Size Matters……To Me

Tags: , , , , , , ,

If you look up the definition of the word windbag, the Google dictionary defines it as “a person who talks at length but says little of value.”  The Merrian-Webster dictionary defines a windbag as “an exhaustively talkative person.”

I have grown up with windbags all my life, and they still exist to this day.  In today’s world of social media and the ever increasing “me first” attitude where people seem to get offended at the drop of a hat, it shows just how broken we have become as a society.

In my younger days, talking smack on the playground was fun.  However, as you get older and become an adult, being a windbag it’s fun, especially if you have little to say of any value.

How can you spot a windbag?  It’s pretty easy.  They talk a lot of fluff, use big words or talk in circles while never getting to the point, all because their words lack truth.

I’ve never been a windbag.  Ever.  I also try to treat people the way I want to be treated, as I always have this image in my mind of somebody telling my mother that I treated them poorly for no reason at all.  Well, that used to be what I thought.  Now that I am rooted in a church that I can call home, I choose not to be a windbag.  This isn’t because of my mother knowing I’ve mistreated somebody for no reason.  Instead, I choose not to be a windbag because it’s immature, it affects the quality of the your relationships of those around you, and it’s just not the right way to live.

I decided a long time ago that when I open my mouth to speak, that I better have something of value to say.  I never want to be the type of person that likes to talk just to hear the sound of their own voice.  Those people exist in the local comedy community moreso than in my life.  When I think about it, if I think about the people I call my friends, to which I have many, there isn’t a single windbag among them.  They only exist in comedy.

Surprised?  Maybe you shouldn’t be.

So why don’t I then stoop to their level and become one as well?  What would it hurt?  It’s fun to talk in circles and use big words while avoiding the truth.  Right?

Not when you place a premium on the quality of relationships in your life.  This all comes back to why I talk a big game.  It’s the only way for me to be seen on equal footing with others.

I shouldn’t put it that way.  It smacks of prideful ways, doesn’t it?

Back in my late 20s to early 30s I really cared about what people thought of me, and in the process I lived far below my authentic self.  Then a little invention called a karaoke league helped change that.

In it, I saw some amazing performers who also worried about where they would finish in the standings.  That’s natural.  But it seemed like for some, that fear of not knowing where they would place and wanting to do well kind of crippled them.  It’s like they couldn’t just lose the reins and do what they want.  Lots of us in life are like that, as performers in the public eye we are worried about being judged, to some degree.

So what I wanted to attempt was to lose the reins and just be me.  Raise the bar for creativity, being daring and original.  Sure, in the end I may not have placed where I wanted to in the standings, but it gave me a sense of freedom knowing that it didn’t matter where I placed.  I just wanted to go all out, doing the best I can and being content with that.  (speaking of which, I am back in the league this year and have something special planned for the semi-finals….let’s just say that I’m recreating a classic performance from my last league appearance….it’s one not to be missed)

In stand-up, I have had my share of bullies, way more than I imagined when I got into comedy.  They trash me and make claims that are untrue, talking at length about why I shouldn’t do comedy, yet they have no proof that I’m as bad as I used to be.  The comedy coaching thing is where I get the most grief from, though hardly any at all these days, since I have stuck with it for over 4 years now.

The best example of being a windbag would be from those in comedy who say coaching doesn’t work, and will talk in circles about it, yet they offer no real proof to substantiate their claims, let alone ask any questions about coaching or what it does.  Isn’t it ironic how those kinds of people aren’t ever interested in educating themselves on the topic they talk endlessly about?

So, with all that hot air going around, some of these people are getting gigs in the city and elsewhere while promoting the gigs on social media.  The common denominator here is that I’m left out of all of those gigs.  My name is never on a poster, I’m never tagged on social media, nor am I promoted nor celebrated by the local comedy community.  Seems like I’m the comic nobody wants.

until now

Of any comedian in the province, I cut the widest swath on social media, and it isn’t even close.  Three Facebook fan pages (Trevor Dean comedian, The Stand-Up Diaries and Carnac the Mediocre), two Twitter accounts (Carnac and the blog), YouTube videos, the blog, and I may reactivate the Instagram page down the road)

I have to up my promotional game a bit to grab my piece of the spotlight.  I’ve done it ever since I started comedy.  Sure, failure is an option.  It might happen when I take the stage.  Comedians can’t be scared of failure, as we should embrace it because it’s the only way we learn to get better.  If I promote the gig, and don’t do as well or I totally eat it on stage, how is that a loss?  It becomes a valuable learning tool for me, and at least I tried.

That is the biggest part.  Failure doesn’t scare me.  It’s when people try to convince me to not try that bothers me.  I think the last time somebody talked me out of doing something would have been my dad, back when I was in grade eight.  He then, albeit unsuccessfully, tried to talk me out of my career path when I graduated high school.  Since then, I’ve marched to the beat of my own drum.  No regrets.  The only people who want you to regret are the ones who are too scared to try themselves.  Or they are just lazy.

This is why, for my return to The Laugh Shop on March 3rd, I’ve revamped things.  I have a brand new promotional package coming out in the next couple weeks that I can be proud of, hopefully you will be as well.  I’ve created a brand new Facebook fan page for the blog, complete with new photos from the stage and an updated biography.

Then comes the video.

I have secured the services of a media company in the USA that is putting together a professionally created, high quality promotional video for my return to the stage after an eight month absence.  The video will do three things:

  1. it will raise your expectations as an audience for a great show
  2. it will raise my expectations as a performer to prepare for a great show
  3. it helps to create a slick promotional package and an image

The image I am trying to create is one of professionalism combined with a slick promo package that can be used at any time.  The lead up to a gig motivates me more than going on stage itself.  In fact, the preparation for a gig is way more of a high/rush/motivator than actually going on stage and doing the show at this point in my life.  However, for me to take the time to write and edit the jokes, I might as well perform them.  My first set back after coaching I prepared seven hours to do seven minutes of material.

seven hours to do seven minutes

Who else around these parts would have that kind of commitment, especially for an open mic show that doesn’t pay?

Like I said before, the rest of the local scene can do their thing and not have me be a part of it, doing their shows once a month getting promoted.  That’s fine.  I am perfectly content with being left out of the promotional side of things, while I get my one or two chances a year to promote my stuff, having secured it all on my own.

I have been around for a long time though, and tried to do a lot for the local comedy scene, often with very little fanfare or positive results.  Just once, it would be nice to have a comedian share my promo video or share the promo material that will be coming out from The Laugh Shop in advance of my show.

Talking a big game with little substance has never been my style, nor has bullying or trashing people for no reason.  When you see the promo video coming out, it will be unlike anything you have ever seen before, and you will want to share it.  It’s going to be that good, that unique.

The material for this upcoming show will be different, and a departure of sorts from the every joke poking fun at me.  It’s evolved.  We cover topics I didn’t dare discuss before when I couldn’t get out of my own head.  This show will be the best yet material wise, and it’s all clean.

Oh, and one more thing.  You can invite all your friends to a comedy show that you want, but that will not automatically translate into success.  You still have to do the work and be funny.

6 Comments

  1. Dakota
    Feb 5, 2018

    Are you going to sign up for the Standup Smackdown competition here in Stoon? Not only that, but there’s also Comedy Lab and Campus Comedy, too!

    • Trevor Dean
      Feb 5, 2018

      I had not planned on taking in the competition in the next little while here. I am working on material with my comedy coach for the new show on March 3rd. Roughly about half the material for that night will be brand new, and revamping the promotional package takes time as well. I can’t be distracted from other stuff at the moment. I can’t imagine the day when my name and face are on a poster for a comedy gig in Saskatoon where I am sharing the stage with others. Maybe down the road…..maybe.

    • Trevor Dean
      Feb 8, 2018

      In response to your Facebook message you left me, there are some headliners in the city that don’t perform the open mics a whole ton, yet they still get gigs. With the way I feel I’ve been left out, unappreciated and marginalized by the local comedy community, I am not sure even if I set the comedy world on fire in the city, that I would get my share of the spotlight after six years of being the easy target for other comics.

      I have six years worth of videos that are readily available for anybody to watch through my blog page. One can see the progression year by year.

      I won’t do shows before the Laugh Shop so I can not only edit the material and rehearse it to make sure it’s the best it can be for March 3rd, but also it will heighten the promotional presentation. It creates buzz, interest and maybe even excitement amongst some people. Like I said, I’d rather make sure I get the material right, rather than perform something that is still a work in progress.

      No comedian in this province has a larger social media presence than myself. Not to say that I am the most popular (more like the least popular/supported) but I at least have an up-to-date website with 3 Facebook fan pages, a blog, YouTube videos and 2 Twitter acconunts. I’ve recevied next to nothing for help from anybody. Everything I have achieved which isn’t much, I’ve done on my own. In fact, the only ones who have helped me really are people that aren’t even in Saskatchewan, and that’s pretty sad.

      I know who I am. I also know who I used to be. I am imperfect but have come a long way. The promotional video I have hired a production company to put together, will be unlike anything that’s been done around these parts. I know people don’t believe in me. I also know that some people don’t think my new material will be good enough to perform for the first time at The Laugh Shop.

      But, they don’t know what I go through on a daily basis. They don’t know the lonliness, the hurt, anger…the motivation that I have to stick it to certain people and show the rest that I do belong. To stand up against the bullies I need to dig my feet in the sand, hold my head up high and speak words of victory and of faith. I need to preplay my future. I need to tell people what my show will be like, even before I have performed brand new material. I need to let them know it’s the best I’ve ever written. I need to tell them they are going to have a good time. They need to know that I have confidence in my ability to succeed.

      When I go to Regina, I am going to do an amazing job. It’s going to be so good, and 100% clean, that The Laugh Shop will want to book me back in Saskatoon. My new material is kick ass. 1005 bonafide. There isn’t anybody in the local comedy scene that can tell a more compelling (CLEAN) story than I.

      Come March 3rd, I raise the bar and set a new standard for myself and the type of shows I do.

  2. Dylan
    Feb 7, 2018

    Hi trev, I think Dakota is right about doing some shows in town to prepare for the Laugh shop gig.. the smack down is less than a week before your gig and it would be a great place to see if your new jokes are working before trying them in front of a paying audience. I’d also suggest going to any open mics that you can to work out your material.. you will get on booked shows by putting in the stage time and proving yourself at the open mics.. Also the winner of the smack down gets a headlining gig the next show!:). I don’t see a downside with doing these shows.. you flew across the continent and THEN drove 5 hours to do a competition in Oakland but won’t do one where you live?.. I know you feel that you’ve been slighted but I think you might be biting your nose to spite your face.. no?

    • Trevor Dean
      Feb 8, 2018

      In theory it probably sounds like a good idea to perform the new material before The Laugh Shop gig. Then again, I’m not normal. I’m not replying to this in order to belittle or discredit what you’ve written, as you have made valid points. This is simply an opportunity to have a balanced discussion to offer differing points of view, regardless of whether I’m totally right, totally out to lunch, or somewhere in between.

      Back when I was told by “management” of Dez’s club back in the day to take a break from comedy, that’s when I found Jerry. I cannot tell you how excited and happy I was when he replied to my email and said that he could help me. He wanted to help me. Nobody around these parts wanted to, or perhaps it was a situation where those who maybe wanted to help didn’t know how, meaning they weren’t sure to the how and why I wasn’t any good on a consistent basis.

      Jerry and I spent seven hours to create seven minutes of material. Actually, he created it all. Every joke I rehearsed and performed verbatim at my first show back. For those of you who don’t remember, that’s the night I embarrassed Dez and put him in his place. He went on stage at the end of the night and proclaimed that he made a bet with the club management (at the time, this was Jay, I believe) in saying he thought comedy coaching was a farce and he was sure that I would eat it on stage. Not only did I NOT eat it, I got the biggest and most consistent laughs of any comedian that night. Dez then paid Jay, as Dez lost the bet.

      I could have come back sooner and performed that new material for somebody, anybody who would listen before that comeback show. But I didn’t. In part, because I knew that I needed to take that motivation and put it towards rehearsing over and over again. Now, over 4.5 years later, the coaching I have recieved enables me to take an idea or point of view about any subject, and be able to structure it to fit me. I have also found that I need to go over the material daily and edit, edit, edit and edit yet some more. For me, it’s easier to take a joke and write it, then edit it for a week or two before performing it, instead of writing a joke down in its first or second draft, then perform it and wonder why it didn’t work. The more I look at the same joke each day, the closer I scrutinize it and be able to pick it apart more effectively to make it better.

      Also, the comedy competition here from what I have heard is a bit different from the one I attended in Oakland last summer. Here, if I’m not mistaken, they take ten or more comics and have them all go one right after the other. The emphasis is on bringing out your friends, but I can tell you firsthand that bringing our your friends to a comedy show you perform at means very little. They won’t laugh at your material just because you invited them to the show. As a comedian, you still have to be funny. Then, you as the audience have to go through ten comics or so and rank them. That could be a bit confusing.

      In Oakland, first of all it’s a totally different scene down there, granted. Comedians come from the Bay area and all over the world to perform at the Comedy Machine, so it’s not a situation where the comedian performing needs to get their friends out to watch. That show is part of Comedy Oakland, which is the most popular club in the Bay area. People line up almost out the door and pack the downstairs of the Spice Monkey restaurant, waiting to go upstairs for the next show to start. They split it up with two groups of four comics each. I believe that is less confusing for the audience and helps make better decisions as to who moves on. The show is one hour long. That’s it. The MC/host is the headliner but he only does like 10 to 15 off the top and that’s it. The winner then gets a paid spot on the following show later that night, and that winner will get maybe seven minutes at the most.

      Stand-up comedy is about being uncomfortable, I think. It’s about putting yourself in a situation where you might fail, where things might not start smoothly, and see if you can turn it around.

      Regarding your last comment about me being slighted. That is an understatement. I haven’t been slighted. I have been sexually harrassed, verbally abused, threatened, slandered and bashed on stage and through social media. I’ve been screwed over, disrespected, lied to and talked down to. The hateful comments that have come through this blog from fake email addresses are enough to fill a book.

      I’d rather edit and rehearse my material daily for a week or two, rather than take an idea and just throw it out there to see if it gains traction. That’s not the way I am wired. If I’m going to take the time to write, I am going to get it right and make sure it’s the best possible version of that joke I can write before I perform it. I think the audience expects that much from me, as do I.

  3. Dustin
    Feb 10, 2018

    Hey Trev. I think it makes sense to edit and rehearse your material daily like you have been doing but also perform that edited, rehearsed material at open mics and competitions as well. Then you can tell from the audiences reaction how those bits are doing and use that information to help with your editing and rehearsing of that material the next day. I honestly don’t see any downside to doing both. If I was building a clay sculpture blindfolded, it would be a lot easier if I was able to take a peak every now and then to see how I was doing.

What do you think?

%d bloggers like this: