Cracking The Code

This is one of those more personal posts that goes a bit deeper than the subject of stand-up comedy.  It’s a posting that I’ve edited again and again because I don’t know how to being writing it.

Don’t get me wrong though, this isn’t a pity party or a negative nancy type of posting.  When I have successes I celebrate them, but I’m also humble enough to know that I have shortcomings and I openly admit to them.  Besides that, stand-up comedians by nature are insecure.  I don’t know if I’d call myself insecure because when I became homeless, unemployed and flat broke, it strips a person of whatever pride, ego or anger that’s left inside of you.

Anyhow, let’s backtrack a little bit for some history to what I’m writing about today.  There’s a karaoke league that is held at the karaoke bar I have frequented for almost 20 years.  Several years ago I was one of the first wave of regulars to participate.  There were a lot of good singers at the beginning, and to throw me into that pile of competitors, well…..I felt as if I got lost in the shuffle.

I didn’t enter to necessarily win, but just not to finish last or at the bottom.  With each passing league, nothing really changed.  Some songs I sang I had to make a production out of, complete with props and costumes.  They got the audience’s attention at first, but it usually wasn’t enough for me to get out of the bottom tier of performers.  The same ones placed well year after year, while year after year I was one of the ones usually on the bottom.

Then after about three or four years of being in the league, one of the performances that I didn’t think was that good saw me tied for fifth with one of the performers who usually place well.  It helped that she is a very good friend too.  In the finals of that league I received an award for the most entertaining performance (if you want to know what it was, just ask).  At that point I came to the realization that I had nothing to participate in the league for myself personally.  I got recognition for something I did, which I appreciate.  I also changed my mindset at the end of that league, which made the decision to walk away from it easier to do.

My mindset at that point was that I’m there for fun.  I liked the preparation of a big performance with costumes and props and gave it more energy than I did when I first started.  I look back on the league with fond memories and cherish the friendships that continue to blossom as a result.

Now, the focus shifts to stand-up comedy.  It’s coming up on 2 1/2 years of performing on stage.  In total I’ve probably been on stage a couple dozen times in various locations throughout both Saskatoon and Regina.  I’ve sucked more times than I’ve been successful (that’s a trend that’s started to reverse itself).  From the Regina set on Thursday night, there were a couple things that stood out for me that gave me a pause for reflection, and wonder if they can change.

I guess they are three things…..but we’ll examine the first one.  That being the laughs.  The first comeback video I did from the comedy club, I got big laughs.  I’ve only had those a couple times and each time I talked over top of the laughs, killing the momentum I created from that joke.  I was hoping I could get those big laughs again because this time I knew how to handle them.  That didn’t happen, as I got laughs, but they weren’t the big laughs, or the extended laughs that the others got.

Then there were the pictures.  There was a professional photographer there to take pictures, which was great.  The pictures that were taken of me weren’t very good at all, in my opinion.  I thought it would be neat to have a professional picture done that I could use, or post on my comedy page, but that won’t be the case.  I’m not very photogenic.  The pictures were sent to me via email, but they have been deleted.  One exists on the photographers Facebook page.  That’s all my picture is worth, just one.  I’m okay with that.  Maybe I’ll make a joke about that one day, but right now it’s not that funny.  I very rarely take pictures, but the couple that are decent of me are ones taken with my friends.  Yeah, there’s comedy there somewhere…..

So, one can see there are parallels to the karaoke league with my comedy career.  No matter how hard I try, I can never get the same type of response that the others get.  It’s like I’m not necessarily on the outside looking in, but I’m more like halfway through the door, and that’s as far as I will get.  In either case, whether it be karaoke or comedy all I wanted was to be considered on the same level as the others, or at least to get the same type of response.  That hasn’t happened in comedy with the exception of one time (the night I finished 1st in the preliminaries of the comedy competition for newcomers).

If I was to sit here and try to explain why it’s important to me to be considered on equal footing (karaoke or comedy), you guys would be reading a twenty page blog, and I don’t have the time or energy to go on forever like that.  Let’s just say that it’s important to me and leave it at that for now.

I guess that last thing is whether or not somebody will be there for me.  Opportunities await me down the road if I continue to work hard and get better.  Its timeline is undetermined at this point.  It is probably anywhere from several months to a couple years away, providing that I get some semi-regular stage time in the coming months.

The question remains, who will be there?  When I have a big show for a few hundred people or more, who will be there by my side?  Do you think my family will?  I can tell you they won’t.  They don’t think I’m funny, and they haven’t watched anything I have done.  It’s been like that for years.  No matter what I’ve tried to do in volunteering, comedy or karaoke, they don’t seem to care.  My good friends are supportive, but they are mostly married and have other shit going on…I’m talking about somebody to be close to, like a girlfriend.

There is one person who may fit the bill.  I posted a while back on Facebook that I knew the type of woman I wanted in my life.  There are two women that fit this description.  The one moved away to Alberta a few years ago and is growing personally and professionally.  It was the right move for her, and I’m happy for her success.

There is another one though, and again, distance is a bit of an issue but not as much as the other one was.  She is the type of woman that would compliment me very well.  The only thing is, she’s currently going through some things in her life that have made her retreat and focus inward for a while until there’s a resolution to these challenges that have arisen for her.  She’s great, and the fact she still calls me a friend is something I truly cherish every day.

Once things stabilize and get back to normal for her, regardless of how long that takes, will she be around when I get a big opportunity?  Or will she figure it’s too much work, and she’s been too tired from conquering her own mountains that she’s too tired to come along for the journey with me?  I’ve spent every Valentines Day by myself with the exception of one.  Now that I’m 40 it’s starting to get a little bit depressing and frustrating.

George Michael once said in an interview that it was a lonely feeling for him when he would walk into a room and realize he was close with many people, yet he lacked that special closeness with one person.  It was a really good quote, that’s just paraphrasing it.  Wish I could remember the bloody thing…..

If she decides that she does want to be with me, it would be the ultimate feather in my cap, and make writing comedy easier in addition to alleviating the amount of stress and unhappiness I feel at times.  Now, before you say that’s a load of crap, remember that I did have a friend stay with me for a couple of weeks.  It was nice to have somebody around, and it lightened my mood and made me more relaxed and positive, so much so that most of the material I performed last Thursday came from a writing session while my friend stayed with me.

No matter how hard I try to have the perfect picture taken of me, no matter how hard I try to get the big or extended laughs, no matter how hard I try to convince the special lady that I’m worth taking a chance on, things never quite go according to plan, therefore i struggle.

I talk about my struggles on stage because that’s what is real to me, and because it gets laughs.  If things don’t change soon, my struggles might stop being funny to me, and I’ll have to find another direction to take my comedy in.

 

Be blessed, and remember that if you comment on this or any other posting on my blog, the comments have to get approved by me before they get posted online.  If you want to send me a message through the comments link, feel free to do so.  If you wish for it not to be posted, I will respect your wishes.

 

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