainment strategy to engage consumers

This “We’re funny & have good ideas for brands” boutique has a brand-consumer entertainment strategy to engage consumers

I love reading Adweek. Not because I’m in the ad biz or anything (maybe I am). But because (ok, I am) it’s comforting to wake up to a mag that’s appropriately cynical yet hopeful. Adweek covers the trajectory of a crazy business that by turns is crumbling, commiserating, surviving, and celebrating (great work, survival, whatever it is, we’ve got a statue for it). The recent “Why today’s ad agencies are reluctant to call themselves ‘Ad Agencies’” piece by Patrick Coffee hit one issue on the head: how do we help brands spread their message if we don’t even know what to call ourselves? I come at this from the comedy angle, so at least there’s some specificity here. I’m starting something new, a complement to my PR business and the culmination of all my experiences and misadventures, both in standup comedy and sit-down marketing/promotion. So there isn’t exactly a template for this endeavor. But I know what we do: we entertain consumers. That’s it. And I say we’re a creative comedy boutique. Because you can come here and shop for custom-made comedy. To entertain your consumers. I call this company YES, BRAND. A splash page is HERE. I have a section on WHO were are, WHAT this is and WHY this will work HERE. This is an entertaining trailer for a Branded TV Series I created with Stu Wilson: To see what’s really going on behind this silly year-old teaser and to find out why it matters to YOU, contact ME: Hersh@YesBrandCreative.com. This article is an ad. It is also branded comedy content. And strategic creative marketing. And it is a...
Branded Standup Tours: Road dog eats the fame bug

Branded Standup Tours: Road dog eats the fame bug

I get a call this week from a friend of mine who runs a “challenger brand”, asking if I’ll head up a comedy tour for them. A challenger brand is a brand that may be popular in its native market but needs help competing with the big boys. I say yes, of course. I’m already well into my “20 Years to Kill” tour, which started this past November and runs through my retirement from standup on November 15, 2035. So, technically, the tour is in progress as we speak. I tell that to my friend, who says, “Hersh, I love you. But this isn’t the fame bug calling.” Ouch. With that statement, he’s explaining that by “head up” he means “put together” and he’s telling me that I’m not headlining this tour. Meaning, he’s not calling to make me the next Kevin Hart. “Look, brother,” I tell him, “I’m almost 49. I’m the same age as Will Fucking Ferrell (that said, I’m a year younger than Chris Rock, the elder statesman of standup…and a dozen years younger than Grandpa Jerry). If I’m not Kevin Hart Famous by now, I’m not gonna worry about it. The fame bug is not an issue. And anyway,” I continue, “I’m not seeking fame. I’m a craftsman. I’m a comic’s comic.” A beat, during which I can kind of hear my friend take some air in. Phone etiquette demands that I give him a few seconds to let it out. Which he does. Slowly, and with the hint of a groan. “Really?” he asks. “Which comic?” Now, I have a lot of clever friends....