social media

Why I'm Deleting My Social Media

That’s right, I’m finally taking the plunge. I’m going to delete all of my social media accounts.

Here are the main reasons why:

  • Time - I’ve spent way too much time on it the past decade or more. I want that time back. I want to spend those hours with my wife. I want more time to run and write and take road trips and travel and go to the movies and all of the stuff that makes life worth living. I’m doing all of those things now, but imagine getting to do them even more!

  • Creativity - I want to avoid what other people are doing in an effort to keep finding my voice. I don’t want to be influenced by other people’s videos or photos or shows or ideas. I just want to find my own little corner, keep my head down, and do things that make me happy.

  • It Doesn’t Matter - We’ve become convinced that you need social media to survive in 2019. How else will we stay connected? How else will we promote our events? How else can people contact you? The truth is, my best professional opportunities, personal connections, events, and contacts have all happened offline. We don’t need it to be successful, we’ve just forgotten how to do it in other ways.

  • Mental Health - In an effort to improve my mental health I’ve been limiting my online activity for months now. My anxiety and depression has gone away and I’ve been much happier, but the impulse to log on is still there and I want to replace that impulse with something else.

  • Privacy - This is a no brainer, right? I’m tired of ads following me around, companies knowing too much about me, and social networks gathering my data for who-knows-what. I’m taking back some control over my information.

  • Mystery - I want more mystery in my life. I don’t want to know your baby’s name or what you ate for lunch. I don’t need to know about your political opinions and I won’t be RSVP’ing to your next event. It’s not that I don’t care - it’s that I want to actually have something to talk about the next time I see you. It’s better that way.

I’ve read many books this year about ways to “break up with your phone” or limit your screen time. They all talk about ways to trick yourself into using your phone less. They tell you to set timers, use a “dumb phone”, delete the apps from your phone for awhile, and so on…but I don’t think they go far enough.

We’ve created this problem - the incessant need to be on our devices, constantly sharing with one another - and now people are trying to create a solution, without thinking that maybe you could just eliminate the thing that go us into this mess in the first place.

Someone came up to me after a show a few weeks ago, wanting to talk about mystery and how my mantra was resonating with them. They told me how they’d recently been to their high school reunion and that they noticed something that paralleled with my show.

“Everyone knew everything about each other,” they told me. They knew how many kids their classmates had, where they’d travelled to, what their careers were, and so on. There was no mystery, no joy in discovering something new about another person. There was nothing left to talk about.

So yeah, I’m deleting my social media accounts. I want to live the life that I’m talking about onstage. (I’m only keeping YouTube, since I greatly enjoy making videos, but everything else will be gone by the end of the month.)

Am I excited? Yes, absolutely. There are a few loose ends to tie up, then it’s all going away. Then it’ll just be me, my wife, coffee, good books, and my Olivetti Lettera 32. I can’t freaking wait.

Is it a dumb move? Possibly. I’m sure if I had a full-time manager they’d tell me I was crazy, but that’s the great part about being self-employed and only having to answer to myself.

Will I regret it? No way. I’ve never been able to move the needle on social media like I have with my live shows. I would rather connect with people in the real world then spend my time scheduling posts and shamelessly self-promoting to no end. I’ve thought about this for long enough, it’s time to follow through.

That being said, there are still a few ways to keep up with what I’m doing:


Other Thoughts:

  • I just finished my six-week run at Liberty Magic in Pittsburgh. The show got fantastic reviews. It was a great experience and I hope to go back for another residency again sometime soon.

  • Check out this clip of some mind reading on Jim Krenn’s “No Restrictions” podcast:

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading.

Finish The Damn Thing!

At a show last weekend someone came up to me and said “Hey, are you still writing your Thursday Thoughts?”

I assured them I still was and that I post them regularly on my website. Turns out, he used to see them weekly on Facebook and wasn’t seeing them anymore.

As a result of my push to get off of social media and limit my screen time, it appears that FB has punished me with limited visibility. It seems stupid that an app designed to connect us all controls how connected we can be.

So yes, I’m still writing Thursday Thoughts. And yes, I’ll keep sharing them on social media. But if you want to make sure you never miss a post I set up a mailing list so you can get these essays delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday.

Only join the list if you want to keep up with my blog. (If you’re looking for updates about my upcoming TV projects or tour dates, join the list at the bottom of my website.)

I’m going to be shifting my approach to Thursday Thoughts over the next several months. I want to share helpful, digestible content that is useful to you - along with my existing personal essays about life on the road. And I want to make sure you see it, so do me a favor and click the button below to sign up:


I’ve been thinking lately about finishing projects.

I just ordered a new mattress and it sat in a warehouse for a week until I called to follow up. Then, out of the blue, the company did a same-day delivery. An otherwise perfect shopping experience was clouded by an unorganized, slow shipping process.

If you’re going to do something, then go all the way. Finish the damn thing!

Promise something and deliver. Simple as that.

If I hadn’t called I’m pretty sure the mattress would still be on a truck somewhere. It’s almost like the company worked really hard to get my business then stopped providing good customer service once I was a customer.

Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

You should work hard to get a customer, then work even harder once they’ve trusted you with their business. Customer service should be for the entire transaction - not just for the start of things.

This got me thinking about some of my own personal projects…

For instance, I’ve written a few TV episodes and a couple years ago I tried to get them picked up. I had a dozen meetings with agents, then with production companies, then with networks. The process dragged on for a year and amounted to nothing. So I thought to myself: “Why don’t I just make this myself?”

So I started rewriting it for a more run-and-gun, guerrilla style shoot. Then I started planning and preparing. And now…I’m just sitting on it.

Why? I don’t know.

Maybe because it’s easier to keep thinking about the thing instead of actually following through. If I keep brainstorming then it’s like I’m tricking myself into working on it, without having to face criticism, failure, or even a successful reception.

Maybe it’s because I know I’m good at one thing but not another. And it’s easier to put it off than embrace being an amateur.

Or, maybe I’m just a quitter. It's easy to get discouraged after you spend so long trying to accomplish something.

I think all of those might be true. But I don’t want an idea - good or bad- to be left undone. So I’m gonna finish the damn thing. I’m gonna make it happen. I’ve done everything else, so I need to see it through to the end.

Otherwise, the idea might as well be rolling around on a truck somewhere with no expected delivery date.


Here’s something you should try:

This year, I’ve been writing to people that inspire me. I’ve written to authors, designers, friends, actors, etc. I’ve written to people overseas and down the block. Anytime I say to myself “Wow, this person is fascinating!” I make a mental note to let them know I feel that way.

When I say write, I don’t mean social media. I mean actually writing a letter.

I prefer my typewriter, if possible. If I can’t find a mailing address then I write a brief e-mail.

I usually just say a few things about how the person has inspired me, how I found their work, and what it means to me.

The return rate is amazing. Every single person has gotten back to me. Sometimes it’s a quick sentence or two, but typically it’s a much longer response.

I love sending something meaningful off and wondering if I’ll get anything back. When it does arrive, there’s a magical, mysterious quality to it.

It means that somewhere in the world, this person that inspired me felt compelled to write back. They had to sit down and actively think about their response instead of clicking “like” on a screen. They had to actually take the time to respond.

It’s incredible.


Here’s what I’ve been reading:

The Power of Moments - As a person who creates memorable moments for a living, I find this book fascinating. But it’s useful for anyone looking to create meaningful moments in their everyday life.

Educated - I can’t believe it took me so long to start reading this. It’s unbelievably good.

The Coddling of the American Mind - Really enjoying this and perfectly suited to our current political climate.

If you’re on Spotify here are some summer vibes for you:

Finally, you have two chances left to see MIND READER at the Chicago Magic Lounge. We’ve been packed every Wednesday since March so don’t miss your chance to see it!

After that, I’m off to Pittsburgh to perform at Liberty Magic for six weeks. All dates, showtimes, and ticket info can be found here.

Cash or Credit

If you enjoy, use, or otherwise benefit from an artist’s work then they deserve to be compensated for it. The way I see it is you can either give them cash or you can give them credit.

Let’s start with the cash. 

When you fork over your hard earned dollars in exchange for a work of art, you’re helping an artist realize their dreams. Your money gives value to someone’s hard work and helps them continue to creatively contribute to their community.

Cash can take many forms. You can purchase someone’s work or a ticket to their show. You can support their work online through Patreon or GoFundMe, or more. You can donate to their cause or tip them for a job well done.

Cash is king.

But maybe you can’t afford to buy a piece of art or contribute to a Kickstarter. Hamilton tickets are expensive and so is your rent. I totally get it.

That’s where credit comes in. And when I say credit I mean C-R-E-D-I-T, as in credit-where-credit-is-due.

When you read someone’s work or watch their video, that creator has probably entertained or inspired you in some small way. Maybe it was for a matter of minutes or a matter of days. It doesn’t matter. They deserve your appreciation.

The simple act of giving someone credit goes a long way in helping an artist pursue their passion.  And in 2017, crediting couldn’t be easier.

Take the time to smash the “like” button or comment. Share the post and start a dialogue about it with your friends. Passively reading or watching someone’s art without reciprocating does nothing for their cause.

Crediting means you aren’t allowed to repost someone’s photo without letting people know where it came from. You can’t copy and paste a funny tweet and pretend it’s your own. You must always attribute the creation to the creator.

ALWAYS.

I do my best to credit anyone I work with. Event photographers, other performers, journalists, event planners, companies, vendors, producers, you name it. They deserve respect and appreciation for their work and I would expect the same from them. Crediting means we all get to enjoy success, instead of a select few who took advantage of their fellow artists to get ahead.

So the next time you enjoy someone’s art, writing, video, pictures, blog, novel, tweet, web series, vlog, or more, be sure to pony up some cash. Or, at least “like”, comment, share, and give them some credit for creating something for your enjoyment. It’s literally the least you can do.