An Apology To All Of You, While I’m Still 38

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I’ve been taking a look at the viewership of my blog, it’s gone straight in the tank this month,shame on you people!   HA HA HA

Seriously though, let’s be a bit more diligent in following the comedy blog that is read in 5 countries, shall we?  Hopefully this one will be the one to get those numbers back up.

For those of you who aren’t aware, my 39th birthday is coming up very soon, next Friday, May 25th to be exact.  I will refrain from going into great detail about how I feel one year away before the big 4-0, because I will be saving that for my revamped material, starting next week.  More on that later.

Next Friday I will be the last local comic to get stage time at the brand new comedy club in Saskatoon.  You can view the invite to the link of my personal Facebook page.  If you aren’t “invited”, don’t worry.  You can simply go to this page and mark yourself down as attending.

Dez was nice enough to put me onstage as a birthday gift to me, I suppose, but it’s what happened after this Monday nights show at Beilys that has me hopeful.

Monday night wasn’t bad.  There were only three comics, as the regulars didn’t show, so it was Dez, myself and Joel Walmsley.  The crowd was an average sized crowd I suppose, but the good thing was that some of the tables up front were filled, and those people at least were respectful enough to keep quiet while the performers were onstage.  Dez headlined that night, Joel opened as host.  So, I decided to start taping my performances on my cell phone.  Yes, I let the voice recorder play during my set.  I haven’t listened to it yet though.  Actually, I lied…I am listening to it right now for the first time.  I’ll be with you once I’m done listening to this….

WOW!  HOLY FUCK!!!!  I could only listen to three minutes of that, oh wow, why didn’t you guys tell me I wasn’t that good?  SHIT!!!!!  I have to say that I am embarrassed to even listen to that, holy fuck I had no idea!  Wow….. sure, I got some laughs, but that like saying I drank.  Everyone will probably assume that you had a lot (of either the drinks or the laughs) when the truth is you were too afraid to tell them you hardly had any.  Man, it’s a good thing I don’t have a job to go to in the morning, so I can really think about this.  I can’t honestly remember if my friends who watched me, ever happened to tell me that it’s tough for them to watch me onstage when there is more silence than laughter coming from my material.  Now this all makes sense!

Dez commented on Monday night after the show that several months at the comedy game is more than enough time to get better.  Then somebody at the table said something that got me pretty pissed.  I will not reveal who, or what was said, needless to say however, I cut this person off and started to go on a rant.  Now I realize that during this rant, I was actually making excuses for why I am not doing better with my stand-up than I should be.  Me, making excuses.  That just floored me!

Anyhow, a funny thing happened while I was reading this person the riot act.  Dez sat back, and watched and was smiling, laughing all the time.  I gave him one of those looks as if to say WTF, and he looked at me, and pointed to my chest as he said “you’ve got a lot inside that you aren’t letting out.  There is some anger in there”.  Letting that out will result in more passion.  I thought I was being passionate onstage and animated when I listened to my recording just now, but it sounded more like… I was lying to Dez, lying to the audience, and worst of all, lying to myself.  I don’t sound believable at all.  I have chaired SK Party nomination meetings in a room full of hundreds of people, and was able to do that with passion, a flair for the dramatic and using my sense of humour to keep a captive audience.  Monday night, I didn’t do that at all.  People asked me at that nomination meeting if I was a trained public speaker.  After hearing me onstage, people should be asking me if I really am a comic, because I haven’t been that funny.

There is a lot inside of me that is anger, frustration and pure sarcasm, but when I get onstage it’s like I bottle that up and try to be somebody that I’m not necessarily.

Onstage, I am trying to be funny instead of trying to be me.  That not only makes it….ah, who the fuck am I kidding, it makes it awkward for everybody, and I’m just realizing that now after thinking I had the confidence to ignore the truth for this long.  I almost feel like I owe Dez an apology.  He says I am funny based on what I write, but it’s not really me up there, so the material isn’t believable.  A big part of being onstage doing comedy is the ability to sell yourself, your ideas, your point of view, or of your character or shtick that you are trying to portray.  NOW I GET IT!!! More than one comic on occasion has mentioned to me that there are certain bits of material I do, that aren’t believable with the audience because I can’t sell it.  They listen to the line (talking about having a sex life, for example), and don’t laugh because they look at me and don’t believe that it could have happened to me, so they don’t laugh.  Some of the best comedy I believe, comes from what is called suspended disbelief, where you aren’t really sure if it’s true, an exaggeration of the truth, or totally made up.  That is what makes it funny providing of course that it’s properly done.  But I’ve been getting up onstage thinking people should be laughing because it’s funny, when I am not giving them a reason to laugh.

I sat down with my personal coach a while back.  He showed me a clip from the Johnny Cash movie.  In it, Johnny and his guys play for a record executive, who cuts him off after hearing only 30 seconds of a song.  In this clip the executive asked Johnny that if he were hit by a truck and lying in the ditch, just about ready to die and he only had one song, one song to sing that the world could remember him by, what would that song be?  It was then, that he played Foolsom Prison Blues.  In the movie Johnny looked like he was singing it from deep within, he not only sang it, he was able to sell what he was singing because it was real, and you weren’t sure after hearing it if that actually happened to Johnny, or where he happened to pull those raw emotions from,that story-telling ability.

Or there is the scene in Rocky Balboa (the last film of the Rocky series) where Adrienne has died, and Rocky is in the meat packing plant talking to Paulie (brother-in-law) about maybe taking one last fight.  Rocky said there is something inside of him yet, and Paulie asks if it’s the beast.  Rocky says he doesn’t know, but once Paulie asks if it has anything to do with Adrienne leaving him, he loses it.

I could go on with more clips from the Rocky Balboa movie, but I think you get my point.  Oh yeah, I was gonna talk about being 39, wasn’t I?  Ummm…… now that I am closer to 40, there is a lot of uncertainty in my life, A LOT.  The uncertainty regarding my health, my finances, my parents health, my next job…… I have probably lived half my life now, and what do I have to show for it?  With each day that passes, it’s another thing that gets left behind.  Those moments of what I have left behind are creeping into my thoughts more now, I think about the long-term implications upon some of those moments, and they sometimes leave me with worry, concern and doubt.

If I got hit by the proverbial truck like I described in the first clip (Johnny Cash movie), and I had one thing left to say beforeI knewI was going to die, what would I say?  Would it be something that sounded made up, or would it be original, and straight from the heart?  For those of you who know me best, the answer would be the latter (straight from the heart).  Here I’ve spent most of these last several years of my life trying to be original, telling people my story.  Yet when it came time for me to tell my story to a captive audience and get laughs from it, I didn’t become that person anymore.  I’m not sure who the hell I became, but it certainly wasn’t me.

I think most of the things I have accomplished or set out to try in my life, I have done because there was a Rocky-like beast inside of me.  Like Rocky when his wife died, he opened his restaurant, and sure he was successful after he thought he was done boxing for a living, but the restaurant kind of tied him to his past, like seeing all the memories from his past…. I don’t know.  He had this “stuff” inside of him, and once his wife died, he maybe realized he was now alone and had nobody to help him deal with that “stuff”, so he dealt with it the best way he knew how.  He took it head on.  The anger, hurt, confusion, uncertainty that is inside of me, my friends hear it and see it on my FB postings far too often I’m afraid, yet I….I don’t want to say that I am living a lie, but there is this stuff inside of me too, and it needs to get out before I die, whether death comes next week, next year, or years down the road.  They say that personal pain makes for great comedy. I’m beginning to realize that’s very true, but you have to find that place within you, where you ready to just let it fly.  Sure, some people who haven’t seen me perform before may now be shocked when they watch me, unsure of what to think or what to believe.  In the end, I can’t worry about that.  I need to make peace within myself and just tell my story.

It’s no secret that I am adopted.  It also doesn’t come as much of a surprise that I don’t know my parents medical history, if my teenage mom stayed with the father, or if either of them had any health issues that could be passed on to me, causing me an early death.

If I knew the end was near, and I had one last performance onstage to give, I’d make it memorable.  It would be real, it would be authentic, it would be me. I’d feel cleansed and have a clear conscience.  So, with such an uncertain future that lies ahead of me, what do you think you’ll see from my onstage performances from now on?

Exactly    🙂

See you next Friday




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