Father of the Year

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The 2 people you see above are celebrating their birthday today. Guess who won’t be there? The guy writing this. You see Daddy doesn’t get paid unless he is doing standup and 45 weeks a year that means he is gone on the weekend. Up until now, we could make sure March 24th was whatever day we wanted to make it, but at 5, you can’t do that anymore.

Since I’m one of the few married comics with kids, I often get “that must be tough.” It is. I need to provide for my family, but I chose a profession where I am gone a lot. I did this job for over a decade before I ever had a child, so by the time I had to reconsider my job, I was in my 30’s and wondered what else could I even do? It seemed kind of late to start over, besides, I knew I would be unhappy if I quit.

I mention this because if you want to make it big in standup comedy, you should not have kids–unless you are 1 of the very few who have made it so big that you can do a weekend or 2 a month. This is a job where the more single-minded focus, the better chance you have to succeed. It is a profession filled with emotionally stunted Peter Pans.

I have turned down potential opportunities because I wasn’t willing to move to LA to try to make them happen and throw my families life into upheaval. I don’t have any major regrets about this because my main focus is not Working in TV. my focus has been to be a comedian.

When it comes to my work decisions my rule has been I need to make enough money to have me leave the house. I love my job most of the time, but it is also a business. You could argue that I have been short-sighted by not chasing bigger dreams that could pay off bigger in the end, but I am not willing to risk much on a lottery ticket.

Let me be clear that I don’t regret for a second having my children. They have made such a big impact on my life helping me live a much fuller life. Cliche as it sounds, I am a much better man because of them.

That last sentence seems a little hollow, though, as I sit here In my hotel room just outside of Vegas on my 5 year-old twins birthday. I feel like shit about it. I wonder what psychic wounds it is going to leave my kids. (Cue: Cats in the Cradle) I promise you next year I will be home, even if it means I don’t work that week—well unless I get an offer I can’t refuse. This is my life. I am selfish, but I hang onto the fact I am trying to make this work the best I can. I am in a business not known for all the great Fathers it has produced. I’m trying to be an exception to this rule. This week I failed.

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My girl Mallory made this for me to bring on my trip. I know, right?
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3 thoughts on “Father of the Year

  1. I’m sure you feel worse about it than your kids do and will. My dad traveled a lot when I was a kid, and I’m sure he missed some of my birthdays, but I don’t remember those missed birthdays at all, and I have zero bad feelings about it. I loved my dad just the same.

  2. Thanks Ken. I needed someone to make me feel better about this. I respect you a lot, so what you say means a great deal. I hope you are right.

  3. When people complain to their therapists that “MY FATHER WAS NEVER THERE!!” they usually are using it for a shorthand that their father didn’t care. As long as your kids are aware that you do, in fact, care, then like Ken said, they won’t even remember the times when you weren’t there in person because you were there in spirit.

    Also, those people tend to be whiny, self-centered, narcissistic brats. Don’t let your kids be those people.

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