What’s In Your Closet?

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My comedy coach told me something a few years ago that I remember but don’t fully put to use.  He said if you are trying new material, it’s best if you use your tried and true (audience tested) material at the start of your set, the new in the middle and the tried and true at the end.  The reason for this strategy is obvious.

The new material may not work out the way you anticipated, so you start with what works, that way you get the audience on your side early, and hopefully keep them there during your new stuff.  Then, if the new stuff falls flat, you at least can end on a positive note.

Every comic I know uses a notebook for their material.  You would think they would embrace technology and make life easier on themselves.  My coach introduced me to the world of Google Drive, and I have used it ever since.  I mean, why wouldn’t you have a digital copy of your stuff available at any time you need it?

I have looked back at my material I’ve written over the years, and there has been a lot.  Some stuff from the past could still work today, but because I have standards and don’t follow the rest of the sheep, I don’t do that material anymore.  I’m 46 years old.  Why would I want to do material about drinking, sex and weed?  It makes no sense, and for comics to focus the brunt of material on those topics is ignorant, lazy and short sighted, especially in today’s world where there are so many more topics to consider, that are more relevant and relatable to an audience.

I write more in a month than most guys would write in a year.  I should preface that by saying when I am motivated to write, there isn’t anybody that can crank out material quicker, thanks to the tools I have learned from my comedy coach.  But motivation these days is difficult to come by.

In life, we all do not get where we need to be on our own.  It just doesn’t happen that way, and those who tell you otherwise are being arrogant.  People say you create your own luck.  That’s garbage.  Everybody needs somebody, at least one person, to help them along.  Take a look at businessmen who are successful.  They needed that person at the bank to give them the loan they needed, or the customer that placed their first order to set the new company on its way.  You can’t tell me luck is singular.  Arrogance is definitely singular.

And you can’t really call it luck either.  It’s the people that have been lined up and ordained into your life to help you fulfill your destiny.  It is that simple.

The people that have my back and support me the most, ironically, aren’t other comics, lat least none here in the city.  My support comes from Los Angeles, as part of a private Facebook group for students of the comedy school, which I am proud to be associated with.  It’s support unlike here, it’s unequivocal, unwavering and always positive, harassment free.

So, with not much support in the city from other performers, it is hard to get motivated when you feel like there isn’t a demand or at least any level of interest for what you do.

For me, I need that light at the end of the tunnel, that something to cling to, working towards, whether it be a featured show or an opening at a comedy club.  That helps to keep me going, and I haven’t had any motivation for months now.  It is rather demoralizing, especially when the local comedy scene is supposedly growing.

Having said that, I know that I can take my act to the next level by taking the material, and turning it into conversations with the audience that are on another level.  A level where it’s no longer about me, but about the world around me and my take  on how I perceive others view what’s happened to me, or how I think others go through similar things that I do.  Did that make sense?  I’m trying to say that stuff that happens to me usually isn’t as difficult, littered with obstacles or as humorous or struggle filled like it would be for everyone else.

It’s like I am at a disadvantage, so my comedic journey on stage is trying to navigate through that and point out the differences between the interpretation of my journey and yours, to highlight the differences and hopefully get the audience on my side as a result, if it’s done properly.

It’s more that just being clean, and more than just doing Christian material.  I don’t know how or where it will come from, but lately I get the sense inside that I am close to breaking this thing wide open, and being the comic everyone wants to see, even the ones that other comedians on stage will say is tearing it up and they look forward to see.  I have a unique way of looking at things, and that comes from the unique topics I write about.

My stuff deals with things other comics don’t talk about, they are topics that you don’t hear comedians talk about.  As a kid, I always enjoyed telling people things they didn’t know.  Not to show them how smart I am, but to engage them in a conversation about something different.  Every conversation is an opportunity to learn, if you allow it.

I have tons of material, pages and pages, a few dozen at least, to work through.  But, that requires writing them out longhand first, then editing them.  That takes time.  Since I feel so lonely all the time, maybe it’s a great way to get my mind off of that?

I may be the most multi-faceted comic in Canada, if I put my mind to it.  I have Carnac, the Christian material, and now the possibility of a retail themed stand up set, based upon thoughts and observations of working in retail.  Everyone at one point in their lives has worked retail, or minimum wage at a fast food joint.  If I ever wanted to be relatable to the entire audience, all the time, maybe this is the way to do it.

I know I am better than people believe, or want to give me credit for.  I know that what I have to offer can have me in demand as a paid performer.  But when the confidence is low, it’s difficult to create demand for yourself, or to believe you are worth it.  All I know is, I cannot do that (creating demand and opportunity) on my own.  Nobody can.  I will need somebody to step up and help, but nobody has offered to lend a hand in a couple of years.

During today’s sermon at church, we were told that anything we are pursuing, God gave us the ability to go ahead and pursue what is inside of us.  I feel as if I have come too far to stop, especially when nobody, and I mean nobody, believes I am close to figuring this comedy thing out and rise higher than anybody.

Until that time comes to fruition, it’s loneliness, self-doubt, and struggle that will consume my time.  I just need to find the motivation to write, to create, to know that I have something that people will want to see.

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