It's been a while, eh? Does anyone still read this thing?
I don't post in here often anymore. Partially because I get enough of an opportunity to talk about myself on my podcast every week (rememberthegamepodcast.com). Partially because I don't have anything interesting to say. Partially because it takes time to write these stupid things, and a blog five people read when they can't sleep isn't at the top of my priority list these days. But I feel like blogging today. So if it's 3am and you're laying there staring at your phone, hopefully this helps.
I mentioned it a couple weeks ago, but it's been three years since I quit my forklift job at Uline and decided to try and take a run at being a comedian. I was already doing stand-up, but it was a secondary hobby/source of income to my day job and life. I hated my job at Uline, I was working a ton of hours, hated the company's direction, philosophies and work environment, and decided that at 32 years old, it was time to swing or get out of the batter's box. Fortunately, my friends at Pro-Am Sports hooked me up with a job that included some very flexible hours, and they helped ease my transition into the wonderful/awkward/stressful/crazy world of being a self-employed comedian.
I've really struggled with this lifestyle change over the last couple years. I didn't go to any post-secondary school, and I have no real skills or education aside from my High School diploma, but (in my opinion) I have a great work ethic. I was raised that way. I always had a job, and took pride in showing up every day and trading my employer an honest day's work for my paycheque. My mindset since I was fourteen was that everyone should have a job, and they should punch the clock everyday and work hard. Going from that life to one where I'm my boss, there is no guaranteed paycheque, and my job is to write jokes and find people that will pay me to tell them has been harder than I thought. I can't help but feel like...I don't know what the word is...loser? Failure? Slacker? Bum?
And the problem isn't so much in a "finding work" sense, because I've been ridiculously fortunate to make some great connections in the industry, and I've managed to stay busy enough to eat every month. But I put a ridiculous amount of pressure on myself, and I feel like no matter how hard I work to book shows, write jokes and stay relevant in comedy, it's never enough. I can send emails for hours, and if at the end of the day, nobody has replied, I feel like I didn't accomplish anything. Like I took the day off. It's not the right mindset at all, there's only so many bookers and clubs out there, and there's A LOT more comedians than there is shows, but it's just a feeling I'm unable to shake. My girlfriend is the most supportive person on the planet. She's never said I'm not working enough or making enough money, but I feel this unquenchable thirst to show her she backed the right horse when she supported me quitting my day job. That's what motivates me, and it's what makes me feel like I'm never doing enough.
I'm on the road more than ever before, too, and I've come to the conclusion I don't like it. The idea of going on tour for a few months or something just sounds like hell to me. I like my own bed, my dog, my girlfriend. I hate sleeping in hotels, and being away from home. My friends and family have pointed out to me that I'm never around anymore, and it really wears me down sometimes. I hate it, because I feel like I'm letting them down. But the hours comedians work are the exact opposite of most people. I don't know if it grinds on other comics as much as it does me, but it's been a very hard thing to get used to.
I've said it on here many times, but I decided shortly after I started comedy that the career I wanted was one in Alberta. I always tell people at the corporate shows and fundraisers I do in Western Canada that small town comedy shows are my favourite shows, and I really mean it. The people are awesome, the shows are rad, and it's usually not more than a night to two away from home. That's what I want out of my comedy career. Most comedians hate doing corporate shows; I love them.
I don't plan to ever record a comedy album, I don't care if I ever get a major festival or blow up on-line and become famous. I just want to make my girlfriend proud, help provide for our family, and spend as much time with her and my dog as I possibly can. I don't want to have a boss telling me what to do. I want to be my boss. I just have to learn to relax and enjoy it now.
There really is no point to this blog, I guess. If you read this, and it comes across like I'm just whining about my life, I am. But it wasn't my intention. I love my life. I literally have everything I could ask for. My days consist of walking my dog, writing jokes, and talking about video games on my stupid podcast. I do feel like I'm slowly adjusting to the self-employed life and learning to enjoy it while still keeping my foot on the gas. But some days are easier than others. And today has been a "you aren't working hard enough but if you work more you'll be ignoring everyone that you care about" day, and I had to vent. And what better way to vent than via a blog 5 people are reading at 3am?
Thanks for reading. Go Rays!