From Upper Middle to Downward Deplorable

My HR dream interview. What have you done in 7 years besides making sure your 3 kids don’t die? I got my doctorate in pharmacology. From what school? University of Phoenix, my thesis statement is Adderall gives you an artificial feeling of real-life profitable accomplishment like any printed off degree from the University of Phoenix. Reality is though, I exist thanks to the charity from others because my punchlines haven’t paid generous enough dividends yet.

Stay at Home Comedian Dads like myself are sheltered bums. Until we’re able to capitalize off our comedy genius already. So, we can start giving back with generous, jade free hearts to those who stuck with us, begrudgingly or not. The operative phrase here is “stuck with”, not unyielding, true believers. Only my 3 children have earned such precious distinction. In addition to Neil the Deal, class personified VP of UX Design of Home Depot Paul Stonik and my former ad copywriting teacher at Media Bistro, Ann Taylor. God bless them all long time.
Once, I was in the main reading room at the New York Public Library working on a blog, Anthony Bourdain Rips My Frozen Lunch Apart. Pretty sure I was fired again at this point because I recall thinking to myself. You’ve got nothing else better to do. Nor do you have close friends to live it up in Manhattan with. Not that I could afford to really at this stage of my life either before becoming an unlikely father of 3. Back then, I was living in Astoria, Queens. It’s impossible to feel cool living in Queens, even if you have a decked-out rooftop overlooking the starlit Manhattan skyline. As it taunts your broke ass from afar like an immovable feast of out of reach splendor.
These days, you’ll hear Queens is so hot right now. No, it’s not, never was, never will be. Compared to Manhattan and Brooklyn, Queens is the Sloppy thirds Kardashian sister. You know the extra greasy one? Who looks like OJ’s daughter. Whose easy to pound at 3 in the morning like a lamb gyro in Astoria.

Plenty of my role models hail from Queens like Dee Snider, From Twister Sister, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanly from Kiss, Doug Ellen, creator of Entourage, the bald guy from Anthrax, talk radio great Michael Savage, Donald Trump included. Where you come from always plays a huge influence on you become determined on not becoming, especially when you grow up in Queens. At some point, all of the names mentioned above, all very successful American men decided mediocre wasn’t enough for them. They saw 1st hand how much it broke their parents spirt, when their dads were stuck in that middling, frozen, immovable universe. All of these men decided, they wanted to be big time and worked their asses off to get there. By being louder, tougher, and harder working than the rest because that’s the only way native New Yorkers know how to get the job done. Insisting on making their presence felt, no matter what faithless ridicule they endured to make it to the top. Refusing to ditch their dreams in exchange for middle of the road, being told what to do for a living jobs. All plowing through an endless clamor of broken promises and failure at providing talk until their unrelenting belief in doing their best unapologetic selves claimed undeniable, triumphant victory, on their terms, their way That’s the NY ego, I relish and hold dear to my heart forevermore.

Groucho Marx who raised his family in Riverdale in the Bronx at one point says in his autobiography, when you do comedy, you have to feel you’re better than the people you are making laugh for a living. I’m paraphrasing Groucho here, but my takeaway here has always been, if you don’t believe in your brand of specialness, nobody else will, especially if your mother thinks writing a screenplay is “too ambitious.”

I was raised in Forrest Hills Queens, and lived there for 3 years before my parents moved to the more snuggle soft confines of Westchester Country, a well off, upper middle-class suburb, 30 minutes North of Manhattan, the big city as my children love to call it. Edgemont, NY is where I grew up specifically in Westchester County, which is considered a major, moving on up upgrade from a two-bedroom rental in Queens, regardless of how good the raisin pumpernickel bread was at the local breaky on Austin street. My 1st born Matilda, Singing Rose Kornbluth, spent her 2nd night on earth in our old 1-bedroom apartment in Astoria, NY. One day, I heard day time gun shots which I was sheltered from when I was selling news monitoring services to heads of Corporate Communications in Manhattan prior. Got fired from that new biz development job, 1 month before my wedding. Timing hasn’t always been my forte. On the bright side, I ended up repurposing the Anthony Bourdain Rips My Frozen Lunch Apart blog into a piece of food fiction and got it published in Fire and Knives 2 years later. Which won best food magazine in England in 2012. I need to some new recent wins to boast about it. I know.

Still, the story was written in the voice of the late great Anthony Bourdain, who rips me, for bringing a frozen dish of Tikka Masala from Trader Joe’s for work, thinking I’d feel better about myself in the process. I made Bourdain vicious, he cut up my ego good. For settling for such tiny worker bee servings and for my contracted thinking. No longer, hungering and craving for a bigger, more bountiful, big win celebratory meals outside those cubicle constricted thinking walls. No longer acting like I still wanted it more than those stuck their frozen stuck universe. Nothing’s changed in my life really since. Sure, I fulfilled a writing goal of writing for TV which I did twice for Vh1 and VH1 classic. Writing guest intros for multiple video countdown specials, I’m proud to have accomplished these feats having zero paid music writing experience prior.

Ok, great, got some more food writing fiction published in Fire and Knives. But it didn’t pay anything, prestigious win, yes. I can the say same thing for getting my blog chapters republished on The Good Men Project website this month. My editor there, says they’ll be republishing many more pieces of mine already accepted. Still, these acknowledgements of good, solid, occasionally hilarious forms of writing still haven’t materialized into any sort of steady, residual form of loot sack for me and my family yet. Getting paid for VH1 Classic for a writing a gazillion, music video intro hosts reads for WWE great, Chris Jericho in 4 days flat, to perform with excitable boy gusto was a heavy metal high I’ll cherish forever. I blew almost half of my 2-thousand-dollar check on a Falconable leather bomber jacket. Wife almost divorced me over this extravagant purchase. No offense but fuck my wife in this instance. For the 1st time in my life, I felt like I earned my keep. From sticking to my guns and doing the work I worked my ass off to get paid for. All those years, being another schmuck in a headset, doing new biz development, cold calling my brains out. Whether it was selling pay per click advertising for CitySearch, selling print ads and sponsorship deals for the Village Voice or making the Creative Group at Robert Half money from selling the techie gold brain talent of creative technologist UX designers for a living. The thing is, I never collected any substantial commission from any of these jobs. So, it was hard to feel I was being paid for anything more than being just another disposable, hunk of cold calling, monkey meat, nothing more nothing less, a glamorized indentured servant at best.

Wyatt Earp, said it best, “no man ever became rich as a salary man.” So, I’ve thrown myself into finishing my parenting memoir book, “Stay At Home Comedian” because most comedian autobiographies suck because either A) They save their best material for their stand-up act. I don’t have this luxury being a stay at home father of 3 with a wife who works nights with no grandparents in sight B) Stand Up Comedians aren’t very good at writing narrative, engaging, super smart, laugh out loud generating prose and C) Headlining stand up comedians never give enough emotive love to the girlfriends, wives and kids left at home when they’re out there getting paid the big bucks to get their freak on a for a living. Which is in big time poor taste in my book.

Like George Lopez said, most comedians would’ve jumped at the shot to do a residency in Vegas when Rodney Dangerfield was offered it. Instead Rodney chose to buy Dangerfield’s in Manhattan as his own personal work standup comedy space. So, he could be closer to home with his family, knowing how much his uninvolved parents fucked him up for good. I saw a doc on Babe Ruth on HBO. He was raised in an orphanage. One of the reasons they say he was so good with kids was because he knew what it felt like to feel abandoned. What comedian, or aspiring writer/comedian can’t relate to this sentiment in terms of their unrelenting desire to earn love from strangers for a living? And if they become parents, becoming hellbent on making sure their kids never feel like they’re taken for granted. Knowing how their parents one sided form of middling, unconditional love at best, was never enough for them, certainly not for their own kids.
Again, my family now lives in a home, that’s not in Queens. It’s a quaint, 3-bedroom home in Northern Westchester County, that we received a 30,000, affordable home housing grant for. My comedy grant Mom. So, stop acting startled at what a deep thinking, linguistic genius my daughter is already. Great comedic minds think alike. You don’t fit into this equation, no offense. A perfect score on your MATH score didn’t make you bright enough to realize what a emotional retard you were for trying to make your son something’s he’s not.

After I got fired from that news monitoring job in Manhattan after Matilda was born. My mom had me meet with somebody who worked in the Investment Banking division of JP Morgan Chase. I’d have to take the Series 7. Talk about denying your son’s true essence to the core. Did my mom just blank on my MATH score out of the blue? Which still sucked despite me taking the test untimed. By the time I finished, my friends were declaring their majors, sophomore year in college at Suny Binghamton and at Fordham University in the Bronx, my chest. I didn’t seek out this grant, my wife did for the betterment of my family, so my parents couldn’t meddle and try to control our lives anymore. Glad it happened. Still, it doesn’t disguise the fact how my mother made feel like downward deplorable the moment we got the grant for our new home sweet home. Where my 3rd born, Samuel Teddy Kornbluth now whizzes whiffle balls at me with Nolan Ryan heat sensor development advanced speed. The same home, where I got the ex-head writer for the Howard Stern show, the Rev Bob Levy to give me funny man props, for a commercial I performed with my 7-year-old genius daughter. Rev said, “Relaxed, funny, you got it kid.” Love live the great Rev Levy. He plays in a band with his son doing AC/DC songs. How cool is that? I was even sending him Lena Dunham jokes for a bit through DM on Twitter, which he LOL ‘d at long time.

Again, though, punchlines haven’t materialized into generous dividends for my family yet. Oh, the commercial I did was for my creative tech staffing firm, Stand Up Staffer LLC. I had my daughter wear a blond wig and state, Software Developers prefer blond software engineers, so they can feel smug smart superior to them or something like that. My daughter was great in her part as usual. She would require 3 takes max and normally had at least 3 to 4 punchlines to deliver, oh, I can’t take no more. I’ve loved growing closer to my daughter by involving her in my comedy creations.

Yesterday, I contemplated a different chapter blog title called, Q&A Parenting Style. I said, Matilda start asking me questions, whatever you want. She asks. Daddy, what’s your favorite nut? I point to my lower midsection and say with empathetic silliness. These nuts. Daughter replies. You eat your own nuts? And, she starts laughing out loud on the spot Shockwaves of infinite, tingly delight pierced me whole. It was a beautiful, hilarious, father, daughter moment. Which doesn’t translate into dollars and cents. At least not yet. In this moment, I didn’t feel like downward deplorable but as a comedy, shooting star on the rise because my genius comedy star daughter stems from daddy long leg’s tree trunk. And great comedic minds think alike.
The End

Michael Kornbluth

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