The problem with everyday life is that it’s so damned predictable. We know exactly what the day will bring before it even begins. We know the answers to the questions before we ask them. The world is full of mystery and magic but most days we don’t see any of that.
When danger happens, when thrill happens, when things crash, when people cry, when people get lost, when the wild weather sweeps across the plains – that’s when we see magic in the world. That’s the point where stories begin.
I’ve been on a stand up comedy kick. I love listening to stand up comedians because they never say what you think they’re going to say. They are unpredictable. They get bored quick with simple normal life. They see a scenario or a situation from multiple angles. It’s not easy to pull some shit over on a comedian, because they question everything. They don’t take anything at face value. They’re busy deducing, extrapolating, imagining. They’re quirky. They laugh a lot. What’s not to love?
Of course I love comedians, and not just because they’re funny. But because they’re writers underneath it all. They’re artists who deal in words and phrases and stories. They make a living by turning creative ideas into package-able products, finding an audience, and delivering their magic night after night.
But the best thing about comedians? They don’t take anything too seriously. They don’t get hung up easily. They don’t get offended easily. They see humor in everything, and don’t take themselves too seriously.
These are things that I often appreciate about writers too. How they bring fresh perspective, how quirky they are, and often funny too in their own way.
Someone who deals in words and language, day in and day out, appreciates how fluid meaning really is. They appreciate alternate meanings, different points of view, and a well delivered phrase.
I’ve heard that stand up comedy is a uniquely American thing at its roots. And also that Mark Twain was the first original stand up comedian, because of how much he performed his readings in front of an audience. And obviously for his snapping wit, which is still entertaining all these years later.
If that’s true, then it means that writers and comedians (Americans at least, and maybe others too) all share a common ancestor.
I don’t know how comedians do what they do, but I’m thankful for what they bring to the world.
As for me, I’ll do everyone a favor by sticking to writing, and staying well away from the stage.