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Standup Comedy and Open Mic Nights

Travis

Travis

Front End Engineer

I'm about to throw myself out there into the unknown again, doing something probably quite uncomfortable, for fun! Taken from The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris (which has been an inspiration for my path in life since the first time I opened it), the idea is to "get comfortable with being uncomfortable." To do this, simply do things that are uncomfortable but not impossible. Things that will put some pressure on yourself, but not so much that it might break you. I've been doing this for years now and it's helped with quite a few things. My next goal is attempting stand up comedy.

Why Stand Up Comedy?#

In my previous non-weekly recap post, we jumped into the question of "What do you really want to do?" With that, I came to the conclusion that I'm quite possibly just not meant to do the normal adult thing of office work. Maybe my brain isn't built that way and as such limits my mental and physical capacity to perform functions as well as my peers. Maybe I'm chasing the wrong goals in work life. I also know I enjoy physical work. Weird, considering who I was as a terrible kid in high school hah. I know I enjoy exercise, human anatomy and physiology, breaking down how our bodies work and why some things work for some but not for others. I also know I enjoy entertaining people, timid as I might be at times. I've done some deep dives into who I am and why I am the way I am, how my environment and those around me have shaped it and with that...comedy.

But what about music and writing x amount of songs this year and performing shows? I still want to. I love music. I love playing music and making music, but I'd be lying to myself if I said I had the right motivation and focus to put the effort needed into it at this moment in time. The stress of life and all that's been going on has made it quite difficult for me, for one reason or other. In other words, I'm still coming up with excuses to not give it the attention it needs, which is frustrating to some extent, but I don't want to continue wasting time and energy on something I've not got the motivation and drive to do, as I have done for so long with software development at this point. I wanted to get into software development because I was sick of being treated like trash managing a store. The customers weren't bad. We had our rough few but they were easy to handle. Upper management was bad. One particularly fond memory I have from that time in my life was being told quite often, when someone called out or didn't show up, to "figure it out or cover the shift yourself, but don't call your partner because she will work it and she needs a break." It was either that, or just not getting an answer at all. I regularly worked from 5am one morning until 1 or 2am the next. I put in 70+ hours a week while my partner was cruising at 45-50 and my upper-management boss-lady was getting a solid 30-40 with regular 1-2 weeks off every month. I know because I wrote the schedules and all hell would break loose if I didn't give them their time off, but then had to cover shifts for employees calling out or not showing up, but also I shouldn't be getting more than 55 hours a week, but someone needs to cover that shift and it's not going to be the other managers. It was a never ending cycle of hell. But the money was decent, ish. Hourly wage with over time pay that came out to a solid 50-55k/year. Tech changed my life.

Even back then, one of my employees was getting into videography and I was quite known for my under-the-radar sarcasm. We toyed with the idea of making a series out of it. Never did, but oh well.

Wait, What Does Any of This Have To Do With Comedy?#

I started to go off on a bit of a tangent didn't I? The mind wonders. I've got jokes yo. But seriously, I've always admired comedians and their ability to bring so many people together and to bring some ounce of happiness. For the longest time I'd grown up being a "people pleaser." Not the greatest thing to be. And making the switch from that in order to safeguard your mental health becomes quite a process. Small changes have made it so people think I'm an asshole, when all I do is give them the same respect they give me, or say "no" more often than I used to so I can make time for myself. I still have a bit of a habit of taking on more than I can handle, or doing things just to keep people happy, so it's a work in progress. So how does this translate to comedy? Well, the way I see it, I can bring joy to large amounts of people at any given time. It could potentially feed my "people-pleaser" side without stretching myself too far. It would also fill the hole that is the desire to entertain and travel. Plus, it's just quite fun to see the joy in people's faces when you tell a solid joke or funny story.

Research and Steps Forward#

All things considered, I started doing some research. The area I live in is fairly small, and the entertainment industry is equally proportioned. It would be a great entry point for any practice in the entertainment industry, to be honest. I've found the clubs and bars around me that host open mic comedy nights, which is like a solid 3 or 4 of them. I've also found a local comedy group that basically runs the whole thing, which makes entry that much easier. I've got the contact information, schedules, locations, everything all under one roof. So my goal is next week to attend a couple of the open mic nights and get a feel for the scene, how the comedians are, how the audience is and then make the move to sign up. Funny stories and memories and great jokes are constantly popping into my head or just...happening to me, quite often, so I've made a new habit of writing them down as they come in. It's giving me a blob of jokes and now I can structure them to make a story. I see myself as a story-type comedian, with only a few punchlines, some not-so-smooth segways into other stories. I'm pretty excited with what I've written so far and honestly can't wait to get myself out there! The first time will probably be a bit awkward and quite uncomfortable. It'll shine a light on my methods, where it goes well and where it fails, as well as how I can improve. I'm hoping to network with a few of the local comedians soon and maybe have a little coffee-interview with them. We'll see. I'm genuinely excited about starting this journey though, something I haven't felt in years if I'm being completely honest.

A Day Job#

Outside of getting into standup comedy, I'm still searching evermore for that golden ticket to a full time day job. Something needs to fund my wild ideas until I become super famous or whatever. Things are moving forward with both startups slowly but surely, so hopefuly income will come from those fairly soon. I've learned a ton, created template proposals to use, started researching more RFPs and will be sending out proposals very soon. I've had a solid week of interviews with one company in particular moving forward with the final round next week that I am excited for. There is a downside that they are in-office only, but may be willing to work out a remote situation until I've relocated to the area. The upside is it's an area we previously lived in and have been wanting to get back to. In that aspect, I am excited for that as well, even though we just renewed our lease for a year here. It technically hasn't reset yet, so maybe they'll work something out with us if I get this gig and need to relocate soon. We'll see. We always work it out.

I realize I haven't written a technical post in quite some time, and haven't spent much time on the courses section of the site. I think outside of my attack on comedy research and planning, this weekend and next week I will focus on that portion.

Until next time friends. Cheers!