“Yep… Inside each and every one of us is one true authentic swing… Somethin’ we was born with… Somethin’ that’s ours and ours alone… Somethin’ that can’t be taught to ya or learned… Somethin’ that got to be remembered… Over time the world can rob us of that swing… It get buried inside us under all our wouldas and couldas and shouldas… Some folk even forget what their swing was like…”
The past few weeks have been up and down for me in comedy. Last June I had a kick off show that went really well and since then I've had good shows, great shows, rough shows and everything in between. I won two prelims in the Ventura Comedy Festival and got to the finals. I had three great shows in the Burbank Comedy Festival. I headlined on September 11th at The Ice House. I had a fantastic birthday show. Last night at the Fourth Wall I had a blast. There's been a lot of love.
I also had some rough shows where I hit about 50% of the time. Some shows I just powered through. Some shows I just knew that I wasn't winning over anyone tonight. There are looks on the front row's faces that suggest it's time to quit. It's a mixture of disgust and boredom. They hate the journey you took them on, and their inner self wants dad to turn the car around.
So what is the difference? Is it the comedian? Is it the audience? Is it the time? Is it the order? Is it the venue? Is it just a perfect storm? Or is it nothing really?
George Carlin said if they laugh on Friday but not on Saturday, it's the audience. Jerry Seinfeld says it is never the audience's fault because they decide the life of the joke.
What I would argue is that there is an authenticity the crowd feels. It's not the material (Jim Gaffigan makes Hot Pockets funny); it's the delivery and honesty behind it. They know. They know when I'm on script and when I'm off. They know when I'm just setting it up to make them laugh and when I'm including them on a story to really make them laugh.
Authenticity can ride a 20 minute set like a breeze, and forced lack of it can make that time a tornado.
We each must find that authentic swing on life. That God given instinct. We must embrace it, even if it feels unlovable or unappreciated. Because if it's "you" people will respond.
Here is my best example. Some people are authentically jerks. They're loud. They're obnoxious. They're the worst. But we love them. They're "our" jerk.
But whenever non jerks do the same thing, it's almost unforgivable. In some weird way, we accept authentically asses but not temporarily troubled souls.
So I've come to a conclusion. I'm just going to be me. Luckily me likes structure and self deprecation.
And hopefully I find my authentic swing every time.
Paul Douglas Moomjean Blog's About What's on His Mind
Blogging allows for me to rant when there is no stage in the moment to talk about what's important and/or funny to me.