Monday, May 28, 2012


"I am content in my later years. I have kept my good humor and take neither myself nor the next person seriously."

The above quote is by Albert Einstein, the Nobel Laureate and most famous genius of the 20th Century. One of his most notable charms was never taking himself seriously, and that may be one of the greatest lessons he can teach us.

I recently immersed myself in the life and wisdom of Einstein in preparation for one of my Moneylove Club audios. I used 71 of his hundreds of quotes and commented and added on my own thoughts to many of them--a bit arrogant on my part, but my way of paying homage to the master. I think we have a lot more to gain and absorb and learn from many of the short quotes that most impress us. We can use them as triggers for our own imagination, our own pondering. The quote about not taking things or people too seriously is an important reminder to me and perhaps to you, too. Especially in these times filled with dreary predictions, depressing news, and a decline in general hopefulness. 

Einstein was not perfect, he was sometimes wrong, and he was extremely modest. He downplayed his own genius, saying he was just an ordinary man who had an extra dose of curiosity and patience that allowed him to persist until he found the answer to whatever problem he was confronting. In this assessment, if he ever really believed it, he was dramatically wrong. When a number of scientists examined his brain they found that it was much larger than normal and contained some anomalies in the actual brain structure that probably allowed him to make faster connections than almost everyone else.
The word genius is bandied about a lot and pretty lightly at that, but in Albert Einstein's case, it was provably true. 

Which is why his thoughts and ideas on so many varied subjects are worth examining and exploring even almost sixty years after his death. You've probably seen a few of his most popular quotes on posters or teeshirts, but you most likely have not seen them all. Give yourself a gift and look them up.  I am constantly finding new favorites, and I'll close with one of my newly discovered ones:

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.”


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Saturday, May 12, 2012


There are many connections between funny and sex. For one thing, it has often been said that laughing is similar to orgasm, and may even lead to release in the brain of the same hormones. And, of course, with all the taboos we have about sex, it is the most popular subject for humor--in stand-up, cartoons, and romantic comedies. 

While most people agree that sex is at times very funny, not everyone feels that the opposite is true--that funny can be sexy. But in countless surveys, women at least declare that a sense of humor is one of their main criteria in being attracted to a man, and someone that can make them laugh is more desirable than a more serious individual.  

In my own experience, sex and humor seem to go together quite well. One of my first girlfriends was much more sexually experienced than I was. This wasn't hard to accomplish as I had hardly any experience at all. But I had hopes and dreams, which is why, at the age of 16, working after school at a local pharmacy, I bought a gross of condoms from the Trojan salesman who restocked our shelves once a month. This made me very popular in high school, as the "go to" guy for rubbers--and fellow students, male and female, partook of my services, which I never charged for. By the time I was in my early twenties, still a late-blooming virgin, I had one of the original 36 boxes left. And made a date with a very sexy co-worker at the radio station. She showed up at the door in a filmy negligee, scaring the hell out of me. I had brought my box with me. 

After some heavy kissing and mild petting, she grabbed my hand to lead me into the bedroom. I tore at the cellophane covering the box, allowing air in for the first time since my original purchase almost eight years earlier. And the condums crumbled into tiny pieces and dust. It could have been a horrible moment, leading to a much longer delay in my sexual awakening. But somehow we both started laughing there on her bed, laughing hysterically for at least a half an hour. Then she sent me to the all-night drugstore a few blocks away, and I wasn't even embarrassed to buy a new box of Trojans from the female pharmacist. 

This led to one of the most erotically satisfying relationships I've ever had, and I give a lot of the credit to it starting off with a severe set of the giggles.

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Thursday, May 3, 2012


As I explore my new career as a stand-up comedian, I am reminded of a line I loved from a review of my bestselling book, Moneylove, in SUCCESS UNLIMITED magazine. The late Og Mandino, author of the classic motivational/spiritual book,  The Greatest Salesman in the World, said in his review, "Jerry will have you laughing all the way to the bank."

I loved that line, and a year or two later got to meet and become friends with Og, a true gentleman and great speaker as well as writer. As I sat in a prison cell a few years ago and reflected on my life, I came to a conclusion that is reaffirmed by Og's quote being one of my favorites of all the comments on my books and seminars through thirty-some years. That has led me to my current path, and is simply that when an audience responded to something I said (usually spontaneously) during a lecture or workshop with laughter, it was just as satisfying--and maybe even more so--than a standing ovation. I have heard top comedians describe this adrenaline rush activated by audience laughter.  Many have said it is the one thing that makes it worth going out and taking the risk that your jokes or stories will totally bomb. 

I am enjoying the beginning comedy class at the San Francisco Comedy College, where my fellow students are mostly in their twenties and thirties. They weren't even born when I did a couple of open mike stand-up bits in 1970 at what was then the only comedy club in the world, The Improvisation in New York. At the time, I was a newsman at WNBC Radio, and looking to mostly try out my comedy writing skills. I did get to write some material for some successful stand-up performers, including the legendary Henny Youngman and Phyllis Diller. Frankly, I didn't have the driving ambition to want to go out and start out as a brand new comic performer. I was happy in broadcasting, as I was a few years later when I started writing self-help books and becoming a motivational speaker (always with a dash of humor). 

Also, it was a lot harder to get going in such a career in those in-between years. The opportunity to learn and grow as a comedian in the resorts of the Catskills had substantially faded, and the surge of comedy clubs hadn't yet started. 

Now I am willing to go out, if this all works, and do the comedy club circuit full-time for a year or two and see where it takes me. And it is the doing of it that excites me, the beginning something new at this stage in my life, rather than any results I aspire to. I don't need to be a comedy superstar to be happy and content with my efforts (though I wouldn't turn down a major gig in Vegas or role in a sitcom). 

When I compare myself to my fellow fledgling comedians, what I do not have in common with them is the nervousness or stage fright of a newcomer to stagecraft. Also, in my part-time efforts writing gags for magazine cartoonists, I have learned how to write funny.  What I do share is the slightly scary joy of a new adventure in life, with unknown potential as we step out on a ledge every time we say something we hope is funny and deliver in a funny way.
Laugh and the world laughs with you--or maybe not.

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