Good Deeds That Don’t Get Returned

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It’s almost been six years of doing comedy.  During this time I have been subjected to more abuse, harassment, slander and threats than any comedian in the province, for sure.  Most of you know my story, as it has been played out on the pages of this blog. Here is the part I find fascinating though.

In the five plus years I’ve been writing this blog, how many times do you think people have approached me to talk about the blog, or brought it up in conversation? Care to take a guess?  I can count the number of times on one hand.  That’s it.

I think some of you are scared that I will write about you if you have an opinion about what I wrote and share it with me in person.  If that’s the case, that’s pretty sad because I am not the type of person to publically out people like that.  Bullies do that sort of thing.  If I write, I keep the names out of it, though some of you by the process of elimination can usually figure out who I am writing about.

So, most of you are too scared to offer your opinions to me in person unsolicited.  We have established that.  I did have somebody make a comment to me a couple weeks ago that left me puzzled.  A newer comedian mentioned to me that I was a big part of the Saskatoon comedy scene.

Really?  Where is the proof?

I am a guy that believes actions speak way louder than words.  You can talk shit and talk a big game, but if you can’t get off your ass to put those words into action, you aren’t worth much to me.  I may respect them, but I will only trust them up to a point.

The facts show that I am not a part of the Saskatoon comedy scene in a big way. Despite that, I try to be inclusive with the other comedians in the city, or at least certain ones.  If I happen to hear of an opportunity or come across a connection that might benefit the comedy scene, I let people know about it.

For example, when people asked me about my availability for corporate gigs or fundraisers, I always reached out to other local comics to share the booking.  Why would I do this?  Because I understand that comedians like the spotlight and want to perform in front of lots of people.  What would you rather see?  One comedian take up an hour, or several share that hour?  I don’t know about you, but based on the success of the open mics as of late, I would say the majority of people like a variety of comedians.  Just take a look at the t.v. shows that feature comedians today.  Most of them have a variety of performers on.

I do this because it’s a part of who I am.  I like to be inclusive and include people who have shared the stage with me.  Trust me, I know what it’s like to feel left out of things.  Regardless of the situation, being left out of anything in life hurts.

I have made contacts in Los Angeles for comedy that I have shared with other comedians.  I have shared copies of the e-book on comedy writing.  I have written posts about specific comedians in the city, highlighting their accomplishments.

So after doing all that, and promoting Saskatoon comedy to Los Angeles and others through my blog, what have I received in return from the local comedy scene?

nothing

Outside of the open mic shows, nobody in this city has done anything for me in comedy.  The Regina comedy scene did more for me than anyone around here.  The Regina scene gave me an opportunity to do a few fundraisers and open mic shows at a time when I took 18 months off from doing comedy in Saskatoon.  Now, you might ask why I took 18 months off from doing comedy in Saskatoon.  It’s a fair question. But talking about those circumstances…..oh, fuck it.  I will.

Back in early 2013, I was told that I was no longer welcome to do comedy in Saskatoon at open mics.  In fact, the host at that time said the following words

Ladies and gentleman, that was Trevor Dean.  Give him a hand because he will never, ever do comedy in Saskatoon again.

Then, I proceeded to write a piece about the conversation I had with the host after the show.  I received messages that stated if I kept writing about local comics the next blog piece I would write would be from the ICU.  Also, my life would get real bad, real quick.  Not to mention I had this person cause a scene at my workplace.  So yeah, I was scared.

This person took sheer delight in having me be the only comedian that got thrown under the bus on a nightly basis.  So for a year-and-a-half, I seriously was scared to perform.  I’ve never been like that before, where I was scared to be in front of people.  But this time was different.  I somehow believed that even a local open mic at some tiny bar this person would find out about and make my life more of a living hell than it already was.

During this time I had started working with my comedy coach, and trying to rebuild what little confidence I had left.  I deleted and blocked every comedian I knew on Facebook.  For 18 months nobody saw me perform on stage in the city.  So I started going to Regina to do their open mics.  Got treated way better, the shows were run by actual respected comedians and I took part in a few fundraisers.  In fact, the first time I did my “mannequin” closer was at the fundraiser for the Regina Food Bank on the campus of the University of Regina.  I hadn’t performed anywhere for a few months prior.  Yet my material was rehearsed and it looked like I never missed a beat.

Then to make things more complicated, I had started a new relationship around that time.  Dealing with my own insecurities about my comedy was one thing, now I had to wrap my head around why such an amazing woman at the time would want to stick by someone like me, when all I did was mostly fail and get ripped in public for it.

Now, the next question you may ask is when was my first show back in Saskatoon after those 18 months?  My first show back came from the only person who has ever given me opportunity outside of the open mics, and it was in the form of the professional comedy club.

Boy, were people ever shocked that I got to host.  They had a right to be.  I couldn’t believe it myself that the process was that easy for me, but it helped that my relationship and my comedy coach were two people in my corner who believed I could do it when I didn’t believe in myself.

So, back to the present here.  Take a look on social media at the shows that aren’t open mics in the city.  Shows that you pay a cover to get in.  See my name or face on any of these posters?  Am I on any podcasts or blogs?  Nope.  The only time I was advertised on a show was the open mic at Buds on my birthday a couple years ago. That night the host managed to make a complete disaster of the night and make it one of the most lonely, disheartening and unforgettable birthdays I have ever had. That’s why I went to Los Angeles when I did on my birthday.  Now, that night didn’t go like I planned it either as I did pretty bad at the open mic in Flappers bar.  But seriously, I was in L.A. with my comedy coach.  Before that I met up with him at Barney’s Beanery across the street from the club and we had a bite to eat and visited.

Some of the people I have tried to share in my good fortune (contacts and gig opportunities) are some of the same people that put on these shows.  How convenient that they will tell me in person about how great the blog is and how good I am on stage, yet when it comes to finding performers for a non-open mic show, how easily they forget.

Maybe from now on, I will keep my good fortune to the only person who deserves it, and that would be myself.

My workplace might need a comedian for their Christmas party for a couple hundred people, everything paid for.  Maybe I will forget about the other local comedians, just like they have seemed to forget about me.

Talk is cheap.  Actions speak louder than words.  You’d think with the emergence of social media, that people would have figured that out by now.

What do you think?

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