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San Francisco

Comedy and Loathing in San Francisco

Thirty seconds after writing my name on last night’s open mic list, I scratched it off. I can’t go 25th. I can’t wait until 1am to perform six minutes in front of the last three comics waiting to go on. I need to find a better Wednesday night mic. At 33 I’m feeling way too old for this. I don’t have time for that shit.

If I ever had a catchphrase, it’s that. “I don’t have time for that shit.” I say that a lot. So much that my old comedy buddies in Northern Europe say the phrase and attribute it to me. I first coined it when I did some shows in Sweden. The other comics took the boat from Helsinki to Stockholm while I flew. Boats? I don’t have time for that shit. Why don’t I pack my monocle, top hat, and telegraph machine for that meandering trip back in time.

Maybe I should register that phrase as a trademark. My California sweatshirt did. Don’t you dare write “California” in a yellow font or else you owe someone a lot of money.


San Francisco is a magnet for America’s most insane people, and open mics are magnets for these people. The city has a long history of attracting artists and counterculture. Artists and counterculture have a long history of attracting mental illness. The mentally ill have a long history of attracting drug abuse. Mental illness + Drug Abuse + No Healthcare x 20 years = San Francisco.

Crazy people on stage is funny for about fifteen seconds until you realize they’ve prepared nothing and will not abide by “the light”. The host always has to rip the mic from their hands as they waddle back to their seat, often screaming the rest of their “material”. But to give them props – they have the stage confidence of a young Eddie Murphy. They have a unique voice. They work “clean”. And they’re still funnier than this blog.

Im writing this at 5:30am because my body no longer allows me to eat a heavy meal past 10pm. My body says, “You’re enjoying a good night sleep while I have to digest this slop?? Fuck that! We’re in this TOGETHER!” At age 27 I started losing my hair, at age 31 I could no longer eat late, at 32 I began to just “smell”, and at 33 I saw my first gray hairs. Can’t wait see what life brings me next!

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When a Taxi Driver says you’re Jewish, then gets pulled over

So I’m heading to Hollywood, California for a work thing. Ordered a car service to the airport because my company is paying for it. The best part about a car service is the robot-like driver who doesn’t speak a word. But this driver kicks off our 20-minute ride to the airport with, “Schwarzmann! I was expecting someone darker.”


“Schwarzmann, it’s a Jewish name from Germany. German surnames are often adjectives. Adjectives! Your ancestry had dark skin. The Jews came from North Africa after the fall of the second Roman temple…”

This anti-Semitic history lesson continued on down Route 101 to San Francisco’s airport. Now I’m not Jewish, and neither are my ancestors, but I’m on my way to Hollywood! I appreciate how he thinks I’m a Hollywood native.

And I’m not exactly sure his remarks were “anti-Semitic”. I don’t know what “Semitic” means, but I do know I’m staunchly NOT against it. Plus I’m an American, I never paid attention in Social Studies class, so maybe this history-teacher-turned-cab-driver was going to learn me something. After all, he is wearing a tie.

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The Appster Changelog – App Store Top 10 here we come!!!!!

The Appster Team!! From left to right: Pete, Jim (me), and Mary

Appster is the latest and greatest mobile phone app coming out of Silicon Valley. It’s bound to be #1 in the Apple AppStore. Below are changes made to improve Appster, as logged by the app’s CEO Jim Taylor (me)…


01/12/11 – v1.0

Appster has gone GOLD and is ready to download!!! Special thanks to Pete Thompson and Mary Egerstein for their countless hours developing this app. App Store Top 10 here we come!! –Jim Taylor

01/13/11 – v1.0.1

First bug found…and squashed!! Your Appster password may now include numbers, characters, and the letter ‘E’. Hat tip to our coder Pete Thompson for the fix.

01/14/11 – v1.0.2

‘Nuther day, ‘nuther bug…SWAT! Appster will no longer publish your full credit card details onto Twitter.

02/01/11 – v1.1

First new feature!! Appster now suggests mp3’s for your listening pleasure. Enjoy! App Store Top 100 here we come!!

02/02/11 – v1.1.1

Weird, Appster only suggested the extended remix of Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough”. This has been fixed.

02/03/11 – v1.1.2

Appster now suggests more bands than just Depeche Mode.

02/20/11 – v1.2

Some personal news – I’ve asked our developer Mary Egerstein for her hand in marriage…AND SHE SAID YES!! In celebration, Appster is now FREE throughout the rest of February. FREE!!

02/21/11 – v1.2.1

Yup, that was a inside of a walrus’s asshole uploaded to your Flickr account. Apparently coder Pete Thompson had a crush on fiancé and fellow coder Mary Egerstein, and decided to sabotage Appster. Sincerest apologies. Needless to say this has been fixed and Pete is no longer with the Appster team.

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You won’t get my business with names like this

I left the United States almost ten years ago, and now that I’ve returned I feel like a confused foreigner. A lot of new stores have popped up that I don’t recognize. Like this store: “EXIT ONLY”. And their company slogan: “DO NOT ENTER”.

Sheesh, the U.S. businesses have gotten mean – that Ralph Nader is right! Not very inviting as their tagline, “DO NOT ENTER”, almost shouts to you in ALL CAPS (even with that font’s fancy serifs). No wonder everyone orders things online nowadays.

I remember seeing this store as a kid. My parents told me it was the toy store, but I was too afraid to enter.

Maybe I was just in a bad neighborhood in San Francisco? Everyone knows San Francisco’s LGBT community is around 90-95%, so with a name like “EXIT ONLY”, I assume this is some sort of “straights-only” club catering to the straight minority. I think I’ll pass.

But there’s clearly plenty of parking, so that’s nice.

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Buy my fucking book! (please)


Phil’s debut humor book, “How to Marry a Finnish Girl” is out now on Gummerus Publishers.

About Better! Funner!


Better! Funner! is a blog written and curated by Phil Schwarzmann. You’ll find funny original pieces, some not-so-funny pieces, plus stuff that made Phil laugh from around them internets. Enjoy!