Brendon Lemon | Comedy, Power, and Picking a Fight with Jerry Seinfeld

Brendon Lemon is a comedian and author from Detroit, where he started performing regularly at the famous Comedy Castle at the age of 16. Two years in, he was filmed for the documentary “Be Funny” which featured Christopher Titus and Mike Green. He moved to Paris in the summer of 2013 to write and perform stand-up in both French and English. He returned to the US and lived between Boulder, Colorado and Chicago performing and writing plays, as well as being featured on the TV show “Sex Sent Me to The ER”, and the movie “Do You Believe”. Brendon’s new book is called “The Power Bible“.

Brendon Lemon, a comedian and author, joins John Corcoran in this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast to talk about political comedy, what his new book is all about, and the leadership aspect of being a comic.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • Brendon Lemon explains why he wrote, The Power Bible, and the concept of ‘frame’ discussed in the book
  • The power of words used in conversations and in framing and why it matters
  • Brendon shares his thoughts on the recent US Presidential debate and how the frame and narratives were controlled by the candidates 
  • Brendon details how he frames political comedy 
  • The leadership aspect of comedy and how to dismantle another person’s frame
  • Brendon explains how the framing principles work in the world of sales
  • Brendon compares the framing of James Altucher and Jerry Seinfeld in standing up for New York City
  • The people Brendon acknowledges for his success and achievements
  • How to get in touch with Brendon Lemon

Resources Mentioned:

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:14  

Welcome to the Revolution, the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, where we asked today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution, John Corcoran.

John Corcoran  0:40  

All right. Welcome everyone. John Corcoran here, I’m the host of this show. I’m a recovering political hack and recovering lawyer, spent many years working in politics, including stints as a speechwriter. I worked in the White House for a Californian Governor and spent years practicing law in Silicon Valley. You know, in 2010, I discovered the medium of podcasting and I’ve been in love with it ever since. Over 10 years of hosting this show. I’ve had the privilege to talk to top CEOs, founders, authors, speakers, entrepreneurs of all kinds of companies from YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard, LendingTree, Open Table, you name it. I’m also the co-founder of Rise25, where we help b2b businesses with the strategy and the production they need to create a podcast that produces tremendous ROI and connects them with their ideal prospects and referral partners. 

And so I’m excited today because first of all, a shout out to my friend Jordan Harbinger of the Jordan Harbinger Show, go check out his podcast, one of the best one out there on the interwebs. He’s really a leader in podcasting, but I connected with today’s guest because of Jordan. He, today’s guest Brendon, heard me on his show many years ago, we connected and we’ve hung out in person many times. And he’s just one of my favorite people. And his name. This guest is Brendon Lemon. And “The Power Bible” is the name of his new book, which we’re going to dive into that we’re also going to talk about, maybe get his opinion on the state of politics right now. We’re recording this in September 2020. On the eve the 2020 election Coronavirus is happening. He’s also a comic and he’s been a comic for many, many years now. He had a lot more courage than me at age 16. I think 15 something like that he first got on stage and been addicted ever since. So we’ll talk about comedy and all that kind of fun stuff. But first before we get into that, this episode is brought to you by Rise25 Media. Rise25 helps b2b businesses get clients, referrals and strategic partnerships with done-for-you podcasts and content marketing. You know, you’re listening to this. And we know by listening to this that you like podcasts, right? If you’ve ever thought about starting a podcast, I say you absolutely should do it. And we specialize in helping b2b businesses with a high client lifetime value to make it super profitable. So to learn more, go to rise25media.com. All right, Mr. Lemon. So I’m excited to have you here. I’m excited to interview you for the show. And first of all, your new book is called “The Power Bible”. What’s a comic doing writing a book about how to get power? How come? What’s the plan?

Brendon Lemon  3:03  

Yeah. So the tagline for the way, first of all, what’s up, John, thanks for having me on the show. Appreciate it, man.

John Corcoran  3:10  

My pleasure. My pleasure.

Brendon Lemon  3:12  

you were once the I mean, you’ve heard about this book for two years, because I told you about it being in process. And I was very flattered that you asked to have me on, because I very much respect you and everything that you’ve you’re doing. So thank you very much for having me on here. Thank you, sir. Um, so what is a comic doing writing a book about power? So let’s define two things. The first book is the tagline for the book is “The Power Bible” is a book about how to win conversations that matter. So that’s, that’s kind of the concept. And the second is what is power means, what is power, and we define power in the book as the ability to affect meaningful change in the world. So what does that mean? It means meaning is whatever sort of you’ve defined it as, and all power over others ultimately boils down to having power over yourself in order to first influence yourself and then influence others. So the book is kind of a breakdown of conversations that me and my co author William Beteet, the third, who’s a comedian and a lawyer, have been having over many years and, and really decided to distill this into a single book that we sort of wish we had when we started out trying to understand ourselves and how to influence and impact others. And comedy is almost the perfect dojo for that because the world of comedy is a constant sort of frame battle back and forth with an entire roomful of people. And if you don’t out frame them, if you don’t lead them to where you want them to go, they won’t laugh, you won’t, they won’t get the joke, you’re gonna bomb on stage, your life is gonna get ruined. You’ll you’ll walk off you’ll lose self respect, your wife will leave you and ultimately you’ll die.

John Corcoran  5:03  

that’s fine. This what we mean by this comes out of framing them. That’s an interesting term for those who don’t yet

Brendon Lemon  5:08  

so frame. So the concept, the core of “The Power Bible” is the concept of frame control, which is a frame defined basically as the context around which the data appears so. So the context around which the data is encapsulated is sort of a way to think about it. So, the easiest way to explain this is you have a frame in any given situation, what’s the what is the frame of you going into an interview, you know, I mean, you could see, potentially someone walking in sitting down answering questions about their career. But what that means is explained by the greater context around it. So it could very well be that you’ve been asked to come to an interview and sit down, because this company wants to recruit you, and you have a great career, and you don’t want to leave your company, and they’re ready to offer you anything. You know, everybody in everybody, their mother, everything in the kitchen sink, just to try to get you into the company. That’s one way to think about it. Another way to think about it. That is the context around which the interview is occurring, it could be that you need a job really badly. And you need to. You are not qualified, and you’ve been unemployed for months. And I mean, this is kind of a scary reality, maybe we’re all going through the way you behave in that interview, might not necessarily change exactly the context. But it actually could influence the outcome of it. So a way to think about framing is how are you thinking about the data? the data itself is not the meaning the meaning is given the context around which the data occurs? So, you know, getting pulled over by police officers. Another one is are you speeding? Do you have Are you acting suspicious, do you have something you’re afraid of, you know, these things are all sort of contextual frames around which a, like a traffic stop can occur. And the way that you’re behaving in that situation is both affected by the frame and also influences the frame. So the two things are kind of interdependent. A really good way that we break down in the book just to just to beat this concept of death and make sure that everybody’s clear on it is that a judge in a courtroom has the ultimate frame. The judge in the courtroom has all kinds of frames given to him or her by, you know, by the Constitution by the law in which the, the, you know, the state in which the judge is presiding over the courtroom in. But as soon as the judge leaves the courtroom, the judge loses all those frames. As soon as a judge walks into another courtroom, the judge does not have a frame any longer. As soon as the judge walks out to their car, and sees that the car is on fire. The person who has the ultimate frame in that situation is probably the fireman who shows up to put the car out. Right? So right, this is kind of,

John Corcoran  8:04  

and to extend that metaphor even further, if you’re a comic on stage, you have to be that judge, you have to define the frame in every word counts, right? Like a misplace word here, using the wrong One wrong word to describe here affects the frame. Am I right?

Brendon Lemon  8:20  

That’s exactly true. And so words matter. So that’s one of the things we talk about them in the book a lot is that words, words actually do matter. And so it’s funny, because in our, you know, in our political situation, right now, there’s a lot of people who are talking about in the left and right, what words mean, what things and a lot of what’s happening is a big frame battle nationally between competing tribal camps that are trying to out frame and define nationally what these terms mean. And, and maybe I’m being vague, but a specific example of this is like the term racism For example, this is a really, this is really relevant. And, and definitely a thing that two white dudes to talk about.

John Corcoran  9:00  

No, I mean, it’s actually the first thing that came to mind as well, because, you know, here, we’re recording this in September 2020. There’s been, you know, some would say, you know, there are different ways of describing it. But there’s been a social justice movement. Some people describe it that way. Other people describe it as unrest in our cities. Or they describe it as some other way and how you describe it. The words Yes, exactly. Right. What has happened? It carries a lot of power and effects. It affects people’s perception of who you are, as well,

Brendon Lemon  9:34  

let’s look, let’s talk about two specific examples here because the one I was going to use and then you just said, You know how you describe this, that will lead us into talking about presidential debates, which just happened, but last night, I’m still recovering. I feel like I’m in a hangover from each incident. How do you watch? It’s almost like you were at a party and you watched two people arguing and then you left the party and you were like, Why do I feel like I’m shitty for this? I was in a splash zone last night to that presidential Casualty. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. So let me say this, though is that so racism is a specific example so that people who are on the left of this debate now, people who are those on the Right would describe it as like cultural Marxists or something would say, look, racism is a system of oppression that operates through institutions of power that deny access and oppress while giving privileges to certain classes of people. And as a result, it’s impossible for a person who is oppressed, like a person of color to be racist, because they don’t participate in the systems of oppression themselves. They’ve never been given access, by which to then in turn, oppress other people. Um, but then there are other people who I would say, traditionally use the definition of racism who go, that’s not true, that doesn’t make any sense to me at all. Racism is hating someone else based on the color of their skin or something. That’s what that’s simple, I would say. That’s the simple working definition of racism we’ve had since, you know, the 1950s, at least, but it’s attempting to be redefined by people on the left, whether or not you agree with that is a completely other argument. But that’s what’s attempting to happen. And that’s because they’re trying to define the term in order to control the frame of the debate. Like and those things are, those things are important. Like it is actually important to figure out what that term means.

John Corcoran  11:40  

Yeah. So I mean, I started my career as a speechwriter. And so I knew then, that the words that you choose to describe, and to frame any topic are incredibly important. One of the things you know, I worked in the Clinton White House, one of the things I admired about President Clinton is that he, any debate about taxes wasn’t about taxes, it was about priorities, it was about schools, or is about kids or is about health insurance, he would change it to talking about those sorts of things. And that really mattered it reframed the debate. And, you know, whether you like him or hate him, President Trump, you know, the last few years, I think the reason that he, you know, defeated something like 16 other republicans who’d been in office for many years to get the nomination was because he defined and framed the debate and was able to successfully do that.

Brendon Lemon  12:33  

He completely changed nature. I mean, it’s strange, because a lot of it’s a good way to, it’s a good way to return to king of the point that I was making about how we’re going to move into talking about the presidential debates, because he has created a it’s almost like there was a black hole that like, flew through the universe of American politics. And he’s like, warped the environment around him. It’s like, how it’s how it’s been, because there’s been a lot of conversation. I mean, like people who are traditionally Republican, like, like, I have talked about this on more than one podcast now. But like, my dad voted for Trump. And I think he voted for Trump for reasons that were eligible in 2016. But they are now unintelligible that the ecosystem has been warped, such that those points no longer matter that people were interested in voting for him. So it’s been it’s I think it’s just been a fascinating he, but he definitely no Scott Adams wrote a book about it about how Trump was like a master persuader. But it’s interesting, man, if you parse out things that he’s saying he talks at, like a fifth grade level, which, you know, turns out is great for communicating with most Americans is able to create imagery that frames opponents in a specific kind of way. And he tends to end sentences in a specific kind of way that feels resonant with appointees making, or I guess, if if you were to agree that he’s even making points,

John Corcoran  14:03  

yeah, well, I mean, a lot of orders are like that. They have the ability to say, very declare, in a declarative fashion, make statements, that if you read them, you don’t hear them, you read them on paper, it’s not really saying anything, or it’s not as definitive. You know, you see that frequently with people and they earn others respect as an order or as a thought leader or an opinion leader or something like that, just in the way that they state opinions.

Brendon Lemon  14:31  

Yeah, yeah. It’s, I mean, I think it’s run by his ship and that respective has run aground because the debate last night was just a complete travesty. I mean, it was insane. It was actually insane. It was with it outside of the bounds of you know credulity that that strain sanity beyond its breaking point. I feel like

John Corcoran  14:53  

it certainly did. Yeah, I think a lot of people are saying that today. So what from you know, your research and the book. What are your thoughts on the debate in terms of the way that the frame was controlled by either of the candidates and how the narrative was controlled?

Brendon Lemon  15:11  

Yeah, it’s fascinating because I like it so that’s a really good question. Because the best way that I heard it, so Trump, it’s fascinating to me, because we talked in the book, how there are, you know, I mean, Aristotle talks about how there’s, you know, three different parts of communication, ethos, pathos, and logos. So there’s ethics, and what kind of person are you pathos? What kind of emotions are you arguing with? And then logos, which are the what are the actual points you’re making? We talk about this a bit in the book, which is that you need to be conscious of how you’re making, I mean, how you’re doing something is as important as what you’re doing. And I think that Trump destroyed nearly all of his points that he was attempting to make, which maybe some let’s grant that some of them were even potentially decent in terms of are you against Joe Biden, just by continuing to not for you know, part of my French just shut the hell up. Like him, he continued to run over everything that Biden was trying to say, he didn’t Chris Wallace, even. And I think to myself, if you’re, if you’re, if you’re a moderate American, if you’re not already on Trump’s train, one of the things that would probably push you out of wanting to vote for him is thinking this guy just doesn’t. He doesn’t listen to anybody. He runs over everything. He says, How, how well is he going to consider any points that you as a member of the citizenry want him to consider that he hasn’t already thought about if he’s acting like this on stage. And I think that that behavior undermined and destroyed his own frame. So when you look at a lot of the news, I mean, like I was, I’m a big subscriber to ground news. It’s a great app. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it. But it’s basically, it attempts to pull together a whole bunch of news from left, right and center, and talk about which stories are being covered by what areas of the news, I pay like $10 a month for it, it’s a spectacular service, it produces something that allows you it you know, it gets a read on whatever your political leanings are. And it goes, you probably read these publications. So here’s a handful of publications that you don’t normally read, to show you news stories you’re missing or a different perspective on them, which is something I really value. So I don’t mind paying for it. Um, a lot of the news was all about defining and attempting to define the frame posted the debate as Trump basically is like a big baby who can’t control himself. And I think that if you’re a reasonable person at all, that’s the takeaway you had from,

John Corcoran  17:43  

from the debate. Let’s talk about, you know, you’ve been a comic for so many years, and I have so much respect for that my father did stand up comedy for dating back to before I was born. And even when I was younger, and I have so much respect for people to get on stage. But, you know, political comedy in particular, especially in the context of what we’re talking about here, framing the narrative is is, is so challenging, because it again, you know, in comedy, in general, every word, the way that you frame things is important, but in when then when you step over the third rail, and you address a topic that’s already fraught with even more emotions, even more challenging, I imagine to do political comedy and to do political jokes, especially in a room where maybe you’re not sure where people lean.

Brendon Lemon  18:34  

Oh, yeah, dude, it’s a minefield.

John Corcoran  18:37  

Yeah. So talk a little bit, how do you frame in an audience of strangers? How do you frame political comedy and get laughs? You know, when you have an audience of people, and you have no idea where they’re leaning?

Brendon Lemon  18:56  

Well, okay, so the answer to that question is that there’s, there’s two answers to this question. The first caveat to say it is that, if you can, if you listen can provide an answer to this question. That is right. 100% of the time, congratulations, you are the greatest comedian who’s ever lived. There is no answer to this question such that it will work in every situation. So it’s, it’s lame to be like, I read a book about how to do this. And then like, you asked a question about how to do it. And I’m like, it’s not good luck. But the truth is that there is just no way to know you know what I mean? You’re in a frame battle with an entire audience full of people. There’s no way you’re gonna win them all over, you’re gonna step on, you’re dancing in a minefield. You know, this is why the greatest comedians on the planet like Dave Chappelle, I mean, even if you go watch his specials, he runs into jokes that people in the audience don’t like so how you surf that wave is how you how you respond when the audience doesn’t like what you just said is actually what makes you a great calm.

John Corcoran  19:55  

I mean, sometimes, those are the best moments to not ask for that. When you see Dave Chappelle get a joke that’s killed every time and he’s here’s then comes the Netflix special. And then it’s like, oh, that’s over the line like,

Brendon Lemon  20:09  

burn in paper tiger. And his last special, he definitely did this hit in spades. He was up on stage telling jokes. And you can tell you’re like, oh, man, this audience does not like his material tonight. And he’s just, and it’s like, he’s filming his neck that looks special, like, what are they gonna do? So, I mean, that’s, that really shows you you know, John, Johnny Carson said, you can judge the quality of the comedian by how well he bombs. And I think there’s, there’s, there’s a ton of truth to that. That’s how you decide the middle of the comment. Okay, the second answer to that question, though, which is, the real answer is, it’s all about point of view, which is, how can I get the audience and this is why frame control is important to comedy and wide comedy is like the perfect dojo for it, because how can I get the audience to see what I see in this moment? And how can I know what combination of words can I use to shepherd their consciousness from one position to another position so that when they look at this, they also see the juxtaposition and incongruity that I see, which I think is funny. And, and doing so doesn’t require them to change who they are doing. So just a recap, I’m guessing, and you correct me if I’m wrong, but it just requires them to see the humor in the way that you see it. Is that accurate? Yeah. I mean, that’s great. So it’s like, you know, you can’t, you cannot attack, you can’t make an audience member feel attacked at the level of who they are, or their beliefs or something. I mean, this is this is why comedy is so important here is because and why, in a way, it’s perfect that comedians had to write it, you know, me and my co author had to be comedians to write this book is because, you know, the essence of comedy comes from the idea that there is a tension, which is, what is something what’s going to happen is something good gonna happen, something bad’s gonna happen, what’s going to happen? And then a release of that tension at delight. So if you think about a baby, you know, you as a parent, you do this thing where you put your, your hands in front, your face, and your baby’s like, Oh, yeah, I’m gone. Your baby’s like, holy shit. Where am I? Where am I? You know, Dad, Mom, go, yeah. And then you go, Oh, it’s me. I’m right here. It’s just me. It’s your dad. Yeah. And then and then the kid starts laughing. The essence of comedy comes from the idea that there is a tension of surprise, and then delight at the relief of a positive, you know, a positive relief at that surprise. So comedy has to take place around tension. And when it’s done poorly, the surprise is bad. And people dislike it, and then you get booed. And then you never get booked again, and you talk foreign lonely. Um, this is a necessary conclusion. Or you get it right. And everybody’s laughing and then everybody goes home and gets laid. So these are the ways it works. Yeah. I don’t think

Brendon Lemon  22:59  

they got a love, love Rodney Dangerfield. So, anyway, the point that I’m making here, though, is that like that, that comes from, you know, that’s the essence of comedy. So there’s a way you know, you can’t make someone feel too much tension. You can’t make someone feel like they’ve got too much. Too much. You know? What, we’re looking for too much flesh in the game? You know what I mean? Because if they do, they won’t, they won’t follow you. They’re just they simply will be like, No, I’m getting off the ride here. And I have a joke. I’ve talked about this a couple times. Because I’m because I think it’s a good example, I have a joke where I talk about, um, you know, I, I have to I’m walking through this is before Donald Trump got elected, I knew he was going to get elected because I was walking through the pride festival in Chicago, the pride festival. And I heard someone say, there are too many n words in Chicago today. And I heard somebody say that there are too many n words in Chicago. But that’s not exactly you know, here’s the thing. That’s exactly what they said they didn’t use the term and use the word, the term N word versus they use the term N word. And that was the moment that I was like, holy shit, you can be racist and politically correct at the same time, like black and white up is down. So that joke continues, and I just go on, I have like a bunch of other punchlines to it. If I haven’t done them, if I haven’t done the requisite amount of rapport building with an audience before getting into that joke. They’ll get off the ride at me saying, Edwards. I didn’t say I didn’t I didn’t say that. The word the term range.

John Corcoran  24:35  

Right. But even in referring to it, yeah.

Brendon Lemon  24:37  

Even referring even to the gesture that just to the word is too much. For a lot of people. They’re like, no, too much tension. I don’t know where this is gonna go. I don’t want to get on this. Right.

John Corcoran  24:47  

So what’s the rapport building look like? And when in the build up to that, what are you doing?

Brendon Lemon  24:52  

Yeah, so that’s a good question. So the rapport building that gets up to that joke is I have to do a number of other jokes. And it might not really matter what they are, I just have to get the audience to trust that they’re like, Okay, this guy’s we trust him, he’s gonna take us to places that we know are okay. And if I don’t do that, then they will get off the ride right there.

John Corcoran  25:11  

So it doesn’t matter what the other jokes leading up to it are?

Brendon Lemon  25:15  

Well, I mean, ideally what you what it almost doesn’t mean the answer to the question is it almost doesn’t in the sense that if you are continuing to get laughter from the crowd, they’ll pretty they’ll start following you mostly wherever you want them to go. Um, but I will say that I don’t want to be doing a whole bunch of subject matter about nothing controversial at all. Like and then you

Unknown Speaker  25:37  

step into that.

Unknown Speaker  25:39  

Yeah, the funny thing about puppies and kittens. Yeah. No.

Unknown Speaker  25:45  

Racism joke

Unknown Speaker  25:47  

about giving your grandmother a hug.

Unknown Speaker  25:50  

Like, it’s just like, Whoa, holy shit. Wait a minute.

John Corcoran  25:53  

Right turn. So you got it kind of you step into it. You step into it? That was Yeah, exactly.

Brendon Lemon  25:58  

And so you know, I mean, the. So there, the

John Corcoran  26:01  

the audience is kind of realizing this guy’s a little edgy. He’s a little edgy is a little off putting or he’s

Brendon Lemon  26:06  

trust, but he must trust that he is our best. best interest. No. Okay, exactly. Yeah, we can trust that we’re gonna, we’re gonna, it’s about leadership. So this is the other thing that you’re in control is about leadership. comedy is about leadership. What you’re doing as a comedian is you’re stepping on stage, you’re creating a tribe, with the people who are in the room, and then you’re leading that tribe. That’s what frame control is about. And if somebody is not on board, like I mean, and this is what will happen if you’re doing edgy material, like if you’re doing edgy material that you’re working out as Sage as a comedian, it won’t work, you will run into it not working. You’ll be at open mics, you’ll try to get people on board with the joke there’s nothing there. I have another joke. And everybody in your audience is going to think I’m just like a total douchebag comic. But I have another joke where I go, did you guys know? I mean, I’m still working on this joke. But the setup is you guys know that there are over a billion Chinese people. Did you guys know that? Like one out of every seven people on the planet is Chinese. Like what are we gonna say enough is enough? Like that’s a ridiculous joke. And the only reason it works is if you are ironic, you know, I’m being ironic. Yeah, yeah. But I would if I do the same thing, if I don’t build up a persona of like, this guy’s irreverent and ironic. And I just get into that joke. The crowd is like, What the? What the hell you’re trying to say, dude, that’s it. Nicholas, well, that’s your moment as a comedian to go get offstage, go back to your notebook, continue writing jokes to try to figure out how you can palpably get into that situation? Yeah, um, you know, without breaking rapport too much, because what you’re doing is you’re getting on stage, and you’re being out framed by the audience who’s like, we’re not on board with this. We’re not laughing at this. This isn’t funny.

John Corcoran  27:49  

I, I want to ask you about the flip side of this, which is dismantling the other side’s frame. And we can continue talking about in the political context or debate context, because oftentimes, the other side is trying to create its own frame, and you need to dismantle it or attack it or something like that, which you write about in the book. So talk about that. Yeah, so

Brendon Lemon  28:10  

I mean, there’s a number of ways to do this. But the two strongest ways are either zooming in or zooming out, meaning and that’s just the quick monitors that me and my co author I’ve given to this, I mean, there’s a number of ways to do it. But zooming in involves let’s get into the details is talking about data. Let’s look at what is specific where the point you’re making plays out, or let’s zoom out, meaning let’s get away from that. And let’s talk about larger concepts like morality or character or, you know, things like this. I mean, broadly speaking, those are sort of the two ways to deal with dismantling somebody else’s frame that they’re trying to foist upon you. Now, in a debate, that’s what I would do interpersonally, there’s, this becomes a little more complicated, because, you know, the way to dismantle somebody’s frame interpersonally, that when, when sort of the, the stakes aren’t as specific as a debate is just refused the frame, just don’t ascend to it, you don’t I mean, if you don’t have to, if it’s a low stakes, just don’t do it. If somebody’s trying to talk to you about something you don’t want to agree with, you just don’t have to do it. I mean, I think that, that, that that small amount of what’s the word I’m looking for dissonance that you’re going to create is going to be enough to push space and, and you can retain your own frame. But in a situation where you know, things really matter like a courtroom or a debate or etc. Those are sort of broadly speaking the two movements that you kind of want to do in order to dismantle somebody else’s frame and then you want to once you have done that, the second and very important point is to insert your own then put in your own frame. So like the way that just speaking about it, like briefly the way that you know people who have been falsely tried and convicted of crimes they didn’t commit get off is by not only dismantling what happened wrong with the case that took place previously. But then inserting a new narrative going, it couldn’t have been this guy, because here’s actually the version of events that explain the crime that took place. Does that make sense? Surely, you want to zoom in or zoom out getting into the details or getting away from them by appealing to something, either in specific or broadly, that sort of overarching Lee gets rid of the details, depending on the situation which we can get into. And then you want to insert sort of your own frame or your own whatever your take is, and you want that to just sort of take in the space. Does this make sense, John?

John Corcoran  30:45  

It does. I wanted to ask it in the context of another topic, which you have expertise in, which is sales. So we’ve been talking about this discussion in the context of political debates, the world of comedy, now wrongful conviction in a court of law, somehow we got on to that one too. But let’s go over to sales, because everyone needs to sell, you know, whether you are working for yourself, or you’re selling a colleague or a co worker on an idea, or you’re selling to clients or something like that. So let’s talk about these ideas of framing in the world of sales and how and how you utilize that and how these principles apply there.

Brendon Lemon  31:24  

Yeah, so I think the easiest way to get into this is all about how I got into sales, because you’re probably your listeners. Really? Why is this comedian? What is he? Is he a guy who he keeps talking about law, for some reason is

John Corcoran  31:36  

a criminal defense attorney somehow What is he talking about?

Brendon Lemon  31:42  

All of those would be reasonable questions to ask. So here’s my background. I’ve been doing stand up comedy for almost 20 years. I started when I was I started doing improv when I was 14, I did it for 14 years, I had two uncles who were stand up comics started doing stand up when I was 16, in Metro Detroit, and I’ve done it all over almost all over the world, even self the as you know, I funded a self funded pilot trying to explore comedy around the world, which may or may not end up on a TV channel. We’re still working through that. But, you know, at that time, I also had a degree in philosophy and studied pre law, I was going to go to law school. I’m glad I didn’t do that literally everybody in my life told me not to. I think I had one person who was like, yeah, go to law school. And literally, everyone else was like, Don’t do it, dude, unless you enjoy doing homework for a living. You, you should not do it. So that’s how those things came about. But what I did end up doing is getting into sales. And part of the reason I did that was that I learned well was to be perfectly honest, part of the reason I did that was because of poverty. You don’t make a lot of money. Unless you’re a successful comedian. comedy is a pretty hard life. And I decided I wanted, you know, shoes that didn’t have holes in them. So, I got a day job doing sales. And what I learned was a lot of lessons that I had learned in comedy in terms of building rapport, framing, audience, word choice, etc. Those actually applied really strongly to the world of sales. And I think we talked about that the first time we ever did a podcast together. And that’s sort of where, where that experience sort of leads into sales. So the what you want to understand in the world sales in terms of frame control is that the person who, you know, there’s been a lot of books written about leadership and sales, the person who holds the strongest frame is typically the one who ends up winning a conversation winning the bait, and the person who has the strongest frame is the one who wins the sale. So one of two things is going to happen as Grant Cardone says, which is one of either you’re going to sell the person on the other end of the phone on that they need your service or product, or they’re going to sell you on that they don’t, one of those two things is going to happen. So you know, Zig Ziglar says the transference of emotion is what sales is. And so in that way, whoever has the strongest frame and is the most convicted, is going to be the one who wins that. So if it’s the salesperson, they’re gonna get a lot of sales, they’re just gonna, it’s just gonna happen. So understanding sort of how to win over a prospect from a frame control perspective is how the conversation continues. You know, I think I think that’s a way of answering that question without even answering it. If I’m yeah,

John Corcoran  34:31  

yeah, yeah. No, I mean, it’s one of those things that, you know, people struggle with is that idea of, of how to control a conversation without being overwhelming or rude or, you know, too salesy, which people are afraid of that sort of thing. And any further thoughts on that or on these principles and how to leverage it when you’re doing sales?

Brendon Lemon  34:57  

Yeah, I mean, so the way that the way you want to do the first step is getting sold on your product, I mean your product or service. So if you’re, if you’re a salesperson, or if you’re, you know, trying to think about how I do, how do I, you know, encourage myself to do sales, you really need to believe that you’re adding value to somebody’s life. So you need to do whatever work you need to do to figure out if you’re doing that and how you’re doing and how much you’re doing. So, you know, if you’re a graphic designer, I mean, my, my good example is my sister’s a graphic designer, she has done a ton of graphic design work. And until recently, she was wasn’t really sure how much she should charge for service, she just not sure if she wants to push on somebody, for someone who’s producing their work themselves, it can sometimes be difficult to be sold on yourself, especially because you can see all the flaws and the things that you create, you know what I mean, you’re not even sure how you should value yourself, etc. She did a lot of the really hard work where she investigated what her work had done for her clients, she had compared her work to other people in the marketplace. And she finally was like, you know, what, I know I’m offering something valuable here. So I’m happy to charge people, I’m happy to push it on people, you know, I became a successful salesperson in the mobile marketing startup, because I did a lot of work to understand that we were the best product in the marketplace, that if someone was choosing to go with another platform, in the mobile marketing of you know, marketing technology universe, they were making a bad decision. And I had no problem sort of holding that frame and telling people that you have to do it persistently and politely but you know, telling somebody directly and confidently, like, Look, you’re if you don’t take a meeting with us, you’re going to miss out on at least things that you’re not going to know about the competitor, you’re going to try to go with, I mean, it’s worth 15 minutes, you know, like take, here’s the deal, at the end of that meeting, we don’t have to continue talking if you don’t like my product, but you will be better informed, you’re going to learn these five things, I’ll send it to you in an email, take a look, I’m sending you a meeting request, you can feel free to move it to whatever time works. Or if you change your mind, after looking at my email, you can cancel it, but I’m promising you this is going to be worth your time. Like these kinds of things you have to get sold first. That’s actually the biggest part of the book is, you know, we talk a lot about techniques in the second and later part of the book. How do you zoom in? How do you zoom out? How do you dismantle frames? How do you enforce somebody else’s frame, but a huge part of the book is just focused on how do you get sold and master your own inner frame, because a lot of this, especially in the world of sales is going to manifest, um, you know, spontaneously, when you’ve really sold, you know, on yourself, and you’re really sold on your product, and that it’s valuable for somebody, you know, why you, you know, a big problem that I had when I was in high school. And you can tell me if you had this as well, John, is that, you know, you’re attracted to like some pretty girl or whatever. And you’re always like, How come these dumb idiot dudes are the ones who end up with like, the prettiest girls in my high school? This doesn’t make any sense. What’s like, what is because these guys are selling themselves. Like, right immediately. They’re just, I rock I kick ass and And meanwhile, I’m intelligent enough to know I have flaws.

Unknown Speaker  38:17  

Right? So I’m like, why would it? Why would it attract your Sony,

John Corcoran  38:20  

like weren’t sold on the product? Basically?

Brendon Lemon  38:23  

Yeah, I can see all the problems with Yeah, but this other guy, he doesn’t see any of them. And so it’s funny, because even though I can see his flaws, he doesn’t see his flaws. So, when he’s selling himself, he’s doing it at 110%. Because he’s like, I got nothing that what, whatever, I’m awesome. And what people you know, contextually, especially interpersonally, people don’t have a lot to go off of except the cues that the other person is giving them. And this is true in comedy, like if I get on stage, and I act like I’m not really sure about this joke, the audience is going to be terrified because they’re like, I don’t know where this is going. And the same thing is true with a cold call. So if I get on the phone, and I’m like, hey, yeah, I don’t really it’s like, hey, look, maybe this doesn’t apply to you. But we have a product that other people are, it gives me like, dude, I’m not wasting my time. This is so lame. So you know that it’s a difficult needle to thread, you have about 15 seconds on a cold call to say something to get somebody interested in talking with you further. But a big way to do that is just by tone. And we talk about that a lot in the book. And another big way to do that is by just selling your product.

John Corcoran  39:29  

That’s great. We’re running short on time. But before we wrap up, I wanted to ask you about something that happened around the time the launch of this book. So you had a co author who decided I don’t know if it was intentional or not. But hey, let’s pick a fight with an American icon and a national treasure as a way of getting a little bit extra promotion for the book. I don’t know if that’s exactly how it played out. But that’s ultimately what happened. So tell us the story.

Brendon Lemon  39:56  

Yeah. Okay. So this guy who is a friend of mine who’s written the foreword to the book is scanning James altucher. And James, writer of a number of books, he has a big one coming out in February, called skip the line, which actually has a chapter of our book in it. That’s how sold he was in our book. And, and he’s also the author of Choose Yourself and a number of other things. He’s a, he’s a, he’s also a comic, which is how I know he owns um, he owns the standard New York comedy club and is on the Upper West Side of New York. So he decided to write an article literally, like the same day that our book got published, called New York is dead, dot, dot, dot, here’s why. And he goes into for a number of I don’t know how many words the article was like, it was a long article. But yeah, it was like, like, 3500 words or something about how New York is done. And he just inserts a whole bunch of facts, basically, about the city of New York and what’s taking place. And he doesn’t really have any hope, like the he,

John Corcoran  40:59  

and this was in about august of 2020. About five months about the virus pandemic. Yeah.

Brendon Lemon  41:05  

Yeah. And he’s basically just talking about why New York is in a bad situation due to the Coronavirus and the citing commonly, you know, publicly recognized stats about why people are leaving in, in in these things. And the reason he ran into trouble, trouble and our suspicion on that is me, and my co author suspect is because he doesn’t have any hope at the end of his article. It’s just like, here’s an argument for why New York’s dead by

John Corcoran  41:31  

is no solution. Yeah, he’s,

Brendon Lemon  41:34  

yeah, like rolls out. Right. So um, you know, in our political environment that got picked up by the right wing media, Glenn Beck, I think read it on his show where the concept, you know, basically is that that feeds a narrative that is commonly understood in the right wing, which is that cities are dying, and part of the reason they’re dying is because they’re run by these

Unknown Speaker  41:54  

stupid cars.

Brendon Lemon  41:56  

Yeah, exactly. Who are running them into the ground. Right. And so that got picked up. And as soon as I went back, I read it. I thought that would be the height of where we go. But it kept picking up steam. The New York Post, published in the New York Post has a dog in the fight also in terms of commonly talking about what the bad things that are happening in New York. And, and then Jerry Seinfeld, the King of Comedy, wrote an article in The New York Times basically going straight at James Altucher for coming up with this any even call? He called him a Putz.

John Corcoran  42:31  

Yeah, he sure did.

Brendon Lemon  42:34  

You know, but, and then he, you know, he talked about his club was a little shabby and needed some updates and stuff. So it was almost like, it’s like, come on, Jerry. Yeah.

John Corcoran  42:44  

What are your thoughts on who controlled the frame and that debate?

Brendon Lemon  42:49  

Well, yeah, I mean, here’s, here’s the, the situation. It depends on who’s answering that question. But I’ll give you two perspectives. One is that, Jerry? Jerry has status and the situation. So we talk a lot about status in the book, Jerry has status, globally, meaning he just he’s more successful, his name is better known. He’s, you know, his net worth is like, I think, like, a 10 X or like 25 x what James’s is, um, you know, he, he obviously is higher in the hierarchy of comedy, is also

John Corcoran  43:27  

identified with New York in many ways. So him saving up for New York is expected.

Brendon Lemon  43:32  

Exactly. He’s synonymous. I think Jerry Seinfeld, in many ways, is synonymous with the City of New York. And so he’s stepping in from a status frame. Why is that important? It’s important because James, James didn’t he’s being out status. So this is like, you know, if Donald Trump like tweeted at me being like, look at this stupid comedian with his dumb joke. You’re just like, wait a minute, what the fuck? Like the fact that it even bubbled up to affect Jerry was like, astounded, you know, right. Um, and it’s strange because Jerry used it as a physician to reinforce his status. And I think the status relative to the city, so it’s like the city needs a hero Jerry Seinfeld’s coming in and being that guy first Yeah. But it was also forced because it was a status reframe. It forced Jerry to be unintelligible and his response. So it was like Jerry couldn’t address the specific points that James was making. Because if he did, to remember the zoom in, zoom out, he had to zoom out. Jerry had to zoom out and say, it’s the city’s great, the city’s amazing. It’s survived other things. It will survive this. We don’t need you right now. This is ridiculous. Your club is shabby.

John Corcoran  44:40  

Yeah, you know, too many ways to actually get back to Trump is a thing that Trump does, too. He zooms out on debates all the time and doesn’t provide specifics. Yeah.

Brendon Lemon  44:49  

Yeah. And when you zoom out far enough, when specifics do matter, 205,000 people die. So you know, I

John Corcoran  44:56  

mean, it’s fine. be laughing at that, but that’s true.

Brendon Lemon  44:58  

Yes. I mean, it’s either Cry is that is crying john. Yeah. So I mean that. But that’s the truth is that it is not a solution. That is a rhetorical trick. And sometimes it works. And that’s why we talked about I mean, one of the things we talked about in the book a lot is that it’s like, Look, this is this is important that the understanding, reframing and how to and how to dismantle, and, you know, pressure flip, and, you know, pull on one ad and all these types of things, labeling all that stuff we talked about in the book, those are all techniques that are important, but they don’t actually serve to necessarily elucidate the truth. You know, you can be so fast and you can actually do a kind of song and dance that’ll cause somebody to lose face and be wrong. Jerry could do that. And which is basically what Jerry did. So your question was, who is framing the situation? I think we better pay attention to James’s frame in this situation. If you care about the city of New York, you should not be listening to Jerry Seinfeld right now. Like James and Jerry are actually on the same side of this argument. The problem is that Jerry offers no solutions and references no data. So like, his data is funny. I don’t know. I mean, you know, I guess I can make some, you know, you can you need specific points to make some jokes and stuff. But comedy is mostly attitude, and Jeremy’s response was only attitude. So, you know, the issue here is like, if I’m Bill deblasio, I need to pay attention to James’s article, he’s referencing things that are relative. You know what I mean, Jerry, it doesn’t matter how funny or how great the city of New York is, or how funny Jerry Seinfeld is 600,000 people have left the island of Manhattan, the city is not going to do well, without those tax dollars. Yeah, I mean, just right after that article, Bill Deblasio had to lay off a ton of city workers and furlough them. That’s not to say that Jerry doesn’t talk about that in his article. So right. Anyway, I think that it depends on who you’re talking to. You know, but I think that I think that James’s frame is closer to the truth and should be paid attention to.

John Corcoran  46:56  

All right, well, let’s, we’re almost out of time. So we’ll wrap things up the question I always ask, which is Brendon, let’s pretend we’re at an awards banquet, much like the Oscars or the Emmys and you’re receiving an award for lifetime achievement for everything you’ve done up until this point. But we all want to know who do you think were the mentors? Who are the friends who are the business partners, colleagues? Who are the people that you would acknowledge in your remarks?

Brendon Lemon  47:16  

Yeah, you know what? I think the truth is, they would have to play the music so loud for me to get offstage. The Oscar has to be like, because I would just keep going. I think a lot of people think, like a big thing. Honestly, it’s like my, I mean, this sounds dumb, but like, my parents are huge. We’re, you know, huge influences on me. I’m a guy named Bill MacMurray, who is a pretty bill. Goodness gracious. Ben MacMurray. I can’t believe I just did that. Mr. MacMurray, my close up teacher whose political science and economics and my philosophy teacher in high school was a big influence on me. As well as my Uncle Mike McClure, who was the comedian who pushed me into doing comedy in high school. And you know, my, I think, I think I would, you know, it’s shitty, because I would just keep going, I would thank you, because I think you’ve been a great influence on me. I think I would think Jordan Harbinger again, James altucher. And then I would thank you listeners for buying my book. Because without you, I wouldn’t be here accepting this Oscar today.

John Corcoran  48:22  

And with that the book is “The Power Bible”. Brendonlemon.com and it was one of your websites. Where else can people connect with you?

Brendon Lemon  48:32  

Ah, that’s the easiest one. If you go to brendonlemon.com you can get a copy of my comedy special there. I’ve got it. I filmed it in 2016, just before the election, and I predicted Trump would win. So you can go check out Brendon Lemon is on bookable on Brendonlemon.com and you can go pick up “The Power Bible” on Amazon and the audio book will be out soon. And if you want to check out that book there, I would encourage you to also check out Bill Beteet on Tiktok. He’s my co-author. He is a fantastically interesting guy, and, and another very funny comic and you will like his content as well.

John Corcoran  49:10  

All right, Brendon, always a pleasure. Thanks so much. We’ll talk again soon.

Outro  49:15  

Thank you for listening to the Smart Business Revolution podcast with John Corcoran. Find out more at smartbusinessrevolution.com. And while you’re there, sign up for our email list and join the Revolution. And be listening for the next episode of the Smart Business Revolution podcast.