A personal taste of comedy

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Why I’m a Full Time Comedian…in my spare time.

in Comedy by
full time comedian

You get off stage, having pummeled the crowd with joke after joke that kills, that murders, that slays. Backstage, you wipe your brow as the other acts pat your back and praise you for that quick turn when the heckler almost threw you off-course from the journey of self-exploration you were taking the audience through.

This is your job, this is what you live for.

And that’s the vision I see most comedians that have pursued our line of work full-time experience many evenings as a full-time comedian.

Back at the farm, while the young comics emerging into the crowd open-mic circuit trying their luck to impress not just the crowd but the promoter in the hope they get a chance to return, some hardened comedians stand aside and watch as people below them begin to flower, while others above them live the life they dream, and I’m one of those.

I don’t pertain to be a veteran or a professional, but for someone that cannot go by a week without performing at least once in front of a crowd, it stopped being a hobby a long time ago. I remember the time I made the leap from hobbyist to proper comedian; I was heading back from a full night at a Laughing Horse gig in Temple, London, hosting a birthday party event where two guys brought dozens of friends and family each to watch. Not only did we perform our usual tricks, but we gave the birthday boys the credit they deserved by making their evening enjoyable. And when I got home, I received a text message from the showrunner: “Great job, mate, till next tme.” (deliberate misspelling).

And there and then, I realised, I can’t live without it.

But the reality of the situation is, I am not going to make it as a full-time stand-up comedian. Not at the moment. I’ve been diagnosed by a psychiatrist as having ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), which to many is a made-up term for someone that is just lazy; to me, it’s a reality where I cannot, for the life of me, focus on one particular thing. Where I procrastinate so heavily it makes my teeth ache that I haven’t written a script in 6 months, or haven’t created a painting in over 3 years.

That last one, that’s a hobby.

The disorder prevents me from really pushing forward in other areas designed to add value to my stand-up career; you don’t just get famous for your act, you accentuate your comedy career with other aspects that people working in the industry for real (promoters, bookers, agents) rally around you for, as in today’s age Youtube has more viewers than television, and you gotta bring the big bucks in.

So what happens to me? I’m still at it, plowing away. I can’t stop being a full-time comedian, I have to continue being someone’s opening act (one day) or constantly work hard to be part of the family of comics that work together. One comic still told me, “You have great ideas, Nelson, but I know you, you don’t follow through.”

And that’s why I’m at the office right now, waiting for a developer to finish his work before I can do my day-job, which sucks as it’s officially sanction overtime I volunteered for. And yes, it sucks to be me right now.

Still, it’s better than being a fish and chip shop owner.

What I do/don’t want from Comedy

in Comedy by
want from comedy

I think about what I want or don’t want from comedy, and I find that I do this little thing and enjoy the standing up in front of a strange crowd, telling jokes about my past awkwardness and misadventures, while at the same time edge quietly towards being edgy as a host, but I’ve got the feeling my public persona doesn’t fit a profile that either hits the mainstream hard or swims in the obscurity of cult status.

So, to explain my motives, here are my ambitions and avoidances of Comedy:

  • DO: want to eventually be performing in front of big crowds. I feel at home with a lot of people warmed up to the idea of a stock comedian making them laugh.
  • DON’T: want to continue into my 70’s performing in front of tiny open-mic crowds.
  • DO: want to work with talented people I gel with, to brainstorm awesome ideas and create a semblance of community that serves the general public in many forms of entertainment.
  • DON’T: want to work with guys looking for a quick jump-start to short-term fame.
  • DO: want to develop television or radio schemes with others and be part of a creative group with resources to turn it around in a short space of time. I’ve already written a few, need to start pitching it to a talented guy I’ve recently met.
  • DON’T: want to agree to flimsy promises that never take fruit thanks to ignorance.
  • DO: want to write for a magazine, newspaper or website that accepts my unexplored views on everything from life, love to laundry.
  • DON’T: want to be limited only to this blog.
  • DO: want to make the people I love proud, to show that their support for my abilities aren’t unfounded and that they can share in the fruits of my efforts in hichever way they wish.
  • DON’T: want to be told I’ll never make something of myself because I’m white, single, foreign or never attained a degree/diploma (that one was based on funds).
  • DO: want to “stand before kings, and leave a name to be remembered.” – Benjamin Franklin
  • DON’T: want to be forgotten.
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