The art of standup comedy is a craft that spends most of its time picking things apart.
...Toeing the boundary that pushes peoples into the laugh/cry part of their brains.
When done well, there is a laugh line at the end that reminds you that was all a joke and no one should actually believe what was said.
When done poorly, opinions sound less funny and more mean and serious than anything else. Being constantly surrounded by that for a decade is subtle programming that leads to feeling shitty all the time. (Speaking from personal experience.)
When I first got to NY I was overwhelmed by the number of young comedians inspired by the likes of Lenny Bruce and George Carlin. Everyone seemed to have a "message" and were miserable. I just wanted to make people laugh. The problem was, these young comedians didn't know how to write punchlines for their grandiose ideas yet. So when they shat on positive people or comics without a message, it just sounded like an angry rant against people like me.
I wanted to be liked by my peers, so I learned to hide the fact that I was an optimist.
I was ashamed of it. I tucked it away and hid it like an embarrassing secret. I even hid it from my boyfriend. I was so afraid of getting roasted without punchlines (which, by the way, is just "insults").
I got so good at hiding my optimism, that even I forgot it was there.
The thing is, it wasn't until I took some time away that I really learned how much the habit of picking things apart with a twist to the negative affects your brain negatively. (*gasp* shocker.) How can one ever expect to find joy, if one actively proves the opposite every time one performs?
Of course, this is my personal experience. Someone else may tell me I'm full of shit.
I jumped into comedy far earlier than I was okay with being 100% me.
Someone who started from a place of confidence probably has a much easier time with it.
But honestly, I don't think anyone is 100% okay with being themselves...no matter how good their "presentation" is.
Due to my injury, I have realized a new value I can offer in the form of a podcast. I've already got a few episodes recorded. It's not what you're thinking.
"Just what the world needs. Another comedy podcast."
Don't worry. My goal is much bigger than that. I wouldn't dream of assuming people wanted to casually listen to what goes on in my brain for an hour once a week. I've never understood the ego of a person who thinks that there are people in the world that want to listen to them hang out with friends for an hour.
My new project is focused on normalizing the feeling of "different." I am focusing on deflating the concept of what makes us strange and unusual. I am talking to comedian friends of mine about their perception of what makes them "different" or "weird," as well as the tools and techniques they used to get over those insecurities.
We all feel weird and different in our own ways. Understanding that everyone comes from that place is freeing. I want to help show that even the people who appear to be the most confident struggle with those same thoughts.
Podcast as yet untitled.
Stay tuned. I'm very excited based on recordings so far.
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If you want to suggest an insecurity that you'd like to hear discussed: email here.