OK, so here is a secret blog land—I am doing stand-up again. In fact, the other night, my buddy facebooked me about a show downtown, I tagged along and got about five minutes of stage time and it was excellent. I will admit, I bombed, but being on stage in front of a bunch of strangers was perhaps my favorite feeling all week. While I am still a writer, I can’t help going on stage, because I need the thrill of seeing how my writing, my jokes, affect other people. It’s an addiction. A very bad one.
Perhaps the greatest irony of my on-and-off stand-up career is that I have never been an amazing stand-up. If I can make the audience laugh once or twice, that’s a successful night for me. I consider myself a storyteller first (screenwriting, again) and add in jokes at will, sort of like a recipe, I guess. My stand-up food would probably be more bread-like, the sugar of the joke added sparingly. Actually, that metaphor didn’t work so scratch it. But pretend it did work. All to say, after a couple months of stand-up in LA, I doubt if I’ll ever make it past the open-mic stage.
But I have to do stand-up because I want to see how people respond to my work. I spend a lot of time writing in my room and most of the things I write never see the eyes of anyone. To write a couple jokes, memorize them quickly (and not too well) and then go up on stage to announce them is the equivalent of instant feedback. There is no other way to reach that many strangers in such a direct way, except perhaps panhandling on Hollywood Boulevard, which doesn’t sound half as fun. And my audience is almost always strangers, forget about my family and girlfriend—each one has his or her own reasons for not coming to see me perform. But at least strangers laugh—my family and friends usually just sit in the audience and look embarrassed.
Trust me, if I could quit stand-up, I would. In a second. Yet the thrill of performing my material, my “jokes” is too much. And guess what? I am fine with never being Robin Williams on stage—I’ll even admit I don’t always have the best punch-lines. I am even more fine with never seeing an ounce of success in my entire stand-up career—because, well, it’s not about that. I don’t mind doing open-mics for the rest of my life. But I will also say that if you are an agent, and you do live in LA, please contact me immediately.
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