This has been a challenge to sit down and write. A lot has been going on in my little world, and it's preoccupied my observations of the larger one as a whole. Usually, the month of October is the worst for me, but for the first time there haven't been any major catastrophes, just a lot of time to think.
I came to a point at the end of September where things slowed down, and now things are right back at their scheduled chaos, but I've run into a problem; I'm stuck. I am frustrated, and I don't know if there's nowhere to go or just no room to. I have a lot of ideas and they aren't moving forward; I hit the bottleneck.
This is a weird thing in Denver comedy that I imagine everyone begins to notice once they're where I'm at. People don't want to take risks on you. There are a lot of talented people, but we all tend to give stage time to people that we see other people give stage time to. There's a hierarchy, which is fine, but not a lot of people look to promote anyone within that hierarchy, we just adhere to it. We're effectively a caste system in terms of stage time; there's open micers, openers, features and headliners. Nobody goes up or down, not far anyway. Your only leverage is if people can get something out of you. Since I run a show and I'm a woman, I have two things regardless of how funny I am. I have a spot I can offer you and I make your show look a little more diverse. Both of those are bullshit criteria but I'd be lying if I didn't say I think that's a huge part of why I get what I get.
We all build up inside the bottle, perfecting our spots. We get good at the places we're at. Once in a rare while someone sneaks through the neck of the bottle because someone took a risk on them and everyone noticed. Denver in particular puts a lot of stock in the comedy competitions which I think is ridiculous, but I'm likely biased given that I don't do well in contests.
I felt very lost after San Francisco. I'd gone out there with a purpose that didn't really work out. I wasn't upset about the opportunity loss, I just didn't know where to go from there. I'm very goal oriented. At the beginning of the year I made a commitment to try and figure out how to make (some) money doing comedy, which I guess I've started, but I needed somewhere to go from there, I just haven't figured out where that is.
I thought I was being patient, but patience can teeter dangerously on waiting for things to happen when it's my job to bring them about. Waiting is something I reserve for when I don't know what I should be doing. That's where I was at when things slowed down. Things were slow and I was okay with that, but I didn't want to wait for something to happen. I just needed to know what I should be doing so I could start.
It's taken me awhile to work it out, but I think I have started the answer; I have to make something here. Traveling is great, and you make a lot of connections (with people or concepts), you experience, create and explore. Now that I'm home I see myself as stuck, but I don't think darting around the country will get me anywhere. I need to be looking at this place. My problem is not unique. I need to break the fucking bottleneck.
I'm guilty of this too. I run a show that I care about and I always want to see do well, so I don't take a lot of risks when it comes to who I book. I'm contributing to the problem I'm experiencing. I'm going to make it a point next year to change that. I'm pretty experienced with risks, now I need to start taking those chances with people. If I'm lucky that will start being reciprocated.
I didn't get my cartoon up for the first Wednesday, which felt like a little failure. That was one of my goals this year, to add those twice a month, and it sucks a little to know I couldn't do it, but at the same time, it was certainly an indicator for me. I try to do a lot of things at the same time, and things that aren't prioritized or particularly special to me fall off the edges. Learning how to manage those things has been a huge process. I don't take that kind of failure as hard as I used to. I push myself and look for edges so I know where they are, and apparently, I hit one. This one appears to be the amount of things I can accomplish by myself.
I feel like I'm at the point where I've done all that I know how to on my own. For awhile I was frustrated that there was no sense of leadership, that I had no one to look up to in order to figure out what direction I should be going. I'm realizing that maybe that's the incorrect way to look at this, it goes against dancing to presume there's a shape to it. I can't do it the same way as other people and they're not going to be able to do it my way.
What I'm hoping to do now is to work with other people. I suppose it's a lateral approach. I'm not really sure how to work upwards but I'd like to work with people I know in order to see if we find places to go out of it. I've always held to an idea that a sense of community/connection with people is a huge problem solver. I was planning to look into it and use it as a springboard for this big project on homelessness I'm working on; some stuff about neotribalism but hopefully you'll get a really cool article about that later.
I've been wanting to do a little more with the articles here. They've mostly been my own thoughts backed with just enough research to make sure I wasn't completely mistaken about anything. I've covered a lot of my own basics and now a lot of what I'm writing about is stuff I'm learning about at the same time, and they're becoming bigger puzzles. It's pretty interesting, we'll see where that goes. I'm getting more of an idea of what I'm doing by writing them in the first place. When I first started, I really had no idea why I was except for that I liked to. I didn't have any great sense of purpose.
I just realized that as a person, I'm a microcosm of that big project. I have been wanting to do more. Every time I see a large system I realize that the flaws in it are easily reduced to the same flaws in an individual; you can turn almost anything into a metaphor for itself and that approach makes things more understandable and therefore more fixable. I've been looking at this big social problem and it's ultimately because it's the exact same problem I have on a very small scale. I am interested in homelessness because I have no place to go.
I don't know what it is I'm going to start. It's still new and shy and hard to see through the logistical thicket. Here's hoping that somewhere in there it gives us a place to belong.
About A Blog
I'm a Denver Comedian, occasional cartoonist and person of interest to someone, probably. These articles are really too long.