Archive for the ‘comedy’ Category

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 55: ‘Ellipsis’

January 11, 2019

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Co-host Terry Kimmel was proud of how far I’ve come with the local film community in the last few years.  From knowing nothing about to to branching out bit by bit (and with some of his guidance), I feel like I have a basic understanding of what’s going on and which projects are under development.  Rick Masi was a man who’s projects I’d heard spoken highly of (‘Tales Of Darkened Light’, in particular) and the awards and the feedback weren’t wrong.  He is a highly motivated, positive and professional writer/director, and it was a lot of fun to binge on ‘Tales’ prepping for his episode.  Check out the show HERE:

Thanks to Masi, Terry Kimmel for being a perennial punching bag and obviously producer Richard Wicka for putting it all together.

#BigWordsVideo shall return.

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 54: ‘Minutiae’

December 7, 2018

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One thing I learned about Rochester comedy was that all roads lead to comic Woody Battaglia.  The man is a powerhouse, hosting multiple weekly open mics, an FM Variety Show (‘Almost Tuesday’ on 104.3 WAYOFM) and an iTunes podcast with a very peculiar twist (‘My Minute With Andre’).  I’m not sure if he’s okay with being referred to as an alt-comic, but his standup stemmed from his love of ‘90s alt comics Eddie Izzard and Patton Oswalt.  The man is accomplished, and it’s intriguing how the flavors of Rochester comedy are just a little bit different than Buffalo, but equally entertaining.  I was, and am, impressed by the volume and consistency of Woody’s comedy.  It made for an informative show.  See for yourself:

Thanks to Battaglia, returning Co Host Henry Gale and of course to producer Richard Wicka for producing the show.  Big Words already returned, I’m just further behind than usual keeping up with it.

Tom

 

 

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 53: ‘Deja Vu’

October 4, 2018

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Back when I did the Big Words Radio podcast, many references were made to the ‘Big Words Poltergeist’.  It was the big bad wolf I could blame for mistakes, mistapings, lost audio material, etc.  Well, you could say that the Big Words Poltergeist struck again last month and it struck more than once.  Or you could just chalk it up to bad luck, or a series of unfortunate events.  During the sound check, my producer accidently did not hit record for the show taping.  I wish I could say it was the first time it’s happened (see also: ‘Mulligan’, my Season 2 episode with Public Editor Geoff Kelly).  Regardless, it’s a testament to guest Shawn Essler and perennial co-host Jason John Beebe’s professionalism that, when we were informed, their knee-jerk response (without a beat or any hesitation) was: Let’s shoot it again.  So we did.  The exact same episode remixed with some questions I didn’t ask the first time and some different responses with a little more foresight.

Was the first taping better or was the second better because we all knew each other better?  You will never know.  And to top things off, all of the outtake publicity photos were purged.  In the aftermath, I thought the entire situation was a shit show.  But you move on and look at the end result.  Shit happens.  Watch it yourself:

Thanks are in order to director, writer and producer Shawn Essler for trekking out from Rochester and going into overtime with us, and to Jason John Beebe as well for becoming a truly solid co-host who made the show better by being a part of it.  I should also thank Richard Wicka for the four years of the podcast that he recorded perfectly, and the five years of this video show that he’s endured with a near-perfect batting average.  So that’s about all I have to say about this one.  I hope the episode was entertaining because it was hell on me to go through it.

#BigWordsVideo shall return,

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 52: ‘Luminosity’

September 6, 2018

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The nice thing about having a room full of comedians is that I don’t need to be funny.  I’m not even sure if I was on this episode, but Guest Don Johnson and returning Co Host Jesse Winterhalter Jr. brought their A game.  Between the two, they’ve been entertaining Buffalo audiences no less than three times a week for no less than two years at their open mics, featured gigs, headlining gigs, special engagements, and so on and so forth.  The sense I got researching Don Johnson as well as talking to him is that he’s not only a comedian, he’s also one of the biggest boosters for the scene around.  See for yourself:

Thanks to Don, Jesse and of course to producer Richard Wicka for tying a bow around it.  These are two guys to keep an eye on because they keep getting better and they’re not going anywhere.  Here’s the part where I ask you to SUBSCRIBE to the show.  So do that.

The show goes on,

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 51: ‘Intelligentsia’

August 14, 2018

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This episode marks the ten year anniversary (give or take a few days) that a) I walked into producer Richard Wicka’s Home Of The Future for the first time (for an interview on Susan Marie’s ‘This Is Not The Apple’ podcast) and b) that Richard and I have been great friends.  In all that time, he’s been many things to me: a friend, a mentor, a creative, an intellectual, and someone who I look up to.  So it was only a matter of time before I had him on the show.  He was a lot more open and at ease in the Guest chair than I expected.  And his pal Julia D (whose last name I wouldn’t even try to spell) helped to take the pressure off of the studio environment we thrive in for the show.  See for yourself:

 

Thanks to Richard for the show and for ten fascinating years with Think Twice Radio as a podcaster and in the Home Of The Future for our discussions, meals, bonfires and video shows.  Thanks to Julia for bringing her West Coast sensibilities to the room.  I’ve still got some catching up to do on this site, so we’ll talk soon.

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 50: ‘Licentious’

June 7, 2018

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Before I say anything else, it needs to be said that the above crotch grab was real.  I didn’t think that guest Rick Matthews was really going to go for it during pictures, but it actually happened.  In addition to everything else about the comedian, he is committed to his craft.  He’s in it to win it.

I’m very late in posting this (having just wrapped Episode 51), but I’d been hearing about standup comic Rick Matthews since the first season of the show.  He’s a Comedian’s Comedian: dirty at times, painfully honest and very, very funny.  Having never met him before, I wasn’t sure how he’d interview, and this was one of the shows where the Guest and Co-Host (Kevin Thomas Jr.) took the baton and ran away from me with it.  I didn’t keep up that well, but it doesn’t matter, because it was a great show in spite of the host.  Judge for yourself:

Thanks to Matthews, Kevin Thomas Jr for circling back around to Co Host and, as always, Richard Wicka for housing us, editing and producing the show.  We ran out of time before I got to talk to Rick about his time onstage with Dave Attell (one of my all time favorite comics), but that’s no big deal.  There is no Bonus clip for this episode because one wasn’t supplied.  That’s been a dangerous trend for Season Four, so we’re going to have to work on that.  There’s another show coming up as soon as it posts, so I’ll talk to you all real soon.

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 49: ‘Scoville’

March 31, 2018

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Wing King Drew Cerza was originally on the boards all the way back in 2014.  There was a massive scheduling issue though, as Drew had a press conference the same day.  So we finally got around to making it happen this month and Cerza did not disappoint.  The founder of the National Buffalo Wing Festival was a real sport with my line of questioning, he was charming and he was genuinely as interested in chicken wings as I am.  As someone who’s had chicken wings every single week since I was 17, Drew’s Festival is right up my alley.  Co Host Matt Sampson also saved the day by filling the Hot Seat on short notice, so it turned into a pretty damned entertaining episode.  And for those who don’t know, ‘Scoville’ is the official heat scale for spicy foods and peppers named after the man who researched it.  Here it is:

Thanks to Drew, Sampson, and of course producer Richard Wicka for holding it all together.  #BigWordsVideo is taking the month of April off, so have a Happy Easter and we’ll see you in May!

Tom

 

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Big Words Video 49.1: WingFest Promo Teaser

March 30, 2018

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This Bonus clip is really just a glorified ad, but it’s a really tantalizing montage for WingFest.  I’m not really sure what else to say about it.  I’ve gone, I’ve eaten and I’ve had a great time.  If you want a sampler platter of WingFest or if you’ve never been, this should answer all of your burning questions:

Henry Gale was originally cast to Co Host for this episode, and we had a really neat idea, but things fell through and thankfully Matt Sampson came through in the interim.  Some day we might still try that idea, although I’m not sure how it would work with a different guest.  At any rate, KINDLY SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube Channel for bonus clips, every single episode in the order it was intended for and other bonus content.

#BigWordsVideo is taking the month of April off, but we’ll see you at the beginning of May.

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 48: ‘Certified’

March 3, 2018

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Up until the show, Frank Pusateri was someone I’d travelled in the same circles with (even rubbed elbows with), but never officially met.  During my time writing bar reviews for Night Life Magazine (2000-2009), I’d been to more than my share of Night Life Music & Club Awards.  Simply put, it’s the biggest night in Buffalo for the local music community.  Everybody who’s anybody is under one roof.  This year it’s at The Cove on Thursday, March 8th.

Having just released a book (‘Only Gambling’) about a lucky streak on casino slot machines, Frank popped up on my radar again, so I took the opportunity to book him.  On top of that, he won an Emmy Award and he’s received 25 different Buffalo Music Awards including Top Pop Bassist three times in a row along with an induction into the Buffalo Music Hall Of Fame.  Frank’s written what happens to be a really entertaing read, and I told him as much.

This episode also marks the fourth time Night Life Publisher Ed Honeck has been on the show.  As I told Ed, he’s always welcome.  Between his plugs and Frank’s plugs, we had a tough time fitting them all in and even left some on the table (literally).  Check it out HERE:

Thanks to Frank, Ed and as always, producer Richard Wicka for housing my three ring circus.  Frank whipped up some great Bonus clips, so check those out further down this page.

Don’t adjust your set,

Tom

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Big Words Video 48.1: ‘Only Gambling’ & 48.2: ‘Leaf In A Storm’

March 2, 2018

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I normally ask an upcoming guest for ONE video clip to supplement the show.  Poor Frank got propositioned for two.  He’s promoting his new book ‘Only Gambling’, but I didn’t want to ignore his rich history on the Buffalo music scene.  So there you have it.  Frank’s homework was more complicated than guesting on the show!  He came through with flying colors, though.  Big Words Video 48.1 is a quick forward to Pusateri’s book complete with fancy graphics and a ticker-tape banner along the bottom read by the author.  You can get a taste for the stream-of-consciousness writing style in the book right HERE:

The flip side of the coin is an original song written & performed by Frank’s band Only Humen.  Check that one out right HERE:

A sincere thanks goes out to Only Frank for putting the time in to create two great clips.  A sincere thanks goes out to YOU when you FREE SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube Channel.  I may have said this before, but if you’re not subscribed, you’re missing more than half of what the show has to offer.  Find out what you’re missing by seeing the show in the order it was intended for, bonus clips and other additional SECRET content.

#BigWordsVideo returns in March!

Tom

 

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 47: ‘Maquette’

February 15, 2018

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It’s better to have too many questions and not get to all of them than not enough and too much time left on the show clock.  That’s exactly what happened with this episode.  During show prep, I usually don’t feel ‘comfortable’ going into the studio until I have roughly three pages of questions in a 14 point font including the intro paragraph and the outro plug (which, by the way, I haven’t used for quite a few seasons).  With practical Special Effects producer, writer, actor, director and Craft Services point man John Renna, I’m not sure if we even got through ten questions.

The man was larger than life both in stature and excitability.  I can see why he’s an excellent pitch man for investors and movie distribution companies.  I had to pick my spots to interject and jump in on the conversation, which is just fine by me.  This was former guest Michael O’Hear’s 3rd time in the Co Host Hot Seat, and I found him to be confusingly cordial with me whereas he was a bit prickly and grumpy last time on.  That could have had more to do with a full day on set over the summer, but whatever the case, I still find him fascinating.  See how it all shook out right HERE:

Thanks to Renna, O’Hear, and the ever-ready Richard Wicka for producing the show.   Due to last-minute licensing logistics, there is no Big Words Video Bonus clip to accompany this episode, and that’s all I’ll say on that matter.  What I WILL say is that you should SUBSCRIBE to my Channel (bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com) to show your free support for the show and to check out all of the other cool bonus content.

#BigWordsVideo shall return this month with author and Emmy-award-winning musician Frank Pusateri along with the Honorable Ed Honeck as Co Pilot.

Don’t you touch that Internet Dial!

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 46: ‘Impresario’

January 1, 2018

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One of the most difficult parts of the job as a host with a guest like Sabrina Pena Young is wondering which parts of her varied career to touch down on.  Maybe I’m a little too OCD with my research, but as a mixed media artist (films, music and books), there was a lot of ground to cover.  So we started with her ‘New Genre’ award-winning virtual opera ‘Libertaria’ and worked our way out from there.  Perennial Co Host Terry Kimmel made a great addition, not to mention the fact that both of them are part of the Buffalo Movie and Video Makers (BMVM) together.  We had a lot of laughs and touched a nerve when it came to ‘Trolls’ while we were at it.  Check it out:

Thanks to Sabrina, Terry and, as always, producer Richard Wicka for producing and encouraging.  For all the knocks I give Terry, he’s been incremental to the show, and his help and advisement about the Buffalo film community (in which he’s very active on all fronts) has been monumental.

It should also be noted that Facebook has labeled this clip as ‘Unsafe’, so the link has been erased from their algorithm.  Going forward, I will no longer be able to promote the show on FB that way that I used to, so please do the show a favor and SUBSCRIBE (Richard Wicka’s account) to it on YouTube along with subscribing to my personal account on YouTube (Big Words I Know By Heart) for the compendium clips.  No one involved with the show makes any money off of it and it’s going to stay that way.  I made a conscious decision not to run ads for the bonus clips because it annoys me personally when I’m watching videos on YouTube.  So please SUBSCRIBE for free and show your support for the show.  We do it for the artists and the Views.

Thanks for watching and we’ll see you in a month!

Tom

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Big Words Video 46.1: ‘Behind The Scenes’ and 46.2: ‘Spiritus’

December 31, 2017

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I’ll say this about filmmaker, composer and author Sabrina Pena Young.  She came prepared.  Not only did she have two professional Bonus clips to round out the show episode, but she chose to share an exclusive sneak peek at her upcoming virtual opera ‘Spiritus’ with my viewers.  I continue to be surprised and amazed by the variety and the quality of the show’s compendium clips.

Young’s first clip, ‘Behind The Scenes’ is a riveting retrospective of her work with voiceover narration.  It can be seen HERE:

Sabrina’s second clip is the standalone teaser trailer for ‘Spiritus’.  That’s right HERE:

Thanks to Sabrina for putting the time and the work in.  She’s got a very impressive body of work between her films, music and companion novels and she did an awesome job of summarizing all of it in her retrospective.

#BigWordsVideo shall return in January!

 

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 45: ‘Verisimilitude’

December 2, 2017

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As soon as I saw Arnold Palmer in Rhonda Parker’s uproariously funny speed-dating film gone horribly wrong ‘Lonely Bananas’, I knew I had to get actor Brad Spiotta on the show.  He brought the character to life with his own wardrobe choices, mannerisms and speech patterns, and the results were a riot.  Spiotta was a solid interview: humble, charming and quick with his responses.  I got a little frustrated wth Brad and Rhonda because my usual pop culture references weren’t catching with them, but it still made for a great episode.  Decide for yourself:

Thanks to Spiotta, Parker and of course Richard Wicka for supporting and enduring my nonsense.  We’ve got another stellar line-up for December, so don’t you touch that internet dial!

Tom

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Big Words Video 45.1: Brad Spiotta-‘Past Hauntings’

December 2, 2017

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Maybe I hammer too hard sometimes on the importance and choice involved with each guest selecting a Bonus clip, but actor Brad Spiotta provided a really good one, and the timing couldn’t have been any better.  With a half hour to shoot each episode, there’s barely enough time for the interview, let alone the time to set a clip up, roll it and then react to it.  Hence the Bonus clips.  Compendiums to each episode where the guest can do whatever they wish.  Hot on the heels of his ‘Best Actor’ win at the Halloween Short Film Festival, Spiotta decided to share the short film that earned him the gold.  Here it is:

Solid cinematography, good pacing, great acting.  Thanks to Brad for taking it seriously.  Oh yeah, and would you mind FREE SUBSCRIBING to my Channel already?      100 clips on the Playlist and a few more Followers would sure put a spring in my step.

I’ll see you all in a month!

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 44: ‘Tenacity’

October 30, 2017

F9F6E594-4A40-47BD-80F8-952ED04C6DD4As former guest Emil Novak said, author Gary Earl Ross is the real deal.  His bibliography is gigantic and varied, from murder mysteries to courtroom dramas to anthologies to poems to historical ‘speculative fiction’, if he hasn’t done it all, he will by the time he’s done.  While I don’t think we ever officially crossed paths in the last twenty years, we certainly travelled in a lot of the same circles, so it was really nice to finally sit down, meet the man and get into his career in depth.  Here are the results:

Thanks as usual to producer Richard Wicka for putting a bow around it, Gary for coming on and Co Host Lori Lume for making time for us.  Contrarily, I’ve known Lori since the notorious Buffalo Small Press Book Fair of ‘08 (where we got into very real and serious trouble for excessive use of a bike horn).

Hey, do us all a favor and SUBSCRIBE to the show for updates on new shows, bonus clips and other miscellany.  It’s the other red button on the YouTube dashboard.

See you all soon,

Tom

 

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Big Words Video 44.1: Gary Earl Ross-‘Afterward’

October 28, 2017

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I was almost entranced watching Gary Earl Ross read for this Bonus clip.  There are authors who don’t give readings at all in public, authors like me who stammer through their work and don’t rehearse ahead of time, and then there are authors like Gary, who reads in a calm, cool and collected manner, pacing himself, reading for an audience and hammering on the right passages for dramatic impact.  I’m not sure if he picked up that talent during his years as a professor, throughout all of his years at scheduled readings, or if he’s simply at peace with himself and his finished products.  It made for a great clip, though.  Here goes:

To give the man one more plug for good measure, you can find out more about Gary’s books, plays and career at: garyearlross.net

#BigWordsVideo shall return…

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 43: ‘Exuberance’

September 30, 2017

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I stumbled onto Rochester comedienne Madelein Smith’s standup about a year ago.  After seeing her Julie Andrew’s singing Lil’ Kim bit, I knew I had to at least try to get her on the show.  She has a, well, an exuberance on stage that’s outstanding.  Her on-stage persona is strong, theatrical, charismatic and very, very funny.  This was a strong episode, and Mark McElligott is a perennial co-host who can roll with the punches no matter who the guest is.  Check it out:

Thanks to producer Richard Wicka, Madelein and McElligott for helping to make a solid show.  Thanks are also in order to musician Roger Pleasant of UpRise studios for a new show theme rendition that, unfortunately, didn’t come through on the sound boards.  We’ll try harder next time.

See you in a month!

Tom

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Big Words Video 43.1: Madelein Smith-‘Crowd Work’

September 29, 2017

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I can honestly say there’s no Bonus clip quite like this one.  While Madelein has a lot of slick, polished and professional clips from her long, varied and award-winning standup career, this one is something else.  This particular clip is any stand-up comic’s dream.  Madelein has to deal with a heckler at a small bar in Tonawanda who won’t shut up, so what does she do?  She lights the guy up.   For about seven straight minutes.  Check it out here:

 

 

Thanks to Madelein for the unique footage.

#BigWordsVideo returns in October!

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 42: ‘Nepotism’

September 7, 2017

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Almost a decade ago (when I was just getting the audio podcast off the ground), I somehow hit stride on the time frame and the level of wrongness by Episode IV lacing into my Uncle Dick.  Out of over 100 shows and clips, Episode IV and V remained as fan favorites because they were brutal, unforgiving and ferocious.  You can still listen to them on the Internet Archive.  There’s also a quick link to the right of this Home Page.

Now that we’re four years into #BigWordsVideo, I’ve been taking some calculated risks with the guests and getting around to guests that I’ve wanted to have on since the planning stages.  Dick was at the top of the list.  I’m always going to be harsher on family and friends than I would ever be out of the gate with people I’ve never met before, or that I don’t have a personal relationship.  My Uncle Dick is the champ.  He didn’t flinch and I didn’t expect him to.  Diabetes Dave has a quiet intensity that lends itself well to the show too.  Feast your eyes on THIS:

HEY!  Kindly SUBSCRIBE, will ya?!

Thanks as always to producer Richard Wicka, ‘The Other Richard’ Dick Lobdell and Diabetes Dave for coming through in a pinch.  Season 4 is off to a good start.  No end in sight.  Yet.

See you at the end of the month!

Tom

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Big Words Video 42.1 & 42.2: Dick Lobdell-‘It’s Hard To Be Humble’ & ‘Angel’s Song’

September 5, 2017

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Growing up with my uncle, we got a lot of campfire concerts on demand, so it wasn’t difficult to throw a few requests out for the Bonus clips for this episode.  ‘It’s Hard To Be Humble’ by Mac Davis is just a really funny song that Dick made his own.  ‘Angel’s Song’ is an original composition of Dick’s that he prefaced with a touching story about his granddaughter’s wedding ceremony.  Check them out right here:

I WISH I could tell you there was more music, but you’d have to be a SUBSCRIBER to the #BigWordsVideo Youtube Channel to figure that out.  I still want to capture one of Dick’s bonfire concerts on video.  There’s always next year.

#BigWordsVideo shall return!

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 41: ‘Displacement’

August 12, 2017

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Stand-up comic Daniel McArdle is young, ambitious, eager, and yes, funny in a way that draws from his strengths, so it’ll be interesting to see how he does hosting the Rust Belt Comedy Showcase at Nietzsche’s on Tuesday nights.  When I was doing my prep work for the show, every single comic I talked to had nothing but nice things to say about him, which is rare.  Former guest and Co Host Clayton Williams a.k.a. ‘The Maestro Of Comedy’ is either a natural, a savant or one of the hardest working comics on the scene, because his stand-up kills me.  Having those two in the studio together made for a really entertaining episode.  Find out for yourself:

Thanks of course to McArdle, Williams and obviously producer Richard Wicka for coordinating everything.  Comedians make perfect guests for the show because they’re fast, they’re funny, and they don’t flinch from the questions.  #BigWordsVideo blasts off into Season 4 later this month with a guest who’s been a long time coming.  Tune in to Episode 42 or Free Subscribe to the Show to find out!

Tom

 

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Big Words Video 41.1: Daniel McArdle-‘Big Fat Shame’

July 31, 2017

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Helium Comedy Club’s annual ‘Buffalo’s Funniest Person’ contest is a really big deal for local standup comics.  My latest guest, Dan McArdle, did not take home the gold.  That honor was awarded to former guest and co-host Jameel Key, who’s also extremely funny.  McArdle was kind enough to provide his clip from the contest for Big Words Video.  Every comic has their own style and their own approach to the stage.  Dan’s is one part awkwardness, one part awe-shucks and another part that’s nakedly honest.  He’s a very likeable guy.  And yes, funny.  So check out the Bonus clip!:

Thanks to Daniel for providing such a professional clip to bookend the episode.  If you want to, you know you can SUBSCRIBE to the Show channel for updates on new episodes, Bonus clips and other secret content, right?

#BigWordsVideo shall return in a month,

Tom

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Big Words Video 40.1: Alexander Sloan McBryde-‘Inside The Actors’

July 7, 2017

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Episode 40 and the companion Bonus clip were exactly what I needed after Episode 39.  Meeting actor Alexander Sloan McBryde and seeing him riff with fellow established actors (who often share the same IMDB credits) was fantastic.  The vibe in the studio was great, the chemistry was perfect and the talent level was off the charts.  I handed over the Sony PJ340 to McBryde literally seconds after the episode was over and he kicked into high gear grilling Co Host Jason John Beebe (pronounced Bee-Bee!) and interviewing Buffalo institution Michael O’Hear.  Here were 3 men who didn’t take themselves too seriously comfortable enough with their level of talent to let that translate on the silver screen, the small screen and all parts in between.  Roll that clip!:

Season 3 of Big Words Video is drawing to a close with one more episode to shoot.  Do us all a favor and SUBSCRIBE to the show for FREE on YouTube.  A few Likes and Shares wouldn’t hurt either.

Seeya soon,

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 39: ‘Agrarian’

June 22, 2017

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To be completely honest, this was an episode where I was relieved when it was over and done with.  It’s no fault of the band’s, but the Big Words Poltergeist reared it’s ugly head, we got off to a really rough start on the episode and the chemistry was all wrong.  The two main cameras that I rely on during the show were set on Demo Mode right out of the gate.  My co-host (who had a calm demeanor and would have been terrific paired with anyone else) didn’t really mesh with West Of The Mark.  West Of The Mark didn’t really mesh with me.  I’d rather not dissect and extrapolate what and how many things went wrong, but just about everything went wrong.  At the very least, we got some laughs in and nobody died.  See for yourself:

Thanks to West Of The Mark, Joe and producer Richard Wicka for getting me through this.  There’s a new episode rolling out next week and even by accident, it’s bound to go smoother than the one that preceded it.

Tom

 

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Big Words Video 39.1: ‘My Church’ & 39.2: ‘Wagon Wheel’ w/West Of The Mark

June 8, 2017

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After a lot of misunderstandings, miscommunications and technical difficulties, we filmed the Big Words Video Bonus clips with country supergroup West Of The Mark before the episode of the show as opposed to afterward.  The less said, the better.  They’re a great band and a great group of guys with amazing talent, so please don’t try to read between the lines here.  This is one of those cases where I feel as if the Bonus clips will hold up better over time than the episode itself, though.  Their harmonies are incredible, their timing as a band is really impressive, and to think that they’ve been playing together in one iteration or another for as long as I’ve been a professional writer is miraculous.

Their cover of ‘My Church’ was their pick.  ‘Wagon Wheel’ was a request for my son Benjamin, who loves the Darius Rucker version as well as the original recording by Old Crow Medicine Show.  I was shocked to find out that Bob Dylan co-wrote the song, and that I didn’t know that until I was crediting the clips.  You learn something new every year.  Please enjoy:

 

A big thanks goes out to West Of The Mark for lugging their equipment into the studio, lugging it out and then lugging it in again.  Thanks also to producer Richard Wicka for being patient with the show’s production in the summer when our friendship is strained and we only see each other on the way in and on the way out of each show.  Rich has a strict ‘No Drums, No Bass’ rule that I wasn’t aware of.  I’ll have to remember that the next time I’m crazy enough to shoehorn an entire band into a shoebox.

Do me a favor and SUBSCRIBE to the Channel already, will ya?  Nobody gets paid, we do this for Views.

#BigWordsVideo shall return this month….

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 38: ‘Contingent’

May 4, 2017

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Despite rumors that pop up once in awhile, I have no plans or desires to be a standup comedian.  Writing humor and hosting a comedy talk show are not the same thing.  However, I have a great deal of respect and admiration for standup comics who are good at what they do and I’m always trying to figure out how their thought process works.  Kevin Thomas Jr and Jameel Key are very, very good at what they do but they approach standup from completely different directions.  Kevin has a down-to-earth humility to his delivery and his material paired with the approachability of a college instructor.  Jameel works best when he’s working blue, and his anecdotes and his jokes are so personal that they can’t possibly be anyone else’s.  Getting both of them in the same room for the same show was a case of the stars being in alignment.  This was an episode where I sat back and let these gentleman do what they do best: riff.  See for yourself:

Thanks to Kevin and Jameel for bringing their A game.  Thanks always to producer Richard Wicka for letting us barrel into the studio and hammer out the show.  #BigWordsVideo will be back in 4 weeks with country supergroup West Of The Mark!

Tom

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Big Words Video 38.1: Kevin Thomas Jr.-‘Afterglow’

May 2, 2017

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Returning guest and Co Host Jameel Key and I shot the breeze before the episode and  I handed over the Bonus Clip camerawork to him.  We both agreed that Jameel’s clip from Season 1 was bad.  Really bad.  Back then, I had Rob Bender ask Jameel about the evolution of a joke.  It was awkward and starchy.  So I figured I’d let him decide when and how to film Kevin Thomas Jr.  He started rolling right after the episode, which is typically when we all get up, stretch and breathe a sigh of relief.  The three of us had a really good dynamic during the show and Jameel ran with that.  Here’s the result:

Thanks to Jameel for circling back, Kevin for coming on and as always, producer Richard Wicka for having us.  You know how I mention SUBSCRIBING to the channel on YouTube?  For updates, new episodes, that kind of thing?  You should do that.

#BigWordsVideo will return this month with award-winning country band

West Of The Mark!

Tom

 

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 37: ‘Improvisation’

April 10, 2017

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Van Taylor is one of the nicest guests I’ve had on the show.  Like Ed Honeck told me, the guy’s a saint.  He’s been doing good work for the troops for over three decades, volunteering his time and talents for the Food Bank Of WNY, and he’s just a very positive human being.  Admittedly, I went easier on him when he came on than I have been with a lot of guests in the past because it would be comparable to interrogating Mother Theresa.  He’s a super nice guy.  And what’s funny is that he was originally scheduled (and agreed) to come on my audio podcast back in 2012 and…I stopped doing the audio podcast.  So it took us five years to make it work and even that took one last reschedule because he had a major surgery operation.  Van was worth the wait.  See for yourself:

Thanks to Van for being patient, the Mighty Matt Sampson for co-hosting again and the always lovely Richard Wicka for producing the show.

I’m excited to announce that ‘Buffalo’s Funniest Person’ winner Kevin Thomas will be guesting in 2 weeks with veteran comic, former guest and frequent Helium headliner Jameel Key co-piloting.

Seeya then,

Tom

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Big Words Video 37.1: Van Taylor-‘Ain’t No Thang’

April 8, 2017

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Van was kind enough to share an exclusive live performance from the ‘UB On The Green’ concert series at (obviously) the University Of Buffalo.  I told him before the show that I’m a very piano-driven person when it comes to music, and Mr. Taylor does not disappoint.  There’s a reason why he’s been a driving force in jazz music on the front lines and off around the world for over 30 years: he’s that good.  See for yourself:

If you want to see the sheer scope and variety of bonus clips for the show for the last 3 years, SUBSCRIBE to the Channel.  Oh, and you’ll get an update every time a new episode drops.

#BigWordsVideo shall return,

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 36: ‘Sequence’

March 31, 2017

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I went on the hunt about a month ago to find some good writers to guest on the show.  Italian novelist Gaia B. Amman came highly recommended and made it to the top of my list.  Her writing style is sharp and colorful, she’s not afraid of the camera and she’s got a great sense of humor.  Her Italian Saga series of books have a cult-like following and she’s very positive and nurturing with her fan base.  I was tying up loose ends on my research before the show and my co-host cancelled an hour and a half before taping.  Heh.  The behind-the-scenes anecdotes for the show are almost as good as the show, but I’m not going to start dishing now.  Terry Kimmel shuffled some personal engagements around in order to co host the show at the eleventh hour.  Here’s the end result:

Big thanks go out to Gaia for jumping through all the pre-show hoops and delivering a really professional #BigWordsVideo bonus clip, and for being a truly entertaining guest.  I owe Terry a large debt of gratitude for showing up under duress and bringing his A game. And as always, thanks to Producer Richard Wicka for wrapping it all up and putting a bow on it.

Please FREE SUBSCRIBE to Richard Wicka’s YouTube as well as mine (bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com) for updates on new episodes, bonus clips and other hidden content!

That’s all, folks.

Tom

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Big Words Video 36.1: Gaia B. Amman-‘Blame It On Nico’

March 30, 2017

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Often before the studio episode I’ll give my guests the option of shooting their own Big Words Video Bonus clip in advance to save time in post-production in the studio.  Once in a blue moon, they do just that.  Author Gaia B. Amman did a great job with her Bonus clip and I joked with her that her title credits and bumper ad at the end of the clip were more professional than anything the show has ever done, and she humbly admitted that she did everything on iMovie.  Check out her reading of Chapter 1 of An Italian Adventure HERE:

One of the many things I was impressed with about Gaia was that she seems to have her marketing, publicity and audio/visual plan all figured out, so thanks to her for prepping a clip ahead of time.

#BigWordsVideo will return NEXT WEEK with jazz great Van Taylor.

Seeya soon,

Tom

 

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 35: “Virtuoso”

March 3, 2017

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John Valby really is a living legend.  More specifically, he’s a Clarence legend.  Growing up in Clarence, everyone either knew him, knew of him, or knew about him.  With over 40 albums and 40 years of wildly offensive songs, limericks and ditties, he’s not only talented and funny, but he perserveres.  I was a little worried about him last year when he came on the show, but this year, he had a spring in his step.  It sounds like his career and his life have hit a new crescendo.  As the only guest on the show who gets a return ticket every season, it was good to see him again, and the same goes for my old editor from Night Life magazine Ed Honeck.  There’s a lot of history with those two.  That sort of comfortable dynamic between the three of us made for another (I hope) entertaining episode.  See for yourself:

Thanks as always to producer Richard Wicka for being the glue that holds the show together, Ed for popping in with less than a week before he’s being pulled in 100 different directions for the Night Life Music & Club Awards, and last but not least Mr. Valby.  May your career reach dizzier heights in the next year, and may your health continue to stymy a host who’s no stranger to the dangers of excess.

#BigWordsVideo will return in a month with young adult author and molecular biologist (you read that right) Gaia Amman.  Do yourself a favor and SUBSCRIBE for bonus clips, alerts for new episodes and other additional content.

Tom

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Big Words Video 35.1: John Valby-‘Topical’

March 2, 2017

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Yikes.

As an ardent defender of free speech for my own selfish purposes for many, many years, I found myself in a position yesterday where I had to take a dose of my own medicine.

John Valby’s unique brand of comedy is not for everybody.  For the uninitiated, he can be a bit…prickly.  This is in the grand tradition of Lenny Bruce, Don Rickles, Andrew Dice Clay and a lot of other comedians whose delivery and comedic timing far outweigh the bombastic nature of their content.  With all that said, there was a moment or two during the taping of the Big Words Video bonus clip where I thought, “This is gonna be trouble.”

Regardless, the entire point of the Bonus clips is for the guest to showcase their talent in any way they deem acceptable.  So there was a brief moment where I hesitated while we rendered and prepared the clip, and then that moment passed and I hit the Upload button.  Check it out for yourself:

I’m not about to start censoring anyone else’s right to free speech and free artistic expression, and when I start looking for inoffensive, politically correct or safe comedy for my entertainment purposes, that’ll be around the same time that I can the show and stop writing books.  YouTube is just like a television set.  You can always turn it off if you don’t like what you see.  If you do enjoy the show, though, SUBSCRIBE for FREE for additional episodes, bonus clips and other exclusive content.

Onward and upward,

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 34: ‘Cineaste’

January 28, 2017

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Much like previous guest, playwright Donna Hoke, film director and author Greg Lamberson’s list of accomplishments were varied, massive and somewhat intimidating.  He’s written and published around 15 books, he’s either written, produced and/or directed over two dozen films.  And to top it all off, he co-chairs the incredibly popular Buffalo Dreams film festival every year, which draws films and directors from around the world to our fair town.  I can be a little OCD when it comes to prepping for the show, so in a case like Greg’s, I had to get a handle on the broad strokes rather than lose myself in his gargantuan back catalogue.  Lamberson turned out to be much more charming during the interview than I anticipated, and there was a mutual respect between the two of us that I think translated in the episode.  Here it is:

Thanks to Lamberson for taking time out of his insanely busy schedule to sit down with me for a half an hour.  Thanks also to Henry Gale for being a little bit better in the Co Host Hot Seat the second time around.  And of course to producer Richard Wicka for bringing it all together and wrapping a bow around it.  Do us ALL a favor and Like, Share, Favorite, +1 and Heart the episode depending on what social medias you’re actively a part of.

See you again in 2 weeks,

Tom

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Big Words Video 34.1: Greg Lamberson-‘Fun Bags’

January 28, 2017

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Coming hot off the heels of the runaway success of ‘Killer Rack’ and toiling away at post-production on ‘Johnny Gruesome’, I wasn’t sure what kind of Bonus clip guest Greg Lamberson cooked up.  He didn’t disappoint.  What follows is the musical sequence for the song ‘Fun Bags’ from the aforementioned ‘Killer Rack’ featuring Troma legend Lloyd Kauffman.  Fun fact: I interviewed Kauffman while he was on location in Buffalo for the movie ‘Poultrygeist’ for Night Life magazine way, way back in 2004 or 2005.  I’m pretty sure he’s still got the print interview on his web site, and if you can’t find it there, it’s still ricocheting around on Acid Logic.  At any rate, ROLL THAT CLIP!

Thanks again to Lamberson, Co Host Henry Gale and the frequently delightful Richard Wicka for producing our episode.  Oh yeah, and SUBSCRIBE to my channel on YouTube for more bonus clips, more bonus content and a lot of delectable secrets you won’t find any way else.

#BigWordsVideo shall return.  In two weeks.  With Taylor Made Jazz musician Van Taylor!

Seeya soon,

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 33: ‘Farcical’

December 31, 2016

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There’s something about stand-up comic Clayton Williams that I’ve liked from the second I saw him hosting at Mr. Goodbar some two years ago for their ‘Uncle Jerry’s Comedy Showcase’.  He’s got a comedic style and a completely off-the-wall delivery that I’ve never seen around here.  I couldn’t wait to get him on the show and I knew he was going to be great, but I had no idea how great.  By contrast, Co Host Becca Barnum has been on my radar for one reason or another for the last year.  When I had someone in film on the show, she just so happened to be in some of the movies, when I had someone with a cosplay background, she just so happened to be in the same cosplay groups, and so on, and so on.

The dynamic was so magical and the conversation was so fluid while we were filming that I barely scratched the surface on my questions, and that’s okay.  We kept on talking after the show and they both got an invite back at a later date and time.  Oh yeah, here’s the show:

Thanks to Clayton and Becca for doing such a great job and thanks as always to Producer Richard Wicka.  We wound up with what I’m sure will go down as one of my favorite show memories, but there’s still a lot more to be made.

Happy New Year!

Tom

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Big Words Video 33.1: Clayton Williams-‘Photogenic’

December 29, 2016

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It’s good to have a backup plan.

I tell every guest about the idea behind having a Bonus clip to complement each episode of the show.  Some bring one, some have a great idea that we do in or outside the studio, sometimes things just fall through or people run out of time.  I asked producer Richard Wicka what he thought of rolling the camera during the post-show photo session and he thought it was a great idea, very “Cinema Verite” (sp?).  In the 3 years that I’ve been doing the show, this was the most fruitful photo session we’ve done to date.  Clayton and co-host Becca Barnum were camera gold, and they came alive during the show as well as before and after it.  If you Instagram, you can see ALL of the photos in the next few days @tomfoolery444.  I’ve been trying to get away from just dumping all of the outtakes in one payload.  Or you can ‘Like’ @bigwordsvideo on FB and see all of the photos there.  Here are the results of the live video feed from the session:

A big thanks to Clayton Williams and Becca Barnum for their enthusiasm, their comedy and the terrific dynamic in the studio.  You’ll see them again soon, but I’m not telling you when.  Here’s the part where I beseech you to SUBSCRIBE to the Channel on YouTube for notifications on new episodes, ALL of the bonus clips and extra incentives that I’m not going to spell out at this juncture.

#BigWordsVideo shall return next month!

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 32: ‘Prima Facie’

December 10, 2016

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…which is a legal term for ‘on the face of it.’  I thought it was a good fit for a title because a) Guest Michael Bly is a litigation attorney in addition to being a musician and b) There’s a lot more to him than his party-loving rockstar facade.  This was an episode that was originally scheduled back in November of 2014, but Mike had to cancel at the last minute due to traffic coming home from a Bills game in Michigan or something like that.

I’ve known Michael Bly since somewhere around 2005.  Recollection is hazy because I drank quite a bit back then, but I’m pretty sure longtime pal Gregg Sansone introduced me to him at The Hidden Shamrock (now shuttered) in Depew during a Night Life magazine assignment.  We just keep bumping into each other.  Mike was kind enough to do 2 hours of the Big Words Radio podcast back in its’ heyday and even circled back for the Big Words Radio Finale Roast that was supposed to be a joke but actually came true.  For those of you who want to hear the podcasts, you can click the link to the right on the page here or just search it on the Internet Archive.  Not sure if this is too much backstory, but again, I’m trying to do a bit more than just ‘Here’s the episode, please watch it.’  He’s a charming person, a talented musician and yes, he’s a really, really nice guy.  I met Co Host Jason Garra during a Buffalo News review assignment at Woody’s Pub in Lackawanna when he was with band-in-residence Helicopter Pilot.  It made for a cozy, hopefully entertaining show:

Thanks to Bly, Garra and producer Richard Wicka for another enjoyable outing.  Now that I’m don’t hit the bars anymore, it’s good to find an excuse to catch up with old friends who are still on the circuit.  For the love of God and all that’s holy, SUBSCRIBE for new shows, bonus clips and additional unlockable content!  Comedian Clayton Williams will be joining me at month’s end along with actress/comedienne/cosplayer Becca Barnum.  Don’t adjust your laptops, monitors and tablets!

Tom

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Big Words Video 32.1: ‘This Love’ & 32.2: ‘Buffalo’-Performed by Michael Bly!

December 9, 2016

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I’m always at a loss for how to present the #BigWordsVideo Bonus clips here above and beyond ‘Here’s the clips.  Click here.’  This time, I’ll share a little story behind the clips.  Unfortunately, Michael Bly’s favorite guitar was stolen a few weeks ago, so he brought a new-ish guitar (make and model already forgotten) to the studio with him.  We were unsure if his acoustic would even work if we plugged it into producer Richard Wicka’s sound board, so we improvised by placing one of the headsets in front of the guitar and Mike kept his headset on his head.  The sound came out incredibly well, but if you watch the videos, you’ll see a foam microphone sticking up from the bottom left corner of the screen.  It all worked out in the end.  Hence we have Big Words Video 32.1 with a very entertaining rendition of Maroon 5’s ‘This Love’ (from their Songs About Jane album over a decade ago) and Big Words Video 32.2 wherein Michael performs his original song ‘Buffalo’ from his second album, Stay True.  

I’m always amazed when we have a musician in the studio and they bring their A game under less-than-ideal conditions, so thank you to Michael for that.  We’ve been friends for a very, very, very long time, and I have to say that his vocals and his guitar-playing have improved by leaps and bounds from our days back at the Hidden Shamrock in the stone ages.  Thanks as always to Richard Wicka and to Jason Garra for bringing his A game in the Co Host Hot Seat.

And please, pretty please, SUBSCRIBE to the CHANNEL for updates on new shows, more bonus content and other miscellany!

#BigWordsVideo is doubling up for December, so I’ll see you in less than 3 weeks!

Happy Holidays,

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 31: ‘Emanata’

November 28, 2016

Comic writer/artist Jason Yungbluth and I share the same twisted mindset.  We originally met back in 2002 for one of my very first ArtVoice print interviews (back when I was freelancing) and hit it off right from the jump.  His ongoing comic Deep Fried stands next to Reid Fleming: World’s Toughest Milkman as one of the funniest, most off-the-wall comics I’ve ever read.  His art isn’t the weaker end of the bargain either.  Going back through his issues to prep for the show, I picked up some strong shades of R. Crumb, a little Bill Wray and his own distinctive style, which is just…fully realized.  As co-host Mark McElligott put it, ‘He’s got IT.’  After the interview, Jason moved to Rochester to blaze his own trail and find a larger comic market.  This was the first time we’d been in the same room together since ’02.  It was more fun than I expected.

Thanks to Jason, Mark and the ever-present producer Richard Wicka for a great episode.  I’ve got a soft spot for the comic book industry, and I wish I could land more local talent in the field.  Oh and hey, SUBSCRIBE to the show for updates, bonus clips, yada yada.  A thumbs up wouldn’t hurt, either.

#BigWordsVideo is doubling down in December, so don’t adjust your monitors.

Tom

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Big Words Video 31.1, 2 & 3: Trilogy of…?

November 28, 2016

I was trying to come up will some alliteration there, but I’m at a loss for words at the diversity and ingenuity of the following 3 Bonus clips.  Guest Jason Yungbluth was kind enough to provide a dark, gritty, gruesome trailer for his incredible 400 page Weapon Brown graphic novel as well as a holiday-themed stop-motion festive pancake clip that’s also wrong on a number of levels.  Check ’em out:

Conversely, perennial Co Host Mark McElligott brought something to show, too.  His lifelong project and character Starchy is almost a reality.  You can check out one of his animated cartoons to promote the project right HERE:

Thanks to Jason and Mark for bringing a level of professionalism with their videos that is heretofore absent from most of my proceedings.  I like the variety and the breadth of their humor showcased in these clips.

#BigWordsVideo shall return.  Sooner than you think.  Please SUBSCRIBE in the meantime.

Tom

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Travesty & Mockery iBooks/Pulp 716 next Saturday!

November 4, 2016

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I figured it was time to join the ebook revolution.  While studies have shown that a lot of readers are switching back to print books, I personally prefer to read digitally.  It takes up less shelf space and the books are cheaper.  In addition to designing the layout and interior for the print copy of Travesty, Bill Dyson quietly worked on the ebook editions for both Travesty and it’s predecessor, Mockery.  You can find them both for $9.99 and $6.99 (respectively) right HERE:

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Mockery

And finally, I’ll be signing books next Saturday afternoon, November 12th at Pulp 716 in Lockport along with cover artist and pal Mark McElligott.  Due to old age and other obligations, I won’t be promoting Travesty as actively as I used to, so this may be your only chance to get a signed copy of it before spring.  I hope to see you there!

Sincerely,

Tom

 

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 30: ‘Grand Guignol’

October 28, 2016

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So here’s how this episode went down.  Last year, when Rhonda Parker was on, she name-dropped Michael O’Hear and Jason John Beebe.  In the heat of the moment (and because I think it’s funny to quip back while we’re rolling) and, to be honest, I said ‘Never heard of ’em.’  I still don’t know much about the film scene, but I felt like and asshole, and afterwards, I figured it would balance out my karma to have them both on down the road.  Michael O’Hear came on back around…January and Jason and I finally coordinated our schedules this month.  He was a great interview: quick, funny, and just a super-nice guy with quite a list of film credits for…whatever age he happens to be.  Here’s the episode:

Fun fact: ‘Grand Guignol’ literally means ‘large puppet’ in French, so I felt that the title worked on two levels.  Thanks to producer Richard Wicka, Beebe for fitting us in during his ‘Crossbreed’ location shoot in Buffalo, and perennial co-host Terry Kimmel for enduring a Herculanean amount of punishment.  SUBSCRIBE, LIKE, SHARE, RT…do whatever you’ve gotta do to get the word out!  We don’t do it for any money, but we do it for your love and admiration, so spread it around!

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 28: ‘Oracle’

September 9, 2016

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Lou Fasolino (a.k.a. Lou Forecastolino, a.k.a. WLou) was someone I instantly wanted to book as soon as I saw his weather forecasts.  He’s naturally funny, I could tell he’d be great in an ad lib scenario, and he’s likeable.  He was slated for next March, but after a cancellation for the Season 3 Opener of #BigWordsVideo, I asked and he accepted.  He’s even more likeable in person.  It was a well-rounded show with Brian ‘The House’ Platter returning to the Co Host Hot Seat.  Even with a month’s notice, Lou’s producer failed to supply a bonus clip, so this episode shares the unique distinction of having no complementary or supplemental material.  That’s all I’ll say about that.  Here’s Episode 28:

Please make sure to ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ as if your life depends on it.  Thanks to producer Richard Wicka, Fasolino and Platter for filling in in a pinch.  Even with two years under our belts it feels like I’m just getting warmed up.  Stand-up comic Jesse Winterhalter strikes later this month for Episode 29, so #BigWordsVideo will return…

Tom

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Travesty Now Available!

August 19, 2016

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I’m pleased to announce that Travesty, my 12th book, has been released!  After five years of writing it on and off (before and after Icarus On The Mend, my limited print run memoir), proofreading, polishing and then collaborating with Mark McElligott on the wraparound cover art as well as graphic designer Bill Dyson on the interior, fonts and book design, Travesty is live and ready for purchase.  You can buy the book direct from lulu.com HERE:

Travesty

There’s also a permanent Quick Link on this site’s ‘Link Section’ for return visitors.  For reasons having mostly to do with my work schedule, I will not be actively promoting the book until late October, so you can buy BEFORE the official launch on lulu. Amazon.com, B&N.com and other fine retailers in the mean time.

This book was a direct sequel to my 2011 humor collection Mockery, so if you enjoyed it, you can get more of what you loved here.  Every book evolves in some unpredictable way while I’m working on it, and this one went from my trademark psychotic rage-based rants into more of a throwback silliness that I had when I initially started writing in my teens.  It’s also the first collection that was laid out according to theme instead of a chronological table of contents.  Three essays were cut, the proofreading process was rigorous and the final edition underwent a font size expansion for those of us who don’t like to squint.  I’m very proud of it, and McElligott and Dyson both did a terrific job with the small suggestions and concepts I bounced off of them.

In addition, this is the first Doubt It Publishing title to be launched with it’s own ISBN number.  That may not mean much to you, but that’s a serious sea change in the way I’m doing business and the way the book is distributed.  At 40 years old with 12 books behind me, I’ve started making an effort to preserve what I have while planning for the future.  Travesty is not my final book, but I’m taking a break before I chart a new course.  I hope you enjoy it.  This won’t be the last time you hear about it.  Please help spread the word by Sharing the link on your social media, ‘Like’ the book on Facebook,  List the book if you’re a Goodreads member and by all means, tell all your friends!

Sincerely,

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 27: ‘Monarch’

August 13, 2016

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It’s been a busy summer!  Between polishing and preparing Travesty and wrapping up Season 2 of #BigWordsVideo, I’ve been remiss in posting this last episode.  I booked ‘Persona’ writer/director Charlie Simmons back around September of 2015 and he rode out from Rochester last month to tape the show.  Actress/model Airy Nikohl came up from Niagara Falls.  To make things even more interesting, I hadn’t met or spoken to either of them until we got in the studio.  The results were pretty cool.  Find out for yourself:

Find the time to SUBSCRIBE to Big Words I Know By Heart on YouTube.  Thanks are in order to Charlie, Airy and, as always, Producer Richard Wicka for indulging us.  Season 3 rolls out at the end of the month and we’re just hitting our stride.

Stay tuned,

Tom

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Travesty Inbound!

July 20, 2016

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Hey all!

After five years of working on the book on and off, rigorous rewrites, edits and scrubbing for typos, #Travesty, my eleventh book of humor, is almost ready!  It clocks in at a respectable 204 pages and it’s going to retail at $19.99.  Above, you’ll see the gorgeous wraparound cover with art by Mark McElligott and fonts William Dyson II.  I’m really excited about this book.  I’ve put a lot of myself into this book.  I can’t wait to share it with all of you, but not yet.  It’ll be ready this fall from Doubt It Publishing!

Stay Tuned,

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 26: ‘Matriarch’

July 13, 2016

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This was an episode I looked forward to taping for a very long time.  I saw Heather’s standup back in September (see below) and, from talking to her on and off, knew she’d be a lot of fun in the studio.  She’s a natural comedienne, she’s funny, off-the-cuff and incredibly clever.  After two co-host hopefuls dropped out, I tapped Brian Bogucki at the last minute and it turned out that he had a Buffalo Comedy connection! Six degrees of Buffalo, indeed.  We all had a great rapport right off the bat before the cameras started rolling.  Some shows are painful to watch afterwards and this wasn’t one of them.  I thought the pacing was great, the jokes were organic and the conversation just flowed.  I wish every comic was this ‘on’ when they came on.  There’s a lot more coming down the pike, too.  In the mean time though, see for yourself:

Thanks to Heather, Brian, and of course producer Richard Wicka for allowing all this insanity in his home every single month.  PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!  #BigWordsVideo will return in roughly two weeks with Rochester director Charlie Simmons!

Tom

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Big Words Video 26.1: ‘Lewd & Lascivious’ & 26.2: ‘Lysergic’

July 5, 2016

Comedienne Heather Stack is self-assured, conversational, and yes, really funny on stage.  Since she was originally booked for #BigWordsVideo back in October of 2015, I met her out at her open mic at The Tudor Lounge the month before to shoot some footage.  What follows is her opening set as well as a bonus bumper clip between other comics.  As Heather (and Tyrone Maclin) have explained to me, one of the host’s duties while running an open mic for other comics is not to run too long.  It was fortunate that Heather got a good opening set in before an evening of other great comics.  See for yourself:

 

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 25: ‘Dramaturgy’

June 23, 2016

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I’ve been a bad talk show host.

Here we are a week away from the next episode and I’m just posting the previous episode now.  Chalk it up to procrastination, call it the aftermath to my comeuppance, call it whatever you want, but here’s last month’s episode.  I felt ill-prepared and intimidated by my guest Donna Hoke, a playwright, staffer for Buffalo Spree magazine, children’s book author and a lot more.  Maybe I read too far into her personality, maybe not, but it threw me off guard and it was noticeable.  That’s okay, though.  The two questions I ask myself after every show are 1. Was it entertaining? and 2. Was it funny?  I can respond affirmative to both for this show whether it was at my own expense or not.  Justin Karcher was terrific in the Co Host Hot Seat.  See the whole big hot mess for yourself:

 

Thanks are in order to Hoke, Karcher and the always-lovely Richard Wicka.  I’ll see you all back here in approximately one week.  Approximately.

Tom

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Big Words Video 25.1: Donna Hoke & Justin Karcher-‘Hamilton’

June 2, 2016

I got the sense that either Donna and Justin hadn’t seen each other in a long time, or that you could lock them both in a room for three days and they’d still be pontificating and arguing when you opened the door.  Quips and gossip and barbs were flying and they downshifted to a delightful debate about Buffalo theater once the camera started rolling after the episode.  See for yourself:

#BigWordsVideo will return later this month with a long-awaited guest spot from award-winning comedienne Heather Stack!

Don’t you touch that dial.

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 24: ‘Ahimsa’

April 13, 2016

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I’m always more ferocious on the show with my friends because I know they can take it.  Longtime pal and one-man-band Gregg Sansone is certainly no exception.  The kid gloves came off and the laughs broke out in the studio for this explosive, no-holds-barred episode.  Gregg knows how I operate.  Diabetes Dave stepped up to the plate for a return trip to the Co Host Hot Seat.  The chemistry between the three of us was near-perfect.  See for yourself:

Thanks are in order to producer Richard Wicka, Sansone and Diabetes Dave for bringing their A game.  If you like what you see, PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!  And don’t miss the bonus clips below!

Tom

 

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Discourse Correction

April 4, 2016

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“When I have nothing to say my lips are sealed.

Say something once, why say it again?”

-The Talking Heads, ‘Psycho Killer’

Talk doesn’t have to be cheap. One of my bugaboos is meaningless small talk. I would rather wait out a long, uncomfortable silence than fill the void with inane chatter that accomplishes nothing and fails to further conversation. In my line of work, it’s referred to as an ‘ice breaker’, but during the rest of my waking life, I’d vastly prefer a dead vacuum of words instead of offering up nonsense.

It’s been said that you should never talk about politics, religion or the weather. I don’t remember if that was in reference to sales, getting your hair cut, foreplay or simply polite discussion between strangers, but nobody abides by that rule. People who talk about the weather make me fucking nuts. In Buffalo, debate and dissent regarding the weather is a living, breathing, malleable organism, and everyone has a talent for locking and passing along the most far-fetched, fantastical forecast. Given a range of light flurries or the next ice age, your average horse’s ass will throw out ‘Fred The Weather Clown is calling for a meteor the size of Brazil made of solid black ice followed by a flurry of dippable Dots.’ Out of a hundred predictions, average temperatures and year-over-year norms, it’s never a middle-of-the-road prediction. Maybe that says more about the dolts who drudge it up to perfect strangers, maybe not: ‘Team Hurricane 3000 claims an 84% chance of Armageddon preceded by lakes of fire and spotting in women aged 55 to 60.’ It must be Biblical fact then.

Sports fans make the rather large assumption that you also like talking about sportsing. I don’t. My friend Rich plays into this and seems to think he can reach a common ground with people and find out more about their thinking process by knowing about sports and talking with his friends about it. I’m not willing to go that far. I really don’t understand the return on investment sitting on my ass on the couch for entire Sundays yelling at the television. There is enough in my life to upset me without transferring my ambitions and personal happiness onto a corporately held entity parading as a franchise. What I really don’t get is people droning on about sportsing out in public while their sport of choice is currently in progress. If it was important to you, wouldn’t you be at home having a discussion with your television while it was airing?

And religion is a non-issue. Most sane people don’t engage, foster or bring up religion with strangers. Most of us are spiritual and not religious, whatever that means. A great many of us sacrifice live bait to our Aztec snake gods naked during a blood moon while coated in Hershey syrup in a very private and personal way, so we don’t feel the need to bring it up or indoctrinate others. The people who bring up religion as an ‘ice breaker’ are typically the people I run screaming from. I have nothing against religion since it’s never done anything grievous or humiliating to me, but I have no interest in discussing it with people outside of my role-playing, Safe-Word-uttering coven. The less said the better.

If anything, politics are offered up without any solicitation, urging or insistence, and the people who normally inject it into the atmosphere are also the people with the most militant, half-cooked, far left or far right of center viewpoints anyway. I’m surprised at the political non sequiturs I hear without any forewarning or lubricant. Things like “All my taxes go to Albany, thanks very much, Mr. Governor!” from the affluent upper-class doctor or “It’d be great to own a small business if it weren’t for Ralph Nader.” from the guy with 45 bumper stickers and a man bun. I try not to engage or encourage these kinds of people because their jumbled calls to arms can only invariably be followed by rampant bigotry, generalized silliness or unfounded carpetbaggery or skullduggery.

*Confession: I’ve wanted to include both the terms ‘carpetbaggery’ and ‘skullduggery’ into an essay and felt that this was my best shot. I hope that some day you will grow to accept and embrace my decision.*

Finally, there is what passes for what’s left of the Monday morning water cooler discussion. A great majority of us don’t have the indulgence of a water cooler at our place of business, haven’t personally seen a water cooler in 2.5 years, and have never had a discussion as a result of being in the vicinity of a water cooler. Now that we live in a hip, post-‘cut the cable’ revolution era where there are 7,000 different stations, streaming services, Viewmaster Exclusive one hour puppet passion plays and other programs, we’re at a loss for a universally shared experience.

If it’s a reality show or a talent competition, my emotional investment is -7 multiplied by zero fucks, carried by I Really Don’t Give A Shit. Whatever that adds up to, that’s where I stand on either program. I don’t need to know which industry darling won the finals at the Polynesian Breakdancing Awards or who took home the gold on ‘Bosnia’s Got Marginal Saucier Skills’. The point is that there are more shows than there are people now, so whatever you watched or downloaded or uploaded into your retinas last night that was exciting isn’t necessarily a show that anyone else on your continent tunes into.

I understand that it’s difficult to find common ground with complete strangers in everyday life, but I would rather be myself or dive right into the meat of a conversation than default to small talk because it’s easier. The weather doesn’t matter to me, I’m not hardwired for sports, religion is a landmine and a lot of people have horrible taste in television. I guess you could call me a real people pleaser.

Tom Waters

 

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 23: ‘Schadenfreude’

March 16, 2016

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The Buffalo standup comedy scene is on fire, and Allie Brady is one of the comics who’s right at the center of it.  After interviewing 3 comics so far (with more on the horizon), it’s fascinating to explore each of their individual voices, styles and, by extension, their acts.  Brady has this slight pause before she delivers a brutal politically incorrect punchline that I really admire.  In the studio, she was fast, relentless and hilarious.  To top it off, her website (stilltoosoon.blogspot.com) is one of the funniest projects I’ve read online in a very, very long time.  Britney Hoffman was a little deer-in-the-headlights in the Co Host Hot Seat, but I thought she rounded out the dynamic quite nicely.  Roll that clip!

A big thanks goes out to Brady, Hoffman and the always-lovely Richard Wicka for putting it all together.  PLEASE SUBSCRIBE for new shows, bonus clips and other additional content.

Tom

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Big Words Video 23.5: ‘Irish Spring’ & 23.6: ‘Shitty Girl’

March 16, 2016

I’m starting to think it’s a better idea to send someone out into the field to get these Big Words Video Bonus clips.

I don’t enjoy being out in front of a crowd scene anymore.  There was a time where my ego insisted on it, but these days I’d rather hang out in the background and let the star be the star of the show.  Harvesting these clips with a consumer camera demands that the ‘director’ get right up on top of the action.  Music production man Roger Pleasant of Uprise Studios went on location to Magruder’s in Lancaster for Green Gorilla Comedy’s ‘Irish Spring’ showcase a few weeks ago and came back with two really solid clips from standup comic Allie Brady’s act.  See for yourself:

Using the same Sony PJ340 I’ve been using, Pleasant got a great angle, sound and lighting in HD.  Allie’s comedy speaks for itself.  Putting someone else at the helm of the camera does too.  If you like what you see, SUBSCRIBE!  We’ll be back at it next month with longtime pal and journeyman pianist/performer Gregg Sansone.

See you then,

Tom

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Dante’s Double

March 1, 2016

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You could fill Lake Erie with the amount of hot sauce I’ve ingested.

Nothing would live, grow or thrive there, so basically, it would be the same lake. I’ve been eating chicken wings at least once a week since I was around 17. Technically, chicken fingers were my gateway poultry. My buddy Ron and I got together every week to play video games and we commemorated the event with chicken fingers. And hot sauce. When I got my first apartment, I got my first fryer. Shortly thereafter, I gained about 40 pounds. Studies show that those two events were interconnected somehow. With no self control and the understanding that I was too lazy to deal with the mess of making wings at home, a new tradition was born: wings once a week. This is the point where I could say ‘A hero is born.’ or ‘This is the stuff of legend.’, but my artistic license expired yesterday. It’s best in this situation to borrow from the poorly named 1980’s Fred Ward star vehicle Remo Williams and go with ‘The Adventure Begins’. Cinephile Note: The adventure began and ended with that horrible movie. Let’s get back to the wings…

There are a lot of things that Buffalonians lay claim to: losing at football, losing at hockey on a technicality, losing on ‘Best Places To Live’…you get the picture. Chicken wings really did originate in Buffalo though, at the famous Anchor Bar in the city. Chicken wings happen to be the one thing about Buffalo I embrace. In the rest of the country they travel under the nom de plume of ‘Party Wings’ (makes sense), ‘Hot Wings’ (I like to use that one because it drives my boss into a fit of rage) and yes, ‘Buffalo Wings’. Hot Tip: If they’re listed as ‘Buffalo Wings’ on a menu, you’re probably at a chain restaurant that doesn’t have the faintest idea how to make chicken wings and you’ll end up with a soggy, buttery embarrassment in a plastic basket. ‘Buttery Embarrassment’ also happens to be how I refer to the loss of my virginity. Chicken wings are deceptively simple in their execution. Cook until crispy, douse in hot sauce with a fire hose and mix with butter for those with indigestion.

Around here, the base hot sauce is Frank’s Red Hot. I was not paid for that endorsement, but would like to be. Most places use Frank’s. In the rest of the country I’ve seen diners that give you a 2 oz. shooter of Tabasco for 30 chicken wings (I’m not sure how that would even work), Sriracha (which I’ve never had but would like to try) along the southern border and a lot of sad kitchen-made pastes that were more ketchup than anything else. Spoiler Alert: Ketchup does not resemble hot sauce in any way, shape and especially not form. My palate is so accustomed to Frank’s Red Hot that I’ve gone off in search of other strains of sauce. As a hot sauce enthusiast, you build up a tolerance to heat over time. Useful Factoid: A unit of heat with peppers is measured in ‘Scovilles’, whichb were named after the inventor of the system.

Unlike the rest of my family, I have the constitution of a billy goat. My older brother gets an upset stomach after oatmeal and my younger brother chews on Tums like they’re Tic Tacs. I was not paid for either of those endorsements, but would begrudgingly accept payment in the form of check, money order or chicken wings. By the time I was 25 or so, I’d worked my way up from Medium wings (half butter, half hot sauce) to hot wings (all hot sauce) to more explosive options. Sauces that incorporated jalepeno peppers (they deliver that extra mule kick to your mouth at the end of every bite) habanero peppers (which add a very distinct flavor to the sauce while incinerating your insides) and eventually, ghost peppers. Ghost peppers are no joke. On the Scoville scale, ghost peppers reside somewhere in the vicinity of Dante’s final circle of hell, if that circle included screaming, crying and praying on the toilet all at the same time.

Many argue that the hotter wings that are available aren’t enjoyable. While there is a small subsection of guys who feel the need to prove their masculinity by devouring wings they normally can’t handle, often can’t handle during their demonstration, and definitely won’t handle ever again without a medical staff on standby, some of us have worked our way up to it. Crying is a factor. It’s more of a chemical reaction than an emotional catharsis. It also takes place if you happen to wipe your eyes with the same napkin you used to wipe your sauce-spotted hands with. Or if you don’t wash your hands and scratch your eye hours later. Don’t do this with ghost peppers. Ghost pepper sauces will make you their bitch. Plain and simple.

I hate to say it, but I may have reached an age where I have to start traveling down the heat index. My endurance with the hotter sauces may have reached its apex. For every cause there is an effect. That, and I can’t imagine carrying an IV of blue cheese around with a stainless steel diaper when I’m 50. It’s time to put on the brakes a bit. Blue cheese is for punks. It’s an easy way out of the heat that serves to mask or neutralize it. Milk neutralizes the pain, too. I prefer soda. My Buffalo brethren insist it is called pop. They’re wrong. That’s neither here nor there, though. I like a nice cold glass of Diet Dr. Pepper with my wings. I was not paid or coerced by the good people at the Diet Dr. Pepper bottling plant, but would feign refusal and quickly accept large monetary gifts in the form of gold doubloons or solid ingots stacked in a triangular fashion.

Nowadays, I order a double (20) of wings every Thursday because you get a price break per wing at 20 and I can always finish them off for an additional meal time. The additional meal time may take place before I get up from the table the first time. There’s a great debate between drums (drumsticks) or flats (the actual wings) with solid arguments for both. Drums are easy to eat in public and they tend to crisp up better if you prefer yours crispy. I’m a flats man. My dad was a flats man and his father before him. We’re flats people. Honestly though, I like flats because they’re more tender, they soak up more sauce, they taste better on the reheat and they don’t have as much gristle as the drums. Believe me, I’ve done the research.

By a stroke of luck (and the one good genetic card dealt to me), my severe height has cancelled out any blood pressure issues that might accompany someone who eats a double of wings every week. It’s right on par. If I were a superhero, that would be my super power: Slightly Average Blood Pressure. Villains everywhere would tremble at the sight of my triage. I’ve been training for this all my life. Now I just need an outfit that’s stain resistant to the corrosive concoctions I crave.

Fired up,
Tom Waters

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 22: ‘Balladeer’

February 24, 2016

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John ‘Dr. Dirty’ Valby is pretty close to my heart.  His sense of humor and his career are ideal for the show.  The man really is a living legend, and I’m pretty honored that he promised to come back on the show every year for the long haul.  So far, I’ve tried to avoid a ‘swinging door’ policy for guests, opting instead to let former guests circle back to co-host or welcoming good co-hosts back.  John Valby is the only exception.  He’s funny, he’s talented and he’s the opposite of politically correct.  Again, he’s perfect for the show.  With a last-minute drop-out in the Co Host Hot Seat, Night Life Publisher (and longtime pal) Ed Honeck came through in a pinch.  They have some shared history together which helped with the overall dynamic and comfort level.  You can watch Episode 22 of #BigWordsVideo right HERE:

Thanks are in order to Valby, Honeck and Richard Wicka for being so accomodating.  PLEASE SUBSCRIBE to the Big Words I Know By Heart Channel on Youtube for bonus clips, new episodes and other associated buffoonery.  This was a fun episode to shoot.  I look forward to having John back on next February.

Tom

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Big Words Video 22.5: ‘Medley’

February 24, 2016

Producer Richard Wicka got such a good sound from Tom Sartori’s clips over the summer that we decided to utilize the same set-up for John Valby by wiring him to the Home Of The Future.  John (who brought a satchel overflowing with lyric notebooks, stray notes and even lyrics written on the back of crossword puzzles) treated us to a medley of some of his classic favorites with updated verses as well as some material from his newest album Keep Calm And Valby On.  See for yourself right here:

Thanks are in order to Richard for his enduring patience and Valby for indulging us.  If you like what you see and you’d like notifications for new bonus clips as well as the history show…PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!  #BigWordsVideo will return in March with award-winning comedienne Allie Brady!

New rant next week!

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 21: ‘Anthropomorphic’

February 5, 2016

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This may be the funniest episode we’ve done so far.

I’ve been tracking creator Stephen Nawotniak and artist Jeff Perdziak’s Mubu The Morph children’s series since the release of the first book last spring.  I went to Clarence High School with Stephen over 20 years ago and (up until shortly before the episode) hadn’t seen him since.  The books have a positive message and when I ran into them, told them I’d love to have them on the show but wasn’t sure if it’d be a good fit considering their source material.  Boy was I wrong.  We had a rip-roaring good time filming this episode and returning co-host Mark McElligott rounded out an inspired cast.  Once we got moving, I had a tough time keeping it together when I’m normally pretty good at projecting a starchy talk-show-host-like persona.  Episode 21 was a lot of fun, and very, very funny thanks to everybody involved.  See for yourself:

Many thanks to producer Richard Wicka, Mark McElligott for the never-ending abuse, and especially Stephen and Jeff for rolling with the punches.  This is proof positive that children’s book authors (and illustrators) have a good sense of humor.  The heavy show rotation is coming to an end, so I’ll give you all some time to get caught up on the backlog.  Stay tuned to the website because I’ve still got a few tricks up my sleeve this month.

Tom

 

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Big Words Video 21.1 & 21.2: Jeff Perdziak’s ‘The Menagerie’

February 5, 2016

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These two Big Words Video bonus clips were a cinch.  I was really pleased with the over-the-shoulder artist’s perspective we got with Graham Nolan for 18.5.  Let’s face it: It’s cool to watch an artist at work.  This time (to avoid shaky-cam), I posted a tripod behind artist Jeff Perdziak while he fleshed out two of the central characters from his upcoming creator-owned graphic novel ‘The Menagerie’ (which is coming out this fall from the Visions Comic Art Group).  See both installments for yourself:

You know, if you like this sort of thing, it’s twice as nice to ‘Like’ it on YouTube.  You can also take it one step further and PLEASE SUBSCRIBE to the Big Words I Know By Heart Channel on YouTube.  Just putting that out there.  #BigWordsVideo will return on February 23rd along with ‘Dr. Dirty’ John Valby!  We’ll see you then!

Tom

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Breath Of A Salesman

February 1, 2016

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One of the first things I learned about fine-tuning my pitch was a little trick called ‘clearing the mechanism’. No matter what I’m in the middle of when an Up (my turn on the sales rotation) comes in to look at *Widgets*, I’m trained to take a step back, clear my head and check my breath before I give a couple or a One-Legger (husband or wife flying solo without their significant other) my undivided and complete attention. Let’s face it: Nobody wants to buy anything from someone who smells like they stumbled into a garlic clove patch for lunch, stuffed an entire can of spinach between their teeth or a salesman with pretzels and coffee breath issuing from their word-hole. I take a moment, focus on the journey we’re about to embark upon together and roll into it.

Paunch is a dead giveaway for a good salesman. I’ve met a few energetic, wiry, skinny types, but on the whole, you can spot a top earner by the love handles spilling over his belt. A guy who’s a top performer is also a guy who’s putting food on the table, eating well, or splurging his Spiffs (cash incentives for upselling) on fancy dinners out. The gut also has a lot to do with avoiding real work. Born salesmen are noticeably absent when manual labor is going down, electing instead to follow up on Leads, Prospect a fresh Up, ride a desk, smoke a cigarette, decide to get lunch or play with their phones. While I don’t own a smart phone, I still know how to play Scrabble, troll *Social Media* and check the weather. Go figure.

I never thought I’d wind up in sales. Some children can tell you by grade school that they want to grow up to be a lawyer, a fireman or a claims adjuster for a multinational corporation. Those kids were boring then and I find them boring now. At last count, I’ve had 38 jobs. Maybe not that many, but I’ve got a desk drawer full of name tags, personal business cards for companies and stores that don’t even exist anymore, lanyards and other assorted company memorabilia that hold no resale value except as mementos of associate positions and career paths that have been derailed, stunted or emergency ejected. If you take a cursory glance at my resume from five years ago, you’d find that I have a strong background in management, customer service and retail. I’m surprisingly happy, fulfilled and neither pressured nor coerced to admit that I’m good at it. We’ve all had jobs that we suck at where we drag our feet in every morning, count the minutes, keep our heads down and do our best to barrel through it. At least I have. This job isn’t that for me.

Salesmen get a bad rap. Most people conjure up a stereotypical used car salesman in their heads: Insincere, cheesy, and sleazy. I am none of those things. While I have a great fondness for cheese (especially ALL the Jacks), it has never rendered me cheesy. When I’m deep into a pitch selling *Widgets*, I try to find the warm, fuzzy place in my heart where Empathy resides. When I’m at the top of my game, it’s because I found that sweet spot. I wear my heart on my sleeve, which is shocking considering that I’m such a sarcastic asshole the other 98% of the time that I’m awake. From what I’ve gathered, all of us save the very best of ourselves for that window of opportunity when we’re making money based on our personality. It’s the nature of the beast.

Developing a pitch is like crafting your own lightsaber or finding your own spirit animal, take your pick. It’s a fine-tuned dress rehearsal tailor-made to the customer you’re dealing with and spun from your best attributes. For me, it’s equal parts empathy, customer service, humor (naturally), informal interview, body language and honing my listening skills. Hearing what people are saying and giving them ample time to talk are easier said than done. We’re conditioned to run our mouths and take what we hear on the surface, so it’s taken some time to be more considerate and to keep my word-hole shut. People love to talk about themselves, so in a lot of scenarios, just letting a couple or a person open up and actually listening when they do will seal the deal.

We all follow a Process where I work. I’m not going to tell you what that process is. There are blood oaths involved, animal sacrifice, full moons…just kidding. I’m just not going to reveal the mystery. My best analogy is that our Process is similar to a classic symphony. We all have to hit on the same notes, but the way that we play them and the inflections we give them are our own. Ego gets in the way once in awhile, and when that happens, I typically start to misfire. Whenever I think that my way is better I start tanking, and it takes a painful reappraisal of what I’m doing wrong to get back to the basics. Admitting that I don’t know everything and that my style or my opinion can sometimes be wrong. This is earth-shattering stuff to accept if you’re an old dog who’s reluctant to new tricks.

We are an impulsive, flashy and cynical lot. My boss collects watches. Another boss plays tennis and skis like there’s an Olympic medal at stake. I collect dress shirts, computers, movies, essentially anything pop culture that isn’t nailed down when my commissions come in. Most of the salesmen I work with treat golfing like it’s a religion. Golfing’s not for me. Like most sports, it takes too much time, there’s too much open exposure to the sun, I’m not a patient man, and as an Irishman, I’m a sore loser. And a sore winner.

I could pen a motivational manual about our cynicism. ‘Buyers are liars’ is a common mantra in sales. People will say whatever they can to get out of a closing scenario and skate out to ‘think things over’, ‘talk to the wife’ or ‘sleep on it’. All of those excuses are bullshit. I’ve learned to look for the real reason behind the Stall and dig for an honest answer. If an Up walks out the door, I’m trained to react emotionally as if they aren’t coming back. Let it go and move on to the next one.

One of my favorite lines out of all the training sessions, webinars and philosophical tracts I’ve attended, watched and read is this: Life is interesting, so be interested. I couldn’t agree more. The people I meet and talk to come from all different walks of life. They all have their own families, stories, hopes, dreams and aspirations. Like I said, when I’m deep into a pitch and really nailing it, it’s when I’m diving into who people are and what makes them tick. Following up on what they’ve told me and finding out more. And it always helps to pop an Altoid after we’ve all had fried blooming onions. You may not know this, but they’re curiously strong.

Second prize is a set of steak knives,

Tom Waters

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 19: ‘Recluse’

January 18, 2016

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I’ll let you in on a little secret: I have a bucket list of guests in my head for the show.  While I’ve been apprehensive about doing two shows a month this winter for fear of the law of diminishing returns in terms of viewership, three is absolutely out of the question.  In spite of this, forces converged on the Home Of The Future studios this afternoon and I ran into my old pal Jim Pray.  He’s not a celebrity per se, he doesn’t have anything to promote, and he’s sworn off doing any radio or video spots for the last four years.  He’s in my Top Ten on the bucket list.  I’ve been wearing him down and it took a lot of coaxing to get him to sit down and do a show with me.  It was worth it.  I’ve met a few people in my life who are hilarious because they’re being hilarious when they don’t know it.  Jim’s one of those people.  I’m glad to count him as one of my friends.  We did a show with no script, no co-host…no net.  Give it a watch right HERE:

 

 

So yep, three shows this month.  Just like that.  Buffalo Pundit and Daily Public commentator Alan Bedenko is coming on in about a week.  Do you know at the end of the movie credits how they say ‘007 Will Return In’?  That.  That all over.  Tom Waters will return in #BigWordsVideo 20!  Subscribe and Share, folks, Subscribe and Share.

See you soon.

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Big Words Video 19.5: Jim Pray-Spock & David Bowie

January 18, 2016

The above title is 100% clickbait.  It’s also relevant to the discussion we had after the episode, so it’s justified.  And funny.  And topical.  So there.  Jim Pray remains a fascinating specimen and a really interesting guy to me.  I’m glad that he broke his four year media blackout and made an exception for me.  You won’t regret watching him in action.  Here’s the Bonus clip:

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 18: ‘Mythos’

January 14, 2016

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Graham Nolan has been on my bucket list since I started Big Words Video.

He’s a phenomenal artist, a veteran from DC Comics and the man co-created Batman’s Bane, for god’s sakes.  Delving into the research and prep for the episode, I gained an even greater appreciation for his career.  A 6 year run on Detective Comics, 6 on ‘The Phantom’ comic strip, 12 years on ‘Rex Morgan: M.D.’, a creator-owned web comics (‘Sunshine State’)…the list goes on and on and on.  I saw this a lot, but it was an honor to sit down at the same table with Nolan.  We take for granted that we have such an artistic visionary in our own back yard.  Michael Hoffert Jr. was a natural fit for the Co Host Hot Seat on this one because he knows more about chapter and verse in the comic industry than I ever will.  Just watch the episode for yourself, will ya?

A huge thanks goes out to Mr. Nolan for not only making the time to do the show, but braving some pretty gnarly ‘Lake-Enhanced’ (the new buzz term the meteorologists are using this year) snow on the drive out and back.  Thanks are also in order to producer Richard Wicka and Michael Hoffert for knowing the biz back to front.  If you want, did you know that you can SUBSCRIBE to the Big Words I Know By Heart Channel on YouTube?  For FREE?  Well you can.  I’ve also heard that it’s possible to LIKE & SHARE these clips on the YouTube interface.  You should try it.  You really should.  There’s another episode en route in less than two weeks, so we’ll all see you soon!

Tom

 

 

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Creature Of Habit

January 4, 2016

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‘I’m still waiting on my Fruity Pebbles.’

This is not a sequence of words in the English language that any grown man should ever say to another human being. Hearing that line at an e-cigarette purveyor made me seriously reconsider the overall manliness of the guy who uttered the line, my own masculinity, and the choices behind my decision to join the e-cigarette demographic. Vapers at large are a douchey and superstitious lot. I have a serious issue identifying or comparing myself with them.

They fall into the same camp that subscribes to unemployable and scary homeless derelict beards and their accompanying beard oils, effeminate pastel flannels which I am also not a fan of, and sturdy combat/work boots worn by those who will never see combat or gainful employment. The term ‘e-juice’ is also a phrase that I’m uncomfortable with. It sounds disgusting. And the hundreds of different flavors are often embarrassing to say aloud. Pink Kiwi Dildo, Green Tea-Bag and Root Beer Ball Sac spring to mind. I’m a creature of habit (clearly), so I stick with Peanut Butter Cup (not exactly an affirmation of my Man Card) during the day and Cuban Cigar at night.

Over a year ago I decided to quit smoking because I couldn’t bear the thought of dressing my son up and taking him outside during the winter to feed the monkey. That was my line in the sand, and I felt like I’d be the worst father in the universe if I did that. It was not a conscious choice to avoid cancer or take better care of myself. After smoking between a pack a day to two packs for the better part of twenty five years, I gave it up because I was unwilling to make my boy an unwitting accomplice to my habit.

Little did I know that to many people, it’s a lifestyle. There are accessories, a level of mechanical aptitude for advanced e-cigarette smokers (rigs, mods, and erector set bongs), and a practiced and self-entitled pretentious sense of cool that accompanies blowing billowing clouds of mist into the atmosphere. When I was a kid, most corner stores had candy cigarettes for kids. They were bubble gum sticks packaged to look like cigarettes that let off puffs of powdered sugar when you blew on them. It was a great way to teach kids how to smoke before they were allowed to smoke. Looking back, I can’t believe that something like that would make it past the marketing phase, but they were different times.

Cigarette smoking (and e-cigarette smoking, by extension) aren’t any more sophisticated, cool, hip or European than the candy cigarettes were. We’re all blowing cancerous candy clouds of smoke. When I see a kid crossing the street with a tricked out brick contraption billowing great goddamned plumes of vapor, it doesn’t look terribly cool to me. I won’t argue for or against electronic cigarettes, but the logic behind it makes sense to me. Rather than ingesting a few thousand poisons, I’m taking in the one that counts: nicotine. The devil I just met is better than the devil I know.

When I initially went into a shop and made my first point of contact, my only request was for something small. Size doesn’t matter to me, and it didn’t seem practical to put my mouth around some monstrous metallic cock in public. I don’t understand how we live in a post-Industrial culture that can cram a computer into a wristwatch, but the technology hasn’t come far enough along to create a nicotine dispersal unit that’s smaller than the candlestick in Colonel Mustard’s Den or a box of Cracker Jacks. Many devices are built to house a pair of batteries that would outlast five nuclear winters; I just wanted something small that would fit into my pocket and make it through a typical day. Three devices later, I found a rig without serious structural flaws that did just that.

Somehow I have more paraphernalia now than when I was a pothead. Instead of pipes, one-hitters, roach clips and rolling papers I have miniature e-cigs, medium rigs, small droppers, larger bottles, ‘wicks’ (which aren’t really wicks per se, but metallic cylinders or ‘atomizers’ that are referred to as wicks) and battery chargers. Every component, part and parcel has a ‘No Garbage Can’ logo on it, so the unused garbage may be as difficult to dispose of as uranium, old prescription drugs, guns, porn or E.T. cartridges. Not that I’m speaking from experience…moving on, then.

I know too many people who have tried to quit cigarettes cold turkey only to go back to it. There are more still who turn to e-cigarettes after decades of smoking thinking that they can step down and quit within a few weeks. I’m giving myself a few years to gradually wean myself off of nicotine. There are actually days when I forget that I have my device with me, or I realize that I haven’t puffed on it for a few hours, which is pretty incredible considering that I used to smoke every hour on the hour like clockwork. Unless I’m stressed, it’s often an afterthought. Or when I’m in the mood for the infused flavor blast of Pink Kiwi Dildo.

Vaping in the boy’s room,
Tom Waters

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 17: ‘Thespian’

December 24, 2015

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Back in September, I found out just how much I don’t know about the Buffalo film community after a few short questions with Rhonda Parker.  In that time, I’ve discovered that Michael O’Hear is the soft candy center to the entire scene.  He’s had an astounding career that’s reaching another crest with all of the festival hoopla surrounding Killer Rack.  And that’s just one feather in an already-crowded cap.

O’Hear was a genuine delight to research, watch on screen (he’s a scene stealer to be sure) and interview.  He has a quiet intensity that’s very arresting and charming all at once.  He made for a fantastic guest.  And we must have done something right in the studio, because most of the people involved in the Buffalo Film Community have been kind enough to tell us how much they liked the show!  Thank you for ‘getting’ it.  Enough gushing, though.  Here’s the episode:

Thanks are due to Mr. O’Hear, Buffalo Charlie for making it through the spanking machine not once, but twice, producer Richard Wicka and also Rhonda Parker for the great recommendation.  I book primarily on guest referrals, because who’s a better judge as to who can handle the format or not?  Don’t forget to LIKE & SUBSCRIBE on YouTube!  I feel like I may have said that before…

Tom

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‘Aqua Vita’ goes live on BuffaloComedy.com

May 6, 2015

Aqua Vita

This was more of a traditional rant that just flew out onto the page when I was writing it.  After the small, silly controversy that ‘Cosmopolitan Cop Out’ caused last month on BuffaloComedy.com, I decided to follow up with a harmless, silly little ditty about a time-honored subject that I’ve covered dozens of times: dentistry.

Check out the new essay here:  Aqua Vita

Please give it a Read, give it a ‘Like’, ‘Favorite’, ‘Retweet’ or any other number of sharing and liking functionality on whichever social media you’re navigating at the time.

As part of a larger whole, Travesty is well on the way to completion as a book clocking in at around 170 pages.  The body of work that the book represents thus far is well-rounded, concise and should be a pretty damned entertaining read if I do say so myself.  I’m not going to put this book out until it’s just about perfect, but we’re on target for April of 2016.  It’s been a long wait for this book, but it’ll be worth it.

Talk to you soon.

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‘Cosmopolitan Cop Out’ appearing on BuffaloComedy.com!

April 6, 2015

Cosmopolitan Cop OutMy writing process is changing.  That, or I’m raising my expectations for what I demand from myself as a writer.  Between the challenge of writing new material and editor Kristy Rock’s criteria that all submissions remain positive, it’s been a new kind of endurance contest.  ‘Cosmopolitan Cop Out’ is a perfect example of this.  I actually started writing this essay from scratch….three different times.  I think another component of this is that I’ve written so many essays for so many years that I can picture about a thousand different directions, slants or angles to every theme before I start writing it.  Whatever the case may be, I’m pretty happy with the way ‘Cosmo’ turned out.  It’s a rumination on spending time in the ACTUAL city of Buffalo, along with a recognition that those of us in the suburbs identify with the city even though we don’t actually live in the city.  I’ll shut up and let you read it for yourself, though:

Cosmopolitan Cop Out

As per usual, kindly take an extra minute to ‘Like’, ‘Share’, ‘Retweet’, ‘+1’ or whatever the preferred mode is for the 42 different social networking platforms for sharing and liking what you see.

It’s a damned busy week for this guy!  The new rant dropped today, there’s a new webisode of Big Words I Know By Heart rolling out this Wednesday on ‘the YouTubes’, The Clarence Sun will be running an interview with Yours Truly that editor Alicia Greco conducted and on Sunday I’ll be doing a Reading & Signing at Milkie’s On Elmwood from 2-4 p.m.  Whew!  You’ll hear more from me as the week plays out.  I hope you like the new rant!

Excelsior!

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode VIII: ‘Tomahonky’

March 24, 2015

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Just when I think we’ve pushed the envelope as far as it can go, we manage to go that little bit further.  This episode of Big Words I Know By Heart was an absolute delight and easily the most offensive show yet.  While I try to home in on one topical joke for every show, there was a glaring hot button issue that was screaming to be made fun of.  If you’re a Buffalonian (or perhaps, even on a national level), you know what I’m talking about.  We went there and we kept going there.  Standup comic Jameel Key was a great guest to have and Rob B. rounded out the trifecta nicely.  Enough gabbing though, here’s the show:

Please take the time to ‘Like’ the show on YouTube and if you want, you can Subscribe to the Big Words I Know By Heart Channel for free and get updates whenever a new show hits!

Thanks are in order to Jameel Key, Rob B. and producer Richard Wicka for another great show.  Science Fiction author Diane Meholick is on deck for the next thrilling installment in April!

Seeya soon,

Tom

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Big Words Video 8.5: ‘Deconstruction’

March 24, 2015

Before we shot the Bonus Clip as a companion for the show episode, Jameel and I talked about the evolution of a joke in relation to doing standup; where it starts, how it opens on stage and where it ends up. For the video, Co-Host Rob B. delivers the probing question and Jameel Key does a damn good job of explaining his process:

Please take the time to Subscribe to the Big Words I Know By Heart Channel on Youtube and take an extra moment to give it a Like or Share on all of your 58 social networking apparatus.  I will be phasing out my multimedia blitz going into Season Two of the show in August, so if you would like automatic updates a free subscription is the way to do it.

Thanks again to Jameel and Rob for blocking out the time in the studio.  You’ll be seeing me very soon for Episode IX!

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ArtVoice’s ‘Best Of Buffalo’ Polls are now OPEN!

March 22, 2015

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Hey all,

ArtVoice’s prestigious and king-making ‘Best Of Buffalo’ ballots are now open.  Please take the time to register and vote for Yours Truly as well as any and all friends of my show.  You can sign up and vote right HERE:

ArtVoice Best Of Buffalo

…and here are my recommendations, talented people and loyal friends of #BigWordsVideo.  As long as you have an email address, you’re eligible to vote.  This is a really big deal for a lot of these people, so please take the time to vote.

Best Website: BuffaloComedy.com
Best Poet: Marina Blitshteyn
Best Local Writer: Tom Waters
Best Photographer: Nancy Parisi
Best Video Artist/Filmmaker: Emil Novak Sr.
Best Burlesque Performer: The Stripteasers
Best Standup Comic: Jameel Key
Best Movie Theater: North Park
Best Jazz Musician: Will Holton
Best Rock/Blues Musician: Tommy Z.
Best Jazz Act: Will Holton
Best Rock Act: Black Widow/Widow Maker
Best Country Act: Blood Money
Best Original Music: Busted Stuff
Best Acoustic Act: Michael Bly Band
Best Local Hip Hop: Art ‘Way Of Life’ Shepard
Best New Band: Folkfaces
Best Open Mic: Wednesday’s At Milkie’s On Elmwood
Best Club DJ: DJ Soma
Best Female Vocalist: Lana Notaro Hergert
Best Male Vocalist: Michael Hund
Best New Restaurant: Hot Mama’s Canteen
Best Chef: Bob Desiderio
Best BBQ: Al-E-Oops
Best Beef On Weck: My Little Margie’s
Best Burger: Grover’s
Best Steak: The Red Osier
Best Ice Cream: Taffy’s
Best Wings: Penora’s
Best Fish Fry: My Little Margie’s
Best Italian For Family Dining: Desiderio’s/Lancaster Ale House
Best Stellar Restaurant Service: Desiderio’s/Lancaster Ale House
Best Bookstore: WNY Book & Arts Center

Happy Voting & Good Luck, Everybody!

Tom

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‘It’s All About The Benjamin’ goes live on BuffaloComedy.com

March 2, 2015

It's All About The Benjamin

Writing Travesty has been entirely too much fun so far!  And the more I think about it, the more I would prefer to let the book’s release slip to 2016 rather than rush publication.  We’ll see how the year plays out, though.  I’ve been approaching my writing and, by extension, the release of any future books from an entirely different perspective.  I don’t want to rush books anymore.  I don’t want to cut corners or shove a second draft out.

Anyway, the latest essay (‘It’s All About The Benjamin’) went live on BuffaloComedy.com this morning.  It’s a categorical humor essay about early parenting.  It went through about four different drafts and re-writes before I was happy with it, but I’m pretty proud of the finished product.  If you’re a parent, you’ll really enjoy this one.  Even if you’re not, there are a lot of laughs per sentence here:

It’s All About The Benjamin

I was reluctant to go back to the well so soon where being a single dad was concerned, but after putting some thought into it, I reached the decision that ‘Write What You Know’ overrides any other factors in play.  This essay was originally 6 or 7 rules and kept building until it reached 10.  There’s not a lot of fat on this piece.  I tried to write (and re-write) it efficiently without a lot of extraneous exposition.  I hope you like it.

Please take an extra minute to give it a FB Like, a Retweet or a ‘Share’ on any of your various social networking.  I’m happy to share some of my works in progress for free and this is a small way that you can return the kindness.

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode VII: ‘Lady Business’

February 4, 2015
The one and only 'Dr. Dirty', John Valby.

The one and only ‘Dr. Dirty’, John Valby.

It’s no surprise that John Valby was the perfect guest for my show format.  He’s a talented man with a foul mouth who’s never compromised his art and he’s always given the public what they want: more dirt!  Big Words I Know By Heart Episode VII was a joy to do.  Valby was on the Big Words Radio podcast back in ’09 and this was a nice extension of that interview.  What amazed me about Valby was just how much everyone in Buffalo loves him.  Across the board.  Leading up to the show, every single person that I talked to had a positive Valby story to impart.  He’s one of a kind and we’re lucky to have him.  Enough yakking though, here’s the episode:

If you like the show, please take an extra second to ‘Like’ it on YouTube and feel free to Share the link with your friends.  Going one step further, I now have a ‘Big Words I Know By Heart’ CHANNEL on my account (Tom Waters) with the entire history of the show (Bonuses and all) in chronological order.  If you enjoy the show, why not subscribe?

Thanks are in order to Mr. Valby, co-host Lee-Lee and as always, producer Richard Wicka at the Home Of The Future studios.  Season One of Big Words Video is now over halfway complete and it’s just going to get better from here!  Thanks for watching, thanks for sharing and stay tuned, folks!

Tom Waters

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Big Words Video 7.5: ‘Parody’

February 4, 2015

I’ve worked very hard to make the Big Words Video bonus segments more like bookends or complementary segments to the interview shows.  Now that the technology has been upgraded, Big Words Video 7.5 may be the last segment to be filmed on location at The Home Of The Future studios in Buffalo.  At any rate, this clip was a very special one.  Seeing John Valby at ease behind a keyboard and warming up before he launches into a litany of obscenities was really something special.  Here it is:

Please take the time to ‘Like’ the clip and ‘Share’ with all your friend.  In addition, I would encourage you to Subscribe to my YouTube page, where I’ve set up a Big Words I Know By Heart channel in chronological order for everyone’s convenience with all of the episodes thus far along with their matching Bonus clips.  Enjoy!

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‘Time Served’ Goes Live on BuffaloComedy.com

February 2, 2015

Time ServedAs you can probably guess from the accompanying picture, it was finally time to write about my divorce.  Sometimes I write to vent, sometimes I write just to laugh and once in awhile, I write as the only cathartic and therapeutic way to process a turbulent life event that I’ve gone through emotionally.  I’m sure you can guess which category this essay falls into.

There were a lot of avenues I could have taken when writing about my divorce and in the end I decided to touch down on all of them instead of dwelling on any aspect specifically.  With all of the Buffalo Comedy pieces I’ve fallen into a routine of giving each essay one last look-through and one more edit before it’s ready for prime time, so to speak.  You can be the judge, jury and executioner on the final product:

http://buffalocomedy.com/2015/02/time-served/

If you read it and like it, please take an extra minute to ‘Like’ it on the dashboard at the bottom OR ‘Share’ on your networking platforms.  This was a really important writing exercise that I had to work through and while I’m never positive that any edit is perfect, I’m pretty happy with the finished product.

‘Time Served’ will eventually appear in my upcoming book Travesty.  The book is already halfway done, but I’m making a concerted effort not to rush it so the publication date might just slip to 2016.  Thanks are in order to Buffalo Comedy editor Kristy Rock for navigating through my neurotic emails and appeasing my silly whims throughout each submission process.  Now it’s time to go to work on the next one.

Tom Waters

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Big Words Video @The 2014 Buffalo Night Life Music & Club Awards!

January 24, 2015

On Wednesday this week (January 21st), Night Life Publisher Ed Honeck celebrated his birthday.  The Buffalo Night Life Music & Club Awards also took place at The Cove in Depew, having been rescheduled due to the Winter Blast or whatever the hell you want to call it that took place last November.  Thanks entirely to Ed (and our long, long, very long history together), Big Words Video had the exclusive rights to the Music & Club Awards.  I was less than happy with the results.

The ceremony and the shows were fantastic.  The artists, performers and bands who volunteered their time so that we could interview them were great.  My co-host Timmy C. was on point as I expected him to be.  The lighting was deplorable, though.  This month I upgraded to a new camera for the new and improved Big Words One Man Mobile Unit (a term you might remember from the podcasting days of yore).  I didn’t get familiar or comfortable with the camera before we started shooting with it.  So in the final analysis, the blame rests on my shoulders.  What we’re left with here is a shoddy end product.  Clips 1-3 are passable by amateur video standards and 4 and 5 are just downright awful where lighting is concerned.

I spent the better part of a day uploading, tagging and scripting the clips and grappled with whether or not I should post them for the public at all and the decision I came to was this: post the videos warts and all.  Big Words Radio went through the same growing pains in 2008 so it shouldn’t have come as any surprise that I went through the same thing again.  I didn’t learn from history so I was doomed to repeat it, end of story.  I’ll do better next time, sound good?

Here’s your breakdown for the clips which were uploaded in chronological order:

Clip 1: Lana from Black Widow

Clip 2: Jack McArdle from 12 Pack Jack

Clip 3: Vid from Nerds Gone Wild

Clip 4: Busted Stuff

Clip 5: Tommy Z. & Damone Johnson

I owe a huge debt of thanks to Ed Honeck, all of the artists who participated and the staff and proprietors of The Cove for giving us free reign throughout the building.  If there’s one thing I realized at the awards it was that I’ve been out of the game for so long that I don’t recognize most (if any) of the newer players in the Buffalo music industry.  Black Widow is an institution.  Tommy Z. is an institution.  Busted Stuff just took home their 6th award in a row and I’ve loved 12 Pack Jack since the first time I saw them at Double D’s Queen City Grill some 7 years ago.  Get the picture?

Big Words Video will be back for the next ceremony for more clips, more guests and a better battle plan.  As for these five videos, please take the time to Like & Share as always.  If you really want to be my best friend, ‘Subscribe’ and keep yourself up to date with all things #BigWordsVideo.  And yes, we came for the buffet.

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode VI: Reanimating Dead Flesh

January 14, 2015

Publicity still courtesy of Richard WickaThese sessions are getting to be TOO much fun!  As I told guest Emil Novak after taping the show, I can tell my guest was great when there are still a handful of questions left on the table.  Emil was a real prize fighter; a good sport with a great sense of humor who rolled with the punches.  Here is your synopsis:

Big Words I Know By Heart Episode VI: ‘Reanimating Dead Flesh’

Tom talks to Buffalo producer and jack of all trades Emil Novak Sr. (Buffalo Nickel Productions, Queen City Books) about the impending release of his film ‘Frankenstein’s Patchwork Monster’, a new idea for a syndicated strip and the technological probability of resuscitating dead flesh.  Mark McElligott gets the works in the Co-Host Hot Seat.

You can view Episode VI right HERE:

Please take a moment to Like the video & Share it!

Thanks are in order to producer Richard Wicka, Emil, actor Bill Kennedy for bringing Big Words Video 6.5 (below) to life and returning champion Mark McElligott for being on the receiving end of all my abuse.

#BigWordsVideo will be at the Buffalo Night Life Music & Club Awards next week, so I’ll talk to you all real soon!

Tom

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Big Words Video 6.5: ‘Recitation’

January 14, 2015

The Bonus Clips continue to entertain and surprise me.  While I hold the reins pretty tightly for the actual show episodes, my guests are encouraged to do whatever they like for the companion videos.  Emil Novak Sr. opted to perform a script reading for ‘Frankenstein’s Patchwork Monster’ with actor Bill Kennedy.  The result was intimate and intriguing.  Viewers can see how Bill and Emil breathe new life into the Frankenstein lexicon and their back-and-forth banter gives us all a behind-the-scenes look at the cameraderie on set for the film.  As always, please take the time to click the ‘Like’ icon on YouTube and feel free to Share the clip.  Enjoy!

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2015 Reading & Signing Announced April 12th @Milkie’s On Elmwood!

January 7, 2015

In the midst of implementing my overall plan for 2015, I’ve spent a few weeks working with Ed Becher, the booking agent for Milkie’s On Elmwood.  After a volley of emails and phone calls, we finally scheduled, booked and confirmed a date and time for my first reading and signing of the year.  Here are the details:

Book Reading & Signing w/local humor author Tom Waters Sunday, April 12th 2 p.m.-4 p.m.

Milkie’s On Elmwood 522 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo

(716)882-5881 Admission is free.

Signed first edition books available from $15.

I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about Milkie’s lately.  It’s refreshing to discover so many new businesses in the city who are open to ‘out of the box’ promotions as well as supporting local artists.  This is an event that I’m really looking forward to.  With a four month lead time, I hope you all have time to join me!

As far as Icarus On The Mend: Memoirs Of A Manic Depressive goes, I am over the tipping point on the limited print run of special edition hardcovers sold.  There are now less than 25 copies available for sale.  Hopefully I will still have some copies on hand for the Milkie’s reading.  If you are interested in a signed hardcover and would like one beforehand, I can be reached at:

bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com

That’s all for today.  I’m sure I’ll be booking some other readings this year, but Milkie’s may be the only reading I commit to before autumn arrives.

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New Year, New Deal

January 1, 2015

2015 is going to be an exciting year for me as well as my company, Doubt It Publishing. For the first time in my life I have a solid battle plan as well as the means to implement it. My vision for the next year in a nutshell is this: Expanding the legacy I have and preserving it at the same time. While some of you may argue that ‘legacy’ is too strong a word, let me proactively counter by saying that every one of us leaves a legacy in our wake either intentionally or unintentionally. If I’m being optimistic, I’ve still got half of a lifetime left. I’d like to make it count. What follows is a specific outline of my plans for the radio show, the video show, my own bibliography and a possible catalog for Doubt It Publishing in the coming year:

I don’t want to lose what I’ve already accomplished. Discovering that The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour had gone offline and off the grid on iTunes (as a direct result of the website Mevio closing their doors) really stung. To date, I’ve ported the 100+ episodes of Big Words Radio twice to two different websites. The process is arduous and time intensive. I really didn’t want to see the show disappear forever from public view. Thankfully (as a result of my renewed passion for reading), I stumbled onto a website that will hopefully never go away. It’s a non-profit project to preserve the best of the internet for generations to come encompassing audio, text and video. Think of it as a PBS for the information age.

The website I’m referring to is the Internet Archive. I’ve been secretly and quietly uploading episodes of The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour chronologically and placing them there in what I hope is their final resting place. They’ve been uploaded under a Public Domain license, which means that anyone who reaches my shows can listen if they like, share with whomever they like or download the shows for free. Episode V was just uploaded yesterday, and I’ll continue to post the entire catalog as the year plays out. You can view, listen and download the current shows available here:

The Big Words I Know By Heart RadioHour

For your convenience, I’m also posting a Quick Link on my website here to the RIGHT of this article. If you listen or download, please take the time to write a brief review of the episodes you peruse.

As for Big Words Video, there are some amazing shows in store for you all and they are all confirmed and booked through to the very end of 2015. Filmmaker and comic book proprietor Emil Novak (Queen City Bookstore) will be my guest in two weeks. Who else is coming on? ‘Dr. Dirty’ himself John Valby, Graham Nolan (the comic creator of Batman’s Bane), Public publisher Geoff Kelly and possibly Tom Sartori, to name just a few. I’ve learned from producing four years of the radio show that it’s a smart move to plan ahead, always have a backup plan and always be prepared. Filming the show (as opposed to interviewing guests over the phone or via Skype) has forced me to give the content more of a local focus. There is a wellspring of talented writers, comedians, musicians and other entertainers with no sign of drying out, and I will continue to help celebrate the homegrown talent we have on hand locally and regionally until further notice.

Big Words Video Episode I: ‘Hang In There, Baby!’ has already passed the 400 view mark on YouTube and from what I’m seeing, it looks like the show keeps picking up new viewers with every episode. Not only that, but the people who watch appear to be cycling back through the other shows as well. Later this month I’ll be exclusively filming on location at the 2014 Buffalo Night Life Music & Club Awards, and with more equipment and a looser leash on Youtube just around the corner, you can expect to see a marked increase in show production in late August when Big Words Video kicks off Season Two. In the meantime, you can support the show by ‘Liking’ and ‘Sharing’ it on Youtube as well as Subscribing to my YouTube Videos (bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com) for the Bonus Episodes as well as my producer’s (Richard Wicka). It’s been a great deal of fun so far and it’s just going to get better.

As for my books, I own all publishing rights to the last 8 out of the 12 books that I’ve penned since 2002. There’s a larger plan for that too, but I don’t know if I’ll have the time or the resources to get around to that particular wrinkle. As a reluctant and late adopter to the digital revolution, I am hard at work designing multi-format ebooks for my entire catalog. I can’t give you an exact date because I want to make sure that it’s done right (and some editing may be applied to each individual title before they go live), but I can promise you that by year’s end, Mockery and no less than one other title from the Doubt It Publishing roster will be available on iBooks, Kindle format and all other ebook devices.

As far as BuffaloComedy.com, my alliance with editor Kristy Rock will continue until at least October of this year. The freedom I’ve been allowed on the site to write, do and say as I please has been much-needed, and it’s a comfort to know that my sense of humor is still intact after weathering one of the most tumultuous times in my life. Her only request was one for positivity, and that single instruction has helped to drastically change my writing, which is directly coloring the content to Travesty, my next book.

Regarding Travesty’s completion, there is less than a third of the book left to pen. That being said, I am in no hurry, and it will not be released until it is near-perfect. After writing 12 books and releasing 15 in the short span of 11 years, I sincerely feel that I don’t have anything to prove anymore, and should subsequently relax and take my time with any future endeavors. Travesty may come out later this year or early next year. Unfortunately I can’t be any more specific than that. It will come out when it’s ready.

With Doubt It Publishing, I’m reminded of the near-inescapable fate that many independent music and book publishers eventually reach. If history is any indicator, I may be doomed to a catalog that largely shares my last name. I wish this wasn’t so, and will try to do what I can to combat it. The doors are still wide open for local or regional authors looking to find a home for their work. I am going to put on my thinking cap this year and try to find some viable writing talents with fresh and subversive voices fighting for the chance to be heard. If you or someone you know has written a great manuscript that has a fighting chance in a competitive marketplace, queries and sample chapters can be sent to my attention at:

bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com

Where readings and signings are concerned there will be more, plain and simple. The last two readings were successful financially, so it would be foolish not to continue. Once the winter months recede, you can count on me hitting the road with a PA system, a few boxes full of books and a bicycle horn. Now that I’m older I don’t see the benefit of booking three and four appearances a week for three month campaigns anymore, but I’ll be picking and choosing some select venues and peppering them throughout the summer and fall.

This is a remarkable time in my life and I’m grateful for the cornucopia of opportunities (and mediums) I have to channel all of my creative needs. As always, thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the trip with me.

Starting 2015 with a bang,
Tom

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Big Words Video Episode V: ‘Love Stocking’

December 19, 2014

Big Words Video V Publicity Shot

Yikes!

Some times when I finish a show I wonder if I’ve gone too far for the sake of envelope-pushing comedy.  I try to create a microcosm where political correctness not only doesn’t exist, but a world where it never happened in the first place.  I come from the school of Don Rickles, Lenny Bruce and yes, Andrew Dice Clay, where you should be able to make fun of anyone at any time for any thing for the sake of a good laugh.  So in the end, I hope the answer is that I’ve gone ‘just far enough’.

With that out of the way, Big Words Video V was a rollicking riot with dynamic duo Busted Stuff and old pal Buffalo Charlie in the co-host hot seat.  Here is your synopsis:

Big Words I Know By Heart Episode V: ‘Love Stocking’Tom talks to 4-time Buffalo Music Award-Winning Duo Busted Stuff about the gift of divorce, Harvey Weinstein, Kwanza and the square root of a bucket of ass.

Here is Episode V:

 

I would like to think by this point that most viewers are indoctrinated into this brand of humor.  If not, too bad.  Thanks are in order to Dave and Cynthia for dodging all of the interview shrapnel laid at their feet, Buffalo Charlie for weathering out the Big Words Poltergeist and to Producer Richard Wicka for tolerating my never-ending seat rearrangements in the studio.

As always, please take the time to Watch, Like & Share on YouTube.  Also, please take the time to watch Busted Stuff’s amazing performance in the bonus episode, Big Words Video 5.5 (link right below this post).

I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday no matter what that holiday may be!  I’ll talk to you all in a month, maybe sooner…

Merry Xmas,

Tom

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Big Words Video 5.5: Serenade

December 19, 2014

This was a really phenomenal Big Words Video Bonus compliments of Dave and Cynthia from Busted Stuff.  It’s no accident that they’ve won Best Rock Duo at the Buffalo Music & Club Awards for five years running.  They performed a live rendition of their original song ‘Pray To Rain’ from their album Bitter Cold that gave me goosebumps.

This is the first time I shot the bonus using YouTube’s Capture app. It allowed me to shoot in widescreen in 1080p and the upload time was much faster than what I’ve been accustomed to with iMovie.  Please take the time to Watch, Like and Share on YouTube.  A big thanks goes out to Busted Stuff for such a powerful performance!  Enjoy!

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Striking Gold At The WNY Book & Arts Center

December 7, 2014

The Book Reading & Signing today at the WNY Book & Arts Center was something of a fourth quarter Hail Mary.  Is that an appropriate sports metaphor?  I certainly don’t know.  At any rate, attendance wasn’t looking too good from the outset, but a really nice crowd showed up from Amherst, Depew, Lancaster and Buffalo proper, and not only that, they showed up with money!  I’m very grateful to have readers who know that the best way to support local, living authors is with their wallets.  I’m a happy camper after this particular reading, and I certainly wouldn’t mind circling back to WNYBAC again some day.  After two readings in two months, though, this old dog is tired.  That’s it for the live promotions for a little while, at least.  Maybe I’ll see you all on the front lines sometime in the spring.  In the meantime, here’s a clip from today’s 2 hour marathon reading.  Thanks are in order to Rosemarie Williams at WNYBAC as well as all of you who came near and far to see me.  As far as the YouTubes go, you’ll see me (not the other way around) in less than two weeks!

Sharing the Buffalove (ugh…),

Tom Waters

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‘Unplugged’ (an excerpt from the upcoming book Travesty) is up on BuffaloComedy.Com!

December 2, 2014

Three months ago, when Buffalo Comedy Editor Kristy Rock and I were in discussions about my coming on board, she told me that she wanted positive material. For those of you who have followed my writing for any length of time, this is a tall order. So far I’m enjoying the challenge, and it’s actually changing the content for the back half of Travesty, the collection I’m working on right now. My partnership with Buffalo Comedy is something I’m committing to for at least a year, and so at least on my end, I’ve been very pleased with our relationship.  I’ve had good experiences with Buffalo publications as well as bad ones and so far this one falls under the ‘Good’ heading.  Kristy has been professional, helpful and she’s always followed through with her end of the bargain, so she’s aces in my book.

This month starts off with ‘Unplugged’, an essay about willfully reducing my exposure to television. I was concerned that the piece wasn’t funny enough to fit the parameters of the site, but Kristy passed it with flying colors. I often approach writing an essay from two different angles; sometimes I focus on the message primarily, and other times I focus on the humor. In rewrites, I work on finding a balance between the two, but occasionally humor doesn’t ‘fit’ with the overall theme. None of this is here or there, though, and I abhor those who spend more time explaining what their work is about than the elapsed time it takes to appreciate it, so I’ll let you judge for yourself. Feel free to read ‘Unplugged’ right here:

http://buffalocomedy.com/2014/12/unplugged

Please take the time to ‘Like’ ‘Unplugged’ on Facebook, ‘Share’ and of course ‘Retweet’ on Twitter as well as your five dozen other social media outlets. Like Buffalo Comedy says, ‘Sharing Is Caring’. My hope is that you’ll be able to see a bigger picture at the end of these twelve essays. I’ve changed, and so has my writing along with it. That’s enough naval gazing for one day, though. Enjoy!

Thanks,
Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode IV: ‘Pudding Pops and (You Guessed It) Michael Hund

November 26, 2014

 

Promotional shot for Big Words Video Episode IV by Richard Wicka.

Promotional shot for Big Words Video Episode IV by Richard Wicka.

Recording and producing these shows is entirely too much fun!

For Episode IV of Big Words Video I finally (after years of nagging him) got Night Life Publisher Ed Honeck into the studio.  If you locked the two of us into a room together for a weekend, we would still be talking when you opened the door on the following Monday.  Ed is a dear friend who helped me get my start in the world of Buffalo journalism way back in the year 2000 and we’ve been busy ever since.  A half an hour only gave us the opportunity to chip away at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to clubs, strip clubs, bars, bands, musicians, music awards, newspapers and the people who run them.  As a matter of fact, I think between myself, Ed and Big Words Video Producer Richard Wicka, we probably know (or have met) just about everyone in Buffalo.  Here is your synopsis:

Big Words I Know By Heart Episode IV: ‘Pudding Pops and (You Guessed It) Michael Hund

Tom spends the remainder of ‘Snow-vember’ (sans co-host) with Night Life Magazine publisher Ed Honeck to discuss the impending Music & Club Awards, musicians, strippers and something or other about a town called Ferguson.

As always, please take the time to ‘Like’ (on YouTube) and ‘Share’ the episode (on YouTube).

Thanks are (as always) in order to Richard Wicka and esteemed guest Ed Honeck.  The last minute no-show of my co-host didn’t slow us down one bit.  Award-winning band Busted Stuff are up on deck for Episode V in December!  Stay tuned, folks!

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Big Words Video 4.5: Boobs Gone By

November 26, 2014

Synopsis: Tom and Night Life Publisher Ed Honeck expound on Thanksgiving Eve in Buffalo as well as a brief history of strip clubs.

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Polar Vortex! ‘McKinley’s & Mad Hamburgers’ from Slapstick & Superego (2009, Doubt It Publishing

November 18, 2014

For those of you who braved the elements last night and made it out to Hot Mama’s Canteen for the book reading and signing, a great time was had by all.  A big thanks goes out to everyone at Hot Mama’s for making it happen.  I will definitely do another one down the road.  Their ‘Navajo’ wings alone are reason enough for a return trip, and it was one of the friendliest venues I’ve ever dealt with in terms of bookings.

For those of you who couldn’t make it, here’s a rant from last night.  Please take the time to Watch, Like & Share!  Enjoy:

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‘Grant Me The Rigidity’ appears on BuffaloComedy.com!

November 4, 2014

imageFor those of you who follow this blog, you’ll remember that I spoke of buffalocomedy.com being a new home for me about a month ago.  After a few discussions with editor Kristy Rock, I’ve decided to write for them once a month.  Well, that month is up and there’s a new essay up there about my recovery.  Wanna read it?  Whelp, click on the link below and take a ride on that superinformation highway, folks!:

 

 

‘Grant Me The Rigidity’, an excerpt from the upcoming book Travesty

Since I’m not a big fan of spending ten minutes explaining what a piece of writing is about for a rant that will take about six minutes to read, I’ll just say that I spent a lot of time thinking of an appropriate way to write about my experience in recovery.  The policy in the Program that I belong to is not to write about it at all.  That’s just too bad. I felt that it would be a betrayal to my readers NOT to include this experience in my lexicon.  I’d rather catch hell (and I’m sure I will) in the short term from my fellow members than suffer from the sin of omission.

It should also be noted that the agreement that I struck with Kristy is a positive one. My new editor wants material with a positive leaning, which is actually a challenge for me.  I think that the resulting writing over the course of the next year will be a happy change of pace.

As for the last go-round, I submitted two previously unpublished essays.  Kristy picked the recovery piece.  Suffice it to say that I have a lot of new material at my disposal, so at best, you’ll be privy to less than half of it as the months roll forward.

Please take the time to click the link above, read the rant, ‘Like’ on Facebook and ‘Share’ via any and all social media that you engage in.  I hope you enjoy the piece.  I’m coming up on one year of sobriety at the end of this month, so the article means a lot to me.

Have a great week!

Tom

 

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode III: ‘Cork Va-Jay-Jay

October 25, 2014

image

Another solid show!  Now that we’re three episodes in on Big Words Video, we’re starting to hit our stride.  Here is your synopsis:

Big Words I Know By Heart III: ‘Cork Va-Jay-Jay’: Tom goes a round with author D. Mark McElligott (Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind)  to talk about his forced retirement, his new novel and the natural arc of lady parts.  Co-host Terry Kimmel denies any association with taking part in human sacrifice.  You can watch the new episode right HERE: 

As always, please take the time to ‘Like’ & ‘Share’ the show on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and beyond.  Word of mouth means EVERYTHING as the show is still technically new.

Thanks are in order to Mark and Terry for putting up with my abuse in the name of comedy.  I am forever indebted to producer Richard Wicka for making the magic happen behind the scenes.

I’ll see you all in a month.  I’m bringing in the big guns for Episode IV and it’s going to be a star-studded event.

Enjoy!

Tom

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Big Words Video 3.5: Oratory

October 25, 2014

For this Big Words Video Bonus, Mark McElligott read an excerpt from his book Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind (2011, Doubt It Publishing).  Please take the time to ‘Like’ & ‘Share’ on Youtube.  Thanks!

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Book Reading & Signing Announced for December @WNY Book & Arts Center

October 6, 2014

Morning!

I’ve scheduled and secured one more signing for the end of the year. Here are the pertinent details:

Book Reading & Signing w/local humor author Tom Waters
Location:
WNY Book & Arts Center
468 Washington St.
Buffalo, NY

Mockery by Tom Waters: An essay collection formatted to mimic a standup comedy act.

Mockery by Tom Waters: An essay collection formatted to mimic a standup comedy act.

Date & Time:
Saturday, December 6th
2 p.m.-4p.m.

(716) 348-1430

FB Event Page for WNY Books & Arts Center Reading & Signing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can assure you that between this event and Hot Mama’s Canteen these are the only book promotions I’ll be doing for the remainder of the year. If you’ve been to one of my readings before, you know how much fun they can be. If you haven’t, now would be a good time to find out. Both events are very important to me. Bear in mind that local musicians play out six and seven nights a week and most people wouldn’t think twice about heading out to see them perform. As a local author (at best) I host only a handful of events a year. Support your local artists! As always, I give discounts on anyone buying multiple books or multiple copies. Someone will probably be filming the event for future inclusion on one of my show sites. Again, please mark your calendar, book a sitter and make this date. With any luck, I will still have copies available for the limited edition print run of Icarus On The Mend: Memoirs Of A Manic Depressive.

Hope to see you there!
Tom

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New Reading & Signing Announced and The Start Of A Beautiful Friendship…

September 29, 2014

At the risk of going all Dr. Seuss on you, I’ve got Bombshell 1 and Bombshell 2. It’s a busy day for announcements!
Bombshell 1 is that I’ll be doing my first reading and signing in almost three years in November. Here are the pertinent details:

Slapstick & Superego: rants and scathing social commentary by Tom Waters (2009, Doubt It Publishing)

Slapstick & Superego: rants and scathing social commentary by Tom Waters (2009, Doubt It Publishing)

Reading & Signing w/author Tom Waters

Date/Time:
Monday, November 17th from 8-10 p.m.

Location:
Hot Mama’s Canteen
12 Military Rd.
Buffalo, NY
14027
(716-783-8222

The owners tell me there may or may not be accompanying live music, so I’ll let you know if that happens. They’re a newer restaurant with a really cool pinup/rockabilly sort of vibe/decor/staff and they’re already getting a great reputation for good (and spicy) food, so I’m looking forward to this one. I’ll be selling and signing the very limited editions of Icarus On The Mend for $50. Once again, there are only ever going to be 50 copies in existence for this hardcover. If you want one, you should probably head on out for this one. I’ll also have copies of my other books starting at $15. I usually give a discount if you’re getting multiple books. So that’s Bombshell 1.

Bombshell 2 is this: I’ve been talking to Kristy Rock (the editor in chief) at http://www.BuffaloComedy.com for the last week or two. She’s got a sharp site with a solid focus on all things comedy in and around Buffalo. Not to mince words, but I’ve always identified with the term comedy versus humor when it comes to my books or anything else. I’m going to be contributing to BuffaloComedy.com for the foreseeable future. Want to read a new essay? Sure you do! You can check out ‘Breaking Dad’ (an excerpt from the upcoming book Travesty) right here (just follow the bouncing link):

Breaking Dad

As always, please take the time to ‘Share’ and ‘Like’ and all of that other fun stuff. That’s enough big news for one day. There’ll be more next week.

See you in the funny papers,
Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode II: BJs Off TheTable

September 25, 2014

Whew!

Another new episode of Big Words Video is in the can.  I was a little under the weather (having battled a cold for the last two weeks), but the results are pretty damned funny.  Guest Kyle Kaczmarczyk and co-host Jenny O were a mismatched pair made in broadcasting heaven.  I’m not really sure how or why the show wound up in Black and White (that wasn’t intentional), but we’ll chalk that up to the Big Words Poltergeist.  Methinks that producer Richard Wicka may have done it on purpose in preproduction.

Here’s your synopsis:

Tom hunkers down with New York Times bestselling writer/artist Kyle Kaczmarczyk  (Fubar, Igor: Occult Detective, The Misadventures Of Silent Boy) about adolescent bathing, prenups, The New New 52 and other shameful joys.  Co-host Jenny O. shows concern about being dropped from Facebook.

Please watch the newest episode here:

PLEASE take the time to click on the link, watch the show, ‘Like’ the show and Share with your friends as early and often as possible.  Word of mouth is everything.

Thanks are in order to Kyle, Jenny and producer Richard Wicka for a great ‘webisode’.  I’ll be back on the attack in a month with an unexpected guest and an ‘interesting’ co-host!

Thanks!

Tom

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Big Words Video 2.5: Points Of Articulation

September 25, 2014

The bonus segments are turning into off-the-cuff guerilla film clips.

Much like the podcast, I have faith that the show format(s) will evolve with every ‘webisode’.  For this bonus clip, Kyle Kaczmarczyk and myself thought it would be fun to let our action figure avatars do the talking.  We continued the interview while playing make-belive.  Please take the time to click on the link here:

Also, please take the time to ‘Like’ each clip and ‘Share’ ad infinitum.  This segment was filmed in 1080 High Definition, which was totally unnecessary considering the backdrop, but perhaps funnier within the context.

Enjoy!

Tom

 

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode II (& 2.5) with Kyle Kaczmarczyk & Twitter Modifications…

September 21, 2014

The Misadventures Of Silent Boy by Kyle KaczmarczykHey all,

We’re only a few days away from filming Big Words I Know By Heart Episode II (and 2.5, respectively) on ‘the Youtubes’.  The first episode was so much fun that I can’t wait to get back into the studio.  My guest this time around will be New York Times best-selling comic book writer/artist Kyle Kaczmarczyk (Fubar, The Red Eye, The Misadventures Of Silent Boy, Igor: Occult Detective and many other titles).  Kyle and I have a long history together.  He was around for the first season of the Big Words podcast and he’s accomplished quite a bit since then.

My co-host will be Jenny O., who’s practically a sister to me.  This will be her first time on the show and I can guarantee you that she’s going to be hilarious.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view), she’s exactly like me, but female.  So (in a word), she’s completely insane.  It should be a blast.

I’ll post the link as soon as both shows are up.  Word of mouth is everything, so please be sure to Like, Share and Comment.  If you haven’t seen Episode I (and 1.5) yet with guest Jon Elston, feel free to click on the Big Words Video Links in the ‘Links’ section to the right of this post on the Home Page.

On a side note, my Twitter account is now Private for reasons that are really nobody’s business but my own.  You are welcome to follow me @tomfoolery444, but again, you will have to request access in order to follow my Tweets.

Talk to you soon!

Tom

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A Triumphant Return To Acid Logic re: Buffalo Bills Fans, Travesty Keeps Truckin’, Big Words Video 2 Approaches…

September 7, 2014
Acid Logic's accompanying cartoon for 'An Open Letter To The Rest Of The Country (and also the planet) re: Buffalo Bills Fans'

Acid Logic’s accompanying cartoon for ‘An Open Letter To The Rest Of The Country (and also the planet) re: Buffalo Bills Fans’

This is not to brag, but I’ve got enough publishing credits to last me a lifetime. In the last ten years, I’ve written, worked for, contributed or been published in enough papers, magazines, ezines and quarterlies to last me a lifetime. I’d like to think at this point that I can pick and choose when, where and why I publish with anyone from here on out.

That being said, though, there’s a special place in my heart for Acid Logic, one-man publisher/editor/juggernaut Wil Forbis’ online ezine of pop culture. He was one of the first national web sites to publish my work nearly fifteen years ago, and we’ve kept in touch ever since. He was also a guest on the now-defunct Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour, promoting Acid Logic as well as his book (same title, with essays from AL over the year penned by Forbis) and his music CDs. As a longtime Californian, Forbis and I just clicked. Those of you who have been following for awhile may also remember that Forbis wrote the forward to First Person, Last Straw, my third collection of essays in 2005.
It is also with the spirit of blind rage that I have towards Buffalo Bills fans that I decided to publish with Acid Logic again for the first time in many years. Forbis’ timing is impeccable; the new issue of AL rolled out today while (in Buffalo), thousands of mindless drones are rallying together for the Buffalo Bill’s Home Opening Game. “An Open Letter To The Rest Of The Country (and also the planet)” rolled out today with top billing. If you missed it here, you can catch the rant here:

http://www.acidlogic.com/buffalo_bills.htm

In other news, the writing on Travesty (my next book) is really starting to gather momentum. The book is almost halfway done. Like any other collection, it’s sure to find its own central theme by accident. It’s been a lot of fun so far. I’ve decided to drop my name from each essay for the very first time in the book’s layout. It seems redundant, and honestly, I’m too old to keep doing the nickname thing after every rant. It was a gimmick that caught on very early in my career and it’s high time to retire it.
And the next ‘webisode’ of Big Words I Know By Heart is a little more than two weeks away. Comic book impresario Kyle Kaczmarczyk (Igor: Occult Detective, The Red Eye, Pulp and the award winning Fubar) will be joining me in the studio on September 24th along with co-host Jenny O.
I’m trying to find a delicate balance in my life where creativity is concerned, so I will make an effort to update more consistently here in an effort to keep you in the loop and up to speed. There has to be a happy homeostasis between overworking to the point of burnout and dropping off the grid for too long and losing readers (or viewers) in the process. I haven’t had it before, but it seems possible now. A lot of things seem possible now.

Stay tuned,
Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode I: ‘Hang In There, Baby!’

August 23, 2014
Jon delivers on his promise to be an effective 'power bottom'.

Jon delivers on his promise to be an effective ‘power bottom’.

What a rush!  

Big Words Video Episode I is now live, in the can and uploaded directly to ‘the Youtubes’ so that it can offend Buffalo, the country and also the planet!

Here is your synopsis: Tom launches his programme on ‘the Youtubes’ with dear show-biz pal Jon Elston (3-time ArtVoice Best Of Buffalo playwright) to discuss the pros and cons of Lou Gehrig’s disease, snuff films, and the merchandising opportunities of Robin Williams’ untimely demise.

Please be so kind as to follow this link: Big Words I Know By Heart Episode I: ‘Hang In There, Baby!’

Numerous thanks are in order to Jon Elston for being such a good sport (now an elite part of the Big Words I Know By Heart 2-Timer Club), co-host Jon 2 for somehow making me look like the good guy (well, not necessarily the good guy, but not the really bad guy), producer Richard Wicka and Big Words Video Theme Song composer Jay Desiderio.  This episode could not have gone any better than the way it played out.  Please see the post below for additional bonus content!  Big Words Video will return on September 24th!

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Big Words Video Episode 1.5: The Jon Elston Ice Bucket Challenge

August 23, 2014

For those of you who are participating in the ice bucket challenge or any of the other stupid shit that everyone is doing on Facebook, Jon Elston has a thing or two to say to you after he gets douched with a bucket of ice.  Here’s your link right here:

Big Words Video 1.5: The Jon Elston Ice Bucket Challenge

Thanks again to Jon Elston for being a great sport, speaking his mind and following the trends that ‘the kids’ are into these days.  Please click the link, watch and like!  If you want more Big Words Video bonuses, subscribe!