Coat of Blood

The idea of Santa Claus has always struck me as odd. I mean, parents spend a lot of time teaching their children about stranger danger, and not to talk to strangers, or accept candy from them. But video games, scarves, stuffed animals, and ugly socks? Oh sure! Accept those from strangers. Matter of fact, when those strangers break into your house, be sure to leave them milk and cookies. You should also leave some lights on, so it’s easier for them to get around.

Doesn’t it make more sense to properly educate children that when some random stranger breaks into your house in the dead of night, they’re probably there to murder your family? It just seems odd to me that the stranger parents tell their children to trust the most is he whose coat is stained red with the blood of the innocent.

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I don’t normally do one-liners, but I think it’s important to be versatile. So, here are some one-liners I’ve been working on:

Abnormally tall people driving compact sports cars are essentially a clown cars for one. Am I right?

Poorly coordinated people passing through turnstiles … it sort of speaks for itself. No?

Little people who power lift – it’s not so much funny “ha ha” as funny “hmmm,” but all the same, funny … and intimidating.

One more: A gang of inner city, Black, Portland youth with suspenders and hipster mustaches who, in proper Portland fashion, apologize profusely while committing violent crimes. You see, had they only been given greater access to education, healthcare, and other public resources, they may very well have done something far more enriching for themselves, their community, and society as a whole; such as become pharmacy technicians who moonlight as stand-up comics in a lifelong attempt to confront inner demons and bury deep-seated insecurities about race, gender, and sexual orientation behind a transparent veil of feigned confidence and masculinity.

Oh wait … Never mind. They’re fucked.

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Performing Art Lingo

I would like to take a moment to define and perhaps redefine two terms that get tossed about far too freely in the performing arts community (e.g. theater, improv, music, comedy, etc). As some listeners and readers already know, I have a full time job and a child. However, I am also a shitty parent and compulsive creator. So, though these terms have rarely ever been applied to me, I find their common use distasteful.

How it’s used: someone lacking sufficient dedication to pursue their craft beyond the status of a pastime

Common true meaning: someone with a busy life and a lot of responsibilities, who can’t afford to drop everything at a moment’s notice, so they do as much as they can, when they can; typically on non-work days

How it’s used: someone who isn’t good enough or doesn’t work hard enough to get booked for “real” (meaning “paid”) gigs

Common true meaning: someone who isn’t popular or established enough to get booked for paid gigs, but still chooses to pursue their craft with or without compensation; often hesitant to request paid work, believing it must first be earned through diligent participation

I have encountered and personally used these derogatory terms in every performance art I have ever done. I would like to see a day when they are either laid to rest, or properly defined. Until then, to all the “weekend warriors” and “open mikers” out there, keep up the good work. You’re an inspiration to those who understand.

Performance Violence

The performing arts are strangely violent. For example, in theater, it’s customary to say “break a leg.” In comedy, we say “knock’m dead,” and having done so, we are said to have “killed.” And if you’re a religious fundamentalist making it rain at The Throbbing Anaconda, I believe it’s customary to at least say to yourself, “I pray God smites all these unrepentant sinners.”

But recently, I think a friend of mine may have taken this theme a bit too far. I’ll just repeat to you what was said to me and you can decide. Right before I went on stage, my friend said to me, “I hope you bludgeon the audience with your jokes and dance like Durga on the oceans of the dead.”

I don’t know. Is that a little weird?

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The Depression Dragon

I wish the symptoms of depression looked cooler. Like what if every time my serotonin levels plummeted, I would grow wings and gain fire-breathing abilities? I could fly around setting villages ablaze, until I felt functional again.

What I’m saying is, when I lock myself in my bedroom for days at a time, people who care about me just give me time and space (which is what I want). But, if I became a fire-breathing dragon, people would definitely take an interest in what was going on and spark up some lively conversation. I also suspect that, if depression resulted in deadly shape-shifting, friends and family would do everything in their power to keep that monster at bay.

Sadly, depression (as it is) is only a monster within the brains of those who have it. Perhaps, the key is to fill one’s village with skilled dragon-slayers.

A Boring Protagonist

If what they say is true and a person’s character is defined by what they do when no one’s around, I’m fairly certain I’m a boring protagonists.

Chapter 1: Daniel Martin Austin sweeps his floor and strokes his housemate’s cat.

Chapter 2: Daniel Martin Austin refills the bird feeders on his deck.

Chapter 3: Daniel Martin Austin realizes his floor is now covered in birdseed and cat hair, and sweeps it … yet again.

Chapter 4: He strips naked, in his backyard, covered from head to toe with peanut butter and cracked corn, and feeds himself to squirrels.

The end.

It’s all just a sad tale of a young artist’s love of birds and squirrels.

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