Bridges and overpasses be warned I am about to set fire to every comedy bridge I have built over the last 13 plus years. This is my Jose’ Canseco, my deep throat and my Edward Snowden documents all in one. The time has come for world to know about the ugly side of funny.
Comedy at it’s best is exciting for all parties involved. I got started in stand up comedy because I felt like I had something to say. Opinions that needed to be expressed, harnessed and funneled to anyone that would listen. Also, I started doing stand up because I wanted to feel special, like I mattered in the world.
Comedy provided that, a place at the table of relevance. If you were good enough you were at the very least accepted by your fellow comedians. Hopefully though, you were not only embraced by your peers, but by the shot callers of comedy as well. The Don’s of funny, the boss’ of humor and the purveyor of puns (comedy bookers and clubs love cheese dick titles).
The problem is with the boss’ of humor and their make me rich attitudes. They are one of the reasons that comedy isn’t as widely accepted as an art form as music, theater or literature. They are single handedly taking the creativity out of comedy and lining their pockets all at once. There is no concern for the performers or trying to harness their talent and help them to achieve their aspirations of success. They just want what they can get from us and then shove you aside when someone else that will work for less comes along.
The boss’ put rules on us “if you work this club, in this town or you can’t work for me.” Yet if they get the opportunity to open venue in a city where a thriving comedy club stands they jump all over it. With no regard for what it might do to the comedy scene in that town. Once thriving cities for comedy are reduced to comedic rubble all for the sake of a few extra bucks in their pocket.
I get it, that is just the way the business is. But it doesn’t have to be. We have the power to make a difference in the business. Make a change for the better of the comedy community. Say no to the shit pay, say no to the fleabag motels and most of all say no to the bookers requests to “tone it down” or “be clean for this show.” If that is who you are, clean, then be that. Just be you on that stage. Just be the funny you that has gotten you this far. You have to, who else is going to do it? Eric Yoder isn’t picking up a microphone and doing a tight 30 any time soon. Joel Pace isn’t going to headline the next time you say no to cleaning up your show because it’s Christmas time. YOU know what is funny, they just know how to make money on your funny.
The boss’ of comedy have pretty much ruined something that I loved dearly for over a decade and have driven me to the brink of not wanting to perform any longer. If I do decide to continue to perform it will be under the terms that I set for myself. I will no longer accept a show that has come from a booking agent. I will no longer put one more penny into their pockets. The amount of money they have made off of me is enough. I am sure most of the boss’ could give two shits about me and my opinions and sadly, that is exactly the point of this post!