Put On The Brakes

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Before I started comedy I was an open book to my friends, or at least I thought that I was.  My circle of close and trusted friends at that time was rather large by most peoples standards, and these people knew most of what made me tick.

When I started out in comedy I had zero interest in writing about me because some of the other comics kept making fun of me after my sets.  It’s like I had been bullied and picked on most of my life, and the last thing I wanted to do was to get on stage and give anybody any ammunition at all to use against me.  I was not proud of who I was, not that confident either and it showed in my early performances.

Then I found my comedy coach in Los Angeles.  He showed me that it was okay for me to be me.  Here was this guy, a professional comedy writer who didn’t know me from a hole in the ground.  He wasn’t a bully.  He had no ax to grind, no horse in the race, if you will.  He watched a couple of my sets and wanted to help me.  Furthermore, he created an safe environment for me where I wouldn’t be verbally abused or shit on.  He was there to help.

One of the first things he tried to have me realize is that it’s okay to be me, more so I should not be afraid to stand in front of an audience and make my comedy personal.  I should be able to confidently stand in front of an audience and tell them about my ups and downs.  Sure, I could be an observational comic or talk about current events all day long, but that isn’t what is going to connect me with an audience.

At the start of working with my coach it took a couple years to really find my voice and learn how to write for that voice.  Then once life started getting hard with relationship problems, job stress, family issues and my legal issue, I had a choice to make.  Would I write about the struggles, and if so to what degree?  It’s like the more I came across the tough times, the more I needed to write about them.

Writing about different topics allows me to gain clarity and a new appreciation for the situation, whether it be talking about being homeless, getting fired or dating it allows me to see things from a different point of view, thus learning more about myself and the situation.

I figured since it was affecting my comedy in different ways that it’s probably a good idea to write about it.  The problem is once I figured out the how and the why of what’s funny, suddenly it becomes ridiculously easy to write material.  The tougher life became, the more material I wrote.  Now I am back in the dating world and I am beginning to realize that isn’t necessarily the best approach for me to use.

I am single again for the first time in a couple of years.  The majority of you already knew that, as it’s been a few months.  My brain knew that, though it took my heart a bit longer to figure that out.  Even though my brain knows I am single I need to grab hold of an important concept.

I think in a dating sense, not everyone is like me.  I am thinking at times that I might be a bit too much at the start when I first meet somebody new.  With my ex and I, we went from zero to sixty in 0.5 seconds when we first met, and it set the stage, I believe, for the problems that occurred down the road.

I think if I meet somebody new my comedic side would start trying to knock on my non-comedy brains door and ask to come in and take notes to get ideas for material.  This week in the midst of preparing my material for the birthday show, I started reading it over and over again and a couple of things jumped out at me.

The most important thing that jumped out at me was the person that sat across from me at dinner that night.  In some ways I feel like I had no business being on a date with a woman that amazing.  She was a step up and the perfect dinner date.  She was beautiful, sexy, funny, polite, honest, smart and inquisitive.  It was the perfect date.  I am not sure if she understands how appreciated she is by me, to have her as a friend at the very least.  I am very lucky, honoured and humbled to say that I know her.

Having said all of that, I decided to write about the dinner.  If I remember correctly, I didn’t ask permission.  I just sort of went ahead and did it, thinking I could convince her that it would be funny, not mean and make me the brunt of the joke.

Well, this weekend I am taking a seminar on finding and following the purpose for your life.  Within that seminar I heard a voice inside of me ask a question that I wasn’t mature enough to consider at the time.

What if the roles were reversed?  What if you went out with a comedian that you did not know and they say your dinner date was going to be the subject of their next bit?

That is something I have thought about a lot today.  To be honest, it probably wouldn’t make me feel very good.  I’m not the most confident person at times, maybe a bit too humble.  Too many thoughts would run through my head wondering what they were going to write about.  Did I do something wrong during the dinner that they didn’t tell me about so they can use it on stage?  Do they want to be chauvinistic and mean?  Will they bully me from the stage?  Will they misrepresent me?  Will they make fun of me and make up something that didn’t happen just so they can get a laugh?

The more I thought about it, the more I understood what it must feel like to be the person sitting across from me.  I can see why some people wonder if I have a therapist on call 24/7.

It’s an uncomfortable and an impossible situation to put another person into, albeit without their permission.  I cam see how it would reflect poorly on me and make the other person question my motives, let alone my mental capacity.  It’s an egotistical and arrogant way to behave and seem like you are imposing your will on the other person without giving them a chance to breathe.  That’s wrong.  That simply is not me.

My heart will take some time to heal, as it should.  But that does not mean that I can’t date, get to know some amazing people and try to create new memories or frames of reference.  My brain is ready to move on, I just won’t be in a position to give my heart away anytime soon.

Having said that, looking back on that dinner date I realized that it went so well because I left Trevor Dean at home, at least 90% of him I left at home.  It was me, the real Trevor at dinner.  Imperfect, charming, sweet, thoughtful and inquisitive.  At least that’s how I saw myself.

I can’t say how many women I will meet and go on dates with before I find my next relationship.  My next girlfriend could be from this amazing woman whom I don’t think I deserve to even know (that’s me being humble).  She could be several women down the road and hell, with my luck at times that may take months or even a few years.  The point I am trying to make is that Trevor Dean is a part of who I am.  His perseverance, determination and work ethic does spill over into the regular Trevor’s life, and that’s okay.

I need to consider that everyone is different, and not everyone will share my enthusiasm for being a part of my new material no matter how much I try to sell it as a good thing.  We all have our shit to deal with, and even if the material is in no way mean spirited and makes me look silly all the time, that doesn’t necessarily make it any easier or more comfortable for the other person to listen to.  I have over 4.5 years of material that I can use.  I don’t ever want it to appear that I am going out with somebody new to be able to pounce on a new subject for my material.

It’s like on the one hand I shouldn’t feel bad about writing material if I meet somebody new, I just can’t force feed them the material.  I need to write it, edit it and then set it aside.  Don’t bring it up, don’t hold it over the other persons head either.  It’s not a form of punishment.  It’s not malicious or meant to harm.  The more I wrote about the dinner, I gained a new appreciation for the date and how well it went.  That made me feel proud of who I had become to be able to make a good impression like that.  It also showed me my shortcomings and things I need to work on in the dating realm.

Today was an eye opener for me and caused me a bit of uneasiness.  This weekends seminar really opened my eyes to this.  I am single for the first time in a couple years and kinda forgot how to act when I am either chatting to, or in public with the most eligible bachelorette in Saskatoon.  She is beyond amazing and she deserves a better version of Trevor than what she knows thus far.  I need to be a better friend, not be so imposing, to relax and enjoy the process, to enjoy making a new friend.

So to her, I formally apologize.  To my future date(s) if and when they do happen, I offer an apology in advance.  I have asked for forgiveness from God and received His mercy and grace.  I will move forward being very mindful of the other person sitting across from me.  Plus, I need to remember that people have free will and the ability to choose and decide on their own.  I just need to make them aware of the fact that they have a choice (whether or not to be a subject in my material).  Speak now, or forever hold your peace.

When I die, they will talk about Trevor the person first, and Trevor Dean second.  That’s the way it should be, providing I stay true to who Trevor is.  This blog, my comedy and my friends are all part of that process to help keep me grounded and on track.

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