Monday, February 16, 2009

soapbox paste 2

I Wish I Could Have Gotten My Classes So Quiet
Posted on 12/19/2007 at 02:03 PM

First an encore: Ravi is just the funniest comic ever! Go look at his comment at the end of Josh's blog! I needed to create a blog just to pay homage to Ravi's true and clever wit!

Now on to important stuff. Good grief! I could not believe the over 90 comments generated by the question: "How are you sure that you are actually a good comic and not a delusional sucker?" I wonder if the question asks people to reply with regard to referring to themselves or with regard to evaluating others. Having said that, let's move to the larger picture.

Who gives a royal shit? Why should you care if a "delusional" comic that "sucks" is up there three times a night seven days a week? And if you are asking a general question so you can gauge when a comic who "stinks" should decide to throw in the towel, the same answer applies. Who cares? If you are asking a comic to evaluate himself, what difference does it make? Unless of course, your question contains some veiled advice (like implying the comic who "sucks" should train for another profession). I am of the opinion that we all should have something else in place on which to "fall back."

I say "bullshit" to the opinion that the "lousy" comics drag down the art of stand-up and how audiences will perceive shows in clubs. Can you imagine actors demanding that all films be of the same level of excellence so as not to cast a poor light on the entire art of filmmaking? Can you imagine Jackson Pollack demanding that all other artists turn out work of his quality? Or Julian Schnabel?

I took classes in stand-up with some of the greats: Rob Weinstein, Gabe Abelson, Scott Blakeman, and Dan Vitale. (I am a constant student and I take many classes in philosophy, religion, and history... so let's not get carried into the droll repartee of "Where did the classes get her" shtik; taking classes is not goal-oriented for me, it's more of an educational value). However, in all my comedy classes, and that includes the advice of the great Tim Davis, we were taught never to critique others. We were trained to be supportive. It made for a nicer environment. The comics' demeanor elevated the discipline.

So now I ask why this "Comedy Soapbox" is so enthralled with a discussion that evaluates the work of others. It's such "loshen hora." And it's catty. And it comes across as low level fun. Ravi said it best: "And to think you guys are still babbling over who's funniest!"

Of course, IF comments are generated at this blog I speculate something along the lines of: "we do support one another." Uh, no... it appears more patronizing like: "I better be nice and sycophantic because these guys are in a position to do something for me. I need to stay on the good side of the 'in-crowd' here." However, the true personalities come out in how you interact with those you "dislike." Weak minds denigrate. Strong minds don't go there. And the true measure of the tone of the personalities is just how snide the comments get.

I was shocked to see Robin ask this question: "I would love to know someone who is at this 20 years and ask them... who gave up who shouldn't have and who made it who stunk at first..." Well, I answered her elsewhere, but I will repeat my reply here. Robin, who made it and "stunk" at first? YOU! ;-D Think back a few summers to Dan Vitale's class. You have come a long way and I am happy for you. But just remember this. A comic who "stinks" just might get a job as a casting agent. It's sort of like education. Those who can't... teach; and those who can't teach... become PRINCIPALS.

old coot OUT!

addendum: Upon some reflection and perhaps with greater insight, I think the initial question posed asks a comic to do some self-evaluation. But my answer is pretty much the same. You don't know. It's what you think of yourself. If you think you are "good," keep on truckin'!" Your sitcom waits. If you are "delusional," but think you are good, work it! What difference does it make? One day a casting agent might want some "delusional comic" who looks just like you. Howard Stern might need a new member for his whack-pack. Just ask Goddard Fulton! So be good or be delusional... there is no barometer or rubric for assessment. It's not laughs or applause. Just get up there and do your thing. It simply just does not matter because... you just never know.

No comments: