A quick message to young comics.By
I envy you, you’re young and just starting out in comedy. When you’re my age you’ll already have 25 maybe 30 years into it. Imagine where that experience and time might take you. So smart to recognize early what you want to do and chase that dream. I started with young comics that no longer chase the dream. I wonder what kind of regrets they’ll have when they are my age, probably the same ones I have. The difference is I’m chasing it now.
Life got in the way of my dreams. Circumstances pointed me in a different direction. 6 years in the Army and 25 years as a Police Officer, but my creative juices were always flowing. I was able to become creative while a police officer. I produced several PSAs on drunk driving and domestic abuse that aired locally. I produced a popular Cable access show called local police view that dealt with issues of the day between police and the public. I wrote articles that were published nationally. I developed anti bullying programs and police suicide prevention programs before they were buzz words. I even worked part time in radio at 94.3 FM The Point as an On Air Personality. I did National Radio Voice Overs and had a very successful syndicated Internet Radio Show called The Retro Lunch Show all before podcasts and Internet Radio were what they are today. I tell you this, young comic, because no matter where you are in life NEVER let your creativity die. Throw coals of creativity on the fire, poke it with the creativity poker, stoke it and always keep it burning. Never let complacency and regret replace fire and desire.
There is always an outlet for what you want to do, to have your voice be heard to become who and what you want to be. I wanted to perform, I didn’t know in what venue I wanted to perform in. In all honesty, stand up comedy was not on my list of things I dreamed of doing. I enjoyed acting, I enjoyed informing the public, I enjoyed public speaking, I enjoyed introducing music, but never considered myself to be funny on a stage. Like everyone else that gets into it I was told, you’re so funny you should do stand up. I stumbled into stand up because I took a class to help me get better with my writing. I wanted to write funnier copy. But once I got on stage for the first time I was hooked. I chase the laughter, I’m on cloud 9 when I get it and want more and I’m despaired when I don’t and wonder what I did that they didn’t like. It’s a form of validation. I, like anyone else, long to be accepted, to be “validated” and it doesn’t hurt to enjoy being the center of attention, I want that attention to be positive but am learning that when I don’t get the laughs is when you become a much better comic. I analyze, mull over, lament poor performances. I wonder what it is I did wrong. I may complain but I always look for a way to fix it. To get better, to make my jokes better, my delivery better, make me better.
I’m a young comic in an old mans body. I haven’t even been doing comedy 4 years yet, I wish I started earlier. I wish I could go back to my young self and say go get on stage anywhere and everywhere you can. Fail, learn, get better. I don’t have the luxury of time so much as you do, in 20 years I’ll be a drooling mess, but I’ll be drooling on a stage somewhere. Don’t waste it, get up, get out and chase it. You’ll be glad you did.