An Honest Reflection After 4 Months

Tomorrow marks the four month anniversary of my journey into the stand-up comedy realm.  I wanted to give an honest assessment of what’s taken place thus far, including the events of Monday night.  No names will be used, but the truth will be told because I have nothing to hide from anybody.  I’m not perfect, I make mistakes, and I’m a big enough person to admit when I’m wrong.  So, here goes nothing…..

Monday night left me with a myriad of emotions that I have not experienced all at once since I started this journey with all of you.  Monday night left me embarrassed in a big way, angry, and I felt….what’s the word I am looking for……let’s just say that I am starting to see people for who they really are.

I asked if I should do all new material or mix the new in with the old.  It was suggested to me, that I should do a mix of the two.  Now, part of the challenge for Beily’s is to write for the younger crowd.  Some of my stuff at the beginning (October) didn’t fly real well because it took me a few months to be told that I should write out my set list when I get to the venue, to size up the crowd and do material appropriate for the audience.

The last few weeks were good with the majority of the stuff I’ve performed having done before.  This time though, I don’t know?  It was a different audience, sure a few of my friends were there who get my humour, the rest of the crowd may have been of the same age group as before, but these ones didn’t seem to be into the old material, for whatever reason.  The new material got a decent response.  It wasn’t roll-on-the-floor laughs, but it went over better than the old stuff which I was comfortable in delivering.

So once I get off stage after my few minutes, I proceeded to get the biggest laughs of the night, and that’s only because the M/C of the evening tore into me for not being very good on stage.  For the record, I didn’t think it was that bad, at least the new material saved it from going completely in the tank.  His ripping of me had other comic(s) in stitches and the audience too.  The one comic started to give me advice right when I sat down, which may or may not have been a good thing at the time, because it seemed like the roasting of me would never stop.  While I couldn’t hear everything he was saying, the laughter was undeniable.

I get it when I’m told that I have to suck it up and take that shit because I can go one of two ways, it will either force me to get better or quit.  I don’t know if I could be like that though.  Sure, I’m showing improvement, but compared to some of the acts I’ve seen onstage, I think the characterization of me may have been a bit harsh.  I have seen a few shows with local guys in the past year where they aren’t funny.  They are just not funny.  No laughs, no confidence, no loud, projecting voice, no laughs.  I feel bad for those people and wonder why they got up onstage to begin with.  If I was in the audience, I wouldn’t be laughing at someone roasting the fact a new comic isn’t very good.  Then again, maybe that treatment of me got such a great response because the majority of the crowd was younger, and well, maybe it’s giving away my age, but my friends and people I know around my age wouldn’t find that funny.  Maybe it’s because we have maturity and class?

So Monday was horrible for that reason, making me close my comedy FB page for a day or two and not putting anything on my blog, because really, who wants to read about someone who isn’t doing very well?

It also really severely pissed me off because of my personal situation right now.  My family doesn’t support me in anything I do, and with the comedy they really got opinionated and said they don’t know where I got the confidence from, and that I will embarrass myself onstage and not be very good.  Combine that with the fact I unexpectedly got fired from my job three days before Christmas.  I guess standing up for yourself at work isn’t a good thing, but when you’ve been walked on for most of your life, once you realize the word “doormat” isn’t part of the name on your i.d. and decide to do something about it, it can make things worse.  But if I get fired from pressure by head office for being assertive and accepting responsibility for things, so be it.  So I still sit here without a job.  I have only had three interviews since I got fired, and don’t qualify for EI this time around.  If anybody out there can help, it would be appreciated.

I thought that the stand-up would at least give me a break from the strain the job hunt is having, and it was since it gave me something to focus my creative talents towards.  But once Monday night went down, it felt as if there really wasn’t anything to look forward to now.  Plus, the house I rent (I am in the basement), the owner went to Mexico for 2 1/2 weeks and gets back on Friday.  I’ve been here for 2 1/2 weeks, alone, no job, trouble sleeping (hence doing this blog at such an odd time) and of an uncertain future.

George Michael once said “it’s difficult when you’re surrounded by people yet close to nobody.”  That is exactly how I feel, and how I have felt for most of my life.  My family isn’t there, so who is?  It’s my friends, it’s always my friends.  I think it’s a burden for some of them to carry, because it takes away from their own lives to help me.  I wish I had someone around who can help, but there is nobody close, you know?  It’s a lonely feeling, and as I approach my 40th birthday very soon, let’s just say I’m not too confident that things will change in that regard.

There, so you now know that I am alone, frustrated, humbled, unemployed and not the happiest of campers right about now.

As for my comedy, I saw pictures a friend took of when I went to Regina.  I didn’t like them, because I saw in the pictures that I didn’t look comfortable onstage.  Some of my critics can say they already knew that, but my friends never said they saw that so it’s one of those things where you are getting different opinions from different people and not sure what to really take stock in.  Around the same time, the guy who does the taping at Beily’s gave me a DVD a couple weeks ago, they were of my first three performances of the 2012 year.  As of right now, I should snap that DVD in two and trash it.  I won’t…..but that’s what I feel like.  I’m ashamed to watch it.  I don’t deserve to have someone go out of their way to do that for me, when I haven’t really earned anything except to get lambasted by other comics onstage week after week.

I always said that I never claimed I was the greatest, but I knew I wasn’t the worst either.  Hell, I can even admit that I’m not half-way there even.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I’m probably at a 3 right now, and will be there for quite a while.

Let’s be honest here, I’m not that good.  I’m just starting out.  Some of my jokes are too long, confusing, I’m not loud enough on the mic, I don’t deliver them with full confidence like I own the stage, and it has been suggested (more than once) that I find a shtick or persona to adopt to help me along.  I don’t think any of you understand what it’s like to do this.  People have told me they are amazed I have the ability to do this, and I used to shrug it off and say it’s not a big deal because I always had the tools and ability to do this, but now…..it’s humbling.  It’s not like I can write killer material and have the heckles and insults stop, because they probably won’t for the near future.

I can’t tell you when I will get to the next level of my growth, what it will be or how it will feel.  I can’t tell you if I will adopt a persona or develop a shtick.  A lot of things have to fall into place for me to get that confidence I know is within me.  Right now, I’m not ashamed of trying stand-up, just very humbled.  I didn’t think it would be easy by any means, I knew there would be some growing pains, but I didn’t know it would be this tough.

I know there are about a dozen of you who have come to watch me, and I appreciate it very much.  In a room full of 50 to 60 people, to know that there are a few of my friends in the crowd makes a huge difference.  After last Monday, I was embarrassed for having asked my friends to be there after the way I got torn apart after my set.  Sure, when I try and hype Monday nights I want to sell you on the fact that you should be there for the other comics first, and me second.  Now, I don’t know.  I don’t think you should come to watch for the time being.  If you do, fine, but I don’t think it’s worth your time for now.

Most of you have been there for me in the past and I’m sure it’s a burden you don’t need to be carrying.  I don’t want you there to have my friends be the only ones who laugh when I’m onstage, only to have the rest of the bar laugh when I am done because I wasn’t as good as the others.  It’s embarrassing for me, so I won’t be posting the shows like I did in the past.  If you’re interested, I can tell you, but I won’t be on my soapbox proclaiming them for a while.

In my opinion, I can now begin to understand why some comics have taken their own lives.  One of my favourites of all time is Richard Jeni.  Youtube his stuff, it’s brilliant.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7GnOyd_z1w

You can tell he is from New York and that he’s Jewish.  He has this sort of neurotic style.  I think comics like him used that because they weren’t confident in who they were as people, so they need comedy to sort of be the evening-out of things in their life, giving them a reason for living, to be happy.  Sadly though, the demons that haunted Richard Jeni made him take his own life.  Maybe his personal life was so dark and sad that he put all of his energy into his comedy to make it seem like he was at least fulfilling a purpose.  He is very good, as you can see though.  Very good.

Some have said that comics and entertainers in general get into their line of work because there is a part of them that needs the approval of the crowd, to either fill up their massive ego, or because they need that attention and approval they feel they aren’t getting once the lights go out and the audience goes home.  I am not saying that I will take my own life.  What I am trying to get across is that knowing the struggles I’ve faced so far with the comedy, and having my personal life starting to creep into it now, it can make for a very dangerous combination, whether you are a good comic (entertainer) or not.

I think now, after one day shy of four months doing this, I now know what I have gotten myself into.  It’s nothing like I expected.  It’s not going to get easier.  It’s going to get more difficult and just as lonely.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.  If a piece of coal has no pressure applied to it, that coal never becomes a diamond.

Again, it’s your choice, but I’d rather struggle on my own than have all of you witness it and the fallout from it.

 

 

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