Comedy for Charity

Why did I start this blog and the 12GuysTalking YouTube Channel?  Why did I start doing Comedy? Was it just to make you laugh?  Was it just to teach you how to trade stocks?  Was it to share an interesting biographical short story that I made up?  The real reason, is for me to be happy.  My definition of happiness and the pursuit of happiness has changed over time.  Right now, a major component of that definition is knowing that I am doing something productive to change the world in a positive way through my work as an author, financial advisor, and comedian.

I now it sounds corny, but at the basic level, a desire to change the world is what life is about. No matter how hopeless things seem, this desire makes me want to get up in the morning and do great things.  At the end of the day, that is what brings happiness to my life.  The best way I know how to change the world and make a positive difference in other people’s lives is to raise awareness of social issues I care about through my comedy.

I love to raise money for charity through stand up comedy. Any revenues that I  raise through stand-up comedy routines, go towards charity. I do not will not accept any money from you, only proof of your donation directly to the charity.

Below are the causes that each of the characters wants to raise awareness for. If you care about the following causes, please click on the link and contribute.  Before donating to charity, use your best judgment and review the organization in detail to ensure it’s not a scam.

Andy from Miami  –  Save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide
Andrew from Houston –Help veterans’ families
Andre from Paris –  Help support victims of crimes
Drew from Seattle –  End homelessness among LGBT youth

Dre from Chicago – Bring freedom and justice to all Black Lives
Andriy from Donetsk – Help orphans in Ukraine suffering from the War in Donbass
Andresh from Mumbai – Fight discrimination and racism
Andrew from London – Help victims of domestic violence

Andy from New York City  – Stop Antisemitism
Andreas from Munich –  Combat anxiety and depression
Andres from Barcelona – Support equal rights for Latinos in the US
Andoryu-San from Tokyo – Ensure a clean environment and help victims of natural disasters

Other charities:

Stop Animal Abuse and Cruelty

Thank you for considering to donate to these causes,

Andrew Zwolf, America’s Favorite Freak

 

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Andre from Paris

Andre was born and raised in Paris, France.  Ever since he was a kid, he has been  an ardent admirer of the fictional Belgian detective Hercule Poirot invented by the detective novelist, Agatha Christie.  Even though Andre is extremely proud to be French, he is actually half Belgian on his mother’s side.  This way, he think he is better able to relate to Poirot who coincidentally, is Belgian.  Like Poirot, Andre is a perfectionist who takes great care to look very neat and professional.  After every meal, Andre brushes and flosses his teeth and shines his shoes. Reading about Poirot inspired Andre to choose a career in law enforcement.  Eventually, he managed to work his way up to be a police detective in the French Gendarmerie Nationale in Paris.

poirotHercule Poirot

He takes his job personally.  He regrets that one-time he let one criminal get away, who was his own estranged grandfather.  Andre’s grandfather, Anatole, worked as a master diamond-cutter in Antwerp’s Diamond District.  As a supervisor, he embezzled small diamonds from the factory where he worked. One day, Andre’s grandmother, Lucienne, discovered the stolen diamonds hidden in a chest in their closet.  According to Anatole, the chest was for his private “rock collection” of unusual mineral stones he would pick up in his prior career traveling the world as a geologist. Lucienne did was she thought was the right thing when she asked Anatole to return the diamonds to the police and turn himself in.  Instead, Anatole killed her and  disappeared with the diamonds.   Anatole’s malicious betrayal has caused a lot of pain for Andre and his family. Since he was four years old, Andre has vowed to track down his grandfather and bring him to justice for his grandmother’s murder and theft of the diamonds. After many long years of searching, Andre found out that his grandfather lived in a mansion in Vevey, Switzerland.  Just before Andre and the Police Cantonale arrived at the residence, Anatole dropped dead of a heart-attack.  Andre knows that Anatole was greedy and malicious, but there is one he will never understand how a diamond can be worth more to somebody than a human life.

diamondWhile Andre started his career investigating burglaries and murders, he eventually switched over to solving white-collar crimes.   According to Andre,  the secret to solving any murder and finding the perpetrator is finding the money.  He especially enjoys solving more sophisticated crimes such as securities fraud, embezzlement, counterfeiting, and money-laundering. He says the motivation behind  all crime is money except the difference between “white-collar crime” and non-white collar crime is that in white-collar crime the money is usually “bigger.”   Over time,  Andre has solved many white-collar crimes crimes and gained a reputation as a fearless fraud fighter.

white-collar-criminal-gun-23459700
Despite the serious nature of his job, Andre does have a sense of humor.  Whenever tourists in Paris try to speak to him in English, he initially pretends that he only speaks French before gradually switching over to English.  He thinks that is really funny. He also likes to visit many of the criminals that he imprisoned to give them a “hard time” and “talk about the good old days.” He says he does this because he thinks the only people that truly care about crime are the cops, victims, and criminals.

Andre is serious about taking at least one month of vacation in order to take a break from the criminal world. He likes to relax in his small cottage, which is located just outside of Cannes on the French Riviera.  He uses this time to bring Hercule Poirot back to life in the 21st century and write about the many financial crimes he would solve in modern day France.  Occasionally, he leaves the Riviera behind and travels throughout the world, usually on assignments and conferences.

cottageAndre’s Cottage

Whenever he is out of the country, he still tries to eat “so called” authentic French cuisine restaurants, just so he can write restaurant reviews explaining why he doesn’t think the food was French enough.  He also enjoys tasting Champagne and trying different French desserts. Even though he tries to exercise, he just can’t help himself away from custard-filled croissants, créme brulée,  strawberry crépes, pear tarts, lemon moussé, and chocolate filled souflées.  Andre loves to listen to French music.  For the most part he likes to listen to what he considers “oldie hits” by Ottawan,  Joe Dassin,  and Mireille Mathieu.  On occasion, he will listen to something more modern by In-grid Albertini and Kareen Antonn. He brushes off what he considers to be “non-French” music, but he does have a soft spot in his heart for Celine Dion, who is French-Canadian.  Andre will admit that Celine is more Canadian than she is French.  That will not prevent him from loving her music because “she is his lady” and “that’s just the way it is.”

Dre From Chicago

Dre was born and raised in the part of Chicago, Illinois, he calls “da hood.” Since the time he was born, he has lived with his “mama” and her two cats called “sistahs” in their tiny apartment. He is laid-back most of the time, but he says he gets nervous whenever  his mama threatens to open up a can of “whoop ass” when she thinks he gets out of line. The only thing that is worse than getting smacked by his mama is when his mama counts to three. If she says three, it means she will stop cooking for Dre until he settles down and starts acting like a normal son.  When he was in high school, Dre  started his own boy-band called the “7 digits.” He turned out to be the first and only member of the group. According to Dre, he was just a “single digit.”  That didn’t stop him from creating “chart-topping” albums like “Let’s Get Digital” or “Girl, Don’t You Forget my Digits.”  Dre believes that his music and lyrics combined and captured the best elements of the Backstreet Boys, Emniem, and Vanilla Ice.

Vanilla Ice displays his awards he won in the rock and rap catagories at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan. 28, 1991.  (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)He is a  big fan of all professional Chicago sports except  hockey.   He “just doesn’t get it.” He says the only time he would watch hockey is if all the hockey players wore the mascot’s costume while skating on ice to different rap songs.  Dre never jokes about football and  basketball.  He says these are his favorite sports, and not just because they have the “best-looking cheerleaders.” He is a die-hard Chicago Bulls fan, and he fondly remembers the  glory days when the Mikes were in town – Mike Ditka and Michael  Jordan.  One thing he will never understand is why MJ put his basketball career on hold and went to play for the White Sox instead of the Cubs.  Dre is a bleeding  Cubs  fan for life.  He will never stop pulling for the Cubbies at the “friendly confines” of Wrigley Field no  matter how bad they lose.  He always keeps telling himself that next year they are going to come back  and win the  “World Series.”

CubsDre considers himself a “playa.” He claims that he works hard to “maintain his reputation.”  In reality, he has never had a girlfriend, kissed a girl, or even been on a date in his life. When he was in  college, Dre was a member of various student clubs just so he could meet the girl of his dreams.  He was a registered member of the International Students Association (ISA),  Chinese Students Association (CSA), Hispanic Students Association (HSA), Japanese Students Associaton (JSA), Black Student Association (BSA), and the Russian Student Association (RSA).  He had also visited the  Baptist Student Fellowship (BSF),  Catholic Student Society (CSS), and even Muslim Student Association (MSA) just to meet beautiful girls. He joined the Feminist Student Association (FSA) to say that he really cared about women’s rights, but he didn’t last their very long. Dre never  asked that many girls out, but when he did he was rejected.  Most of the time, he was too shy to even tell a girl he truly cared about that he liked her.

Unsuccessfully, Dre also tried to find a girlfriend through on-line dating. For almost two decades, he had spent much of his free time trying to find love on-line.  On-line dating seemed like the perfect solution for him. He thought he could date any girl he wanted if he found her.  He tried various web-sites including E-harmony, Match, ChristianMingle, Zoosk, PlentyofFish, OkCupid, and even latin-cupid.com.  Altogether, he had spent thousands of dollars for membership dues and special fees that supposedly increased his “status.” He had contacted, favorited, winked, and smiled at thousands of beautiful girls. He had even sent friend requests to  beautiful girls he had never met before on Facebook, and he has liked thousands of their photos. Unfortunately, not even one of them liked something back.  Sometimes, he would spend hours writing long letters where he  poured his heart out and shared his life story to girls he’d never met before. He has even volunteered to be a pet-sitter for free for girls who have cats and dogs on  their profile.   He had never even received a single response in his life on any on-line dating web-site.

onlinedatingGradually, Dre has shifted his passion from one-sided on-line dating to healthy living.  He also decided to try to a healthy diet. That means quitting eating pizza, burgers, trans-fats, and even alcohol.  Last year,  He also decided to lose weight and start running. Over six months, he worked his way up from walking one mile to running a half- marathon. Over the next year, he lost 40 pounds by eating less and working out.  In order to stay motivated, Dre listens to his rap music. He has also joined a running group that meets every weekend, where he interacts with fellow runners and shares their stories. He works out on a daily basis, and he has put between 30 miles and 40 miles in each week before big races to improve his pace.  Over one year he improved his half-marathon time from 2 hours and 10 minutes to  just 1 hour and 38 minutes. Next year, he  hopes to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

HOPKINTON, MA - APRIL 15: The elite men's race start of the 117th Boston Marathon kicked off in Hopkinton, Mass. at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, April 15, 2013. (Photo by Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Running has also helped Dre focus on getting his career back on track.  He now works in a local office of a national on-line brokerage company.  His motto is to help folks invest their money the right way by making sure they “stay out of trouble.” Occasionally, Dre likes to reminisce of his days as a rapper. He things that his rap background empowers him to relate better to some of his investment clients. After all, “too much television watching got him chasing dreams and even his mama thinks his mind is gone.” He considers himself to be  “an educated fool with his mind on his money and his  money on his mind.”  He still  likes to parody different songs such as his recent song called, “My Stock… Yo Stock..” He also  says the secret to his success is “10%  luck, 15% skill, 20%  concentrated will, 30% research,  15% pain, and 10% is his love for the game.”  As a single guy who’ seen at all,  Dre  realizes that there are a lot of really  beautiful girls out there. On the other hand, he knows that there are even better looking  stocks! That’s why he focuses his attention on stocks that are really hot right now.

stock trading

Andrew from London

Andrew grew up in a dreary town in northern England called Bradford. He doesn’t have any recollection of his family since he was left on the doorstep of an orphanage, when he was just a baby.  At the age of three, he was adopted by his foster parents. His dad, Fredrick (Fred), was considerably older than his mother. Fred was polite, friendly, and conservative. He idolized Professor Higgins from “My Fair Lady.”   His favorite phrase was: “Children should be seen, but not heard.”  Fred desperately tried to speak  English with a British accent.  This was difficult for him to do since he was originally from Toronto, Canada.   His mother, Stephen (Steve) always insisted that Andrew call him “mum.”  Fred called Steve his “blonde bimbo,” and he demanded that their home looked spotless every day.  Unlike Fred, Steve was dumb, ignorant, and submissive.

higginsProfessor Higgins, My Fair Lady

Despite, his short-comings, Steve also had some qualities that Fred admired about him besides the fact that he was relatively younger. Steve was rather detail oriented, and he was very good at doing chores and delegating tasks to other people, including Andrew.  Quite often, Steve would lose his temper.  His biggest pet peeve was when Andrew folded his shirts the wrong way when he was doing laundry.  At that point, Steve would yell at Andrew to “quit being such a bloody cocksucker” and do a good “bob a job.”  He never got tired of  showing Andrew or anyone else how to do the laundry, step by step, the proper way.  Besides laundry, Steve enjoyed folding napkins, bedsheets, tablecloths, and anything else that he could possibly fold.

bob-a-job-weekWith the exception of folding things, Andrew never really learned anything from Fred or Steve.  While there were many things Andrew hated about them, the biggest was that they were both incredibly cheap. They even collected copies of all their grocery receipts, and they made Andrew count how much money was spent on groceries  every month since they were too lazy to do it themselves.  Andrew always ate the cheapest food, and he wore second-hand clothes. Sometimes, Steve and Fred went on “family vacations”, but they never even considered taking Andrew with them.  Andrew was left home alone, where he watched TV and played video games after all his chores were done. The only gift Andrew ever received for Christmas was a Sega Genesis video game system. They gave it to him with one purpose: to keep him out of the way.     Neither Steve nor Fred had any real hobbies or interests, except trying to look good in front of other people.  They both desperately tried to impress everyone by doing whatever they could to look like they were better off than they were.  Despite being really greedy and cheap towards towards Andrew, they wanted the best for themselves. They lived in the best house they could possibly afford, drove flashy cars, owned a boat, and wore expensive suits to the office.

SegaSega Genesis

Andrew always knew that they adopted him just so they can take a picture of him and show it off to everyone at the office.  Steve was a petty paper-pusher, and a documentation supervisor.  Fred was a sales manager. They both worked for a British subsidiary of a Chinese company.  They even bought a little Pekingese dog named “Amber” to woo their Chinese clients and show them how much they loved China.  When it came time for Christmas, Fred put Steven in charge with the task of decorating the house and making the Christmas turkey for the guests.  Typically, the guests would be Steve’s parents and his brother David with his wife Elaina, who lived a few blocks down the street.  Sometimes,  Steve invited his so-called best friend “Kenny.”  Andrew found it hilarious to look how Kenny and his wife Tammy were trying to hide their obvious disgust for Steve and his family.  Sadly, they were the only Chinese people in town, and they had nowhere else to go on Christmas Day in Bradford, England.  Everything else was closed. Steve was really good at ignoring Kenny’s phlegmatic “enthusiasm.”  He also ignored his brother David whenever he called  Steve an arse bandit, cock jockey, and flamer. David repeatedly punched Steve, and he made fun of Andrew for being an orphan that “no one gives a rat’s ass about.”  After work, Steve and Fred liked to frequent a local pub called “The Jolly Geezer” where they drank beer and had a jolly good time with some “really good looking chaps.”

pekingeseAmber

Andrew endured through years of what he calls servitude and abuse in a “suburban prison” in Bradford.  Since he left home, he had never gone back to Bradford or talked to his “family.”  After graduating from high school, he entered the University of Cambridge, where he studied finance and economics.  With some effort, he graduated with a Masters in Finance. He was able to continue his studies, and he earned an MBA from a prestigious British institution of higher learning.  Now, Andrew lives in London.  He likes to brag that initially, he lived on the “dodgy end of  Wandworth street,” which was not “his cup of tea.”  Ever since he started working and making more money, he moved to an “embarrassingly big” flat in the more cosmopolitan Notting Hill.  His three passions are structured finance, development in third world countries, and financial literacy throughout  the world.

PRAHe takes great pride in his English ancestry. He believes that England is the birthplace of Western civilization and democracy.  On the other hand, he  likes to talk how most Brits are ignorant, racist, spiteful, sadistic, perverted, devious, and dumb creatures who look and behave like  goblins, imps, trolls, dwarfs, hobbits, elves, witches, or fairies.  According to Andrew, these people know very little about the world around them except their so-called middle-class jobs and how their favorite football (soccer) team is doing this year.  Andrew will admit that he himself, resembles a slightly chubby, but rather benevolent and somewhat handsome hobbit who loves to follow Premier League Football.

britsh peopleWhat typical English people look like

He always pulls for the underdog, and his favorite team is the Swansea City Association Football Club (AFC).  Andrew thinks they are “are absolutely brilliant.” It’s only a matter of time until they obliterate the pompous and arrogant, yet well-paid pricks who play for Arsenal, Manchester United, and Chelsea. He also supports Swansea because he “is absolutely enamored” with the beautiful Welsh coast, and he hopes to meet a lovely Welsh girl who looks just like Catherine Zeta Jones before she married Michael Douglas.

Catherine Zeta Jones

Andoryu-san from Tokyo

Andoryu-san was born in Tokyo, but he was raised in the town of Koriyama in the Fukushima Prefacture of northeastern Japan.  Despite being Japanese, Andoryu-san thinks that most Japanese people ere fake, superficial, and pretentious.  They do something or love somebody not because they want to, but because they think they have to since everyone else expects them to do it.

japanAndoryu-san also resents that Japanese society is still sharply divided into social classes and castes. When he was eight years old, he had a friend named Masai-kun.  Masai-kun lived with his mother and sister on “the other side  of the railroad tracks.”   Somehow, they survived with no electricity and warm water. A lot of times they didn’t have anything to eat. Andoryu-san’s parents owned a chain of supermarkets in Japan. To help Masai out, Andoryu-san would bring food to him and his family.  Eventually, he got caught and his parents forbade him from ever talking to Masai. The reason wasn’t the food, but who it was given to.  Masai belonged to the Burakumin group or the “village people,” who were considered to be “impure.”

burakuminAndoryu’s family take great pride in their history, and they know it very well. They can go back over 20 generations to their ancestors who were fierce samurai warriors who rode horses, fought with swords, practiced Bushido(art of the warrior), and every once in a while committed harakiri (suicide with a sword). Over the generations, his family has grown into many people. They all keep in touch and get together for large family reunions in very expensive restaurants where they like to mingle with other “elites.” Today, Andoryu’s brothers and cousins work in the Japanese government, industry(Nissan), finance  (Nomura  Securities) and even the media(NHK).  Andoryu-san would spend summer vacation with different members of his family.  He would visit their mansions and gardens in downtown Tokyo, Fukushima, Koriayama, or Aizu-Wakamtsu.

aizu castleAizu Wakamatsu Castle

However, his favorite childhood memories are of him staying in his uncle’s Takeo’s home in a village called  Miyo.  The village is not far from Lake  Inawashiro, where Andoryu-san  would fish, swim, and hike in the mountains with his childhood friends Nobuhiro-kun and Norio-kun. Afterwards, they would clean themselves in the local “onsen” (bathhouse), and play samurai with their kendo swords.

kendoDespite his “fairy-tale childhood” and family’s connections, Andoryu-san has always hated nepotism and vowed to “make it” on his own. He had good grades, and was admitted to the best school in Japan – the University of Tokyo. After many years, he graduated with a PhD in economics. His main research area of interest was behavioral economics.  He is fascinated by the effects of social, psychological, cognitive, and emotional factors on how people make decisions.  Especially, he is interested in how these factors impact decisions relating to money. Specifically,  he is interested in market prices, returns, and resource allocation.  Due to his hatred for nepotism, stubborn ways and bad temper, he had alienated and lost touch with most of his family, including his aunt Haruko and his older brothers Takushi and Toshiuki. After his father died, he now talks to them mostly through the family lawyer, Mr. Ichikawa-san.

Even after graduating with  his PhD in economics, he even had trouble landing a job. Eventually, he was able to become a senior research fellow at Fukushima University, where he continued writing research papers on behavioral economics.  However, after the Tohoku earthquake, tsunami, and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, things changed. Andoryu- san decided to move back to Tokyo.  It was a tough decision.  Everyone told him it was  safe to stay where he was at, but he felt that “something just didn’t seem right.”  He had to take a pay-cut in order to become a junior research fellow at Keio University in Tokyo to be further away from the radiation.

radiation map of jpanaRadiation Map of Fukushima Dai-ichi Disaster

Andoryu-san says he speaks “very good In-ga-ri-shu.”  He fell in with America ever since he visited Tokyo Disneyland when he was five years old. Deep-down, Andoryu dislikes it whenever Americans come to Japan and act like “they own the place.”  That’s why, he loves to start his sentences with the words “In Japan” or “We Japanese”  whenever he talks to his international guests.  Andoryu-san loves traditional Japanese cuisine.  His favorite food of all time is zaru-soba noodles.  Even though he still likes to read Japanese manga (comics) and listen to J-pop, he also enjoys more traditional forms of entertainment.  He enjoys reading about Bushido, listening to Enka music, and watching re-runs of Abarenbo shogun.

abarenbo-poster

Abarenbo Shogun