the other night, It was an interesting treat to take some photos of an all-female comedy lineup in the town that is, “difficult to get to or from.” you don’t have much of an airport, unless you want to connect to the globe via Detroit - there are train tracks, but no train service, and public transport sure isn’t like Europe. I enjoy a thrill ride, but getting on a bus to go somewhere should not be a coin flip to have your emotional or physical senses assaulted by a few folks that never got lessons and/or guidance on rudimentary social behavior. then again, in addition to having the window of what one can talk about getting smaller and smaller – there seems to be more people saying they are comedians. are they trying to be comedians? or is the price of therapy too high anymore?
years ago, I found myself watching standup comedians as I think they opened shows a long time ago. there were a few clubs that people would go to, and if you have ever seen an open mic show before – it is a cornucopia of folks from batsh*t crazy to refined and brilliant comic working new materials – thus my comment about comedy or therapy? sometimes is there really any difference on the stage? for every one comic that has spent the time and working the material and presence to be on stage, I saw more and more folks coming out of ivy leagues schools all saying they are comedians. what I found odd, is all had jobs as UX designers or some skill at major internet companies, are well educated, and yet – their passion or identity has them thinking they are comedians.
maybe it is like becoming a pilot? to get your comedy wings you have to put in so many hours on a stage? today I talked with many comedians seemingly in training and/or working out mental issues - that think they have arrived. really nice folks, but instant gratification success is not going to happen without several years or working on the craft, putting in the time, and being ok that there are very few slots at the top of the food chain – will you still keep doing comedy if you never get anywhere near that level?
the reality of my working in live entertainment all those years is that once you peel back the curtain on the stage, you realize live entertainment is glamorized hard work. “must be so exciting to travel all over the world!” or in Hollywood, I used to cringe if someone would ask, “are you in THE business?”
"yes, so exciting, that when you put folks out on the road, about 90% will quit rather quickly, as it is a lot of work. for those that stay -you find a niche of people that are just as goofy as you that have the talent to get things done and create the illusion that all is fine on the stage, even if nothing is going right backstage. that is why they call it entertainment.
maybe stand-up comedy has become a causality of the internet? you don’t have any editing, can’t redo, and you have every audience member with a cell phone to record the 3.9 seconds of content conveniently taken out of context and posted to social media for the world to see? wait, isn’t that sort of what news media has become?
there seem to be a lot of comedians out there, that don’t want to pay the price to really hone their craft to be a “good comedian” just like I don't care/want to spend the time being a writer. I simply enjoy these 10 minutes post brainstorm, sort of like a coffee break. what I am working on is a completely robotic and mobile vertical farm assembly…that is what I will spend the time editing, refining and polishing the fairly grand idea. I could desire to be a writer, but I realize it would take me a lifetime of serious work and studying grammar and story construct to maybe one day say, “I am a writer and not a monkey randomly typing keystrokes.
the difference is simply putting in the time, getting on a stage, and trying your best -even though – you probably are far from perfect and will bomb sometimes.
in that respect, inventing ideas does share some commonality with stand-up comedy. you will bomb 100 times a day with ideas and for every great success you have, few people will realize the time, effort, sacrifice and work you put into taking nothing and making it into something. if you have passion for it – you will continue honing your craft, even if you never get on the big stage in life.
but that is what I think about it all, this 10 minutes on a Monday morning. now that i think about it, there was a homeless guy in Denver that told the worst jokes, but he was trying his best to panhandle with a sign that said something like "three jokes for a dollar." somewhere i have a photo of that guy. i admire he kept trying.