Giving up is hard to do

I often wonder what life would be like if I had a normal job, if every day I went home at 5pm had dinner, watched some TV then went to bed early because I had to be up in time to beat the morning rush so I can sit at the same desk in a job I hate for 30+ years just so I can have a little security and a pension but cracking 10 years in and going in one Christmas with a crossbow I bought on eBay specifically to take out every single person who had pissed me off over the decade. I often wonder what that would be like. Difficult I’d imagine as I’ve never used a crossbow.

It’s easy to quit when things get difficult, especially when it’s your family that suffers. You see your kids not having designer gear or going to Spain three times a month like the other kids in their class, supposedly, and you think to yourself “is my happiness worth depriving them of these things?” and the answer is “yes it bloody is” because really when you turn round to your kids and say “you can be anything you want to be darling, you can be a dancer or an astronaut or a dog walker, you can be anything as long as it enriches your soul” you can’t follow that up with “unless you want to be a parent in which case FORGET ALL YOUR DREAMS AND BECOME A HUSK FILLED ONLY WITH LOST HOPES AND DISAPPOINTMENT. Now leave me alone I need to find a crossbow seller with good feedback”

My mum always said “nothing good ever came easy” which is why she was in labour with me for 36 hours.

Nearly giving up on comedy has become a monthly ritual, I have a bad gig, I cry on the way home, I phone my wife and she tells me I’m being ridiculous, I listen to Garfunkel and Oates “Loser” and I buck up. You can’t do anything if you give up and really if you’re doing anything at all you’ve got to fail at it a bunch of times before you can say you’ve succeeded. I also then go and watch this video of me doing a joke I love and realise I’m actually pretty fucking good at my job.

Before you give up on anything take a step back, look at everything you’ve achieved and what you want to achieve in the future then get really drunk and sleep that shit off. Really the only failure in life, and the only real regret you’ll have at the end, is not doing the things you wanted to do. Unless those things are murdering strangers in which case I’m happy for you to die unfulfilled.

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Motivating myself

I have a million things to do today. That’s hyperbole, I have about 16 things to do today but really if I really thought about it I could make it up to a million. I mean if I really thought about it I could break down any of the things I have to do into composite parts and eventually get to a million things to do today but with a greater sense of achievement as I accomplished minuscule goals like “put foot into sock” score “put foot into shoe” boom “tie up shoe” fuck I am rocking my to do list today.

So I have 16 things to do today and I know I have to do them before the kids get home, as soon as our girls are home I won’t get anything done and I love it. I’m not going to pretend that I hate them being here because it stops me from doing the things I need to I LOVE HAVING AN EXCUSE. “Chris why didn’t you do that admin?” ah man I had to play Boggle with my kids. Bummer I know I would have loved to have finished that admin, you know there’s nothing I love more than endless excel spreadsheets but if I don’t play boardgames with my kids then they might grow up to be serial killers and that would just be irresponsible, do you want more serial killers? No? I thought not.

I am the king of procrastination. Even now I’m sat here writing this when I should be writing material for shows.

Next week we’ve got three big shows see here so I’m doing a bunch of PR and rejigging material for them but also I’ll be restarting my Let’s Save the World podcast and booking the acts for our next year of shows. I want to get as many people involved with all of that as possible so sign up for updates on the front page (if you haven’t already) to get updates about all the amazing things coming up

New year, New me, Nouveau

It’s been ages since I’ve written an actual blog post. I’m putting this down to an incredibly busy schedule combined with crushing laziness. You wouldn’t think the two would go together but as soon as I get in the door my body won’t move off the sofa unless a sugary snack is required or my catheter slips out.

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(You know where this goes)

So like many others I’m making a decision to try and be a bit more active with my blog, I mean there’s quite a lot of you reading this now so it just feels wrong to let you down.

I’ve also realised that with growing frequency I’ve posted slightly depressing updates, this is because I have the brain of a 15 year old Panic at the Disco fan and sometimes feel the need to dye my hair black while crying about an argument I had on an anime fan forum.

Thing is I have nothing to really whine about. I live in a country where a wifi connection is as prevalent as free water, maybe even more so. I don’t have to worry about missiles hitting my school because another country’s leader has mistaken the launch button for the one that orders coffee. I’m not struggling to cross an ocean with my children in my arms hoping that my wife is on one of the other boats that made it this far. I got presents for Christmas rather than another 10 years in prison for a crime I didn’t commit. I’m a pretty lucky dude when you look at it like that.

But really how long will I keep up any New Year’s resolutions I make? I have a distinct hatred of authority so as soon as I tell myself to do anything with any level of assertiveness I instantly rebel against it, leaving myself in a constant Ouroboral state of instruction and resentment.

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(Some days I’m the head, most days I’m the arse)

For example I have promised myself that I will lose a lot more weight this year, I’m getting married and want to look less like a reality makeover show’s “before” picture, so this morning I came downstairs and said loudly to myself “This is the day we start eating properly! NO MORE SWEETS!” then immediately tried to consume an entire Terry’s chocolate orange because who the hell do I think I am? I can’t tell me what to do! I’m not my real father!

So these are not my New Year’s resolutions these are my New year’s suggestions:

  1. Write something consistently, a regular upbeat blog for example
  2. Increase our household income just so we can go to a country that requires us to use passports to enter and me not have to perform at some point on the trip
  3. Fit into my smaller clothes. I lost weight then I ate a whole cake I want to vaguely eat better but only if I feel like it
  4. Be a bit more social. I have become a cave troll. I live in my house, I work in my house, I go out to do shows, I come back to my house. My social circle is my two children and my fiancee and while that is wonderful we’ve all started to talk the same. People meeting us for the first time are greeted like we’re emerging from a field of corn. We’ve started to think the same haircuts would be a great idea.
  5. Learn something. I have a guitar and a harmonica that have seen less physical contact than myself aged 13 clutching a Superman comic and screaming “NO TOUCHING!”

These are simple things and as I refuse to yield to my own influence I will leave these here for me to come across and think “hmmm that might be a good idea, I’ll have a go but if anyone tries to force me I’ll eat this entire packet of hobnobs! SO HELP ME GOD! NO TOUCHING!”

They do not pay your rent

You may have noticed that I’ve been sticking up a bunch of pictures of myself with my jokes written on them. Like this one:

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They’re from my upcoming show “Distant” and they’re very different to what I normally do. I wanted to cover topics that people steer away from on stage because they either find it too difficult or want to be safer in their approach. I genuinely believe comedy, when done in the right way, can change the world.

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(Like this)

However when you’re tackling subjects like this you’ll always face some kind of opposition. It’s easy to feel bad and question yourself when you get comments like this:

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Which was in response to this joke:
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That’s a pretty extreme reaction and it’d be easy to look at that and the many others and think “everyone hates me and I’m doing it wrong”. I started to think like that when I had a phone call with a good friend who’s a successful motivational speaker. I told him about this and he said he’d seen my stuff and thought it was great “you shouldn’t feel bad” he said (I’m paraphrasing) “these people don’t pay your rent”.

And just like that this massive weight lifted off my shoulders. The people who don’t like it won’t like it and the people that do will be your audience and they’re the only people that matter when you’re performing. The peers that mock your approach to things, the anonymous keyboard warriors that attack you, the heckler who shouts nonsense during your set, these people aren’t your audience and are thus completely irrelevant. Negative criticism always comes from a point of fear and jealousy.

No matter what you do remember that. Even if you’re working in a call centre and you’re worried about doing 30 minutes of overtime because it makes you look like you’re sucking up. Remember that your critics won’t feel the benefit of your extra work and are, in fact, proof that you’re doing the right thing.

They don’t pay your rent. Your audience do.

Video – Me performing at the Glee Club in Birmingham

Last night I had the absolute honour of performing for the first time on a Friday at the Glee Club. It’s always been a dream of mine and was one of the two goals I set myself when I started doing comedy full time. Here’s the video:

 

I had loads of fun and have been invited back to do it all again soon so take a look at the video, let me know what you think and I hope you enjoy it!