I’ve been too busy with work, shows, birthdays, and avoiding my blog to update much recently. Luckily for those of you with time to kill, here’s some more of my neural vomit. Since I’ve been back in Boston, a lot of comics have asked when they’ll be ready to take their Scruff-McGruff-like bite outta the Big Apple. The honest answer for most is probably never. The response I’ve been giving is, “Go when you’re ready to get onstage and write every day.”
Most aspiring comedians around here get wierded out by the idea of writing every day. The concept of working hard at jokes. There are great comics who don’t write every day. However, they get onstage 3+ hours a week and work out stuff without putting pen to paper, fingers to keys, or blood to dried virgin-skin parchment. But they still write every day. Talking out jokes or even exploring them in your head is writing. It’s like doing math without showing your work. My view, is I’ve been doing stand up for 3 to 5 years (depending upon how you define “doing,” and how funny my last show was). Virtually everyone I’m “competing” for stage time with is funnier, more experienced, and able to actually practice stand up more minutes per week than I can. The only way I’ll be able to compete is by digging deep, writing a ton, and hopefully coming up with unique premises that I’m passionate about (most importantly), and audiences will find interesting (necessarily).
There’s a lot of boring, “Hey! One time some stranger/person-I-know misspoke slightly! What if that idiot’s verbal slip came true!?” And the joke is just a weird idea that has no relevance to the comic or the audience. I’m not saying comedians shouldn’t do that type of humor, since I know all of comedy waits with bated breath for my despotic joke verdicts, but it’s so boring and easy.
I like humor that’s either silly, or expands my perception of the things I take for granted. Everyone will agree that a stupid thing is stupid. It’s much more interesting when someone proves a “good” thing is stupid, or that a “stupid” thing is good. I love Nate Bargatze, partially because he’s hysterical WHILE being a conservative comic in New York. Even if I don’t agree with him, it’s fun to hear that perspective. That was big for me to realize. To see, “Oh, some of my premises are way overdone. I need to pay more attention to these other ones.”
A big part of any performance art is passion. Emoting that you care about what you’re talking about. Ideally because you actually do care about it, but at least that you can fake it enough to convince people. That’s where I’m trying to get to. To a point where I have jokes I want to tell again and again because I believe in them. I have a lot of things I think are clever. Not every clever thing is funny. I used to care that I worked at Bertucci’s. The jokes I did about it were funny then. I don’t care anymore. In retrospect, I feel stupid saying, “Hey, here’s what’s hard about having a job! Like homeless people are gonna hear it and go, “Glad I don’t have to deal with co-workers!” I don’t want my stand up to be relatable only to the privileged. At the same time, I view the world through obvious, priviledged-colored glasses. It’s pretty great.