Thursday, November 26, 2009

Funny Thanksgiving Video

We had an AWESOME comedy show at The Hidden House in Phoenix last night. I had so much fun performing there. The crowd was very responsive and appreciative. So many people came, the staff actually had to turn away some latecomers. It is very different from when the show first started a few years ago. It is great to see that the comedy scene in Phoenix has grown so much.

So now it is officially Thanksgiving. This is actually the first time in five years I have been single during this time of the year. When I was in a relationship, I usually spent it with my girlfriends' families. Now that my situation has changed, this holiday feels very different. I have no family in the Phoenix area, and I don't have any plans as of yet. It's all right though.... my Mom turns 60 next week, so I am getting together with my family in New Mexico then.

Chi-Town Bones and I plan on filming a funny skit later this evening showing how bachelors spend their Thanksgiving. In the meantime, enjoy this funny Thanksgiving video I found on YouTube. It is this week's Comedy Video of the Week. Enjoy!

John Griggs

Friday, November 20, 2009

Boredom and Setting Deadlines

Have you ever been bored out of your mind? It's sometimes a challenge to find what to do when that happens.

Here's the solution that works for me: start working on a project, and give yourself a deadline of tomorrow evening. I guarantee lots of interesting things will come up!

This is exactly what happened to me yesterday. I want to have at least one blog post a week. So, I chose to start a "Comedy Video of the Week" blog that I publish every Thursday. I had no plans Thursday of this week, so I figured I would just publish it very quickly after I got out of work.

Wrong answer!

Sure enough, my friend Jim calls me at 4:00PM that day and wants to shoot some videos with him after work. So we did. You will love them - they are spoofs of those late night commercials where ladies want you to call phone sex lines. I put the first one on YouTube last night.

After I did that, I searched for related videos. Here's the Comedy Video of the Week - it's a hilarious spoof of those dating chat lines. Enjoy!

John Griggs

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Top Ten Reasons Why Playing Chess is Better Than Dating

I actually wrote this a few years ago. Here are the reasons why playing chess is better than dating:

1. In chess, it is almost always acceptable to “make a move”.
2. After playing several chess games with the same person, you never hear “When are we getting married?”
3. After you stop playing chess, you never have to worry about paying child support.
4. You can play chess with as many people as you want and no one gets mad.
5. In chess, it’s all right to be a “player”.
6. In chess, intelligence is always a plus.
7. In chess, you can impress people by beating the crap out of someone.
8. You can play chess for free.
9. When playing chess, you don’t have to dress up.
10. At the end of a chess game, you will almost always end up “getting a piece”!

John Griggs

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How to Deal with Debt Collection Agencies

Because of this economy, many of us have lost our jobs. Those of us that are "lucky" enough to still have a job are usually working at a low rate of pay, or have reduced hours. As a result, many debtors have defaulted on their credit card bills.

What happens when you don't pay a credit card bill? If you are only one day late, many credit card companies add a $39 late fee to your bill. If you credit card is maxxed out, this may put you over your credit limit, and you get an "over the limit" fee. This is in addition to the exorbitant interest rates that these banks charge. These fees will continue to accrue for about six months.

After six months, a $1000 credit card bill will end up being almost $2000. At this point, the credit card company or bank will give up on collecting the debt themselves. They will sell your debt to a collection agency for about ten cents on the dollar. Then the collection agency will call you repeatedly, expecting you to pay the full amount owed with all of the outrageous fees. They will leave threatening messages on your machine, and use all sorts of other dirty tactics to try to get you to pay.

Most of these tactics collection agencies use are totally illegal. For instance, when a collection agency leaves a message on voicemail, they have no way of knowing who has access to listen to it. This is potentially giving away sensitive information to an unauthorized third party.

The good news is, you don't have to put up with their crap. Here are some ways you can stop a collection agency from bugging you.

1. Write a "cease and desist" letter.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) 15 USC §1692c indicates that if you tell a third party debt collector to stop contacting you in writing, they have to honor that request. You are basically telling them to sue or shut their pie hole. The chances of a collection agency suing you is pretty much zero, as it would be too time consuming and expensive to sue you.

2. Write them and ask them to prove the debt is yours.

This is a VERY effective way to get a collection agency off your back. This is called debt validation. If a debt collector can't prove that you owe the money within 30 days after they receive your request, they cannot continue collection efforts, and by law should not report any negative information on your credit report.

I had a negative entry from a collection agency on my credit report earlier this year. I wrote them and asked them to validate the debt. They sent me a printout of phone numbers that were called, and that's it. They could not produce a contract, or any other proof that I indeed owed this debt. Yet they continued to report on my credit report. I sent a complaint to my state Attorney General's office. After receiving a copy of my complaint, the collection agency folded, and removed the collection from my credit report.

3. Record the conversation between you and the collection agency.

WARNING: Not for the faint of heart!

If you record a conversation between you and a collection agency, you can expose that these agencies lie, break laws, and use other underhanded tactics.

Watch this video Chi-Town Bones and I made. This was a social engineering experiment, proving that collection agencies do not use good privacy and security practices. The collection agent was not very happy with us for exposing this.

John Griggs

Bill Collectors are Idiots

Bill Collectors harass people all day long. I love it when they get a taste of their own medicine.

Here is the Comedy Video of the Week. These bill collectors totally get fooled by a soundboard. It's hilarious!

My next post will tell you how to deal with collection agencies and show an actual conversation between me and a bill collector.

John Griggs

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How to Conquer Your Fear of Public Speaking

One thing people commonly fear is public speaking. If you don't have any experience in doing this, it can be VERY nerve wracking trying to keep your composure while speaking in front of an audience. Believe me, I know. Before I started doing stand up comedy, I took a couple of public speaking classes at a local community college. I managed to get an "A" in both classes, but I remember being really scared during my first speech. As I did more and more speeches, the nervousness was still there, but it affected my performance less each time I did a presentation.

The first time I did stand up comedy, I was nervous as hell. I managed to get good laughs throughout my set. However, a heckler ruined one of my last jokes and I had no idea how to respond or recover.

My first year in comedy I bombed quite often. During that time period, I'm sure a lot of people have talked about me and wondered why I didn't give up comedy. However, I stuck with it and gradually improved to where I started to get booked for paid gigs and invited to more shows.

When I go up on stage now, I feel very confident in myself. I almost hope a heckler trys to disrupt me, so I can make him or her look silly.

So what can you do to overcome your fears of public speaking? Here is what I recommend:

1. Face your fear dead on, and just do it!

If you've been thinking about doing stand up comedy or public speaking, and never had the nerve to actually do it, take the plunge and give it a try! You will be scared as hell before and possibly during your experience. However, after it is over, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment.

2. Keep on doing speeches/performances as often as you can.

The main reason why people are afraid of public speaking is the fear of the unknown. As you gain experience, you gain confidence in your material and yourself. The fear of the unknown will be severely reduced because you will be in familiar territory.

3. Film your speeches.

Do you remember the first time you ever tape recorded yourself and then listened to it? Your voice sounds a lot different than what you normally hear doesn't it? A similar experience happens when you see yourself on video. Even though it may be painful, watch video recordings of yourself and see where you can make improvements.

If you are thinking of doing stand up comedy, I have a couple of articles on that will help you. Here they are:

How to Write Hilarious Jokes

How to Do Stand Up Comedy For Your First Time

Remember, fear comes from your imagination. Your imagination can be put to better use.

What else is fear keeping you from doing? Try facing your fears dead on in other areas and see where it takes you.

John Griggs

Friday, November 6, 2009

Comedy Video of the Week - Arnold calls Capital One

In this video, Arnold Schwarzenegger calls Capital One to apply for a credit card. Check it out!

Chi-Town Bones and I made a new video this week where we prank call a collection agency. I will have it on my website this weekend. Stay tuned!

John Griggs