How I un-stole my bike… and got COVID

I stand in a Subway sandwich shop off Crenshaw and Obama Blvd ordering a tomato basil chicken wrap. What used to be Rodeo (south of the 10 Freeway) is now named after our 44th president. I usually go with a spinach wrap, but they’re out. It’s 10:37 p.m. on Thursday, December 10th, 2020. I turn my head back toward the glass door, and my bike is gone. 

List of things that 2020 has taken from me: my job, my freedom to travel abroad, the relationship with my fiancée, any sense of normalcy, and now my new bike. I sprint out of the store, leaving the sandwich-hack baffled.  

Full panic. I look left down Crenshaw toward Adams Blvd. Nothing. I turn south, and a young guy on a bike is fleeing away. I’m not 100% sure if it’s my bike. I run after him and scream, “Hey, that’s my fucking bike.” Original, I know. What could I say to get him to stop? Scream-offer him money? I’m powerless, yet I keep running. My grey sweat pants and old Zoo York hoodie catch too much wind to be effective athletic wear. If not for the chin-strap, my bike helmet would dance right off my skull. The choice of flip flops keeps me from top speed, so I kick them off mid-stride—I’ll regret not having stretched later. My bare feet slap against the filthy Los Angeles sidewalk while the night air cools my nostrils. My lungs are pissed. 

The thief takes a right turn down 30th. It takes me two full minutes to get there. There’s no way I’m catching this guy. I slow down and look—nothing. My heart pounds; I can’t catch my breath. RuRRruruRuruRur, two slobbering Dobermans scare the life out of me from behind a rusty rod-iron fence. “Shut up, dogs,” I say, meaner than I would like. How’d I let this happen? I look down the palm tree-lined street, but the thief is gone. 

Fuck! 

I track down my flip flops, and I walk back to my apartment on Adams Blvd. I must look ridiculous with a bike helmet on, but no bike. When I moved to L.A. from Minnesota ten years ago, West Adams was a rough neighborhood, but now it’s just another gentrifying part of the city. A handful of street people mill about. In the year-and-a-half I’ve lived here, I’ve been exposed to their 24-hour presence—a consistent reminder of how things could be worse if I’m not careful. 

My breathing is back to normal, but my mind races. That bike cost me around $250 at the beginning of COVID, but prices have climbed. The all-black frame and matching wheels gave it a slick look. It had a fixed gear and was 58 centimeters tall, the first bike I’ve ever purchased appropriate for my height. I couldn’t afford to buy it again. Tonight was also the first time I used my new front and back lights. I love riding in the city at night. Fewer cars, the streets feel more like mine. Damnit, add those lights to the list of things I’ve lost this year.  

I storm upstairs to my second-floor apartment and find a bottle of water in my fridge. I chug it. This can’t be the end of the story. I put on jeans, my hiking Nikes, and a baseball hat. I also grab my mini-Louisville Slugger baseball bat and my car keys. I put in my earbuds and call 911. It rings and rings. A woman finally answers and puts me on hold. I get in my white, 4-door Hyundai Accent and head toward the Subway. I listen to ‘on hold’ music. I know the chances of finding my bike are low, but I have to try. Trying is who I am. I don’t even know why I’m calling the cops; there’s nothing they can do. I drive past the sandwich shop and turn where the thief turned. I’m running on instincts. I take a left and then a right. 

“Los Angeles Police department, how can I be of assistance?” a young male cop says in my earbuds. 

“Hello, ummm, my bike was just stolen from the Subway off Crenshaw and 29th. I’m not sure if there is anything you can do to help me, but I figured I try.” 

I turn right onto Jefferson. 

“Do you have a pen and paper handy, sir? I can give you the website so you can report the theft.” 

“So, you’re not going to do anything to help?” 

“Sir, I’m giving you the information so you can report the incident.” 

“Look, please shoot me straight. In this type of situation, does anyone ever get their bike back?”

“Sir, filling out a police report is your best chance of—“

“I’m not trying to be rude, but I’m not going to do that. Be real with me, is there any chance of me getting my bike back?” 

The young officer doesn’t know what to say. I turn right onto La Brea. Traffic is minimal.  

“Could you send an officer to the Subway to take my statement?”

“With COVID, we try to limit physical interactions.”

I pull up to the corner of La Brea and Adams. 

“I get it,” I say. 

This isn’t the cop’s fault. I should’ve used a lock. 

On the sidewalk is a young guy in his twenties on a bike. He wears ripped skinny jeans and a faded black denim jacket. I look closer—holy shit, that’s my bike. I’m confused by his fashionable outfit. If he’s got money for new clothes, why’s he stealing my bike? I figured the chances of finding it were ten-thousand to one. There’s no hesitation in me. I’m too focused to be scared—finally, an opportunity to take something back.  

“I think I found the guy who stole my bike,” I say to the cop in my earbuds.  

Without a second thought, I swerve my car in front of the guy, stopping him from crossing Adams Blvd. 

“Where are you, sir?” the cop asks. 

I park, grab the mini-bat, and step out of my car. Time simultaneously goes in warp speed and slow-motion. 

“That’s my fucking bike,” I scream and point the bat at the young guy. 

He freezes in terror. The joy of his new toy is replaced with the fear of a man wielding a mini-Louisville Slugger baseball bat. Why am I not more scared? I run around the back of my car. “Get the fuck off my bike.” 

“I just bought this bike for a hundred bucks,” he claims while running for his life around the front of my car. 

I get to my bike, but now the young guy is on the driver’s side of my car with my door open—and the engine is running. He could steal my car. 

My earbuds blow up. “Sir, what is going on? Where are you? Do you want me to send an officer?”

I have a move. “Yes, send the police,” I say to the cop. “I’m at the corner of La Brea and Adams,” I look at the young guy, “The cops are on their way, motherfucker.” 

“Man, I didn’t steal shit. I just bought this fucking bike like twenty minutes ago.” 

I give him credit for coming up with a story that quickly, but I don’t believe him. I examine the bike and realize my new lights are missing. 

“Where the fuck are my lights?” I scream. 

“I don’t know.” 

“I will fuck you up if you don’t give me my lights back,” A dry threat. It’s all posturing at this point.  

“I don’t have your fucking lights, man.” 

“Then, get the fuck out of here. The cops are on their way.” 

Under his breath, the young guy mumbles as he jogs away, “I just bought that fucking bike. This is bullshit.” 

Adrenaline is why I’m not scared. Do I go after him for my lights? Cars line up on La Brea. My car blocks the turn lane. I need to get my bike home, but it won’t fit in my car without taking off the front tire. I rummage through my glove compartment, searching for the adjustable wrench I need. It’s not there. I shove the bike in my back seat. The back driver’s side door won’t close all the way. I need to get the hell out of here. I drive back to my apartment with my back door ajar—my mind is all over the place. Two cop cars fly past in the opposite direction with their lights and sirens on.

I pull into the garage area behind my apartment, get my bike out, and bring it upstairs. I come back downstairs and sit on the last step. Can’t sit still. One of these days, my confrontational nature is going to get me killed. I need to call someone and tell them what happened. My phone rings. A (213) area code. I don’t recognize the number. Is it the thief? That’s not possible. 

“Los Angeles Police Department, is this Nick?” a female officer asks. 

“Yes.”

“We have officers at the corner of La Brea and Adams. Where are you?” 

“I’m home.” 

“Can you describe the gun?” 

“What? I never said anything about a gun.” Did someone report the baseball bat as a gun? 

“Ahhh, well, there was a report of a robbery,” the female officer says, unsure. 

“Yeah, but there wasn’t any gun.” 

“Oh,” she says, conscious of the difference in severity, “Do you want to make a police report?” 

“No, I’m good. I got my bike back.” 

“Okay, thanks. Have a good night, sir.” 

A gun? 

This whole situation could’ve ended much differently. I was in Minnesota this summer when George Floyd got murdered. We all witnessed a worst-case scenario. What if the cops would’ve arrived when I was chasing the guy around my car? I had a weapon. I could’ve got shot. He could’ve got shot. Did I do the right thing? The people at the intersection probably thought I was the one stealing his bike. I can’t believe this got so out of hand. I don’t feel strong. I feel weak. All I want to do is punch the dash of my car till my hand bleeds. The same week I watched Minneapolis burn, the relationship with my fiancée fell apart. My whole life felt like it was on fire. I’m tired of things not working out. I’m tired of being tired. 

My stomach creaks. I get in my car and drive back to the Subway. Without my hoodie, I walk in wearing a blue medical mask. My hair is wild from the chaos of the night and the months of pandemic growth. It’s only been an hour since I bolted out of here, but the kid behind the counter doesn’t seem to recognize me. 

“How’s your day going?” he asks. 

How’s my day going? “It’s not going great, man. I just had my bike stolen.” 

“Oh,” he says, oblivious to humanity itself. 

Back at my apartment, I eat my tomato basil chicken wrap in my tub full of bubbles. My mom texts: You up? I call her, and I tell the whole story. She can’t believe it. “Son, I’m proud of you for getting your bike back. Most people wouldn’t have even tried.” That’s wild. A million emotions swirl inside of me, but pride is not one of them. 

The next day I have a cough. The day after that, I drive to Dodgers Stadium and wait in a two-hour line to take my first COVID test in my car. A few days later, the test comes back positive. I won’t be able to fly home for Christmas. If I’m lucky, this will be the last thing 2020 takes from me.

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Flickered

“I used to live across the street from this giant old church, and it had a light on the front that always flickered. You couldn’t see it during the day, but at night it was annoying. It didn’t bother me for the first few months, but after a while, I felt like the light was trying to get my attention. So I learned Morse code off of the internet and spent two entire nights writing down the message,” Adam says, holding his newborn son. He shrugs and walks away.
“So, you’re… that’s it? You’re not going to finish the story?” I ask.
Adams stops. He speaks over his shoulder, protecting his son from the wind, “I’m not going to insult you; you know how it ends.”
“I do?”
Adam closes his eyes and nods.
“You wrote down everything, and it was all gibberish and gobbledegook? The light doesn’t mean shit. There is no supreme being, life is a meaningless pit of despair, and everything we do is motivated by the simple need to either eat or fuck. Something along those lines?”
“Yes!” he laughs, “No, I mean, yes, to the eating and fucking part, but I told you about the pesky light because it helped me understand the lie we were all sold. Nobody is coming. Whatever sign you’re waiting for won’t show, and religion is there to help us cope with that Truth. We’re on our own. Oh, there’s a God, but you won’t find the Almighty in a church. For millennia, God was our best guess, but we’ve evolved, and now we need better stories.”
Adam keeps walking.


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TWO HITS OF ACID IN CAMBODIA (Prologue)

I’m naked. I hover my quivering anus over a rickety toilet with no seat, in a ten-dollar-a-night hut, on a picturesque island surrounded by glow-in-the-dark plankton off the coast of Cambodia. Moonlight illuminates my silhouette while suffocating humidity runs roughshod on my sinuses. It’s over a hundred degrees, yet I shiver. Where are my clothes? How’d I get back to our hut? My last vestige of stomach bile rudely departs from all available exits. We paid an extra 8,000 Riel ($2 US) a night for Trip Advisor’s 2017 #4 ranked Koh Rong open-air concept, which means the crapper is outside, exposing me to fourteen million dive-bombing mosquitoes. Why am I alone? I’ve never heard this many bugs, much less smelled them. I should be grateful; most of this country reeks of motorbike exhaust and damp trash. I pin my right thumb down on a greasy aerosol can of Vietnamese brand bug spray, blasting the onslaught with an illegal in America amount of DEET. My insides, the color of contaminated river water, rocket past my teeth.

A fresh bamboo needle tattoo of an inky lotus flower bursts from my left bicep, growing thick, vicious roots that burrow into my sunburned flesh. Vines slither from the brush, crawl up my trembling legs, and engulf my torso—a tribe of screaming stump-tailed monkeys stampede through the dense jungle canopy.

I heave, flexing every muscle in my gut.

Nothing.

I jam my pointer finger down my tired throat. I’m hollow. All that remains is my death rattle. Alone, on the other side of the planet, dying in a pool of my own sick.

My cold hand presses against my chest; each heartbeat entrusts life back into my exhausted body. 

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Go Fill Up a Passport… By: N.A. Vorderbruggen

Back in November of 2017, I was sitting in the Singapore airport waiting to fly back to Los Angeles. It was my first time being in the city-state. I was fortunate enough to have just headlined their first full-time comedy club’The Merry Lion. Sitting across from me, in those massively uncomfortable airport chairs, were two older couples from Sweden. At first, I was annoyed because they had a nervous Scottish Terrier that wouldn’t stop whining. Airports are always a bit paradoxical; thrilled to be escaping but annoyed with all the micro-stresses that come with being cramped in with strangers.

Although these four fellow travelers seemed nice enough, they also had the air of money. I don’t love this about myself, but I have a tendency to hold people of wealth to an unfair standard. I’m simultaneously looking to be in their shoes and judging them for not having to feel the fear and pain of adventuring on the cheap.

The alpha of their group was a mid-sixties white man with no hair on top of his head, but a ring of grey stubble guarding the sides and back. He had a kind face; soft pink skin with small beady eyes and a tiny smile. He asked me if I was an American. At first, I thought it was a good guess, but then remembered I was a six-foot-two white guy, wearing a backwards baseball cap waiting for a flight back to America.

‘Yes,’ I said with a smile.
‘I’ve spent a lot of time in Louisiana. The company I worked for in Sweden had offices there,’ he said confidently, more matter-of-fact than braggadocious.

He asked me where I had been during my current travels. I had my passport in my hand, so I showed him the variety of different stamps and travel visas I had obtained from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Having the evidence was quite satisfying. It’s one thing to tell a story, it’s another to have a passport that tells the story for you.

As a kid, I remember wanting desperately to fill up a passport. The first time I saw one was on the title sequence for the TV show ‘MacGyver’. To this day, every time I see a passport I think of that image during the show’s opening montage.

I got my first passport when I was eighteen and although I got some use out of it, it wasn’t as much as I would have liked. It had stamps from England, Amsterdam, Shanghai, and the Middle East, but I wanted more. Luckily, the passport I was currently holding was starting to become respectable.

My chest puffed with satisfaction as I showed the Alpha-Swede stamps from Aruba, Prague, Brussels, and Israel. Then, he pulled out his passport and I could tell with a glance I was about to be humbled. Almost every page was filled. I was impressed and critical at the same time because I assumed that most of those stamps had been obtained with the type of traveling you only get to do on a company’s dime, and he admitted as much.

The Swedish man showed me stamps from all over the world. South Africa to Brazil, Pakistan to Cuba. It was inspiring. He asked me if Americans still didn’t get their passports stamped when they went to Cuba. I told him luckily things were starting to change. The only place I had been where I didn’t get a stamp was Israel. I was told other countries in the region wouldn’t accept a stamp from Israel so it was smart not to get one. Part of me was bummed because on that trip I wasn’t going to any other countries in the region and just wanted the stamp to add to my collection. Sometimes world politics make me feel like I showed up to a party right after a fight and some people are mad at me because I happen to have on the same color shirt as one of the guys who started the fight.

Soon, everyone had their passports out. We were all showing off where we had been and how it was and how it made us feel. Before the internet, I imagine this was the way people found out where they would like to go on their next vacation.

I told the Swedes of my first experience seeing a passport with my own eyes. It was when my Aunt Julie, who had spent most of her adult life overseas, came home to Minnesota when I was a kid. She was in the Peace Corps in Morocco in her early twenties and worked all over the world for the International Refugee Committee (the IRC was founded by Albert Einstein in 1933 and has a 700 million dollar annual budget), so her passport was always stuffed. I remembered one time she had to get more pages added because every available spot had been stamped. In America, they don’t let you do that anymore. Now, the government makes you pay for a whole new passport.

Even as this interaction was happening, I had an acute awareness that waxing passports with these Swedish strangers, in the Singapore airport, was what traveling was all about. The Venn diagram between any two people on this planet is about ninety-nine percent the same, but for some reason, most of us tend to focus on the one-percent that makes us different.

If I would have allowed the fear of getting out of my comfort zone to keep me from leaving Minnesota when I was young, I never would have moved to Chicago and then, eventually, Los Angeles. I would have never seen the world for myself and I would have never met these curious souls in that airport that day. I believe that even if you love living close to where you were born, you should leave, even just for a while, so that when you return you can actually see where you are from with your own eyes. The more I travel, the more natural it is for me to focus on that ninety-nine percent that unites us.

My current passport is almost exactly half full right now. I’m sure I’ll be terrified when it actually happens, but the adventurous part of my mind can’t wait for that moment when I’m not sure if they’ll let me into a country because my passport is too full to stamp.

From my West Adams attic
3-19-2019

Edited by: Lacy Johnson

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My Grandfather’s Watch

My Grandfather passed away this summer. He was my mother’s father. There’s something about your mother’s father that feels more intimate. He passed while I happened to be back home in Minnesota for five weeks. I was on my way to see him, when I found out he died. My mother called me while I was driving. She was hyperventilating. I had to pull over. My grandfather was 91 and had been sick for a while, so I could assume this was why she was so upset, but I didn’t know for sure. No one should ever have to hear their mother in that much pain. She wailed. It cut through me. I could hear her chest shaking. I knew after that moment everything would be different. I tried to be strong. She struggled for more than three minutes to get a word out. She was just sobbing. It was torture. I assumed she was going to tell me my grandfather had died, but she couldn’t say it. My mind was full of fear and started to create other scenarios. Maybe it wasn’t my grandfather, maybe something happened to my dad or my sister. I got mad; I yelled at her, pleading for her to tell me what was going on. She finally found the space to say the words, “Grandpa is dead.” The sobbing intensified. Hearing my mother cry that hard will stay with me for the rest of my life.


Over the last couple of years, I had been preparing myself for his death and in that moment I was, for the most part, holding it together; but once I got to the hospice center I lost control. I couldn’t even go in the room where he died without first asking everyone else to leave. I didn’t want to be on display as I was consumed by my feelings. There were numerous family members there. It was beyond intense. I couldn’t look any of them in the eye. I was crying so hard my vision was blurry. I had never cried like that before. My aunts rushed over to me. I heard my grandmother say, “He’s responding just like I did when my Grandfather passed.” I’m sure it was hard to watch. Everyone understood and left the room. I entered with my mom and my grandmother holding me. The room felt like a new, large hospital room but with carpet. It had a softness that was there by design. My eyes were filled with alligator tears. I stared at the floor, taking in slow, measured breaths. I finally looked up and for the first time ever I was in the presence of a dead body of someone I shared DNA with. Many have said I’m my grandfather’s twin, but now his skin had the yellow hue of jaundice.


His mouth was agape, as if he was still gasping for his last breath. I sat down and cried until I there was nothing left. Then I looked up at him and smiled. It terrified me, but I touched his forehead. Family members slowly made their way back in. After some time, my grandmother lifted up my grandfather’s arm and took off his watch. It was a simple Timex watch. White face with black numbers, silver colored band, with gold on the edges. She turned to me and said, “Grandpa would have wanted you to have this.” As she slid it onto my wrist the old-school band pulled on my arm hair. A tremendous sense of pride and responsibility came over me.

That was a hard day, but as we do, I made it through. I wore his watch to the funeral. The pastor gave it his best shot but it was clear that a stranger was speaking about my grandfather. The pastor was in his early 30’s, he wore black Oakley glasses and sandals. Yeah, sandals. Not cool Jesus-y sandals, but more like the type of sandals people wear when they go rock climbing. Combine that with his man-bun and I was less than impressed. His speech was as if he had filled out some sort of Mad-Lib about my grandfather’s life. Most people, even most of my family, didn’t mind, but to me his words lacked intimacy. I wanted to push him aside and say, “I got this one, padre.” But as a grandchild, I felt it wasn’t my place. When my parents pass you can be certain I will be giving the eulogy.

But, life goes on and now I wear a dead man’s watch. I keep it on Minnesota time as an homage to Theodore William Dargis Jr. Although he is not with us, his impact will live on. He continues, because I continue. We are all going to die and that is sad, but it doesn’t have to be tragic. Death is what gives life it’s value. I went home for five weeks to spend time with my girlfriend and her boys. We took her youngest boy to his first Minnesota Twins baseball game. My grandfather loved the Twins. We went to many games together.

Obituary:

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UNLIKELY ASSASSINS – A New Original Series

From the mind of comedian Nicholas Anthony comes an original series directed by the brilliant Nikolas Smith. A thriller in 5 acts. Starring the dashing Kash Abdulmalik & Nicholas Anthony. Written by Nicholas Anthony and Greg Berman

Unlikely Assassins – Trailer from Nicholas Anthony on Vimeo.

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Am I a racist? A white comedian asks.

This clip is from Jan. 2018 at The Irvine Improv in Irvine, CA. I’m proud of how I handled myself even though I disagreed with someone. I hope more conversation can go this way. Enjoy!

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Last night I opened for Dave Chappelle

When I was a kid I would listen to George Carlin and Eddie Murphy and as much as I loved their material I also loved listening to the audience. That wall of animated sound is so intoxicating. The power of being able to orchestrate a crowd that size in such a beautiful, pure manner still to this day makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I’ve chased that wall of sound around this country, hell around this planet, for years now and it lead me to open for a legend. Last night was the culmination of years of hard work and I’m so appreciative for the experience. Now, the rub…

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I should be the most happy boy in the history of happy boys but I must admit I feel like a fraud this morning. The comedian who wrote my act is not the same person who writes this blog post. I’ve been doing the act of a younger man for a while now. I’ve been stealing bits from a version of myself who no longer exists, a 25-year-old Nicholas Anthony. Now I can’t be too hard on my 34-year-old self because in the last few years I have kicked out many screenplays that do represent my voice. I’m very proud of those scripts and screenwriting is an integral part of my life but when it comes to stand-up comedy I still have a lot of work to do.

The plan:

I’m headlining Morty’s Comedy Club in Indianapolis Dec. 21st through 23rd and that will be the last time I do any of my old material. After that I’m going on vacation in Southeast Asia for most of January and then I perform on a cruise ship for 2 weeks over my birthday in February. During those 2 weeks at sea I will officially start the process. I need to start fresh. I need to be in this moment of my life. I need to reinvent and figure something out that’s 100% mine… at this point in my life. Sorry in advance for watching any complete nonsense. The process can be messy but I need to stop being afraid of it.

Many thanks to Dave Chappelle, Grant Lyon, Dave Waite, Andy Peters and to all of the good people at The Blind Barber. I feel like I’m at the bottom of a very tall hill, time to find that boulder and start pushing.

Click HERE for TMZ (video) on night 1 with Dave Chappelle at The Blind Barber

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How I got my 1st network TV writing job

There are more brain surgeons than there are professional television writers. I don’t know if that’s actually a true statement but it’s something I tell people and it sure does feel true. When I was 17 years old, in my mind, I decided to become a professional screenwriter and as crazy as it sounds, even to me, I was recently hired to write for a new show on CBS called, The Inspectors (which will air in the fall of 2015). The following is a brief story about how that happened.

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In 2003 I started doing stand-up comedy at ACME Comedy Club in Minneapolis, MN. During that time I had a feeling that as much as I loved stand-up at some point I would want more. So I enrolled into the well respected but affordable screenwriting program at MCTC in Minneapolis. While there I studied with the great and mysterious Hafed Bouassida who studied film at the famous Prague Film School in the Czech Republic. What I learned from Hafed is the foundation upon which every other aspect of my writing has been built. He hammered us on keeping our scripts visual and was a tyrant about structure. Although I wish our relationship would have continued past film school he was the mentor I needed at the genesis of my career.

While still in Minneapolis I wrote many scripts. The first one we produced was a Twilight Zone type story called, Breakables. With my fellow producers Wayne Johnson and Brendan Eddy the second film we created was the ambitious WWI short, The Nihilist. This film was the story of a depressed English soldier who had lost the will to live and decided to commit suicide by running into the middle of trench warfare. After producing that short and doing well in the independent film festival market, I decided to move out of Minnesota. First, to Chicago and then Louisville so that I could continue my career as a traveling stand-up comedian. Finally in the fall of 2010 I moved to Los Angeles to realize the dream I had since I was 17.

When I first got to LA I audited a class at Pepperdine University that was taught by the immensely talented and passionate screenwriter Randall Wallace (writer of Braveheart). During that experience I realized that my proximity to talented people had nothing to do with my own talent and as much as I knew I had taste I needed to start developing my own voice. I had already written my first feature length script and was writing a number of TV specs (Modern Family, 30 Rock, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) but now I needed connections. Luckily I was accepted into the Advanced TV Writing Program through UCLA’s Extension. There I met and worked with many TV veterans. They helped me polish my first pilot Never Famous which went on to win the Final Draft TV Pilot Writing Contest in 2014. After that I started working on a project called My Girlfriend’s A Doll and during that time I was offered a job on the CBS show, The Inspectors.

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Last month I finished my first script for The Inspectors. They gave me 2 weeks to write it and I was able to finish it in 3 days. What I leaned from that process is something that I was told as a younger writer but didn’t fully grasp until this experience. It’s quite simple: great screenwriting is the result of great outlining. I will say it again, OUTLINE, OUTLINE, OUTLINE! It’s easy to want to just start writing but the outlining process is how most professionals work. The Inspectors will shoot this summer in Charleston, SC and if I’m lucky maybe they’ll give me a cameo so I can have my Hitchcock moment. Stay tuned, I’m as excited as you are to see what happens next.

Links to the scripts that were mentioned:

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia spec

30 ROCK spec

Modern Family spec

One For The Road feature film

Never Famous pilot script

My Girlfriend’s A Doll pilot

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MY L.A. DIET: How Stress & Failure Helped Shed the Pounds!

We could all use to loose a few pounds. Well have I got the plan for you. First, quit your successful career path and put your entire efforts into becoming a STAND-UP COMEDIAN! This will involve confusing and disappointing most of your loved-ones, writing horse-shit material for at least 5 to 10 years and then setting up a travel schedule that will smother any chance of having a healthy relationship with a woman. Next, move up from emcee, to feature, to headliner, in clubs that actually talented people wouldn’t play if they had guns to their heads. After you have some experience, submit for a comedy festival or even better a comedy contest (those are even more fair). Keep working the road, dodging STD’s and DUI’s until you develop deep seated separation anxiety and minor drug addictions. “But Nick, I’ve done what you said and I’m still a fat fuck. Am I on the right path?” (smug laughter) Of course you are! As a stand-up comedian, questioning one’s life choices is the fruitless, lonely, meal that will consume your mind every single day. Then, and this is important: don’t kill yourself… years of entertaining mindless strangers and your drug addiction spiraling out of control will make you want to, but don’t. Now, gather your bullshit half-credits from a reality show, cable, and/or NACA showcases and MOVE TO L.A.

“Whoa Nick, I like where I live and think I can have a real career in show business from a secondary market.” Listen here you rube, unless your name is Chad Daniels, you’re lying to yourself. Stop being an asshole and pack your shit. Once you’re in Los Angeles contact all the people you met while working on the road and then realize that they have less of an idea of what they’re doing then you do. Now, go to the worst open mics you could imagine, surrounded by the shallowest people you’ve ever met, and try to develop material that you really care about. Lastly, set up meetings and showcases that all go amazingly well but you still don’t get called back and the pounds will start to shed off at once.

Follow these easy steps and you’ll be a shell of yourself in no time! And remember DON’T KILL YOURSELF. As shitty as L.A. seems at first, the whole thing is just a test to see if you REALLY want it.* And hey, when you can clearly see you’re own rib cage poking through your gaunt, emaciated body, then and only then do you truly know that you are living your dreams.

Nicholas Anthony
Written from the comedy
condo in San Antonio, TX

*Not hyperbole

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