February 11, 2013

Your future starts when you turn it on

Hi readers. In the coming weeks I plan to cut down on open mics, and instead focus on other things. Like a lawnmower, your future doesn’t start until you turn it on. Open mics aren’t the future. Nine years of open mics, open mics, open mics, open mics, and sometimes a showcase. Nine years of being frustrated that no one will let me actually work in a club doing comedy the way I want to do it. Blegh. I’m sick of waiting around watching other people do comedy while I wait to do my 5 minutes. I don’t even like watching stand up. I never have. Okay there’s a few people I like to watch, but I don’t even like to watch most of my friends, unless maybe I haven’t watched them in a while and they have something new.

I need to take some time and think about what I want to do with this, after asking the crowd what they want to do for the past 4 years. When I compare myself to a lot of the other comics that I consider peers, I haven’t made as many comic friends as they have, nor have I had any kind of success like they’ve had. I don’t really like hanging out with most of them. I don’t have anything against them, but they’re just not really the same kind of people as me. The only thing that we have in common is that we perform at some of the same places sometimes, and we’re interested in making people laugh. But I don’t want to make people laugh the same way that they do. I don’t want to be “funny.” It’s not enough. In order to offer people the kind of performance I want to offer, it has to be something other than the experience of watching standup comedy, but it has to be in the context/expectation of seeing standup comedy. I won’t be interested in doing it unless they expect standup, but instead get the experience I perform. Everyone else is offering the standup experience, because they’re huge fans of standup and they love it and want to do it too. I am not a fan of stand up comedy. But then I love comedians like Neil Hamburger, Jim Carrey, and Andy Kaufman. But I don’t think I like them for the reasons most people do. I like them because with them I can laugh in a way that stand up comedians can’t. I laugh because I’m genuinely caught off guard. I don’t laugh because I get it. I laugh at myself because I can’t believe I didn’t get it before I got it. I laugh and often don’t even know why, and then I laugh because I can’t figure out why I’m laughing. That kind of laughter feels way better than the kind when someone says something relatable. If it’s relatable, there’s no surprise.

So the question is, how do I convince a club to let me offer my “experience” to their customers that are expecting “stand up?” How do I immediately make people realize that they might not see any standup after all?

Keep this in mind before you judge, these are all just rambling thoughts. None of it is concrete. This is a really rough draft of the future.