No Thanks! I Take My Coke In A Glass, Not On A Mirror

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Just this past week I had one of those a-ha! moments where a blog piece is just screaming at you to write and discuss.  To be honest, I’m kind of insulted and pissed it even happened although there is a silver lining to this very dark cloud.  Let me explain.

Last week somebody mentioned to me that I should get on stage and just freestyle and riff off the top of my head.  Then the person I was talking to pulled out a small pouch with a white, powdery substance inside of it, about enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

I’m no expert, but I am pretty sure it was cocaine.

Now, I am not here to publicly out or vilify the person I was talking to.  However, the fact I was offered it brings up a couple of interesting points for me to ponder as I head into 2016.

  1. Let’s start with the obvious fact that I was offered coke in the first place.  Last time I checked, coke was illegal and punishable with mandatory minimums in a federal pen.  I just got through one legal headache.  I sure as hell don’t need another one ever again.
  2. I’d be funnier if I was under the influence of something, whether it be coke, weed or booze.  I have no desire to ever try weed.  I don’t care to know how it affects me.  I sure as hell don’t need anything stronger in my system either.  I have been drunk on stage before at various stages.  I have been stone cold sober, the point where a person is “alcohol happy” or buzzed and I have been completely shitfaced drunk, so much so that I was two minutes away from throwing up. Now, there are times when going up with a couple drinks in your system could help a person to calm their nerves, and loosen them up.  You would get loosened up because you would still know the material (if you rehearsed enough), but at the same time you can maybe ad-lib a bit and play around with the setup and timing of your material if you can get a feel for the audience.  But for me to rely solely on being buzzed before I hit the stage would seriously work against the things I am trying to stand for in my act and for who I am as a person.
  3. Regardless of what foreign substance you rely on to get funnier, in the end there is no substitute for hard work.  Writing, then editing your rough draft seven times seven times and rehearsing it over and over and over again is what a comedian needs to do.  Very few can wing it consistently night after night and get consistent laughs.
  4. Taking drugs means taking shortcuts.  Yeah, I may struggle at times.  Yes, I post videos that show me struggle at times.  That is because I want people to see that I do not have an ego that springs up and attacks other comics without reason, just because they happen to be funnier.  I still do struggle at times but there is a level of consistency that I am trying to develop that was absent from any performance I had in the first 18 months on stage.  I am not an addict and don’t plan on being one anytime ever.  Taking shortcuts would mean betraying the trust my comedy coach and friends had in me during this process.  Those closest to me have mentioned they are glad to see that I haven’t given up when times got tough, and believe me some days that would have been easy to do.  But to do that means that I forget about all the hard work I put in, all those lonely nights where it felt like nobody was on my side.

Whatever I do, I cannot let those memories of struggle go.  I cannot discount them.  I cannot forget about them.  The struggle helps define my act and keeps me going, trying to find different ways to write and present material.  It’s not enough to just say the material and get the laughs.  You need to sell it to the audience as well, by showing them how the joke makes you feel.  That helps you get laughs and gain some credibility as well.

This year I have worked on my craft, but not with the same focus that I should have.  The first several months of 2015 saw me write at least two dozen (that’s 24 pages) of material.  That’s right.  24.  (some people say they have writers block, I believe it’s because they aren’t aware of the comedy structure on how to build a joke to know it will work……not saying I am an expert on the matter, but clearly I’ve been learning the structure for over two years now and churn out more material in six months with the 24 pages than some comics I know generate in a year, or two)

The latter half of this year saw me step away from comedy to look after some personal issues, so the work ethic did suffer.  However, I am back with my comedy coach again after my time away from the stage.  We have a game plan formulated and we will execute it to the best of my ability in the upcoming year.  But that means practice, practice, practice, and not just on stage either.  It means putting in the time and effort to get better.  Now with my personal issues behind me I can dive into the material with more focus and with a more critical eye than I had in the past.  I hope the end result will be smarter, funnier and tighter material, albeit clean.

Some days the world may think of me as a loser, or unsuccessful.  Fortunately though, God doesn’t see me that way.  My friends do not see me that way either.  Every time I am on stage I feel as if I am standing up for the little guy, the one who is told they have no business trying.  I represent many of you each time I take the stage.  I do not take that lightly at all.

Now, if you will excuse me I have to get ready for a date.

Be blessed!

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