A Lesson from The Fan on Comedy

In 1996 a fairly bad movie called The Fan came out.  It starred Robert DeNiro and Wesley Snipes as an obsessed baseball fan and the object of that obsession, respectively (in case you thought the old white guy was the athlete and the cut black guy was the fan).  After murdering a rival interfering with Snipes’ character’s success, DeNiro has a conversation with Snipes hoping to receive some indirect credit for his daring actions, but is instead told by Snipes that his renewed success was the result of no longer caring.  Accepting that it is merely a game and that there are more important things than baseball relaxed him to the point of re-gaining his skills.

I feel like the same advice, applied in a different and much more “Murphy’s Law”, could apply to my comedy career.  In 2013, the comedy videos I made stemmed from a “who gives a sh*t” and “what are they gonna do, continue to not book me?” attitude grew my reach exponentially and garnered me a bit of respect, as well as a fair number of requisite haters.  I had been in a comedy troupe and decided I did not like the cautious direction they were taking so I struck out on my own and starting making the videos (since April the video view score is 380,000 to approximately 2,000).  Here’s the clip from the fan if you don’t know it:

Of course, the flip side to all of this effort was less time working a paying job and more time producing content that was free to enjoy, but not free to produce.  Also detrimental was being part of an entertainment community with increasingly cautious rising stars who claim to be free speech warriors, but are generally safe in the content they produce (e.g. accepted controversial targets like religion, which are actually incredibly safe in the warm bosom of comedy) and the targets they question.  Veterans and newbies like my stuff, but those rising middle class doesn’t seem to embrace my stuff as much.  They are like the Republican voters (I will avoid a house-field slave comparison – oops) who do not have the 1% loot, but may have a shot (or think they have a shot at it) so they vote against their current interests in hopes of being part of the 1% one day.  Comedy Academy, the biggest project I put together in 2013 will definitely be a no holds barred, I-Don’t-Give-A-Single-Fu*k project I have ever done and it will be funny to many, but to the comics with heat they will probably avoid it like the plague because as much as some of these guys act cavalier and brave, they are the ones who now “care” a lot.  Maybe too much.  Oh well.

But that is all preamble to the day job search that I am currently doing.  I even found a few jobs in law that would be perfect for my particular set of skills (which I say like Liam Neeson in interviews) that I applied to in the last week.  Because I am done waiting and worrying about the comedy cliques, booking practices, choices and management-booking synergy that is denying some people of fair shots at spots, I can be a little more relaxed knowing that all I need is just enough money to remove the stress of desperately hoping for industry/cool kid approval.  But this is of course when comedy rears its Murphy’s Law head because just the very week I start finding jobs that would be good for me…. I get 4 paid gigs to round out the month of January (have not had a month like this in 6 months).

I am convinced that comedy is just a spiteful bitch in permanent ex-boyfriend/girlfriend mode – it’s only concern is to keep you emotionally and/or financially insecure.   But fortunately I don’t care anymore so hopefully that means more good news is on its way.

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