Does this picture make you smile? Does it make you groan? It’s OK either way, there’s no wrong answer. I love to laugh, so it makes sense that I love comedy. Who wouldn’t? Besides, laughter is good for you. People way smarter than me have proven it, so if you don’t believe me, visit a search engine near you.
I love all forms of comedy: sitcoms, movies, sketch comedy, satire, the Kansas City Royals. But the one I have the utmost respect for is the one I wanted to talk a little about – Stand Up.
One of the most universal fears people have is public speaking. But most people’s public speaking is giving a short presentation at work or school, maybe some sort of speaking engagement at a conference, something like that. I guess that’s not necessarily easier than being a Stand Up, but in most cases if you just suffer through those in that one instance, you’ve succeeded. Imagine the added pressure of having to be funny and entertaining the entire time, doing it night after night, and being judged an utter and complete failure if you’re not.
I feel Stand Ups are unsung heroes. Once you attain a certain level of success, you can travel a lot more comfortably (like maybe Chris Rock or those Blue Collar guys), riding in rock star buses from town to town, taking your family with you if you want. But like a lot of other artists, the up and coming spend a lot of time struggling and starving. And in the case of comedians, they do it alone. Driving a beat-up car from city to city and state to state, wondering if you’ll be paid the amount you were promised (or paid at all), not knowing if you can afford a decent place to stay for the night, and wondering if you’ll have a good show. Will they like you?
I’ve heard comedians say that they are generally a self-loathing, hateful group of people. I would tend to believe that (which is what makes some of them so funny), but thankfully, as with all other forms of comedy, it’s not true across the board. You can find something for almost every mood, every point of view, and age level. It’s not all mean-spirited, cynical and vulgar. But if that’s what you like, there’s plenty of that out there for you. If you prefer something a little cleaner and family friendly, that’s out there, too. You may have to search a little harder for that, but I think it’s worth it. It reminds me of music. There may be a lot out there you don’t like, but when you find something that really connects, it’s totally worth the effort.
Now, I understand some people just don’t like comedians, and that’s OK. I’m not trying to force anybody’s hand out there. But I feel like not enough people appreciate what these people do, and just wanted to encourage everybody to look up some clips on YouTube, buy a CD on iTunes, or, better yet, go catch a comedian live. Have some laughs; it’s good for you.