I’ll never forget my first time on stage doing standup comedy. I was nervous, sweaty and excited. I actually didn’t do that badly – I got laughs throughout my set.
But I wasn’t myself up there.
It takes a lot of shows to be completely comfortable on stage, to really be yourself. I had a slight advantage though – when I started doing standup 9 years ago, I had already been entertaining live audiences as an MC/DJ for 7 years. I already knew how to address a crowd and handle a microphone, and to this day, I still can’t watch that first set back without cringing and leaving the room (no, it’s not going to be posted anywhere, anytime soon).
I have since found my voice and am truly myself on stage, which is really wonderful!
Of course, it took 7 years, a divorce, another marriage, a child and a break from comedy to do it, but nobody’s perfect, right?
What do comedians talk about? In short, our life. If things are going well, we sometimes have trouble because the comedian shouldn’t be winning, right?
You’re supposed to laugh at our pain.
I distinctly remember the evolution of finding my voice. I started off making fun of myself. Haha! Metrosexual, people think I’m gay, hilarious! (Like I said, I got laughs, but still. I didn’t feel genuine)
From there it evolved to anger (I was in a horrible marriage, and that’s what came out). In truth, some of the material that was written during that time is both shocking and hilarious to me. How my ex didn’t kill me in my sleep, I’ll never know… For a sample, go here.
After the divorce, the anger went away and I really started to find my voice (basically, I let my opinions come out, unadulterated). I was performing a lot and started doing road gigs. It was awesome. I really felt complete – I just had no idea that my life was nowhere near complete.
And then I met Cherise. That’s when life really took a turn for the best and my material seemed to go back to being sort of generic (to me, at least). Of course, this was because I was so happy, I didn’t even care to get up on stage. There. I said it.
Love does conquer all.
I continued to perform, of course, just not with the intensity I once had. I talked about yoga, and relationships – I never went too deep or poignant, but I was still somewhat relatable. Oh, and I also started working clean (no swearing, nothing vulgar).
And then Jacob came. Marrying Cherise is the best thing I have ever done. Having Jacob is the best thing we’ve ever done.
That’s when I took time off. A whole year and a half. I went from between 7 and 11 shows/week, to performing 8 times from when Jacob was born until he was about 18 months old.
That’s a lot of time off.
But you know what? I came back better (in my opinion, anyway). I don’t care so much anymore about what people think, or how things are received. When I’m on stage or off stage, you get the same person (essentially).
It’s the material now.
My life is all about being a husband and a father (the parts that really matter, anyway), so, naturally, that’s what I talk about. If you have kids, I’m hilarious. No, really, I am. If you don’t, well, that can be a different story. And that’s what I’m trying to reconcile.
You see, the people who usually come to comedy shows aren’t parents. The parents are at home passed out on the couch. Or maybe, if they have a nanny, they went out to a nice dinner and a movie.
No. The people who come to shows are mostly single people on dates. Occasionally, some married couples come out too, which is nice.
(I’m generalizing here)
And that’s what I’m working on.
After all, it’s my job to make my experiences relatable to you even if you have no clue what the hell I’m talking about…
Just like being a dad.
Which, by the way, is like taking care of a drunk amnesiac on speed, who hates naps.