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9 Odd Demands on the Riders of Comedians

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Comedians are an eccentric bunch, and they need some strange things to get in the performing mood. Over the years, The Smoking Gun has collected riders that include examples of unorthodox items or requests that might not make sense to those of us that stick to sitting in the audience; here are 11 of them.

1. CARROT TOP — “PLEASE NO CARROT CAKE”

Carrot Top, a.k.a. Scott Thompson, knows that he is perceived as a hack to many people. Carrot Top’s self-awareness and self-deprecation appeared in a 2002 rider, where he began his stipulations for dinner with: “PLEASE NO CARROT CAKE - IT’S STILL NOT FUNNY!” The remainder of the supper stipulations are crossed out, but it’s easy to see that at some point Carrot Top and his crew enjoyed a Spaghetti Night on Wednesdays, an Omaha Steak Night on Saturdays and a Taco Night to end the weekend on a delicious note.

2. ZACH GALIFIANAKIS — PERFECT OFFICE PRODUCTS

All things considered, Zach Galifianakis doesn’t come off as high-maintenance as the other celebrities with multi-page riders. For example, instead of a wide variety of beverages, he only desires one bottle of Syrah and one large bottle of flat water. When it comes to those big flip charts that he sometimes uses in his act, however, Galifianakis gets very specific:

“Two (2) large flip charts (plain white, 50 pages each, 27" X 34"). Office Depot item #597862 "Recycled easel pads" or Staples item #572867 MUST be used, no exceptions. They sell them two to a pack, so one pack is fine.“

Zach also requires three Sharpie magnum permanent markers, with “no exceptions or substitutes.” His management claim they’re hard to find and may need to be ordered, with a link to the relevant Sharpie URL.

3. LARRY THE CABLE GUY — HOOTERS STYLE WINGS

Dan Whitney is best—or only—known for his Larry the Cable Guy persona. According to his rider, Whitney tries to keep up with the blue-collar character dietarily. According to a leaked rider of the successful comedian (Whitney is guaranteed $155,000 per gig), Whitney insists on “50 ‘Hooters Style’ chicken wings (medium), blue cheese dressing,” and “4 cans of Skoal/Berry Blend Long Cut Tobacco (purple can).”

Whitney also requests a box of Multi-Grain Wheat Thins and no processed meats. He contains multitudes.

4. JERRY LEWIS — PLEASE DON’T TALK ABOUT MY CHARITY

Jerry Lewis made his mark on the world with his slapstick comedy, but some only associate him with the Muscular Dystrophy Association telethons that he hosted every Labor Day weekend from 1966 until 2011. Possibly because of this, Lewis and/or his representation make it very clear (ALL CAPS) that his charity work is not to be mentioned in promoting his shows:

“REFERENCE TO JERRY LEWIS AND THE MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY ASSOCIATION TO PROMOTE A CONCERT OR PERSONAL APPEARANCE WILL RESULT IN THE CANCELLATION OF THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THAT PARTICULAR VENUE AND JERRY LEWIS.”

Other little quirks from the seven-page rider include the fact that while Lewis and one guest fly first class, the other four members of his party have to fly business class; the stage floor must be suitable for tap dancing; and two long-stemmed carnations must be delivered backstage no later than one hour prior to showtime.

5. PENN & TELLER — “MR. JILLETTE EATS FIRE.”

There is a lot of technical talk in Penn & Teller’s 2001 rider, but the dangers behind the group’s tricks have become so commonplace for them that there are some unintended fun juxtapositions. The catering section reads—in all capital letters—that someone in the group or crew is allergic to eggplant, and it should therefore be avoided. Also, the boys and their crew really like their coffee and water: “COFFEE AND BOTTLED WATER MUST BE PROVIDED FOR THE ENTIRE TIME WE ARE PRESENT BEGINNING WITH OUR LOAD IN. NO KIDDING!!!” Conversely, on the final page that is dedicated to the fire safety precautions, it is casually written in normal, understated lettering that “Mr. Jillette also eats fire. For this he uses small torches which fit into his mouth.”

6. JOAN RIVERS — 65 DEGREES OR ELSE

Joan Rivers has been performing for a long time, and she knows what she wants, down to the most specific of details. According to a 1998 rider, her stool must be a “30-inch black, standard wooden, backless stool with a seat covered in black Duvatin,” and it must be “extremely sturdy” due to Rivers’ propensity to stand on it during shows. The temperature at the venue cannot exceed 65 degrees. It is clearly stated that the toilet seat must have a lid. One 19-inch television in perfect working order is required in the dressing room, as well as a demand for one oxygen mask.

7. BOB SAGET — CLEAN OPENING ACT

According to a 2005 document, Bob Saget and his management provide copy for how Saget’s stand-up shows should be advertised, emphasizing the entertainment value of seeing the “clean cut, boyishly charming” man who played Danny Tanner performing dirty material. Since the audience knew what to expect, Saget’s restrictions on his opening act were strange:

“Opening act subject to Artist's approval. Artist approved opener must not have dirty material and must not use a guitar or any other musical instrument as part of their act.”

8. DAVID SPADE — NERF

As far as the food and beverages requested by David Spade on his rider, nothing seems out of the ordinary. The one item on the rider that does seem a little out of place would have to be the Nerf football.

9. DANIEL TOSH — READING MATERIAL

A 2010 Daniel Tosh rider stipulates that the comedian’s dressing room should contain “four bottles of Smart Water, an assortment of decaffeinated teas, hot water for the iced tea, a bottle or jar of honey and several fresh lemons.” That’s pretty reasonable and not out of the ordinary, outside of the fact that usually celebrities request more items. It’s the one seemingly tossed-off sentence that is its own paragraph under the Miscellaneous section that’s a bit strange:

For college dates, please provide a book you think Daniel might like to read.

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Yes, You Can Put Your Christmas Decorations Up Now—and Should, According to Psychologists
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We all know at least one of those people who's already placing an angel on top of his or her Christmas tree while everyone else on the block still has paper ghosts stuck to their windows and a rotting pumpkin on the stoop. Maybe it’s your neighbor; maybe it’s you. Jolliness aside, these early decorators tend to get a bad rap. For some people, the holidays provide more stress than splendor, so the sight of that first plastic reindeer on a neighbor's roof isn't exactly a welcome one.

But according to two psychoanalysts, these eager decorators aren’t eccentric—they’re simply happier. Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown told UNILAD:

“Although there could be a number of symptomatic reasons why someone would want to obsessively put up decorations early, most commonly for nostalgic reasons either to relive the magic or to compensate for past neglect.

In a world full of stress and anxiety people like to associate to things that make them happy and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of the childhood.

Decorations are simply an anchor or pathway to those old childhood magical emotions of excitement. So putting up those Christmas decorations early extend the excitement!”

Amy Morin, another psychoanalyst, linked Christmas decorations with the pleasures of childhood, telling the site: “The holiday season stirs up a sense of nostalgia. Nostalgia helps link people to their personal past and it helps people understand their identity. For many, putting up Christmas decorations early is a way for them to reconnect with their childhoods.”

She also explained that these nostalgic memories can help remind people of spending the holidays with loved ones who have since passed away. As Morin remarked, “Decorating early may help them feel more connected with that individual.”

And that neighbor of yours who has already been decorated since Halloween? Well, according to a study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, homes that have been warmly decorated for the holidays make the residents appear more “friendly and cohesive” compared to non-decorated homes when observed by strangers. Basically, a little wreath can go a long way.

So if you want to hang those stockings before you’ve digested your Thanksgiving dinner, go ahead. You might just find yourself happier for it.

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11 Black Friday Purchases That Aren't Always The Best Deal
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Black Friday can bring out some of the best deals of the year (along with the worst in-store behavior), but that doesn't mean every advertised price is worth splurging on. While many shoppers are eager to save a few dollars and kickstart the holiday shopping season, some purchases are better left waiting for at least a few weeks (or longer).

1. FURNITURE

Display of outdoor furniture.
Photo by Isaac Benhesed on Unsplash

Black Friday is often the best time to scope out deals on large purchases—except for furniture. That's because newer furniture models and styles often appear in showrooms in February. According to Kurt Knutsson, a consumer technology expert, the best furniture deals can be found in January, and later on in July and August. If you're aiming for outdoor patio sets, expect to find knockout prices when outdoor furniture is discounted and put on clearance closer to Labor Day.

2. TOOLS

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Unless you're shopping for a specific tool as a Christmas gift, it's often better to wait until warmer weather rolls around to catch great deals. While some big-name brands offer Black Friday discounts, the best tool deals roll around in late spring and early summer, just in time for Memorial Day and Father's Day.

3. BEDDING AND LINENS

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Sheet and bedding sets are often used as doorbuster items for Black Friday sales, but that doesn't mean you should splurge now. Instead, wait for annual linen sales—called white sales—to pop up after New Year's. Back in January of 1878, department store operator John Wanamaker held the first white sale as a way to push bedding inventory out of his stores. Since then, retailers have offered these top-of-the-year sales and January remains the best time to buy sheets, comforters, and other cozy bed linens.

4. HOLIDAY DÉCOR

Rows of holiday gnomes.
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If you are planning to snag a new Christmas tree, lights, or other festive décor, it's likely worth making due with what you have and snapping up new items after December 25. After the holidays, retailers are looking to quickly move out holiday items to make way for spring inventory, so ornaments, trees, yard inflatables, and other items often drastically drop in price, offering better deals than before the holidays. If you truly can't wait, the better option is shopping as close to Christmas as possible, when stores try to reduce their Christmas stock before resorting to clearance prices.

5. TOYS

Child choosing a toy car.
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Unless you're shopping for a very specific gift that's likely to sell out before the holidays, Black Friday toy deals often aren't the best time to fill your cart at toy stores. Stores often begin dropping toy prices two weeks before Christmas, meaning there's nothing wrong with saving all your shopping (and gift wrapping) until the last minute.

6. ENGAGEMENT RINGS AND JEWELRY

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Holiday jewelry commercials can be pretty persuasive when it comes to giving diamonds and gold as gifts. But, savvy shoppers can often get the best deals on baubles come spring and summer—prices tend to be at their highest between Christmas and Valentine's Day thanks to engagements and holiday gift-giving. But come March, prices begin to drop through the end of summer as jewelers see fewer purchases, making it worth passing up Black Friday deals.

7. PLANE TICKETS AND TRAVEL PACKAGES

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While it's worth looking at plane ticket deals on Black Friday, it's not always the best idea to whip out your credit card. Despite some sales, the best time to purchase a flight is still between three weeks and three and a half months out. Some hotel sites will offer big deals after Thanksgiving and on Cyber Monday, but it doesn't mean you should spring for next year's vacation just yet. The best travel and accommodation deals often pop up in January and February when travel numbers are down.

8. FOOD AND SNACK BASKETS

Gift basket against a blue background.
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Fancy fruit, meat and cheese, and snack baskets are easy gifts for friends and family (or yourself, let's be honest), but they shouldn't be snagged on Black Friday. And because baskets are jam-packed full of perishables, you likely won't want to buy them a month away from the big day anyway. But traditionally, you'll spend less cheddar if you wait to make those purchases in December.

9. WINTER CLOTHING

Rack of women's winter clothing.
Photo by Hannah Morgan on Unsplash.

Buying clothing out of season is usually a big money saver, and winter clothes are no exception. Although some brands push big discounts online and in-store, the best savings on coats, gloves, and other winter accessories can still be found right before Black Friday—pre-Thanksgiving apparel markdowns can hit nearly 30 percent off—and after the holidays.

10. SMARTPHONES

Group of hands holding smartphones.
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While blowout tech sales are often reserved for Cyber Monday, retailers will try to pull you in-store with big electronics discounts on Black Friday. But, not all of them are really the best deals. The price for new iPhones, for example, may not budge much (if at all) the day after Thanksgiving. If you're in the market for a new phone, the best option might be waiting at least a few more weeks as prices on older models drop. Or, you can wait for bundle deals that crop up during December, where you pay standard retail price but receive free accessories or gift cards along with your new phone.

11. KITCHEN GADGETS

Row of hanging kitchen knives and utensils.
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Black Friday is a great shopping day for cooking enthusiasts—at least for those who are picky about their kitchen appliances. Name-brand tools and appliances often see good sales, since stores drop prices upwards of 40 to 50 percent to move through more inventory. But that doesn't mean all slow cookers, coffee makers, and utensil prices are the best deals. Many stores advertise no-name kitchen items that are often cheaply made and cheaply priced. Purchasing these lower-grade items can be a waste of money, even on Black Friday, since chances are you may be stuck looking for a replacement next year. And while shoppers love to find deals, the whole point of America's unofficial shopping holiday is to save money on products you truly want (and love).

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