15 Minutes with B.J. Mendelson: Rosie Tran

Photo by B.J. Mendelson of downtown Chicago


Alright. So here is the second podcast. The first four were meant to be tests. I’ve now recorded six, so I feel pretty good about continuing this as a series. I’m not so crazy about doing the editing, which is why there’s virtually none. So I think if I were to set a goal with this thing, it would be to find a sponsor to cut a check each month so I can pay for Podcast Motor. D.J. Waldow, who you’ll hear from in two weeks, recommended their service.

Basically they would do everything I’m doing now, except I can just focus on recording these things and let them handle the rest. At that point, once the sound of the show is “professional” I’ll go about setting up an actual landing page for it and do all the stuff I’d encourage all of you to do if you were going to launch a campaign.

We’re not quite there yet, but that’s the plan. You should always have a plan and a goal, right?

I’m also getting more comfortable. Having done six of them, I feel less rigid about the three questions and the shows are getting more conversational. So in terms of my social anxiety and dealing with that (which I talked about in the show notes for last week’s episode with Jason Falls), the podcast seems to be helping.

(Just so we’re clear: The podcast is being done for personal reasons. It’s helping me deal with my anxiety and depression. So I don’t look at this thing as a money making endeavor. So any sort of sponsorship that might appear is 1. Probably a long ways off  if it happens at all and 2. Not being done to turn a profit.)

Show Notes

Rosie Tran on Why People Fail

Rosie: The reason that so many people fail or so many people have lives that are not exactly where they want to be is because we have this thing called the ego, and it blocks us from taking our own advice. So, we’re really good as a human species at giving others advice, but we’re not good at taking it for ourselves because our ego blocks us from hearing what we need to hear. You know what I’m tryin’ to say.

B.J.: Right.

Rosie: You know. You can’t handle the truth. (laughs) So, I would say that the best advice is to pretend like you’re giving advice to someone else, and then forcing yourself to take your own advice. (laughs)

Full Transcript

(Note: All transcripts are lightly edited for readability purposes.)

Rosie: Hey, B.J., how are you?

B.J.: I’m well. Hey, so you got like a, like a blowing sound in the background? What’s going on there? Is that like, you got the air conditioner going, or …

Rosie: (laughs) No, I live in the lovely city of Los Angeles, where there’s constantly a leaf blower going on outside. (laughs)

B.J.: Yeah, so I was just trying to figure out like, what … What is going on there and like … is he stalking you, or is he like …

Rosie: (laughs)

B.J.: Isn’t LA the land of like candy and serial killers?

Rosie: (laughs) No, it’s just that … I don’t know, whatever building you … They’re so … LA rent is really expensive just like New York, so a lotta people are in apartments and condos and stuff like that, but it’s not like New York where they’re in high-rises. Most of the buildings in Los Angeles are low-rise, and actually there’s a huge controversy ’cause Santa Monica and other cities are tryin’ to put more high-rises in, and the locals are like, “No, we don’t want more traffic. We don’t want more people. Low-rises! Low-rises!” But it’s kinda making rent unaffordable too.

But, in addition to all these low-rises, there’s a lot of landscaping and other things, so there’s just constantly leaf blowers and gardenings. Every building I’ve lived in. And there’s noise ordinances so they can’t go on, you know, at 7am, but somehow they do at 6 and 7am. (laughs)

B.J.: (laughs)

Rosie: So, it’s definitely … hashtag first world problems, but yes, there’s some noise in the background. So, hopefully, the listeners aren’t offended. (laughs)

B.J.: It’s all good. Like we were talking about the first four of these are just complete, like, big experiments. So, there’s no, there’s no production, there’s no … There’s nothing. It’s just … we’re doing the show and then, like, we’re seeing how it goes. Why don’t you introduce yourself to our crowd of like 3 people.

Rosie: (laughs) Actually, B.J., the average podcast has a hundred to 200
listeners, so there might be more people than you think.

B.J.: Oh, there ya go.

Rosie: (laughs) Well, I am a friend of B.J.’s for many years, and I’m a comedian, stand-up comedian, actress, writer, podcaster, et cet … I’m one of those et cetera people in LA that doesn’t really have one job, they have 9000 jobs. (laughs)

B.J.: (laughs) Hey, ya gotta pay the bills, right? I mean, that’s, that’s what it comes down to.

Rosie: I’m an et cetera. That’s what I am. I’m an ETC. (laughs)

B.J.: Before, before I get into like … Cause there’s only like three questions, which I think is like, the beauty of this, is that it’s three questions, and I’m done, but, so … You know the line like, you’re suposed to tell people that you’re always busy, ya know, in LA

Rosie: (laughs)

B.J.: So, what do you …

Rosie: Well I am always busy, but it’s cause I’m trying to piece together an income. (laughs)

B.J.: (laughs) That’s, that’s true, but, what is, what is the line. It’s like, I have, I have projects in varying states of production. Have you ever used that on someone?

Rosie: I haven’t used that one on someone.

B.J.: (laughs)

Rosie: But that’s, that’s very true. Some people, I think, just say that, and they’re really just smoking pot and sitting on their couch …

B.J.: (laughs)

Rosie: … waiting for something to happen. (laughs) I’m actually constantly having projects in various stages of production.

B.J.: (laughs)

Rosie: One thing I like about being an independent artist is you’re definitely an entrepreneur, but, sometimes, ya know, when you think of entrepreneur, you think of these Silicon Valley magnates who are like ready to make billions at any second. I think as an independent artist, you’re happy to get thousands. (laughs) Or the hundreds. (laughs)

B.J.: Hey, hundreds is good.

Rosie: Yeah, hundreds is good. (laughs)

B.J.: Hundreds is very good.

B.J.: Alright, so lemme ask you, so, the whole gist of this is, basically, like, what’s the best advice you’ve ever given. What’s like the one, the one piece of advice that, that you would wanna impart on someone. So, like, that’s the whole … That’s the whole deal with that. So, lemme ask you, what … What’s the best piece of advice that someone’s ever given you?

Rosie: In comedy, or just in life? (laughs)

B.J.: Hey, it’s, it … See, it … I think if it’s for comedy, it equally applies to life, right? (chuckles)

Rosie: Um, well … (laughs) This advice is very specific to comedy, but …

B.J.: OK.

Rosie: I would say the best advice I was ever given was not by a specific person. It was me reading an article about advice. (laughs) And, I’m horrible because I wanna give this person credit, but I, I don’t know … It was just an article I read online, so I ca … I don’t have the credit to give him. I know it was a him.

But, it was, a psychologist social anthropologist-type article, and he was talking about advice and giving advice and giving unsolicited advice, and I would say the best thing that I got from that article was that we all have unlimited knowledge. So B.J., you’re like the smartest person. I’m like the smartest person. But when we … The reason that so many people fail or so many people have lives that are not exactly where they want to be is because we have this thing called the ego, and it blocks us from taking our own advice. So, we’re really good as a human species at giving others advice, but we’re not good at taking it for ourselves because our ego blocks us from hearing what we need to hear. You know what I’m tryin’ to say.

B.J.: Right.

Rosie: You know. You can’t handle the truth. (laughs) So, I would say that the best advice is to pretend like you’re giving advice to someone else, and then forcing yourself to take your own advice. (laughs)

B.J.: I like it. I like it a lot. So, have you used that on yourself? Like, is there an instance that you can think of where … That you’ve applied it to something you were working on or something you’ve encountered?

Rosie: Um, oh yeah. I’ve used that a lot on myself. For some reason there’s this … There’s psychological phenomena … Oh, here’s a leaf blower. I’m gonna actually …

B.J.: (laughs)

Rosie: (laughs) It’s so loud. I … I totally use this on myself and it’s … For some reason, there’s a psychological phenomenon of when we give ourselves advice. It’s like so hard. Like we can’t do it. But it’s so easy to give others advice, right? Like, I think in my mind the person that’s like overweight and they know everything to do about dieting and exercise, yet, they’re still overweight, right?

B.J.: Right.

Rosie: So, I would say one of the best times that I took this advice for myself was ya know … I’m happily married and I love my husband so much, but, about five years ago, I was in a very, ya know, toxic relationship. The guy was just a total a-hole. Not a good person. And, I can’t … I was one of those girls, making justifications … “Oh, ya know, he’s fine,” this and that, XYZ, blah blah blah, “It’s OK,” ya know.

And, I kind of started listening to myself, and I’m like, “I sound like an abused housewife.” Like this is me making justifications. So, I took that, the advice I would give to any other woman, any girlfriend, or any guy friend that came to me telling me about this type of relationship … I would tell them to run for the hills. But, for some reason I myself was putting up my blinders and accepting this. So, I was like, I’m outta here. This if, if this was any other person coming to me with this situation, I would tell them to leave. So, I took my own advice, and I left.

B.J.: Nice. And, it worked out. I mean you, you got married and now it’s, it’s almost happily ever after, right?

Rosie: Yes! My husband’s awesome, and he’s not perfect. I’m not perfect, ya know. We’re human, unfortunately. But he’s a pretty awesome guy, so … I think that, You know relationships are hard. I know you’re divorced, and we’ve talked about it. But, it’s like you gotta take your own advice sometimes and just cut the cord. And, I think a lot of people don’t wanna break up or divorce because they’re like, “Oh, I don’t wanna be a failed marriage,” or, “I don’t wanna be a divorced person,” or “I don’t wanna have a,” ya know, whatever. But it’s like, sometimes you just gotta put your ego aside and say, “I’m out.” (laughs)

B.J.: And then … It sounds like Ryan Holiday article.

Rosie: (laughs)

B.J.: I wonder if it’s one of his.

Rosie: I don’t know.

B.J.: I wonder if it’s one of his. But, OK. So, the, the last thing that I always ask people is what’s the one piece of advice that you would wanna give to anyone that’s listening? And, could be on … it could be on anything. Like it could be, ya know, not just comedy, but life in general. Anything you want.

Rosie: So, what’s the one piece of advice I would want to give to someone else, or give to myself, or, who? (laughs)

B.J.: Let’s say, let’s say it’s like a total stranger that’s listening to us, and you’re like, “Hey, what’s, what’s something that I can share with them that might be, that might be cool to share with them?”

Rosie: I don’t know if would have one piece of advice I have … I may …

B.J.: (laughs)

Rosie: … have a bunch of things. But, I, I would say, ya know, you know yourself. You know yourself. People … There’s a lot of unsolicited advice that’s given, and …

B.J.: Sure.

Rosie: … A lot of times people are just projecting their own BS on other people, ya know. I constantly got marriage advice when I first, um, got married, by people that were divorced and people that were in unhappy relationships and I was like, “OK, I’m not gonna take marriage advice from you. You’re, you’re …”

B.J.: (laughs)

Rosie: “You have a failed marriage.” (laughs) So, I would just say trust yourself because there’s a lot of negative, crazy people out there. Ya know I got a lot of comments negative from men and women, ya know. Women, a lot of bitter women in LA, ya know, jaded women …

B.J.: (laughs)

Rosie: … Saying, “Oh, good luck with that!” Ya know, men are all cheaters and men are all liars and the same from, ya know, bitter, jaded guys, “Oh, women, they just want money,” and blah-blah-blah-blah-blah, and whatever their negative connotations were about relationships.

Rosie: And then the same thing with career. Same thing with career, ya know. When I said I wanted to be a stand-up, so many negative haters. “Oh, good luck with that,” and blah-blah-blah blah, and, um … So, there’s just a lot of negative people out there, and I would say the best advice is just, it’s sooo hard when you just have to ignore them all and I’m sure, ya know … “You doing your bull … Social media is bullshit,” and you probably had to deal with a lot of ignorance and dumb people, so … (laughs)

B.J.: Yeah, no, I had … I was on CNN and … No, it was on, it was on CNBC, and this guy took a picture of himself. I guess he was watching and like he’s just like flipping me off. And he’s …

Rosie: (laughs) OK (laughs)

B.J.: And that, that was his response to the interview, and I always love that. I always think about that and so, yeah. I mean like, you’re, you’re always gonna encounter people that tell you, don’t do stuff that they clearly can’t, or just don’t have the drive to do.

Rosie: And they’re never gonna take responsibility. They’re never going to say, “Oh, well maybe B.J.’s successful,” or “He’s successful because of,” something they’ve done. It’s always gonna be, you know, well, you know, “He got lucky,” or “She’s,” whatever or, “B-it’s because she’s an Asian girl and,” or whatever. Who knows? There’s just like so many … I think the internet magnifies it. It …

B.J.: Yeah.

Rosie: Cause there’s this sense of people feeling anonymous, so they feel like they can just say random stuff that they would never say in real life. But, there’s a lot of like super-crazy (laughing) weird people out there and (laughing) I, I, it, the internet makes me sad sometimes. It makes me happy when there’s puppy pics, but… (laughs)

B.J.: (laughs)

Rosie: A lot of … And kitty pics. But, a lot of times it makes me sad cause I’m like, “Wow, people,” A lot … 90% of these comment-hater trollers … I’m like, “Wow, these guys need therapy.” (laughs)

B.J.: (laughs)

Rosie: It’s bad. (laughs)

B.J.: It’s true. No, it’s, it’s totally true. Hey, um, but ya know, sometimes they think, “Well, if I’m a big enough troll, I can get elected president.” Ya know.

Rosie: (laughs)

B.J.: So … (laughs)

Rosie: (laughs) Yeah, that’s sad.

B.J.: So there is that.

Rosie: That’s very sad.

B.J.: Hey, lemme ask you, um … So … Just, I wanted to like go back so … Just specifically about comedy advice, did you get something that you thought was particularly useful? Like, I’m asking completely, selfish self-interest here. Like, what …

Rosie: I did get, I did, I get, I got a lot of miscellaneous advice. Um, this is …, I can’t think of anything off the top of my head that really stood out. But what I would have done if I would’ve … If I could take my career back … I’ve been doing stand-up now for almost 10 years. If I could go back and in, hindsight is 20/20, and do something different, I wouldn’t have moved to LA. I moved to LA when I was like 18 or 19. I would’ve gone to a small market, like San Francisco. San Francisco is a huge city, but it’s a small stand-up market.

B.J.: Right.

Rosie: I would’ve gone to San Francisco or Chicago or Miami or like another market that was like a small market. Austin. And I would’ve become the queen of that city. And then I would’ve come to LA or New York. Because what happens is, when you’re trying to develop as a comedian in LA or New York, you’re like, it’s a win-win slash win-lose, because, it’s like, your career could catapult at any time. But also, you’re like around these like amazing, huge headliners and stars and celebrities. You know, I’ve done shows with Robin Williams. I’ve done shows with, you know, Joan Rivers. I’ve done shows with other people. And so, you’re there’s so many opportunities, but also, it’s kinda like … You’re also fighting with every other celebrity. Like I did a show … I, I won’t talk bad about this guy on the air.

B.J.: (chuckles) Sure.

Rosie: But, I … There was like a celebrity comedian on a show and he did not wanna go after me. He didn’t wanna follow me. It’s not because I’m so funny, but because we had some similar material. Not, ya know, exactly, but he … It’s like he just didn’t wanna follow me and I was like shocked by that because he was a big star. But, it’s all ego, you know?

B.J.: Right.

Rosie: So, I would’ve become the big fish in a small ocean first. Because what I’ve seen is people that make it really really really really big in LA or New York. They were a big fish in a small pond and then they kinda like, got all their eggs in a basket in the small pond and then came to the big pond. If that makes any sense at all. (laughs)

B.J.: No that, that’s actually it’s great advice, on a buncha different levels. Like it’s also great life advice too. Ya know, i-if y-you [00:13:30] …

Rosie: Yeah.

B.J.: You get really good in a, in a … where there’s not too many eyes on you, and then once you’ve got a professional …

Rosie: Correct. Yes.

B.J.: So that’s genius. I love that. (chuckles)

Rosie: That, that is what … The only thing … If I could go back … There’s so many things about my career that I’m so happy about, but if I could go back, that’s what I would do. Because the people that I’ve seen in LA that just really blew up out of left field … They didn’t blow up. They were developing for 10 years in like …

B.J.: Right.

Rosie: … Austin or San Francisco or Chicago or Seattle. And then they kinda got their eggs in a basket. They got an agent, a manager,and they came to LA. They came to work. They didn’t have to deal with any of the comedy politics that, you know, um, mediocre shows and all these like crappy, like bitter, like up-and-coming comics, right? (laughs)

B.J.: (laughs)

Rosie: They just like cut the crap.

B.J.: Right.

Rosie: So, that’s … That … And people that did it like that, I think they looked at comedy very much in a business perspective. Some of them I think had no clue, they just like, it was a happy coincidence. But, as far as like straight to like, straight to the big time, straight to like making six figures, seven figures doing stand-up, that is the pattern that I’ve seen over and over and over again, is, they were the big fish in Toronto. They were the big fish in wherever. And then they kinda rode the wave or got hype or buzz or marketing or whatever you would call it, as a social media guy, right? (laughs)

B.J.: Right. Hey, no, we’re two episodes in and I think that’s, that’s the best advice that we’ve gotten so far.

Rosie: (laughs)

B.J.: (laughs)

Rosie: (laughing)

B.J.: Hey, where can people check you out?

Rosie: I have shows sporadically but I-really really what I wanna promote is the podcast, Out of The Box podcast, and following me on Twitter, because, um, sometimes I have booked shows way in advance and touring shows. But, sometimes I have shows last minute, like, I, last night I had a, um, show that kinda just came out, and someone was like, “Hey can you do this show?” So, if you really wanna catch me, follow me on Twitter @FunnyRosie and follow the podcast and that would be the best way to find out about me.

B.J.: Cool. Thank you so much for joining us.

Rosie: Thanks, B.J. Have a great day.

B.J.: You too.