Take a chance on you 

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So do you know what today is?

It’s national take a chance day.

Now I know there seems to be a bleeding day to celebrate everything, but in this instance I think this is a little something worth getting behind. We should all have a crack at chasing our dreams. Mark Twain said:

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Tonight I will be performing stand-up comedy in a local club and watching a group of first-timers who have spent the past six weeks writing, working and sweating on their first ever comedy sets. Tonight is their big debut and I’m so excited for all of them, to watch them take the stage and take a chance on life.
All too often we listen to the little critics in our head that tell us to quit. These guys are not doing that I’m proud of them for living life full throttle.

Just to hammer home the live your life like it’s golden sentiment, here’s a video from the eloquent Prince EA, who says it so much better than me. Have a good day – may you step out of your comfort zone…go on, surprise yourself.

And if that doesn’t do it for you, let Abba remind you:

Would you rather be a Demi-God or a mortal?

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On Sunday my son and I (boisterous being number one) embarked on our third crack at the Vancouver Sun Run. For those of you not in rain city, the Sun Run is one of the largest 10kms run/walks in the world. Before I go any further, let it be known that old Yifof is not much of a runner. I’m more of a happy shuffler. The Sun Run is right up my alley, because it welcomes people from all walks of life and abilities to lace up their runners and get involved. This annual tradition that me and my boy started is something that I look forward to year-round. Not only is it a splendid run, taking in the beauty of Vancouver, but for ten kilometres, running, walking and wheezing amongst thousands of other people, my son and I get to chat.

One on one.

The banter we share keeps our momentum and spirits up, and as a mother who can get bogged down with the day-to-day minutiae, I get to focus on my son. This year as we ran and walked, stopping only for water breaks and to high-five supporters lining the road, our topic of conversation was the Greek Gods. I have to say, not my first choice, simply because I know naff all about them, but as we pounded the pavement, I got a blow by blow account of these legends. The vast volume of information that my son has on these Gods, Demi-Gods and their offspring is staggering. For 10 kilometres he regaled me with tales of Poseidon and Athena and every other mythological being in between. Hearing about the Gods high-jinks From the unique perspective of a ten year-old kid is enthralling and hilarious all at the same time. This, all whilst soaking up the marvellous atmosphere of a collective experience.

What I love about the Sun Run is that it not only gives you a great view of our city, it also brings people together. All to often Vancouver gets a bad rap for being snobby, clicky and filled with pockets of communities that don’t mix. Some might say that as a city, it operates like an overgrown high school, where each group keeps to themselves. But on Sun Run day, all guards are dropped and every one gets into the spirit of a shared experience. All kinds of people line the roads to cheer-lead the participants. My boy and I saw some fabulous sights. People sitting in lawn chairs, sipping mimosas and encouraging the runners on with “Cheers!” and champagne. The sheer number of people who rise early on a Sunday morning to hold signs, offer support and soak up the vibe of a shared human experience, uplifted my soul in a way that is hard to put into words. Such moments are hard to come by. So I’d like to give a shout out to the people from all over the Lower Mainland who took the time to create this little slice of magic: The runners, the walkers, the cheering crew, the volunteers.  We really enjoyed the signs. We couldn’t take pictures of all of them, but here’s a couple:
 

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Of course this next sign was totally up Yifof’s alley:

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And when we crossed the finish line, how about this for a sight for sore legs:

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These fellas from Resource Works Society had the genius idea of cleverly marketing their cause in a cute package (pun intended).  Smart move. Get sweaty housewives falling into your arms, then alert them of your cause. Because they’re the ones who have the kids, and they are really the ones who have any bloody chance of saving our planet. So today on  World Earth Day, I salute the Natural Runners and their quest to get people talking  about how to use BC’s natural resources sustainably.  Check out their website for more information here: http://www.resourceworks.com/

On Monday an article was published on Buzzfeed that says a recent Stats Canada survey found Vancouver to be the unhappiest city in Canada. I disagree. After taking part in the Sun Run I know this city is so much more than melancholy hipsters. Maybe the naysayers, and indeed  all of us should try and put a little bit more sun-run spirit into our everyday lives.

Madonna performs stand-up like a virgin: it’s short and shit, as it should be.

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So trending on the Internet right now:
Just what colour is that ffing dress? Nope.
An oily arse with a side of champagne? Nah.
Madonna performing stand-up and doing a mediocre job…boom!
There’s your punchline.
In case you’ve been asleep at your lap-top, the material girl is getting a lot of press for popping her stand-up cherry on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
When I say press, I mean that comics all over the globe are getting their mic cords in a bunch over the audacity of Madonna even attempting to make jokes. If you missed the show here it is:

Since I too dabble in the world of cracking wise, I thought I’d add my two cents to the debate:

Contrary to popular belief, Madonna did not make a mockery of stand-up with her mediocre set.
Nor do I think Madonna performing stand-up is a demonstration of how shit stand-up is, or that it’s not taken seriously. Quite the opposite.
By utterly bombing, Madonna proved that the commonly held misconception “Cor, stand-up is easy, I could do that” is a fucking myth.
Good stand-up comics are hard to come by. Just like anyone who excels in their field, they make it look easy.

Here’s the thing: just like any other art-form, stand-up comedy is a craft. It’s a symbiotic relationship between kick arse writing and the ability to deliver those words in a funny way. In a relatable way. In a way that makes the audience not only feel part of the joke but in on the joke. Good stand-up inspires people to laugh, take life less seriously and feel good about themselves.
Before Madge got in front of the mic, she sat with Jimmy and explained her desire to have a go at comedy because she “dreams of simplicity”.
First mistake right there. Good comedy is anything but simple. Good comedy is layered, complex and hits you by surprise.

Instead of giving Madonna a hard-time for her comedy routine, here’s my feedback. I feel qualified to offer this, since not only do I get behind the mic, I also teach others the art of funny. So here goes:
First of all, a wise stand-up once told me, it takes 100 stand-up performances to know if you’re any good. So, Madonna: one down, 99 to go.

Secondly, who the fuck wrote your set, Darling?
Considering you were on the Fallon show and you’re undoubtedly well-connected, you could have got way better jokes written.
I gotta say, your set was pretty hack. Back to the drawing board on that one.
And next time, set your mic up properly and wear less figety clothes.

But it’s amazing what we, as people, decide to get all shitty about, isn’t it?
What I find hilarious, is that while everyone is in a huff about Madonna doing stand-up, no one is calling her out on her other shit-show this week: forcible snogging Drake during a Coachella performance. If you didn’t get a whiff of that incident here it is:

What the fuck was all that about? I gotta say that incenses me more.
Cos’ let’s get real: if a 56 year old male crooner planted an uninvited smacker on some unsuspecting 28 year-old female, shit would hit the fan. No matter how you dress it up, it’s not a classy move.

But here at Yifof, we don’t want to totally trample over the material girl. After all the two of us share an affinity for the ‘f’ word:

So Madge, if you ever want another crack at stand-up, come see me. I’ll write you a set that’s actually funny.
Since Madonna’s latest escapades went viral on the Internet, sales of her latest album have rocketed.
As she might say herself, “Guess who’s laughing now, bitch?”

Handling rejection: Like. A. Boss…Springsteen that is.

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One of the few things in life that we all agree on is rejection: whether it’s the sinking sensation of being the last kid chosen in sports, being spurned in love, or snubbed for that  promotion, we all know that shitty feeling of not being good enough. But the truth of the matter is; into every life, a little ‘fuck you’ must fall. When it does, it’s how we rise to the occasion that really matters. I’ve had my fair share of knock backs. As a writer, I know only too well what getting turned down feels like. Manuscripts returned, kick-arse ideas no thanked, story pitches stomped on.   When I’m performing stand-up there’s no burn greater than an audience staring blankly, silently, wondering what the fuck I’m going on about.  Most of the time I can handle the word no. It can hit me right between the eyes and I bounce back like a cartoon character, mullered in one scene, perfectly fine by the next.

But every now and then, it ain’t so easy to take life in your stride. When that happens you need to find a coping mechanism, one that works for you.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with a nasty bout of the “fuck yous”:

Some chose to ignore it, happy ostriches. Some stare it straight in the eye and rattle off inspirational quotes, like an incantation, to ward off the ‘fuck you’ demons. Others crawl into the fetal position and wait for the storm to pass.

Truth be told, when I get slapped with the wet fish of rejection, I don’t want quotes. I don’t want to be told it wilI all be ok. Me?  I want to dance.

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So last week, after a particularly gruelling day, where the entire fuck you family decided to pay a ill-timed visit, I  knew there was only one remedy. Dance and don’t give a shit who’s watching.

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Dropping out, tuning in and busting a move is something we should all do more often. There are scores of studies to show  that dancing is the perfect antidote to stress.  So here’s my advice to you: when life hits the shits, if all else fails, dance around your kitchen. Crank up  “I feel good” by James Brown. I’m pretty sure, no matter how ridick you look, busting a move to that little zinger will pretty much put a dent in anything.  I was inspired to shuffle to the God father of soul, when I  listened to the UN’s list of happiest songs. Here’s a link to the playlist, if you’re interested. Keep it in mind for when the fuck yous come to visit. It will get rid of them in no time. Be sure to let me know whatcha think.

http://www.happysoundslike.com/en/index.html