Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Prologue: 3rd Grade to Now

I don't know where or why I came up with the dream to become a comedian, but my earliest confrontation with it came in the 3rd grade. My class had a project to trace our body outlines on construction paper and we had to draw in our future careers. This is easy when your answer is "astronaut" or "doctor" because there is a clear idea what one looks like. The only thing I could come up with for "comedian" is what I was wearing plus a helicopter beanie. In hindsight it could've been a sledge hammer and a watermelon.

Over the years my goals have shifted and changed. I found out how much comedians make so I amended it to "get on Saturday Night Live." I discovered theatre in Jr. high and found I had a knack for it. My dream became "movie star". I spent most of high school on stage in plays or emceeing events. Understanding better the realities of the industry, I settled my dream on "working actor". In college I found a couple of things, I'm a decent actor, but much better director, that I'm too idealistic for the industry, and 90% of actors are completely fucked up human beings. My dream became "director/theatre revolutionary". When I moved to
Seattle I found that contemporary theatre is awful and is only taken slightly more seriously than poetry, no one involved seems to think there's a problem, the standard is incredibly low, and trying to change it will be pissing in the wind. My current dream is "let theatre die/have a place where I can do plays with a standard". (Check out my theatre rants in the blog "Comedy is Dead, Tragedy is Deadier")

But for all my years of dreams and yearnings I've always held onto comedy in the back of my head. I always thought I would be good at it, and at the very least I would be better than some of the people making careers of it. I've studied it obsessively, watching "Evening at the Improv" and "MTV's Half Hour Comedy Hour" as a kid and following the careers of my favorites throughout the years. I listen to comedy 6 out of 7 nights I go to bed (5 of those are Bill Hicks CDs). It's always bugged me that I haven't done it.

I followed through with a lot of shit that I wanted to do, music, acting, directing, announcing and emceeing and other areas of entertainment, but I could never drag myself into comedy. I think there was too much at stake for me so I've continually been a pussy about it. I've constantly had great excuses as to why I didn't try to do open mics or shows, don't remember any of them now. At this point it seems to late. I'm 31, I should've started when I was 21, I've got a lot of other great things on my plate, it takes YEARS to get shit together and get really good and get off the ground floor, it pays dick, and supposedly I have to grow up in the near future.

Fuck it.

Why the fuck not. You only live once and if I don't do it now I'll just keep beating myself up over it. Plus the 10 years I have not been doing comedy I've been on stage training and working in comedy like elements so it's not as if I'm going in cold. I have a few contacts already, so I've got more of a leg up than most people in the open mics. I have a lot of material, might as well use it, and what's the worst that could happen...? I chased a dream that I couldn't catch. Most people don't even start the chase.

So here it is bared out for you all. My entire career in comedy as it unfolds. I suspect a lot of it will be self-deprecating in an attempt to not take myself so seriously. I suspect it will start of long winded and full of exploration, and then get shorter as time goes on until it's something like "Performed. Bombed. Suicidal. Good night." I suspect it will have high points and low points. I suspect I'll drop the ball on it like I do most things.

Which is where you, my lovely reader(s), come in. Hold me accountable. Don't let me get away with shit. If I start acting like a bitch call me out. If I avoid blogging this, mail bomb me, if I stop doing it, don't be my friend anymore. One of the reasons I'm writing this is so I HAVE to keep going. I hope it will be entertaining in the meantime.

I love you, even though we'll all die.

Jake

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Darling, I'm a little late, but my message at this point counts for big bucks!

I WILL NOT LET YOU FALL!