Life Lessons Courtesy of Step Brothers

I’m 34-years-old and still live with my parents and need my mom to buy my lunch and put gas in my car. I’m not in my current predicament because I lost my job and money during the Great Recession nor am I a cocaine-addled gambler who spent all his money on Columbian bam-bam and a horse named Two Left Feet. No, I’m in this situation because of my bad life decisions and my innate ability to be a slacker. Just ask my former editor for the student newspaper at Radford University who caught me and my roommates wasted, playing Fan Ball – a game we created where the objective is to avoid getting hit by a ping pong ball thrown into a fan at full speed – instead of working on a front-page story I was already a day past deadline.

I’ve wasted more time in my life than I care to remember, but nowhere near the amount of time Brennan Huff and Dale Doback have wasted. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Brennan and Dale used to be juvenile, middle-aged men who were broke and living with their parents. Think Matthew McConaughey’s character in Failure to Launch only neither one had a job or any discernible skills except their flatulence. However, in one of the greatest comeback stories – sorry Johnny Cash and Muhammad Ali – Brennan and Dale have gotten their lives together and created one of the hottest karaoke companies in the greater Los Angeles area.

I know there are plenty of college students and middle-aged men like myself who are broke, unemployed and still living with their parents, which is why I spoke with Brennan and Dale to get firsthand advice on how to fly the coop and gain financial independence.

“You guys found several hobbies when you were living with your parents. Performed a lot of activities in your spare time.”

 Dale: I come from a family of learned doctors so I knew all the health benefits karate provides. It increases your cardiovascular health, leads to weight loss and improves your mood. All the breaking pumpkins and slicing Dorito bags in the garage really led us to become stronger both mentally and physically and allowed us to become Dragon and Nighthawk. It turned us into some kind of mix of Jesus and Fergie. It helped us became phoenix’s in the night sky.

Brennan: And then we actually graduated from the online business program at the University of Phoenix, so we became phoenix’s in the sky with degrees clutched tight in our majestic talons.

Dale: I think the breaking of the boards and all the karate really symbolized the battle we were having with our inner-selves. It helped us start peeling back the deep layers of the onions of our psyche, which allowed us to find out what we really wanted to do.

Brennan: At the end of the day, we always knew that idle hands were the devil’s playground. We knew that if we didn’t find something productive to do, all we’d be doing is sitting around in the garage, smoking pot and lifting weights like Kevin Spacey in American Beauty.

“So, kicking boards and smashing pumpkins really set you on the road you guys are on now?”

Dale: Yeah, you know, it really did. It helped us break through all the walls of anger and self-pity that were holding us back. It helped us become people who rode majestic steeds to the moons of Pandora.

Brennan: I would really suggest all the activities we performed to any middle-aged person still living with their parents. Like Dale said, it really helped sharpen our minds and bodies so we could become the hard-bodied figures we are today both mentally and physically.

“I’m in an interview, I’ve almost got the job, and I can’t control my bodily functions. I creep out Seth Rogen and don’t get the job.”

Brennan: I was really mad at him for that for quite a while. I think that moment was the reason behind the tension in the middle of our relationship. I was so upset I wanted to put him into a home when he’s of the appropriate age. I still might.

Dale: Dude, how many times do I have to tell you I’m sorry for that? It was supposed to be quiet one. That’s what it honestly felt like when it was coming down to my butt. I literally thought it was going to be like the little swoosh of air that happens when you press the air pump on a Nike.

Brennan: Well, it wasn’t.

Dale: No, it wasn’t. It sounded like a dying whale and just kept going and going and going. It was really, really embarrassing.

Brennan: I can’t believe that came out of your butt. I didn’t want to be mad at you. I was actually impressed you actually pulled off a maneuver like that. It was such an awesome moment, but it really seemed like it was going to doom us for a while.

Dale: I’m surprised it didn’t pick up on a Russian sonar and start a war. The thing that bothers me is I could’ve started a war with Russia over the sound of my fart.

Brennan: Actually, that almost would’ve been awesome. Your fart causing the United States to go to war with a man named Putin. Isn’t that ironic, don’t you think?

Dale: A little too ironic. And you’re a little too thick.

Brennan and Dale high-five each other.

“So what did you learn from that experience?”

Dale: I learned to that it’s not only important to look your best during the interview but also feel your best. I should’ve left 30 minutes before I needed to and taken a pre-game dump.

Brennan: Or, you could’ve just farted there in the lobby. Maybe thrown off some of our competition.

“I wear a tuxedo to an interview for a job that requires me to clean toilets.”

Brennan: Yeah, looking back that probably wasn’t the smartest thing I could’ve done. It’s really important to take the company culture into consideration when going in for an interview. If the business is casual, then just take it easy but still be respectful. If it’s a bank you’re applying for, a suit and tie is fine. But it’s never alright to wear a tux to a job interview. You really want to show that you belong there and have yourself together.

Dale: They say it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed, but the exception to that rule is wearing a tux to a job that requires you to clean toilets. In fact, the only time it’s appropriate to wear a tux to a job interview is if you’re auditioning for a 007 movie.

“I interview with my step brother as a team.”

Brennan: I think we needed moral support. Looking back, we really should’ve gone to the interviews alone. I think interviewing as team really just put our lack of confidence and independence on full display.

Dale: I think it really showed our insecurities. Every time I went into one of those offices, I got the heebie-jeebies and started feeling scared and out of place around actual work. It almost felt like that scene from The Wizard of Oz where the winged monkeys were pulling apart the scarecrow. It was scary. I couldn’t have made it through them without my main man Brennan helping out.

Brennan: We were definitely insecure. I’ve spent most of my life walking around as a little kid in a man’s body. I think it was my parents getting divorced that really messed me up. But I was definitely feeling very alone and afraid at the time and very misunderstood. I felt like Frank the Tank in Old School because his wife just didn’t get him, and I felt like my mom didn’t get me.

Dale: Nobody ever said they were proud of us, and we had to watch our friends live their lives successfully. So, yeah, I think it was some of that. We were very wounded animals. Like deer limping off into the woods, refusing to die after getting hit by a car.

Brennan: Really, in the long run, I think us messing up all those job interviews really put us on the road we’re on now. I feel like if we would’ve gotten those jobs, then we never would’ve started Prestige Worldwide, which led us to start Karaoke N’ Roll. So, those mishaps were really a blessing in disguise.

“So, has that insecurity that you guys felt been resolved?”

Dale: Yes, it has. I think getting to watch people live out their karaoke dreams on a daily basis has really helped me solve a lot of my insecurities. It’s so nice to see people play out their fantasies. And plus, the people you get to meet.

Brennan: Like that man we met who could fart “Jingle Bells.” That was awesome. But I think all our issues are solved. I no longer think the house is haunted, and I’m not scared to go upstairs by myself anymore.

“I’ve just gone 0-for-4 on interviews my parents have set up for me. I leave the interviews, go past a schoolyard and then get beat up by a bunch of schoolkids. Then I go home, find out my parents are selling the house and sailing on their boat and I get kicked out and made to go to therapy.”

Brennan: I was so angry at them when they did that to us. I mean, here we are with bellies full of white dog crap, and they lay that kind of shit on us. But it really toughened us up, made us get serious and turn into almost mini Buddha’s. Their tough love really woke us up and made us get on with our lives.

Dale: I tell you one thing. I was madder at my dad in that moment than I was when he told me that Nancy and Brennan were moving in and that we were no longer going to be able do all that awesome guy shit we used to do. We had finally gotten a good family vibe going and then they were just going to sweep the rug from under us. But while I didn’t see it like this at the time, their tough love was a blessing in disguise. It really helped us to find the path the Good Lord wanted to us to take and helped us stop being such wusses.

Brennan: That was the moment we knew we were going to have to act like grownups if we were going to get this family back together.

Dale: After that happened, we knew that time was precious and we couldn’t waste any more of it. I’ve been reading a lot of self-help books by Montel Williams and Phil Jackson and we knew that time was our most valuable asset. We really went with the fail fast mantra, and I think it was great that we had failed so many times because it helped us.

“So failing a bunch of times was the key to your success?”

Dale: Most definitely.

Brennan: Of course.

“When you start your own business you can’t be afraid to do know what’s never been done before.”

Dale: Well, I knew that I could shred on drums and that I was a marketing whiz, and I knew that Brennan was a world-class singer. So, we put the two of those together and got Prestige Worldwide, which led us down the road of Karaoke N’ Roll.

Brennan: I really wanted to do a band at first, but then Dragon over here reminded me that it had already been done before. From that point on, I knew that our destiny was some kind of entertainment company that provided the “first word in entertainment, management, financial portfolios, insurance, computers … black leather gloves.” It was something really unique.

“Karaoke N’ Roll, your new adventure, is a huge success. Congratulations.”

Brennan: Thanks, Mr. Journalist Guy. That’s nice of you. It was definitely a big surprise, but we really put in the man-hours to determine the type of science people wanted.

Dale: Yeah, and we really did a lot of demographic research to find out what people wanted in a karaoke event. We looked at the songs they wanted to sing, the songs people wanted to see other people fail at, and the ones that were the most to fun to sing when you’re wicked wasted.

“Well, that’s going to do it for the interview. Thanks to you guys for sitting down with me. Any last pieces of advice for the readers out there?”

Dale: I really think just hold true to your inner-dinosaur and never take life too seriously. We tried to play it straight and narrow but the corporate life just wasn’t for us. Having to wake up at 10 in the morning was just terrible. It was a very soul-crushing experience for us. It really took my dad telling us not to lose our inner-dinosaur and get Prestige Worldwide going that really inspired us.

Brennan: He’s right. It’s important to grow up and become financially independent, but don’t sacrifice who you are as a person. The karaoke deal has been so successful because we love doing it and it really gives us a chance to stay in touch with our inner-children. It’s really a magical thing.

Dale: You can’t be afraid to chase you dreams. We’ll always remember how depressed we were working our normal day jobs. So the best advice I could give is follow your dreams whether you want to be a professional drummer, world class singer or a writer of a blog.

Brennan: Yeah, that and take baby aspirin.

 

 

 

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