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Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Little Revelation

Last night I climbed into my car and started the drive to Sunnyvale for a show at Roosters. As I did the thought hit me, I am going to perform stand-up comedy and someone is paying me for it. It’s a nice thought to have every once in a while. It means that no matter what I still love it. All the rejection and the constant expectation are worth the pleasure of getting on stage and doing what I do better than anything else I can do. It’s a nice revelation to have as you head to a show. Not that I wasn’t looking forward to the show anyway, but I do catch myself drifting into somber thoughts sometimes and this tiny burst of spontaneous gratitude helped to remind me that with or without the desired fame, I would still be doing this. As a result, I had a set that I felt totally alive in and free. That’s just a damn good feeling! When you do an audition, it’s the feeling you want to have embodied in your set. You want it to appear to flow freely, as if everything you are saying is leaving your mouth for the first time. That’s the problem though; you want it to appear that way. It shouldn't be something that you have to struggle to make appear. Lately, that is just what I have had to do on stage; fake it. It’s not that I don’t love being a comic. I do. It’s all the other stuff that comes along with it. You have to get some measure of fame or you just don’t advance. That point is made abundantly clear by the fact that tonight, I will be paid the same amount of money to close a show that I was paid to host my first ever professional gig more than 15 years ago. I don’t blame the club for this either. The clubs are in the same boat the local comics are. They need to bring in bigger names to make more money. The comics want to make more money, so that’s why we endure all the stuff that knocks us off our game. All that being said, when I get into my shinny little car, a car paid for entirely with comedy money, I realize that I have it far better than a lot of other comics. I don’t want my spirituality to be dependant on how much better I am doing than someone else, but I am doing OK. For whatever reason that thought came into my head tonight. There is a lot of stuff coming up. Good stuff. Opportunity. But you can’t reach for that next level if you can’t enjoy where you are now. That sounds like something you read on a poster that has cute kittens or something.
So that’s it. No great story about a weird gig or a report about a show, just one man going to work and thinking, that makes me happy. It makes the tiny apartment worth it. It makes the late nights and early mornings worth it. It makes the egos and the idiots bearable. It makes the let down of not getting something you want so bad worth it. All I want to be able to do is get on stage and make people laugh. But I also know that I have not been taking care of myself like I should be. Between all the stuff I have committed myself to doing, it leaves very little time to take care of the things that need to be taken care of so I can just get up and start the day on a good note. Know what I mean? Something has to give or go before I break. I am thinking about taking a break from teaching for awhile. I didn't know that I would enjoy it so much when I started it, but the demands on my time are starting to go from acceptable returns to a drain. Less money but more peaceful head space might not be a bad trade to make. After all, I know for a fact that I cannot get to that next level without taking all the steeps needed to insure a calm mind and a heart free of anger. This may not be a fact for every comic, but I know it is for me. I have never gotten a gig or advanced in an audition situation when the inside of my head was noisier than the crowd. There has just been a little too much static in there lately. The thought that I still get to do this and get paid for it still amazes me though. You cannot afford to take that for granted. When you do, and there have been times when I have, you are just going through the motions. It is a loveless and gray thing to be standing on stage coasting your way to the end of a set to get that check and get the hell out of there. I want to be on stage and want to be there. Big theater or small gig for gas money, I want all of my shows to be important. The only way to do that is to take all that noise inside myself seriously.
So maybe someone sent me good karma or said a prayer or just had a good thought for me. Whatever it was, I got the message from out of the blue; be grateful for what you can do, not pissed off for what you might not get.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

I honestly envy the fact that you do something that you love. Not a hell of a lot of people can say that... at least not a hell of a lot of people that I know.

Pretty kitty ad, cliche' or not... it's good to enjoy the now.

Looks like you've got a bit of a plan going on, sounds like a good one to me. Taking care of yourself and enjoying the now...