Writing, Research and Work Ethic…
I’ve been working on research and writing a lot recently. I therefore apologize for my lack of posts to those that actually care about such minor issues and banality. First I love the writing, it’s the new found paranoia of posting it that is strange, I’m a little concerned about possible pilfering due to some of my research. Not that I’m some kind of genius, it’s just there is only so much reality for everyone trying to do this to work from but then again some people are just flat out hacks.
One of the things I’ve been doing, in addition to a LOT of reading about writing comedy, is watching and listening to some people I’ve always liked but didn’t really “hit it big” as it were. Yet they’re still making a living (in some cases 25 to 40 years), which honestly is pretty much were I’d like to be at once I’m done with this transition. So if you like comedy here are a few comics with some really brilliant Podcasts that can be gotten from multiple sources. I use iTunes, but I’m going to link directly to the artists site, so you can get it how you want it from there.
Marc Maron: He’s got the WTF Podcast and it is just a great resource so listen, a couple comics (from all levels of the industry) talk about comedy on pretty much every level (business to artistic). His interview with Carlos Mencia is probably one of the most stunning things I’ve ever heard. And for Mencia to not even realize he’s admitting he’s a hack is mind boggling. He flat out says his first experience he went out and got a joke book and then did them on stage. How can he not realize that’s what makes him a hack? My first experience I wrote every thing I did, it was mostly easy jokes but it worked and made me want to get better. I got laughs and the fact that I wrote them is what made me really get charged about this, sure they were hack jokes about drinking and the attitude is what made them work. But it made me want to WRITE better material, all Mencia could have felt is “I have to GET more material”. I’m sure he was charged but he had to have wondered where he was going to get his next bit from, I knew I could create more and I think that’s the difference between a real comic and a hack.
Doug Benson: Just a funny guy with a good act and I like his podcast Doug Love Movies (formerly I Love Movies) for the array of guests and the way the show is done. It’s mostly live in a theatre (that’s how they spell it dammit!) in LA called the UCB (you know but if not google). Tons of other comedians and it’s mostly an improv movie themed show so it’s just a fun listen.
David Feldman: This guy is a writer/performer who’s great and makes me laugh a lot. His podcast is mostly interviews and comedy sketches which is great. You don’t get many audio comedy sketches outside of Harry Shearer radio shows and his can get a little dry, so this is a really good show to listen to as you drive or work on dangerous machinery after drinking cough syrup.
Will Durst: Another great writer/performer. He was on a podcast I heard of David Feldman’s but he does one himself that is available on audible.com for purchase. He’s also got CD’s for sale on his site and has written some books which are great reads as well. He’s been around for years and I remember seeing him back in the 80’s (when I should have started doing comedy) and along with Bill Hicks, Sam Kinison and George Carlin, he’s one of those guys I think I most admired. But somehow he fell off the national scene, to move out here and find that he’s still active is one of the best things I’ve discovered over the past few years. So check him out as well.
Ritch Shydner: He’s one of two comics that wrote and compiled a book called “I Killed” that is an excellent read that will make you laugh out loud. He’s a great comic and he’s in a documentary I watched recently.
There are some great documentaries out there too. If enough people want to know what I’ve been watching there just drop a comment and I’ll put that together in the future.
I’ve not watched much of their current comedy stuff, as I don’t want to accidentally contaminate my brain with someone I respects ideas, but I’ve been listening to podcasts, watching documentaries about comedy and reading books by comedians I respect and who’s writing I enjoy. So one of the more pressing things I’ve gleaned from a great deal of this research is the need to be wary of hacks that steal, thereby bypassing the realm of Loserville a new online game from Zynga!
So my next step, now that I’ve started to learn to write a better actual ‘bit’ and I’m starting to like what I’m seeing. I’m going to be concentrating on getting more actual stage time. My first goal is to start doing an open mic at least 5 nights a week by the end of August. That goal is central to my second goal: to get my first really tight 5 to 7 minute set. Once that’s done then goal three is to actually start auditioning or getting some actual paying features/opening sets and build from there to a 20 minute set.
This will be the next year or so of my life… Oh wait, I’m still also a husband and Dad of 2 kids in their early teens, one of whom has Down Syndrome… At least karma and the daily news shall continue to provide the material!