Finding New Accelerants To Keep The Fire Alive

This journey I’ve been on hasn’t been an easy one.  I came back once, when being homeless and unemployed were too much to handle.  Then, through a poor choice of words and taking the lazy way out to deal with concerns I had landed me on the sidelines for an indefinite period, which still exists to this day.

I won’t lie. There are days when I don’t feel like working on new material or going back into my old jokes to tweak them, especially when it’s been over two months since I have been on stage.  I do different things to keep myself motivated through it all, like watching inspirational speeches from the movies, having the support of my friends and the congregation at church.  Plus I recently found out that my boss asked me if I wanted a raise and that he will go to bat for me with management to ensure I get rewarded for the work I’ve done so far.

I wish comedy was like that, in the sense that the harder you work at it, the better you’d get.  But unlike a job, in comedy when you try harder, it can be the old saying of “working harder and not smarter.”  In comedy I’ve found that just because you work harder doesn’t mean it comes off as professional or polished.  Sometimes it can be quite the opposite, and the audience will not waste any time in letting you know.

Anything worth pursuing in life needs to have the foundation of a good work ethic and discipline.  Discipline  is huge.  But you only get discipline through something called motivation, and for me the motivation comes in many different forms.  I’m not here to discuss them though, otherwise we’d be here dissecting this for hours.

Even though I have a new job, and a place of my own, being self-sufficient is a wonderful thing but at the same time creates its own set of problems and distractions.  So the question becomes how do I find ways to keep and stay motivated through this period until I get back on stage?

Well, obviously it would be easier to deal with if I knew exactly when that was, but I don’t because thanks to my short-shortsightedness and stupidity, that decision is out of my hands entirely.  But the comedy coaching has recently become my daily motivation as I count down the days to my return.  How does that work?  Can a comedy coach really provide that much of a kick in the pants to sustain the enthusiasm daily?

In one word……. YES

My comedy coach lives in Los Angeles and is the author of the comedy e-book.  I feel that I have an advantage over the other comics in the city because I am working from a different knowledge base than they are.  For example, the other comics (I used to fall into this category) would write things and hope they are funny without actually understanding why they are funny.  The techniques and principles I am currently learning are showing me why things are funny, and how to hit certain “laugh triggers”, meaning that the jokes are now set up in such a way that you can’t help but laugh.

The comedy coach has said we are making excellent progress, as the first session concentrated on getting to know each other, then getting down to it.  I gave him a half dozen of my self-deprecating jokes, and were able to rewrite them to make them funnier.  The rewritten jokes don’t feel as self-deprecating because they are written much better and clearer, thus giving the material a more defined and understandable punchline.  The concepts I’m understanding, and the material is good, but there are a word or two missing in the setup, or I try to make the setup too descriptive, and it kills the joke.

Some of the jokes I told my comedy coach he liked, while some he needed clarification on.  The jokes I got laughs on before were rewritten and they now sound better.  He said he will bring in his writing partner if he has to, but I will get the help I need to “knock the SHIT out of your material.”

To have somebody believing in me enough to help…..because let’s face it, this guy probably gets a lot of requests from people to get comedy help, some don’t have the desire, or the work ethic.  Now while comedy writing is something that can be taught, how can you teach it to someone who doesn’t give a shit in the first place?  How can you instill those principles of comedy writing and timing when they don’t have it within them to apply what they’ve learned?

We talked for the first half hour.  I told him my story, being homeless, unemployed and all.  I also told him about how wearing my heart on my sleeve got me kicked out of the comedy club for a while.  I told him about my struggles and how I’ve been an easy target since the day I started.  He could have easily refused to help me, but he sees that I have the ability, the desire and a reason to get better.

People in the comedy community, whether it be some of the comics, some of the regulars in the comedy crowd, my friends, and the other comedians don’t believe I can be as good as them.  They don’t believe I can be as professional, as polished.  They don’t believe I am worth keeping on stage for any longer than five or ten minutes tops.  I’m not worth taking out on the road because I’m not consistent enough, not a good enough writer.  Out of town crowds can be tough and I simply don’t have what it takes.  My jokes are too complicated and not as funny as they could be.  The comics have stopped talking to me, it’s like I have a disease or something.  Sure, some “like” comments I make on my facebook page, but do you know how many have actually reached out to me, and texted me, or sent me a message on Facebook?  Do you know how many, aside from Dez?

NOBODY

I have sent messages on Facebook to comics that don’t get returned (except for one message I sent to a couple of comics, who did reply).  The one time I did something nice for a comic and I haven’t heard from that person at all.  No text messages, no messages on Facebook, no comments on my blog, nothing.  These comics who I sent messages to before, haven’t heard from them at all.

It’s funny, but you’d think that after spending over a year in comedy, sharing the ups and downs with the other guys, you’d think that I actually made some friends out of this.  Unfortunately, I can’t really say that I have.  I’ve seen success for some change who they are, they get laughs by sheer luck.  I only say that because it’s like I said before, they write jokes not knowing why they are funny.  Once you grasp that truth it’s very empowering and allows you to never have writers block again!

Now, I know you might be thinking to yourself why I would even still be part of this when I’ve been ignored and picked on so much.  It’s a fair question to be asked, so I will end this posting on this note…..

I choose to keep going because of the belief I have within me, that of all things being equal, I can not only receive my chance but make the most of it and be considered to go and tour the province with the other guys.  The majority of the people who read this blog don’t believe in me, they don’t believe that I can do as well as I know is possible.  They HOPE I can, but they don’t believe. That’s fine though.  That’s the way it’s always been, and when I come back and knock the shit out of my material and get “headliner” type of laughs, those comics who ignored me will probably be the first ones to try and congratulate me.  This time though, I know better.  The only friend I’ve gained in the comedy world right now is Dez, based on his actions.  Everybody else is just full of words, words without actions.

I’d say that the last paragraph combined with the comedy coaching I’m receiving, will be enough to keep me going every day until my comeback.

May God Bless you all   🙂

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