My 100 Month Review

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I was living at mom and dads at the time, unemployed, yet again.  I was 38 years old, and my stuff was in a storage unit that my parents paid for.  I had just started sessions with my life coach a couple months before, and would then come home to being treated like a kid instead of an adult.  Instead of being supportive and encouraging, the opposite occurred.

Some of you know the story, but for those who don’t, I attended a comedy show on the east side and afterwards, a light went on.  I told myself that I had the God given skills and ability to at least try stand up comedy.  Thinking I would be successful never entered the picture, as I was convinced that I could at least try and maybe have fun with it.

I can’t remember if I had a car back then.  No wait, I did.  I just never had gas money.  I attended a united church and was part of the choir, but not really getting anything out of it.  I still was into karaoke and considered going back into the world of provincial politics with the writ for the 2011 election soon to be dropped.  I decided to enter the world of stand-up instead.

The local comedy scene today has changed dramatically since I first started over eight years ago.  In some ways it’s better, and in some ways it isn’t, but overall it has more positives than negatives.  Today there are a couple dozen comics with multiple rooms on multiple nights to hit up an open mic or a paid show.  Everyone appears to get along, from what I can tell.

When I first started, well, everyone knows the story about how much fun it wasn’t.  I didn’t trust any of the local comics back then and for good reason.  Fast forward to the present, and there are a few that I kinda trust, and a few that I would call friends.  There are even one or two that would have my back when the going gets tough.

Yes, the first one hundred months have seen more twists and turns than all of the local comics put together.

When I first started, my parents said I couldn’t get a key for the house and I would be locked out when I got home after the show.  They said I was going to embarrass myself and I wanted to be a big show off.

I started comedy and finished 6th the night there was a competition for newcomers.  From there, my friends always showed up (they don’t anymore) and sometimes my friends were the audience for the comics.  I wasn’t great at the start, and the friends who came out couldn’t be honest with me about how I was doing, but the other comics were and took the liberty of getting on stage and social media to trash me.  I was bullied and wasn’t welcome to perform with the local comics for a while.  I then found a comedy coach who helped me get better instantly and shocked the world in the process.

The night back after getting coaching, I had the best set of the night and made new enemies in the process.  People weren’t liking the idea that I had professional help to have me get better.  I now know that the people who are against coaching are basically saying we don’t want you to get better because you will make us look bad.

Then a series of events happened that caused me to not perform in Saskatoon for 18 months out of fear for my safety, so I went to Regina on a Saturday night to get 5 minutes of stage time, then drive home that night.  I also did some fundraisers in Regina as well.  Then, my coach told me I had the ability to be an opener at the pro club here in the city.  I called the booker, and after simply having a conversation telling them my story, they offered me a weekend of hosting without knowing who I was.  The girl I was seeing at the time brought me a cake to my workplace at the time to celebrate, and brought out her family and friends to watch and support me.

I started getting a bit better after that, but became a major league asshole in the process.  I ordered my then girlfriend to sit in the very back where I couldn’t see her, and treated her like an idiot when it came to aspects of the comedy world.  She left, and I then had an idea for a character to be birthed, and Carnac was born.

Carnac was the original character developed by Johnny Carson, but mine was a variation of it in name and material.  I wasn’t breaking any copyright laws nor doing anything illegal, yet I got hate mail after I debuted the character at the pro comedy club.  The MC on stage said that’s the best five minutes we’ve ever had on this stage.  It went well.  My friend bought two tables worth of tickets for the show for his employees, and he got an overwhelmingly positive reception towards my character and the show overall.

Oh wait, back that up.  While I still had my girlfriend, I did another opening gig at the pro club, and it was a Friday and Saturday gig.  Friday night I ate it hardcore.  Saturday night I convinced the booker to put a local guy on the show, who later turned out to be a lazy and dishonest joke thief.  That night I got the idea to day drink and showed up to the show half cranked after a half bottle of Krakken black spiced rum (for the record, I do not recommend it, most disgusting stuff to get drunk on, the fact my brother bought it for me just shows his intelligence).  I lost the next gig as a result and it took a couple of years for me to get back to the pro stage.

Then, I found an online open mic which local comics around here were scared to do, so I did it.  It was based out of L.A. and lots of fun.

Then, I decided to take a trip to California while I was unemployed.  I mean, it’s not like I had to book time off.  So, I went down to Los Angeles.  I took in a Dodger baseball game a couple days after my birthday, then the following day I took the rental car and drove 5.5 hours to Oakland for their weekly comedy competition, again, being the first and only one in the local scene to break new ground.  I was scared, alone and not very confident and it showed.  I was eliminated by a close vote in the first round, and drove back to L.A. not having made a dime.

I then went back to the stage and did more open mics.  I should also mention that I was staying at the Salvation Army for a six month stretch within the first couple years I did comedy.  It was a better option than staying at my parents house, even though mom and dad still had to pay the $80/week rent for me to stay at the Sally Ann.  So, I was going to church at that time, broke, doing comedy, still being bullied and applying for jobs for months without getting anything.

I then alternated between performing and taking time away from the stage.  Sometimes when your life isn’t going great, it doesn’t make sense to get out of bed to try.  Then when the local community isn’t worth hanging around some days, it just reinforces my desire to stay in bed and do nothing.

All this time I was praying, hoping for and believing that one day I would be able to do something on a large scale that nobody else would do.  Something with enough of an impact where other local comics would want to be a part of it.  Then, the radio show fell into my lap, and here we are.  (just for the record, the majority of local comics do not contact me wishing to come on the show, as I usually have to harass them first….but once they are on the show they see how much fun it is).

Now, as I write this I am in a stable position in life for the first time in years.  I have a job that I passed probation at, with ease surrounded by great co-workers.  I don’t have a vehicle and the job has left me with hip troubles and tendinitis in my left elbow.  I live payday to payday but my rent is paid and so are my bills, with food in the fridge.  I attend a great church surrounded by mentors and friends, and am the only one in these parts that is part of a supportive comedy community comprised of students from the comedy school in Los Angeles.

Now with the comedy scene here growing and my inactivity in it, it makes it seem like I’m being left farther and farther behind compared to the early days of my comedy journey.  I spend several hours a week on the radio show and between work and the show, I have little energy or motivation to do anything else.  I’m also single, alone and don’t get the chance to sit down with my mentors like I should (take a hint, make time for others).  And, my employer doesn’t seem to understand the importance of attending church as they seem to make me work most Sundays, which is what happens when you have managers that aren’t Christian, I suppose.  But I do have a bingo addiction that I quite enjoy, even though it’s one I always do by myself, which sucks.

I have taken time away from the local scene at times because I’ve struggled with consistency on stage, and because life gets in the way and negative thoughts of hopelessness and unbelief dominate.  Now, if I was funnier and had fun on stage then even if life sucks I would still go to the open mics.  But because I don’t get asked to appear on shows, I have the belief that I’m not wanted, even if that belief is manufactured in my own head without any substance.

I have only appeared on stage twice in the last six months and it’s been months since I was at a local open mic.  I haven’t been around since the show really got established, so I do not know what kind of a reception, if any, that I would receive upon my return.  Part of me knows that the show is finally starting to appear on peoples radar, yet at the same time, another part of me says that nobody really cares enough to pay attention, because if they did there would be more social media chatter about it.  But, that’s the way I have been.  I feel like you could have a bunch of local comics all post the same thing promoting an upcoming show, and I would be the only one that gets little, if any, social media chatter, comments, likes or texts.  Maybe people think I will write about them if they did?  I couldn’t tell ya.  All I know is after 100 months the excitement or buzz surrounding me has pretty much died.  Nobody I know ever asks about it, which fills me with such confidence and hope (not….I am being sarcastic).

There is also a video blog called The Stand Up Diaries that’s done by a Toronto female comic, but she has only had hers for a couple years.  Mine has been over eight years and 350+ posts, with a global audience of over 43,000 in over 110 countries.

You could take every local comics backstory and combine them, and they would not equal my story for drama, excitement, buffoonery, stupidity, mistakes, failure, perseverance and moments where you scratch your head and wonder what just happened, in a good way.

I wish I could tell you what the next 100 months will hold in my comedy journey, if it even lasts that long.  I’ve been able to speak some things into existence with my comedy journey, I just need to keep that mindset as I write new material and reinvent myself, comedically speaking.  It’s a new direction I am going in, a shift of perspective, I guess you could say.  It will take a few months to get all the new material together, so for the time being, when I get back to the open mics I will be doing old material.

Comedy is really a grind.  All I would like to see happen is to have more support from people, get some of you to come out to a show and be available to mentor me.  Life is too short and sometimes you have to look outside of yourselves to see that there are others who need your wisdom and guidance.  Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for any of us.  Do not take your life for granted.  Make a difference in somebody else’s before it’s too late.

Happy 100, Trevor Dean.  Or is it?

 

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