I live a strange existence as I’m a standup comedian living in the suburbs.
To most comics I’m seen as this weird example of being stable and consistent. I rarely drink and I don’t smoke pot. It’s not that I have any strong opinions against alcohol or drugs, I just don’t have much of a taste for them and realize that my family’s lifestyle doesn’t make it a very smart move for me to partake. Even though the drinks are often free, I can’t risk a DUI and I also know as a very horny man, it will not help my defense against temptation. So to most comics this leaves me as a boring dude.
Now on my cul-de-sac, my neighbors include a bank executive, a scientist, and a lawyer. To them my lifestyle of being gone half of every week, performing in night clubs where adulation comes my way makes me a minor celebrity. When I go to a party where I’m surrounded by civilians, when they find out what I do, I always get a very interested response. I’m seen as living a much more exotic life than I truly do. I’m not going to kid you, I don’t try to dissuade them of their perception. I don’t make as much as I think I would’ve made if I had gotten a job in the real world, but being seen by others as doing something they think is cool is a nice non-monetary bonus.
So who am I really? The boring comic who rarely parties or the B-level rock star who has been traveling the country for 2 decades? I guess I’m both. Here’s how I got to this point.
I think the first decade of doing standup should be all about getting better onstage and having a good time doing it. After you reach a certain point, though, you need to start thinking about the business part of show business. My thoughts are it is vital to be constantly evolving and not letting your material or stage presence become stale. Since I look at comedy often like music, my influences are people like Elvis Costello and David Bowie. People who are always trying different styles, with different packaging. Not only does this make you seem more relevant to the audience, but it pushes you out of your comfort zone. I have a couple bits that I’ve been doing for a long time, but even those have had evolutions over just the past couple of years.
I’m aware that to some this comes off like some kind of humblebrag. Well, let me assure you it’s not. There is no humble in it. I’ve worked hard to get where I’m at and I’m constantly trying to move further along. I have put a lot of pressure on myself by having a wife and 3 kids living in the suburbs. It’s a real hustle to make it work, but so far, so good.
I live in a nice suburb in Fly Over Country. I am out of town parts of 48 weeks a year cracking wise. I realize the dichotomy this holds which is magnified by the fact that I can only think of 1 other comic who lives a similar existence. So am I boring or am I cool? I am fucking cool if you judge cool off of spending over 2 decades not having to embrace being a rat in a cage. I am fucking cool if you think that word is defined by managing to chase your artistic dream while still being a good Dad. Can you be boring and fucking cool at the same time? I think so.
Author’s Note: I realize this post is masturbatory in tone. Sorry about the mess. Here’s a towel. Now don’t say that I’m not aware and considerate.