Red Sox season is over, which means finally more comedy shows! I’m trying to get as much booking done as possible so I can go back to working exclusively on my act. I’ve had a hard time feeling funny/coming up with jokes since I first went to New York back in July. I see how good so many people are there. You see enough jokes and it’s like everything I start writing, in my brain, I go, “That’s hack, that’s terrible.” Sunday I finally took a mental health day and just stayed in bed until my very fun show at ImprovBoston. I didn’t try to write, or think about writing, and it really helped. I sorta did the same thing in baseball, where I would compulsively work out for fear that I’d reget it if I didn’t put in that little extra. I ended up injuring myself from not giving my body enough rest.
I feel like so much of my work ethic stems from fear. Maybe that’s what work ethic is. I did well in school because I enjoyed it, but also because I hated my hometown at the time, and thought I’d get to college, which would finally solve all my problems. Then in college, under the false assumption that anyone can do anything if they work hard enough, I put all my energy towards being a professional pitcher and injured myself. Now I’d say for about 2 years straight I’ve been writing virtually every day, and when you first start doing it, you see a ton of improvement, then it tapers off and it seems like you suck because you’re still improving, but not at the rapid rate you were when you made that significant change.
It’s very reminiscent of what I learned about working out. When you first start, you see results quickly, because you’re body is rapidly reorganizing to deal with this new environmental stress. Then the results become significantly less rapid, because your body has adjusted to the routine. Then your brain and your body usually become bored, which is when a lot of people stop working out. The ideal approach to muscle growth is, right after the peak of the initial cycle of improvement, to change your workout completely until the peak of the next cycle and repeat. Of course, as creatures of habit, we resist this too, but it’s ideal.
Brain tissue growth is somewhat similiar. You change your comedy habits in a helpful way, you see significant growth, and then you have to change them again to make it seem fresh and new. I honestly don’t know if I love comedy. I’m not sure I even understand the concept of love, really. Much like platinum artist Foreigner, I want to know what love is. What I do know, is I really enjoy most of the people who write and tell jokes. People who aren’t afraid to admit they’re sad sometimes. People who want the world to be fun, and would rather have a pun-off than make money (I’m learning making puns and making money may be mutually exclusive).
One of the things I think about in New York is the immersion in stand up. I sometimes wonder if comedy is like French. You can study it and practice it all you want here in America, but you’ll learn the fastest if you go live in France. If you’re trying to learn the language of comedy, is it best to do so in New York? Then again, say you learn French in Boston, it may take longer, but then you don’t end up talking about the same experiences that most of the French do. So instead you do what I’m doing, and take the Fung Wah Bus back and forth between Boston and France, hoping to get the best of both, but then lose valuable writing time trying to coordinate everything, and end up spending an entire Sunday lying in bed watching Mr. Show episodes in between attempting to meditate and make your thoughts stop racing for a few moments. You get the point. Who knows, perhaps all I need is rest.