During the summer, I passed a bit of time listening to old episodes of The Ricky Gervais Podcast and fell in love with a British word I hadn’t heard before: whinging [win-ging]. Defined as a very specific sort of whining, to “complain persistently and in a peevish or irritating way.” I believe it resonated with me now because I have developed a powerful distaste of whinging in the comedy community.

To be fair, I’ve done my own share of whinging over the years. All comics, to some – or a massive – extent, are self-hating narcissists. When opportunities don’t come our way we tend to project our animosity on the comics who get them instead, and come up with explanations that never include, “That comic is better than me.” Instead, it’s because they kiss more ass or have a penis or have a vagina or what have you.

I believe, or at least hope, I’ve relaxed over the years, but naturally it bothers me that I’m not offered spots at every club, invited to every podcast, etc. I also understand that no one gets everything and even if there are comics who get more opportunities than me, I know that many more don’t get as many opportunities as I get. Knowing that helps me complain much less.

I know a lot of rookie comics who have performed for several years without progressing beyond the open-mic level. If one of them complained to me about that lack of development, that wouldn’t bother me. What does bother me – and lately it’s grown to a militant level – is successful comics, especially more successful comics than me, whinging about the few opportunities they don’t get.

It drives me bonkers when I hear a comic who has performed in all but one club whinge about the one that won’t book them. Comics with 20,000 views on TikTok whinging they didn’t get 40,000. Comics who never get less than ten-minute-spots whinging about comics getting five-minute-spots at a club that won’t book the former. And on and on.

It’s just the by-product of the bizarre combination of a passionate will to perform and passionate insecurity. The result of finding an explanation for a closed door being anything other than not being good enough, funny enough, special enough. Throw in an unhealthy dose of competitiveness, it makes tearing down others even easier.

However, I’m not blind to the fact that comics who whinge more than me are also more ambitious than I am, so telling them to whinge less is the same as telling them to care less. Probably not great advice for someone hoping to make a career out of standup. But if I can’t get comics to obsess less about the chances they don’t get, it would be nice if they’d stop obsessing about the comics who do.

It was nice with a summer break. But considering I’ve been back for a week and I’m already whinging about comics who whinge, I guess it’s going to be a long year.