Archive for March, 2012

“Be yourself” and other advice that makes things worse.

A solid 2 months in the stand up scene.  I’m getting up there, making a fool out of myself, and more often than not, making people laugh at or with me.  At this point, it matters not which, but it’s fulfilling.  And it’s rewarding to learn so much about myself.

One thing that happens, however, is that good-intentioned people give me advice that at surface-level seems nice and sweet, but really, it’s the worst possible advice you could give anyone.  Good advice or a secret plot to destroy me?  You decide!

Advice #1 – Be yourself!

On the surface: don’t be someone you’re not.  You’re fine just as you are, and if you go up there and act naturally, other people will like you just as much as we do.

You only like me because you haven't found the bodies yet.

Why it’s bad: being yourself?  Really? Do you even know me?  Yes, you know the person I present to you, but the for realsies me is a bit more complex.  And a bit more intolerable.  If I were to go on stage and take this advice to heart, everyone would think I was a fucking weirdo.  I’m trying to get people to laugh at me, not become my best friends, so really, I need to get them to like me which means not being my real self but a better self.

What the advice should be: be the version of yourself without the fucking weird shit.

Advice #2 – Have fun!

On the surface: don’t be so caught up in the pressure, relax, and enjoy the experience.

"Don't piss yourself...don't piss yourself..."

Why it’s bad: what is fun?  There are lots of things that are fun.  Sex is fun.  Sitting on the couch and watching marathons of “America’s Next Top Model” is fun.  So what kind of fun should I have?  Go on stage and have fun – great – I’ll carry a giant couch up there and have the audience watch me read for two hours.

Just consider the epic couch farts a "bonus".

What the advice should be: go up there and pretend that opening yourself up for public humiliation is the funnest thing you could ever do.

Advice #3 – It’s okay to fail.

On the surface: you can’t succeed at everything.  If things don’t go well, just pick up and move on.

Why it’s bad: sure, there are things to learn from failure.  But is it okay? It won’t kill you, but failing blows.  Also, why do you assume that’s what I’ll do?  Is this your way of telling me that you know I’m going to fail?  Are you anticipating something I’m not?  Have you looked into the crystal ball of probable occurrences and seen my inevitable failure?

Your panda joke will fail. Also, don't ride the bus tomorrow.

What the advice should be: listen, we don’t know what’s going to happen, but for Christ’s sake, if it goes badly, keep the tears to yourself, please.

So, all kind-hearted friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers – your advice is well-received and appreciated.  Just know that I will find a way to twist it.  But keep it coming.  Every little bit helps.