comedy, Socialism

I Get Paid for What?

I’m gonna get on a subway, go to some woman’s house, and spend an hour with her explaining that adding negative numbers is the same as subtracting. I’m gonna walk away with $45.

I’ve spent weeks rehearsing, discussing, advertising and writing/re-writing what I think is a brilliant sketch show that analyzes sex, bodies, grossness, and me sucking tits. It’s really fucking clever and smart and every other good adjective I can come up with. I will make far less than $45.

People don’t respect comedy. No comedy movie wins at the Oscars, yet it is the hardest art to create. It is the only art where you are forced to get a reaction at the time of presenting it, otherwise you’ve failed. Nobody watches a comedy, sits stoically throughout and then goes home and says “I think I can see where they were coming from, that was really great.” If you weren’t laughing, it wasn’t succeeding. And yet, laughter can’t be the point. Good comedy means you were presenting something interesting, something relatable, something that will cause people to think, but as a side note you are forcing a guttural reaction from your audience. No other art has as hard a task, yet comedy still refuses to be acknowledged as difficult.

We’re charging $10/ticket ($7 online) and that is the most we have ever or will ever charge. Theatery plays get to charge $20-40 a ticket. An hour of me telling you that standard deviation and standard error are different costs $45. This world doesn’t understand what’s difficult. I think we still pay people to do the things that we don’t want to do. We all want to do comedy, we all want to make people laugh, so we refuse to admit that what people are doing is too hard for us. No one has any desire to discuss the normal curve or research Brechtian methods of dealing with a monologue about homosexuality in the 1950s, so we pretend that the reason we don’t do it is because it’s too hard.

It’s always been my problem with teaching math. I never feel like I’m doing anything because most of my job is just therapist – convincing the person that they can do math and that they should try. Well, I’m taking the opposite approach with comedy. You can’t do comedy, it’s really fucking hard. All those people that have been laughing at your jokes are just being polite, and weird voices are not actually funny.

I feel like I can blame this on capitalism somehow.


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