Traveling to Washington & Day 1

Where I was adopted by a gay couple, nearly cried on an airplane, and found jazz on NW 14th st.

It’s day one in Washington and I’ve been up since 4:45 am. Lots has happened in that time, and I felt that after seven beers was an appropriate time to fill all y’all in on my travels to America and my first night in the other nation’s capital.

  • I somewhat lost my phone on the flight from Sault Ste. Marie to Toronto (which was 2.5 hours delayed). The absolute nicest people were on the flight and helped me look for it. Of course, it was in the front pocket of my carry on. Because why wouldn’t it be?
  • One of my favourite things was hearing an elderly lady talk about how much she loved and preferred WestJet TO one of the Porter flight attendants. Just… why?
  • There was a grandpa sticking a baby blue balloon to the cabin ceiling, much to the delight of his grandchild. Things like that fill me with so much glee.
  • There was a weird swelling of emotion that came from having done something plainly for myself. This trip is really just for me, and it’s a foreign feeling. I think the fact that I was listing to Sam Smith didn’t help with the high emotions.
  • To the guy who waited 0.1 seconds after the wheels touched down in Washington to open Grindr, I salute you and your commitment.
  • There was tremendous timing as I finished my book about Richard Nixon as my shuttle guide pointed out Watergate hotel to my left.
  • I appreciate Marty the shuttle driver. He drives like a maniac, but he was funny.
  • A couple of people from Capitol Hill were intrigued by my lack of “Canadian accent.” I did not know what they were talking aboot.
  • Shout out to Omar from Brick Lane in Washington – one of the best three course meals of my life, plus a “welcome to D.C.” brew. I will have dreams of that chocolate lava cake for the next while.
  • The couple of people from earlier? Wayne and Sean, a gay couple who adopted me for the evening and brought me to two D.C. gay bars. According to Wayne, Washington is the gayest city per capita in America, and who am I to google stats. They treated me to beers and told me all about D.C., and I am so grateful to my two new tour guides.
  • They also invited me to drinks on Capitol Hill on Friday with people who are apparently very important? Neat. Very neat.
  • Wayne & Sean also guided me to the last stop of my evening – Sotto, a jazz speakeasy which provided the perfect end to a perfect day. I don’t remember ever feeling so relaxed.

So that was day one! What will day two hold? Who knows, but once I do I’ll let all of you know. To all those I haven’t talked to, Happy Holidays! Talk to you soon.

Meeting Ann

How a chance meeting with a nice old lady has put me in the holiday spirit.

Sometimes it can be hard to practice what you preach. In a time where a lot of us are go-go-go, it can be hard to do the things we really pride ourselves on doing.

I talk a lot on this site about the importance of the human connection. Being nice to people and going out of your way, doing things to just connect with and support others. Tonight I caught myself shying away from that and I’m glad that I caught myself.

I was off to McDonalds for chicken nuggets, as so many of my stories seem to start. I decided to go in and eat before heading off to pick up some groceries. I’ve been taught that it’s a lot smarter to shop on a full stomach (so I don’t buy everything under the sun).

Inside, I saw an older lady seated in a walker talking to a man who was about my age. She was asking about a way to get to Wal-Mart, just across the road. She turned to me and asked me if I was heading in that direction, and if I could just give her a lift.

”No, I’m not heading that way. Sorry.”

That’s what I said. To a sweet, nice lady who was very clearly struggling. A moment of clarity washed over me – what if this was my grandmother? What if it was me? Just because it changes my plans ever so slightly, I can’t help her? Isn’t that what I talk about all the damn time?

I went back to her and said that I could definitely drop her off. Her name is Ann, and she’s 88 years old and sweet as sugar. While I waited for my food, we chatted. She had over-estimated how tiring getting groceries would be, and she just needed a lift. Ann has heart problems, and the cold was really effecting her.

Eventually she mentioned living in a condo – one that is right across the street from the university I work at. So instead, I drove her to her condo and she talked about the importance of giving back. “I used to give rides and help out when I was younger, knowing God would let it come back around. Eventually, it will come back to you too.”

She talked about moving to a new home in January, and we talked about the cold and the Christmas holidays. Once Ann was situated at the front of her condo with her walker & McDonalds coffee, she reached out and shook my hand. I could feel the gratitude from this woman fill my heart, Grinch-style.

”Merry Christmas, God bless you, and Happy New Years. Good things will come to you,” Ann said before walking inside.

Just like that, I am filled with the spirit of the season. I had been missing what the holidays are meant to be about. Not two weeks earlier, I was stressing about what to get people for Christmas presents. I had forgotten that people don’t like you because of the gifts you give; they like the gifts because they like you.

The holidays are meant for spreading good cheer, good will, and reflecting on all that we have to be thankful and grateful for. Ann mentioned being the last one of her family left – both sisters and her parents are gone. Yet every week she treats herself to some fast food because she’s earned it. That’s a little thing we all can learn to do.

This isn’t meant to be a “look what I did” story, but instead the message is that it’s okay if sometimes we lose track of the things that matter and the big picture. It happens to me, and I think it happens to everyone. Sometimes though, little moments will be able restore your faith and clear up a picture for you.

I’m thankful for Ann, and for the fact that I decided to get McDonalds for the second time in a weekend (no judgement please). I hope she, and all of you, have a wonderful holiday season.

To the Window: A Love Letter to the Wall

To the first bar I ever thought of as “our bar.”

It’s a weird thing to go to a bar for the first time. How do you act? What do you do? What’s the etiquette here? It’s hard to understand and learn based just on movies or what your older siblings tell you, which can make for a difficult transition into the world of social drinking.

That transition was made infinitely easier at Nipissing because of a wonderful place known as the Wall.

The Wall is closed now, but during my five years there are a student was one of the most important intsitutions for a number of reasons. It’s gone and been replaced, but I felt the need to write about my appreciation for the first bar I ever called “our bar.”

As I mentioned, it can be hard to know what to do at a bar. How do I get a drink? What are bars even like? The Wall gave me and other students the opportunity to learn that etiquette and experience social drinking in a safe space that was predominantly students.

Instead of going out into the vast unknown (at the time) of North Bay, we could stay on campus. A quick walk down allowed students in for wet/dry or all ages nights to experience first hand what a bar and nightclub is. There were no (or at least very few) older strangers; it was just students like us out to have a good time.

Spinny Hat

My very first night at the Wall, I wore a hat with a propellor on it because of course I did. Proof of my stellar fashion sense can be seen left. It was stolen by another student in an act I consider unforgivable to this day. Yet I love that first night because after that, it was never considered for me a scary place.

They had theme nights, celebrating Hallowe’en and New Years. There were nights to go out with friends to celebrate or relax after a long week. There were pub nights on Tuesdays to celebrate or relax after a long half week.

They had the best concerts. My first year alone saw Down With Webster, Steve Aoki, Alexisonfire, Bedouin Soundclash, Lights (who seemed to come every year) & Mother Mother all come to rock a small stage in a little bar in the middle of Northern Ontario. I would have never seen these artists without the Wall.

It also hosted other events. Charitable groups could run coffee houses to support awesome causes like Relay for Life or Movember. We once had Verne Troyer come in and do a Q & A. Yes, Mini-Me from Austin Powers just hung out at our campus bar. How cool is that?!

The Wall was the first place my Nipissing friends ever saw me do stand-up. I asked how long I was allowed to go on for, as up until then I’d only done five minutes.

“You’ll get the same as all the musicians, so you get 20.”

I then proceeded to go home and write about ten minutes of new stuff. Gotta fill the time, right? After that night, I felt like I really had the ability to be a comedian.

The Wall was shut down for a time in my fourth & fifth years at school, but did open back up. This elated me and my friends, who had been going to the Wall for so long and felt a gap when it had shut down. The Wall had been a huge part of our socialization as students. When we lived nearby, we could pop by the bar for a 1 am walk around, grab a pita from Pita Pizza upstairs and head back home without ever having to pay for coat check, even in winter.

When it opened back up, it became the place for myself and my education classmates to unwind after all of our classes. It was the spot to celebrate getting our education, finishing a long road and looking back on what we accomplished.

The first day it was opened in fifth year, I clearly was going to attend. I got there and the line was already pretty large. I saw a bouncer I knew only as MoFo (I assume it was not his birth name) wave at me and tell me to get on up to the front. He said it was good to see me and asked how I was doing, when I was graduating, things like that. This proved me two things:

1. The Wall staff really did care and remember

2. I may have gone to the Wall too frequently.

It was run with faces we recognized. My friends were the bartenders, the bouncers, taking coats. It was an operation built on the backs of students to give students a place to unwind and socialize on campus, with alcohol or without.

The Wall, as I mentioned is now closed. It absolutely breaks my heart because I know I was not alone in loving that bar. I am not the only person whose friends thought of it as “our bar.” It was an integral part of growing up at Nipissing for me, and I’m sad that part is lost on future students.

I hope that another campus pub or bar can fill that void left in the student experience. It can, and it will. I’ll forever be partial to the brick walls, the dancing on the speakers, and the genuine atmosphere of fun that the Wall provided to me.

If you ever worked at the Wall, or also shared in it’s wonderful experience, thank you for making it such a great place and a big part of our campus. I’m glad we all got to see it together. Now, cue up Closing Time.

Three Weeks With Sampson

Carrying a plant around for three weeks, almost killing it, and attempting to be a good #PlantDaddy.

Normally my relationships with plants I own go the same way as all of my Snapchat streaks: they die, and it’s usually my fault. So when one of my best friends asked me to be a part of an experiment where I carry a plant everywhere with me for three weeks, I had one thought:

Oh crap, I’m gonna kill it.

The general idea was this: carry a plant everywhere on your person for three weeks. Plant goes to work with you, the grocery store with you, an *NSYNC concert with you (I wish) but you get the idea. The point is to see if you get more environmentally conscious and spoilers, I did.

On the first day, I picked up a succulent because they are apparently super hard to kill. I named him Sampson, and immediately became a plant dad. Fatherhood was in full swing.

At first I got really tired of explaining the same thing over and over again. “Yeah, it’s for an experiment.” “It lasts three weeks.” Eventually though, people came around to it.

I grew weirdly attached to Sampson. We would have conversations that were pretty ones-sided. He got a hallowe’en costume (a pineapple). He became my phone background (a photo of him in a pumpkin patch). I love being able to interact with people which makes living alone difficult sometimes, but Sampson filled that void.

Some of it was difficult, like going to a bar. Having to stuff Sampson in my fanny pack made me feel guilty. It also made me go to the bar with a fanny pack on, which is a plus in my books. Still, it was awkward to not have a hand to use while walking around.

It was not all amazing, as evidenced by the event. I was picking up some groceries with Sampson (who made zero dent on my food bill, the little angel) and I dropped him in the parking lot. It was in slow motion, and he cracked right in half. I proceeded to panic, drive him home as quick as possible and maybe bend some traffic laws to get him in a new pot.

I had to un-pot another plant to put Sampson in his new mug, but these are the tough decisions parents have to make I suppose. That plant didn’t have a name, so it was a relatively easy call. Sampson lived on to the rest of the three weeks and beyond.

I really did become more environmentally conscious, because I became aware of changes in how Sampson looked. He went from green (the right colour) to purple (not quite right) and I had to work to keep him alive. Now I have a real connection to a plant, as opposed to just having plants as decoration.

Sampson now lives on my end table, with two yet-to-be-named other succulents. It’s pretty obvious that I have a favourite kid, but that’s to be expected when you carry them around for so long.

In the future though, I’ll keep my plants at home. Sampson is my first favourite plant, which is an exciting thing. And frankly, I think I’m ready to upgrade. Bring on the goldfish!

Thankful for Wrestling, Student Affairs & New Friends

A note of thanks for a facebook group of people who love two of the things I love most.

It’s American Thanksgiving (a.k.a Thanksgiving 2: The Southern Sequel) so I wanted to focus on something I’m thankful for that has connected me with a cool group of Americans.

When I started in Student Affairs, my main sources for learning and knowledge were the bosses and mentors I had at my own institutions. It was one of those bosses who introduced me to a facebook group that combined two of my loves – higher education & professional wrestling – called the #SAKliq (Student Affairs Kliq)

Sidebar: If you didn’t know that about me, surprise! I’m a huge wrestling nerd. Yes, the stuff that Hulk Hogan and the Rock did and John Cena does. Yes, the stuff that is “fake” (it’s predetermined, y’all). It’s great entertainment to me. I loved it as a kid and got back into it hardcore in 2013. Those guys in the header are the New Day, and they may be some of my favourite humans on earth currently.

Getting into wrestling actually led me to writing, which led me to this site. So wrestling is to blame for all my writing AND the John Cena meme. You’re welcome.

Anyways, I was soon added to this community online who had great discussions about both things I was super passionate about. It was a place to gain insight about different topics in student affairs, get advice for job interviews, and still rant about how great or bad the last wrestling show. It’s a community of nerds, but they’re my kind of nerds.

While I really started just creeping on the group, it’s become a great haven for me. I now get to interact with seasoned Student Affairs pros from across the country and gain their insights. I’m one of only a few Canadians in the group and it gives me the ability to pipe in as “that Canadian kid.” It’s a supportive, open, and genuinely fun community. When I got my latest job offer, the first three people who knew were my mom, my roommate, and this community. They celebrated with comments, likes, and treated me as one of their own, because I was and I am.

I recently went to a conference in Nebraska, and managed to meet up with a few of the folks from the group. I’d made a point of telling them I was heading to Nebraska, and being the only Canadian school there I was pretty easy to find. For a conference in a strange land (not that Nebraska is that strange) I had a built-in friend. That was the absolute coolest. If you read this, thanks Ryan!


The UMR-ACUHO 4 Horsemen vs The Originals. Now considering if Arn Anderson (in the front) could possibly be my father…

Someone told me that a cool part of growing up is finding your people. I have a lot of great people in my life who love student affairs. I have very few who love wrestling.. sorry, all my friends who hear me rant about it. In this group though, I’ve found the cross-section of both. There aren’t many groups where you can go from talking about staff evaluation, to supportive conversations around the stresses of the job, to talking about how over-pushed Roman Reigns is. It’s a beautiful thing, and on this sequel Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for that.

The #SAKliq is forever, yo.

Writing from Happy

Writing from a different place than normal.

Writing is something that I treat as a passion, but I’m starting to learn that it might be more of a coping mechanism for me than anything.

I haven’t written a lot on the site in the past few weeks. Hell, I haven’t written at all, on the site or otherwise, in weeks. At first, the reason was that I was swamped with work. Then I realized it wasn’t that; it was that I’d just been happy for a while.

Most of my writing would come out of the feelings we’ve deemed less than pleasant. A lot of posts have come from feeling isolated or alone, struggling with connecting to people. The poems I write come from feelings I don’t really get.

The jokes I write usually come from not understanding something. Something makes me confused, or I think is weird, so I try to dissect it. Why is it the way it is? Why does it happen like that? What if it happened another way? Try and think of it differently, so my brain makes it work. That’s where the jokes come from.

Yet the last while, I’ve felt genuinely happy. Not that I haven’t been happy, but I’m starting to realize that with feelings of happiness the urge to write is weaker. This bugs me a bit.

I treat writing as a passion, and as something that connects me to people. So now that I realize I’ve stopped, I feel less connected. That’s not the best recipe for keeping the happy going, now is it?

So now I’m trying to learn how to write from happy. I don’t really like the portrait of the tortured artist, where creativity only comes from places of being upset. I try not to take myself seriously, because I find serious me boring as hell. It’s just an important realization to know that writing happy is a bit of a different animal.

Just because I’m not sad doesn’t mean I can’t write authentically. Just because I’m not confused doesn’t mean I can’t question things and make jokes. The laughs I get aren’t the only thing that makes me happy; the happy can come first. It may take a little while to get used to, but it’ll be fun to write from happy.

Poems For Nobody II

He’s back, and this time: he’s going to leave you William Shook-speare.

Nailed it.

Somewhere between the moonlight touching your face
And the sunlight breaking up our party
Is the closest thing to heaven that I’ve known.

They say to never meet your heroes.
What if the people you already know become your heroes?
The friend who endures heartbreak and learns to love again unguarded.
That person becomes a hero.
The boy who becomes a man and learns that being a product of a man does not mean you are destined to end up like him, and changes his ways for the better.
That person becomes a hero.
The parent who works two jobs to give their kids a new bike, and splits their shifts to be able to ride it with them when they get home from school.
That person becomes a hero.
The elderly couple who show love is not found just in grand gestures but in the every day.
They become heroes.
The survivor, who carries on living every damn day.
That person. Hero.
Those who love and live and fall down and get up. Dust themselves off and try.
They become a hero that is better than one in a comic book or a tv screen.
They’re real, and they’re here.
No cape or mask just determination and belief that things will come around.
It’s impossible not to meet your heroes when your heroes keep revealing themselves slowly in front of your eyes.

I do not believe in love at first sight.
It’s never felt right.
But one night or one day
There will be something they do
or say
or a laugh
a look or a smile
that will make you pause for a small while and say
Oh shit. This really is it, isn’t it.

The river is the before.
Calm and still.
Moving forward, steady on.
The fall is the during.
Crashing and thrashing.
Waves engulfing, frantically down.
The river is the after.
Calm and still once more.
Moving forward, steady on.

One Year Anniversary: Things I Think I Think

30 things I think I think for one year of writing this site.

October 5th last year I started writing this blog. It’s become a part of who I am. So to celebrate, I’m just going to list some things that I think I think based on the last year. It’s been a hell of a year for me, and for everyone probably. These are just some things I think I think:

  1. I think it’s okay to pray, even if you don’t know exactly what or who you’re praying to. Even if you don’t know if you even believe in it, there’s nothing wrong with praying for change or strength.
  2. I think the road to loving yourself is lined with days that feel like hating yourself.
  3. I think the days of hating yourself sometimes are the days where you just question yourself for real. What do you stand for, who are you, and what do you want. Are you going that way? Keeping yourself from growing is a barrier to loving yourself.
  4. I think when people say drink more water, they might be on to something.
  5. I think Spotify premium might be the best investment I’ve made since my degree.
  6. I think you can’t really go home again, but you can always carry home with you.
  7. I think that even with that said, I haven’t felt a love for a place like I did when I drove in to North Bay for homecoming. I’ve never been happier to see the Canadore buildings.
  8. I think I really don’t know how much some people care about me. At the same time, I think some people don’t know how much I care about them. That’s something I can work to change.
  9. I think Sam Smith might literally be an angel.
  10. I think that I finally have a haircut I really like, even if it does look a lot like every other white guys haircut.
  11. I think sometimes goals can be too lofty, but you’ll get there by sticking through it.
  12. I think watching Please Like Me was an experience beyond it being a good show.
  13. I think an election that doesn’t govern me managed to hurt me and people around me in a way I didn’t expect.
  14. I think that it also lit a fire under so many young people that can’t be ignored.
  15. I think recognizing the importance of the family you define is a part of growing up.
  16. I think Coloring Book will be a part of my album rotation for the rest of my life. Hope my kids enjoy listening to Sunday Candy in my future minivan.
  17. I think that it’s a lot easier to be happier for someone than to hold a grudge.
  18. I think honestly showing poetry to people was the second most brave thing I did this past year.
  19. I think moving to Thunder Bay was the most.
  20. I think I’m getting better at sticking in moments when they happen.
  21. I think Autumn has really managed to sneak up on my rankings of favourite seasons.
  22. I think I’m learning the impact that writing and art can have. I’ve had people quote my writing on their sites, their Instagrams, and to my face. Hearing that something I wrote could relate to someone else makes us both a little less lonely, right?
  23. I think I should learn Portuguese
  24. I think I’m getting better at sticking in moments when they happen. I think I need to hire or borrow an editor so I don’t put the same thing on here twice.
  25. I think the world is full of interesting people I haven’t met yet, which excites me.
  26. I think I might never meet a lot of them, which bothers me.
  27. I think if I have half as good of a New Years this year as I did to ring in 2017, I’ll be a happy guy.
  28. I think now that I’ve started travelling (across the province, to the U.S) I’m afraid for my wallet that I won’t stop keep going further and further.
  29. I think some of the most important parts of being human are connection, art, laughter, humanity, and love. Bringing those into the world might be all we can really do to make this a better place.
  30. I think I frequently have no idea what the hell I’m talking about. It’s all part of the learning process, and laughing off things when something goes wrong. I mean, it IS all pretty funny.

I’m really happy with how a year of writing this site has gone. Interviewing some people (really fell off on that one.. whoops. Next year – more interviews) and writing some of the weird thoughts in my head. Bringing great stand-ups to people’s attention, and also sharing my own attempts.

If my writing has made you feel anything: laughter, thoughtfulness, sadness, anger, hope, joy, whatever. If it has, thank you. I’ll keep on writing if you keep on reading.

To more years in the future.


Ask The Jesters: Why Late Night TV is Balancing Education, Politics & Laughter Better Than Ever

How Colbert, Bee, Meyers & Noah continue to teach and call to arms while wrapping it all in humour.

On Tuesday, Jimmy Kimmel made an impassioned speech during his monologue regarding the latest attempt by Republicans to replace the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. In it, Kimmel called out Senator Bill Cassidy, one of the writers of the bill, for lying to Kimmel’s face about it’s contents.

Kimmel’s son, Billy, was born with a heart condition back in April. Jimmy spoke of the wonderful hospital staff that helped Billy then. Now, some five months later, Jimmy was taking a stand against a health care bill that would only cover children like his son if they were lucky enough to have a wealthy father.

Kimmel’s monologues both blew up. The first one in May for it’s heartfelt sincerity, and this recent one for it’s scathing review of the new healthcare plan put into personal context by Kimmel. “I am politicizing my son’s health problems because I have to,” said Kimmel. Many people online asked why a comedian would even be a voice in the healthcare debate.

Turns out, Jimmy has a pretty good handle on the bill. The Washington Post looked into the claims that Kimmel made in his monologue. You can read them here. He and his writing staff did their homework before coming out that night with his monologue. It’s a pattern more and more late night hosts are following: educated, political commentary that is happening now. It’s not new, but it might be more important than ever.

Ever since the election of Donald Trump, the realm of late night television has become increasingly politicized. Late night is typically thought of as a place for celebrities to just talk about being celebrities and whatever big project they have coming up next. Now though, it has become a place for political discussion.

Newer shows have taken the “funny news” style that was mainstreamed by The Daily Show and brought it to new heights. Last Week Tonight isn’t normally populated with guests, but instead focuses on educating the audience on a new topic. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee has become a smash hit with an increasing following as Samantha brings a fresh perspective and scathing reviews of politics to the masses. The biggest winner with this shift to more political reviews has been Stephen Colbert.

Courtesy of Business Insider

Colbert, now free of his Colbert Report character who was a conservative pundit, has attacked the President and the current administration in almost every monologue. Viewers have turned to his CBS show in droves, leading to him beating Jimmy Fallon in the late night race for the 2016-2017 season. While it may not be the only reason, it has to be a factor.

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon is the archetype for late night. He laughs excessively at his guests jokes, goofs around in fun skits and games, and in general is out for a good time. With more people looking for political commentary and the strong takes from comedians, Fallon has fallen behind.

A big question is: what caused this shift?

While there has been a shift in political consciousness of the masses, especially young people, that isn’t the only option. Another is that the spread of information at this point is faster than ever before. Once a monologue is finalized, it becomes a clip and can go viral in an instant.

Monologues have been a staple of late night television hosts dating back to Johnny Carson. A mini-stand up set on the news of the day which is ever changing and a testament to the writing strength of each show’s team. Mostly these are full of cheeky one liners in the days of Dave Letterman & Jay Leno. While some are political, they didn’t discuss policy or position as much as comments on a politician’s superficial features.

Now, the monologues will be harsh indictments on policies and the political establishment not meant to embarrass the politicians exclusively but also to educate the viewer. These make for excellent YouTube clips. Clocking in at usually 5-8 minutes long, it makes for a relatively quick watch that keeps you up to date and current.

Every day Tuesday-Saturday, the previous night’s monologues will be in the top trending videos on YouTube. They’ll be the most retweeted tweets. They’ll be shared by friends and family on Facebook. It becomes the most acceptable way to frame your opinions on the government or world events: “Watch this video, because Seth Meyers/Stephen Colbert/Samantha Bee sum up what I also feel about this accurately and in an entertaining way.”

Comedians & comedy writers are analytical and sharp by nature. Comedians will be the first people to call bullshit on an argument they don’t like because poking holes in things is what can lead to the best comedy. They look at things normal people take for granted or walk by every day and ask “how can I make this funny.” When given large concepts like race, religion, war, or disaster, their minds go into overdrive. “How can I make this funny and make sure that people understand how important it is.”

We like our news to be packaged in a way that isn’t doom and gloom. It’s why local news shows tend to end on a fluff piece about a cat fashion show or someone baking the world’s largest calzone. These comedians (and they’re all comedians at heart) don’t just come out and say the world is ending. Instead, they wrap it in humour and make it easier to digest, like putting a pill inside some pudding. It’s easier to get down when it’s surrounded by something nice.

Finally, a large portion of the young people believe that some parts of politics are so ridiculous that you have no choice but to laugh at them. Millennials are often categorized as not being able to take a joke. This isn’t true. We’re a whole generation that survives the awful things in the world by bonding over cat photos and other memes. It’s that we need to take things that are so outlandish, ridiculous, or sad, and find a way to stomach the information while remaining interested. Hearing the bad news outright would make us numb to the bad things happening. Keeping the humour around it allows us to take in politics, world events, and keep us informed.

As I mentioned earlier, comedians giving us the news and commenting on politics isn’t new. It’s been happening for as long as funny people have been around.

When 9/11 happened, Jon Stewart still broadcast The Daily Show from New York. On the show, he appeared distraught and shaken. His presence captivated the audience because it was such a change from his regular demeanor. Stewart spoke to the nation, and in a time of great sadness still made the audience laugh. He spoke with sincerity, honesty, and as a representative of New York and it’s people. Stewart wasn’t above them; he was one of them.

The reason we listen when comedians are like this is because of the shift. This man is one of the funniest people on the planet, and he’s struggling to keep it together. It relays the gravity and the importance, yet somehow he still makes us feel like it’s going to be okay. Stewart always had a gift for this type of message.

Today’s hosts still do it as well. They wrap tragedy, heartbreak, and confusion in jokes to make the pain a little less. They educate and explain while still making you laugh. It’s an important role that has been taken by some in full stride. In order to understand the kingdom best, ask the jesters.

I have a pretty simple lunchtime routine. When I can, I come home, grab whatever grub I have, and put on The Daily Show. I watch Trevor Noah explain what’s going on in America & around the world in a 22 minute show. Throughout the day, I may check out what Seth Meyers’ monologue was, or maybe what new segment Samantha Bee made. And yes, I will watch James Corden do some carpool karaoke or watch Jimmy Fallon play slap bet with another celebrity. It’s about balance.

Now more than ever, the jesters who hold court on late night have the tools, a captive audience, and the ability to deliver news and education to the masses. So far, they’re doing a great job. At this point it’s up to news networks to catch up and find a way to get the same information out to people. The class clowns are stepping up as some of the most important voices to listen to.


Trying Your Best is Enough

How moving to a new city has made me practice doing my best instead of being the best.

I’m starting to notice a trend in the things I post about what I’m learning:

1. It’s all stuff I learned for the first time a long while ago, and keeps gaining new meaning as time goes on.

2. It’s mainly stuff my mom taught me.

Lesson here: listen to your parents, or if your parents suck listen to those trying to help you.

Anyways, story time. Growing up I never had big expectations placed on me by my mom. Not that she didn’t think I’d amount to anything, but it was mainly me telling myself I needed to achieve more. I set the ridiculous expectations, not her. Whenever I wasn’t sure about how I did, academically or otherwise, she’d ask the same thing: did I try my best?

Honestly, sometimes it was a no. I’d slacked off on chores, or an assignment, or whatever it may be. If I had tried my best though, I felt a lot better. Most of the time, I felt like it wasn’t enough, no matter how well things were actually going.

Fast forward to now, and more than ever I need to contextualize things in terms of doing my best. Picking up and moving to a new city is not a rom-com movie or goofy sitcom, as much as I’d like to say it is. It’s tough. I have some of my best friends in this city and I still wake up sometimes asking to go home. I don’t even know what I mean by home, which is the part that is a little fucking bananas.

It’s tough to adjust and learn a new city. I’ve done it multiple times in my life and it doesn’t appear to be like riding a bike. Instead it’s a riding a bike where the wheels are the wrong size, the chain falls off, and the seat is uncomfortable, but you really don’t have another way to get around.

I try to try my best. Learning a new school to work at, a new city with new routines, I just keep trying. I keep reminding myself that it’s mainly me who has this ridiculous expectation set up for how it’s supposed to go. It might get there and it might not, but right now doing the best I can is all that can really be expected.

My mom still asks me to try. Try and get adjusted to the city, meet people, and work hard at work and at myself.

What’s the takeaway here? Great question. Listen to the people you look up to, probably. Try your best, and recognize that as a person that is all you can give. Even though things can seem really damn hard, you’re going to be okay.