From AIN Conference 2017.
2017 built on the good and bad of 2016. Political discussion got more divided, the weather got harsher, and my personal year was great.
So, ignoring the macro and focusing on the DrewCo, here’s my review of 2017.
Best Achievement – Publishing The United States of Laughter
After much hemming and hawing, I finally decided to actually write a book about my experiences as a nomad. When I began, I wasn’t entirely sure I would publish it, maybe just keep it as a more in-depth journal of my journey. But after the first few drafts, and getting inspired by Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, I decided to unleash it upon the world. I’m very glad I did. As a result, I hit top new release in both Travel Writing and Humor Essays, I launched the book out of a catapult, I talked about it on a few different news stations, and 50+ people gave it a 5-star review on Amazon.
Runner-Up: My second public TEDx Talk.
Best Personal Development – Less Than 100 Grams of Sugar
As many of you know, I love sugar. It’s my biggest vice, far greater than any alcohol or Grand Theft Auto video games. For 2017, I made it a goal to consume less than 100g of sugar each day which meant dropping my usual breakfast (Pop Tarts), no longer pretending drinking juice was particularly healthy, and limiting myself to only one dessert a day. Yes, this was actually a challenge but definitely needed considering 100 grams is double the old recommended amount by the World Health Organization and four times the updated recommendation of sugar for an adult (25g or less than one soda).
Runner-Up: Read a book a month.
Best Business Decision – Attending NSA Influence 2017
There are a few conferences I try to attend every year and the National Speaker’s Association annual summer conference is one of them. Though I’ve attended in the past, this year helped me establish additional credibility as a humorist and helped me further build my network with some of the most talented, and giving, speakers I’ve ever met. Subsequent meetings and events that sprang from those relationships have already started to transform my business.
Runner-Up: Publishing The United States of Laughter
Best Personal Decision – Brother’s Bachelor Party in Texas
My brothers and I don’t always get a chance to hang out considering we live in three different states, but it’s always a great time when we do. This year, for Adam’s Bachelor Party, we surprised him with a trip to Texas for a couple of baseball games, great food, and general brotherly fun.
Runner-Up: Notre Dame visit
Best Speaking Engagement – TEDxTAMU
It was another busy year of speaking but nothing can top the 18 minute talk I did for TEDxTAMU. I got a chance to talk about my favorite subject (humor), one of my brothers and my mom were in attendance, and it went very well. The fact that I have a great video as a result of it is an added bonus.
Runner-Up: Women’s Foodservice Forum
Best Performance – The Armando Diaz Experience
Nate was the reason I got into comedy in the first place but we don’t often get a chance to perform together considering we live on opposite coasts. So, when presented with the chance to be the monologist for his Armando show, it was a no-brainer.
Runner-Up: CSz Cincinnati
Best Travel – Acadia
My trip to Acadia National Park could not have been more perfect considering the views, hiking, and the company.
Runner-Up: Brother Road Trip
Best New Restaurant – Di Fara Pizza
It’s hard to still be impressed by pizza, but Di Fara’s in Brooklyn manages to do it. All of the pies are still made by the original owner and they are exquisite.
Runner-Up: Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
Best Movie (I Saw) – Get Out
I’m not usually a horror film fan, but Jordan Peele’s movie does everything so well it’s hard not to like. It feels like there isn’t a wasted scene or line in the entire thing.
Best TV Show (I Watched) – Stranger Things
I was late to the game with Stranger Things but it was thoroughly enjoyable and well-executed.
Runner-Up: Doctor Who
Best Book (I Read) – A Walk in the Woods
Bill Bryson’s book completely changed what I thought was possible with a memoir. It’s engaging, it’s entertaining, and it makes you laugh out loud. After reading it, I completely revamped by own book and was inspired to aim higher with what I wanted to write.
Runner-Up: Exactly What to Say
Best Tweet – 10 Marks the Spot
I’ve selected 20 of my best tweets of 2017 but my favorite favorite is this one:
Converting the numbers 51, 6, and 500 to Roman Numerals makes me LIVID.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) February 12, 2017
I was a busy tweeter in 2017 with 641 tweets, 150,000+ impressions, 810 likes, and 170 retweets, here are my top tweets of 2017:
1. 10 Marks the Spot
Converting the numbers 51, 6, and 500 to Roman Numerals makes me LIVID.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) February 12, 2017
2. Purchasing Decisions
Should we split the cost of this oven? Yes, let's go Dutch. And this jump rope? Yes, let's go Double Dutch.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) October 26, 2017
3. Restaurant Idea
I bet a cozy bar that served figs would be a plum date spot.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) March 13, 2017
4. Furniture Pride
Whenever I make something from Ikea, I feel like an Amish Tony Stark.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) January 4, 2017
5. The Stylus is Mightier than the Sword
You know that knowledge is power because looking things up on your phone drains the battery.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) December 11, 2017
6. Either Or Both
I'm trying to decide if I should become an athlete or a criminal so I made a list of pros and cons.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) February 15, 2017
7. Grade Failure
It feels wrong to get an A+ in math given that it's only half of an equation.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) December 9, 2017
8. The Menu is Comical
I hear Marvel is going to open a deli where the only options will be soup or gyros.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) November 20, 2017
9. The Ultimate Celebrity Deathmatch
According to established laws, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson would beat Edward Scissorhands in a fight, but would lose to a newspaper boy.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) November 22, 2017
10. Tool Time Warnings
"Attention everyone, a nail gun is on the loose. This is not a drill, I repeat, a nail gun is on the loose, not a drill."
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) May 20, 2017
11. Roman Numeral Joke II
All of those in favor of writing in the first person say, "I."
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) August 11, 2017
12. Inverted Sense of Humor
It doesn't matter whether you're an Introvert or Extrovert, the important thing to remember is that we're all, apparently, verts.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) March 23, 2017
13. Just a Thought
Origami is just paper doing yoga.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) December 23, 2017
14. The Future is Bright
I went to an event to listen to experts talk about getting renewable energy from the sun. It was a solar panel.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) November 13, 2017
15. English Should Be Better
If you really think about it, it should be called deja deja vu.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) November 25, 2017
16. What to Order
At a Buddhist fast food place, the Happy Meal comes from within.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) June 26, 2017
17. Puppies and Babies
Most people are against animal testing but I know a lot of people who have gotten dogs just to see if they can handle having kids.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) May 7, 2017
18. Gotta Get FitBit
But I would walk 5,000 steps, and I would walk 5,000 more, just to be the man who walked 10,000 steps to reach my daily goal.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) July 20, 2017
19. A Difference in Perspectives
"For the last time Drew: we're coworkers who write emails to each other, not pen pals."
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) November 3, 2017
20. Game is Fake, Results are Real
Escape the Rooms are really fun ways to determine which of your friends you would have no problem sacrificing.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) May 24, 2017
To celebrate my new book, The United States of Laughter, I decided to do a literal book launch. We attached my book to a pumpkin and then shot it out of a catapult. Shout out to Team ETHOS for helping me with the launch!
Buy the book on Amazon in Print, Kindle, or Audiobook!
The Cliched Meaning of Life.
Here it is in text format:
Have you ever seen a performance so inspirational, gone through a breakup so challenging, or had a milkshake that was so delicious . . . you started to contemplate the meaning of life? The essence of our existence? The significance of our sentience?
I don’t know; it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately—the meaning of life. But the more you read, the more confusing it all seems. Maybe the meaning of life is money . . .
As they say money makes the world go ’round . . .
Yet they also say the best things in life are free.
So do you live free or die hard?
Cuz to make ends meet
You have to start rollin’ in the dough.
But doe, a deer, a female deer . . .
Is nothing when the buck stops right here.
And I ain’t saying she’s a gold digger,
But mo money mo problems,
So you better check yourself before you wreck yourself,
Because money can’t buy happiness.
But don’t worry, be happy,
And live happily ever after
In a land far far away
Where there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
And to pass with flying colors,
Don’t color outside the lines
But think outside the box.
I don’t want to go off on a tangent
But things don’t add up
If it’s the thought that counts
And it’s better to give than to receive
Then sharing is caring.
But Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care,
Because crack is whack
And it’s hugs not drugs,
So put that in your pipe and smoke it.
But do you just say no
Or do you just do it?
If impossible is nothing,
Then a mission impossible
Ain’t nothing but a g thang, baby.
So stop, collaborate, and listen.
Because maybe the meaning of life isn’t money; maybe the meaning of life is knowledge.
Because knowledge is power
And with great power comes great responsibility,
So don’t just drink responsibly, but think responsibly,
Because I know what you did last summer.
And knowing is half the battle.
But is it a battle of the wits
Or a battle to the death?
Is the pen mightier than the sword,
Or is it a sword in the stone,
That can break my bones, when words will never hurt me.
Because I’m rubber and you’re glue, so whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you
So speak now or forever hold your peace.
And don’t judge a book by its cover,
Because beauty is only skin deep.
And if looks can kill
And I wear my heart on my sleeve,
Then I’m armed and dangerous.
And home is where the heart is
And there’s no place like home,
Sweet home, Alabama.
But that’s just my state of mind
In this state of denial
Of the status quo.
I say carpe diem
If it’s quid pro quo
Get yourself tit for tat,
And break me off a piece of that.
So eat great, even late
Because if you’re hungry, why wait?
Except patience is a virtue,
So don’t stop believin’ but
Stop, in the name of love.
Because maybe the meaning life isn’t money or knowledge; maybe the meaning of life is love.
What’s love got to do with it? (Got to do with it?)
Well, love conquers all,
And even if you’ve lost that loving’ feeling,
Know that it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.
Because there are plenty of fish in the sea,
And when Love is in the air
You’ll be walking on cloud nine.
But when it rains it pours,
And if you’re under the weather
And can’t see through the fog
We may not see eye-to-eye.
If love is blind
And hindsight is 20/20,
Then is love at first sight
Really meant to be?
Or not to be? That’s the question.
And if you’ve got question, we’ve got answers,
If you can do it, we can help,
Because when you’re here, you’re family,
And family matters
As you step by step
Through the wonder years.
Because what goes up, must come down,
What goes around, comes around.
There’s nothing to fear but fear itself.
To live and learn
You have to crash and burn,
And the only failure is quitting.
So what are you waiting for?
To have the time of your life.
You have to find the time
To live a life worth living
So stop, hammertime.
Maybe the meaning of life isn’t money, knowledge, or love. Maybe the meaning of life is to find meaning in life. Or maybe it’s milkshakes; I don’t know.
If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to take a selfie with it, does it really matter? In today’s society, the answer seems to be no. So I decided to take a selfie in each of the 50 states and compile them together in this video.
If you want to check out the individual pictures, you can see them here on Flickr.
Why I don’t do so well in the bar scene.
The meme du jour of 2016 was how awful of a year it was for the world. Brexit happened, Trump was elected, and Carrie Fisher died. Of course, some people were in favor of those things (not the last one, who would want that?).
At a macro level, 2016 was bad, particularly for climate change and women’s rights in some states. But at a Drew level, 2016 was a pretty good year. Here, as usual, is the best of the year.
Best Achievement – Completing All 50 States
On my 32 birthday this year, I finished my goal of speaking or performing in all 50 states. Hawaii was the perfect state to end the journey, filled with beautiful scenery, fun adventures, welcoming cousins who showed me around, and a storytelling show. 10/10 would do the whole thing again.
Runner-Up: Reaching 1,000 Performances.
Best Personal Development – Doing Weekly Planning
The farther removed I am from my project management days at P&G, the less I leverage that expertise in my day-to-day life. In 2016, one thing I brought back was more deliberate planning, this time at a weekly level. Each Sunday (approximately), I would think about what I wanted to accomplish that coming week and plan one key task for each day. I didn’t always complete those tasks and sometimes the planning happened on a Monday (or Thursday), but it did make me more aware of how I was spending my time.
Runner-Up: Checking my phone less frequently.
Best Business Decision – Moving Back to NYC
Since moving back to NYC, I’ve established great new business contacts, delivered some great events, re-engaged with some awesome people, and have had the best bagels in the country. NYC has always been a great place for building my skills as a speaker and comedian, it’s now also turning into a great place to deliver those skills.
Runner-Up: Starting a Mastermind group.
Best Personal Decision – Stopping my Nomadism
Don’t get me wrong, being a nomad for 18 months was an incredible experience (and was heralded as 2015’s best personal decision), but this year was also the right time to end it. Since moving back to NYC in September, I’ve been able to focus more on my work and have a lot more time to relax; I didn’t realize how much time I was spending planning my next trip or figuring out where I was going to sleep.
Runner-Up: Reconnecting with Old Friends
Best Speaking Engagement – Women’s Foodservice Forum
I surpassed 100 engagements for the second year in a row and spoke for some incredible groups. From my first single facilitator delivery of a two-day training at Microsoft, to presenting to my largest audience (1,000 people!) in Columbus, I was apart of some great events. But the top for me was the Women’s Foodservice Forum where I spoke to 400 aspiring leaders who were gracious, eager to learn, and seemed to really enjoy my sense of humor. It’s also where I got witness the butt sketch artist first-hand.
Runner-Up: PMI Central Ohio Chapter
Best Performance – The Story of My Year as a Nomad
While I certainly gave better performances in 2016, the most meaningful was my 1,000th performance on my 32nd birthday in my 50th state: the story of my year as a nomad.
Runner-Up: Featuring at Go Bananas Comedy Club
Best Travel – Hawaii
I sound like a broken record but how can you beat the Islands of Aloha?
Runner-Up: Zion National Forest
Best New Restaurant – Eleven Madison Park
It’s hard not to go with the World’s #3 ranked restaurant but for me the reason it’s on the top of the list is that they somehow made brussels sprouts AND scallops that I could not only stomach, but I actually liked. I guess my new rule is that I don’t like sprouts unless they’re served at a Michelin three star restaurant.
Runner-Up: Chick N Cone
Best Movie (I Saw) – Doctor Strange
I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for the Marvel movies. No, I don’t care that there are a million of them now and yes, I’m excited for yet another reboot of the Spider Man series. I enjoyed Doctor Strange because it introduced me to a character I knew nothing about and explored a world that was new to me.
Runners-Up: All of the Best Picture nominees, The Nice Guys
Best TV Show (I Watched) – Rick and Morty
The show is very weird and it takes a few episodes to get into, but by golly is it funny.
Runner-Up: Luke Cage
Best Book (I Read) – Smarter, Faster, Better
Charles Duhigg’s book is a great read for learning more about motivation and effectiveness, and it’s given me a phrase I used in most of my trainings: psychological safety. I find myself recommending this book to people over and over again.
Runners-Up: Bossypants, Modern Romance, Sprint
Best Tweet – Ghosts
I’ve selected 20 of my best tweets of 2016 but my favorite favorite is this one:
Ghost A: I’m really nervous, we’re going to get caught.
Ghost B: Dude, just act super natural.
— drewtarvin (@drewtarvin) September 22, 2016