Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

My Photo
Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lightning (Almost) Strikes (Almost) Twice!

I went to the Moth Storytelling Slam last night, and I didn't win. But this time I almost won by two-tenths of a point, making it a very close finish. (Again, I was beaten by a guy with a zany story about Ireland. If my experience is anything to go by, there is a 100% chance I need to travel to Ireland if I'm ever going to win one of these things.) The theme was "Burned" and I told the story about my first girlfriend and how, after an attempted night of adulterous, hellfire-risking sex (candles and everything), I accidentally scarred her for life because I couldn't express what I really wanted. I threw in a quote from St. James ('The tongue is like a raging fire"), I wove together multiple threads---I was very proud.

That doesn't matter, though. Also, I didn't win, and no lovely young women pronounced me "manly" this time. That also doesn't matter. Here's what I remember.

1.) I was picked tenth. (They pick ten names out of a hat, and if you're not picked, tough luck. So it's always a risk.) When my name was called, cheers went up! I have friends and fans!

2.) After the show, one woman came up to me and said, "I'm so glad you went. I'd heard rumors about some new guy who was really good." I've gone only once before, and there are already rumors about me! Yay!

3.) Finally---and this means more than anything---the two greatest storytellers in Manhattan (James Braley and Andy Christie) ---both congratulated me and said I was, and I quote, "great." I was simply flabbergasted.

4.) What's more, Braley had great advice. He said, "You stepped on several of your laugh lines, and I could tell you weren't expecting them to laugh so much." True dat! "Relax a little on time, and consider your persona. In fact, you should get the tape of tonight's performance so you can see how others see you." Apparently they tape every show. (James, if you're reading this, thanks for the tips!)

Ever since then---which has actually been quite a while, if you consider what a long ride back it is from the East Village to Washington Heights---I've been coming to the conclusion that I must be a funny storyteller. Not in the sense of telling funny stories but in the sense of telling stories funnily. After all, if people are laughing at my jokes out of proportion to their actual humor content---and they are, two out of two times---then they must be reacting to the way I say relatively simple things. I must leave a lot of irony in the air. And I need to accommodate that the next time I tell a story so that I'm good on time. I need to see those tapes.

Tonight I'm hoping to go to Rev. Jen's Anti-Slam, which is the best deal in town ($3 cover, BYOB.) I hope it's as fun as I hear.


Blogger Jason Rohrblogger said...


Congratulations! This only goes to prove my theory that you are one f*cking funny motherf*cker.

8/09/2006 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Kath said...

The first time I ever saw you, you were regaling the hospitality suite in Atlanta with your saga of getting to the hotel. It was hilarious. You are definitely a funny storyteller.

8/09/2006 12:43 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home