Nice Mole, Dick Face.
Today is the end of my 3rd year doing comedy. 3 year anniversary. However you want to put it. The point is my brother still won’t take down this stupid video of my first time. My brilliant mind had the best and most common first joke for a guy. “I hope this goes better than the last first time I had.” I remember thinking it was clever because I knew people would think I was talking about sex, but I was actually talking about my first day in high school. I had written in applause breaks. lol. Who does that?
I remember actually almost exactly 2 years ago (crazy how these things feel like an eternity ago) there was a big concert with Bill Burr, Jeff Garlin, Kyle Cease and Nick Thune. I somehow managed to get myself backstage to meet Bill who was and still is my favorite comedian. I remember I was pretty good friends with Kyle Cease at the time. (this is Pre Bootcamp. I should note. I still think he’s funny and a great guy. He did help me out a lot when I was young. but it’s only fair to mention I think he did go off the deep end a little bit and sort of lost his way with how he handled all the criticism, but regardless, I think he always had good intentions. I’m sorry, I’m getting off track.) Kyle introduced me to Bill and said “This is Andrew, he’s a Seattle comic, and he’s gonna be a big star one day.” (that was the kind of crazy confidence, and the small things I really liked. Even though it’s a little retarded and he probably said that about everybody.) Bill said “Oh you’re a local guy huh? So do you work for ‘Crazy Terry?'” We all laughed and I said “I used to but we’ve gone our seperate ways.” and then we changed topics.
Actually, I think they went back to what they were talking about before I walked in which was comedians and the youtube era. Bill was explaining that because every comedian has a camera and a youtube account and it’s so easy. He can instantly upload the video and think he’s gonna get famous when in reality you’re just exposing yourself to people way before you’re ready. People are ruthlessly insulting on the internet because it’s anonymous. If you don’t believe me. Just post a youtube video of yourself.
“I can’t imagine having to deal with that if I was starting out. People posting their five minutes. People commenting on it. I would have quit. I didn’t have thick skin like that. If you watch Robert DiNero’s first acting reel, you’re not gonna be like ‘This guy is GREAT!’ you’re gonna be like ‘Nice Mole, Dickface.'”
The thing about starting comedy is you’re never as good as you think you are. Not your first time, not 3 years in, not 13 years in. (If you’re good) You’ll always look back and think it was terrible and see all your mistakes.
So here’s the part where I talk about how good I’m getting: Things have been consistently good for a while now. I would guess 90% of sets go well. I know what I’m doing. I am excelling at conquering my fear before I get on stage right before bigger shows. Not necessarily the big theaters, but also new places get me nervous, managers watching, Kansas makes me nervous. I feel like people who have different lives won’t understand me or something. Jokes are jokes though. As long as people listen and want to laugh, I’ll get them. Which brings me to my next point. Listening is important.
I am starting to struggle with tougher rooms and each time I care a little bit less. Which is odd, because I used to feel really comfortable in any room and I want to be able to do any show. I used to feel like I did pretty good in those rooms too. So either I was delusional and I wasn’t as good as I thought or I’ve lost my touch. The answer is probably both. I’ve been doing better gigs but some of the crappy gigs have probably turned into good gigs now that I’m better at them. Some of them have stayed crappy gigs and I’m just more aware of how bad I’m doing or my standards are going up for what determines a good set. Comedy is weird, I can be having a pretty good show and if one table isn’t really happy. I’m annoyed. I expect myself to do really well at every show and am not happy unless I do. I know I talk about young guy things (MY PENIS) but I still tend to do well with older audiences. I remember a show in minneapolis where a table full of young people were laughing so much harder than everyone else. The rest of the room was down with it. but there was one table up front of two older ladies and one just had her arms crossed. I kept asking her why she hated me and she kept saying she was enjoying it. I was like “well act like it then.” and messing around with her made her laugh and she started to enjoy the show a little more because I would make fun of my parents and then I would turn to her and make a remark about this is probably how her kids feel too and she would laugh. I had a set in Indianapolis where I was crushing and in the middle I did a brand new joke and it didn’t do well. In my memory the rest of the show turned and the tape was ruined. I watched the tape. The joke still ate it, but the rest of the show was just as good as the start of it. Weird things like that get in my head. Sometimes it’s important to remember to enjoy it.
Anyway, reflecting back, that video is terrible. I don’t know why I thought I was great. It’s important that I did because otherwise I wouldn’t have kept going. The difference between me and a random youtube observer is that I look back and see my own potential. I still think a few of the joke ideas were funny. Especially being a comedian and seeing many other first times that are a million times worse. I knew how to write a joke (actually – that’s still questionable.) I had some sort of comedy instincts. I sort of knew what I was doing. The only problem is that I was never outgoing. I was never the main guy at a party, I didn’t like people, I didn’t mind talking in front of people, but I was still nervous in school. So to go from a shy kid who is so anti establishment and doesn’t care about what you think so much that I’m going to do the opposite of whatever you like. To becoming a guy dependent on what you think of me. It’s a rapid change.
Anyway. This blog isn’t that funny and I’m just rambling about my feelings again but my dad wants me to write every day. So the quality is inevitably going to go down. I think it’s just his way of talking. He wants to know what goes on in my head because I’m very quiet and don’t tell them much. but he’s afraid of the real conversations. lol. So he just says I should blog more so he can read it and confirm his suspicions that the business is turning me into a crazy hermit. It’s just a hard business to explain to people not in the business every day. People are always trying to tell you how you should do things. It’s like relax. I got this. I’ve done pretty well for a 3 year comic. I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I have a better idea than you do. lol. It’s not like I don’t take advice. I have a whole book proving that I’ll at least listen to everything someone wants to offer up.
That’s kind of a lie. I do know almost exactly what I’m doing but not enough to be able to explain it to anybody else. I don’t know that I could start over and get here again. I hope I could. I just kind of work hard and take it day by day and keep an eye on the big picture. I kind of trust that different opportunities are going to open up and if it’s in the stars for me to use them, I will. I know that if I work really hard and am kind to everybody I meet amazing things will just happen. It’s been proven so far. Granted I’ve worked really hard and will continue to work hard. I have to work hard otherwise those opportunities will go to other people or I’ll get the opportunity and nothing will come from it. It’s not like I just perform and sit back every day waiting for fame to come get me. I have to put myself in positions to be in front of new bookers and new comics and new clubs and new audiences. I have to continually improve. I still send out emails every day. I’ve driven across the country and stopped by and done guest sets and open mics and proven that I’m willing to make no money. but a lot of it is a little bit lucky. That’s what even some of the best comics say, which is why it’s so hard to explain to someone who doesn’t understand. I do everything in my power to get good and make certain things happen and then hope other things happen. How are you supposed to tell a new comic “Work really really hard and then hope something happens.” I think that means no matter what I do nothing will change.
How am I supposed to explain that my path is one someone could follow. Here’s the deal: Get laid off. Collect unemployment for 2 years. Live with your girlfriend for about a year. Drag her out to every open mic possible after she gets done with her 9 to 5 corporate job. Make her pay $5 cover to watch you make fun of her. Live in shitty houses you find on craigslist for $400 a month. Drive your car till it breaks. Have wealthy supportive parents that can push you and support you and give you a small leg up when you start. Just enough to make other comics hate you and some comics want to help you because the other comics hate you. Then open a room where you pay comics so your name gets passed around and you get introduced to working comics way before you normally would have. Make friends with a couple of the really nice successful ones who have the same work ethic as you. Become best friends with a kid who eventually is going to open his own successful comedy club so you can work a lot locally and get free meals and cool opportunities. Also make friends with a guy who gets a job at T-mobile and gets you a $200 phone bill for the year. That’s important. You’re going to need to save money everywhere possible.
Also, hate yourself just enough to never be satisfied. Make sure your brother starts his own company and becomes successful. That way you can constantly feel like the failure of the family and you better step it up. I know I’m not the only one who has had luck along the way. Luck is a big part of it, but also knowing how to take that luck and knowing enough to not fuck it up. But also think if I slipped up one thing along the way. If I was awful and was a dick to people with my room. If I don’t hit it off with Susan or I dismiss Adam as some weird kid. Or if I listened That whole train of connections disappears and I’m just another 3rd year open micer who has no idea how to get paid.
That’s kind of been a theme for my dating life too. If you wanna get into some of those crazy stories. I was seeing a hooters waitress who was way hot, things were going pretty well. I was supposed to meet susan for a show up north in oak harbor and we were all gonna ride together. The girls got to the car. I got stuck in traffic on I-90 behind an accident for an hour. They had to go to the show without me. The girl and I never were the same. She’s now pregnant with her boyfriend of 1 year. I’m not saying it could’ve been my kid but who knows where the relationship would’ve been if we spent the next two hours in the backseat of susan’s car and she saw me at a really cool show. and another 2 hours driving home. instead of texting me the whole time. Near misses. I met a girl online recently who I could tell was … desperate? … let’s just say in a hurry to fall in love. She was a nice enough girl and we hung out and had a good first connection. We were supposed to hang out again one night. She got lost taking some friend home that night and didn’t text me until I was already heading home thinking she blew me off. The next day I was supposed to call her. I waited too long trying to play it cool and we never linked up. A few days later I left for a 6 week trip in the midwest. She just updated her facebook status to “in a relationship.” I’ll tell you what though. I’ll take every missed opportunity with my love life over missed opportunities with my comedy career.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Otherwise the self hatred and continual disappointment we feel that usually helps us keep improving ourselves. (One day we’ll show them.) Will eventually cause us to self destruct into drugs or alcohol or pizza. (He called me a dickface!)