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Thu, Jul. 30th, 2009, 01:56 pm
Why I Quit Comedy

Someone who gave me many of my first comedy gigs asked me why I quit comedy. Answering his question helped me clarify my understanding, so I'm sharing my response here.

Why I Quit Comedy

In May 2007 I was working on the road, mostly featuring, some headlining, and I hated it. I held my performances to the standard of only telling jokes that made me laugh. What made me laugh had decreasing commonality with what made road audiences laugh.

Audiences didn't like me, I didn't like them, and they laughed at other comics whose material did not make me laugh. What made me laugh changed, and I failed to create material that made both me and the audience laugh. My primary motivation to continue performing was my fear of feeling like a failure for quitting.

Then the 2007 Walter Reed scandal sent me to working unscheduled overtime at nights and weekends, so I couldn't guarantee that I could honor bookings. After a few months of not performing, I realized how grateful I felt for the liberation from driving several hours for the privilege of failing to make people laugh, so I formally retired from comedy.

Now I record music, and cook, and I get to choose the people I entertain. I cook the food I wanna eat and make the music I wanna hear. I miss the urgency as a comedian to develop new material every day, so I work to maintain that daily creative work ethic through my music, free of concern about whether it'll sell at the Allentown Ramada.

If the music project develops into gigs, I hope to apply my performance work ethic I learned in comedy to the music. If it doesn't, I'll express my creativity some other way, but I intend to create work that gives me what I want as a customer. I'll try to make it accessible to others, but that's Job 2.

Thu, Jul. 30th, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous): Keep Up The Good Work

:-)

Thu, Jul. 30th, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous): your gift

You have many talents and for what it's worth have always made me laugh. I have a great idea for you... I think you should write a serious novel and call it Building 18. There, I said it. Work on it a little at a time. I bet it would be amazing and a pretty good movie, too.

Thu, Jul. 30th, 2009 07:24 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous): My experience, though similar, is different....

I did not quit comedy, so much as it quit me. I experienced a lot of the same issues you described, and felt a desire for the same quality tio whuich you aspired.

Then I met Lisa, got married and found a focus on what the quality of life really is.

Noww, after 2 years off the road, I have decided to go back to comedy, since I get too fat when I cook all of the time, and nobody, including me, wants to hear me sing.


I do feel better now that I am not trying so hard. I find that the funny follows in the lightness of comedy, not the serious side of it.

SO I go to open mics, and it is no longer a business to me.

We all find our bliss, or not. It is just that simple.

I am glad to read that you are happy, and one day I would like to sit and talk like th eold days, you have always made me laugh, as well as think. If that is not appreciated, well just think of a golden commode. No one sees it true vallue, it is just Shat on every day.

Jonathan