20 Hard-Learned Lessons On Successful Living

Living successfully means keeping your principles few and simple so that you may refer to them quickly in an emergency. The following 20 truths will never steer you wrong – ignore them at your peril!



1 Plausible deniability is the best policy.

2 The unexamined life isn’t worth living – but it does get you drunk faster.

3 Health is wealth. So is coming up with Google.

4 No man is an island. (Although Orson Welles came pretty damn close toward the end).

5 Keep regular hours. You’ll notice that at 5 a.m. there are only two types of people awake: health nuts and alcoholics (HINT: one of them is wearing a tux).

6 Make reminders for yourself. For example, I now wear a rubber band on my wrist. Each time I am tempted to snap it, I have a cigarette instead.

7 Be faithful to your spouse. If you’re a married man, for the love of God be prudent. Remember, it’s a very fine line between “innocent flirting” and “paying for sex”.  I used to do my taxes at coffee shops but it made me such a chick magnet I had to stop. Many women simply don’t see the wedding ring so I had to start wearing a fanny pack to make my marital status crystal clear. Nothing says “Player” like a guy with a fanny pack, right? On some level it reminds the ladies of 007 – dinner jacket, cigarette case, fanny pack.

8 Marry well. I can’t overstate how important this is. If I could marry my wife all over again, I would do so in a heartbeat. I might tweak the pre-nup here and there, but that’s a separate issue.

9 Drink moderately or not at all. This one strikes a personal chord with me. For a while there I had more than a little Captain Morgan in me. I thought of myself as a social drinker but at some point my drinking stopped being funny and started being downright hilarious. You don’t want to get to that point. I thought things were under control but I now realize that I would subconsciously invite myself to social gatherings in which you were practically expected to be drunk – weddings, cocktail parties, PTA meetings, etc. And then there’s all the lies you tell yourself. I would go a couple of days without a drink and then tell myself “What could be more harmless than a couple of drinks to relax, unwind and stop my hands from shaking?” If you have any doubts if you are overdoing, better to quit altogether.

10 Some things are easier done than said, like “disassociation”.

11 Enrich your life with books. I devour self-improvement literature. For example, I’m currently reading a book on how to be more assertive (if that’s okay with you). Here are three titles to get you started:

Health and fitness – “Cough Your Way To Rock-Hard Abs”.

Self-image – “The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Self-Esteem”.

History: “Facetious – The Greek Goddess Of Sarcasm”

Language: “German Made Merely Difficult”

12 Be Humble. Despite all of my success, I’ve never forgotten where I come from (Malibu, California).

13 Act appropriately. Different environments call for different behavior. On long-haul flights, for example, it is okay to press the flight attendant call button to request water or a blanket but not simply because the taser scene in “The Hangover” is about to come on.

14 Avoid brutal honesty. “Ribbed For Her Pleasure” is much better than “Ribbed For His Ego”.

15 Adopt a baby. Few things in life are more beautiful than adopting a baby – unless the kid turns out to be big boned.

16 Look forward, regret nothing. The past is the past. My wife and I got married in “I’m With Stoopid” t-shirts. Sure, we no longer place our wedding album where visitors to our home can readily access it, but do you think we lose any sleep over it? Live in the moment!

17 Accept that there will always be setbacks. When I was a kid, I tried digging to China. After a long and exhausting effort, I ended up hitting my head on The Great Wall. You talk about disappointment! Such experiences strengthened my resolve, however, and served me well in the future.

18 Accept that which you cannot change. My wife is from Germany and when you marry a German, there’s a certain symmetry. For example, I don’t laugh at jokes in her language and she doesn’t laugh at jokes in her language. Accept it and move on!

19 Think on your feet. When my dad can’t think of the word “website” he says “internet shingle”. Good for him!

20 Exceed expectations. When it comes to a successful business, under-promise and over-deliver. Consider this Turkish barber I solicited for a simple haircut.

Do you have ideas for living a successful life? Share them in the comment section below!


Nude Cruise!

My agent recently booked me to perform on a nude cruise. All of the passengers were naked throughout the ship: in the audience, at the buffet, in the casino. That’s right – the casino. God knows where they put their winnings.


About the best thing I can say about a nude cruise is this: it teaches you to make eye contact.

What I really loved were these bald guys who’d walk around completely naked but with the “comb-over” haircut: as if to say “God forbid someone should see my bald head.”

I actually ran into an acquaintance onboard. We were getting ready to sail and I his bright green Hawaiian shirt caught my eye (clothes were required until 30 minutes out to sea). “David? David Deeble?” he said. “Oh hey!” I said lamely, immediately indicating that I couldn’t place him. He quickly ascertained that I was performing on the ship and invited me to meet him and his wife for a drink later on in the cruise. Wonderful, I say. He gives me a big hug and walks away. I then saw that he wasn’t wearing pants. I returned to my cabin in a daze and wept quietly on the floor of my shower for thirty minutes.

Like everyone else in the history of the world, I don’t think of myself as a prude. I understand why someone might like to lay in the sun and not worry about tan lines – I married a European, for crying out loud. But who thinks “I’ll be damned if I’m gonna play blackjack with my pants on”?

Just as on any other cruise, there were signs throughout the ship that said “Please do not sit on chairs in wet bathing suits.” Frankly, that would have been an improvement. And unless you can be sure that they’re always laying down the same side of the towel, what’s the point? You might as well have someone stand up, turn their underwear inside out then sit down again.

I’ll tell you who enjoyed the nude cruise themost: the guys who work down in the laundry. They were basically on vacation for two weeks.

Not everyone onboard was a nudist. There was also a breed of person I did not know existed: the spouse-of-nudist. You’d see them – usually the wife – dressed nicely playing cards or socializing over a few drinks with her naked husband and his new naked buddies. Apparently taking a spinning class with your coin purse there for all to see is now considered a hobby that your wife is expected to put up with. And I thought selling my wife on fantasy baseball would be a heavy lift.

In some ways the cruise was just like any other. There were the usual pool games, for example: water volleyball, belly flop contest, etc. Although I have to say that the ring toss was not I had come to expect up to that point.

My Agent

I called my agent, something I rarely do. I was nervous.

“Nice Try Productions. This is Charlie.”

“Hi Charlie. It’s me, David.”


“David Deeble.” There was a pause. “Comedian.” Then, impulsively, “You’re my agent.”

“Oh, right! Hey Dave! May I call you ‘Dave’? What’s up?”

“Not a whole hell of a lot, actually. That’s why I’m calling.”

“You know I’m workin’ my tail off for ya, babe!”

Earlier in the afternoon I had run into a club owner who I hadn’t worked for in years. After some friendly chitchat, I asked point-blank if he had spoken to Charlie lately. “You mean your agent Charlie?” he said. “I haven’t spoken to Charlie in years…”

Charlie was the kind of agent that’s constantly trying – and failing – to stroke the ego of his clients. During a previous dry spell he tried to console me: “Those who like your act really, really love your act. Having said that, no one likes your act”.

Things were “slow”, he explained in the way all agents do, as if for the first time in the history of the world people decided they didn’t want to pay other people to make them laugh. I told him that word on the street was that his other acts – like the guy who folds paperclips into roman numerals suggested by the audience – seemed to be turning down gigs, they were so busy.

“Can you hold on a minute? I’ve got a call on the other line.” There was then a suspect-sounding click sound meant to suggest that I was on hold but I could still hear the ambient noise of his office fan and the hyper-deliberate shuffling of papers. Then there was the phony click again. “Dave! I think I’ve got something for you!”

He then proceeded to divulge everything he could, leaving out details such as the location, date and pay lest I go behind is back and secure the gig myself. I told him I’d think about it and hung up, immediately called him again, and accepted the gig.

The Pyongyang Hilton is located in a blocky, Soviet-era building. It’s façade is barely visible from across the street due to the massive tangle of electric streetcar wires that hover above the broad, car-less avenue. It’s an easy gig – dark Sunday through Friday – and I’m welcome to all the tree bark I can eat.

My agent's personal assistant, Lexi (this photo in no way meant to lure readers to my blog).