Sunday, February 22, 2015

Whatever happened to Silent Films

Author and comedian Mike Buzzelli

I love the movies. If you don’t count my six-hour shift at McDonalds, my first job was working in a movie theater. I came home from Mickey D’s smelling like I went swimming inside a pickle jar. I handed in my smock and traded it for a clip-on bow tie. I was a teenage movie usher. Dunt dunt da!

I traded pickles for popcorn. It was a much more fragrant experience. I used to rip tickets and say, “Enjoy your movie.” There really wasn’t much to it. Occasionally, I would take a flashlight and stroll down the aisle to make sure everyone was on their best behavior. Back in the Paleozoic, people didn’t chat during the film, and I rarely had to stop anyone from doing anything. Once, I did break up a couple in the back row for being too … um … amorous. Another time, during a children’s matinee, I took care of a vomit situation, or “Code Red,” as we used to call it.

I love the movies. I used to see anything and everything. This weekend is the movie lover’s double header. Tonight (Saturday, for those who have picked up an old newspaper in Wendy’s or Panera) is the Independent Spirit Awards. Tomorrow (Sunday – do try to keep up) is the Academy Awards, the Super Bowl for movie fans. Alas, I’ve only seen two of the top eight films.

I don’t see as many movies as I used to. They have gotten so loud. I don’t mean the THX sound system. I am referring to the audience. Last year, I went to see a movie and I kept hearing “beep bop dee bop beep.” I thought I was sitting behind R2D2. A woman two rows in front of me was playing “Candy Crush” or “Angry Birds” on her phone during the movie. Did I mention it wasn’t just during “First Look,” the trailers or the opening credits but during the movie? Right in the middle of the bleeping film.

That weird little vein in my forehead started to pulsate. I had to get the usher. He told her to turn off her phone. She looked at me and said, “Are you serious?” But her eyes said, “Snitches get stitches and end up in ditches!” I was ruining her enjoyment of the game. I wanted to mention she was disturbing about 40 to 50 people, but I was the bad guy in her story. Go figure.

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(Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and a sit down author. His book, "Below Average Genius," a collection of humor columns culled from the Observer-Reporter, can be purchased here:

Friday, February 20, 2015


Aaron Kleiber, one of the top comedians bred out of the booming Pittsburgh comedy scene, will headline an entire weekend at the Pittsburgh Improv for the first time March 12-15, 2015.
Pittsburgh, PA, February 4th, 2015 - Aaron Kleiber will reach a new pinnacle in his long Pittsburgh comedy career by headlining an entire weekend of shows, March 12-15, at the Pittsburgh Improv. Kleiber has been seen at the Improv throughout the past five years opening for top names in TV and film; now, Kleiber's own face is on the poster outside the comedy club where he cut his teeth. A Homestead native, Aaron Kleiber has been a staple of the growing comedy community for the past six years. He has created and hosted multiple open mics around the city, headlined two sold-out shows at the O’Reilly Theater, been named "Best Local Comic" by readers of Pittsburgh Magazine in 2012 and 2013, served the thriving Arcade Comedy Theater as its stand-up programmer and on their board (and will serve in a similar capacity for the newly-established Pittsburgh Comedy Festival in 2015). Through that time, he's been making crowds laugh and representing the Steel City on the stage and screen on a national level.

Along with touring the country with some of the biggest names in comedy (Jim Breuer, Bob Saget, Harland Williams, John Witherspoon), Aaron is breaking out as a bona fide headline talent on his own. Aaron placed 5th in the Big Sky Comedy Festival in October 2014 (judged by major comedy industry types; Just for Laughs, South by Southwest, Improvs, CBS, Comedy Central), made his television standup debut on ‘Gotham Comedy Live’, even included in their 'Best of Season 2' episode, an appearance on NUVO’s ‘Standup and Deliver,’ has appeared multiple times on the iTunes chart topping ‘Doug Loves Movies’ with Doug Benson (Super High Me, Last Comic Standing) and has performed in over 25 states and three countries - all in the last 6 years.

The show will feature open comedians, SEAN COLLIER (WDVE Movie Reviews, Pittsburgh Magazine, HandletheTruthPodcast) and MATT LIGHT (2014 Pgh Mag 'Best Comic').
Aaron Kleiber, the 1999 class clown from Steel Valley High School, can’t wait to perform 6 SHOWS at the PITTSBURGH IMPROV, MARCH 12-15, 2015 (166 E. Bridge St., Homestead, PA 15120) - just two miles from his alma mater.

For tickets or info, visit: OR

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Darn That Stairwell

Author and comedian Mike Buzzelli

When I leave work, I take the stairs for two reasons. One, I heard that you expend just as many calories going down the steps as you do going up. I’ll take any extra expenditure of calories I can. Two, it’s much faster than the elevator. When I’m trying to catch the bus, I don’t want to stop on each floor. Inevitably, the elevator will stop on the second floor and someone will hold the door open as they wait for their friend to get her hat and gloves on.

In common vernacular, “I ain’t got time for that.” I’m so street.

The stairs, as in most office buildings, let you in but not out. They are exit only. It’s not quite an ivory tower, but once you’re in the stairwell, you’re committed to going all the way to the ground floor and out. There are no other choices.

I was bouncing down the stairs at 5 o’clock when a colleague came into the stairwell, also on his way home. He turned to me and said, “I have to ask you a question.”

I smiled and said, “It better not be about work. I’m on my way home.”

He laughed and proceeded to ask me a work-related question. In my head, I was going, “Seriously?” But in reality, I was ambushed with no way of escaping. Darn that one-way stairwell. Frankly, I was in a rush and probably wouldn’t want to have answered a personal question either. At 5, I just want a question that can be answered with one word. A question like, “How are you?”

“Fine.” Done in one. I might even follow it up by a “See ya tomorrow,” or “Have a good weekend” depending on the proximity of Friday.

My jocular personality prevents me from sounding menacing or threatening in any way but, if I had laser beam eyes, he would have been a smoldering puddle on those stairs.

(Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and a sit down author. His book, "Below Average Genius," a collection of humor columns culled from the Observer-Reporter, can be purchased here:

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

 Comedian and author Mike Buzzelli

This week, I was compelled to embrace the winter weather (read: arctic). It happened like this: I got on an elevator the other day and complained about the cold. A total stranger rolled his eyes at me and said, “Geez. You know where you live, right?”

That’s when it hit me: I live in Pittsburgh! The revelation should not have been that astonishing. I guess I was in denial. Now, I’ve been searching for a way to enjoy the weather instead of curse it.

As I kid, I used to revel in the snow. I only remember being cold one time as a child. Once, during a sled-riding incident, snow went down my pants. I remember the ice being so cold it burned. Trust me, you never want to feel that burning sensation in your nether regions. My snow-covered crotch didn’t stop me from going down the hill again.

We used to laugh and play in the frozen tundra known as Pittsburgh. I guess there’s a big difference between sliding down a hill backward on a sled and sliding down a similar hill, also backward, in a car. Building a snowman because you don’t have to go to school is much different than scraping ice off the windows because you HAVE to go to work.

I like being outside; I just don’t like being cold. I realized that there are two kinds of people in the world: Outdoor People and Indoor People, just like cats. I am an Outdoor Person. Make no mistake, I am not an outdoorsman. That title comes with a level of athleticism to which I am incapable. I don’t hunt or fish, unless it’s hunt for bargains and fish for compliments. P.S. I look absolutely fantastic in my new sea foam green sweater, which I got on sale for a very modest price.
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(Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and a sit down author. His book, "Below Average Genius," a collection of humor columns culled from the Observer-Reporter, can be purchased here: )

Friday, February 6, 2015

5th Annual Hearts & Jokers at Bella Sera with AARON KLEIBER & TERRY JONES: February 13th, 2015

Friday February 13th at Bella Sera​'s Canonsburg, PA!
5th Annual "HEARTS & JOKERS"
Comedy, Dinner and Jazz!
Comedy by Aaron Kleiber​ and Terry Jones​!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Comedy Sauce: BIG SAUCE KICKOFF featuring Bill Crawford, Mike Wysocki, Aaron Kleiber and MORE! February 2, 2015

Comedy Sauce Monday's is launching with a BIG SAUCE show with THE BEST comedians Pittsburgh has to offer.
Featuring: WDVE's Bill Crawford, T-Robe, Terry Jones, Mike Travers, Matt Light, Sally Brooks, Mike Wysocki, Sean Collier and MORE!
Hosted by Aaron Kleiber

FREE SHOW - NO COVER - Limited Seating
$2 Drafts/Bottles - $2 Well Drinks
Incredible Italian Menu until 10pm

Pleasure Bar & Restaurant
4729 Liberty Ave

"Comedy Sauce" is EVERY MONDAY with 10 of the best -up-and-coming comedians in he city with special guests!

Super Scandal: Patriots Used Baseballs In Fourth Quarter

GLENDALE, AZ—The New England Patriots overcame a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to defeat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX last night, but controversy is swirling amid allegations that the Patriots used baseballs in the fourth quarter. While NFL rules clearly require footballs, an unnamed source close to the Patriots organization claims that quarterback Tom Brady prefers baseballs, which are easier to grip and throw. Footage of the game-winning touchdown suggests that not only did Brady throw a baseball, but wide receiver Julian Edelman used a baseball glove to catch it. Brady and Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick both denied any involvement in or knowledge of the switch from footballs to baseballs. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the incident is under investigation.

James J. Hamilton (@jamesjhamilton) is a comedian from Pittsburgh whose awesome genius is matched only by his incredible humility. Check out more of his writing and stand-up HERE on his blog.