Please Like Me – Comedians should date more.
At first, it’s awkward, then a little familiar, but if you don’t keep a close eye on it, it can tell you to move out and warn you never to try and contact it via its mother.
And like the incongruent facade of everyday courting, comedy is very match a game of cat-mouse-promoter. Can you impress a crowd of people immediately, can you keep the crowd interested, can you give them your number and they’ll call you back three days later asking when the next gig is?
I hate dating. I form relationships with people I can relate to, but if I can’t “get” someone the first time I might as well try to wrangle emotion from a cooking pot in Brazil.
So why can’t we skip to the relationship part?
You know you’re in a relationship when you can make that transition of starting your day with someone by saying, “Good day, how do you do?”, and move on to the best of speeches first thing in the morning, the eloquent yet subtle threesome-hinting, “Hey, sexy, when’s your mom coming over? She could bake a cake for us, y’know? Make the place smell nice, eh?”
When a new comedian struts onto the stage, nobody knows him and no one cares. They have no reason to, and for that 5 minutes he’s on stage, he needs to give the entire audience that beautiful emotional connection we all suffer from similarly in personal relationships… to make an entire crowd give a f*** and, for what it’s worth that evening, laugh like crack-addicted hyenas.
That’s a great start to a funky courtship.
We feel it when we get off-stage and audience members slap us on the shoulder or shake our hand afterwards. It’s an AMAZING feeling once we’ve performed a killer set, having Nancy who lives 100 kilometres away, attended the show by happenstance and approach me afterwards with the words…
“I wish you were my boyfriend.”
But, for the many and the not too few, just being likeable is our biggest hurdle we first have to overcome. Just like Wayne Rooney and his ugly face.
To explain, I bemoan this Atlas-style weight on my own persona yet love the self-imposed social exile, but I do enjoy the company of people so long as I relate to them, and therein lies my own natural flaw. If I can’t relate to everybody, everybody can’t relate to me, and so on.
And therein lies the difference between success and obscurity.
To the average I’m-not-doing-this-to-be-famous comedian who is only doing this “for a laugh”, he must be ticking all the box on the application form they handed to him at comedy school:
“You don’t know how to speak to people.” Tick.
“You’re never going to open up your vulnerability to everybody.” Tick.
“You won’t bother to search within yourself for the answers.” Tick.
“Congratulations, you’re a mediocre comedian. Please agree.” Tick.
And it’s a easy trap to fall in.
So back to the golden cow of an analogy I began with: what makes look like you’re good in the sack to one lady, a sack of opportunity to a promoter, and a laughable sack of amaze-balls to a throng of people seeking a new hero? Your eyes, nose, mouth? Torso, legs, arms? Your speech, your laugh, your witticisms and banter? Do you feel confident, or are you playing the subdued type? Is it tumultuous even for you to flourish as an excitable human being in the notion that people might be put off with your energy, or do you feel they’ll accept you as a tiny footnote in their personal history?
With all the rules we follow to learn how to make a night special, winning the popularity contest is just as important as being funny. But you don’t really have to bulk up and perform cosmetic surgery with cellotape on your nose to straighten it up. You just need a SELLING POINT, that one beautiful feature that will get the crowds coming to the show to watch you make a mockery of the English language and teaching dumb people dumber things.
And it’s the same with the opposite sex (or same sex, I can’t keep up). They need to know what makes you YOU.
Don’t try and mimic the same that walk around meandering through life with half-eaten prepositions and constant of the word, “umm”, find the true you, feel naked, stand up, be counted, and then throw away the box with the ballots in. Your uniqueness stands you above what the others make you. “Oh look, he’s another comedian.”
Yes but NEVER! You’re a f***ing FUNNY comedian with something unique with which to make people laugh!
FINDING YOUR HOLY GRAIL
Seth Godin put it straight in his “Ideavirus” booklet he gave away on his website (in an interview, “At first it hit 3000 downloads, which isn’t a lot.” – shuddup). It’s selling your idea of yourself to the crowd in order for it to spread around until everyone want to knows about it. Kunt and the Gang is a prime example.
This man fills a very unique niche, if you ever get a chance to see him live. He stands up on stage, wearing a tracksuit and a ridiculous wig, has a gold tooth, bit of a geezer, plays karaoke-style background music and sings atrociously about private parts and masturbation. I like to call his work “clunge comedy”. It’s Bernard Manning for sex with shitty puppets.
And the bugger sells out rooms each and every time.
Kunt himself is a decent bloke but still a dirty git, he’s just found it ridiculously easier being himself and playing to the narcissism and backward behaviour of the crowd who feel too spoonfed by the media in terms of “what’s appropriate” and are shouting internal, “Even liberalism can get dull once in a while, you know!”
If there’s something missing from your character that you feel, should you have the courage to dig it out from deep within that dark mire of a soul that festers under the ambiguity of your existence, it’s time to stand back, look at yourself whenever you’re up there wasting people’s time and ask yourself:
“Who the hell am I?
‘Cos I tell you, if you’re going to continue down this path selling yourself short trying to woo every Martha and Stacy who walks over you like a beige coat with spare change in a pocket with a hole it, you’re going to end up what I fear to become…
…the one that settles for the ugly one.