At the risk of sounding over-dramatic, my career begins now.
I’ve been writing, performing, producing, and booking comedy for 12+ years now, and in the past month I’ve deleted or taken offline almost every file, every script, every video, every project I’ve done up until this point. Mostly, I’ve deleted drafts and ideas that at some point or another were undoubtedly the million dollar idea that was going to make me a star — and then let sit for days, weeks, months, years, or a decade plus.
Shit, if I had a nickel for every million dollar idea I’ve had I’d be a goddamn millionaire.
Don’t get me wrong. I have zero regrets. Each and every show, every joke told, every project completed or incomplete has gotten me to this moment. If I admire myself for anything it’s been my fearlessness in putting myself out there, taking chances, not thinking twice about acting like a silly fool in front of other people. The problem, in retrospect, was that so much of it was done purely out of ego; out of a need for attention, and more than anything else, a need to be liked by others. I suppose it’s pure irony that so much what I’ve done to impress people to this point has been half-assed.
God knows I still want people to like me. But I no longer need people to like me. My mom has always told me that if everyone likes me, I’m not being true to myself, and I’m only now finally beginning to understand what she means. I know now that I need to take care of myself in order to take care of others, sometimes at the expense of someone else’s fragile ego, and in the world of comedy there sure are a lot of those. Until recently, I managed to build a comedy career in spite of my ability to keep everyone happy. But now I see that it’s often come a the expense of my art.
In the past couple years I’ve learned that true art is a gift for others, created with no ego. It’s pure expression born out of a longing for deeper connection with the universe, and other people. That’s what I want to put into the world moving forward (even if sometimes it’s through a joke about big gassy farts), and that’s what I’ve come to expect from the people I work with. As the booker at The Hollywood Improv, I’ve been put in a position where I am the arbiter of what I consider to be good, with an extremely limited resource at my disposal (stage time) for only a select few. So making everyone happy is no longer an option. It’s forced me to confront my greatest obstacle, and based on how much personal growth I’ve achieved in facing this fear head on, it’s a confrontation I would recommend for everyone.
The pursuit of a career as an artist is hard as fuck. I’m still a million dollar idea away from a million dollars. But through all the ups and down I’m more excited than ever that I’ve stuck with this path in spite of all the hardships. And as I continue to traverse the mighty mountain, I want to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way, as well as the lessons I continue to take in, seemingly daily.
I am a searcher, and at 37 years old I can finally embrace the quest.
I’ll end this post by saying that I have 278 reasons why I shouldn’t be clicking publish on this: The site is bare bones. I didn’t get a good designer to pimp it out. I’m still trying to find my voice as a writer. People I’ve tricked into thinking I am cool will find out that I am not really cool, etc. etc. But if I’ve learned anything it’s that you gotta just DO sometimes. It’s nice to have direction. It’s a bonus to have an outline of some sort. But most of the time you gotta dive the fuck in; trust your instincts and see where it goes. I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t decided to put on that first comedy show or do that first open mic.
So I think of this blog as just a new art project: a way of expressing myself in order to connect with others.
Even at the risk of having some judgey ass people judge it. Or the risk of sounding overly dramatic.
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Fool’s Gold, “The Dive” Lyrics