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      The Straight Cut

      How to Navigate a Cigar Shop

      How to Navigate a Cigar Shop
      As much as we love cigars, we don’t always love the stores that sell them. Inconvenient locations, horrible curb appeal, and grumpy salespeople are the norm. There are some incredible exceptions, but most of the time local cigar stores are terrible. For the aficionado, this a minor inconvenience, but for beginners and gift-givers, it’s uncomfortable, unpleasant, and confusing.

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      A Great Joke and How to Tell it

      A Great Joke and How to Tell it

      Two guys walk into a cigar bar. One turns to the other and says, “What is this? Some kind of joke?” The other replies, “No. I think it’s just the set-up to an article."


      Not everyone was blessed with a quick wit or a natural sense of humor, but you don’t need to be a comedic genius to earn a few laughs. There’s a wonderful little invention, passed down from generation to generation that allows even the most uncreative among us to soften a crowd or charm a phone number out of that cute girl at the bar.

      All you need is a reliable joke, and more importantly, the ability to tell it perfectly.

      Is that two jokes in your pocket or is this some kind of clever wordplay?


      We think everyone should have at least two jokes memorized. People will usually want to hear a second after you tell the first, but it also helps to have an alternate if you think people might already know one of the punchlines. You’ll want a quick one and a longer one, but both should be less than a minute in length. Try to use jokes that most folks don’t know, and you’ll have to retire them from time to time and make room for fresh material.

      For the sake of education, we’ll make the sacrifice of sharing our all-time favorite joke and give you all the notes on how to tell it right. Don’t worry, we’ll find a new one.

      Hopefully.

      The Joke


      So the penguin is driving his car on a hot day and his car breaks down, so he takes it over to the Walrus to get it checked out. The Walrus takes a look at the car and says, “I think I know what’s going on here. Go across the street and get yourself some ice cream while I check it out.”


      So the penguin waddles across the street, gets some ice cream, and then he heads back over to the shop and sits down to wait. After a half hour, the Walrus comes back out and says, “Sorry pal. Looks like you blew a seal.”


      Penguin cries, “What - THIS!?” Nah this is just ice cream!!”


      If told right, it’s a guaranteed laugh every time. Let’s break down the delivery.

      The Preamble


      Start with a confident smile. If you believe you’re going to get a laugh, your audience is going to be more willing to laugh with you. We like to start out by saying something like, “Have you heard the one about the penguin whose car breaks down?” This signals that you’re telling a classic joke, it’s already an amusing premise, and it helps protect you from telling a joke that everyone already knows. If they’ve heard it, move on. If they haven’t, jump in quickly while their curiosity is piqued.

      The Set-Up


      So the penguin is driving his car on a hot day and his car breaks down, so he takes it over to the Walrus to get it checked out. Speak quickly, with a smirk, and try to make eye contact with a few different people in the group to draw people in. Make sure to nail the annunciation of the two animals here, otherwise the punchline won’t work.

      The Walrus takes a look at the car and says, “I think I know what’s going on here. Go across the street and get yourself some ice cream while I check it out.” Give the Walrus a slightly deeper, manly tone. Varying your voice keeps things interesting, and you’ll help paint a clear mental image of the burly, mechanic Walrus. I like to give him a slight Jersey accent.

      So the penguin waddles across the street, gets some ice cream, and then he heads back over to the shop and sits down to wait. Deliver this part speedily, as if you’re bored to repeat the steps one by one. After a half hour, the Walrus comes back out and says, “Sorry pal. Looks like you blew a seal.” Use the same gruff voice you gave the Walrus earlier, emphasis the final 3 words, but remember that you’re still talking cars at this point.

      The Punchline


      Penguin cries, “What this!?” Nah this is just the ice cream!!” Elevate the volume and pitch as you hit the punchline, and give a wild, exasperated gesture towards your mouth as you say the word, “this.” It’s better to act as if you ARE the penguin rather than a calm narrator.


      Hopefully you get the words out before a roar of laughter, but don’t sweat it if you don’t get the laughs you were expecting. You didn’t write the joke, so don’t take it personally if it doesn’t land. Keep the conversation moving and hopefully things have loosened up a bit.

      Closing Thoughts

      Here's a quick summary:

      • Everyone should have two jokes. Go find them - no pressure to make it up yourself.
      • Confidence, annunciation, and timing are the most important aspects of any joke delivery.
      • Rehearse the joke in your head once to make sure you don’t screw it up. 
      • Looking for more jokes? Check some of the enormous threads on Reddit.
      • If you know any racist jokes, forget them.
      • Don’t give away the joke before you tell it. If we had warned you our joke was a bit dirty, you wouldn’t have liked it as much. 

      6 Life Milestones that Deserve a Good Cigar

      6 Life Milestones that Deserve a Good Cigar

      Even if cigars aren’t your cup of tea, there are some occasions in life where you’ll inevitably find yourself lighting up a victory stick or needing to buy one for someone else. We’ve assembled a guide to those milestones, with some helpful tips along the way.

      (We started writing this piece with the speed and confidence of a paint-by-numbers blog post, but it turned into a nostalgic and sobering roadmap of a life well-lived. Enjoy the read while we work feverishly to invent a time machine.)

      Your First Cigar

      Regardless of your views on tobacco, once you’re finally old enough to make the purchase yourself, there’s an undeniable urge to celebrate the big day by walking proudly to the counter, showing your ID, and buying your own cigar. This used to be as simple as reaching the ripe old age of 18, but the past few years, hundreds of cities (as well as a few states) have changed the laws and raised the legal age to 21. In any case, it’s a rite of passage, best enjoyed with a few older friends who can show you the ropes and help you choose something on the milder side. 

      Graduation

      Cigars are a symbol of celebration and accomplishment, and when you finally get that diploma - be it from high school, college, or beyond -  it’s likely to be the biggest accomplishment of your life so far. Few things require such persistent dedication than earning a degree, and nothing comes close to creating so many memories and lasting relationships. Graduations also herald a new life ahead, and new opportunities you’ve just earned. Light up a cigar with your fellow graduates, take pictures, and savor those memories forever.

      Wedding

      It may happen at the engagement celebration, the bachelor party, or the wedding ceremony itself, but there are few things in life better than lighting up a cigar with your friends, family, or the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with.


      If it’s at the bachelor party, bring the same cigar for every guy in the group, and try to choose something unique. Light up and share the stories you can’t share in front of the grandparents. If you’re at the wedding, choose a smaller size like a petit robusto or panatela size. There’s an old custom to gift one to the Father of the bride, but feel free to blaze your own trail. Cigars are totems of celebration, strength, and courage - all of which come in handy at the altar.

      Groomsman Cigar
      (Not a stock photo. This is me on my wedding day. )

      Your First Child

      Every major event in this list also marks a turning point that separates the life before and after it. None are so life-changing as the birth of your first child. If you only choose one of these milestones to mark with a cigar, let it be this one. It’s the final farewell to your own childhood, a celebration of new life, and a solemn commitment to the biggest responsibility you’ll ever have.


      It’s a tradition for a reason, and in nearly every cigar store you’ll find sticks with pink and blue labels carrying the message “It’s a Boy!” or “It’s a Girl!”. Do yourself a favor and take the time to find a cigar worthy of the occasion. (Our personal pick: the God of Fire by Arturo Fuente. Two distinct blends originally developed through a competition between father and son to see who could create the perfect cigar. A rare treasure if you can find it.)

      Lifelong Achievement

      Everyone is climbing their own mountain, but one thing remains true for every person - victory deserves celebration. For some, it’s starting your own company, finally receiving that well-deserved promotion, or landing a major client. Maybe it’s running a marathon, taking a dream vacation, buying your first home, losing 100 pounds, or winning a championship. Maybe it’s climbing an actual mountain. But no matter the victory, this is the time to really treat yourself. Surround yourself with the people who helped you get there and spare no expense.

      Retirement Party

      By now, you’ve enjoyed a few cigars and cherished a lifetime of sweet victories. Time to say farewell to the 9-to-5 life, and dedicate the rest of your life to… whatever you want. We trust this won’t be your last big celebration, but you’ve established a fresh line the sand. From this moment on, if you want, every other cigar can be enjoyed in pure, unchecked leisure.


      Now that the checkpoints are set, you may still need a guide on How to Properly Smoke a Cigar, a quick refresher on cigar etiquette, or even a few go-to jokes. Stay tuned for future pieces on those subjects, but if you need help finding a good cigar for the next milestone in your life, look no further than Good Cigar Co. We’ll be here every step of the way.

      The New Rules of Cigar Etiquette

      The New Rules of Cigar Etiquette
      Unless you're in a cigar bar, you should make sure your billowing smoke isn’t bothering people around you. So before you light up, check in with the people within 15 feet of you if they mind. Cigars let out a lot of smoke, and the aroma travels further than you'd think. 

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