Thursday, January 03, 2008


Happy New Year.
Sometimes, for no reason that I can put into words, I will go on line to check the weather in the Montana town the X now lives in. The worse the weather is the more I smile. What is that? Pettiness? Perhaps.
New Years has such a built in mind fuck to it. We change the calendar and suddenly we all think about where we were last year and what we want to do this New year. So thats what I did. I thought about being with her last year and thinking how good it felt that things had been settled and we were moving forward with our plans to have a life together.
None of that happened.
I spent last year mourning the loss of that life. I say mourning but in reality I was sleep walking last year. Good things happened too. I got to go to Japan and tell jokes to our troops. I got to go to New York and film a short set for Comedy Central. But in each of those instances, I felt so alone.
That sucked.
Even alone a man should be able to enjoy his accomplishments.
2008 will be an interesting year to be alive in for all of us. The nation will elect a new president after 8 years of this born again nut job using white out on the Constitution while he continues a plan in Iraq that so far has only benefited his oil company pals.
I will turn 40 years old too. Not a big deal to the rest of the world, but it's a pretty big deal to me.
To tell you the truth I'm not sure. But I know this. I know 40 is a number you can't do anything with to make it seem smaller. There are no mind tricks you can play on yourself either. 40 might be the new 30, but it sure as hell is not 20 anymore. 40 also seems like a time when an adult settles into whatever it is they are doing with their life. So what am I doing with my life?
I am a stand-up comic. Something I take a great deal of pride in. Something I love very much. But I gotta tell you, after 16 years of being a comic and not having achieved some of the things I see people who have been doing this for 3 years get, I have to take another look at what I am doing. And maybe, maybe the answer is as simple as throwing in the towel. I don't know. I know that as much as I love being on stage, it doesn't matter. I don't say that in a poor me sort of way, I say that in acknowledgement of a industry where fame is not an indicator of talent.
2008 is my farewell tour.
2008 is my victory lap.
2008 is going to be my last year in comedy.
I think.
I sent a bulletin out on Myspace with words to that affect. I was amazed at the amount of responses it got. Amazed too at the kind words people had for me and their insistence that I do not quit just yet.
It is all very kind but the truth is I am also tired. Tired of the I.R.S. jumping on my tax return every year. If churches don't have to pay taxes then I don't think comics should either. We bring joy and understanding to people too. It's pretty easy for those ministers who preach that God wants you to have wealth when they don't have to pay any taxes. Seriously, why rake me over the coals for another two grand when 12 billion dollars of 100 hundred dollar bills were shipped to Iraq and no one knows where that money went. Go after those guys. Not the little guy telling jokes to a nation weary of such incredible news.
I am tired of dealing with Bookers who not only don't know whose who in the world of stand-up, but treat all comics like they are a dime a dozen. Not only that, but they treat their shitty one nighter crap gigs like its the holly grail of stand-up. Sorry dude, but for what your paying and the class of people your rooms attract, I can only laugh when you say with a straight face that I should be cleaner in your room.
I am tired of crowds who are too stupid to understand the comedy tools of irony, sarcasm or just a well written joke.
I am tired. I have spent the last 16 years of my life pursuing this dream at the expense of everything else in my life. The one time I dared to make comedy second was also the time when the woman I moved in with cheated on me. I am not doing that again anytime soon. I have to ask myself if a few hundred bucks a gig and the feeling that I killed is worth the cost to the rest of my life. I am not sure about that answer anymore. Usually I would not hesitate to answer with a firm, hell yea it's worth it! But not anymore. After 16 years of living with the expectation that success is just around the corner, it might be time to let that go. Not just that expectation either, but the whole damn dream with it. This may sound dramatic. I don't mean it to be. What do you do when your career is not where you want it to be but you have put so much time into it your not sure how to even let go if that is the right thing to do?
Life. What a bitch.
I am tired of everything my eye lands on somehow reminding me of her. I know I know. It's a God damn song lyric it's so cliche.
I am tired of thinking about moving back to L.A. or trying New York or even crossing the ocean and going to London. Would it make a difference? Who knows. Should a 40 year old man take his small savings and make that big of a jump? probably not. I am closer to 50 now and farther from 20. Yet I keep living like I am in my 20's.
I don't know where this blog is leading. I sorta feel like I am thinking out loud on this one.
Here is what I know. I know that I am a very good comic. Not great or the most original, but I'll tell you something that I don't think is cocky. I could be great. I believe that. If I could be on quality stages night after night to perfect my craft more, I could become one hell of a comic. I also know that in a business where youth is king, turning 40 is not so healthy.
I know that they key to getting clubs to book you is to have name recognition. I might give a hell of a show, but I am not the reason the crowd is showing up. How do you market in this age? I have asked the people who seem to do pretty well in that department and so far all I have learned is that they either don't exactly know either or they feel like giving away a secret like that will somehow hurt their career.
So thats that. There are the facts and feelings I am starting with this year. One positive note about quiting is not caring what comes out of my mouth on stage anymore. It might seem like I already do that, but I hold a lot back sometimes. Granted, no one wants to see a show and then watch a heated argument about religion break out. Course, that is a lot of fun for me.


Anonymous said...

Ever thought of moving to Vancouver?

Joe said...

Vancouver? I have not thought about moving there. Is there a thriving comedy scene, easy women who dig guys with emotional scars and crowds that know what a good joke is? Is there cheap but quality apartments for rent in nice parts of the city? How cold does it get in winter? I hate winter. It is the Midwest childhood and memories of shoveling snow that worry me about going any place north. Course, thats where Superman had his fortress of solitude. Maybe thats what I need to make for myself now, a fortress of solitude. As it is right now, I have a worn down castle of conscience. Not the same thing, but a comfortable place to jack-off in.

Joe - From the Future said...

Vancouver used to be as pricey as SF. Seattle might be more affordable though it's kinda dullsville.

As far as leaving standup goes, that seems a little drastic. Maybe retool some of your skills a little. Huh. Huh huh... He said, "Tool."

Consider: You're one of the most talented standup comics in the business and as this blog serves to remind us, also a damn good writer.
Have you considered writing for shows? Would that be too far from the true craft of standup and the rush of the crowd? Did we have this conversation already before my alzheimers kicked in?

Okay, maybe this would be a better question AFTER the writer's strike.

Anyway, I've got some ideas about you and writing but I'd rather take them offline.

Sure it's totally frustrating in a world where a lot of no talent hacks steal jokes, rise to the top and make comedy suck while corrupting the art all the way to the bank. But that's not you and I wouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Keep your career, tweak some of the parameters, and pick my brain about the writing thing.



Joe - From the Past said...

Please, Please stop dwelling on the "ex".
Stop giving her any satisfaction knowing that you may be as unhappy in life as she is destined to be. She thrives on attention and people's sympathy for her.
Her "issues" are self-inflicted.
Let her starve.