What Separates You From The Other Animals

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It only took just a shade over seven years.  That’s seven years of being bullied, harassed, threatened, lied to, trashed on stage, trashed on social media, ignored and laughed at.  Sure, some comics that make it big start out with years of mediocrity, seeming like all they do is spin their wheels.  I’ve had that mediocrity as well, with all the extracurricular garbage from other comics and random jackasses thrown in for good measure.

A few comics told me that they would like to have me on their shows.  Oh, really?  One even went so far to tell me that I would be the perfect headliner for a specific type of show they had in mind.  Guess where that sparkling idea ended up?  Nowhere.

But there is one comic that told me some time ago if they ever got gigs, they would see if I wanted to be a part of it.  I received a message a while back from this comic, true to their word they asked me to be a part of a corporate gig they got hired for.

I have been on the receiving end of a bogus invite for a corporate show, and had a couple of people that inquired about my availability for a show, only to not move forward with their interest.  So yeah, I was more than surprised to get an invite to do a Christmas party in a few weeks.  But now I am faced with a bit of a dilemma.

What material do I do?

That may seem like a rather odd question to ask, but it’s asked with good reason.  A corporate gig, especially a Christmas party, is a bit different from a regular comedy club crowd.

Some comics have said to just do your material and have fun.  Another told me to do material based on their industry, or better yet how I don’t seem to fit in and that I don’t have anything in common with the people at the party.  This would require me to either create new material or restructure my old material to make it fit.

The biggest difference between a corporate crowd and a comedy crowd all boils down to one simple word.

work

People can get tensed up when they have to socialize with their colleagues outside of work.  With your coworkers, you have more of a chance to take offence, give offence or get very uncomfortable and stressed, maybe because at a work event you are expected to be there (as a sign of employee morale and company support).

While on the other end of the scale, you have the comedy club crowd.  They are generally more relaxed and more fun because of the simple fact that they want to be there.  You can see that in the way the audience reacts and is much more loose.  Chances are you will allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy a show if you choose to be there of your own free will, rather than feel obligated to attend a corporate event.

Some people may feel obligated to attend a company Christmas party, while others may go like the majority of us do, and wish to only socialize with a certain few of their coworkers and keep it at that.  Due to my employment situation over the last few years, I cannot say that I’ve been to a work Christmas party in ab out four years now.  I wish that I could tell you what it feels like to feel like you’re part of a team and valued, but I can’t.  Maybe next year I will be able to achieve my personal goals of having a job last long enough to get benefits from, and to take in a Christmas party at work.  Would I have a date for such a Christmas party?  Well, that’s another subject for another time.

I suppose on the one hand, I could be angry and bitter about being ignored and not made to feel like I am part of the comedy community.  However, I have found that there are two types of people in this world.  I recently came to this realization from interacting with my parents over the last two days.

I have never met such uninspiring, judgemental, stubborn and ignorant people in my life.  Had I not been family to them, there is no way I would ever spend any time giving them any thought at all.  They think the church is hypocritical and full of shit.  They don’t believe, therefore they have no time to listen to a point of view that isn’t one they can agree on.

This may sound like it’s harsh, but this has been my reality since I have been an adult.  It is very sad, but it’s the way that it is.  My dad, especially, seems to believe that your circumstances make you who you are, and that you need to throw a tantrum, get mad, cry and then you will change.  He also believes that he is better than me because of what he has in his life, which he got from hard work.  He’s never had a job he was fired from, and he makes that clear to me every time I visit with them.  That, to me, isn’t honouring your children.  Instead, that’s talking down to them.  They are so deceived that they have no idea the way they react to me is Biblically wrong.

It is true, at the moment I cannot pay rent, nor for groceries, nor for my vehicle to drive.  However, if one simply looks at my circumstances, they would see someone who is unsuccessful.  However, I can tell you with 100% honesty that despite my sad situation, it does not define me.  Not only that, but I guarantee you that I live a far richer life than anyone else in my family.  Also, I deal with the storms of life in a much calmer and mature fashion than the rest of my family does.  For example, last year when I visited my parents at their place, they started yelling and swearing again.  My brother was there as well, and do you know what his reaction was?  Not to stand up for his older brother (he’s two years younger), not to keep the peace even.  No, his reaction was to pout, go to the bathroom and lock himself in there.  Can you imagine any other 42 year olds that have that kind of maturity?  I bet you his new girlfriend has no idea about his lack of personality, let alone his maturity level in dealing with the storms of life.

Anyways, back to what I learned about the two types of people.  My family falls into the same category as the local comedians are in.

One group of people can pat you on the back and tell you that you did a good job….maybe, if they remember to.  Or if they can’t do that, they will treat you the way they want to be treated, and that’s the bare minimum.  Then, there is another group of people, who I like to call my real family, at church.

These people will tell me what I can become, and the good qualities that I possess.  For someone to speak words like that into your life comes from a place of true humility and selflessness, and speaks to the condition of their heart.  Those kind of people, are very difficult to find in todays world, but at the same time are the most rewarding relationships you can ever have.  It’s funny, but my family has never told me that I can do anything, you know the type of things parents should say to their kids to empower and encourage them.  The only people who talk like that to me are the ones from church.  Sure, they may not know of my circumstances and my past as intimately as some do, but that doesn’t stop them from believing I am capable of great things.

Comedians can say I did a good set.  They can even go so far as to tell me that they want me to perform on their shows.  But it’s another thing entirely for them to act upon it and do what they say.  That type of action would empower me, and encourage me as well.  But that takes character and sincerity, which I don’t think lots of comics really possess in spades.  Want proof?  The ones that could put me on their shows can make all the excuses in the world, and that’s just what they are.  Excuses.  I don’t think I will live long enough to see the day when one of them would actually look back and kick themselves for not inviting me to be part of their shows.  Maybe they are scared of what others think, because it seems like in the local scene you get along great with other comics if you colour inside the lines.  I know from experience this is true, with comedy coaching, introducing Carnac The Mediocre, just to name 2 out of 3…….

Even if family are the ignorant, toxic people in your life, you need to get rid of them.  Today.  If they are unbelievers and unwilling to hear the truth, let alone anything that goes contrary to what they think (regardless of whether or not they have direct experience), it makes it impossible to have any sort of relationship with them.  You would think that parents would want to be engaged in their children’s lives as adults.  People at church ask more questions about my life than my mom or dad ever have.  That’s sad.

Our pastor last week talked about how, when his children visit him at his house, what’s his are his children’s as well.  He even cited the example of his son-in-law not having his own tools as of yet.  He told his son-in-law that “I have a garage full of tools, you are welcome to use mine anytime you need them.”  That’s honour.  Unlike my parents, whenever I go to their house they will tell me in no uncertain terms that everything they have is theirs, and nobody elses, certainly not mine.  They also make it abundantly clear every visit that what’s theirs is theirs because they worked for it and don’t feel the need to share it with their underwhelming, idiot, loser, wannabe comedian/son.

You may say that I deserve to be treated that way, but the Bible has the story of the prodigal son.  The son went off and wanted his dad’s money he had saved up for him.  Once he became an adult, he demanded it and the father obliged.  Needless to say, debauchery and unclean living followed, and the money disappeared.  Well, once the son returned home, he was obviously heartbroken, ashamed and broken.  But his father was so happy his son returned that he threw him a party.

The other son who stayed at home and followed the rules was furious and asked his dad why he treated his brother in that fashion by throwing him a party.  His dad basically told his other son “uh, did you not realize that everything I have is yours?  You eat my food, sleep in my house, etc”.

I have had people from church and friends of mine tell me that they way my parents dishonour me is wrong, and to not let that negativity define me, which, to my credit, I have learned not to do anymore.

Finally, my comedy coach has my back.  I have his number so I can text or call him anytime when I need advice.  Plus, on his YouTube channel he has a video segment called Ask The Joke Doctor.  He has taken four of my questions and turned them into topics he covers on his videos.  Are there other comics around these parts that have that type of support?  Nope.

Some people spend all their time making excuses and cutting others down instead of getting themselves educated on things.  Then there are the others like myself, who take the long, hard road to get better.  It’s filled with shit, bullies, obstacles and lies.

But, at the end of the day, I still get better, and it’s without their help.  That makes the journey worthwhile.

If you have the ability to make a difference in somebody’s life, then do it.  Don’t make excuses.  You aren’t too busy raising a family, or going to work, or with your activities, that you can’t take the time to feed words of encouragement, support and hope to a friend.  Keep your word!  If you’ve said to somebody that “we should connect one of these days”, set aside some time and follow through with it.  Be a person of honour who can go out of their way to value others through their words and actions.  And if you haven’t done that with a friend before, what’s stopping you from being that person today?

 

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