The High and Low of My Comedy… in the…

Today has been a day that has been circled on my calendar (yes a physical desk calendar) for quite some time.  I am headed to Boston in a few hours to do a very 2012 (or at least 2010) style comedy show.  I, along with two other members of Comedians at Law, are performing a live stand up show and podcast at Harvard Law School, which for comedy aimed at the legal community is like having an alternative comedy show inside the beards of the guys on Duck Dynasty – a dream location and marketing opportunity.

Me performing at Harvard is like a majority of modern comics performing with these guys or in their beards.

In addition to performing the show and recording a podcast live (our first time trying this so get ready for a nightmare) we are live streaming the show on the web.  High tech? Yes.  Free to the public? Yes.  Following all the do’s of the cottage industry growing around telling comedians to do cool interactive things with fans in the hopes of some sort of long term monetary growth? Reluctantly, yes.  This is a small monetary risk to the group, but the big risk is that after hyping this event at America’s most revered academic institution to our niche market we still may not expand our reach significantly (in part because as I have learned over the last year of hauling ass to make this entity grow, a lot of our fan base is a bunch of meme-loving tools who only enjoy the novelty of Comedians at Law, but do not actually give a flying fart about stand up comedy (e.g. mediocre meme – 50 likes on Facebook, video clip of us on television promoting a live show – 2 likes).

Sadly, this is actually the positive part of this blog – I am hopeful that the live streaming of the show can expand our fan base and show people our product – and if you are reading this blog – you can watch live from 7pm to 9pm at the home page of Comedians at Law or go to the LiveStream page.

Of course about 10 different faculty, students and administrators have said no to being guests for the podcast, so it could be a horrific and awkward live podcast tonight.   Either way it should be entertaining web viewing tonight.

But comedy has usually found a way to not allow me to savor or feel too much happiness.  Whether it is a friend telling me things like that she “likes the most recent episode of my podcast…much better than the last one, which sucked,” or another friend saying that he cannot make a show where I am headlining at Gotham Comedy club because he is going to a pub trivia night, it always seems that comedy cannot let well enough alone.   A more relevant example is that in 5 days Comedians at Law are performing at Gotham Comedy Club.  Tonight at Gotham Comedy Club? “America’s Funniest Lawyer” competition.  At least we are being given five days for NYC to cleanse its palette from lawyer-based comedy for our show.  What did Rodney Dangerfield say… Oh yeah “put a fu*king bullet in my head.”

But logistical problems/conflicts are par for the course in this business.  But my least favorite scourge du jour is the “everyone is funny” phenomenon in our culture.  As I always gripe, thanks to YouTube, Twitter and our general “everyone is special” aspect to our culture, comedy has become so cheapened that unless you are famous, many people assume that they can do what comedians do.  I do not need to re-hash all the ways people do this (though my favorite was after a particularly good show at some Funny Bone a guy told me that I should meet his buddy from work because he would make me laugh), but the reason I bring this up is that joining/forming Comedians at Law has actually exposed me to a new form of hubris in the “I am funny also” culture.

For some reason, having a law degree from a prestigious university, nearly ten years performing and a national television credit is not enough to discourage people from equating a musical performance at an office party to what my mates and I do.  We have received several inquiries from people who, by their own admission, have been performing for “a few weeks” to join Comedians at Law.  (Not to mention we have been duped by an entire State Bar group into comping 100 people with an implied promise of a private show – post-show emails not getting answered).  But an email one of our members received last night is literally the grossest piece of self-aggrandizing, self-involved, piece of fu*king sh*t e-mails I have ever read.  It almost reads like a parody it is so ridiculous:

        I got an e-mail from the head of my NYC Bar Committee about your group’s upcoming show at Gotham Comedy Club. I’ve been suffering from a super crazy schedule lately & generally don’t do anything without significant notice (I’ve been doing extra work where I got about 3 hours of sleep for 2 days in the past week & will likely have to do it again on Friday; there was also 4 days of Comic Con) but did want to see about networking. I have also performed in City Bar’s Talent Night (mostly singing but I did an original monologue 2 years ago; last year I read the female lead in a radio play). Oh, and I have red hair + most people think I’m an actress when I go to creative networking events. I’ve also been deemed “attractive” by Central Casting while in high school, I was considered an ugly girl & look exactly the same as I do now.
         We may have mutual contacts. I do know some people in that scene, such as——– (he’s done a lot of emceeing at———-, where hubby & I prefer to go). ——- was in one of my film company’s features; that feature was sold to a major distributor though it was a no name, no budget production. I also have the distinction of doing about 3 different things & having credibility in my realm for both creative ability and legal skill (more recently, I’ve been getting writing opportunities & had an essay published on Slate.com’s XX Factor blog a few months back). No one sticks me in a “lawyer” box or really any type of box.

         At my company, my title is Production Exec/In-House Counsel. I’m also on IMDB & have my own rant blog that people tell me is funny. A bland, dry, boring legal blog it’s not since I happen to be an anti-lawyer (someone who’s not the legal stereotypes & has no desire to be).
I’d love to get your general take on bar associations & lawyer networking. Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with the whole thing. I’m actually only involved in City Bar because of my singing voice. I also seem to have finally gotten acceptance for being me & some measure of respect in that community. I’ve been licensed almost 5 years in NY & CT but started at my film company as the CEO’s Exec Asst before getting admitted. I’ve also gotten much more respect in the creative community for being a lawyer & in general than I have from most other lawyers so it’s probably no wonder I’ll do more for the creatives than the lawyers.
         If I get a response, I’ll send a link to the blog. Otherwise, money is tight & husband works until 7 now so I probably can’t go on the 23rd. If you wish to know about my events, let me know. In the meantime, feel free to look all this up.

An artist's conception of our red-headed friend.

Needless to say I have not stopped wishing ill on this woman since I read the e-mail at 545 this morning.  This is our status update/Twitter/comedy disrespect culture on steroids.  E-mails like this, which come with alarming frequency (to be honest even 1 of these emails would count as alarming to me, but it has been many more), but this is a new low.  Thanks to a culture which increasingly values the  pathetic and intrusive sharing of inner feelings on Facebook, (when previously prayer and therapy kept those things private), we get to be sounding boards for people’s misplaced sharing of thoughts, feelings and accomplishments.  The only thing that makes this insulting is that it is a roundabout way of dismissing our product because we should really be impressed with her.  I hope her husband is cheating on her.

But this is what our culture is doing in general and to comedy, specifically.  Fame is the respected quantity, not comedy or hard work.  Just out of respect for what we are trying to do and the site and content that we have worked tirelessly to produce you would think people, especially people who are educated and work in business might have the social skills to show a modicum of respect.  But we are no longer that society. Everyone is special, everyone is cool and everyone is funny if they think they are.

So forget my comedy, Comedians at Law or anything else I produce – if you want to meet a red-headed, arrogant, ugly fu*kling who cannot stop talking about herself (first off get rid of that erection if you are a man after this description) then I can get you her info.  Or you can just walk down the street, bumping into people busy tweeting, texting and posting status updates whose heads are buried in their phones because after all, you are not as important as them.

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