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!


18 Reasons I’m Unfit To Stand Trial

Last year I published an unauthorized autobiography. Enraged at page after page of lies, I sued myself for libel, won, and settled with myself out of court for an undisclosed sum.

When my wife informed me that she’s always been attracted to the “strong, silent type” I happily informed her that I’ve always been attracted to “the silent type.”

I believe that I can remove creases from my suit by caressing them with the back of my hand.

I secretly relish that the word “lisp” has an “s” in it.

On the issue of waterboarding, I am situationalist, not an absolutist: I acknowledge that there are instances, however rare, in which it is indeed wrong.

When arguing with my German wife, I am often outwardly conciliatory but inside I become Winston Churchill: “We will fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the hills and we shall NEVER SURRENDER!”

I find the word “titillating” more than a little titillating.

I found losing my virginity to be more difficult than finding Dick Cheney at Burning Man.

I like to leave little notes in my kids’ school lunches. Nothing profound – just little remiders like “Lucas, remember that while you are in math class I will be at home getting quietly hammered.”

10 I recently attempted to plea-bargain with the Los Angeles District Attorney to have my witness tampering and point shaving charges reduced to what I called “witness shaving”.

11 Around my wife I tend to make things sound more manly than they really are. For example, I don’t “go fishing”, I go “hunting for fish”. Then I throw in an “Uga! Uga! Me go trout farm!”

12 Boarding a plane recently, I approached the man in the seat behind me and asked if he would mind swapping seats with me so that his wife and I could be together.

13 In a recent letter to the editor of the New York Times, I mistakenly stated that in Negro Leagues Baseball, home runs were referred to as “homie runs”. This is inaccurate and I regret the mistake.

14 Far from understanding that there will always be another elevator, I tend to react to the arrival of each one as if it’s the last helicopter leaving Vietnam.

15 After reading that rectal thermometers are the most accurate, my first thought was “A bonus!”

16 When I was a kid I couldn’t decide weather to be a cowboy or an Indian. One minute I’d want to be the Lone Ranger and the next, Indira Gandhi.

17 I am always tricked into opening junk mail with the misleading subject line “Small Pen Is”.

18 I am clinically insane.


15 Things I’m Doing To Make The World A Better Place – And You Can Too

I’m all about two things: making the world a better place and learning how to count cards when playing blackjack for money against my mom. Today’s blog is about the former: 15 things I’m doing to make my world – and therefore the world – a better place.

1: Write the world’s first unauthorized autobiography, sue self.

2: Take 10 minutes each day to think of something other than broads and jazz bands.

3: When boarding plane, politely ask man in seat behind me if he would mind swapping seats so that his wife and I could sit together.

4: Write management at the Denver Zoo re: the proliferation of uncaged squirrels.

5: Install urinal in home bathroom, subtly remind wife who really calls the shots.

6: Write to Major League Baseball re: my ideas (bunt derby!)

7: Explain to mom that not knowing how to operate a fax machine doesn’t mean you’re out of touch – simply owning one does.

8: Write cease-and-desist letter to my Turkish barber.

9: End drug war, turn nation’s energy against people who crowd the feeder belt of the airport baggage carousel.

10: Build an airplane navigation system that isn’t compromised by someone playing “Angry Birds” during take-off.

11: Create list (for future reference) of all the reasons I am unfit to stand trial.

12: When listening to others, learn to overcome distractions like walls, floors, ceilings and all physical objects.

13: Talk with attorney re: possibility of witness tampering and point shaving charges against me being reduced to witness shaving.

14: Attend Burning Man, look for Dick Cheney.

15: Fig Newton bender!

Back to daviddeeble.com.

8 Tips For Starting Out In Stand-up Comedy

Here are some simple tips for those who wish to try their hand at stand-up comedy.


People love to be told how wonderful they are, but they don’t usually find it funny. To the extent that your attitude toward the audience is a factor, contempt is far better than genuflection. Better still that your material be directed outward, without apology, than inward. Be honest – it’s refreshing, funny and the easiest thing to remember.


The audience wants someone to take charge and they want it to be you. Like the pilot of the plane, it helps to look like you know what you’re doing. You should have an air of authority. Think of George Burns and his cigar or Ron White and his glass of bourbon. I always wear a suit onstage – a nice one. And all things being equal, who do you think the audience will side with – a guy in a sharp suit or the guy in the Corona visor and the tribal armband tattoo? Remember, the audience is looking at you far more intensely they are listening to you when you first come onstage. It’s often said that “A haircut and a shoe shine will only take you so far.” True, but at least they start you off in the right direction!

During the zenith of male peacockery – the 1970’s – Steve Martin was relatively subdued in an all-white three-piece suit. Why? He knew that if he looked wild and crazy and acted wild and crazy that he would be like a lot of other comedians. But if he dressed normally and acted wild and crazy, well, then he would stand out (not to mention allowing him to tap into the regular Joe’s dream wish to become the life of the party).


What’s the worst thing that can happen onstage? Far from a rhetorical question, it will serve you well to imagine the worst-case scenario taking place on stage and you, the hero, dealing with it with preternatural calm. (In reality the worst thing that usually can happy onstage is a non-functioning microphone). If it’s a highly unusual situation, you don’t even have to be funny: 9 times out of 10 if you’re calm and can still form complete sentences, well, then you da man!

If you wish, write and rehearse some stock lines for commonplace scenarios such as a broken glass, a chatty table or a heckler. Remember, the audience aches for you to take charge.

You might find it useful to recite a simple mantra before you go onstage. I have a handful of different mantras that I sometimes use before a show and one of them is “Nothing fazes me”, which I repeat over and over (I’m pretty sure that’s what a mantra requires). Other mantras I use are “I’m having fun up here” and “My zipper is up”.


If you’re calm, the audience will be calm. If you’re irrepressible, the audience will be irrepressible. If you’re worried about what your next joke is, so will the audience. Can you fake your demeanor? Of course you can – you do it all the time. If you’re the meditating type, consider doing some before each performance. If you have any doubt about your ability to memorize your material, spend extra time committing it to memory. Do whatever works for you so that moments before you go onstage you can take a deep breath, inhale and tackle your job without looking over your shoulder.


One of the nice things about stand-up comedy is that the world is your oyster. Do you really have so much material that you’re going to limit yourself to relationships and Lindsay Lohan? On the other hand, don’t try to stem the tsunami of material you’ve been writing about egg whites. Sure, maybe you risk being pigeonholed as “The Tool Guy” like Tim Allen, for example, but I’ll wager that it’s the kind of pigeonholing most would benefit from. Think of it as your hook!


None of this is mean to persuade those with moral or religious objections to adult humor, but most people understand that versatility is generally a good thing. I hope this doesn’t shock you, but there are decent people in this world who would like to see a show that’s unsuitable for children. In fact, there’s a burgeoning U.S. city unabashedly dedicated to entertainment for grown-ups called Las Vegas. President Reagan even emceed a floor show there for a while. If you are capable of doing stand-up using language and themes that the vast majority of adults use everyday among their peers, don’t be afraid to do so! If you can work both clean and dirty then its’ no different than Starbucks offering both hot and cold coffee, thereby bringing more value to more people. Ka-ching!

I only ask one thing: if you work clean, please don’t engage in that obnoxious form of moral exhibitionism that requires that you point out and celebrate it with the audience, i.e., “In today’s world where so many people feel you have to tell dirty jokes to be funny, it’s so refreshing….”) It’s like carrying a drunk girl to her bed and bragging the next morning about how you didn’t’ put a move on her.


I’m self-deprecating on stage. Very self-deprecating. Extremely self-deprecating. I hate myself. All of this is fine, except that I also tend to be overly-sensitive and insecure and when I add self-deprecation to the mix, I sometimes get in trouble. The best advice I ever got in this regard was from a wonderful comedian and my good friend Jeff Wayne. He said “Unless a joke gets no reaction whatsoever, you should just continue on without commentary.”

It’s sometimes tempting to call attention when a joke gets a weaker response than that established by the audience’s “laughter baseline”. The majority of times I do so, however, I end up only alienating the audience. I can hear the audience thinking “We’re having a ball here – why are you micro-analyzing our every response?” If you work quickly onstage, you can often get away with with a joke that falls completely flat by segueing immediately to the next joke.

But if there’s an elephant in the room and you work slowly like me, you’ve got to say something. Be prepared to win them back with a hilarious impromptu line (which you carefully crafted years ago on the back of a cocktail napkin).

Remember, it’s a war, not a battle. So listen to the audience, but don’t be in be in thrall to any one moment on stage.


Comedians are not generally known for their looks. On the contrary, stand-up comedy is one of the few professions where good looks are considered an occupational hazard. Take me, for example. I am a handsome man, there’s no way around it. I take no credit for it, it’s just the way it is. You don’t think I see the way audiences look at me when I walk onstage? It’s always the same: the women looking at me and beaming, the men looking at their women and frowning. I haven’t even spoken into the microphone yet and I’m already behind the 8-ball with all the guys in the audience and, in a way (and for the same reason) many of the women, too. But I’ve got one great thing going for me: I’m 5’5″ and 117 pounds. In other words, I’m a little man. And I don’t mean in a shorter-than-the-national average kind of way, either: I practically represent the lollipop guild.

My diminutive stature has been a gold mine for comedy. Forget all the material it generates – it mellows what otherwise might be perceived as a threat. I’m no longer just smart, funny, good-looking and successful: I’m smart, funny, good-looking, successful and small enough to do my shopping at Baby Gap. The same phenomenon is at play when I do material about married life. I can’t count the times I’ll see a holdout in the audience – usually a woman – with a look of consternation on her face. Then I begin telling good-natured jokes about married life with kids and I can practically hear a collective sigh of relief.

So remember, talk about those aspects of your life that are unsatisfying: winners are boring.