Standup

I’m not allowed to work in Australia until December. I applied for my partner visa, which cost us quite a sum, and was granted a bridging visa while the partner visa is being processed. But, because I already have a tourist visa, the bridging visa will not be active until the tourist visa expires (in December). It’s confusing and stupid. Just cancel the tourist visa, Australia. They won’t. So poor Jen has to apply for job after job (a more laborious process here than in the States), while I do what little I can to make that not suck so much for her.

I need to become a famous comedian in Australia, like right now. That would solve everything. My set went well the other night. Pretty okay. I think I told only one real joke, and the rest of my set was just ideas. I thought maybe I had more jokes in there, but I played the set for Jen, and we both realized, yeah, not really any jokes besides that one.

Jokes! is that all there is? Is that what I was put on this planet for? Jokes? I don’t know what my relationship to standup is ultimately going to be here. Sometimes I wish I’d never tried it that first time, on the tenth of June, 2008, at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle in Royal Oak, Michigan. I wish my friend Adam Stanton had never insisted he and I both try an open mic on the same night. I told him I didn’t think I could be good at it, but he convinced me. I bought the goddamn Judy Carter Comedy Bible from Borders and read almost all of it. I got five minutes together and practiced it. I told Adam I was ready. He balked. Couldn’t do it suddenly, and I was unable to convince him the way he’d convinced me. So I went up anyway, got some laughs, got actual applause after my first joke, and was hooked. A feeling of pure elation that I’ve been chasing ever since. I moved to LA, then back home, then to New York. Doing standup the whole time, sucking at it, hating myself. Sure I’ve had nights that almost were the equal of that first time, but mostly it’s been eleven years of creative failure. And it’s all Adam Stanton’s fault. I’m missing that guy’s wedding next month, actually, in San Francisco. I wish I could go, if only to shake his hand and tell him, “You ruined my life LOL.”

Sorry for being so negative. It’s just easy, being negative. I’ve always been so good at it. Feels so natural, like getting under a familiar, cozy comforter. Which is called a “duna” here. 

I actually love that I’m in a new scene again, trying to figure shit out. But these are the facts: 34 years old, starting over in comedy, no comedy resume (headlined never, TV never, social media/real-life followings nonexistent), limited time to go hard at comedy due to other responsibilities. Maybe it would be healthier, mentally and financially, to just think of it as a hobby. I feel like I’ve really exposed my soul in this post. I need to pull back.

The Melbournians were kind to me during my set and forgiving of my lack of jokes, and they laughed sufficiently at the one joke I did have, even at some things that were just ideas. So you never know, maybe standup is just really easy here! I’m gonna own this town!

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