Much More Than An Awkward Face

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George Carlin once said that you need to take the stuff that drives you crazy and write it for your material.  If I was to follow that mantra in today’s world, I would be writing continually until I reach retirement age, which probably won’t be 65 at the rate I’m going.  But, that’s another story.

I find myself watching local comics and wondering why there are certain things they don’t talk about.  Since the truth is what connects a comedian to their audience, I sometimes sit back and think a comedian is leaving valuable laughs on the table by not doing this.  If a comedian takes their comedy seriously, which the majority of local acts do, they already know this.

But to what extent do they practice it?  It’s hard to say especially when you only know somebody from afar.  Lately, with everything that’s going on in my life I have had to ask myself this question.  Why am I not talking about other parts of my life that have truth and authenticity, that could connect with an audience?

My comedy coach has mentioned on more than one occasion during our writing sessions that I should talk about certain things on stage that I causally bring up in conversation with him.  Sometimes he will get an instant thought from what I have said, and he’ll create material from it.  Most of the time I say that I don’t want to discuss certain things on stage, because they are uncomfortable.  They caused me stress and got me a bit upset.  I now know why I felt that way.

There are certain subjects in my life that I avoided talking about before for the simple fact that I wasn’t mature enough to accept the responsibility of having a discussion with the audience about these things that I’ve been avoiding for material.  Simply put, for me to have encroached certain subjects in the past, they would have been done from a sarcastic rant, or if my coach put something together for me, it would have felt forced.  Not only that, but I would have carried the offence from these situations into the material.  For me, I cannot do material that I’m still hurt by.  It won’t work.  I can’t do fake.  If I carry the offence from the situation it will cloud my writing process, not allowing me to see the situation for what it is.

I suppose that you need some examples to better understand where I’m coming from.

  • working in a negative environment
  • working for a bully, or with bullies
  • getting career advice from family
  • being talked down to by people you respect(ed)
  • chronic unemployment
  • always being broke
  • being on assistance
  • being super lonely (wow, could I have put it out there any more desperately that I’m single and alone?  nice job endearing yourself to your readers, dude)
  • not being successful in a chosen career up to this point

There have been a couple of recurring themes that span across a few different people, that have happened with frequent regularity.  I guess it got to the point where I made a decision to finally talk about this stuff because I was done letting it offend me.  Sure, maybe getting a radio show had just about everything to do with shifting that outlook in my life, but sometimes all it takes is one open door to move the needle.

Covering this type of material will take some time and more than one coaching session to help firm up.  I should have that done sometime later this year, though I’m not exactly sure when given everything that’s on my plate right now within the comedy sphere.

This does raise a question.  What about the Christian material?  What about Mr. Clean, Trevor Dean?

It would be a different set altogether from the Christian material, and a different set from the clean material I currently have.  That isn’t to say the material I am talking about writing from this post won’t be clean, because it will.  But the material I have highlighted in the bullet points above will be delivered in a different way.  If I’m able to connect with it properly through writing, you will feel the emotion.  It will be delivered with feeling.  I am thinking my authenticity will come across very well, moreso than with any material I have previously written.

This means I will have three types of my material that I can deliver in a specific way for each one.  Would I combine all three into a set?  Unless I wanted to confuse everybody, that’s not the best idea considering the fact that most open mic sets are only 4 to 7 minutes in length.  Even with a half hour set, I’m not sure it would be easy to establish all three and have distinct points of view that you are able to clearly communicate with your audience.  You might be able to navigate through two of them, then the placement of each bit within your set is key, so the audience can follow along with you.

Am I making more work for myself?  Am I confusing?  Will I be able to make all three parts work the way I want them to?  Sure, I’m confusing things and it will take an incredible amount of work to get things created, edited then stage ready.  But in the end, as I have said before, as far as local comics go there isn’t a more authentic, more open, transparent or honest one like me.  Some don’t want to be that much “out there” for fear it may damage their “brand”, which I find hilarious.  Dude, you work a full-time job and it isn’t doing stand-up.  If you’re working full-time at comedy then yeah, you might worry about your brand a lot more, and rightfully so.

All the struggles I’ve had within comedy, I have been able to stay true to myself in how I have dealt with them.  I have dealt with enough fake and insincere people in my (almost) 46 years of living that I would never consider being one of them.  I used to have a few mentors that would keep me accountable in the area of being authentic.  However, in 2019 it seems the majority have fallen to the wayside.  Now, I only really have one, and he’s in California.  I don’t mind it that way at all.  Besides, he’s just a phone call away.

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