Airing of Grievances
Comedy has a lot of weird ground rules as a job.
Everyone you meet thinks they can do what you do, and if you don't humor every last one of them, hear out their jokes at the merch table after the show, patiently dispense advice to someone you know will never sign up for an open mic, or otherwise indulge this insulting fantasy, you're a jerk. I can't go to an X-ray lab, ask to borrow someone's white coat, pepper the technician with questions, and drunkenly insinuate that I should be the one getting paid to just take a bunch of bone pictures, because how hard can that be? But I'm to be a good sport when it's done at a comedy club every single night.
If I get a weekend of shows booked, and then cancelled, through a booking agency, I am supposed to be sanguine about it. These things happen. The business is in a rough patch right now. If the club, instead of going under, starts booking their own calendar instead, and books other people instead of honoring the schedule of comics who'd already planned to be there? If a room run by supposed fellow comics leaves a bunch of people out in the cold? And then I find out that "my" weekend now features a headliner I've always wanted to work with? Not only am I not supposed to let it get to me, but there is no way to even bring it up without being accused of whining.
(And God help you if you're the one who has to cancel that weekend on them. No one's cool about it.)
If you try to take a stand and not work with someone because you know they're a creep or a vile person, that has repercussions. If you try to be a blank slate and stay neutral, other people's drama splashes up from the shit pipe and gets all over you. If you stay in your lane, you get ignored. If you try to break out, you get mocked. None of this is unique to pursuing comedy as a job, but it can be a dash of cold water to realize you turned your back on safer, more traditional work only to get caught up in a drunker, poverty-stricken version of the same old office politics and small-time snarkery everyone else has to go through.
This IS whining. It's a small vent, on a blog no one reads, so it's probably fine, but it's still indulgent. And let me tell you this: the good stuff always makes the bad stuff worth it. Hitting it off with a new comic on the road and having lunch and talking shop, taking a crowd of skeptical folks outside of their own boxes and showing them why their lives and yours are funny, writing in hotel rooms at four in the morning, driving through swaths of this country you'd never have seen in person if you hadn't hit the road... it all negates the hard stuff.
But once in a while you gotta bitch a little, right?
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Where I write about the stuff I do when I'm out doing the stuff I do.