Of course, neither that list nor mine are really the “best” comedians, but just who each author thinks is the funniest. I’m sure there’s some objective measure by which we can value humor – we know Dave Chappelle, who many people think is funny, is funnier in every conceivable way than someone no one thinks is funny, like me – but comedy is still obviously much more art than science. You might appreciate this list – if you have a weird fucking sense of humor – or you might not.
One thing you won’t find on this list is preferential treatment of “star” comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and guys like that. Actually, they aren’t even on the list because I don’t really think they’re that funny. I love Seinfeld the show, don’t really like him as a stand-up comedian. I’m not pretending to be some comedy snob and I don’t really have a finger on the pulse of the underground comedy scene, but I also have seen most of these guys/women in person, which I suppose adds to the level of bias in this list. I also didn’t list people who work in comedy but aren’t thought of as stand-up comedians, like Will Ferrell or Larry David. And I should also mention I just thought of a bunch of comedians I like and then wrote them down and sorted them, so I’m probably missing some people.
Anyway, here’s the list of the top 28 comedians that you’ve been dying to read, along with a quick thought on some of them.
1 Anthony Jeselnik
Might be the only person on the planet to rank him here; he’s not the “best” in terms of longevity or range of jokes or anything other than he makes me laugh the most
2 Mitch Hedberg
Probably the actual best
3 Brian Regan
Didn’t even make the TBS list above, which is outrageous
4 Nathan Fielder
Stand-up is good, but Nathan For You is one of the greatest shows ever made IMO
5 Hannibal Buress
Maybe the most underrated; I was at the show in Philly when he “outed” Bill Cosby
6 Aziz Ansari
Definitely worthy of praise he’s received; his show Master of None on Netflix is really good
7 Jim Gaffigan
Preferred older stuff to newer
8 Amy Schumer
9 Dave Chappelle
10 Norm Macdonald
Old-school but one of the guys I imagine you think is either hilarious or never, ever, ever funny
11 Daniel Tosh
12 Louis C.K.
Most people have Louis C.K. in the top one or two comedians right now; he’s fine, idk…I just don’t love him.
13 Nick Swardson
14 Zack Galifianakis
His old stand-up before he became famous is hilarious.
15 Sarah Silverman
16 John Mulaney
17 Ricky Gervais
18 Demetri Martin
19 Mike Birbiglia
20 Adam Devine
21 Russell Brand
22 Sebastian Maniscalco
I actually want to re-rate this to move him higher, but then I’d need to change all the numbers above it because I didn’t use an automated list, so he’s staying.
23 Eugene Mirman
24 Nick Kroll
25 Rob Delaney
I don’t actually like his stand-up, but he’s hilarious on Twitter.
26 TJ Miller
27 Kevin James
One of the few top comedic actors I think is actually very funny; I didn’t want to like his stand-up, but I do.
28 Doug Benson
Might be funnier if he weren’t high all the time…or might be much, much worse
I was in Denver this past weekend for the wedding of one of my best friends and FantasyLabs co-founder Peter Jennings. We had about half of the FantasyLabs team there, which was awesome.
Don’t mind the fact that I packed light brown shoes with a dark gray suit – nothing to see there folks. Completely normal attire that doesn’t look ridiculous in the least.
It was a spectacular wedding at a spectacular venue – Arrowhead Golf Club – and everyone had a fun time blah blah blah…onto the story.
Peter invited so many DFS players that we honestly could have held a fantasy sports convention. In addition to the Labs guys, there was dinkpiece, Kcannon, EmpireMaker, SaahilSud, Davis Mattek, Jeremy Levine, BirdWings, and a bunch of other top players and business guys.
It was no surprise, then, when props started popping up on the day of the wedding on certain events that would take place. Will Peter or Ashley cry? How many times will Jesus be mentioned during the ceremony? And the big one that got all the action: the length of the best man’s speech.
The best man is Peter’s friend Beckmann and I believe early bets were coming in at over/under five minutes, but the total quickly jumped to 7 min 30 sec. Beckmann is definitely an outgoing person, but that’s a long time for anyone to talk in front of over 100 people. I got my money in on the under. I actually had a really nice potential arbitrage opportunity pop up when I heard someone was taking bets at 6 min 30 sec. I tried to get the over on that – in which case I would break even if the speech fell short of 6 min 30 sec or went over 7 min 30 sec, but win both bets if it fell between those numbers – but I ultimately couldn’t get that number.
At some point during the reception, the best man found out about the bets on his speech. Beckmann is obviously one of Peter’s best friends and he’s very familiar with the DFS scene, but what he said when he learned of the action goes to show the absurdity of hanging out with high-stakes DFS players:
“How much is on it so far, like $200k?”
There wasn’t anywhere close to that amount on it, but think about how insane it is that his initial reaction to learning about the bets was to assume there were literally hundreds of thousands of dollars being placed on the length of his speech.
Now obviously the bets were tainted with Beckmann learning about them. Maybe I’m saying that because I’m bitter the speech went 8 min 20 sec. Or maybe it’s because some of the guys on the over clapped incessantly every time there was a pause in the speech. Completely normal behavior.
The moral of the story: it’s not really a wedding until you have two dozen grown men pull out their phones and start their stopwatches to time the length of the best man’s speech.
This post was originally called My Current Workout/Diet Plan, but creating a sample diet that includes Lunchables and Papa John’s is maybe not a pro move. But I’ll tell you what is a pro move: heating your Lunchables…
My cousin lives with me and he walked downstairs as I was heating those up and said “You certainly are a paradox.” This is what Cuban money gets you, folks. Microwaved Lunchables at 9:30am.
One reason I don’t eat all that healthy is because I love to eat out and order in. Anything except cooking myself. I sort of realized I have a problem the other day when I ordered so much Indian food they brought me the rice in an aluminum party tray.
That’s actually really sad.
Another reason I haven’t eaten healthy is that I’ve always responded better – and found it easier – to working out over healthy eating. I create little tests to determine which workouts/diets are best – hint: the best diet actually doesn’t include pizza and snacks that could sit out for 20 years without spoiling – and I 100% believe my body responds much better to working out > healthy eating. I hear others are different, but the numbers suggest that’s the case for me personally. Obviously both are ideal, but you can’t win ’em all, moving on.
A couple months ago, I made a goal to get into better shape. I used to work out all the time when I was in college – and for a couple years after – and then #DFSLife took hold of me and it’s been a struggle since then. At my peak, I weighed 178 pounds and could bench press 225 pounds 31 times. I literally don’t give one shit about how much weight I can lift, but it does give you some insight into how much time I was wasting being a meathead. I could also squat the bar for two reps. Two reps.
Barbell-Based Living (Pun Not Intended But Totally Intended)
In an earlier post titled What It’s Like to Work in DFS, I mentioned I typically work out mid-day. I’ve almost always done this – sans a brief stint of living the life of a vampire – because it breaks up my day really nicely. I tend to do my most strenuous work – like writing, building models, etc. – in the morning, then work out as a way to sort of recuperate from that.
This philosophy of intense bursts of energy followed by periods of rest is more or less how I strive to live most aspects of life: work, exercise, and even playing DFS. Even before I read about Taleb’s barbell strategy (and subsequently applied it to fantasy sports), I found far superior results by performing shorter, more intense workouts – or by doing very light workouts, like walking – than to perform longer workouts of moderate intensity. Even today, I prefer and would recommend to anyone trying to lose weight or get healthy to do sprint training – sprint, walk, sprint, walk – as opposed to jogging.
Now I’ve tried to bring this barbell-based approach that emphasizes extremes to achieve “balance” to other aspects of life. At FantasyLabs, our developers work in two-week “sprints” in which they create products at warp speed, followed by maintenance periods that, although still hectic since we’re a startup, are about as light of a load as we can have them take on right now. We’ve found this approach to be far superior than them trying to work on product development, maintenance, IT support, etc. all at once; when you cast too wide of a net and try to do everything, you end up doing nothing, or else just doing everything sort of shitty. I much prefer a “super niche” approach in which I/we focus on very specific things and tackle them in a very intense way; multi-tasking is for suckers.
Where I Work Out
DraftKings did a video on me that they insisted had to be based around me working out, especially jogging around Philadelphia. Just between us, that doesn’t happen that often except when I need to get the dog outside because he’s being an asshole, but that’s fine.
In that video, though, you can see me lifting weights in my basement. That was so awkward, by the way. There were six people down there and I was working out pretty much in the dark. They make it look somewhat lit up, but it was very dark and I had to perform a lot of sets and since I’m not gonna bench 20-pound weights in this very, very serious feature about my life that millions upon millions will see, I got very tired and just immediately started struggling while six strangers filmed, shined lights, and held mics around me. Totally normal day.
But that basement is where I work out most of the time – sometimes I go to a gym, but only if it’s off-hours – and I really don’t have much equipment: a bench, these adjustable PowerBlock dumbbells (such a good buy), and a pull-up thing (I think that’s the official name for it if you want to search on Amazon…pull-up thing). I really don’t think you need much equipment to get in shape, and I’d actually be just fine not using any at all. When I lived in New York, I worked out at playgrounds – primarily on the monkey bars with pull-up/dip supersets – and that was plenty for me. I stopped doing that once I reached pedophile-level frequency of hanging out on a playground.
So that’s where I work out, along with walks (and occasional sprints/jogs) outside. The exact sort of workout I do changes a lot. Before I get into that, I want to explain my exercise philosophy in greater detail.
My Exercise Philosophy
If I had to describe the way I approach working out – specifically lifting weights, which I believe is the most effective and quickest way to change your body/health, male or female – it would be “organized chaos.” There’s an overarching goal I try to accomplish with each workout, but the combination of exercises, which muscles I work out, how intensely I perform things, and just about every aspect of the workout changes all the time – even within the workout itself. I saw a workout plan that was based around putting exercises on a card and drawing them at random, and while I wouldn’t say what I do is totally random, I do think there are random elements to it that make it superior to a “three sets of three exercises for chest on Wednesdays” sort of plan.
There’s a popular workout maxim that you need to “keep your body guessing.” I’m actually not a believer in that per se, but I do think the approach that stems from that – to do different types of workouts and exercises – can lead to good results. The way I “keep my body guessing,” though, isn’t to just switch things up in an effort to be random, but rather to actually shift what I’m trying to accomplish mid-workout based on how I feel. As an example, I might start a workout wanting to do heavy bench presses and find that I really just don’t have the strength/endurance to do it, and thus I might transition into a lighter chest day in which I’m really focused on the connection between mind and muscle, or move to other muscles altogether.
I think the mind-muscle connection is really important. You and I could do the exact same exercise with the exact same weight for the exact same reps, and yet I (or you) might work out the desired muscle more intensely than the other by really focusing on using that area of the body to move the weight; I think people concentrate so much on moving weight, when that’s just one specific means of reaching your true end goal, which is either building muscle or strength (not synonymous). The movement is a means to an end; focus on contracting your muscles to force the weight to move as opposed to simply doing reps to do reps.
Part of this approach means not really having an ego when it comes to lifting weights. I used to be able to lift heavy – and I believe there’s a pretty important place for that in any workout plan – but many times I will go to the gym and get a better workout benching 135 pounds or curling 30s than trying to go really big. I used to not be that way, and things changed when I started doing different types of workouts. I believe it was actually yoga that shifted my workout philosophy. I was forced to do a workout I really didn’t want to do – and one at which I was awful – which subsequently made me re-think things. How could I lift X weight, but I couldn’t even hold myself up for 10 seconds?
And so I started thinking about how you can go about a workout, and really how you can make it more difficult. The most obvious way is to increase the weight, which I think is the default approach every guy uses to get bigger. But I came up with four fundamentals to any sort of movement:
Resistance (or Weight)
Length of Set (Speed of Movement, or Form)
Regardless of the exercise – whether it’s a bench press or push-up or sprint or bicep curl – there are four primary components that determine difficulty (at least that I’ve identified). The first, and most popular, is resistance. More weight is more difficult. For a sprint, this might be running with a weighted vest or parachute or something. So many people focus on improving in this area, but it’s really just one-quarter of the puzzle, in my opinion.
The second is reps. Twelve reps of X pounds is more difficult than 10 reps, all else equal. Duh.
The third is the length of the set. This comes down to the speed at which you perform a rep, if you do reps at all (with yoga, I ended up doing really long sets with little or no movement). Using “good form” (which I actually don’t think is always necessary) is part of this; you can do the same number of reps of the same amount of weight and make it way freakin’ harder by doing the reps in a slow, controlled manner.
The fourth fundamental is rest time – the amount of time between sets. Cutting down on this time is perhaps the easiest way to get lean.
In every workout I do, I want to focus on improving in one of these areas. Each workout becomes a competition in which I want to get better in some way. That’s traditionally been “lift more weight” for most, but again, I think that’s just a small piece of the puzzle. I want to lift more weight for more and better reps with as little rest as possible.
The Current Plan
My current workout plan – what I do on maybe 80% of days right now – is called (I think) The Filthy 50. I saw this in Men’s Health or something years ago and I thought it was a really unique and interesting foundation for working out. At a fundamental level, it consists of doing 50 reps of 10 different exercises.
There are so many variations of this plan that you can do, of course. You can make it a full-body workout, or go very hard on just two muscles (with five sets each), or make it an all-cardio workout with exercises like sprints, burpees, etc. The only requirements I have are 1) the exercises are intense – like clean-and-jerks, squat jumps, burpees, and so on, and 2) I cannot physically perform 50 reps in a row. I actually end up using fairly heavy weights for this workout in most iterations – typically about what it takes to do three sets per exercise. I almost always reach around 20 reps on the first set, 16 or so on the second, and about 14 on the third. The idea, traditionally, is to do the 500 total reps as quickly as possible. By choosing weights too heavy to reach 50 reps in one set, you’re forcing yourself to work very hard to get to that number.
This is probably a good time to mention my thoughts on counting reps, which I typically think you should avoid unless you know you are trying to exceed a number you can perform with that weight in one set. I don’t mean to get too Taoist on you, but the reps (and resistance, length of set, and rest time) are all completely irrelevant and relevant at the same time; they matter, yet they don’t. What I mean by that is they matter only in a holistic way when considered in conjunction with each other, but they’re useless pieces of information in isolation. I can use the same weight and perform a better set of six reps than 12, but only if my form is better or I’m cutting down on rest time. It all works together, and I think counting reps is useful only when controlling for each other fundamental, which is challenging. Thus, I think you should focus on pushing yourself to fatigue on every set – every single one, no matter what – as opposed to reaching a number and then stopping. Your body changes when you do something you’ve never done before in one of the four fundamentals.
Even when I do a Filthy 50 workout, I will extend beyond 50 (even if I stop counting at that point) if I can. If there’s one way in which I approach working out that’s different from others, it’s probably this idea: I truly believe you need to do every set until you can’t take on any more resistance…until true failure.
So you probably thought you’d see specific exercises here, how many sets I do, when I do them, and so on. There’s really not any particular exercises I do that are revolutionary – bench press, dips, push-ups for chest, pull-ups, rows for back…the same as everyone else – but I think the way in which I go about completing the exercises is perhaps unique. I actually think the exact exercises you do aren’t even that important.
My goal for each workout is to improve in at least one of the four fundamentals, and thus I concentrate on emphasizing one each time. Sometimes I use heavier weight. Sometimes I do more reps at a greater speed, even if it means sacrificing form (in a smart way that won’t get me injured). Sometimes I really focus on lengthening sets and harping on mind-muscle connection. And sometimes I do extremely quick workouts with little to no rest between sets.
In my experience, focusing on killing it in one of these four areas – and mixing them up at equal (but random) ratios based on how you feel – has been the most effective way to get in shape quickly.
If you’ve never been to the Playboy Mansion, it’s pretty much exactly what you think the Playboy Mansion is like, times 10. I was lucky enough to visit for the second time recently after qualifying for the FanDuel MLB Championship. Big shout out to my lineup, which finished 78th out of 80 in the tournament. When you have the chance to finish in the bottom 4% of a championship event, you take it.
This time around was different than last because 1) it was my friend Peter Jennings’ bachelor party and 2) I was being shadowed by a writer for SUCCESS Magazine (Michael Mooney). We had 10 total guys come out for Peter’s funeral, and the best man – Beckmann – suggested we stay at Chateau Marmont. If you’re unfamiliar with the hotel, here’s a rundown. Basically, a lot of celebrities stay there and misbehave and/or die.
Per Beckmann when we arrived at Chateau on Friday afternoon: “This place makes good girls go bad.”
Chateau Marmont looks like an old castle. We stayed in Bungalow 1, which is separated from the main hotel. There are four bungalows – Britney Spears was in another one while we were there, apparently – and they’re very private, with a pool, bar, and ping pong table right out the backdoor. Here’s a look at some pictures, all six of which are from Google because I didn’t actually take any photos.
The bungalow itself is very old. I think Peter was a bit tilted when we first arrived because you aren’t paying $5k/night for luxury; it’s all about the history, privacy, and charm. When we first walked into the bungalow, we saw a bunch of alcohol that we naively thought was complimentary. You know, because we paid $5k/night. Then I saw a $12 small bag of chips and realized maybe, just maybe, the liquor wasn’t on the house. We ended up just hiding that so no one could drink it.
We played a bunch of ping pong the first afternoon, and I’d stack our group of guys up against anyone (who is moderately good at ping pong). One of the guys – Steve Bass – was a professional tennis player, which is relevant because he was part of a bet with poker player Brandon Adams on Tuesday in Vegas. Peter was able to travel out to watch Stephen and Brandon play a match of tennis, and the bet was that Bass had to beat Brandon 6-0, 6-0 to win – and he was around (-145) to do it. I think there was some big money on this thing, and Bass indeed won.
One thing that was really cool, though, was learning how Brandon set up the match to try to tilt the odds in his favor. He was able to choose the court, which was at the top of Cosmopolitan. It’s a really shitty court, apparently, at elevation somewhat (Bass said this matters). They also played at 11am – a time when the shadow of the building was moving across the court. It was just really sharp thinking from BA – who is a really smart guy in general – as he knew he was a dog and wanted to embrace variance as much as possible. Bass is also a sharp guy, so he played a super low-variance strategy in which he simply tried to make shots and force Brandon to continually beat him. I originally thought the line of (-145) was probably about right given that BA plays tennis quite a bit – he’s had some big prop bets with Patrik Antonius in the past – but after watching the match, I think he was probably close to drawing dead.
On Friday night we stopped by the FanDuel opening party at the W in Westwood, which is right next to UCLA. That’s where I first met Michael. I thought it might be awkward having someone shadow me for the weekend, but it wasn’t at all; Michael pretty much just became an honorary member of the bachelor party right away.
He immediately met a lot of guys in daily fantasy sports – Dan Back, beepimajeep (Jay Raynor), Tommy G (no idea what the ‘G’ stands for), Cal Spears, and so on. Michael has a poker background, which was definitely a huge plus for me when I first found out he would be writing the story, i.e. since poker and DFS are similar games in a lot of ways, he “gets it” when it comes to daily fantasy.
We ate some food at the W and then headed back to Chateau, where we hung out at the bar for a bit. I think I went back to the room at like 2 or 3am, which I’d love to say contributed to the poor performance of my lineup, but it really didn’t. I could do a breakdown of my team and why I liked it, but who really gives a shit?
So I woke up Saturday, did a little research and set my lineup, and then we all headed to the Playboy Mansion. The best way to describe the Playboy Mansion is through pictures. Once again, I took none of these and just found most on Instagram by searching for the event.
Until you’re there, you really can’t appreciate how many girls are shipped into this thing. It’s kind of insane. I’m not really sure where they come from – I heard something about an app that the Mansion or FanDuel uses to find them – but the place is just crawling with models taking selfies.
If taking selfies is an art, these girls are the Michelangelos and Picassos and da Vincis of our time. I think being in the presence of such incredible artists is what had me so flustered and nervous to converse with them; talking to a hot girl is one thing, but trying to do it while she’s creating an Instagram video of her bending over and twerking in a bikini on the Playboy Mansion driveway – her canvas – is another. You have to respect their craft.
I did take one photo at the Mansion – of a parrot – which is either because I didn’t want to look like a creep on my phone or because I’m a giant fucking pussy, or both. While searching for photos to add to this blog, I did find this video, though…
A video posted by Mary Rodriguez (@marymerkems) on
Noteworthy because if you were to set odds on which guy would be talking to her, I would take even money on Tommy G, and it’s indeed him. If you’ve ever seen a lion creeping around searching for prey in the wild, that’s kind of like what it’s like to party with Tommy G (if the lion failed on 90% of its targets, but was just so fucking relentless that it always got something to eat because it just keeps going and going and going until it happens upon a wounded animal or an emotionally unstable underage girl). Tommy is the man and does always get girls, so I’m just playing of course.
There are a variety of different areas around the Mansion – the pool/grotto, zoo, basketball/tennis courts, game room, and so on – and it’s really just a lot more expansive than you might think. There’s also an area to sweat the games, although I can’t stress enough how few people actually watch. I think I watched maybe five pitches the whole day, which worked out in my favor given that I scored roughly the same number of points.
I mostly hung out in the zoo looking at birds and monkeys and stuff – there are like 300 monkeys, no lie – but I also lost a lot of money in beer pong and lost to Condia playing pool. Big day for me. Really big day. I feel like Condia is still a mystery to a lot of people, but I’ve been able to hang out with him a bit in San Diego and now LA, and I really like him and think he’s a great guy.
If you’re wondering if Hef ever comes out, the answer is no, but I can tell you it’s weird af knowing the guy is just chilling inside. What’s he doing in there? Does he just nap a lot? Is he still having sex? I swear I saw him look out once, but it was probably just another 90-year-old man in a robe.
After the event, we had an afterparty back at our bungalow. Beckmann asked every girl at the Mansion if they wanted to come back for a pizza party, which he said would work because “it’s innocent and fun.” Girls did indeed come back to the bungalow, although I’m not sure if it was because they were really hungry for pizza or because other people invited them to Chateau Marmont. We didn’t even have any fucking pizza, although someone ordered 100 tacos. I ate roughly half of them.
tl;dr The Playboy Mansion is fun. I highly recommend it.
I get around three or four emails/tweets each week asking me for book recommendations. I love reading books; they’re piled up all over my house.
Most of my books are in containers in the basement. I should probably just give the books away after I read them to let someone else enjoy them, but that wouldn’t fit with my hoarder personality. I gave my brother one of my old books for Christmas (lol a used book as a present) and felt so bad I got rid of a book that I bought a new copy of it. I didn’t read it again and I never will. BUT I NEED IT COLLECTING DUST IN MY APARTMENT FOR ME TO GO ON WITH MY LIFE.
Most of the book questions I get are related to daily fantasy sports, but I still give the same recommendations of non-DFS-specific books because 1) there aren’t really that many great daily fantasy sports books out there (I’m probably considered the authority in DFS books and I wrote the last one in 13 days – #humblebrag, nbd), and 2) I love the idea of taking concepts from one domain and applying them to another. If reading Taoism in my free time so I can formulate a better DFS tournament strategy is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
So here’s a list of books and authors I enjoy. These aren’t in any particular order, nor is it a cumulative list. I pretty much just walked around my apartment and wrote down some of the titles. I linked to the authors’ Amazon pages or the books themselves when applicable. I also jotted down a few quick thoughts on some of the books.
A Reading List for DFS Players If You Like Reading Things Not At All Related to Daily Fantasy Sports
I majored in philosophy, and Nietzsche was my favorite philosopher. My favorites are Beyond Good and Evil and The Gay Science, although I’ve read every word of his I can find, and it’s all good. I seriously can’t recommend Nietzsche enough.
You’ll notice a lot of philosophy books on this list – especially Eastern concepts – as well as a lot of theoretical physics. I’m particularly interested in the intersection of the two. For a long time, I was reading like two or three theoretical physics books a week, so I’m pretty fucking qualified to talk about string cheese theory.
I think Davies takes complex concepts from theoretical physics and, along with Michio Kaku (who you might have seen on TV), is the best at explaining them in a really easy-to-understand way. Einstein said something like “If you can’t explain your theory to a five-year old, then you don’t know it well enough.” That’s probably not even close to the actual quote, but you get the idea. My favorite Davies books are The Mind of God, Goldilocks Enigma, God & the New Physics, and About Time.
Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely
I’ve used a lot of the concepts from these books in how we market FantasyLabs, especially when it comes to pricing (specifically the idea that people have no idea what something is worth in a vacuum – only what it should be worth in relation to something else).
There are so many other books I could list here. No matter what your goals, I think the most efficient (and fun) path to achieve them is to just start reading things written by people smarter than yourself, take what you’ve learned (no matter the subject), and apply the core principles in a creative way.