Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It's Good To Be The Comic

View of the "Small" stage at
The Comedy Caravan Louisville, KY
In the last entry I discussed where I thought I was in the comedy world. I received some very supportive and encouraging comments on Facebook. Some of them were along the lines of "you shouldn't quit".

Quitting is something I have NO intention of doing. I plan on performing standup until it is physically impossible for me to do so. Being a standup comedian is who I am, not what I do.

A lot of my brother comics knew from a very early age that they wanted to be a comedian. They tell me stories about how they listened to every Carlin, Hicks, Cosby, and Prior comedy album they could get their hands on before they started high school. They can quote bits from these famous comics word for word. They can also recognize when a comedian is hacking one of the premises of these great comedians.

I can do none of those things. I've listened to only a couple of George Carlin's albums and the only one I can name is Class Clown. I confidently state that while growing up I enjoyed comedy when I saw it but I never was a "student" of the art.

As an adolescent I had dreams of being a musician or a golfer. Those were the things I was passionate about. When I was 13 I started golfing. The town we lived in had a 9 hole public course and my parents bought me a season pass. During the summer I would go to the course at daybreak and wait for it to open.  Then I would play round after round until I couldn't see the ball anymore.

I did that for 3 years and actually got pretty good. But the one thing I didn't do along the way was take lessons. While I had a fairly good understanding of the game I never really learned proper technique. I hit a plateau that I would never overcome because. I quit playing when I was 16. Once I started working I gave up golf because I didn't have time. I was working 2 part time jobs and liking the money. So even though I had a lot of passion for it I never became a "golfer".

Music was different. I started playing in the 2nd grade. I remember the day we were all brought into the lunch room and shown the different instruments. I'm not entirely sure how I came about it but I chose a Flute. I had lessons and played in the school band. As time went on I started noticing that I was the only boy in the Flute section and it disturbed me. By the time I was in the 8th grade we had just moved to Zion Illinois and I was able to join the band at my school. The band director was Mr. Kinsman and I was lucky enough to be his assistant that year. Instead of going to lunch every day I helped him in the band room.

I was also able to pick up a new instrument, the Tuba. I played in both bands and became a total band nerd. I even learned to play a couple more instruments. Then high school came. My parents enrolled me in a Catholic High School that didn't have a music program. Music went away  for the next 11 years. I finally got back into it when I took lessons to play drums. It was something I'd always wanted to do, even though I started with the Flute. My father had discouraged me because the "noise" would have been too much for him.

I had visions of playing a band but that never happened. To this day I still enjoy playing the drums and have great passion music but don't consider myself a "musician".

It's always been work that got in the way. I've always had at least 2 jobs, I'm a workaholic. I've done a lot of things. I've been a paper boy, dishwasher, cook, door to door salesman, ride operator at an amusement park, induction brazing operator, fork lift operator, janitor, hearing aid specialist, loan collector, senior loan officer, video store owner, computer programmer, computer technician, web designer, and finally standup comedian.

That's sixteen different things. It's going to sound like I'm bragging but I was good at every one of them. I've never been fired from a job and I've always left for my own reasons. With the exception of standup comic whenever I was asked what I did for a living I would answer with "I work at the" or "I do [whatever] for a living". I never identified myself by what I did.

That changed once I found standup comedy. I found something that I have true passion for. It was a difficult road to get where I am today, even though I am definitely on one of the lower rungs of the comedy ladder.

Even so, I love everything about what I do. I'm a part of a brotherhood. I create things that are unique. I am able to make people laugh. I even like the lifestyle. Staying in hotel rooms and driving for days at a time. I may have to work a tough gig from time to time but that comes with the life, they are not all perfect.

Standup comedy is what I love, it's what I do ... I am a standup comedian.

Vilmos has been a standup comedian since 1992.
He created GreenRoomRadio.net a web site with Podcasts by comedians.
He is the host of The Green Room which is the longest running Podcast on standup comedy.
He also hosts The Mentorist v2 and The Spew.
His web site is Vilmos.com.
Follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/vilmosthecomic or Twitter @vilmosthecomic.

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