I’ve been running comedy clubs for several years now- note
that I wrote ”clubs” and not ”a club”; they weren’t all winners- and I’ve had
the chance to meet a lot of rookies. My
ego being what it is, I really enjoy passing along all of the wisdom I’ve gained
in my nearly eight years as a standup.

(Yes, nearly eight years and still rocking the open-mic
circuit, plus two failed clubs in five venues do not make me a guru, but
rookies don’t know that.)

When I give my sermons on the mound, I tend to repeat the
same things again and again.
Appropriate, since I repeat the same material over and over on stage,
and repeat the same stories off stage again and again. A friend of mine lost patience with the
latter, so I can be halfway into a story and hear her say, ”Make it better,”
which is my cue to add something new to
the story she’s heard five-plus times before.
To be fair, I’ve interrupted her when she’s telling me a story I’ve
heard before, and her additions aren’t nearly as creative as mine.

I also ramble on stage and off, as you can see from this

Anyway, one thing I’ve said to 367 rookies over the years
is, ”You’ve got this little bit of time- 3 minutes, 5 minutes, maybe even 15
minutes- on stage, and in that little bit of time you can talk about literally
anything. You can say what you want, how
you want, you can be yourself or a character or happy or angry or sad… the
possibilities are nearly endless. So how
do you want to spend that time?”

If you have a penis and done less than fifty gigs, it’s
extremely likely that you want to talk about anal.

It’s easy to become spoiled in Stockholm. There are a lot of opportunities for stage
time and very little expected from comics in return, beyond showing up. Stage time isn’t as valuable to us as it
should be and I am no saint, either. I recently caught myself thinking, ”I am just here for a paycheck,” just before a gig when
I wasn’t feeling well, was emotionally drained, and not at all excited to
perform. I reminded myself that there
are a dozen comics that would give up a testicle/ovary for the same shot I was
so clearly taking for granted.

I think it’s important to stop now and then and just think,
ok, I’ve got this little bit of time… am I taking advantage of it? The things I want to say, are they worth
it? Who do I want to be? Just what the hell do I want?

Maybe you just enjoy making people laugh and you found the
perfect ten minutes and you never get tired of the sound of your own voice, so
you never try anything new. Great! You’re still putting that time to good use.

Maybe you just really want to let the crowd know that anal
is a pain in the ass, amirite? Get
it? If that’s how you want to spend that
time, great!

Actually, no. Enough
with the anal. You will find more gold
in an actual asshole than in that subject.