Why do I do this to myself?
Being a stand up comedian is the scariest/ greatest I have ever done in my life. My “job” is to make people laugh. I love my job. It sure beats loading trucks, cause I’ve done that too. Nothing will ever compare to the rush you feel when you walk on stage, however big that stage may be, step up to mic and say your first joke. The complete vulnerability you open yourself up to in those first few milliseconds, is the most gut wrenching feelings in the world. So why would people ever want to do this to themselves? Well that’s simple, the laughter. The instant gratification a comic feels when something they created magically alters the other person’s mood. I can’t build a house. I can’t fix a car for shit. And my sports career ended at the ripe old age of 12. But, there is one skill I do possess, I have been blessed with the ability to make people laugh.
The greatest part of my job is when people come up to me after my set and say, “dude, that joke reminds so much of my family.” or “stuff like that happens to me all the time.” I tell people I don’t write jokes, all of these things I say on stage really happened. And most have. I just adjust some of it. That’s the key for me, make jokes relatable. Chances are if it has happened to me, it has happened to someone else. Laughter is all around us, it’s my job to find the funny. My advice to comics out there, and to anyone, for that matter, whatever you are going through, whatever happens to you, “try to find the funny”.
Therein lies the difficult part. How do comics joke about certain topics without sounding like an asshole. Well, that’s what separates the great comics from everyone else. I refer to it as the Peter Parker/ Spiderman theory. I know I’m a giant dork, but follow me here. Two actors famously portrayed Peter Parker, Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield. Maguire’s Parker was a shy, timid kid who shied away from confrontation, whereas Garfield’s portrayal of Peter Parker stood up to bullies and for himself more. Now the problem in that is when Peter Parker puts on the Spidey suit he gains this power of self confidence and other abilities from the suit. But in Garfield’s case if he already has the self-confidence to stand up to the bully, then he just looks like a cocky asshole when he puts the suit on. Same goes for comedy. If you already have the cocky arrogance to you, when you say certain jokes on stage you’re going to sound like an asshole. You need that humility to connect with other people. As a comic, I have the ability to say things, or talk about topics on stage that I would never dream about diving into in real life situations. “But with great power, comes great responsibility.”
Not everyone can do what I can do. and by no means am I trying to sound cocky. It may be the only job in the world where you constantly have to prove yourself every single day. The first thing people say when I tell them I’m a comedian is, “tell me a joke.” I mean people don’t walk up to mechanics in the middle of the street and say, “hey, rebuild my engine.” But when I'm on stage, in my “comedian” mode, I have the ability to create laughter. And when you’re laughing you’re not think about your job, your bills, your relationship troubles, or any other ailments. You’re just in the moment, laughing. And that is the greatest feeling of all. You don't have to be a "boy genius" to figure that out.