Another New Branch To Prune

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I have done a very good job holding up my end of the agreement with the radio show, not to mention it in this blog or my other comedy pages.  In other words, don’t cross promote.  However, with FMPhasis having recently concluded (the official fundraising drive has concluded, but you can still donate money and be eligible for the early bird and grand prize draws, go to the CFCR website for more details), they needed all hands on deck, so it would be the only time where I mentioned the fundraiser on every social media platform available to me.  Otherwise, for 11.5 months of the year, you won’t find anything about the show anywhere other than its social media pages, and rightly so.

With the fundraiser in the rear view mirror, the last couple of months in 2019 are upon us.  The seasons are changing outside as well as in the comedy journey of yours truly.

At the start of the year, I thought it was important to keep updating my calendar and making it as current as possible, with all the dates of my open mics.  Now, it isn’t a priority, much less an afterthought.  Why would I promote the open mics that I barely attend nowadays?  I could include them on my calendar or leave them off, either way I don’t think they make much difference, since nobody really comes out to the shows to watch me.  Wait, that’s not entirely true.  About three or four people came out to watch my sets in the last six weeks I was on stage, which was nice.

Now, I wouldn’t want anybody I know to come and watch, especially when the material I’m doing feels like it has no life, no energy, no purpose.  It’s lifeless.  People from church could come to watch and it would still be a stinker.

If that old material was sandwiched within new material then that makes a huge difference.  Sure, I have a lot of new material, about a dozen pages or so, but I’ve been sitting on them for most of this year.  I haven’t really sat down to edit them, to pare down the material to make it stage ready.

Why this lethargic attitude all of a sudden?  Did it come from the last couple open mics that didn’t go so great for me?  Is it because I’m seriously lonely and hopeless enough to attempt speed dating for a second time (don’t judge, but it’s going to happen)?  Is it because of my new job?  The radio show?

I am not sure at this point if meeting up with my comedy coach to hash out the new material would get me excited and motivated to get back on stage, at least not for the open mics.  There isn’t anything on the horizon to look forward to either, no paid gigs, no road trips, no church shows.  Nothing.  So why bother?

Even though I only work four days a week, the job is my focus right now, even though I passed probation and will be getting workplace benefits for the first time in a few years.  The job is where my attention and priority lies, because without a job I would be back to where I was for the majority of the last few years.  With each passing day at my job, I feel more like I am part of the team which is the opposite of what I felt like with previous employers where I was subjected to crappy working environments with crappy employers.

Then there is the radio show.  I’ve done it long enough that I now budget my time much better after the show is done and get out of there soon after I sign off.  It used to be that at the beginning, I would stay at the station an extra couple of hours to fill out the paperwork and download the digital files to my computer.  But when you are the only one there at 2 a.m., it’s not the safest feeling in the world even though the doors to the station are locked.  So I plan ahead of time and get done what I need to, and leave the rest to accomplish for another day.  It is more important for me to get home as quickly as possible.

I could stay up late until 2 a.m. during the week just lazing around the house, and not feel dead tired.  But staying up that late with the show to do makes me seriously drag my ass for a couple of days after.  I suppose it’s because there is the responsibility of the show to do and so much to try and keep track of when I am on the air.  All that brain power I use keeping everything in order during the show makes me tired.  I can’t explain it, and don’t you even try with your smart ass comments.

Now, there is another new element that has sprung forth and it has to do with my job.  I work in a retail/grocery store and the longer I work there, the more I see the world of retail has its own stories to be told.  Stories that need to be told on stage.

Everybody knows somebody that has worked in retail and has heard the stories many times over.  I could create a whole half hour set just based on the retail industry and have it go over well, because of the recognition it would create with the audience, leading to laughs.  But the key is to get the ideas down on paper and work them out.  Do I even have that kind of time anymore, let alone the desire, considering the fact there are a bunch of pages of Christian material I’ve done very little with in the last several months?  Again, I will say that there isn’t any motivation on my part to get that done either, when the church or anybody else for that matter, isn’t interested in coming to see me perform.

If I had a church show or a pro comedy club gig that I got paid for, that would give me the motivation necessary in order to go ahead and get it done.  I realize that trying this hard to motivate myself to work on the material to do open mics probably isn’t a great sign, then again, it’s not a lot of fun just performing for an audience of comics who aren’t paying attention, or having somebody close to you, family, or close friends come and watch.  The show takes up 3 to 4 hours a week of prep time at most, and my job takes up some time with lots of free time still left over to do whatever I please.  But the show has given me a satisfaction that getting on stage hasn’t given me for quite some time now.  It’s a sense of accomplishment.

Every time I walk into the studio, I stand up a little taller and feel better about the day.  I have a huge responsibility that I now don’t stress about, that I enjoy doing.  Sure, radio is different than being on stage because you do not get that instant response.  In radio, there is just silence in the room unless the host talks, so it’s kind of like me doing my comedy sets of late where nobody laughs or really pays attention.  Did that make sense?  I don’t care.  I’m eating perogies.

In interviewing the other local comics, I find that most, if not all I have spoken to on the air have a relationship that keeps them happy and grounded, while doing side projects within comedy.  Then there is me, who, try as he might, can’t seem to get any traction for a side project, let alone gigs with headliners out of town or for corporate spots.  I’d like to have the motivation to refine the craft of stand up comedy and get better, but if nobody else is excited to come watch, or if no opportunities exist for paid spots (or non-open mic shows), then how am I supposed to get excited about comedy?  It used to be easy to get motivated when I first started working with my comedy coach, because I wanted to get better and knew I had potential to fulfill.  Now, I’m not sure what I have.  I have a radio show, with no opportunities in comedy otherwise.

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