I was at a music show recently and I remembered a little bit of why I don’t go to that many and why I appreciate comedy so much.
It had nothing to do with the band that was playing. It was actually a friend’s band and they killed it. But music has always been tough for me. When I was in church, so much of the reaction to music was either way underwhelming or over the top. It was the feeling of staring at the back of my eye lids while it seemed everyone else was having some kind of mystical journey, or everyone jumping around going crazy while I was rooted to the ground.
It often made me feel like being a room full of people who took acid right before you got there and now you are out of rhthym with their trip.
I enjoy music in strange ways. Music to me has always been a type of fuel. I listen to music based on what I am doing. And as I listen I go into the song and wander. I love being on late night car trips by myself and finding the right downbeat vibe music to play. I love to listen to it as a focus point, and then let my thoughts unfold and indulge myself in nostalgia. Think about things that might have been, that might still be.
Thats also the type of music I have always tried to make. Like little individual desserts or port wine.
The downside of playing like this is you always feel like an emotional busker. I never learned how to look people in the eye when I played. It was overwhelming to me. Thats why playing in church was easy, no one really expects you to look at them.
Music was so many things to me, and so many good moments, and many disappointments too.
Comedy has been like a second marriage. In second marriages, you see people coming out like a boxer from the corner with a fresh idea of what it will take to win and what to avoid. Informed by the hurt but driven to do better. I’m always fascinated by people’s second marriages.
If you don’t do it right, it can often be reactionary. It can be a mistake in the opposite direction. On the other hand, we as humans learn best by doing. Mistakes are part of any good story, and so I think seeing a fresh attempt is always a thing of beauty.
I think doing stand up has given me permission to look people in the eye, to bullshit with the crowd, to engage the other part of my brain and represent another part of who I am.
I used to play very emo songs, but then worry the crowd was getting too serious and try to make jokes imbetween songs. Music that is very vulnerable can make you feel like the crowd is assuming you are some type of tragic figure, and I hated that. I want to be vulnerable in everything I do, but I don’t ever want pity.
Maybe one day comedy will be the thing I learned from but break it off with, and i have a third marriage to something else. But I’m glad in some ways music never caught fire for me. I found a part of myself doing stand up and I would never have known if it wasn’t for disappointment.
Whatever you have attempted or used to be is not the end of your artistry. Its just a relationship and relationships ebb and flow. They die and are reborn every day. I hope til the day I die I am saying or creating something genuine and something beautiful or funny. Life is tragic repetition, art is the interruption.