20230302 – The Night JonTHEBRUCE hit the lottery

Me attending the Comedy Cellar

My friend Bill Herman tells a story about visiting a club in Detroit with BB King hosting and then Aretha dropped by for a couple of songs. My brother and his lovely wife got to see Alanis Morisette live in a tiny club at the exact moment she could sell out a stadium.

I have been to New York three times, not for very long and not without multiple competing agendas. It seems like all the cool comedy clubs are far, far away. All the cool touristy stuff in the middle of Manhattan island. All the cool comedy clubs seems to be a block apart at the bottom of the island. Like 40 blocks. at least. Far.

So I found myself with no obligations on Thursday night in midtown Manhattan. I watched the Singing Hoosiers backing up my amazingly talented niece in a transcendent performance at New York Society for Ethical Culture. Dined with my amazing sister in law at David Chang’s Momofuko Noodle Bar. I should have just called it a night and went to sleep.


I got on a the 1 subway and rode all the way to the bottom of Manhattan. Arrived about 11pm. I bought a ticket to the bringer show at Grzly Pear, just in case and kept going up the block. If you have watched comedy on television or television about comedy, you have seen the Comedy Cellar. From street level, the sign is about waist high and there is a staircase leading down. The bouncer let me know that the doors weren’t open yet, but the 11:30 show was sold out. There was a standby line around the corner. So I went around the corner.

The ticketed line was already forming to the right. The standby line was eight people deep. The first person in the standby line reported that she saw/heard Dave Chappelle enter earlier. She had been waiting in line since the 9:30pm show. God Bless and keep this dear woman.

It was her, this big group of guys, Other Guy and me. So I just hung out at the front and talked to everybody until the line started to get serious. Then I went to dip back into my spot the Other Guy was gone. WTF? So I started talking the flight attendants who according to my line rules were immediately behind me. Other Guy shows back up with slices for the flight attendants and himself. Other Guy was awesome. Like a younger Keith Richards/Hunter Thompson funny, drug fueled bi-coastal probably bi-polar world traveler stories. The standby line was now down the block.

We had to bag our phones and smart watches. I ended up sitting next to Other Guy. I wish I had brought pen and paper, but it wouldn’t have worked because I couldn’t see to read or write. The Comedy Cellar is very dark, very low ceilinged, very packed. The sound system is turned up to 11. The speakers are always in compression. In other words, AWESOME. Exactly, what I expected but more.

You don’t realize how often and how useful your phone is until you need it to read a menu. If you plan a visit, look at the menu ahead of time or bring a flashlight.

The regular show was great. The highlight was Dulce’ Sloan. She has a great hunk on bad boyfriends. I am very interested in seeing her next special. It was an absolute highlight.


Dulce Sloan from the TV!

The guy from this Progressive commercial was extremely funny.

It’s frankly hard to keep track without notes. I listen to two stand-up comedian podcasts twice a week and didn’t know hardly anybody. There was a guy pretending to be Norwegian or Danish who had a lot of time to limp through some marginal jokes. Probably the next Andy Kaufman, but not how I would have spent my time.

According to the internet, a regular Comedy Cellar show is about 1 hour 15 minutes. Some percentage of the audience knew there was a buzz in the air. Apparently, not everybody got the message. About the time my butt was getting tired, more people started filtering in. A few people got their checks and left. Some dude in a Kool Mo Dee hat walked by a couple of times. I think I saw Wanda Sykes briefly. Dulce Sloan was still around.

Then the host comes up and says we have one last comedian tonight… Make some noise. Dave Chappelle. The whole room went deafening. Up on stage, was Dave Chappelle.

Sometimes I forget to mention that I am one lucky SOB.

It was awesome. After a bit, he invited Michael Che from Saturday Night Live up to join him. They riffed. Michael has a very public day job. David is very publicly self-employed. They covered a lot of ground with that dramatic tension between Michael keeping his day job. Funny.

Dave’s special guest was Posdnuos from De La Soul. De La Soul was supposed to be celebrating the rights to their music this weekend. They instead had to merge the celebrations with a memorial for Trugoy (David Jude Jolicoeur) who had passed on February 12th. De La Soul had been denied the right to share in the profits from their work for a really long time. This is an issue very close to Chappelle’s heart. Chappelle doesn’t currently have control over the distribution of the Chappelle Show.

I listened to the NPR Fresh Air podcast with De La Soul on the flight into LaGuardia. The first song I played while test driving MrsJonTheBruce’s new airpods was De La Soul’s “The Magic Number”.

De La Soul had an important moment in my early DJ career. They were fun, danceable, and not gangster. They could fit in a set with Arrested Development and Black Sheep and Dee-lite and Steve Miller and the Animal House Soundtrack. Back in the day. I remember my astonishment a few years ago in Hawaii when De La came on the speakers at Target. So random. A nice reminder of how wonderful their music is.

Buy this album…
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Busta Rhymes was in the room too!

Busta- Make it Clap

The Guy in the Whodini hat is D-Nice

His name is D-Nice

I hate to name drop but,

There were several other DJs in the room where it happened. DJ Clark Kent, Stretch Armstrong. I might have been the oldest by a couple of years, except for those two. Chappelle was born in 1973. So he probably didn’t get to attend Swatch Watch presents New York City Fresh Festival with Run D.M.C., Kurtis Blow, Whodini, The Fat Boys, and Newcleus. My little brother did because somebody else bailed on their ticket because “take it from me mom’s just don’t understand”.

I am old AF.

So when I rolled out onto the mean streets of NYC at 3:45 in the morning I was ready to sleep, but also aware that I might be murdered at any point in time. The doorman was really tremendously pleasant and helpful. He gave me enough information to get home with a dying phone and no previous experience. I ended up getting a cab from 3rd Street to 54th and Broadway for $20 cash. #capitalism

You might get fooled if you come from out of town
But I’m down by law and I know my way around.

New York, New York
Song by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five

404 Wedding Not Found

Streaming music will slow your party to a trickle. There is a story going around about a wedding reception that went sideways because the DJ lost internet service and couldn’t stream any more music. A friend of mine said it best.

PROFESSIONAL DJs BRING every song. No streaming. EVER. – Jim Cerone

I walk into a event with a legal, working copy of EVERY song we discussed before the wedding and a backup (sometimes I also have on pants!). If there is internet, I am not adverse to downloading a last minute or guest request via Amazon Music, Google Music, or god forbid iTunes (if it is okay with the Bride and Groom).

There are too many variables to do it any other way. Your event deserves more respect than that.

I was at the Cheaptrick/Def Leppard/Journey show at Busch Stadium on August 24, 2018. It was an amazing show until…

At least that was the case until the last third of Journey’s performance, which was marred by sound problems. Time and again the music cut out completely and then snapped back at full volume, often distorting horribly before dying. It was jarring enough to send many scurrying for the exits, even while Journey played its most anticipated material. – Daniel Durchholz – St. Louis Post Dispatch

There was a issue with the digital wireless sound system so it went some like this.

“Don’t st… Hold on to that f…’ Streetli….eople” –  Journey

If you want to ruin a Journey concert and 50,000 peoples night or an intimate, once in a lifetime wedding that rely on wireless networks, it is illegal and it costs $5.

If you want to do it on accident, hire an idiot who needs to stream music for your event.

How to get a groom involved in wedding planning…


Cabel Sasser got married. His wife, Nicole, gave him a little room to run on invitations and theme.


Words will not do it justice. Check out his blog post.


He doesn’t spend anytime raving about how great his DJ was, but they did some really cool things.

Letterpress printed their own invitations.

Here is a detail from the letterpress invites.
Here is a detail from the letterpress invites.

A photobooth. (old school style).

Cabel – Congrats! and thanks for sharing your experience. Now I have to go buy a Mac.

Things you should never say to a DJ

So my friend and former DJ partner Jak got this from Rusty (aka Mudkids aka Bird Men of Alcatraz) and sent it to me. Are you following me so far? good.

I haven’t DJ’d in a club for a long time, but I can see where this is coming from. Nowadays, when I sit down with a client, I want to find out exactly what they want, then make it work over the course of an evening.. I just have to make it work. It’s a different sort of challenge compared to selling drinks and keeping people on the dance floor. I love it.

I remember once upon a time, a Tri Delt came up with a tape of a song she thought Jak & I had never heard before. A little game of stump the DJ, maybe. We threw it in the tape deck and laughed, because we had the original 12″. It got played next. And the Tri Delts go wild!

What NOT to say to a DJ…
Continue reading “Things you should never say to a DJ”

Even a trained monkey can be a DJ!

I have seen everything now.

It’s actually pretty cool. Capuchin monkeys have been trained to put a CD in a CD player and hit play. They are actually trained to assist people with paraplegia, so they can do a lot of simple things.

So the question in my mind is simple.

What is your DJ going to do that a trained monkey can’t or won’t. (Monkeys are notoriously fickle).

Bad MonkeyMe

The answer is simple for me.

  • You probably could use some help planing the flow of the ceremony and reception.
  • You might like great quality source music. Monkeys hang out with pirates.
  • You might want music and a master of ceremonies that can act as your voice through the course of the evening. Monkeys tell bad jokes and fling poo.
  • You might want someone to setup and control all the equipment required to make things sound nice. Monkeys like it LOUD! and need assistants to setup the sound system.
  • You might want to relax and enjoy your reception with an experienced MC keeping the evening on track. Monkeys can’t be trusted around an open bar.
  • You would probably like a good value. Trained Monkeys get about $3000 a day, and take a lot of breaks.

When they teach Capuchins to use iPods all bets are off.
Think Different.

The Mystery is Solved

The bride and groom from the Best First Dance Ever have been found!

They were on Ellen today. http://ellen.warnerbros.com/2007/12/newlyweds_got_back.php

There names? Michelle and John Brubaker!

How much easier would this have been if the MC had said. “John and Michelle’s first Dance” or “Mr. and Mrs. Brubaker’s first dance”?

Not that hard… Much easier to remember in a once in a lifetime moment.

Best First Dance Ever

I can’t believe how much traction this video is getting. If you don’t know what I am talking about click here.

The first dance mis-direction magic.

With the right tools, putting together the music is pretty simple, but doing it poorly will ruin it for everyone who comes after you. Get a good DJ who can mix the music.

Even Better –

Get a great DJ who knows your name when he introduces you. I swear this is the first thing I heard. “Ladies and Gentleman, our bride and groom and their very special first dance as husband and wife.”

This is the Master of Ceremonies equivalent of “And um, yeah well, um, you see, uhhhhhhh”.

I am guessing the DJ came from his day job. “Your order comes to $5.30, please pull to the first window.” It’s all words you say when you don’t know what to really say.

Maybe that is a little harsh, but seriously this bride and groom (whose are unknown at present, the search continues) have real names. Think about how much easier it would be if the DJ had bothered to learn their names and used them.

Oh Snap!!!

I’ve been Bamboozled! I was doing a Copyscape search on my web page. Two companies, one in Pennsylvania and another in Australia thought the stuff I wrote was good enough to just steal it without asking permission.

I have spent a considerable amount of time and effort trying to improve professionalism in this business. Sadly, it’s not a business to many so called “professionals”. Steal the music, steal the web page, fill the car up with gear and go out and ruin someone’s wedding day.

I am where I am at, because I have paid my dues… I have done the hardwork, I have done the training, I have sought out professionals that I respect that can help me grow as a professional.

I am more than a little annoyed at anyone too lazy to do their own work and / or steal credit for mine.

Anyone else have this experience?

The Best Wedding Reception Ever!

A friend of mine, Peter Merry, wrote a great new book on creating amazing wedding receptions. The book is called The Best Wedding Reception Ever!

It’s a great book. The first half is all about why you should pick a great entertainer. The second is chocked full of killer ideas that you might include in your own wedding.

“Talent” is a dirty word in the DJ business. The difference between magic and tragic is all in the hands of the person playing the music and talking on the microphone.