Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

Readers and writers from the block

April 27, 2013

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of going to Citizens Library and meeting the Friends of the Library. They were aptly named. I was greeted with huge smiles. At the end of the evening, I think I got a hug from every female member of the group, and I got a hearty handshake from the male members (Um, maybe I should just say “the men of the group.”).

I got a lovely introduction to an attentive audience from Dianne Rigby, the former and current president of the Friends of the Library. They had an election that night. So, she was both the incoming and outgoing leader. She was also the only candidate for the position. I imagine that her Presidential Debate Night was pretty easy. Maybe she talked to an empty chair like Clint.

At Citizens Library (they don’t apostrophe Citizens, which I think is pretty weird because most librarians I know are strict grammarians), I got to talk about my book and do some comedy.

I took a few questions from the audience. One woman asked, “Have you ever had writer’s block?” Of course, I joked, “Not until today!”

I have had writer’s block, but I have a few tricks to overcome it. First and foremost, I have learned that there is always something for me to talk about. I am a big talker. We have another word for “big talker,” but it’s not appropriate for the newspaper. Holy cow! I don’t want to steer the conversation in that direction. Let me take the bull by the horns and get back to the topic at hand (big hints).

I’m a talker. Many people will tell you I don’t know when to shut up. I’m one of those guys at parties who will take a half an hour to say goodbye. People have left parties before me saying, “Didn’t I already say goodbye to you 20 minutes ago?” I can always think of one more thing to say.

I have mentioned this before, but I also talk too much to servers in restaurants. I have had friends get angry and say, “Did you come here to talk to me or the staff?”

I like everyone to get the full Michael (Thank God, my name isn’t Montgomery). I want to make sure everyone is having a good time. I remember putting a doctor at ease before he was going to operate on ME! I went out mid-sentence thanks to the anesthesia. If they didn’t put me out, it’s possible I would have just talked through the whole operation. Come to think about it, they may have just used the anesthesia to shut me up.

Yes, my mouth has gotten me in trouble on more than one occasion. It’s not the only body part that gets me in trouble, but it’s done more than its fair share.

The funny thing is, I was going to write about writer’s block and how I overcome it, but I ran out of space.

Note: I will be at Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, 300 Beechwood Ave., Carnegie, at 3 p.m. Sunday for a cabaret. It’s a benefit for the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, an organization that helps people without writer’s block: area playwrights. There will be songs, dance, poetry and spoken word. I’ll be speaking some of those words. Trust me, you don’t want to see me dance. I have a stretched-out tutu to prove it. Tickets are $12. Proceeds support Pittsburgh New Works Festival and the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall.



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