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Can Stand Up Comedy be Your Vision?

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I saw this diagram on Twitter recently and thought it made a lot of sense. I did a breakdown for myself regarding comedy.

1. Do I love comedy? Yes! It's probably my favorite thing to do. So far so good.
2. Are you good at it? Yes! Check the proof: https://youtu.be/4nnJGdIkGfE
3. Can you be paid for it? The plot thickens. Yes. Clubs pay but not that much. Generally you get $50 for hosting a show and $100 for featuring. If you are headlining you get a cut of the door. But still, it's not enough to make an awesome living. Corporate gigs can pay a lot of money. You can get $5000 for a corporate holiday party if you play your cards right. Performing in theaters is the key but you have to have a *gasp* following that will come out and support your live shows. So yes, you can get paid but it's nebulous.
4. Does the world need it? Even thicker. Laughter does provide a release from tension. So does all entertainment. The goal of entertainment is to make people forget for a little while. So how does comedy do this differently than music? I think comedy is more immediate. To get someone to laugh you have to get them to understand what you are saying. There is a feeling of connecting to the audience. So I think what comedy does is help people feel more immediately connected to each other. Now the issue is what type of comedy is needed. Louis CK hit it big when he started talking about how he loves his kids but he also hates them everyday. The world needed someone to come out and say that. So I guess the question now is, what needs to be said in comedy?

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US Cellular

Today I have an audition for a part in a US Cellular commercial. I have to act as an OCD guy who works as a gift wrapper. I am very proud of my work and very meticulous. I hand the wrapped gift off to a woman who then ravenously opens the gift and destroys my perfect creation. I have to look worried and agitated as she rips it apart. I'm pretty sure I have the life experience necessary to make this believable. I'll just pretend that I am myself and the wrapped gift is my chance at a normal life being torn apart by ever year I continue to pursue stand up comedy. Anyway, I'm now off to practice my worried faces: 

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Blocked My Facebook Feed

I haven't read anything in my Facebook feed for a couple months and it's helped lots with peace of mind. Not much has happened in the way of missing out. One time I was supposed to participate in a documentary and the only communication the organizer had with me was that she tagged me in a Facebook event. I didn't see the notification and I never showed up. But that's not too bad for two months of mental clarity! I'm using this plugin for Chrome. It's called "News Feed Eradicator" and instead of displaying your Facebook feed it just shows a motivational quote. I love it. I wish there was something similar for the app on your phone. I just deleted the app off my phone completely. I do keep Facebook messenger so that people can contact me if they need to.

It's hard to understand why it was so irritating to be on Facebook. A lot of it had to do with jealousy. It was tough to keep seeing other people getting comedy successes. Instead of working on my own stand up I just stopped to think about why I wasn't being as successful as these other people. ....I also didn't like seeing pictures of girls I had dated. One time I remember Facebook said "You haven't spoken to X in a long time, do you want to reconnect?" I'm like yeah I want to reconnect, but why don't you check how she feels first?

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Music vs Comedy

I tried playing music for a while before doing comedy. It's ironic that I do stand up comedy because my favorite thing about music is how serious musicians can allow themselves to be. Sure, you can make jokes out of pain as Tig Notaro has famously done in her cancer set.  But it's a lot of advanced jujitsu to get people to laugh at dark things. I performed recently at a conference for Api Mixtape. I was booked for 20 minutes. I didn't time myself though so it was on me to just get off when I felt like 20 minutes was over. I did all my light hearted silly material which went over swimmingly. At that point I wasn't sure if I had done 20 minutes or not... so I went into some material about my mom's mental illness. Believe me when I say that those jokes didn't smash for a tired crowd who had watched 6 hours of presentations. I finished my set and got off to a lukewarm response. Less is more! I should have timed myself. 2016 Api Mixtape Conference, never forget. Talking to people after you've given a bad to ok performance is such a gross feeling. It's so important to remember to divorce yourself emotionally from the audience. If you get too invested, you get hurt. Sounds cliche, I know. If I do badly, I always tell myself "this audience doesn't hate you". If I do great I tell myself "this audience doesn't love you". Never mistake the audience reaction for a real feeling. You're doing an act and they either choose to buy into it or not.

I've been listening to a lot of Frank Sinatra recently. My favorite album, and I'm sure many other people's as well, is In the Wee Small Hours. I heard someone say once that it's ridiculous that Sinatra is listed as "Easy Listening" when really it should be "Suicide Music". It's so cool that he doesn't have to have a punch line. Just say what's on your mind and move on.

But I know that musicians often get jealous of comedians too, so I think it's a grass is greener situation. Also, I can't understand how musicians travel with so much equipment. As a comedian I literally only have to bring myself. I'm so thankful. And also, it's just me up there. Working with people is so difficult, I don't know how a band of 4 or 5 people can keep it together.

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Tech Comedy

Last night at The Setup we had a tech themed comedy show called "Comedy vs Nerds". As I mentioned yesterday, I have no idea what this means. I've tried thinking about it which just causes your brain to fold into itself until you get tired. It was started by Michael Makarov so you'll have to ask him, but he only talks in riddles so that causes another issue. I wore my Yahoo "Summer of Service" shirt on stage. It has hot air balloons in the sky and two people kayaking. You know, technology.

Doing a comedy show for people who work in tech brings up questions. There is a backlash against tech from the comedy community. Most comedians come from middle or lower income backgrounds. But if we want to make money, we have to serve the existing demographics. In San Francisco that means tech people.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the function that comedy serves. Like comedy as a tool. Generally when you get paid decent money to do stand up, it's for a corporate event. It's funny because value is closely related to money. They paid me X so this performance must be worth X. Is that true? In a way. You can get as hippy dippy as you want, but at the end of the day bills need to get paid. As I get more serious about comedy I have moved away from "am I properly articulating my voice?" to "how do I make money?" I used to think that I would never do a commercial, and now I am actively seeking opportunities to do them. As if it's easy to get a commercial. I was in the offices of Vikki Goggin Casting recently and man is the struggle real. I walked by a casting call for some sort of modeling job and damn. Everyone had their clothes on but I still felt like I was at the beach.

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Bolt Bussing

Right now I'm taking the Bolt Bus from Hollywood to San Francisco. I do this every week. I usually take it on Sunday from SF down to LA and then back up on either Thursday or Friday. I just paid $6.99 for "High Speed Internet" which should just be called "Usable Internet". I paid that money just to write this. Priorities. I'm coming up today because my friend Michael Makarov is producing Comedy vs Nerds at my venue. I honestly don't know what the name means and I'm afraid to ask. It's just a stand up showcase with a focus on jokes about tech. Anyway, Michael told me that he promoted the show to mostly women so that I could potentially meet them. What a sweet gesture. I think I do too many jokes about being single and undateable. I'm going to start thinking about cultivating a more attractive image on stage. Anyhow, I just listened to this album while staring out the window. He's a rapper named Lute who is signed on J Cole's label. He's awesome. He talks about real stuff like not having enough space for his daughter's toys. That's my jam.  

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Moved to LA for no reason

Everyone said hey, you have to go to LA. So I moved to LA. Now I'm here living in West Hollywood. What's next? People say go hang out at the Comedy Store. Ok. I hang out at the Comedy Store. Not famous yet. Waiting for further instructions.

I signed with a commercial agency to try and get some $$$ while I'm scratching at the stand up scene. I signed with Pacific Talent (pacifictalentandmodels.com) and they have been awesome this far. They got me an audition my first week with them. I auditioned for a commercial for Clash Royale. I had to pretend that the monster I saw in the game had actually appeared in real life. I don't think I got it. Also there were 10 other people in the waiting room who looked just like me. Welcome to LA.

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