For some reason I can no longer recognise people for the way they look.
(I mean who the hell is this guy? There’s pictures of him all over my computer!)
Let me clarify. When you are a self employed entertainer you tend to live in a little bubble. You spend your days writing, rehearsing and relaxing on your own. Everyone else is either at work or doing the same. When you go to a gig you usually drive on your own and meet other entertainers who you’ll see for 3 hours max, and they’ll either be getting ready to go on stage or over analyzing their performance, before getting back in your car and heading home to a house full of sleeping people. Lather, rinse, repeat. The people you speak to meaningfully and for any length of time are either your significant other or children (or housemates depending on how old you are and how much you are trying to escape responsibility). Also the majority of people you’re seeing are audience members and while every audience is important you tend to just remember the absolute best individuals.
(YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE STEVE!)
So everyone tends to merge into one skin coloured blur of judgement and appreciation. As comedy is your livelihood and your passion you tend to think of people in terms of how much they respect you (other comics) or how much you can make them laugh (audience members), although with family it’s how long they can tolerate you wearing just boxers and a tshirt while shopping. It’s a strange phenomenon but when comics talk to other comics you get this:
COMEDY FRIEND: “Hey man have you seen David Mcjokeandlaugh?”
ME: “I’m not sure. I think the name sounds familiar, what joke does he do?”
Never before have I ever defined the people I meet with the words they say. “Hey remember Jeff from upstairs?” “No I don’t think so” “yeah you do he’s the one that says ‘have you seen pictures of my daughter?’ or ‘have you got those accounts filed yet?'” “OH! JEFF! yeah I totally remember Jeff hahaha I love the accounts thing but he’s totally copying Jane from legal with the whole daughter stuff”.
(Go on Jeff ask me about those accounts again! I love this guy!)
I have never been asked if I remember a fellow comic by any discerning features “hey you know that Sally Funandgiggles? you know she’s the one with red hair and six fingers on her left hand?” “Nope sorry I mean that could be anybody!”. It’s such a strange idea and yet it’s universally how we identify each other on the circuit. This is all down to how judgemental we are. We’re not just looking at all the performers as competitors we are also looking to make sure we haven’t got similar material to them or if they’ve copied someone else’s bit. I’ve seen MCs who do material then introduce the act whose material they’ve stolen so it’s rife and as it’s our intellectual property/cash cow we’re very protective of it.
(Each goat represents a joke of mine and the fence represents how many times I will punch you in the throat for stealing one)
We want to be original and we want to be good so we remember what other comedians are doing to make sure we’re different and better. Currently I get a lot of “hey you’re that guy who wrote those things” which I much prefer to “hey you’re that guy who does the duck joke” or “hey pedo guy!” which is never something you want shouted at you in the street from an audience member in front of a group of non audience members/saturday night police officers.
This week is a crazy maelstrom of joke telling, story weaving, car tripping, world record breaking madness. If you’re in Kingston, Warrington, Bath, Bournemouth or Portsmouth I’ll be near you at some point this week and if you want to see my hour long show for the first time you need to come to this where I’ll be one of 64 comedians trying to break the world record for the longest standup show. It’s very exciting to be part of an event like this so come and get involved, it’s history in the making! The list of talent is incredible so get yourself down to Portsmouth to witness something spectacular.
(Like a unicorn giving birth)