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When life becomes a distraction from comedy

A lot can happen in a week.

In a seven-day span, I checked out a small town open mic, saw the movie "The Founder," confirmed a wedding venue and date for 2018, and bought a new house. That last one deserves some explanation.

First off, my fiancee did most of the buying. She is the one with a real job down here in Raleigh so she is the only one of us who can get pre-approved for a mortgage. The other minor detail about the house is it doesn’t exist, not yet anyway. It is a new-build. It should be finished sometime around July, but right now it is empty, a flat lot of dirt.

It's a bit different when it comes to home-buying down here. It’s a seller’s market, but we didn’t have to worry about bidding or being out-bid by someone else. We walked through some model townhomes on Wednesday, liked what we saw, and put down a deposit by 10 a.m. Thursday.

There was one property left and the price was predetermined. If we wanted it, we could have it, and we took it. It’s exciting because not only do we get to pick out some of the features of our new home before construction begins, but we will be the first people to ever call it a home. It will still have that new home smell. There will be no mystery cheese puffs to be found under the stove from the family or families before us, and our butts will be the first to touch the toilet seats. We get to breathe life into it and write our own story.

[More comedy: Jim Jefferies brings unusual punishment to UB]

Being busy lately with house-related stuff has been a nice distraction, considering that my next few weeks are pretty empty as far as my comedy calendar is concerned. Comedy can be like this -- sometimes you go through a little drought. I performed a lot these last couple of months and have some big things coming up in March, but for every weekend I am not performing, I feel anxiety. I feel a sense of inadequacy.

Comedy used to be a source of extra income for me. It was something I did on the side until things started going well. My hope was that if I made myself more available, I could earn enough to be able to live off the income. I quit my full-time job, and now here I am as available as can be, but it seems that not enough people are noticing. This is my “shot.” I’m available and want to get booked. But if this doesn’t pan out the way I hoped it would, I might have to trade my dream for something else or perhaps go back to a day job.

I start to tell myself that my coming show at Shea’s Performing Arts Center might be a good send-off - a fitting finish to a career where I have already accomplished things I never thought possible.

But no. This can’t be it. I can’t make my Shea’s show the apex. It is just another show. In the grand scheme of things, my time on stage in that beautiful theater will be over and behind me within 15-20 minutes. It’s a show that is already on the books, and I need to figure out what the next big thing will be. I need to persist. I need to keep writing. I need to keep marketing myself. I need to keep getting on stage whenever possible - the way I always have. There are many goals I still want to achieve and I can’t let a few empty weekends let me forget that.

When I talk myself off the ledge, I suppose my future in comedy is full of potential, and there is still plenty of room to build upward. At times, my career feels like an empty lot of flat dirt. Hopefully, someday soon, on that same plot of land there will stand a strong, beautiful home promising years of hard earned fulfillment.

*Look back at Brian's stand-up journal:
- Part I: A funny guy from Buffalo tries to make it in stand-up
- Part II: Bad waffles, too much laughter and other tales from Albany
- Part III: Starting over every day and getting laughs from the Pledge

Brian will be writing about his stand-up life for the next two months, culminating in his March 25 appearance at Shea's. Visit buffalonews.com each week to follow along.

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