Author Archives: Steve Bruner

My fraternity family reunion

Where’s Waldo? Who cares! See if you can find Steve.

Good times can be measured in many ways. Starting a story with “remember when…” is one of my favorites, and often generates loud, familiar laughs.

This weekend was a reunion for my UC Davis Chi Phi fraternity, Sigma Delta chapter. This is where I got much of my gumption to step on a comedy stage for the first time. Where I figured out how to formulate material, host events with difficult and fantastic crowds, and handle hecklers for the first time—being a brother doesn’t make you immune to friendly or harsh ribbing.

I had the pleasure of not just seeing the men and women (fraternities have little sisters, too) I was so close to on campus, but also the privilege of performing a small set that recalled moments of our shared fraternity experience and reflected on certain aspects of growing slightly older.

Just like old times, Chi Phi was a great crowd, and they also kept me on my verbal toes. I thanked them for teaching me, back in the day, one of the most valuable lessons of show business: “Alcohol doesn’t help in comedy, unless the audience is drinking a lot of it.”

I was the only professional comedian at the barbecue, but I was not the funniest person there! Others shared stories that were hilarious because most of the “characters” were present, remembering the good times together. One story would lead to another and the laughter just kept flowing. Funny experiences tend to stay in your memory, and revisiting those moments, even decades later, brings it all back. Humor is a time machine.

I am grateful to my many brothers (and little sisters) for helping me realize my dream of being a comedian

I was my own opening act!

Using comedy for the benefit of others is a force multiplier for good. Sometimes I’ll perform pro bono for a cause I like or for friends (and causes they like). Other times nonprofit organizations hire me to put the fun(ny) in their fundraising events. Sometimes, I’ll split the difference and give a smaller nonprofit myContinue Reading

A comedy lesson from a man of the cloth

This weekend, I re-learned something wonderful about comedy. I was at a wedding filled with groups of families from different parts of the US, whose next generations spread across the world but who all met to celebrate the pair making themselves into a couple. I figured the ever-present religious divide might be a challenge. TheContinue Reading

What a different a year makes

“Labor of love” describes the feeling of doing something—even something difficult—that you enjoy so much, it does not seem like work. It might be a stretch to tie “labor of love” with Labor Day, but that’s what I’m doing. While I would rarely call comedy “work,” it’s not always easy. Sometimes I can’t get toContinue Reading

Finding “happier”

Whether I’m on the road which is sometimes on the water (because I play cruise ships), I find myself with a fair amount of downtime. I have lots of empty hours when I’m not performing, creating, writing, resting or eating. The audience members are enjoying a night on the town (or boat), but I’m inContinue Reading

Peter Paull and…Steve!

Many years ago, the ’90s, (yes, last century!), I was booked as the emcee/opening act for a variety show at the Catch a Rising Start comedy club in Las Vegas. This series of shows had a singer in the middle and a comedian headliner. It was one of those opportunities where I got everything possible:Continue Reading

The wedding belle

When you have a great day you should acknowledge it…appreciate it…and share it to make the moment last. It’s like the glide of a paper airplane. There’s the initial trajectory and distance, and then little gusts of air create some unexpected happy loops to extend its trip. Saturday was one of those great days. MyContinue Reading