Broke-Ass of the Week

Broke-Ass of the Week – Jeff Cleary

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Every week we feature a different person from the community shedding a little light on their life of brokeitude.  Who knows, maybe you’ll learn something about the human spirit'probably not.

Wanna be a Broke-Ass of the Week?  Holler at us here and we’ll send you the questionnaire.

This week out Broke-Ass is Jeff Cleary (seen here on the right).  Jeff has been a mainstay on the SF Comedy scene for quite awhile now and because of this, he’s heavily invested in making you laugh.  That’s the good thing about having comedians on here, they’re funny.  If you like what you read below, make sure to check out his Purple Onion show every Wednesday night at 8pm and his open mic every Tuesday at 7pm.  The links are below.

Name:  Jeff Cleary

Age: 39

Occupation:  Corporate spy by day, crime-fighting vigilante comedian by night. Acting vice-president of, co-host of Comedy Speakeasy at the Purple Onion and organizer of Comedy Open Mic at Annie’s Social Club, all in San Francisco.

What neighborhood do you live in?:  The Mission

Best money saving tip:  Like Communism, this will never work in the real world over time, but quit drinking. I don’t drink for one month a year and am always amazed at how much money you save when you’re not buying drinks for trannies. The other 11 months of the year, I’m poor.

What do you refuse to spend money on?:  CDs. Every once in a while I come across someone who’s really boastful that they’ve paid for all the music they have. '“Once they leave the room, we all have a good laugh.

But here’s the catch: ever since I started downloading music for free, I go to WAY many more shows. I spend more money on tickets than I ever did on CDs before downloading, so I’m operating at a loss there. My hope is (and I don’t know if this is true), more of the money for a ticket goes to the bands not the labels, which have notorious reputations for screwing over the artists.

Most expensive thing you’ve ever bought:  Surgery for my cat. Any type of surgery is gonna be expensive, even if you do it yourself.

How’d that feel?:  Tough at the time, but definitely worth it now. When I told my roommate about the cost he said, 'œC’mon, man, he’d pay that for you,' which totally sounds After-School Special, but it’s true.

Favorite cheap eat:  Used to be Mission burritos, but a super burrito is $9+ now, so I don’t think that qualifies anymore. I have a couple of friends at work who send out alerts if there’s a catered meeting with leftovers. It sounds vulturous, but people are generally appreciative, since they were gonna throw out the food anyway. It’s a great way to meet fellow scavengers, too.

In college, the worst kept scavenger secret was art openings. You’d go to so many openings with hor d’oeuvres and open bars that you’d start to see the same people, doing the same thing, over and over. '“Definitely makes you step up your art game, though, which doesn’t hurt.

Favorite dive bar:  500 Club, hands down. I walked in there once wearing a Hall & Oates shirt and the bartender looked at it and said, 'œYou get a free beer.' -Gotta love that. Although that same bartender promised me he would get some Michael McDonald on the juke box and he hasn’t made good on that. Still, that place is great.

Best deal you’ve ever gotten:  Sold my soul for Rock n’ Roll. I wasn’t gonna do it, but the t-shirt told me to. I think it was a good deal.

Favorite free thing to do:  Stand-up comedy. Sure, it can be nerve-wracking, it’s difficult, and you might have to wait awhile before they call your name, but when it goes well, it’s really addictive. When you start out you bomb a lot, but the first time you kill is special. Really good and really bad shows are the best. If you bomb hard you learn so much about what not to do, but when you really kill you can surprise yourself, which is a great feeling. If you’re lucky, you can get just enough success to keep you going until you get good. It sounds like a cliché, but you really have to find your voice out there and that can take a while.

If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?:  Probably a 6-pack of IPA beer and a million lottery tickets.

-Or maybe I’d use it to make the world a better place, like pay every bar in San Francisco to remove 'œDon’t Stop Believin’' from their juke boxes and karaoke machines.

-Wait, how much are those penis enlargement pills? Would I have any money left over for morning-after pills?

-On second thought, just keep the million.

Despite not having money, do you still love your life?:  That’s such an American question. Somewhere behind those 10 words is the reason the US continues to linger in the mid-30s of the world happiness index. You know, we get crushed by the Danes in that index every year? -Fucking Danes are so happy!

The answer is a resounding 'œsure'. Like most people, I get bummed out a lot, but not about money. I just try to remind myself of my friends, the cool town I live in, and that once in a while I’ll make someone laugh who kinda needed a chuckle. Hell, it’s not Denmark-Euphoria, but most of the time it’s enough.

Do you own my book?:  I have something better: one of your old PAMPHLETS! I know you’re doing well because on your book you’re in a suit & tie and on the pamphlet you’re wearing a t-shirt & jeans. Like a thin cigarette, you’ve come a long way, baby! Good for you, we need more cool successful people.

Best hangover cure:  I’ve devoted most of my life to the scientific research of this subject. If you’re lucky, you’ll remember to have a glass of water after every 3rd drink. If it’s too late and you wake up with a monster hangover the only thing I’ve found that works is a long hot shower. Just linger in there for a while and let the water run off your head, then go back to bed. Old, obese cats are great for hangovers, too. They’re always game for sleeping it off, which is great.

Are you a hipster?:  Here we go! Let’s get into it! Ready?

This current hipster back-lash thing is overblown and hypocritical. First off, most people who complain about hipsters exhibit at least some hipsterdom, although no one cops to being a hipster. Check it, there’s a lot of truth in comedy

Today, it’s hip to trash hipsters. My take on it was always, 'œWhat’s the problem? '“They listen to good music, watch good movies, are obsessed with their bikes and party too much. '“But you don’t like them?' Coming from outside Boston, where it’s a meat-head Mecca, complaining about hipsters is a luxury I don’t take for granted. Even in SF! I don’t rage against anyone, but after a Friday or Saturday night in North Beach, or the Marina, or Happy Hour at Americano or Medjool, I crave for a Racer 5 at the 500 and listening to 'œSo. Central Rain' on the jukebox.

Now, people think 'œhipster' is as pejorative as 'œjock', which it’s not to me. Also, everyone thinks they’re acutely aware of what a hipster is. Nowadays everyone from morning talk-show hosts to pseudo-punk Hot Topic teenagers complain about hipsters, whether they know what they’re talking about or not.

Btw, that site 'œLook at this Fucking Hipster' that gets passed around the frat-house like a weak porno mag is horrible. That site proves that you can have great images sent in, but if your captions suck, it’s a worthless endeavor. Conversely, the guy who writes the captions for Straight Cash is hilarious.

Where was I? Oh yeah!

My suspicion is that hipsters in SF are infinitely more tolerable than Brooklyn. I get the feeling, there: it’s a competition. Here: they just want to be left along with their ironic t-shirts. I will admit, though, competitive hipsters are annoying. Fact is, those d-bags are just waiting to join an advertising firm or training to be a sleazy A&R rep, because that’s all they have to offer. Those kids are useless.

As far as I’m concerned, if you’re a hipster and you’re out there doing something, you’re cool with me. If you’re just coked up in a bar, talking loudly about who you think is gonna be the next big mash-up DJ and that’s all you do, you’re on your own.

Also, the alternative comedy scene is closely aligned with hipsters, so it’s hard for me to hate. Yo La Tengo used to close out David Cross’s Tinkle show in New York. Paul F. Tompkins toured with Aimee Mann. I ran into Rob Hubel and Paul Scheer at a Girl Talk show and Eugene Mirman at a Film School show at SxSW. Aziz Ansari made a short that featured Ted Leo, Devendra Bernhardt and Tapes '˜n Tapes. And there’s no more hipster fashion proto-types than the guys in Flight of the Conchords. I’ll take all those people against hipster-haters any day. We’ll play shirts vs. skins and see who wins.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.