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....
#Trump #Branding & #Buttcare in 2016

#Trump #Branding & #Buttcare in 2016

I’d planned to write a post about my recent adventure as an unofficial Butt Ambassador at RAGBRAI – the biggest bike ride in the world. I was going to write about the process of creating branded content without being hired by the brand. But the wonderful Erin Schroeder ended up interviewing me and fellow comedian Joe Beadle for her Cornfed Comedy blog, so it’s all here, black and white, clear as crystal: TWO COMEDIANS LEAD FIGHT FOR COMFORTABLE REAR ENDS AT RAGBRAI As such, I’m just gonna share my thoughts about the intersection of politics and branding, something that crossed my mind as Joe and I were shooting this campaign. To be clear, I’m not a political satirist and I derive greater pleasure from writing and directing the occasional comedy campaign than commenting on political ones. But I wanted to evaluate the following branding efforts: Anti Monkey Butt, “Fight friction with Anti-Monkey Butt Powder and keep the chafing at bay!” The Trump Campaign, “Make America Great Again” For the record, neither brand has hired me to do their bidding. Joe and I bought some AMB swag and some product and gave it away as an example of the kind of campaign we might do if the brand hired us. We happened across the Trump bus while filming RAGBRAI’ers in Hiawatha, IA. They gave us free water, with no strings attached. On the face of it, both brands do a good job of messaging, as far as logos and slogans go. The people we met from the Trump campaign – ranging from volunteers to his Midwest Co-Chair Tana Goertz – were...
FunnyMen vs. FunnyWomen? The answer is Transparent

FunnyMen vs. FunnyWomen? The answer is Transparent

I’m feeling unloved, defensive and more than a little bitter. With the ubiquitous Amy Schumer suddenly synonymous with comedy, it’s obvious that the road of the male comedian has become a lot more perilous. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy, Mindy Kaling… The list of A List Comedy Powerhouses is so long it’s boring, and there’s not a male in the bunch. Even Judd Apatow is only relevant because his last movie was a collaboration with Amy Schumer. There are plenty of solid funnymen out there, of course, but there just isn’t the same…excitement. The truly great male standups like Bill Burr – and even the brave and brilliant Louis CK – are all overshadowed by the Amy’s (remember when Amy Schumer was the “female Anthony Jeselnik”? AJ is now hosting “Last Comic Standing” and is less well known than JB Smoove). In film, Steve Carrell and Will Ferrell are poised to accomplish what Jim Carrey only dreamed of – spend their sunset years in highly regarded dramas. On stage and in movies, Kevin Hart’s on a winning streak but let’s be honest, he’s the black Dane Cook; he works so hard to be funny you wish he’d take a laxative. On TV, Dave Letterman and Jon Stewart have retired. And while John Oliver and Larry Wilmore are solid, they’re carrying the torch, not lighting anyone’s fire. The closest we have to a king of comedy right now is the great dramatic actor Jon Hamm, and if his performance in “Minions” is any indication, his funny juice dried up when he stopped serving as a...