It’s 6:53AM, and I’m already on the morning train to work with the other Filipino nannies/Tim Horton’s employees. I’m listening to Sexy Girl by Snow – one of my guilty pleasures. Dippity bippity dippity bippity dippity best friend uh…It occurs to me that I haven’t been on stage since August 2013…it’s April fucking 11 2014.
Writing to you…honestly? It hurts.
Plan vs. Actual
This was supposed to be a journal chronicling my relentless forward march towards a successful career as a stand-up – what a joke. Do I still have the balls to call myself a comic? No.
That said – no bullshit – am I closer to getting back on stage? Yes! I have almost gotten to the point where my skill as a headhunter will allow me to free up the time it takes to really focus on stand-up in a meaningful way.
Truth be told, this feels more like a Diary of a Stand-up Comedian than it’s ever been. I promise to write to you more often, even if it means not talking strictly about stand-up, because I realized today that everything I do leads back to stand-up.
Conflicted about Conflict
Many of my day to day tasks involve making a sale, whether it’s selling a candidate on a new job, convincing a client to meet a candidate who doesn’t have all of the experience the client is looking for, etc.
The other day, I recognized that I often bail on conversations and relationships that I believe will be difficult and may involve conflict. Why? Historically, I’ve viewed conflicts/disagreements in a negative light, perhaps because as the uncool kid, you gain acceptance by going with the flow, rather than opposing someone with more social clout. Being a kid can be really political, now that I think about it. There’s a joke there somewhere. House of Candy or something. Big Brother.
Anyhoo, it dawned on me that in order for me to take my life to the next step, I have to view conflict in a different light. It’s a thought that literally woke me out of bed. From 4-6am this morning, I made a list of all the people that I felt hurt by over the years. Oddly enough, many of these people were actually close friends. Instead of disagreeing with them, I simply conceded point after point to keep the peace.
Then, I asked myself, “What lesson did I supposedly learn from that interaction? And, was this a valid lesson, or did I actually internalize a defence mechanism (i.e. acquiescing when an argument escalated) to prevent pain/stress?”
After a bit of reflection, I came to the following conclusion: acquiescing became a form of relationship-building. Of course, not voicing my true feelings was really a form of of lying. Furthermore, when you think about it, asking the tough questions and confronting issues head on is a way to build strong relationships, not weaken them. It also can help to identify which relationships need to end.
But what does that have to do with comedy???
Conflict in Comedy
Sometimes I’ll look at an audience and decide to keep certain opinions/jokes to myself, worrying about their reaction, thereby keeping the peace. That’s not real stand-up. Real stand-up (or the stand-up I love the most) occurs when the comic does his shit regardless of the consequences.
I once heard it said that success is not what you get but who you become along the way, and I honestly feel like my life’s moving in the right direction. I look at all the people I admire (Steve Buscemi, that dude from Breaking Bad, oh yeah, Bryan Cranston, James Gandolfini, Bill Burr, Joe Rogan, Eddie Bravo)…these are all guys that had their success after 30. I think there’s something to that, kind of like it takes 30 years to figure your shit out or something. I dunno…I’m rambling now.
Ahhh fuck – that’s it! I just finished King’s Dark Tower series, and if there’s anything to be learned from that epic, it’s that we are destined to find ourselves in the same predicament until we’ve grown big enough to finally overcome it.
So yeah, I’m still here, homie. I’m young, have a good girl, and best of all? I don’t have any kids. There ain’t nothing stopping me.