Someone I am facebook friends with and who does comedy and whose show I have performed at a couple times and who is a nice guy was at the top of my news feed when I checked facebook today. I say “when I checked facebook today” to make it seem like this was the only time I checked facebook, but I really should say: when I checked facebook this hour. He had just written a blog entry about the work that a comic puts into being a comic. I’ve also started listening to WTF with Marc Maron whose comedy I find dull and clichéd, but whose connections to interview comics I find interesting and therefore listen to his podcast where he interviews comedians I respect for the parts where he doesn’t talk. One thing he harps on constantly is how much work it is to be a comic.
I’m a comedian. I do sketch comedy, I do storytelling, and I’ve done standup and improv (though I’ve come to despise both). I’ve written full length plays, I’ve been an actor. I’ve performed with people I don’t want to, I’ve performed in front of audiences smaller than the cast, and I’ve also performed in front of sold out crowds, gotten standing ovations, won competitions, and made money performing comedy. Also, I love victimizing myself. I brief perusal of three random entries on this blog should solidify that as obvious.
I don’t work that hard.
Part of this is the fact that I’m not performing that much right now because my sketch group has been on hiatus, but this hasn’t stopped me from writing. I’ve written two fifteen minute sketch shows and a forty minute show in the last three weeks. I write on this blog obsessively as if by failing to continue the 40-50 people who read it will cease to exist. I rehearse stories and write stand-up routines all day despite the fact that I don’t want to do stand-up again. None of this is work to complain about.
I’m not saying that I’m not being productive. I’m not saying that I shouldn’t get paid for this effort – someone should definitely pay me. I’m definitely not saying that anybody could do what I’m doing – I’m ridiculously fucking talented. I’m just saying that though this is definitely work – I love it too much to worry about it.
Sure, I go to shows I’m not sure I want to go to. Sure, I go on facebook every hour to see if there is someone who is doing something that I should watch, or comment on, or like so that they like me, book me, find someone for me to love, but this is the worst I have to do.
To make money I tutor math and barista. I never work more than 20 hrs a week and never two days in a row. I also have no money, but whatever. I love comedy. I’ve loved comedy for a long time. I decided this is what I was definitely doing when I was 18 and I co-wrote/directed/produced/starred in The Summoning of the Flamingo of Love. Though we all worked like 60 hrs a week on this play and reaped a reward of only $500 each, it felt amazing to be getting paid to do something I would have been doing anyway.
What are other people’s lives like? What to people do if they don’t have a passion like comedy? This is what I do with 100% of my free time and that means I work massive overtime, but I don’t know what I’d do with all that time if I didn’t spend it writing, rehearsing, producing, creating, and masturbating. I don’t understand how everybody else in the world aren’t alcoholics. If I weren’t working on comedy I would need to annihilate my ability to think because all I would be able to think about is how much of a waste my life was.
I guess I’m just saying that despite comedy being a very difficult profession full of depressing downs and horrible self-hatred, calling it work is a misnomer because people associate work with something you don’t want to do.
Actually, I hate liking things on facebook, so I’m gonna call that work. My typical day does involve a lot of treacherous work and most of that is spent in a little box like this:
I still haven’t put pants on yet today.