On The Road With Dave

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Now Appearing in an Extended Engagement! Join Dave Robison as he takes you into his world and his daily life of reviving a stand-up comedy career. Prepare for side trips exploring Public Relations, marketing and business ethics. Enjoy some frequent detours describing his observations on life. Read the exploits of this self-proclaimed Renaissance-man and blooming blogger as you go On The Road With Dave.

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Name: Dave Robison
Location: Mobile, Alabama, United States

From Mobile, Alabama comes Dave Robison, a confessed Internet-aholic, middle-aged-married-man, who's generally a nice guy--he just has one or two issues. Stand-Up Comedy by Dave Robison is available for corporate events, college campuses, and nightclubs.



On The Road with Dave

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jimmy Nelson, Manic Mark, and Memories

I was checking my email Saturday night and I checked on one of my Google Alert emails on the topic of ventriloquism. In case you didn't know you can set up Alerts with Google and they will email you a list of links for the day of websites mentioning your topic.

In the email, I discovered Mark Betcher's blog, "Art Work by Manic Mark". Manic Mark collects old vinyl LP Albums in the niche market of private labels, vanity press, and self-produced albums. Not only does he find the recordings and the production of the albums of value, but also the accompanying album covers and artwork.

Mark explains,

"About vinyl collecting and my reviews. Producing a record for most artists was a costly undertaking. Without label support, artists had to pay for studio time and many extras to help engineer a recording. Artists then had to pay for pressing the record and the cost of creating the album jacket. And the cost of printing, even a low-end, one color jacket was very expensive! Certainly there was no budget for marketing. There were no fashion consultants, make-up artists or professional designers working on these projects. These private press, off or no label, vanity LPs were "expensive" undertakings in the most low budget way. I treasure them because I get the artist's vision... not the marketing department vision! It's the unvarnished truth!"

I'm not harshing on Mark's hobby--I think it's kinda cool. But Mark reviewed an album that is near and dear to my heart and although he said some good things about it, he sort of dissed the subject matter and the effectiveness of the album.

The album was Jimmy Nelson's "Instant Ventriloquism and Ventriloquism For The Beginner". Jimmy Nelson was a famous ventriloquist in the 50s and the 60s and brought to life his partners, Danny O'Day and Farfel, for millions on TV. Nelson's commercials for NESTLES chocolate ingrained in every child's mind of that era with the clever jingle, "N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestle makes the very best...chocolate."

Nelson also licensed the likeness of his dummy, Danny O'Day to be sold as a beginner ventriloquist doll to boys and girls all over the USA through JCPenney's and Sears' Christmas catalogs. My first ventriloquist doll was a Danny O'Day doll received on my 9th Christmas along with an LP vinyl album called "Jimmy Nelson's Instant Ventriloquism and Ventriloquism For The Beginner"

Manic Mark says,
"I wonder how many people actually got anywhere learning the art of ventriloquism using this instructional LP? Not many, I suspect. The same deal applies to the instructional books you might buy as a comic book reading youngster to help you muscle up so that bullies would stop kicking sand in your face at the beach."

But Mark we must disagree. Not only did I learn ventriloquism from that album, but I performed all over my little city with that doll with nothing more than Nelson's instructions. Of course, my interest in the art sparked more reading, more training, and even more practicing; but that little doll and that recording was more than effective. Over the years, I've had conversations with other ventriloquists that had similar experiences.

Mark, you have found a piece of history for a lot of ventriloquists and I'm glad you found it worth collecting. (I still have my copy) Thanks for mentioning it, for saving it and for preserving it.

Thanks to Manic Mark you can listen to a small sample of the recording, and enjoy your first lesson in Ventriloquism from a Master--Jimmy Nelson.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

The Return Of The King--Martin Luther King

Click Here to View "Boondock's The Return Of The King" Adult Language and Racial Slurs Abound

Back in 2006, on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 77th birthday; Cartoon Network aired an episode of their acclaimed animated series, The Boondocks of the comic strip of the same name. In the episode, an alternative history is told of the shooting of Martin Luther King, Jr. The episode's name was taken from the The Lord of the Rings volume The Return of the King. It won a Peabody Award.

The episode was controversial and funny and told the story of MLK alive in the 21st Century shortly after the 9/11 tragedy. Series creator, Aaron McGruder displays his comic genius and never-ending talent for commenting on popular culture and our sensitivities to race relations and politics in the classic episode.

As a long-time viewer of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, I consider this one of the best episodes of the series(and there are many favorites of mine) and thought it both appropriate and down-right funny to reference today on Martin Luther King Day.

Take 20 minutes and watch it, laugh and think.

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Stand-Up Comedy 101 Interviews Dave

Back in December of 2008, I introduced you to Slava Yaryshkin, stand-up comedian and blogger at "Stand-Up Comedy 101".

Slava contacted me via "Dave's Face" a few days ago and asked if he could interview me for his blog. Like, the attention-craving loon that I am, I graciously accepted.

You can read the short interview at Dave Robison, Stand-Up Comedy 101.

Slava makes me sound pretty interesting.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Did Obama Win The Election?

I'm not sure if Barack Obama won the Presidential election last night. I haven't seen any news or heard any analysis of the election yet.

Okay, that's a lie. I watched the election coverage all the way through to John McCain's concession speech and Barack Obama's "Yes We Can" victory speech. (Sorry Tex, but my recent streak is intact)

And I've listened to a good deal of today's analysis and recap of last night's historic election. Barack Obama is the nation's President-elect.

I'm not even going to attempt to re-analyze what other smarter people than me are saying. By now, a lot of you are looking at the news coverage and saying, "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Yackity-Shmackity". We call it the "Katrina effect" around my house. (After Hurricane Katrina; we experienced it, we watched it, and finally we grew tired of hearing about it) Yeah, it's important, we want to stay informed. We want to either celebrate or commiserate, but the "news-fatigue" begins to set in.

So, let me just bring up two points about the election and I'll call it quits for now.

Number One--If you'll recall; my wife cast her vote for Independent Ralph Nader. I haven't seen any news coverage about Ralph Nader's efforts, but I found it interesting to note that Nader received 6609 votes in the State of Alabama, of which 1 was my wife's. I was surprised by the amount considering the overwhelming win by McCain in the state and the remaining votes for Obama. 6609 Alabamians voted "out of the box". That's promising.

Overall, Nationwide Ralph Nader hit the 1% mark with 658,393 Total US votes. This was accomplished with just $4 Million dollars in donations over 8 months. (Obama's budget for one day) Continued little steps for Third Party candidates to build upon.

Number Two--The election is over. I'm a comedian. When Obama takes office, it is my hope that he governs the country well. But...BUT, he will be President and Presidents make mistakes. He will and SHOULD be fair game to all comedians, improv players, film makers, purveyors of parody everywhere. I will mention his middle name. I will mention his big ears. I will make references to his race. I'll even make fun of his girls' new puppy if it pees in the Oval Office.

He should be caricaturize, cartoonified, and classified by his gaffes as well as his successes. He'll be President, it comes with the territory. And I don't want to hear anything about racism or that a subject is "off-limits". If it's funny, I'm gonna mention it on stage.

God Bless America.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Jerry Reed: He Was Hot When He Was Hot

Musician, Actor, and dare I say, Musical Comedian; Jerry Reed passed away August 31, 2008 at the young age of 71.

If you don't like country music, Smokey and The Bandit, or good ole boys, you may not care. But if you have a passion for the way some musicians play a guitar, then you might have wanted to thank Jerry. If you have a passion for comedy and storytelling, then you might want to take a lesson from Jerry. Or if you are just getting a little older these days, like myself; then you'll just be saddened that another legend has passed away.

And yeah, I sang along with this song today, on a radio tribute show to Jerry.



Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Place For Dummies

From the Louisville Kentucky Courier Journal

Vent Haven

Vent Haven Convention

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Smoking Moose

If you're interested in how my last stand-up comedy performance went; then go check out Comedy This Exit to read about my "Father's Day" weekend performance at The Smoking Moose in Anniston, Alabama.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Coming Up Next

I don't want to be accused of following in the footsteps of the Alticor Media Blog and falling behind in updating my blog, so I'll let you in on what's coming up next week.

I have several entries I'm working on.

I attended my first Mobile Bay Bears game last week, and took a few photos. You might have surmised that something like that influenced my "Sunday Thoughts" last week. So, expect a summary of my trip to the "Hank".

I was contacted last week by Nashville publisher, Turner Publishing to write a review of a pictorial history of Mobile, Alabama. I received my copy a few days ago and plan to share my thoughts on the book.

Friday night, I performed here in Mobile at "30 Something" with a group of fine comedians and a small audience. That story will be coming over at "Comedy This Exit".

I have a birthday coming up this week, and you can pretty much expect that I'll be in one of my contemplative and reflective moods on that day. I really hate birthdays.

I posted a few comments over at Chuck Lia's "Speaking Of Amway" blog regarding should "Quixtar" bloggers start to blog less and concentrate on actually building a Quixtar business. Nice discussion.

Special thanks to those that attended the mock press conference last week; that entry is still open for more questions.

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Friday, April 18, 2008


No Theme, no real sense of purpose. Just a few things rambling around in my head.

I did some karaoke last weekend at a bowling alley lounge, no less. One of my friends' and coworkers' Dad and Mom run a Karaoke night. Her dad mentioned I was a stand-up comedian and was going to give me a chance to do "5 minutes". I wasn't really prepared, and another friend started talking to the crowd; giving them hints at my material. (Who wants to hear about MySpace, Midgets, and Mayonnaise?) She "worked" the crowd's curiosity up; but I declined and offered to come back another week when I was prepared. Some audience members were actually upset that I didn't perform right then and there. Maybe I should have.

I got a form email from Steve Hofstetter saying he's going to be doing his "Business of Comedy" seminar in Atlanta, Georgia on May 3rd. I wanna go. The seminar is inexpensive and is chocked full of relevant, useful information. Steve is a top-notch comedian's comedian and I'm sure I would get lots of "good" from it. I just gotta figure out how to afford the trip. Not just the seminar cost, but gasoline costs, meals, and whether I can make it a one day trip with a tired trip home or a possible hotel stay.

I joined Twitter. I'm not sure why. Do I really want to make little updates of day-to-day activities for my online friends to read? It's just one more thing to experiment with. Do I want people to follow me on Twitter? Will anybody figure that it'll be worth following? Who knows; but I am all a twitter. Maybe I'm "twitter-pated" as well. If you wanna see Twitter updates, then they are in my side bar.

I wanna win a Bloggie. Or a Blogger's Choice award. But, "On The Road With Dave" doesn't exactly fit into any of the categories to nominate it for consideration--Unless of course it happened to be "greatest blog of all time" or greatest Blog Writer. I envy blogs that I find on the Internet that have the little banner that proclaims they have won the coveted Best Blog award in a particular category. Also the prize money of $20.08 seems to be enticing me.

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Friday, February 8, 2008

Comedian Blogs

I've added a new links section at "On The Road With Dave".

I discovered these new blogs at Comedy Soapbox. The first new links are from comedians at the Soapbox.

If you ever watch Last Comic Standing on television, you might be interested in reading their accounts of the audition process that recently took place in New York City.

I'll be adding new blogs as I discover them. Got a link? Send it to me for possible inclusion.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Dave Did Dallas

Wanna read about my latest adventure in Texas?

I performed February 2nd in the Ft. Worth/Dallas area. Read about the trip, the trouble, and my latest stand-up comedy gig at "Comedy This Exit".

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bring Your Own Cup--Ecch!

Yeah, just as I'm ready to start doing more comedy on the road.

Of course, I had heard some stories--such as don't use the coffee maker in hotel rooms; and the ever popular, "bring a black light bulb with you, to check the sheets"; but this is a new one for me.

"Bring Your Own Cup!?"

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A Christmas Present Arrives

Christmas morning, my wife, smiling, hands me a brightly wrapped gift box that I eagerly opened. Inside the box was a piece of paper, that she had written the words, "Ha, Ha, Ha!".

Imagine my surprise.

"What is this?" I asked.

"It's 'COMEDY'in a box!" she beams.

Admittedly, I was confused at first. I had asked for "Comedy In A Box", a DVD set by comedian-turned-workshop-promoter, Judy Carter.

It was a pricey request, and I already had several of Judy's books, but felt that maybe the interactive DVDs may hold some gold nuggets of information not shared in the books. Plus, there were interviews and performance examples.

Well, my wife purchased it for me at the last minute AND it would take time to be shipped and arrive. The time allowed would be way after Christmas--yesterday as a matter of fact.

So, she wrapped a note to inform me of the purchase.

I was happy as she explained the situation, but it meant a long wait.

Now, I actually like waiting for packages to arrive. A UPS or FedEX truck pulling up to the homeplace is like Santa Claus visiting. So, I began the wait.

Yesterday, I was greeted by the delivery guy and I quickly opened my "Comedy In A Box"

It's too soon for a review; but so far, I have a few complaints and a few raves. But, I'm eagerly watching the discs and taking some notes.

So, I get to celebrate Christmas one more time..."HA! HA! HA!


Monday, January 7, 2008

"MySpace" For The "Artsy" Crowd

I discovered a new blog today by Jenny Ryan. A Google alert led me to a story on her experience at a "Stand-Up" comedy workshop. But the front page of "Using My Powers for Good" was a short entry on a new social networking site for the "creative types"

Bldg98.com is for writers, artists, photographers, graphic artists, readers, critics, basically anyone who appreciates creativity created by people who share that love. You don't have to be the "artsy" type to be a member, we only ask you respect everyone's ideas and lifestyles as this is a community built on love and respect. We welcome everyone to join us.

While the site says you don't have to be "artsy" to be a member, it does have that "artsy" look and feel once you delve into it. Unfortunately, you can't browse much of the site without first, going ahead and joining.

Once you are a member of the site, you become a "tenant" and you can join groups, or read "the wall" and make new friends and maybe attend workshops. I checked--there's no sex on the elevators.

For me, it was disappointing to find out that there was no "Stand-Up Comedy"
or "Comedy" category to describe myself, or those poor souls like me. I chose "Writer" upon joining; and commented in my profile page that I was a comedian. I suppose that will have to suffice.

For writers and such, the site promotes a sidebar for members that have titles available through Amazon.

Your profile page allows sufficient space for uploading examples of your work, be it poetry, photos of sculpture, photos of whatever, and book reviews, and critiques.

There are still less than 500 members(excuse me--tenants) at the site. (I was, like, member 420-something)

If you haven't totally geeked out on every other social networking site on the Internet, and you feel you need just ONE more profile page "out there", then by all means, take a look at Bldg98.com

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Saturday, January 5, 2008

Changing Directions

Financial investors may be familiar with the term, asset allocation.

Asset allocation involves having the proper mix of stocks, bonds, cash or real estate in your portfolio. When you are younger you may keep less cash on hand; when you approach retirement, you may start selling or cashing in on investments.

There isn't a standard set of percentages for each investor, but you start with a 60/40 mix of stocks versus bonds and adjust for other investments. Ordinarily, you wouldn't want to be fully invested in, let's say, just stocks.

If I had to compare "On The Road With Dave" with a financial portfolio, I would say that the subject of multi-level marketing and the company, Quixtar has been more than 60% of the blog. Followed by my personal life, comedy, and other diversions.

Back when I first started this blog, I planned on writing about my daily life.

I would write about my job at the time, my hopes and dreams, my experiences operating an Independent Quixtar Business and I would talk about wanting to be a comedian.

As the blog evolved, most of my readers came by way of other blogs that were writing about the company, Quixtar. I managed to write many entries about what was happening in the multi-level marketing industry and with the company, Quixtar. Some considered me an expert in the field. Some people hated my opinions and some people loved them. But, I quickly found that writing about Quixtar led to blog traffic.

Sure, I still wrote about other stuff, and a lot of the "other stuff" still brings me readers doing "google searches" on everything from a "lady falling through bubbles" to the "MacKay 66".

More than a year ago, I sparked some discussion when I announced a "quit date" for my Quixtar business activities. But, I later re-considered that date and decided to continue as a Quixtar Independent Business Owner.

I even began writing at The Quixtar Blog as a regular contributor. (Though the Quixtar Blog is not a pro-Quixtar blog, I was to provide a pro-insight and some humor)

It's time to re-allocate my portfolio.

Even though I have loved the blog traffic and readers brought to me through my MLM content; my focus on multi-level marketing has changed.

Since my "quit date" passed, my involvement with MLM and Quixtar has waned. Yes, I'm still a Quixtar Independent Business Owner; but as of this date, I have yet to re-new for 2008. When I do send in my renewal, my plan is to be only a buyer of products in the short-term. There are changes taking place at Quixtar, and realistically I want to see where these changes are going over the next year. Don't get me wrong, I think most of the changes are going to be good in the long run. I may be in the minority on that opinion as many Quixtar Lines of Sponsorship "kingpins" and "muckety-mucks" are resigning, being terminated, or are suing and being sued.

That being said, I just ain't interested in MLM and Quixtar as much now as I am in my Stand-up Comedy pursuits.

Comedy and Ventriloquism was my first love, my first passion, and have been consistent throughout my life. Over the past year or so, my pursuit of that dream has taken precedent over MLM.

And that means changes at "On The Road With Dave; an asset re-allocation, if you will.

If you'll notice in my blog description, I've made some changes. Of course, when I hinted at the change, it may have not been that dramatic. But the blog's focus will now be more about my Comedy career and my personal life and other stuff, rather than multi-level marketing.

I may lose some readers, but I'd like to think that I'll still provide an interesting blog.

In the end, you'll have to decide, but I'm changing directions.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Trading Law For Laughs

Attorney returns to ventriloquism during banner year for hobby
By Terry Rombeck

There are many jokes to be made about Bonita Yoder’s situation.

Oh, so many jokes.

Let’s get it out of our system early.

You see, Yoder has been an attorney for 20 years. Now, she’s scaling back her law practice to step up her ventriloquism act. Yes, ventriloquism.



Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 : It Was A Very Good Year

At the beginning of this year I published the above photo by photographer, Michael Bretherton. In his notes regarding the photo; he mentioned that two seconds after snapping the picture, the ocean waves washed the image away.

I had said that in the grand scheme of time, the year, 2007, would wash away just as quick.

Well, the waves are coming fast and in a few hours, 2007 will be in the history books.

To be honest, I gained weight this year, instead of losing it; I didn't quit smoking; and I didn't win the lottery. But, besides those things, it was quite a good year.

I paid my bills; I played with my grandson, I earned a paycheck, I met some new friends and I made some people laugh and got paid to do it.

Can't beat that.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I've been performing fairly regularly in New Orleans and sure everybody in THAT town wants to see me. And of course, Mobile, Alabama is my home, so no doubt everyone wants to see me there, too.

BUT, where do you live and do you want me to come to your city.

I've set up a page at Eventful, and I'm tracking my results. Demand me in your city and maybe that will result in my performing at a club near you.

If you demand it enough...I will come.

Wait...that didn't sound right.

Anyway , click on the Demand button...I'll be tallying the results through the new year.

Body: It's true that all of New Orleans wants to see me, and no doubt those folks in Mobile, Alabama can't wait to see me perform...BUT, where do you live and do you want me to come to your city.

If you demand it enough...I will come.

Wait...that didn't sound right.

Anyway , go to my profile and click on the Demand button...I'll be tallying the results through the new year.
Body: It's true that all of New Orleans wants to see me, and no doubt those folks in Mobile, Alabama can't wait to see me perform...BUT, where do you live and do you want me to come to your city.

If you demand it enough...I will come.

Wait...that didn't sound right.

Anyway , click on the DEMAND button...I'll be tallying the results through the new year.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dave Robison Dot Com

For about two years now, I have wanted to buy the dot com version of my name.

Unfortunately, DavidRobison.com is taken; and although the owner is not using it, he doesn't seem to want to give it up, either.

Also, Dave Robison dot com was unavailable.

Okay, sure, there were other extensions available for those names; but I really wanted the dot com extension. The idea of purchasing the other extensions didn't/doesn't really interest me.

Well, on Father's Day, I was surfing the "Internets" and decided to type in those familiar domain names. Lo and behold, www.daverobison.com was available.

And hey, it was Father's Day; and I deserved a present for all my hard work and toil raising three kids.

So, I purchased it.

Now I own:



and now you can check out


It's just a starter page from GoDaddy at the moment. I've reprinted a blog entry from On The Road With Dave to the site for now; but my namesake domain will serve a future purpose.

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Friday, May 4, 2007

Dangerous And Suspicious

I found this little news item on AL.com under a section called Yesterdays News.

It's news blurbs from The Mobile Press Register from years gone by.

Thursday, May 2, 1907

"Officer Lott Tuesday night arrested J.F. Wilds ... who claimed to be a ventriloquist and was about to display his skill at the corner of Royal and Dauphin streets when stopped by being arrested. He was placed on the docket under the charge of dangerous and suspicious.

I'll now have to remember this news item when I'm performing on Dauphin Street. I admit carrying a ventriloquist dummy looks suspicious...but I'm doubting the "dangerous" charge.

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Sunday, April 8, 2007

A Comedian Wanders the Desert for Dessert

Most of Christendom is celebrating Easter Sunday today, but let's not forget that Easter Sunday is preceded by the Celebration of Passover in the Jewish faith.

Steve Hofstetter is a comedian, broadcaster, and owner of the website, Comedy Soapbox.

Steve is also Jewish, and as a comedian, he has some trials to deal with when working on the road during Jewish holidays.

The following story is reprinted with Steve's permission; and it gives me cause to think that sometimes my fellow comedians have more to worry about than just getting to the gig on time, or making sure you are funny on stage. One more thing, Don't Shop at Abe's.

Happy Easter and Happy Passover.

A Comedian Wanders the Desert for Dessert
By Steve Hofstetter

While I have no idea how hard it could have possibly been for the Jews as slaves in the land of Egypt, I now have an idea how hard it is to keep Kosher for Passover outside of New York.

I had spent my 26 Passovers in New York City, even though I moved to Los Angeles three years ago. I find it's much easier to fly across the country than it is to clean my apartment, so I use Passover as an excuse to visit my family and get free dinner. Okay, the round trip costs about $400, but my mother's matzah brei is worth it.

Travel is nothing new to me - I make my living as a standup comedian, and thus I'm on the road eight months out of the year. But I always block out Passover, taking Hol Hamoed gigs within a few hours of New York City so I can bring enough food to last me through the night.

This year started as no exception, with shows in Syracuse and Trenton. But I got a call from a school in Dayton asking if I could make the trip. And once I said yes, I figured I'd also swing by a club in Bay City, Michigan.

"Sure," I thought. "I'll just bring a little extra food."

The way the routing worked out, it made no sense to come back into the city between Syracuse and Trenton, and by the time we were in New Jersey, we may as well start heading west to Ohio. So I had four days on the road and only one days worth of supplies. How hard could it be to find a few days worth of kosher food on the road?

What I wouldn't have given for some manna.

After I ate through my first night's rations, Google directed me to Scranton's "Abe's Kosher Delicatessen." Great - I could get a nice pastrami and Matzah sandwich, and from someone named Abe. As an American Jew, the name Abe conjures thoughts of both honesty and piousness. As it turned out, that specific Abe now conjures a few thoughts not fit for family newspapers.

On Abe's window, there was a sign that read "Lent Specials." Suspicious. I was distracted, however, by thoughts of a new joke. "I used to keep kosher, but I gave it up for lent." I went inside.

It is not typical to see cartons of milk in a kosher deli, which raised a second red flag. An unmarked container of apple juice raised a third. By the time I was done with this place, I had seen more red flags than on Chinese New Year.

I asked if they were Kosher for Passover. The man behind the counter argumentatively said, "Yeah, what's the problem?" I pointed out the apple juice, and he replied that apple juice doesn't need to be marked. So I asked about his hashgacha, purposefully using a word that only kosher people would know. I felt like I was asking him for the password to my secret tree fort.

"The password is Rabbi Fine."

Actually, he said, "We don't have one. But everything is kosher."

As much as I wanted to gamble on a Pastrami Lent Special, I left. Abe's Kosher Delicatessen wasn't kosher, was barely a delicatessen, and I'd be surprised if anyone there was named Abe.

Luckily, a local Wegman's had some Breakstone's cottage cheese and bananas for lunch, and a hunk of processed turkey for dinner. That would be enough to get me to Ohio. But I got increasingly worried about finding anything kosher once I got there.

My first attempt was at a Meijer Supercenter somewhere east of Columbus. Meijer is a solid Jewish name; it's the last name of the Jewish lawyer that emancipated the Dutch Jews in the early 1800s. But he didn't emancipate any pastrami, and their Kosher for Passover section consisted of a box of Matzah and a few jars of gefilte fish. Matzah I had, and gefilte fish is not meant to be taken on long car trips.

My second try was the next morning in Toledo at a Kroger, another Jewish name. I had run out of supplies completely, and would have settled for another hunk of turkey or more cottage cheese. But when I asked a woman if they had a kosher food section, she answered no in a tone as if to say "why would we have something as silly as that?"

It was a good point. The store was very poorly stocked. They barely had a food section, let alone a kosher food section.

My laptop aided me by directing me to a Hiller's an hour north in Ann Arbor. Turns out Hiller's stocks plenty of Kosher for Passover food, including everything from prepared meals to packaged meats and I bought plenty of it. I found my manna, and it tasted like pastrami.

And the most incredible thing happened – during my trip, the weather dropped to record lows. I was able to buy enough food to last through the next 36 hours, because I could now use the trunk as a refrigerator. Had Hashem provided Hillers to guide me through the desert, dayenu. But having a trunk fridge was certainly appreciated.

I am now thankfully back from my journey through the desert. This year taught me that, while horseradish clears your sinuses, maror doesn't fully do the job of reminding me how bitter our ancestors had it.

So I encourage you to take one Hol Hamoed and experience what it's actually like to be a stranger in a strange land. Go camping if you have to. Because then when you say, "Next Year in Jerusalem!" you'll realize just how easy it will be to find a kosher meal there.

I'll even settle for next year in Queens.

Steve Hofstetter is one of the stars of hit Jewish comedy show, "The King Davids of Comedy." For more, see myspace.com/jewishcomedy


Monday, March 19, 2007

Open Mike Night

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I just posted my experience with my first Mobile, Alabama open mike at Comedy This Exit. I can say that I have crossed the threshold from "wannabe" comic to "struggling comedian". And it feels pretty good.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Richard Jeni: A Tribute

On Saturday, March 10, 2007; comedian Richard Jeni took his own life.

I've read about 2 dozen articles on the life of Richard Jeni and many tributes to him from other comedians; but none touched me like the tribute given by Lamont Ferguson.

With Lamont's kind permission, I'd like to reprint his words from the heart, from one comedian to another.

Thanks Rich Jeni

I am a 24 year comedian. I had the pleasure and privilege of working with Richard Jeni numerous times early in my career. I owe a large thanks to him for helping me to become the comic that I am today. It was nothing that he said to me nor anything he did, other than requesting me to open for him. It was being able to watch and study how he performed the craft. The art.

I have had the honor to work with some of the great artists in the field and learn from each of them. Bill Cosby(timing, pacing, the art of the question segue), Steve Harvey(confidence and presence), Larry Miller( the power of the silence), George Lopez (presence and connection) and Richard Jeni.

My approach to stand up is an odd one. I study the craft. I'm big on theory and all the nuances that add to the performance and creation of a good/great comic.

Rich has never received the credit for what a great comic he was. The Comedy Central list that is being used as a watermark for comedians by the media has him listed at #57. I know it's not an official list that really means anything, but to the unknowing general public, it's a shame. 56 comics better than Jeni?! Wow! I don't know 56 other comics off the top of my head.

The fact that more people know the name Dat Phan as a comedian than Richard Jeni is a testament to how odd comedy has become in the past 20+ years.

No one was more comfortable on a stage than Richard Jeni. I watched him, studied him. He taught me that there was more to a stage than that 3 foot area in front of the center mic placement. I learned the difference between having 45 minutes and having a headlining act. When he took the stage, he would remove his jacket and place it aside. It subliminally let the crowd know that he was going to stay a bit and chat with "friends" When he was ready to leave, he would quietly grab his jacket and put it back on. Never saying that he was leaving, but the dynamics that would take place in the room changed. The audience knew he was about to leave, they would lean forward in their seats, pay closer attention. Wanting to soak up every last minute they had remaining with the man they came to see. It was quite a thing to witness night after night.

I thought to myself. "I like that, that's cool." When I started headlining and trying to become a better comic, I started utilizing the same technique.

Watching a great comic is like watching a great musician. Watching Richard Jeni was like watching a violin virtuoso. It was beautiful.

I was just talking about Rich on Friday night. I was speaking with the comics I'm working with and talking about the people I learned from along the way. I mentioned the jacket thing and how much I learned from Rich.

Every time I remove my jacket onstage and then put it back on towards the end of a set, it's because of a something I learned from being able to work with one of the best of the best ever.

I know as cynical as comics are--there are those of you reading this and mocking it as if to say--"Every time I drink from my beer onstage- it's because I learned from Ha Ha." I know--I hear ya-but I'm telling you what I know.

It's odd that Rich was on my mind this weekend. I hadn't spoken to him in quite awhile. Between Friday and Saturday- I did 5 shows and received a standing ovation on 3 out of the 5. The first thought I had after getting offstage was of Richard Jeni. I thought that was only possible because of being able to work with the great comics that I learned from and I learned the most about PERFORMING from him.

I then woke up this morning and saw the news of his death. And the only thing I can say...is...Thank you Rich for making me and others want to be a better comic. Thank you for treating the art form and craft that I love with such respect. Thank you for leaving the world a little better than it was before you came.

Rest in peace


Friday, March 9, 2007

How I Chose Comedy

Comedian David Wornica asks at The Comedy Soapbox, "What made you choose comedy?"

I answered David's blog, but decided to elaborate a bit further here at my own blog.

The story goes that I was 8 years old and, as was the Robison family custom, we were watching The Ted Mack Amateur Hour on a Sunday afternoon. For those that are too young to remember; the Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour was a precursor to shows like The Gong Show and now, American Idol.

During the fabled episode, I saw a young girl doing a ventriloquist act. In my memory, she was younger than me, but she could have been my age or older.

I heard people laugh. I heard applause. And I said "If a girl can do that, then so can I"

You have to understand that at the time, girls were not high on my list of favorite things. (8 year old boys often have a distaste for girls) Rest assure, I recovered from that malady.

After seeing her, though; I wanted to do nothing but prove that I could be a ventriloquist. I made religious trips to the library to check out books on ventriloquism, ventriloquists, and comedy. The next Christmas, I received my first "Danny O'Day" ventriloquist doll and an instruction record; and began performing a few months later.

If that was not enough, after I had turned 12 years of age and had been performing ventriloquist shows at birthday parties, library shows, and civic meetings; I was allowed to stay up until Midnight on New Year's Eve to see the New Year in. After watching the ball dropped on Times Square at 11CST, I turned the TV channel and saw this guy named Orson Bean telling a very funny and, what I considered, "adult" story to another guy sitting behind a desk. Of course, the other guy was Johnny Carson.

I stayed up every night after that with a cassette recorder and a microphone cord wrapped around the TV channel knob so that it strategically hung in front of the TV speaker to record Johnny's monologues. (Yes, the cassette recorder had a hand-held corded microphone and the TV had actual knobs) I would perform these monologues verbatim the next day at school for the benefit of my friends who were not yet allowed to stay up until midnight. They laughed and laughed and thought I was a comic genius.

That clinched it.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Joe Rogan VS Carlos Mencia

If you don't follow the industry of Comedy very closely then you probably don't know the feud between Comedians Joe Rogan (Fear Factor, The Man Show) and Carlos Mencia (Comedy Central's Mind of Mencia.

It has been alleged that Carlos Mencia is known for stealing material from lesser known comics and using their material in his act.

Joe Rogan, who obviously proves that "fear is not a factor" decides to confront Mencia at a comedy club. The following video qualifies as "viral" in the comedy community; everyone is watching it.



It looks like Carlos Mencia has had the video pulled from YouTube. It says because of copyright violation, but the video was taken by Joe Rogan, not Mencia. The video is still available at MySpace. You can do a search for it by typing in Joe Rogan Vs Carlos Mencia. I won't give the link here, to insure that the video stays available for as long as possible. But I would guess another version will surface at YouTube again or will be available at Joe Rogan's website.


Joe has been banned from the Comedy Store for this incident as of today.

Joe posts the full story of the verbal fight between him and Carlos Mencia at his website JoeRogan.Net

Here's the Blog Entry AND the Video!

UPDATE #3 August 28, 2009

I updated Joe's Link at his site and embedded a NEW copy of a YouTube Video

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

So You Think You Can Dance

Okay, so I'm contributing to this whole "viral-video-You-Tube" fad; but this guy is pretty funny. Take a break.

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Friday, January 28, 2005

Meet Skyler

In case anyone needs to ask who's the dummy; that would be this guy. His name is Skyler

Skyler has been my comedy partner for 21 years. He was carved by the late Finis Robinson(no relation to me). Finis was well into his 70s when he created Skyler.

Skyler is a one-of-a-kind creation from a crude sketch of mine. His original inspiration was Alfred E. Neuman of Mad Magazine fame. But a quick letter from then editor William Gaines told me I had to make significant changes.

Skyler was the result of those changes.

He ain't your ordinary ventriloquist dummy, he's equipped with winkers, raising eyebrows and moving eyes, and an upper lip movement that reveals a nice smile.

Skyler has a caustic personality and is most comfortable in an adult audience.

He's definitely not for "kids shows"

Hopefully by this summer, you'll be hearing more from him (and me) on a stage near you.

Have a good weekend.

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Sunday, January 23, 2005

"Heeeerrrrrrrre's To You, Johnny!"

Where do I begin?

I was 12 years old. It was New Year's Eve and I was getting to stay up late. We only had three channels to watch on TV, (cable had not come to Caledonia, MS yet) and I was not interested in whatever New Year's Eve show my parents were watching.

And then I found it, there was a guy on stage in a "loud" jacket, telling jokes on Channel 9. I had "discovered" Johnny Carson.

90 minutes of adults sitting on a couch, laughing, telling stories, and I'm sure saying things I never knew existed. I was hooked. From that moment on, my bed time changed.

I stayed up late. I bought a small tape recorder and some cassettes. I wrapped the microphone cord around the television dial and let the mike hang at the TV speaker level; and I recorded hours of Johnny's monologues.

"Did you hear about this? I read this today in the newspaper. A man went in to the hospital...he went into the hospital for hemorrhoid surgery...(nervous laughter from the audience)..well yes..he went in for hemorrhoid surgery and the doctors...the doctors accidentally fixed his nose....(the audience starts to roar)..now wait...wait..everything is okay, the guy is fine, but...you should see him now, when this guy smells a flower" (more roaring laughter)

Johnny Carson was the single greatest reason that I wanted to be a stand up
comedian. And what's more, I was to find out he started as a magician and a ventriloquist. That was even better.

I have a list of people that I always wanted to meet. I had wanted to meet Johnny. I had hoped early in my life, that I might have had the chance to sit on "the couch" next him. That never came to be. And now with his death; if I ever do become famous, I will never get the chance. But that takes nothing away from what I learned from years of watching The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

And now straight from a mayonnaise jar underneath the porch of Funk and Wagnall's, I hold in my hand the last envelope.

:::holds envelope to forehead::::

"Aunt Blabby, Carnac, Art Fern, Johnny Carson"

:::opens envelope::::

"Whose humor will always be enduring and endearing?"

Good Night, Johnny


Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Serious About Comedy

About this time last year, I opened my mouth(typed on a keyboard, whatever) and announced that I was going "back into comedy".

My plan was to attend the American Comedy Institute in New York City, and perform at Caroline's on Broadway as is scheduled for the Institute's "graduation."

This was to kick off my self-scheduled tour of comedy clubs in the US to hone my craft and become a "star", which has been a dream of mine since I was at least 10 years old and picked up my first ventriloquist dummy and began performing at the local library.

I even had a named picked out for the tour, The 2004 "get me outta the house!" Tour.

Sadly, that tour never came to fruition.

I got a job; actually a career opportunity to help someone with their business, to get out of some burdensome debt, to learn a new craft, and to begin achieving a level of financial peace that I had not had in quite some time. The partnership with my friends from Maryland proved to be the better course of action for the time.

As a matter of fact, that job was to be part of the inspiration for "On The Road with Dave." So things have worked out pretty well for me over the last year.

But once again, the feeling that I NEED to perform is very strong.

So, rather than "open my mouth" and proclaim a goal in haste, I have decided to tackle this comedy business with a little more thought.

My post on the death of Rodney Dangerfeld and a recent viewing of Dummy starring Adrien Brody has my mind filled with ideas and ways to implement them. But, I intend not to go off half-cocked, nor ill-prepared....this time.

I have opened up my case that houses my dummy, Skyler and have dusted off the daily exercises that I learned so many years ago, and I have created a file on my computer entitled "The Act". The plan so far is to get back in shape. To get serious about Comedy once again.

2005 is not so far off and there may be a chance that a "get me outta the house" tour is more imaginable in the coming year. "On the Road with Dave" still has a chance to be more than just a Blog name.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

"So this guy walks into a doctor's office..."

with a duck on his head. The doctor says, "Can I help you?" And the duck says, "yeah, can you get this guy off my ass?"

No, that's NOT the kind of jokes I want to tell in my upcoming revival of my comedy career.

One thing that I have noticed in my frequent traveling these days; is that, distances that I thought were such a pain in the past, are now a breeze.

Take for instance, Atlanta, Georgia. I used to think driving the almost 6 hours to Atlanta, and then fighting the traffic was more than I could handle. I was wrong.

So, in keeping with the classic joke I told earlier, I want to embark to a "classic" comedy club. The Punchline in Atlanta is my target. The Punchline is over 22 years old and thriving with the latest comics appearing on your local TV screen.

I know that I need to finish working on my "act" and I need to get a few more "ducks in a row"; but I'm making plans to finally debut my efforts at the Punchline.

There are still many details to work out, and it probably won't materialize until early fall, but this is my goal. I'm making it public here.


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