Posts Tagged With: Steven Wright

Day 3379: Stand up

I grew up with a very funny father who was a fan of good stand up comedy. I still remember watching TV with my dad and the way he would laugh out loud at comedians he liked. He would also sit in silence when stand ups were mean, unimaginative, or unfunny.

During the 1980s, when stand up comedy really exploded in clubs all over Boston, I spent hours laughing at the greats there, including Steven Wright, Kevin Meaney, Ron Lynch, Mike Donovan, Jack Gallagher, and Barry Crimmins. I took a stand up comedy class taught by Ron Lynch and got lots of laughs at my two appearances at Open Mics, one of which also marked the debut of an unknown named Bobcat Goldthwait.

Because I love stand up so much, I introduced it to my only son when he was very young. We would watch “Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist,” which featured the incomparable Jonathan Katz and wonderful comedians (including Steven Wright, Ron Lynch, Kevin Meaney, Jack Gallagher, Ray Romano, Jon Stewart, and Garry Shandling) delivering their stand up routines lying down or sitting up on the psychiatrist’s couch. Years later, my son Aaron got into stand up comedy and was eventually introduced by my teacher and friend, Ron Lynch, for Aaron’s first appearance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe when he was 17 years old. Since then, Aaron has appeared many times as a stand up in Edinburgh and his mother did some sit-down comedy at her own show at the Fringe called “Group Therapy with Ann.”

I still love good stand up. Just the other day, Aaron and I watched Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip, which I remember seeing with Aaron’s father in theaters when that amazing movie first came out. While the only stand up Aaron is doing these days is standing up at his computer in our basement applying to PhD programs in mathematics, we can still enjoy stand ups together.

Do you see any stand ups in my images for today?

I love the way I’m featuring my child Aaron (who is one of my favorite stand ups) in my blog on National Love Our Children Day.

Here’s an episode of “Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist” featuring Steven Wright and Kevin Meaney.

And here’s another one featuring Ron Lynch.

Stand up thanks to all who help me create these blog posts, including YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Day 810: Improvements

Yesterday, I witnessed and participated in several improvements, including:

  • people working to improve coping skills and reduce anxiety, depression, and stress,
  • me overcoming anxiety and improving myself by singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”  at a party, and
  • comedian Steven Wright, creatively and hilariously  improving people’s moods last night at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre.

Today, I’ve witnessed and participated in several technological  “improvements” which have made it more difficult to:

  • share my video of my singing performance and
  • write this blog post.

At this point, despite several tries (and searches for help online), I cannot “improve” YouTube by posting  my singing performance there from my iPhone (done easily, twice, in 2014).

However, I do know how to improve this post with some photos from yesterday:











I shall now improve your understanding of those photos. Three of them were taken at the party. Also, I snapped the last shot after I FOUND A PARKING SPACE  DIRECTLY ACROSS FROM THE WILBUR THEATER!!!

Talk about improvements.

All right, dear readers (who improve my life, daily), I shall now try to improve this post (which I’m creating on my iPhone) by including  last night’s video the same way I include photos here (a feat of improvement, strength, and skill never before attempted by me).

Nope. Can’t do it.

Here’s another improvement I am noticing in myself, right now.

Often, when I cannot do something I’ve been able to do before, I get:

  • anxious,
  • depressed,
  • stressed, and
  • freaked out.

I hope it’s an improvement to this post to share that I’m not alone in this.

Here’s today’s improvement:

I am letting go of my disappointment in not improving this post in all the ways I’d like to, right now. I have faith that, with help from others, I shall be able to improve a future blog post with my video from the party.

I shall now further improve this blog post with this Steven Wright line from last night:

I was wondering how my life might have been different if I’d been born one day earlier, and I thought it wouldn’t be different at all, except that I’d have asked that question yesterday.

How might you improve this post with a comment, today ?

Thanks to everybody who improved my life yesterday and to you — of course! — for improving my world, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 34 Comments

Day 809: Comfort Zones

At a therapy group last night, we focused on the topic of comfort zones.

People spoke, wrote, and drew images about comfort, discomfort, and challenging/going outside of their comfort zones.

Here’s something else I wrote, yesterday, on a whiteboard in the comfort zone of my office, hoping to reduce the discomfort caused by the uncomfortable cognitive distortion of mind-reading:

Here are some comfort  zones I saw yesterday:

I’m still not completely in a comfort zone with this sleep machine:

…. but I got enough comfortable sleep last night. That’s comforting, because

  1. I  am going outside my comfort zone this evening, when I sing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” at a party and
  2. immediately after that, I’ll be seeing the comfortably funny while seemingly uncomfortable comedian, Steven Wright.

Why is singing in public a discomfort zone for me? Because of this: when I was very young, I zoned out on stage and forgot the lyrics while I was singing, once.

No matter what happens this evening, I hope to increase my comfort zone about singing in public.

It is well within my comfort zone to post videos in this blog. So, here’s an in-the-zone, a capella street version of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” (also in a comfort zone at YouTube).

Also from The YouTube Zone, here is Steven Wright’s first 1982 appearance on the Tonight Show, when he left behind the comfort zone of the local Boston comedy clubs:

What are your thoughts about comfort, discomfort, and comfort zones?

Comfortable thanks to lions and cats, sleep and sleep machines,  A Capella Soul, Steven Wright, people who work on decreasing their discomfort and increasing their comfort in group and individual therapy, those who are brave enough to leave their comfort zones, and you — of course! — for visiting this blogging zone, today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 398: Year-old, Random Birthday Images

Last year, around this time,  I posted (including here and here) about my 60th birthday party.

Because I was new to WordPress and to blogging —  feeling less secure than I do now — I was more careful about self-disclosure then. So I wasn’t always clear, detailed, or precise, as I described the pre- and post-party process.

One post I’ve considered writing, since then, is “How to Plan a Meaningful Birthday Party for Somebody of A Certain Age, Even if It’s For Yourself.”  But that task remains on my To Do List (perhaps because I really need to tighten up that title).

Well, today is exactly a year after that birthday party, which means:

#1.  It’s Groundhog Day!

Image 1

#2.  It’s my birthday!

#3.  I get to do whatever I want, in this post!

Technically, #3 is true any time I blog, but somehow — when it’s my birthday — I really FEEL that freedom. (Maybe that’s one reason I love my birthday.)

Anyway, what do I want to do today?  I want to show you images from last year’s party, never before seen in this blog.

So without further ado …..

No, wait!  There needs to be a bit more ado, before I start. Actually, the images in this post are photos I took today — 2/2/14 — of stuff from last year’s party — on 2/2/13 — which I’ve saved. Does that make sense? If it doesn’t, you’ll just have to figure things out, as best you can.  I’m moving ahead to show you these cool images.  Why?  Because it’s my birthday!

Without further ado ….

Random Stuff From

Ann’s 60th Birthday Party


Look familiar?  I have a similar sign in my office (which showed up in this post).  The above was hanging on the front door to our place, welcoming guests to the party.


These were the instructions for the magic wands that were ready and waiting, if people wanted to use them.  If you want to see one of these wands (which can be glitchy and flukey at times, but which work well enough)2, check out this post.



I had several of these big sticky posters up on the walls, with headings, which people could write on. One thing I’m noticing, right now, about the list on the right: Iceland showed up! (Many months before I celebrated Iceland showing up in this blog).

Here are some more lists, from that Groundhog Day, last year:


Other lists included Favorite Movie, Favorite Song, and this one:


I am amazed to see Stop Signs appearing, above, since those octagonal beauties have made it to several blog posts, also  (including this and this one).

One more list from last year, in response to the question “What’s a really helpful lesson you’ve learned in your life?”


While I always like to end with kindness, I’ll show you a couple more images, including this one:


My friends Janet and Ray (who have showed up here) were at the party, with their son Carter. Carter asked me a very good question regarding a button on one of the walls: “What’s that for?” I told Carter I had no idea, and then I told him the Steven Wright line, which he then kindly wrote on a post-it note, for all to see.

The last image I want to show, in today’s birthday post, also relates to Janet AND to what’s missing from this post, for me.

Let me explain. Last week, when I decided I wanted to show images from my 60th party in my birthday post today, I knew I wanted to show a wonderful haiku somebody had written for me.  I found that haiku last week, and put it aside, for safe keeping.

So, of course, I can’t find it now. Typical. However, when I was looking for that haiku, I found something else.


That, dear readers, is the last page of something I couldn’t locate last month, when writing a post called What Other People Say, Part 2 (which was in honor of Janet’s birthday). Here’s a quote from that post:

I just took a break, for a few seconds, to look for the incredible piece that Janet put together for my 60th birthday. This piece not only celebrated me, hilariously, but also included smart commentary on all the decades I’ve lived through.  During the party, I placed it in a location of honor, so that all my other guests could see it. And they loved it.

I said more about that, in that December blog post, but I am going to end that quote there. Actually, I’m not going to do anything else, from now on today, except relax and have fun.

Guess why?

Thanks to all my friends, here, there, and everywhere and …. that’s it!3

1. I don’t know the credits for the photo of this cute groundhog, since I found it and used it a year ago.  So … sue me!

2. Sort of like WordPress, sometimes.

3. I’m not quite done, actually. I want to thank you, for being my guest here, today.

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 70 Comments

Day 225: Reasons why I should move to Edinburgh, Scotland

Reason #1:  Because humor is really important to me.

After spending just one full day in Edinburgh, I saw lots of evidence that this place would be a good match for my personal sense of humor.

For example, I like a good pun:


I really appreciate visual humor, too:


Also, my son and I went to several comedy shows yesterday, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, (and we plan to go to more today).  By far, the funniest person we saw yesterday was Tom Joyce, apparently a non-professional comic and student at Edinburgh University.


I want to say these things about Tom, after seeing him perform yesterday:

  1. Tom’s humor appeals to many ages. My 15-year-old son and I both started laughing as soon as Tom started his set and we didn’t stop until he did.
  2. Tom was very smart.
  3. I’ve never seen anybody quite like him, and I’ve seen a lot of comedy shows.
  4. Another time I had a thought like #3, above, was after seeing Steven Wright in a local Boston comedy club, when he was starting out in the late 1970s.
  5. People in Edinburgh must be REALLY funny, because Tom tied for 1st place as Edinburgh University Stand Up of The Year, 2013.

Reason #2: People in Edinburgh seem to be very modest.

After the comedy review show where we saw Tom yesterday, which included comics performing on their own during the festival, Tom was very gracious as he told us the disappointing news that he did not have his own show at the Fringe. When we asked Tom his last name, and told him how much we admired his act, he was kind and appreciative, but also wanted us to know, “I’m not really famous.”

And, nobody mentioned Tom’s recent stand-up award; we had to find that out by googling him.

I’ve seen other evidence, in Edinburgh, that the people can be quite humble here. And even though I’ve written, previously, about how bragging can be a good thing to practice (especially if you are working on self-esteem issues), I still value authentic humility and modesty.

Here’s more evidence of that, in Edinburgh, where people recognize the value of the little things:



Reason #3:  There are so many amazing things to look at.

I wrote about photo opportunities in London, a few days ago. And while London is a truly beautiful city,  in Edinburgh every moment is a photo opportunity.  Here are just a few of the ones I was able to capture yesterday (in reverse chronological order):







I wanted to end with that last image, above, because of my final reason, this morning:

Reason # 4: If you look more closely at anything in Edinburgh, you’re likely to see something else.



Thanks to Tom Joyce, to the other wonderful people who live in Edinburgh, and to you, for looking today.

Categories: humor, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

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