Tom Simmons: Bitcoin and Comedy
Stand-up veteran, Tom Simmons approached Rooftop about making his titles available for purchase with bitcoin, as you can see, on bitlaughs.com. How will Bitcoin change the way we buy things? Should comedians be exploring this currency more? Let Tom get you up to speed.
RC(Rooftop Comey): How long have you been a stand-up and how have you seen technology change the landscape of professional comedy?
I have been doing comedy since before jokes. You kids today with your punchlines and premises… we had to tickle the audience. I used pens and notebooks instead of computers. I remember many bookers and industry not wanting to book via email. It was all phone calls (land lines) and mailing people video tapes and 8×10’s from ABC photos. So technology has changed a lot. But it is still about writing jokes and telling them to crowds, all the rest is promotions.
RC: Why is now a great time to be a comedian?
Hmm, is now a great time to be a comedian? Who told you that bullshit? It is always a great time to be a comedian, the hard part is remembering that.
RC: What is the hardest thing about being a comedian now?
I don’t know how to answer that, so right now answering this question is the hardest part. The hardest thing about being a comedian is the times when the business of it feels hard or hopeless and when the shows are not flowing naturally. Everything feels stale and flat and I think I am never going to be funny again… then I write a few new jokes and the world is wonderful again.
RC: Where did your interest in Bitcoin come from and how do you think it will impact how we buy things?
I have been reading about money and trying to understand it for a few years now. I don’t want to. It is boring. But since money is important and the world revolves around it, I became interested in it. I am sorta into the concepts of human beings live in illusions of our own creations and mass perceptions. Money is an example of this and that fascinated me. It is not backed by anything, it is just made up basically out of nothing. Those were striking enough facts to me, but then I became aware that the Federal Reserve is a private corporation that makes up the money out of nothing and then sells it to the nation at interest. Most of the people who are on the money were against the Federal Reserve system. Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, Jackson… they were all against it. That is an insult to the their legacies. Like putting Mother Theresa’s picture on condoms and passing them out at Planned Parenthood.
So, the long answer to where did my interest in Bitcoin come from is that I was at an impasse on what the answer was. There is this entire monetary system that is made up and based on nothing but faith and ignorance in and of the system. It is owned by a small group of people and basically runs the entire country. But what choice do we have? Bitcoin caught my attention in that it reminds me of an old school local currency. Benjamin Franklin once commented when asked what led to the rise of the colonies success. He said some version of, “The ability of the people to create their own money without the built in debt.” I just jacked that quote up, but you get the gist.
I am not saying that Bitcoin is the answer, I haven’t done enough of the research, but my hope is that if we are just making up a system anyway- why not support the one that is fair and seems more genuinely free market. I think more and more people as they learn about the monetary system will begin to lose faith in it. I believe Bitcoin is here to stay and all it needs is more and more people to accept it and use it in commerce. I want to support that and be a part of it.
RC: Alan Greenspan says that bitcoin is a bubble and has no intrinsic value. How would you respond to that and why do you think there’s a need for it?
I don’t know how to respond to that. I actually think it’s a bubble too. The problem is people are holding it like stock instead of using it for day to day bill paying. When that really starts happening on a grander scale the price will settle to somewhere that makes perfect sense. What Greenspan doesn’t seem to get is that a growing number of people see his money as having no intrinsic value.
There is a need for Bitcoin because a small group of people who own the federal reserve bank hold a monopoly on the product of money. They have slowly taken more and more control of the country through debt and dictating economic policy…. that is too much power for a group of people who we don’t even know the names of and who can’t be audited.
This is what the Federal Reserve says about BitCoin. “Although some of the enthusiasm for bitcoin is driven by a distrust of state-issued currency, it is hard to imagine a world where the main currency is based on an extremely complex code understood by only a few and controlled by even fewer, without accountability, arbitration, or recourse.” (Senior economist François R. Velde of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)
Haha. You just described the Federal Reserve System.
RC: Do you think the government is threatened more by comedy or Bitcoin?
HaHa. The government isn’t threatened by either. They control the media outlets, the overall message, and the military machine. I don’t think Raytheon accepts bitcoin.
Plus, if they ever want to end bitcoin all they have to do is shut off the internet. By the way. I have used the word ‘they’ way more times than I am comfortable with in this interview.
RC: Do you think it’s important for people to know about bitcoin? Why?
I do think it is important for people to know about Bitcoin and to use it. The only way to make real change in this country is with our dollars. When people come together and the money shifts, so does the power structure and the voices that we listen to and follow.