Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Business November 30th 2011, "Sylvan Spectacular!" Edition

Tuesday night, Sylvan Productions has their final open improv show at the Dark Room. Wednesday, they're the guest of honor at The Business, as we say goodbye to our Dark Roommates, and say hello to a new era of SF comedy. If that weren't enough, we've also got comedians Matt Gubser and O.J. Patterson - plus regular Businessmen Sean and Bucky.

Sylvan Productions has done a wildly popular Open Improv show at the Dark Room every Tuesday, which moves to the SUB/Mission starting in December. They also produce a five-hour comedy show every Wednesday at the Dirty Trix Saloon, and this Friday, their Producers Show comes to Dirty Trix as well. Their shows may be heavily improv'ed, but they could hardly be improved.

Matt Gubser is an SF comedian with the hair of a handsomer Jesus Christ and the wit of a sassier Judas Iscariot. He performs at all the finest clubs and showcases in the Bay Area, and he's also a potter, as if that's fair at all. O.J. Patterson is a rising star who recently opened for Hannibal Buress. His blog, Courting Comedy ( is a living document of the local scene and your best source for Holy City Zoo photos.

The show gets started at 8, and admission is still just five bucks. Are you going to be there? The answer is, "Yes, and..."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ramamritham rules

Alas, Ramamritham is alive , well and strong and he rules upon all that he surveys (pun intended).  The Indian Government will announce today in parliament that it would open up the retail sector to foreign investment. No doubt the Left will organise some bandhs, yell at 10,000 decibels in the Lok Sabha, and then this law will be passed while the opposition will walk out en masse.

Ostensibly, this is economic reform. Its a pathetic, 15cms of reform after a decade of nothing happening, but we'll reserve that criticism for another day. What has got my goat is Ramamritham's dirty footprint all across this move.

Firstly foreign investment of 100% will be allowed in Single Brand Retail, but only 51% in multi brand retail. Therefore a Marks & Spencer store can be 100% foreign owned, but Carrefour can't. Even though they may both sell precisely the same things (M&S does sell a lot of food). Pray why ??

Secondly Ramamritham has excelled himself in drafting a series of conditions for allowing  even this. Look at some of them

  • The minimum investment is $100 m. Where he got this figure is unclear. Why not $82.5 m? But at least we can live with this
  • 50% of this $100 m has to be invested in "back end". Then our venerable hero has gone on to clarify that land, rentals and front end stores will not count as back end. No doubt detailed rules on what is back and what is front will be framed. (here is conclusive proof at last that Ramamritham doesn't know his front side from his back side) Lobbyists will work very hard to get IT systems included in back end. But R will qualify that Microsoft Office will not count as back end. Many months of fruitful work and litigation awaits.
  • 30% has to be sourced by these companies from small scale (completely irrelevant if the product is rubbish and the consumer does not want it) No doubt a front small scale company will be set up who will buy the stuff from a big company and then sell it to the retailer to fulfill this quota. R being very smart will then draft rules to stop this. The retailer being equally smart will get a small scale company to buy from a small scale company to buy from a big company ....... and so on.
  • Stores can be set up only in cities with 1 million population. Lobbyists will work to reduce this number to half a million. They will then lobby that last year Gummidipoondi crossed 1 million population and that R should not wait for another 10 years for the next census but instead pass an interim order allowing the store to be opened there.
How can we get this into Ramamritham's thick skull that we don't want him deciding what is good or bad for us as consumers.  Or for the small Indian retailer who he is trying to protect with such quixotic rules. The Indian retailer needs no protection. He is quite a formidable force. Its by no means certain that small retailers will vanish just because Walmart came in - in India the economics of the retail industry, especially the relative high cost of real estate,  is such that this is very unlikely.

In any case, how about letting the consumer choose. Rajalakshmi will vote with her feet and purse. She will buy where something is cheaper, better and where she likes to go. She deserves that freedom. Ramamritham should be booted from blocking the way.

PS : For those new to this space, Ramaritham is the mythical, fictional bureaucrat who takes orgasmic pleasure in framing complex, unnecessary and useless rules in order to make lives miserable for ordinary members of the homo sapiens species.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why this kolaveri di

The title of the post is simply to substantiate to Gils , Zeno and other  experts that I am "tuned in" ! In case you are still flummoxed, then that is clear proof that you simply aren't up to date with the "in thing" !! Why this kolaveri di is a completely nonsensical song that for reasons totally baffling has become a massive rage and has gone viral in the last four days. Since world success these days is measured in terms of number of views in YouTube (1.8 million in 4 days and rising by the minute) and insane numbers of Tweets,  Facebook mentions and likes ; it can be conclusively established as a massive hit. I am reliably told that it is competing with another equally baffling entity called Lady Gaga for global leadership.

The song is in "Tanglish" - the curious mixture of Tamil and English which is widely spoken in Madras. It is from a forthcoming movie called 3 (zero marks for creativity in naming a movie). The lyrics are complete nonsense and there is virtually no reason why it should appeal to anybody. And yet it is a hit in four days. WHY ????

This is the mystery of success in consumer marketing. No amount of consumer insight or market research will tell you why something will succeed while a similar thing bombs. The consumer continues to be an indescribable mystery. Many pundits will write treatises on why it succeeded, but after the event. Only a rare genius such as Steve Jobs, could confidently predict success, and get it right. That's why he is so highly feted.

Can anybody tell me why Justin Bieber's Baby should have more than half a billion views on YouTube (the kid can't sing for Gods sake).  And why Charlie Bit my Finger was long reining as the top watched video of all time and even now is a respectable 6th with some 400 million views. Or for that matter, why a yucky tasting syrup, developed as a patented quack medicine for  morphine addiction, dyspepsia and impotence should become the largest consumed drink in the world for 100 years.

Who can fathom the mind of Rajalakshmi, Wang Xiao or Jane Doe ?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Business November 23rd 2011, "Thanksgiving Plymouth Rockin' Eve!" Edition

Twas the night before Thanksgiving
And all through the Mission
Everyone came to the Dark Room
Because our show was so bitchin'

It is an All Thanksgivinged Eve to remember at the Dark Room this week, as we welcome a cornucopia of guests to the Business. From Los Angeles, we have Aparna Nancherla and SF native Emily Maya Mills, and from New York City, we have Alameda's own Emily Heller! Holy shit, if the Wampanoag had brought this kind of lineup to the Pilgrims back in 1621, they all would have died of laughter! And probably scurvy or rickets, because medicine was very primitive back then.

Aparna Nancherla is a Washington D.C. native who now entertains Los Angeles with her absurdist wit. She's performed all over the place. including Last Comic Standing, the Bentzen Ball, the Bridgetown Festival, WTF with Marc Maron, and, most importantly, The Business LA. I yam excited to hear her stuff!

Emily Maya Mills - "the Edward James Olmos of comedy" - is an actor, writer and stand-up comic based in Los Angeles, and is regarded by many as "the hottest 65-year-old in the business." She's been seen on Parks and Recreation, Ellen, Conan, Childrens’ Hospital, Key and Peele, Downers Grove and many of television’s weirder commercials. She's one of our favorite comics and favorite people, and we're thankful to have her back.

Emily Heller recently performed as one of Comedy Central's Comics To Watch in New York City, but she's still humble enough to return to her Dark Room roots. She's performed at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, SF Sketchfest... look, you know who Emily Heller is already. In 1621, she would have been known as a "sassy pilgrim," refused to eat turkey, and then probably burned at the stake. But instead, she'll be lighting it up on the stage!

We've also got regular Businessman Sean and Bucky, the gravy to this holiday smorgasbord. Also expect surprise guests, cardboard hand turkeys, pumpkin-based snacks, and one thousand six hundred and twenty-one laughs. $5, no wampum.

The Business November 16th 2011, "Occupy Swan Street" Edition

Whose Dark Room? Our Dark Room! No Alex this week, but The Business has two exciting guest stars this week. We welcome two of our favorite journalists, Rachel Swan and Hiya Swanhuyser, to discuss the Occupy movement, journalism, the Black Bloc, and whether Occupy Oakland is hipper and less gentrified than Occupy SF. 

Rachel Swan is the music editor of the East Bay Express, who made her standup comedy debut at The Business last year. Hiya Swanhuyser is a former culture writer and blogger for the SF Weekly who recently produced the Occupy SF Art & Performance series. They're both in the top 1% of journalists in our book.

Our corporate overlords still demand a capitalist admission fee, but it's only five dollars, dollars that sadly still bear the mark of the Federal Reserve bank. We still offer a bring-your-own-burrito program, in defiance of the authorities, but you might need a gas mask afterward.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The awfulness of Benetton

Benetton, the clothing company, has been struggling of late. So they've gone back to  their horrible old formula to promote their brand - make shocking advertisements.

Their campaign is called "UNhate" - whatever that means. These are some of their abominations.

The last one elicited an irritated objection from the Vatican for the depiction of the Holy Father in this manner and that too for a commercial purpose. Benetton has reportedly withdrawn this ad.

Benetton is known for outrageous advertising in the past. I won't dignify their earlier indecencies with  reproducing those photographs. They have included a man dying of AIDS, a new born with its umbilical cord still connected to the mother, a soldier holding a human bone, and the like.

Sure, there is clutter in advertising and you need to break through it. But there must be a sense of decency in business, just as the same as in all walks of life.  Anything that is legally OK, is not OK. Making money by shocking people seems to be an awful way to earn a living.

But in a capitalist system, the consumer has the final say. If enough people are offended by such tactics, they simply will not buy the product. Benetton's sales are some € 2 bn, not too far from where they were a decade ago. Zara, a competitor, which does not advertise, sells € 12 bn. But alas, Benetton routinely wins advertising awards for "innovative" advertising.

Being a committed capitalist, I never thought I would utter the following words, but now I do - I heartily wish that Benetton would go bust. Moral bankruptcy is a prelude to financial bankruptcy.

What's wrong with senior executive pay – lots in my view

There are three things I do not like about top management pay: 1) they usually get paid too much, 2) way too large a part is flexible, performance-related pay, 3) often, a very sizeable chunk of it is paid through stock options.

I used to think - naively - that high top management pay was high simply due to supply and demand: these smart people with lots of business acumen and experience are hard to come by; therefore you have to pay them lots. These grumpy anti-corporates claiming their pay is too high are just envious and naive. Turns out I was (maybe not envious, but certainly naive).

Pay level

Because digging into the rigorous research on the topic - and there is quite a bit of it - I learned that there is really not much of a relationship between firm performance and top management pay. These guys (mostly guys) get paid a lot whether or not their company's performance is any good. Moreover, I learned what sort of factors push up top managers' remuneration - and it ain't supply and demand. It has much more to do with selecting the right company directors (to serve on your remumeration committee) and making sure you are well networked and socialized into the business elite.* Now I have to conclude: top management pay is generally too high, and quite a bit too high.

Flexible pay

Secondly: where does this absurd idea come from that 80+ percent of these guys' remuneration has to be performance related?! "To reward them for good performance and stimulate them to act in the best interest of the company and its shareholders" you might say? To which I would reply "oh, come on!?" If your CEO is the type of guy who needs 90 percent performance-related pay or otherwise he won't act in the best interest of the company, I would say the perfect time to get rid of him is yesterday. You and I do not need 90 percent performance related pay to do our best, do we? So why would it be allowed to hold for top managers? As Henry Mintzberg put it: "Real leaders don't take bonuses".

Moreover, one should only pay performance-related remuneration if you can actually measure the person's performance. And that is - especially for top managers - actually pretty darn hard to do. The strategic decisions one takes this year will often only be felt 5 or 10 years from now, if not longer. Moreover, the performance of the company - which we always take to proxy the CEO's performance - is influenced by a whole bunch of other things; many not under a CEO's control. Hence, short term financial performance figures are a terrible indicator of a top manager's performance in the job and long-term performance contracts all but impossible to specify. If you can't reliably measure performance, don't have performance-related pay, and certainly not 80+ percent of it. We know from ample research that humans start manipulating their performance when you tie their remuneration to some strange metric and, guess what, CEOs are pretty human (at least in that respect); they do too.


Finally: stock options... Once again, I have to say "oh, come on...". We pretty much take for granted that we pay top managers by awarding them options, but don't quite realize any more why. When I ask this question to my students or the executives in my lecture room ("why do we actually pay them in options...?") usually a stunned silence follows after which someone mumbles "because they are cheap to hand out...?". I usually try to remain polite after such an answer but why would they be cheap; cheaper than cash, or shares for that matter? True, it does not cost you anything out of pocket if you give them an option to buy shares for say 100 one year from now, while your present share price is 90, but if the share price by that time is 150 it does cost you 50. Moreover, you could have sold that stock option to someone who would have happily paid you good money for it, so in terms of opportunity costs it is realy money too. No, stock options are not cheaper than cash, shares, or whatever.

We give them options to stimulate them to take more risk. "Risk?! We want them to take more risk?!" thou might think. Yes, that's what you are doing if you give them options. If the share price is 150 at the time the option expires, the CEO can buy the shares at 100 and thus make 50. However, if the share price is 90 the option is worthless, and the CEO does not make anything. However, the trick is that the CEO then does not care whether the share price is 90 or, say, 50 - in either case he does not make any money; worthless is worthless. As a consequence, when his options (i.e. the right to buy shares at 100) are about to expire and the company's share price is still 90, he has a great incentive to quickly take a massive amount of risk. Going to a roulette table would already be a rational to do.

Because if you placed the company's capital on red, and the ball hits red, share price may jump from 90 to 130, and suddenly your options are worth a lot of money (130-100 to be precise). However, if your bet fails, the ball hits black and you lose a ton of money, who cares; the share price may fall from 90 to 50, but your options were worthless anyway. Hence, options give a top manager the upside risk, as we say, but do not give them the downside risk. Therefore, we incentivize them to take risk. You might think "I seldom see herds of CEOs in a casino by the time options expire, so this grumpy Vermeulen guy must be exaggerating" but I'd reply we have seen quite a lot of casino-type strategy in various businesses lately (e.g. banks). More importantly, we know from research that CEOs do take excessive risk due to stock options (see for instance Sanders and Hambrick, 2007; Zhang e.a. 2008). I think it would be naive to think that we give CEOs 90 percent performance related pay and most of it in stock options, and then think that they will not start acting in the way the remuneration system stimulates them to do. Of course it influences their decisions, and if it didn't, there would be no reason left to make their pay flexible and based on options, now would there?

Therefore, I would say, out with the performance-related pay for top managers (a good bottle of wine at Christmas and, if you insist, a small cheque like the rest of us would do). And while we're at it, let's try to reduce the level as well.

* e.g. O’Reilly, Main, and Crystal, 1988; Porac, Wade, and Pollock, 1999; Westphal and Zajac, 1995.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Three cheers for Shiv

Running a marathon is usually a huge superhuman effort; Right ? Well, lots of people run marathons every year, but for the non professionals, it is usually a major milestone. They train very hard for it, suffer through the race, but ultimately make it.  It's an achievement to be very proud of.

What then do you say of the ultra marathoners ?? The marathon, as you may know is 42 kms and a bit. Anything more than this is an ultra marathon. What can you say about the guys and gals who run 50km, 75km and , yes, 100 km ?? They are not professionals. They are ordinary guys and gals like you and me. They hold a day job and run only for pleasure. Men, women of all ages.  This isn't for money - there is no money. This isn't for fame - did any of you hear about the Bangalore Ultra before this post ? This is simply for achievement.

This post is a tribute to my good friend, and long ago classmate, Shiv, who ran the 75km race in the Bangalore Ultra Marathon yesterday. Yes; seventy five kilometres. And finished in 11hrs plus.  He won the Seniors category in the 75km race. The Bangalore Ultra is run on a cross country trail - not on flat roads. The trail is full of stones, moon craters and the like. Even walking on it seemed a challenging task to me. These guys run an ultra marathon on it. I was there all day to cheer him and the other runners on and treated to an incredibly rewarding experience.

Shiv and the others set off at 5 AM in the morning, when it was still dark and he finished after 4 PM. He is 50+. He's always been a great sportsman, but this is something altogether on a different plane. To run 75 kms , a distance he has never done before.  Wow ! For sheer guts , courage and achievement, this must rank at the very top. Shiv - you are an absolute hero. Just the thought of 75kms is scary to me ! You run it as if it was just another day at the office. Super Wow !

Watching him and the others is a peep inside a fascinating world. Each runner is completely dedicated to running. They train like crazy. They bear much pain. They run for a sense of personal accomplishment. Its all about setting a personal goal - maybe distance, maybe timing - and achieving it.Winning is secondary. They cheer everybody. There is an enormous sense of comradeship. The guy who finishes 3 hours behind the winner is cheered as  lustily, with the winner usually taking the lead in cheering the loudest. Everybody helps everybody else. Everybody is a winner. They represent some of the best qualities of amateur sport.

Isn't this how life itself should be ?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Business November 9th 2011, "Double Stuff" Edition

This week The Business welcomes not one, not two, not three, but FOUR special guests, effectively doubling the base number of comics guaranteed by our standard Wednesday fare. Along with our factory installed four Businessmen, you will also receive Ivan Hernandez, Colleen Watson, Mike Recine and Erin Lennox. It's like when Oreo took the work out of assembling two cookies and smartly debuted the now legendary Double Stuff cookie. What kind of laughs will you find in our creamy center this week? Let me pull this sweet baby apart for you...

Ivan Hernandez is self described as "nerd gent comic jerk" That's right, no need for punctuation. When not forcing individual panels of comic books on the internet's population for proper acknowledgment of their radness, Ivan tells jokes all over San Francisco. I think it's his birthday this Wednesday too, so buy him a burrito and wrap it in a page from a Hellboy novella.

Colleen Watson is an idiot, according to her Twitter bio. But we know better. She is also a regular at Rooster T. Feathers, Colleen the SJ Improv, Punchline, Tacoma Comedy Underground and Utah’s Wiseguys. She’s opened for Arj Barker, has been molested by Norm MacDonald, and continues to take the Bay Area by storm with her biting and bitter comedy.
Mike Recine was nominated for Time Out New York’s ‘~Joke of the Year’in 2010 and an ECNY award for ‘~Best Emerging Comic’ . Most recently, he was selected to perform in the ‘~New Faces Showcase’ at the 2011 Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal. Mike works really hard on his jokes and on being likeable. He owns 5 pellet guns and is happy to give you one.

Erin Lennox is a nice girl and a writer / comedian based in Brooklyn, NY. She is originally from Chapel Hill, NC and has been in exactly 3 bar fights. She hosts a weekly show at the People’s Improv Theater called FRESH, which isn’t always. And a monthly variety show called I LIKE YOU TOO with her best friends the Bandana Splits. 

As indicated before, your regular Businessmen Bucky, Chris, Alex and Sean will also be on hand to make sure that all the cookie crumbles correctly. And as always we are burrito and liquid fun adjacent, only five dollars and hecka funny dude forever.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Can entrepreneurship be taught?

“Entrepreneurship can only be self-taught. There are many ways to do it right and even more wrong, but it cannot be processed, bottled, packaged, and delivered from a lectern”, one of my readers – Michael Marotta – commented on an earlier post.

I am not sure I agree with the suggestion of that statement, namely that "entrepreneurship can only be self-taught". Of course we hear it more often - "you cannot teach entrepreneurship" - but I have yet to see any evidence of it. Granted, this is a weak statement, since the evidence that business education helps with anything is rather scarce (although there is some)!

However, the fact that the majority of entrepreneurs did not have formal business education does not tell me anything. Suppose out of 1000 attempted entrepreneurs indeed only 100 had formal business education. It might still be very possible that out of the 100, 50 of them became successful, where out of the 900 others only 300 became successful. This means that out of the 350 successful entrepreneurs, a mere 50 had formal business education. However, 50% of business educated entrepreneurs became successful, while only 1/3 of entrepreneurs without business education did.

My feeling about the potentially influence of business education on the odds of becoming a successful entrepreneur are quite the opposite of Marotta’s. I see quite a few attempted entrepreneurs with good business ideas and energy, however, they make some basic mistakes when attempting to build it into a business. The sheer logic of how to set up a viable business - once you have had a good idea - is something that is open to being "processed, bottled, packaged, and delivered from a lectern" (although that is hardly what we do in B-school).

Having a great idea and ample vision and energy perhaps is a necessary condition for becoming a successful entrepreneur, but it is not sufficient; this requires many other skills, and for some of them, education helps. Out of the 10 different skills needed to become a successful entrepreneur, perhaps only 5 can be taught or enhanced through business education, but those 5 will clearly improve your odds of making it.

Perhaps the majority of successful entrepreneurs do not have formal business education, but I have yet to meet a successful enterpreneur who did go to business school who proclaims his/her education was not a great help in becoming a success. Invariably, those people claim their education helped them a lot. In fact, many of such business school alumni donate generously to their alma mater. For example, one of London Business School's successful alumni entrepreneurs, Tony Wheeler (founder of Lonely Planet travel guides) regularly donates very substantial amounts of money to the School, because he believes his education there helped him greatly in making his business a success, and he wants others to have the same experience and opportunity.

In the absence of any formal evidence on whether business school education helps or hinders becoming a successful entrepreneur, I am inclined to rely on their judgement: business school education helps, if you want to become a successful entrepreneur.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A letter to a certain Chief Minister in India

Dear Madam,

We are concerned about the state of your vocal chords, after your recent exertions of that organ protesting against the nth rise in the price of petrol that the Indian government announced a few days ago. While we are well aware of your superhuman powers in that sphere of activity, I am nevertheless concerned enough to give you some advice on the amelioration of  stress on your voice box. I am not one of your subjects, not living in your state at the moment, but have lived there in the past and therefore have a certain affinity.

What has aroused your ire is the increase in price of petrol by Rs 1.80 per litre a few days ago. You have accused the Central government of total insensitivity to the plight of the common man and have threatened to withdraw your support to the government. With inflation running so high in India, you are justly concerned with adding fuel to the fire, if you'll pardon the pun.I totally agree with your sentiments, but my ire is not necessarily directed only against the Central government.

I understand if I have to fill up my tank in your state, I have to pay Rs 73.15 per litre. That being a fairly substantial price, I decided to do some calculation on who gets what I am paying. Here's my amateur attempt.

I pay Rs 32.00 per litre to His Excellency King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia to keep him and his descendants  in cosseted luxury for the next 7000 years (otherwise called price of crude oil)

I pay Rs 7.00 to Mr R. S Butola , Chairman of Indian Oil Corporation, for him to stay solvent , pun intended,  (otherwise called refining charges)

I pay Rs 5.00 to Santa Singh , lorry driver  (otherwise called transport charges). I don't begrudge paying him this in return for all the Sardarji jokes that he has, very kindly, contributed.

I pay Rs 14.35 to the Hon'ble Pranab Mukherjee, Finance Minister of India (otherwise called Excise duty). To be fair to Pranabda, he has been trying to reduce this, having abolished customs duty that he used to levy before.

I then pay some Rs 15 to you ( under the name of sales tax).

You want to charge me some 26%+ rate of state sales tax. Don't you find it usurious ? Pranabda has been crying to states to remove the ad valorem rate of duty on petrol and make it a specific rate, as he has done on the Central VAT. You refuse to do this. Therefore when the central government increased the price of petrol by Rs 1.80, you gleefully contributed another 50 paise of increase. And with a straight face, you are giving significant exercise to your vocal chords.

You may now see the general direction of how you can prevent the onset of acute laryngitis.

I have only one argument in your defence. Your counterpart in the state I live in, is  worse than you (30%). But then, he has wisely chosen to give his vocal chords a rest !

Yours sincerely

Romesh (spelling in deference to your tastes)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Without Comment

Brilliant article in the Financial Times today. Dripping with sarcasm and wit. Alas its a bit technical and you'll enjoy it immensely if you have a bit of background in finance, but even otherwise its a good read. 

For those not in touch with American politics or high finance -

John Corzine is a former head of Goldman Sachs. He was deposed by Henk Paulson.  Corzine then became a Senator from New Jersey and then Governor. He got defeated in the election in 2010, by Chris Christie who is the current Governor of New Jersey. After his defeat in the election, Corzine became Chairman of MF Global which has just declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The Business November 2nd 2011, "Featuring Anna Seregina and Saurabh Kikani" Edition

We've got a full lineup of regular Businessmen this week, plus two exciting guests - Anna Seregina and Saurabh Kikani!

Ms. Seregina is a talented actress and improviser who recently turned her focus to the world of stand-up comedy. She was born in Moscow, which she credits for her sharp, cynical wit, but also means that if all goes well, she should have very her own theater in Branson, Missouri in twenty years. Also, she works just down the street from at the Beauty Bar, where she tends bar beautifully.

Mr. Kikani visits us from Los Angeles, where he is a regular at the Comedy Store and the world-famous Improv. Also, he has a law degree, so if you don't laugh your ass off, he'll sue your pants off! Just kidding. Please put your pants back on.

All this plus Alex, Bucky, Chris, and Sean, a one-eyed dog, unlimited in-and-out privileges, and Six Hours In A Car, and it's just five bucks! Though for an extra dollar, you can also feel Bucky's biceps. Just kidding. Please do not grope Bucky.