Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Talent Like It Is

(This was going to be a comment in response to Sue and Nick's comments on Stand Up and Fall Down But it was getting long so I'll make a new post.)

Sue said, "I think being a stand up comedian is one of the scariest occupations in the world -- takes far more courage than just about anything else I can think of."

And Nick said, "Yeah . . . it's probably pretty close to having to give a speech to 500 people.

Or standing up with your guitar and a microphone . . . I've done it a million times but it never gets any easier. And you NEVER want anyone to be laughing . . ."


I think comedians do it because they have to. They've always been smart-alecs. Just like singers have to sing because of their voice and drummers have to drum because they bang on stuff.

It would be terror at first but then a rush.

Eke-ing out a living might be tough but you could do it with a room mate or a working spouse. (You might save money on childcare, working nights.) I know I made enough off karaoke in 1992 that I could've paid rent. But I lived at home and hence the book collection.

I think some of the same rules might apply for comedy as for karaoke. Your confidence comes from having practiced at home and being sure everything you're going to present is good. Never experiment onstage, go be weak somewhere else.

Be careful with your persona. A couple times, I warmed up on a country song. When I turned out to be rock and roll, I'd get disappointed people coming up to me... But do my thing and throw the country song in later, and impressed people come up and say Wow, you also do country?

Be ethical. Don't sing your competition's signature songs. (I did have the thought well, what if I sang a different song by that artist and upstaged them that way? Didn't feel right. Never did it.) I guess this would translate to don't steal jokes, which I doubt anyone good would do.

Hmm. Well this was kind of a joke but it's kind of intriguing.

I work on one real project and one fun project. Real projects are: raise our credit rating, purge books, develop a better grocery budget. Fun projects are: start a blog, join a band for six months and play out at least once. I was with my band for 2 years, learned bass, wrote songs and played out a few dozen times. (We only got laughs from the pool players. Emos were empathetic.)

Another fun project would be to try out for Jeopardy. But I've been thinking about that for a while and never took any steps other than to read Brainiac, and that was kind of discouraging.

Right now, our project is chemistry. But let me start thinking about open mic night. ; )

Mashup I am not going to make: "Tell It Like It Is" and "Oh, Darling"


Sue said...

Yeah. I guess you are right about "having to" do something. You're example from singing is a good one. There are probably some people for whom standing up and getting others to laugh is as necessary to their survival as writing is to me.

So many of my students are terrified of writing. They put off writing and put off writing. Some of them even accept a C or D in the class rather than write an essay. I can't imagine not writing, especially not writing for others to read, even if I'm not always good at it.

ChefNick said...

You are a VRAIE TALENTE, make no mistake about it. Writing, blog, band, you have it all. (Mom too, no doubt!) I am singularly impressed by all of the above.

And Sue, I cannot live if I can t write (sorry, my stupid backup keyboard won t for some reason type apostrophes or question marks so I just leave a space where they should be).

It s just such an integral part of me that I verge on verbal diahrrea. Just like, NICK, BACK AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD, HANDS NICE AND SLOW.

Only it is so hard . . . .

Nicky R

Qaro said...

It's great that people love to write. The internet would be really awful without it. : )

Here's a book for students that helps them learn to write, with no room for angst: Writing to the Point

And it's only 30 cents!

ChefNick said...

Hee hee . . . well, I learned to write in British public school, CHARTERHOUSE, don't you know (insert pretentious British accent here) so it was kind of hammered into me at an early age. But it is really what makes the Internet go round.

Youtube--fine. But I'd much rather read a Qaro post . . .