Comedy Tonight

The last two months have been rough. At first I thought I had taken on too much and was melting down because of it, but it turns out that toward the middle of September my medicine stopped working. I gained almost all of the weight back I lost, I was having trouble sleeping, I was moodier and more agitated than I’d been in over a year. And to add insult to injury, the medicine had started to make me nauseated again all day. So I was in bad shape.

I’m working with my doctor to switch meds to something that will work better, but because he’s switching me to a stimulant, I have to meet him in person instead of through tele-health like we’ve been doing, and his soonest appointment was more than two weeks out. But through all of this, I’ve managed to get some things done. I finished a nice edit of the first 1/3 or so of the novel I’ve been working on and came up with a plan to finish the book by the end of the year.

I took the remaining word count I wanted to hit and added 15% to it because that’s roughly what I cut in edits then set the project timer in Scrivener to tell me how many words I need to write each day to hit my goal. Right now it’s around 1800. Very doable if I plan properly (and get my meds right). With the extra word count built in, I can type like crazy without fear of cutting too much and having a book that’s too short.

I’m quite excited to get to work. But the other big thing I accomplished was starting to do stand up comedy like I’ve wanted to do for ages. I didn’t grow up wanting to be a stand up. My very religious family and very religious school I attended didn’t have any sense of humor. My exposure to the comedy greats was through the sitcom boom of the late 80s and early 90s. I watched them all – great ones, crap ones, and all of the mediocre ones that came on between the great ones. If it was 30 minutes long with a laugh track I watched it.

I wrote them as well. I wrote spec scripts for Friends and Frasier that I think still hold up pretty well considering how young and naive I was when I wrote them. I even toyed with the idea of moving to LA to pursue a TV writing career. But I chickened out and stayed at home.

My first real exposure to stand up comedy came when I was high school and I would stay up late after my parents went to bed. I watched the late night monologues from Jay Leno and David Letterman, but my biggest inspiration was watching ComicView on BET. I watched Cedric the Entertainer, DC Curry, Sinbad, Sheryl Underwood, and my personal favorite DL Hughley.

From then on I started watching any standup special I could find. And I started going to comedy clubs more often. My wife and I went to comedy clubs quite a bit when we were dating, and since the kids have been older and we can go out later more often, we’ve been seeing them more regularly again. And every time, she would tell me I should do it and that she thought I’d be great at it.

I never really thought pursuing it though because I had no idea how to even go about it. And I thought I was too old to start. Then I got a job working in Royal Oak for a bit and drove by Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle every day. This place is legendary for giving Tim Allen his start and for being where Bob Saget and Dave Coullier met. I looked up their website to see who was going to be visiting and saw they offered comedy classes. Again, my wife encouraged me to take them, but I put it off because I had too much else to do.

Well I finally did it and loved it. The class ended with a showcase performance that I’m really proud of. Performing was great, but what I really liked was writing and perfecting the jokes. It also brought a new excitement to my fiction writing as well. I’ll be taking the advanced class in January and I’ve already lined up a couple of performing slots over the holidays.

Much like I did with my writing career where I started acting like a professional LONG before I had any business doing so, I’ve already created a stand up comedy specific section on my website to make it easy for folks who want to hire me to do so. The site also has a link to the video of my performance if you want to check it out. Hopefully by the end of next year I’ll have a finished new novel, a finished college degree, and a burgeoning stand up comedy career. What kind of ambitious hobbies are you looking to pursue in the near future?