Live Fast, Die Young
Tired from driving again, but I’ll try to get this one out. This is a different kind of road work. I’m in a different city every night. This is the road that will take a little bit out of you at every stop and at the end of the week you’re so excited to be home. An older woman came up to me after my show tonight, pretty drunk, and said that I “wasn’t that funny yet, but likeable.” – I played along and said “that’s what I’m going for, thank you.” The headliner kinda giggled and excused himself. If you’re a comedian you’re used to getting the worst compliments. You can go from having the best shows of your life the last weekend in front of 200 chelsea lately fans and having an executive and head writer for the TV show tell you great job all weekend, to performing for 30 Mildly interested people in a bar in the Tri Cities. They chuckle along with your jokes and clap at a few things and you survive. People say things like “Good Potential” or “Keep it up” and I want to smack them or yell at them.
I did that recently during a show. I was bombing the day after I killed in the same venue. I had enough with what the audience thought was funny. I was making stupid jokes with crowd members and those were killing but some of my best jokes were literally getting silence. I think I had 3 years of pent up rage. So I started making fun of the fact that they thought that was funny and making fun of myself for not being funny and made fun of one specific woman for being dumb. They dug it and the fact that those jokes made them laugh made me even more frustrated. Except one woman who complained. I felt stupid for letting it get to me, but usually even when you bomb there’s SOMETHING. It’s never people staring at you like you walked into their living room and started telling jokes. YOU CAME TO A BUILDING THAT SAYS COMEDY! Anyway, I’m not banned, I basically got my return dates cancelled and told “call me next year”. Live and learn. Some guy after that nightmare show came up and said “Good Improv.” I wanted to be like “Go fuck yourself!” haha but I guess I got it all out on stage.
Anyway. So this chick comes up to me. Says I’m terrible at comedy and then tries to sort of … flirts with me. Maybe I’m presumptuous. I kinda think every girl wants me to begin with. but I trust my instincts lately especially that when I get a vibe I could totally get this if I wanted to play along. but she wasn’t cute and she was older and she just insulted everything I’ve worked for 3 years on. So no, I’m not going to even pretend to be interested in the advice you have for my career. She told me I should find more relate able topics and told me about how she’s clinically depressed and has a deadline at work to file for medical leave and HR was giving her trouble and I should do a joke about that. Clinical depression! HILARIOUS. She’s not that out of line. I spent the first 2 years trying to appeal to every audience. but those jokes weren’t Andrew Rivers specific. The struggle now is to take Andrew and make THAT something everyone can get. The voice that makes everything about Andrew Rivers funny. It’s not that she’s wrong about pleasing people, it’s impossible to explain. Let’s try.
You have to carve out the audience that’s gonna be yours. Someone once said, always make sure to have fun on stage because that way even if the audience doesn’t, someone does. I think that the more you pander and try to play it safe. You’re still not going to have great sets 100% of the time. You’re still going to have bad sets and then nobodies having fun. Plus – other comics aren’t going to like you. You’re going to stop working a lot and you’ll be on a cruise ship in no time. Regardless of what you think of your peers. It’s a small circle of comics working and doing what you want to be doing. Other comics can make or break you in certain clubs or towns. Other comics books rooms, and can recommend you in rooms. That’s how the game works. Word of mouth. If you can find a way to reach everybody, not offend anyone and still be you. Go for it. There’s only one Brian Regan though. Imagine how many tried before him. That’s not to say that I do jokes that bomb every night. I try to make the jokes that make me laugh as broad and funny enough to relate to everyone who I might encounter, but some people just might hit the target demographic better.
Here’s Louis Ck (arguably the greatest comedian working) trying to explain to his kids about “Boat Acts”
I know. For MY blog, I sure post a lot of other people’s jokes. This isn’t me on stage claiming I wrote anything or promising it’s gonna be me being hilarious. It’s all properly credited, this is a discussion of life. Back to the story. (funny how I am my own worst critic. See what I mean? Im heckling myself on my own blog. “STOP POSTING LOUIS CK VIDEOS DIPSHIT!” and then I feel the need to explain to my 2 readers. My dad and Adam’s mom. lol.)
Rappers are a good example of pandering. You’re not being yourself. Stop it. There’s a rapper, his name is “Rick Ross” named after a notorious Drug Dealer “Freeway Ricky Ross”. Google it. By the way, there’s also a rapper named “Freeway” but he’s much more down to earth and while he still talks about drugs, does it without trying to pretend at least in my opinion. Rick Ross was outed a few years ago as once working for a correctional facility and almost proven to have no connections to any gangs he supposedly represents. He denied the accusations for a while, then pictures of him in a cop uniform showed up (the internet knows all.) and he eventually admitted it but said “how do you think I made my connections.” Which is only an acceptable answer if you don’t have to think of it while you’re backed into a corner. It’s all about confidence. He puts up this ghetto self made millionaire image and background story and raps about it but he never lived it. That’s gotta be killing him inside.
I mean, I’m sure he’s sleeping fine with his big house and cars. Rick Ross is also like 300 or 400 pounds. He’s a big guy. He’s a talented rapper and pretty good at creating an image that people will eat up. He seems pretty successful. He put out a song called “Live Fast, Die Young.” – He almost did. He had a seizure while on his private jet. They landed took him to the hospital, he said he was fine, got back on his jet and had another seizure. They made him stay in the hospital that time. The day after his seizure he took his private jet to a wing stop restaurant.
“When I heard Rick Ross made another emergency landing. I thought he was stage diving at his concert. #prayforrickross” –@andrewjrivers
“Rick Ross had ANOTHER seizure? At this rate he’s going to be the @50cent of seizures. #getskinnyordietrying” –@andrewjrivers
Now I don’t think he’s put out any new music since then, but he went on tv talking about how he wanted to start being healthier and set an example for the kids. Which is the right thing to say on TV. We’ll see if there’s any sort of revelation in his music. It’s never too late to start going in the right direction. Or is it? That’s the gangster mentality. You knowingly engage in activities that aren’t good for you, understand the consequences. You go to jail for selling drugs, you don’t sell out your buddies for a lighter sentence because all of a sudden you don’t like the idea of prison. Rick Ross knows that, not because he’s a gangster, but because he’s worked in prison. It’s an interesting concept to think about. How many chances do people deserve? You rip on a lady in the audience, you learn from it or you stop working as a comedian. There’s so many examples we can work with. It would be fun to explore more. Maybe I’ll come back to this one.