Before I get into this I want to stress how much I LOVE stand up comedy. I love when its good and bad. I love to crush. I love when the audience laughs so hard you feel it vibrate your chest. I also love when it’s bad. I love to bomb. I love to watch people bomb and I love doing it myself. It’s the most human of all the experience and it’s the best way to feel alive.
I have been doing stand up comedy since 2010. Comedy has become a sort of religion to me. I rely on comedy to provide for me more than any job I’ve ever had. I trust comedy more than my best friend, I’ve confided in comedy more than my therapist, and I certainly love comedy more than I have ever loved my favorite lovers. If comedy is my religion than bars are my church and I have gone to worship almost every night for the last 7 years.
Before I get carried away with the romanticism Joke telling, you should also know that I come from a family of recovered alcoholics. And I myself am constantly walking a tight rope between my calling in life which is stand up, and pull of the disease of alcoholism I know that I am genetically pre-disposed to have. I don’t know a single comedian who hasn’t had to wrestle with the threat of becoming an alcoholic.
They don’t tell you how complicated your relationship with alcohol will become if you continue to pursue comedy. Half the time when you are new comic, you are paid in alcohol. And until you are person who people will pay to see based on your name, which may never happen, you are not a comedian, you are actually a very elaborate beer salesman. Selling a party and encouraging people to drink. Because after all, the more they drink, the more money the venue makes, and the more you get paid. People like to give shit to prop comics, people who might use a puppet or some other physical artifact to enhance their act. I would venture to say all comedians are prop comics. Take their beer away and most of their acts would change dramatically. For me, at its best alcohol, has provided some much needed liquid courage and at its worst has been the most abusive relationship in my life. Comedian James Fritz out of LA puts it best in his joke saying “people tell me I should quit drinking so I can focus more on my comedy, but that’s like quitting the thing I love, to focus on the thing that’s trying to kill me.” This is to say, the line between alcohol and joke telling can become very blurry and it’s unclear which is really hurting you and fulfilling you.
So now that I have set the groundwork, let me tell you a few stories about the thing I love and the thing that is trying to kill me.