(this is a hidden post for members of The BASIC only. Please don’t share.)
February 20, 2014
Confession #1: Lately I’ve been feeling a really strong pull towards stand up comedy.
Confession #2: I know myself well enough to know that just because something is pulling me strongly for a minute or a week or a month, doesn’t mean I should sell the house and chase after it.
Confession #3: That being said, I really want to do more stand up and am currently figuring out the best way to make that happen.
Confession #4: But as soon as I start doing that, I hear a bunch of voices.
What are the voices saying, you ask?
Here are the Top 5 Voices I Hear, the loudest being first:
1. “You will be 38 this year. You are WAY TOO OLD to be embarking on a stand up career.”
2. “There are thousands of people further along in their stand-up career than you, doing it day in and day out. You are so far behind.”
3. “You might be marginally funny, but funny enough to get booked to do stand-up? This is probably a dead end road.”
4. “You quit your day job to pursue Killer Tribes full time, now you’re obsessed with stand-up? The grass is always greener for you.”
5. “Barely anyone know who you are, and many of the funny people who do never comment on your stuff or compliment you because you don’t write as much as you used to and your videos just aren’t that funny. You think you are self-aware, but when it comes to comedy, you’re not.”
Okay, so wow, those felt good to write out.
Now let’s look at them one by one. And maybe if you are hearing any of these voices you can work through this too.
1. Too Old? I asked my comedian friend John Crist this last month and he said, “no way.” I know it’s a lame excuse. I know it’s not true. But man, this voice won’t shut up. How I’m currently dealing with this voice is by telling myself that somewhere there is a 47-year old guy thinking about starting something and wishing he had done it 10 years sooner. Maybe it’s a blessing that I’m *only* 37?
2. Too far behind? I know it’s BS. Jon Acuff famously says “never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” and this is a great example. My success has nothing to do with anyone else’s career arc, so it’s stupid to discourage myself by picturing a young 26-year old in NYC or LA doing open mics a few times a week. Comparison can taste good on our tongues sometimes, but I think it’s mostly poison to our insides. Ooh, someone quote me, I’m so poetic.
3. Not funny enough? This is a tough one, because it might be true. Or is it? Am I funny enough to be one of the all time great stand ups? Probably not. To be one of the really good ones? Maybe, but probably not. Am I funny enough to do it and get a laugh? YES, I ALREADY DID IT. Point is, it seems to me I am using a sliding scale to gauge how good I am (“good enough to get booked?”) and that as long as I let it, that sliding scale will keep sliding in an attempt to screw with me. As soon as I would get booked, it would start asking if I was “good enough to get booked for big money” or “good enough to headline”. I need to get off this slippery slope.
4. Grass is Always Greener? I am still wrestling with this one. All I know is that I feel compelled to do more stand-up, and if I don’t pursue it I feel like I am not being true to myself and am going to regret it. I don’t know where the bulk of my income will come from in 2015 or 2018, and frankly, I don’t think that is super relevant to this discussion. My brain likes to skip 8 steps and worry about things that probably won’t happen, but I’m not debating selling my house to tour comedy clubs in an RV. I’m not dissolving my business, I just want to do more stand-up. Granted, there’s more to it than this, but still wrestling with this one.
5. No one knows or cares? This is a validation issue, and like the other issues, it is something that can really get me bent out of shape if I let it. If I want to do stand-up, I should do stand up, regardless of how many people tell me they love me for it. Same goes for videos, writing, or anything else. Now granted, if I was thinking about staking my family’s financial future on something, then YES, it’s good to know if there is a demand for what I’m doing. At that point it becomes an issue. But at this level, I don’t think it is. Just because I want to ask 10 friends for their opinion on every decision I make and everything I create, doesn’t mean its a good idea. I think it has to be more about doing it than about what other people think about what you did. I’m starting to ramble now…
IN CONCLUSION: 3 things I am doing to work against this:
1. I just shared these voices with you. I think it helps to just put them out there.
2. I am writing stand-up every day. Been setting aside 30-60 minutes early in the morning to do it, and I have 8 checkmarks on the calendar in a row that prove I haven’t missed a day in over a week. It’s small, but it’s a start. I’m writing some decent (and some barely mediocre) stuff, and really enjoying it.
3. I am actively looking to get more mic time. I’m doing 5 minutes of material at my church to open a conference tomorrow night, I am trying to get a gig opening for a comedian in PA in April, and I am going to be asking a local cafe about doing an open mic type show this Spring.
It’s scary to share this stuff because who knows what will happen. My desire to do stand-up could fizzle. Or maybe I’ll give it a shot and it will go nowhere (whatever that means). But the truth is that I am feeling this pull, and despite the fear I want to act on it because life is short and I don’t want to have regrets. Telling you guys keeps me accountable.
+ Episode 1 of the SchnozCast was a fun convo with Shawn Smucker I released this week. Episode 2 with Scott McClellan goes live next week.
+ Episode 2 of The Weekly Schnoz goes live next week. We filmed some good stuff for it in Cancun, this screenshot is me doing improv poetry in a pool with some strangers. I also embarrass myself in a gym and in an elevator. Good times.
I may have also done Karaoke, which won’t be in this month’s episode but might find it’s way into Episode 3.
Hope you all are having a good week, let me know if there’s anything I can help with or if this update helped you out at all. Thanks so much for reading and being a part of this journey. More coming soon…