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Behind the Scenes with Pete -- Football Sundays

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blog and Movie by Pete Jackson

It’s not every day that you get an opportunity to travel across the country on a road trip for 3 months to pursue a life-long goal. Sometimes when I take a moment to sit back think about what we’re doing I smile, because I know deep down this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I also smile because Joe and I have both been able to experience a sense of ultimate support from some of the people who are closest to us.

Now my wife has supported my foray into entertainment from Day 1 of our relationship. I’ve never been concerned about her dedication to my [sometimes ridiculous] endeavors. But after all is said and done, the harsh reality is that I will have been away from my wife and son for almost 90 days. Making this up to my wife should be easy - I know in the back of her mind she’s already planning a solo trip to Hawaii for a week-long stay in some Sex In The City-style hotel that’s run by hunks in speedos. Just wait until I tell her the cards are maxed out, tee-hee…

In actuality, it’s my son who I worry about most. These will be 3 solid months that I can never get back with my son and sometimes the thought of that makes me sad. I suppose the people who serve our country overseas occasionally ask themselves the same question: How do you make up for lost time?

Well, son, in honor of the football season ending last week and your birthday coming up this week, here’s a little something to remember your old man by…

Love you, miss you.

- Pete


Day # 38 by Joe Piccirillo

Monday, February 7, 2011

In an interview with UK's Harper's Bazaar magazine, part-time actress Gwyneth Paltrow said that Beyonce is "the most talented human being on the planet."   I agree.  To be sure, I pitted Beyonce's accomplishments against those of noted scholars.

1. Jonathan Franzen Vs. Beyonce

Jonathan Franzen wrote The Corrections

Beyonce wrote Booytlicious

Winner: Beyonce. 

Reason: You can't dance to The Corrections.


2. Dr. Mark Kline, MD Vs. Beyonce

Dr. Kline implemented (in conjunction with UNICEF) the Pediatric AIDS Corps, which has single-handedly improved the expertise in HIV care in Africa by 500%.

Beyonce performed at a South African AIDS benefit show in November 2003 to combat the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa.

Winner: Beyonce

Reason: people still have AIDS but Beyonce wore a glittery dress while singing "Crazy in Love."


3. Junot Diaz Vs. Beyonce

 Junot Diaz was voted # 7 on the most Influential Pulitzer-Prize Winning Authors List by Time Magazine

Beyonce was voted # 1 on Vh1's 100 Hottest Hotties

Winner: Tie

Reason: Same playing field


4. Stephen Hawking Vs. Beyonce

Famous quote from Hawking: "The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired.”

Famous quote from Beyonce: "I'll show you crazy.  Just try me, bitch!" -- from 2009's Obsessed.

Winner: Beyonce

Reason: Hawking's quote sounds a little forced.


So Gwenyth was right.  Too bad Coldplay still sucks.


Day # 35 by Joe Piccirillo

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dear readers,

Surprising news: I had a great show last night.  I had convinced the co-founder of the IO Chicago to put me up on a Friday night before the scheduled improv shows.  She told me that she knew the writers at conan and that she would tell them about me whether I was good or bad.  This was, essentially, an audition set for Conan.  If I ate it, she would tell them to ignore me.  If I succeeded, they would still ignore me but it would be in spite of her recommendations.

I sat in the lobby of our Chicago "Shining" hotel scrutinizing and tweaking my five-minute set for nearly 7 hours.  There comes a time for every writer and comedian when his work no longer evokes any sort of emotion.  I sat there looking through my stuff with incredulity -- what the hell am I doing? -- until it was time to go to the show. 

There were sitcom mishaps on the way to the show -- we ran out of gas, I forgot to bring my extension cord, Torio couldn't find his insulin (I threw it out of the car to make room for a cooler filled with Triscuits), and the club didn't have three pronged sockets for my equipment.  Also, the co-founder wasn't there when I arrived and people treated me with the kindness one affords to TB patients on airplanes.

I sat with Torio in the corner of the stage while the crew began setting up for the show and Pete went to Radioshack to pick up an outlet converter.  I saw the improv teams arrive and hug/shake hands/grind each other.  I saw the audience filter in -- all young and seemingly intelligent, and I had that feeling that it was going to be a good show.

The co-founder showed up and vouched for me, Pete came through with the converter, and I picked up a new extension cord.  Torio died, but you can't win everything.

Charna, the owner set me up to succeed or fail, which is exactly right. 

"Before we start the show, I want to do something we've never done here before: stand-up," she said.

"I got a call from a young man who said he was on a tour called conan or bust and he asked for five minutes.  I figured, 'why not?' He could be great or he could suck.  I don't know.  If he's great, we'll see him on Conan someday maybe.  If he sucks, I'll give him notes.  Here's Joe Piccirillo!"

I got on stage and crushed.  Killed it.  Best performance to date.  At the end of the set, Charna took the stage and said, "Well... no notes." 

Later, in an interview for the documentary, she said that my writing was brilliant and that I should be writing for a late night show like Conan.  Then, she pulled out a rolodex of names of people from all of the late night shows and said she would forward my writing packet to all of them.

Regardless of what happens, which is probably nothing, I received validation from someone with no vested interest in my success.  She wasn't a friend or family member or even an audience member -- she was a player in the entertainment industry and she vouched for me.  It's a moment that makes all of the struggles worthwhile.

I know you shouldn't derive self-worth from other people's opinions -- it should be derived from how many people wish you happy birthday on facebook.  Still, having someone in the business tell you that you're not crazy and you should keep going is something I'll take with me for the rest of my life.  I had my audition and I didn't choke.  I passed.

No notes.

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