Monday, July 24, 2017

Thoughts on Comedy

Morning Everyone,
           As I write this it's 2 am and I need to get to bed so I can be up in a few hours to take my wife to work. I can't sleep because I have these thoughts and feelings running around my head.
           Over the past year or so I've had a creeping feeling in the back of my head, I've tried to ignore it , I've tried to work past it, I've tried to reason with it yet it's existence alone is causing a rift in my sense of self.
           It comes every time I see or hear a fellow comic in my beloved Denver Comedy scene has a meltdown either on stage or on Facebook/Twitter. Sometimes it's for a very good reason, most of the time it isn't. That should be said for any meltdown really, it takes a lot for a person to get to that point, which means there were many opportunities to avoid said meltdown and the person chose to ignore every one. I speak from experience mind you.
           What follows sickens me as people who I know are good in their hearts pick a team and begin construction on the nice new echo chamber where they can all hug it out and bask in the glory of their safe space. The underlined theme of a lot of these dust ups? Offensiveness.
           "Is Hate speech protected?"
           "You can't say that!"
           "Hatemonger,racist, homophobe, fascist, tyrant,evil.....other"
           The other is the scary part, the other isn't like us, they think differently, the act differently, they feel.....not what we feel. They are to be pushed out, cast aside, maybe if they become a big threat we should just do away with them.
            Well I am the Other.
            While I'm not a racist, or a homophobe and any of those things don't let that fool you, I am indeed full of hate.
            You see before I was a comic or a podcaster I was an actor. I've been an actor since I was 5 and I always knew I wanted to spend my life entertaining people. This was a gift given to me at an early age to which I am very grateful. That however was when I was a young kid. Since then I have been bullied, beat up, been a bully to others, been molested by a neighborhood kid, watched my family succumb to various addictions, watched my father whom I loved die slowly over a year, been abused and abandoned in various relationships and all in all got a front row seat to watching my life go down the shitter.
            You know what the worst part of it all was? You want to know my ugliest truth? It's that no matter how much bad shit life put me through, I knew in my heart I could do worse to it. I often did. As a matter of fact I had gotten so bad that at the age 34 I looked in the mirror and didn't recognise who I was. I thought of that five year old kid stepping on stage for the first time and how happy he was that he was making people smile by telling them a story. I had chained that kid up into a closest for years and had been telling him that no one loved him for so long that over time....he eventually believed me.
            Needless to say it was a dark time. Lucky for me I remember the gift that was given me so long ago, my love for entertaining people. So I began the long road of rebuilding a relationship with that part of me that I had locked away. I spent time with him, I took him to do things he liked to do, I found what made him happy , I spent a lot of time apologizing for how I treated him and over time he began to trust me again.
            With that newfound trust I began my path toward comedy. I found a purpose in it like so many of us do. I found a way to undo the hatred I felt for so many years, I found a way to laugh at it. Laughter is such a strange thing, it comes at the most unusual times or in our darkest moments. It's almost as if laughter reminds us for just a moment that life is temporary and that almost anything can be joyous with a different perspective. I'm sure there are people out there who will say,"X isn't funny or Y shouldn't be a punchline!" You're right but keep in mind that Hogan's Heroes was a popular show. That's not a theory, that happened.
            While I'm sure I'll contradict myself at some point I'll say that I think nothing is off limits in comedy. That's not because I don't care about other peoples feelings, I feel that way because I know no matter what I've been through growing up, there's someone out there in the crowd who had an even darker childhood than I did. That person is filled with even more hate than I am. The biggest difference is that I had that gift as a child and they didn't!
             So rather than succumb to my hate I choose to make fun of it, to disarm it if you will. If I do enough mics, and if I work on my jokes hard enough, perhaps when that man with even more hatred than me sees me perform he'll laugh at his hatred too. It won't cure hate but it's a good first step, if anything it definitely takes the wind out of it's sails. That's my job as a comic, that's my goal as an artist.
             I could have easily chosen to be a monster in this life but I chose to make this world a better place than how I found it, like so many of my comic friends have. So if the rules of the scene have changed in a way that stifles that process or becomes an obstacle of my art and creativity then I might have to do this without some of you.
             I write this with love in my heart in the hope it finds the love in yours.
             David Germain