The Tale Of Two……..

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I have the complete series of the Sopranos on DVD, except Season 6 Part 2.  Some people like to call it binge watching, but to me, it’s called catching up on something I have never completed.

The Sopranos set the stage for all these HBO and Netflix series that grace the airwaves.  The Sopranos, unlike most of these shows now on streaming services, always cleaned up at the industry award shows.  The acting is riveting, unlike anything you see on t.v. today.

The show covers many different themes such as relationships, cheating, religion, family, psychiatry, raising a family, loyalty, respect, leadership.  I am not saying the lessons learned are all good, but the show does cover many different sides to Tony Soprano’s life.

The one thing that ties into the comedy world is how Tony’s character lives two different lives, and the lengths he will go to protect, and keep those lives separate.

If you look at the show, he has his mob life and everything that encompasses it.  He also has his other family that consists of a marriage, two teenage kids and a beautiful home.  His mafia family is most important, and everything comes before it.  His mafia family knows about his marital strife, his kids and general stresses from everyday life.  His real family, on the other hand, knows generalities about his daily work life and they seem content to keep it that way.  Sometimes they say that ignorance is bliss, and given his “work” provides for his families lifestyle, it’s something they accept.

It isn’t that he takes his natural (marriage, kids) family for granted, but his Mafioso family takes precedence because that is what was passed down from generation to generation.  It seems like Tony adjusts his personality, mannerisms and leadership style between his two “families”, as each one requires different skill sets of Tony’s to come to the forefront.

I’ve been doing comedy for almost ten years, and have come to realize that the comedy world is a lot like Tony Soprano.

A comic on stage wants your attention, your love and your laughs.  But they can’t get the laughs without first commanding your attention!

The comic can be self deprecating, charming, insightful and vulnerable.  All eyes are on the performer.

When the spotlight is turned off and the audiences head home, then what happens?  Who does that comedian become?  In many cases the real life that the comic goes home to becomes more exaggerated, with the stresses becoming larger and small things getting overblown or over-analyzed, often at the expense of the relationships the comic holds dearest.

Granted, it’s been a few weeks since I have been on stage, and months upon months since I have done a meaningful show.  Once the audience goes home, I used to have that feeling of making the walk of shame, akin to tucking the tail between your legs and trying not to make a scene while leaving.  I go home to a place in a sketchy neighbourhood for cheap rent, by myself.  Despite my best efforts, or any effort at all, my life is not well managed.  On a scale from 1 – 10, I am operating around anywhere from a 4 to a 6 on the best days. Personal issues and mismanagement in key areas accentuates the loneliness and lack of career progression.

My ex-girlfriend, close friends and fellow comics have seen the two sides of me.  For as much as I get on other comics for having two distinct personalities, I do the exact same thing.  The only difference is, mine doesn’t….no, I can’t even say that.  It’s something that lots of comics around these parts possess, including myself.  Maybe it’s because we haven’t made it yet and work hard to protect our individual brands.

I would like to say the difference between myself and other comics lies in the fact I’m not very successful in terms of a career or having the basic material things like a car, RRSP, etc.  If I turn into an arrogant jackass or become very quiet or snippy, it’s because I am not trying to have the missteps and failures of my personal life affect my outlook or performance in comedy.

I will admit that I have fallen short in those regards.  At least I am big enough to admit it.

My ex-girlfriend saw firsthand how seriously I take comedy and how protective I am of what I do.  It turned me into a first rate jackass, and Nicki certainly deserved better.  Against her better judgement she stuck with me a lot longer than I thought she would.

I am lucky in the sense that I have an abundance of role models at Faith Alive Family church that are there to guide me and mentor me in the right ways to do things.  Everywhere I look there are many examples of people that have successful, happy and healthy relationships.  When you are around that many positive examples week after week, it’s difficult, if not impossible to not have those examples rub off on you, that is, when you have the opportunity to put into practice what you learn.  Which in my case, has almost been never.

Nobody from church has ever seen my act.  Maybe that’s a good thing.  First of all, the shows are in bars or pubs, so I understand what would keep them away to begin with.  But the bigger question becomes how would I act around them?  Would I be the same version of the impatient, tensed up, never satisfied comic?  Or would I be the regular Trevor who just happens to do stand up comedy as a fun hobby?

The longer I get into this, the more followers I get, usually the private type that don’t make their interest public on social media.  For example, on my YouTube account, I only used to have 4 subscribers, among them Canadian singer Amanda Marshall.  Suddenly I have 15.  I am sure a good chunk of them are ones that want to see me fail.  It’s been that way from the beginning.  I’ve always been the easy target of the local comedy community, though the online hate coming from anonymous comments sent to my blog posts are almost non existent.

The only way for me to really tell if I have grown out of these two personalities is to get on stage with a paid spot or in a competition, which means going back to Oakland.  I would rather go with somebody, but I doubt that will come to fruition.  It’s only in the big moments where your true self comes out, when you find out what you’re made of, both good and bad.  After almost ten years of doing this, it doesn’t get any easier and it hasn’t been any more fun either.

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