Here Is Post #200 – Written By Veronica

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Wow! Blog post #200, and I get to be a part of it!

I’m not a comedian. I’m not a journalist. I’m not even a blogger!

I’m a smart ass, a jokester, and an audience member. But most of all I’m a friend!

I have watched this journey that Trevor has been on since the beginning on October 4, 2011. I was so honoured that he asked me to write about his story from my perspective. It is much harder than it seems! I have started and restarted this article many times, trying to make it just right. I’ve decided that it would not be a fair assessment of what I’ve witnessed to make it perfect, because the subject is far from that!

Actually, most of the time Trevor is a mess.  He is a mess of nerves, self-doubt and self-preservation. But I love him as a brother and have been here in his corner since the beginning.

I have watched my friend work hard at putting forward an image of self-confidence and self-reliance; sometimes being borderline arrogant. I know this is all a mask! It’s a front to hide the man inside that wants to be accepted, valued, and most of all loved. I believe that he just wants to be considered a success by his peers, his colleagues and most certainly by his family. He wants a real relationship, with a woman who can relate, understand, accept and tolerate the flaws and help him to grow into the man he wants to be.

I remember when Trevor first told me that he was going to give stand up a try. He told me “I have all the tools to make this work!” I had to really think about that for a second. I’ve never really considered Trevor a “comedian”. I have known many comedians over the years. Some of my good friends from high school went on to do stand up and improv all over North America. Comedy has been something I have observed and enjoyed for many years. But I never really thought about what makes a comedian successful. Aren’t they just funny?

Don’t they just get up and tell some jokes and witty stories that make us chuckle? I really think we are under the impression that it’s just them being themselves. The Stand-Up Diaries and my conversations with Trevor have changed that. Comedy is an art and a skill. A skill that needs to be honed and perfected like any athlete or artist must do to become an expert in their chosen field. There are basic skills that can be taught, repeated and with continued effort and energy, improved upon. Not everyone is going to be a gold medalist but we can all enjoy the game! Comedy is an art, and thus is often subjective. I have had many people tell me something is hilarious and quickly discovered we do not share the same sense of humour. And after listening to the suggested comedian, I’m left wondering “what the hell?”

I remember being there at his first few sets thinking what did he get himself into? No matter how hard he tried, he wasn’t very funny. Awkward yes, but funny? No, not really. He is not a natural born comedian. It’s hard to watch someone you care about fail at something. It’s that age old lesson we are taught “if you can’t say anything nice…” I tried to tell him positive things about the one or two of the bits that I felt went over better. He said he wanted honesty, but I could see it in his eyes, he didn’t want to hear negative. It’s easy to SAY that you want people to be honest, but it’s not that easy to be honest, not when you feel your words will hurt. I believe most of us just stopped coming out. It was easier to not say anything at all and that was the easier if you were not there to hear anything to comment about. At least that’s my take on it!

The thing I remember the most from this period was how much Trevor looked up to Dez. This man was his mentor, his inspiration, his coach, and his friend. I don’t think even Dez understood what being part of this group meant to Trevor. He felt like he belonged, even when they made fun of him, he was still part of the group. He tried and tried and still the pieces of this complicated comedy puzzle just wouldn’t click for him. Listening to so many people telling him so many different things was confusing and often counterproductive to his process. Those constant “let down” sets brought on a self-doubt that inevitably led to an anger that either worked in his favour or brought the walls crumbling down around him.

I think there were two defining moments of this period. One was the time he placed first in the comedy competition. I have never seen him so accomplished, finally a reward this for all the time and effort. The first taste of real success, and he was hungry for more. I was so proud for him. I know it was like finally getting to the top of the mountain, legs burning and your breath laboured, just to see that summit and know that you made it! Not realising in that moment you still have to make it back down and then do it all over again, with a much bigger mountain! But that’s ok, the view right at that moment was pretty spectacular!

The second much darker moment came with the breakdown of the relationship between Dez and Trevor. Once that started to dissolve so did the fire that was pushing Trevor. I think he felt betrayed and abandoned by the group and felt a tremendous loss in his connection to the very thing he wanted most and that was to belong! When I saw the pain in his eyes after telling me that he felt like he was pretty much exiled from the comedy scene, I knew this would be a blow that would make or break his comedy career. It was a dark time indeed! But what he did next would pave the way for the future. A future that very few, if any saw coming…including Trevor!

The year and a half that he was away from that family he so wanted to be part of was a very tough time. He didn’t perform in Saskatoon for that year and a half. I know he felt lost and alone and yet still had the fire and desire to not give up. When most would have, that little voice inside told him this is what he wanted to do, no HAD to do. I’m not actually sure whether this was a need to prove to himself, or everyone that he felt had shit on him, that he could do this. He had the basic skills to be successful as a comedian but what he truly lacked were the tools!

There are two time periods in the Career of Trevor Dean. BCC and ACC, by that I mean Pre-Comedy Coaching and After Comedy Coaching. When Trevor told me about the coaching sessions he was going to take, I was unsure, like most people he told about these comedy classes. I was unsure whether or not you could really teach somebody to be funny! But the more I thought about it, really almost all things are technically taught! Nobody comes out of the womb with all the skills and abilities that we acquire over our lifetime. You learn to walk and talk from your parents. You learn to drive from an instructor. You learn to play sports from coaches. The best athletes have trainers; the best chef will learn their skills from textbooks and experts. Most of us acquire the skills we need to make a living from a school or university. We can take dance classes, karate and music lessons and some of us end up pretty damn good so why not comedy?

What a difference I saw in Trevor right away. He had somebody who believed in him again! Someone who wanted to help him in the process. Someone who understood that great things wait for those willing to put the blood, sweat and tears into their craft. What an incredible gift Jerry and his training would give to Trevor. Sometimes you just need somebody to believe in you, and that’s what Jerry gave Trevor. He gave him a reason to keep going, keep trying and not to give up. I loved listening to Trevor dissect comedy and the process it took to work those laugh triggers into his routine. I found myself intrigued by the reasoning behind why I laughed at certain things and not others. I started to recognize the triggers when watching other comedians. I have to admit that I felt a bit smarter when it came to comedy, all because I was paying attention. The writing process was only the beginning; then there was the all-important delivery. I was very fascinated by the intricate weaving of all the elements to get that little bit of a giggle and then work that into a full belly laugh. It really is an art. And yes, art can be taught. We all don’t appreciate the same artists, but that doesn’t take away from the art. There is method to the madness; we don’t always see it!

The excitement Trevor had after each session with Jerry only cemented what he believed to be true. If he worked hard enough he could get laughs. He WOULD get laughs. The more people told him he couldn’t do it, the more determined he was to prove them wrong. The more people said he could not be taught to be funny, the more he wanted to show them they should never count him out. I still recall when he found himself back with Dez and the local group and he felt redeemed that Dez lost a bet, thinking Trevor wouldn’t be funny at all in his return. Trevor proved everyone wrong that night. His video of that night is on YouTube, the big laughs he got are a testament to his triumphant return! Why would making Dez take notice matter so much? Well it’s simple. When you look up to somebody, you care what they think. You want them to look at you and applaud your achievements. It’s that acceptance thing again. And yes, at the core Trevor wanted to be accepted by Dez!

The biggest, most important and most influential chapter came into Trevor’s path by the way of an amazing woman named Nicki!

The one thing I know about Trevor is the thing he wants more than anything, even more than comedy is to be loved. Nicki showed him that was possible. Their relationship was more complicated than anything I’ve ever seen. The work they had to put into being together I am sure was exhausting at times. But they did it! I was so happy to see Trevor start to break free from the broken boy I knew and move closer to the man he wanted to be! I for one believe that Nicki is the only one that could help him with it. Man did they make mistakes, but it’s easy to say that from the outside looking in. I wish I could be a fairy god mother and wave my magic wand to create the story book ending that they deserve. But that shit ain’t real! Nobody rides off into the sunset to live haply ever after. It’s a fricken roller coaster ride that you are pretty sure you want to get the f**k off of every once in a while, because you’re gonna hurl! And then around the corner is the best part of the ride. The part that makes you so glad you didn’t miss it, only to find that it repeats this crazy cycle over and over again. If you are fortunate enough you survive with more good things than bad, and if you’re really lucky you get a few great moments that will get you through anything!

Now I’ve been in a few relationships, some not so good! The one I’m in now has never been easy, but it has always been worth it! Anyone who gives up when “shit gets real” doesn’t deserve to get the reward of a strong healthy relationship. It’s always going to be hard. Nobody is ever perfect and there is a fine line between love and hate some days! This was the beginning of that lesson for these two. To hear them tell it, they had some unbelievably amazing times. They also had horrible times. But when the dust settled, they were together…until they weren’t!  This was the darkest chapter to date.

But Nicki makes Trevor better.

When they weren’t together he couldn’t do it, not just comedy, but life in general. I think his need to be accepted by the comedy scene coupled with his need to concentrate and control everything about his comedy, was often the catalyst for Nicki feeling left out and abandoned. She was his biggest cheerleader! The irony was that it’s the exact thing Trevor hated about his relationships with other people. But he had not found the balance between loving Nicki and loving comedy. It’s a tough call as to which was the mistress to which. I still believe these two were meant to be together. Meant to be forever, well that I don’t know. That’s not my call. But I saw a real glimmer of love and happiness in both of them when they were together. Now, what the future will be for this couple will only be revealed by God. I believe if things are meant to be, they will find their way back to each other. If not, maybe there is something else around the corner. But never say never!

I think my biggest thrill was this last chapter. The return, or should I say the rebirth of Trevor Dean! I was unable to attend this last set at the Laugh Shop, but watching the video made my heart smile. He was getting laughs, not huge laughs…but that chuckle to a giggle and then the occasional full laugh. He was consistent and had a flow I had not seen before. There was confidence in the material as he delivered it. This was material I had heard before, but you could tell that he had crafted it better. I could see the set up and anticipate the trigger and when he pulled it, there was laughter. It’s really true when they say hard work pays off. Now as Trevor has said a thousand times, he’s not setting the world on fire, but he is lighting those matches…as many as he can hoping one of them is going to catch fire! You can rest assured I will be there clapping the loudest. Hopefully I won’t be there alone.

There are so many things I have learned about life from knowing and watching the journey of Trevor Dean. In closing I would love to share some with you:

When you don’t know what you can do to help somebody…just being their friend is sometimes enough!

 

Sometimes the thing that you want the most from other people is the exact thing you find it hard to give to others!

 

That never giving up doesn’t mean it WILL happen….but it does guarantee you are going to have to keep on working!

 

That wanting something really bad, isn’t enough!

 

Nobody is perfect!….everyone tries to be…and everyone fails!

 

Sometimes obstacles are the biggest part of the journey… you can’t build those muscles if you’re not willing to lift the weights!

 

You are often your own biggest obstacle!

 

That really, sometimes you just need somebody else to believe!

 

And when somebody else believes in you…you gotta believe in yourself!

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my words and thank to Trevor for letting me be a part of the process. I am so grateful to have been part of the Stand-Up Diaries. I’ve been following since the beginning and will definitely be around to see what the next 200 posts will bring.

Blessings,

Veronica

Veronica is an educator in Saskatoon. In her spare time she is a die-hard Red Wings & Blades fan, karaoke league superstar, smart-ass, mother, wife, friend and comedy fan.
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