It's 2:40am EST and I've just gotten back to bed after I was awoken by the sounds of my seven week old son's whimpers from across the room. After just under four ounces of formula, a few pats on the back to produce a belch reassuring me that he is indeed my son, and a quick diaper change, he has returned to the comfy confines of the swing that we purchased for him and the awful midi-files of lullabyes it plays that so easily put him to sleep, and equally as easy keep me up.
I took a gander at my email on my phone to see if there is anything I need to know before morning...or the next time those whimpers come calling. This quick glance yields a promising sign when I see the subject, "Twitter: Jason Whitlock has replied to one of your tweets." #stopthepresses
Let's do a quick catch-up. I'm a Jason Whitlock fan. I love his writing, though I don't always agree with him. His columns are a must read and he's a guy who "gets" twitter (@WhitlockJason). He has an excellent balance of humor, personal updates, and promoting his craft. I had mentioned him in a tweet a couple of days ago in response to him saying how he was a fan of Suzy Kolber (@SuzyNFL32), and he was bummed that she only followed him for a few minutes. I implied to him that I was a fan of his and he needed to follow me (@JoshSneed) before he could "unfollow" me and I could then know how he was feeling.
This little tweet of mine prompted one of my followers, Micheal Fearin (@FerretSoFly), to reach out to Jason with this tweet:
"It's a cool thing when the comedians I love follow the sports writers I love. Now reciprocate it @WhitlockJason, follow @JoshSneed!"
Well played Mr. SoFly. Or may I call you "Ferret"?
I thought to myself, "How cool is this? Someone is providing themselves as a reference to get Jason Whitlock to follow me." It was like Ferret was holding Middle-East Tweet Talks to bring two sides together, even though we're not fighting and Jason has never heard of me. To provide an update for this stalemate that no one but me knew existed, I tweeted the following before going to bed tonight:
"No love yet from @WhitlockJason. We'll keep you posted with any developments."
Here was Jason's reply:
"@JoshSneed what's the scoop? Not familar with your work but willing to get up to speed"
Now you (the reader) are caught up. Now you know why I'm up at night praying these awful lullabyes keep my son at bay and that the light from the screen and pitter-patter of the keys eminating from my laptop don't wake the wife next to me. I feel like Jerry Maguire who just had an epiphony and couldn't wait to start letting it out. Yes...this is not a memo...it's a mission statement.
So what is my mission statement? It's my open letter to Jason Whitlock and all celebrities on why they should follow me on twitter (@JoshSneed). I want him to be my Rod Tidwell and this is my promise to show him the money. #Quan
Getting him up to speed won't take long. My album "Unacceptable" will let him hear my stand-up. And I think he'd REALLY like the basketball video I was a part of:
But maybe he wants more background info first...
I'm 34. I'm not old, but I have been on the road full time for 10 years. I left a job at Procter & Gamble that I had gone to school my entire life to get so that I could pursue a dream of making people laugh. I have worked hard and sacrificed relationships along the way and now have a fantastic wife, dog, nice home, and a brand new baby boy.
Thanks to club owners, other comedians, my manager, the fine folks at Comedy Central, and even the haters...I've been able to cross off a lot of benchmarks that I set for myself when I started doing comedy, some before that.
Open Mic night? Check.
Do it again after having a horrible set? Check.
Host a show? Check.
Become a middle act? Check.
Quit my day job and live off of comedy? Check.
Get into the Montreal Comedy Festival? Check.
Get on TV? Check.
Get a Comedy Central special? Check.
Become a headliner in "A" rooms? Check.
Perform for 2 people up to 10,000 people? Check.
Release an album on Comedy Central Records? Check.
Favorite Snack Mix? Chex. #seewhatidid
It is with zero sarcasm that I tell you I'm grateful for everyone that follows me. On more than one occasion I've been the first person someone follows (and no it's not a bot), and in a way that's more flattering than if someone with a lot of fans decides to follow me. The only problem is that when the prior follows me, no one is listening to them say, "This guy is funny, you'd like him." I need people who have the ear of twitter turned in their direction to echo these sentiments. #reality
On a daily basis I read the tweets of Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakesvp), Michael Smith (@MrMichael_Smith), Alec Sulkin (@thesulk), and many more, and laugh out loud thinking, "I think they would like my comedy if they heard it." #delusionsofgrandeur
I try to obey the unwritten Twitter laws whenever possible.
1) Provide worthwhile content as much as you provide plugs for yourself.
2) Show creativity in your use of 140 characters. Don't use multiple tweets for the same thought. That's cheating.
3) Respond to those who praise you, and retweet (RT) those that deserve it whether they need your help or not. #Amen
Don't get me wrong, I have some followers I'm proud of. Michelle Beadle (@ESPN_Michelle) follows me. I'm pretty sure she doesn't realize it and I know it's only because my t-shirt company put out a Ben Roethlisberger shirt that said "Nose means nose" when his got broken...but she hasn't clicked "Unfollow" yet. #operativewordisyet
Ok celebrities, here's the list of why you should follow me:
1) I'm funny. I've paid my dues and I stand behind my body of work. I'm proud of my stand-up, my credits, my YouTube videos, my blogs, and my tweets. If you would like to hear my stand-up, I'll send you a CD or iTunes link and you can decide for yourself if I'm your cup of tea or not.
2) I own a t-shirt company. If you like getting schwag, check out LookAtMeShirts.com (@lookatmeshirts) and I'll send you some. Celebs love the free stuff, and here you go.
3) I need the help. I have a kid now and priorities have changed. I want to spend more time with him and my wife and that would be easier if I was more famous. I don't need a ton of money, just enough that I don't have to be gone all of the time. So help me reach the masses when I post something you think is worthy of a RT.
Isn't this great? I could be like your little third world sponsored child. But instead, just keep that money that could buy your daily coffee and share me with your fans. You'll periodically receive updates and watch my followers list grow and know that your kindness really is making a difference right here in the US of A. Think of my tweets as homeless kids for which you're providing food and shelter. #heartstrings
I need to wrap up because "Hush Little Baby" is about to wrap up and I'm going to be needed soon. I hope you've enjoyed this pitch, or at least parts of it. I hope you've decided to give me a chance to win your twitter love. If you have, great. If you're in it for the free t-shirts, I understand the quid pro quo side of the business.
So here's your link #again to follow me: http://twitter.com/JoshSneed
Thank you to Jason Whitlock for the inspiration to sit down and write this. If you're the only follower I get out of it, then it was worth it. And even if that's not the case either, it's been a nice reminder that there are those out there who like what I do and want to see more of it. I hope I never lose sight of that. It's something I can tell my son about the next time he wakes up. But then again...who's he gonna tell? #squareone
I can't speak for all comedians, but I think most would agree that no matter how much we love what we do, once in a while you lose sight of the intangibles that come with the territory. The perks, if you will. Sure, we get to see this country. We get to pay our bills (hopefully) by making people laugh. We get to be our own boss and provide a product that can affect people in countless ways. The people that we come in contact with for a matter of minutes can have a lasting effect on you, and you on them. A lot of comedians, myself included, met our spouses from doing comedy. Some have had children from doing comedy! (That old gag.)
One of the things we hear when we tell people we're comedians or talk to audience members after a show is, "I could never do what you do." People are in awe that we can just stand up in front of strangers, talk for an hour, and make them laugh (hopefully). But if you ask one of us, it's second nature at this point. We don't even think about it. "You just get used to it" we say. There is, however, one line of work that when I meet someone in it, I say, "I could never do that": the armed forces. I could never do that.
I cannot tell you the level of respect I have for the people who serve in our military. I've always wanted to travel overseas and entertain them (hopefully) as my friends who've done it say it's one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives. Whenever someone from our military wants to buy a CD after my show, I always give it to them. I dream that they'll be having a bad day out in the desert and somehow I can play a small role in helping them stay sane until they get back home. Delusions of grandeur, I know. But I also know that I am way more in awe of them, then they are of me.
I know a lot of comedians do the same thing. They donate CD's in bulk, do shows for the USO, and generally ask for nothing in return. You see, we know that they put their lives on the line, to let us do what we do. The Freedom of Speech is the primary foundation that all comedians build their career. And if someone is willing to die, to let people like us make a living from speaking our minds, the least we can do is give them a free CD.
The reason I am saying all of this is that I received an email last week that shook me. I am still at a point in my career that when someone emails me, it makes my whole day. I've gotten all kinds. I had a Harvard professor tell me I reminded him of Mark Twain. Wow. I've had someone from Montana (who didn't know the use of spellcheck) email me to say they didn't care for the way I portrayed their state. But this one...this one really got to me. And, with Aubrey's permission, I would like to share it with you:
I'm on the run. Literally.
My wife Jenny has taken a new position with Team Challenge. Team Challenge is a fund raising arm of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. The goal is to provide participants with a half marathon training program and the opportunity to run a half marathon, all while raising money for the charity. To help her get started on the right foot (see what I did there?), I've agreed to join the program and run the Vegas Rock-N-Roll Marathon in December. Yes, really.
Now if you know me, you know that my diet typically consists of fried foods and candy. I've been known to enjoy a cookie and ask, "What's for dessert?" Needless to say, I need a life change when it comes to my weight and eating habits. So to raise money for a great cause that affects a lot of people in this country, to get myself in better health/shape, to a makeover on my diet, and to help the Mrs...I'm on the run.
I need your help. I need donations to help me reach my goal. Any amount you can send would be fantastic. You will be helping find a cure for these horrible diseases, and showing faith in me to complete a goal I've had for a long time and have never been further from reaching than I am right now.
Here are two links:
To Donate To The Cause And Help Me Reach My Goal, Click This Link:
To Learn More About Team Challenge, Find Out How You Can Participate, Or Learn More About & Colitis, Click This Link:
That's right, you can run the race with me. You can sign up wherever you live and participate, and if you're in Cincinnati, you'll be training with me too. I promise to make it funny as long as I can breathe. And believe me, if I can start from scratch, anyone can. (True Confession: As I typed "from scratch" I immediately thought of biscuits. See why I need to do this?)
So I hope you'll help, I need it. I need encouragement, support, and money. Please send all three, especially the latter. Thanks in advance everyone!