Tag Archives: The Joke Gym

Brian McCarthy on NameShake

Brian McCarthy‘s and Lance Laspina‘s NameShake was something I found out about through The Joke Gym‘s (& Friend of the Blog) Paula Johnson. Pop culture does not normally include iPhone coverage, but the way Paula described it to me seemed to make it a perfect fit for the blog. According to Johnson, NameShake is “an iPhone app that lets you figure out names for your baby. It has a huge database with the meaning of thousands of names. You choose the gender and country of origin you want, shake the iPhone, then see the names … The product has already helped me, but not with a baby … There is also interest from writers who can use the product to name characters.”  My thanks to Johnson for getting me in contact with McCarthy, and my thanks to McCarthy for this email interview.

Tim O’Shea: How did you first come up with the NameShake product?

Brian McCarthy: Well, my wife and I discovered we were pregnant last July. After carting around baby naming books for awhile and suffering the ignominy of numerous paper cuts, I decided there had to be a better way. That’s when I called Lance to ask for his advice and during the conversation we decided to work on this together.

The initial project was much broader but we chose[1] to test the waters by limiting ourselves just to the naming application for the short term. I have to say, we both feel it’s been really worthwhile and hope to do more applications in the future.

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Shimamoto & Johnson on The Joke Gym

Scott Shimamoto is a home mortgage consultant who describes himself as a “black man trapped inside an Asian, who grew up with Mexicans and is trying to make it in a white man’s world”.

Paula Johnson is a marketing consultant who has written more than 40 funny radio spots, and often infuses her client projects with humor.

Together they created The Joke Gym, an open mic night in Arcadia, California, that has presented more than 140 comics since February 2008. While both had experience planning special events, The Joke Gym is the first time either of them has managed an ongoing production. My thanks to them both for this email interview. (Photo by Two Story Building)

Tim O’Shea: Both of you started doing stand-up in 2007. What made you want to try comedy?

Paula Johnson: For me, it was an accident. I was in charge of the silent auction at charity event at The Ice House in Pasadena, California. I bid on lots of items to get the prices up. At the end of the evening, I was the winning bidder on a stand-up comedy class. It was kind of a shock because I assumed I’d be taking home a martini-making kit.

Scott Shimamoto: I was always the smallest kid in school, so it was either get my butt kicked by the big guys or make ’em laugh. It was much easier to make ’em laugh! Taking a comedy class was a natural next step.

Johnson: Scott and I met when we sat next to each other in class.

Shimamoto: In the front row, dead center.

Johnson: We both wanted to be the valedictorian—which they don’t actually have in stand-up school.

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