"STANDING LIKE A TREE."
By Josh kosh
During our lifetimes, many of us will enter into a position of employment that becomes the job that financially sustains your life. Over the years, we may even be rewarded with new or higher positions that reflect the dedication we have shown to the job. Before we realize it, our "career" is in full swing. I wish Standup Comedy was that simple!
To begin with, I didn't get into Comedy for the money. That would have been super dumb. See, there is money. But nobody gives you any of it for awhile. For me, it was the pure enjoyment of trying to make people laugh. It was the only motivation I had to keep doing standup. Especially on nights when I was more spectacle than spectacular.
For Hire(?) After years of going out to perform comedy because I loved it, I was shocked when I got my first, "How much do you charge?"...I was so confused, I replied, "Oh, my phone battery is on 90 percent, I'm good." After doing that show, for free, I began to realize that as much as I enjoyed making people laugh, I had created value in what I was doing.
Now what? Standup Comedy has become my career more or less. More. I want to do it until the day I die. What I've also found is that there are many other avenues of the comedy industry that appeal to me as well. Voice-over, sketch comedy, acting, filming, editing, writing, etc...I have come to view these as positions at my job. Despite my love for standup, I am realizing that with my lifestyle, I will need to be more than a traveling comedian.
"The Love for it." Now that I have begun to see the business of comedy, I make sure to remember that my love for comedy is what enabled me to get to this point. I feel blessed to have discovered my love for the craft and I look forward to continuing my education in preparation for the many new and higher open positions within my "company".
Until next week...Stand Like a Tree!
Thank you for reading my blog! I aim to become a weekly part of your reading intake. If you have any suggestions on subjects for me to write about or any questions, please feel free to email me! Also take a moment to subscribe to my Youtube channel!
"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
Everyone on this earth has been given a special gift or gifts by our creator. Many go their entire lives without recognizing these gifts. Some become aware of their gifts and quite simply fail to harness and use them properly. Or at all. Others do find their gift and make it their passion. They train their gift and nurture it until it is perfected. They polish their gift until it is so shiny that other people begin to receive and benefit from the gift. These are usually the people we see, admire, and want to be. Some of us just need a little push to go and be that person.
In my mid twenties, I found out that one of my gifts was communicating to people through words. Having spent my teens and early twenties in prison, I had not been in touch with this gift because of the setting I was in. The "talky" guys just seemed to have more problems. Upon reentering society, one of my first jobs was at a restaurant where I bucked the trend and worked in the front of the house. Needless to say, that is where you do the most talking to people who are not likely to stab you. In this restaurant is where I had the conversation with a guest that sent me on the journey I've been on for the last 11 years. I was told that the way I talked, I sounded like a was a Comedian and that I should try it out. The guy couldn't have known that trying Comedy had been a recurring thought of mine that I had never acted on.
I wrote some things down that I thought were funny. I went to the comedy club the guy told me about. I got drunk. I don't remember what happened. Okay, I bombed. But I loved it! I loved the possibility of coming up with things to say to people that would make them laugh. Every so often I would get lucky and get a laugh. The way I talked...Write some things down. Go to the comedy club. Get drunk. Bomb, maybe. I repeated that process weekly for almost two years before I gained the next piece to the puzzle.
Looking back on it, I realize that in those almost two years, I had found another gift and began to polish it. Stage presence. Hey, when you don't have much to say, that can be the thing that saves you! I had spent all that time learning to physically embellish the bullshit words I was passing off as comedy. Unbeknownst to me, I had a fan within the walls of the club. The bartender apparently recognized the thing that I was missing and surprised me on my 27th birthday with a book that changed my entire approach to stand up comedy. With this new information and approach, in time I began to see more opportunities in comedy. And with the bartender. Who happens to be my wife now!
"The Comedy Bible" by Judy Carter. There's probably other books too. I found this one very helpful to me in defining the structure of a joke. This book addresses the way that comedy has evolved from the era of the 'punchline' to the current era of the 'act-out' where the comedian gets to take of advantage of skills like stage presence. It gave me the ability to take the funny idea and turn it into a funny joke. While I still never feel as if the structure works for everything, it provides the thought process needed to get to where you want to be...Not bombing or hoping for a laugh! I began to get more gigs and offers to do shows outside of my local network. Then came a couple of appearances on national TV.
Another one of the many opportunities comedy has provided for me is, Acting. In 2015, I traveled to Los Angeles where I was quickly signed to the roster of a major film agency. The way I talk. And look apparently. I have auditioned for shows that are on TV now and shows that never made it. All the while, I was doing it the same way I did comedy in the beginning. By the seat of my pants. Having gained that experience, I recognize that there is something to be gained by adding to information bank. In about a month, I will be starting Acting classes at the acclaimed Philadelphia Improv Theater. I am excited to my further my growth and looking forward to even more and better opportunities!
I encourage anyone with a gift that they want to share with the world to go out and find the information that will enhance your gift and propel you to greater heights in this life. If you know someone with a gift, surprise them with something that will help them achieve more with their gift. You never know how much a small push can do for someone.
Until next Monday.
Stand like a tree.
Creating content for online consumption is very scary. Not that there are monsters or guns involved. The scary part is that no one knows WHAT people will actually watch! As a careful content creator, I never cease to be amazed at the millions of views received by happenings that would garner little attention otherwise, versus the self acknowledged creative genius (ok, creative intelligence) that I exhibit with carefully thought out productions. I have done videos with clever use of chroma-key technology and facial replacement along with written humorous dialogue. Ten thousand views. Max. Meanwhile, a bad sketch about a "Millywop" battle, recorded on a flip phone, in vertical camera frame with 27 pixels to it's name and the wrong Instagram filter, is on it's way to it's 2 millionth view! Scary!
"Maybe my content is not that good?"...That thought has crossed my mind. It should. I'm a Virgo and it makes me seek out the information and experience to be better. I've successfully hidden some of my early work. But nobody watched that either. Thank God. With a little research and "Youtube University", I began to improve my own productions and receive valued feedback from close friends and fans. The feedback was very encouraging! I began to realize, that while I was seeking the mass approval for my efforts, I had actually begun to cultivate my own fan base of people who like what I do and how I do it.
"Should I lower my standard?"...As a Comedian and as a content producer, I want to bring you things that are of some substance. I think that is a fair exchange for the gift I've been given. However, the temptation to grab that lowest common denominator of humor is always present. We all know it , laugh at it, and enjoy it. The "Millywop Battle", the sex joke, the falling down bit, etc. These subjects will always have a constant presence in the online content world. I am striving to exceed those expectations and gain a following of people (or bots, whatever) that can appreciate my actual content and the effort put into that content.
The moral of the story is that your work may not be for everybody, but it will be for somebody. Keep developing and utilizing your voice and gifts to energize the world with your light! And when you get a chance, CLICK HERE to check out some of my brand of humor as expressed on stage and through sketch comedy.