Getting to Third Base

On-stage at the Congress Theater in Chicago

Now today’s post is on the cusp of being megalomaniacal.  My response is: it’s a blog, what do you expect.  On to what my thoughts are today.

I’ve been doing standup comedy for a long time.  A lot of unsuccessful comedians are never able to find their voice on-stage.  I did a few years in, but my voice was never particular TV-friendly.  As you move up the ladder, you need to kick-ass on-stage every show or you face the possibility of getting a bad report which kick you to the curb.  It’s not the best system for developing creativity, but it’s the way the system works as a road comic.  I’ve always had originality and edge to my material, but the system I am in demanded me to hit homeruns with the audience.  I have tried different non-joke elements to make my act more unique from mini-disk players, vocal adjusters, using 2 microphones, etc.  I’m glad I tried each one of these things, as it was all part of my creative process.

When I started I wanted the audience to really feel and rethink political and social issues, but as much as I’ve tried, I just wasn’t good enough to do this for more than a few minutes a show.  This is something that only a handful of comedians have been able to manage and as much as I wanted to be a Carlin, Twain, or Hicks, I just wasn’t good enough.  Over the past year I’ve taken a different approach.  I decided to write material that was as personal and raw as possible.  It’s hard to do, as it leaves you very exposed, but I wanted people to really feel and rethink some things they were living.  I have met a couple people in my life who have had more f-ed up lives then myself, but for the most part, I’ve had so many dark, twisted, and difficult things happen to me that I felt this is the stuff I needed to tackle.

I’m going to use a baseball metaphor to describe my new direction.  Instead of doing what I always tried to do—-hit homeruns, I’m now trying to hit triples.  This is not regression.  The Major League leader in triples last year had 14.  The leader in homeruns had 54.  It’s much harder to hit triples. It’s much more exciting to witness a triple.

Now, going this direction is great for doing one-man shows, but it is trickier to manage at a comedy club.  I still have the ability to do lots of crowd work when I need to and I can bring more sex jokes if needed, but I’ve spent the past few months trying to stay disciplined at taking on my life story on-stage every night and it’s getting really good.  It’s more of a memorable show.  Where I never felt I had a great late-night TV set, now I feel like I have 3 or 4 of them.  I never could figure out how to translate what I did so well in a club to a Comedy Central half hour, which is why I never tried to get any management connections I had to push me on them.  Now I’m ready.  I’ve always been in tune with my standup and I’ve never tried to do anything that I didn’t feel like I was 100% ready for.  Who knows if I’m too old now, but I’m ready, so we will see.

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One thought on “Getting to Third Base

  1. I like the new direction, I think it gives you more versatility and as
    you continue will provide the perfect venue for many more opportunities.

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