On September 9th, 2009, I entered into the world of stand up comedy. And what a year it’s been.

I still remember that night. Mostly. It was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed it. And I’ve stuck with it for the most part.

One thing that hasn’t really happened is a real gig doing comedy. I recently did a little 5 min. spot before Ron Shock a couple weeks ago, and that’s a pretty big thing, really. It was fun, and we all had a great time. I haven’t opened for anyone. I haven’t done any guest spots. I’m not really a ‘professional’ as of yet.

A lot has happened this past year. The comics I knew when I started this thing aren’t really around anymore. Several have moved to LA or New York. Some just disappeared. But there are new comics sprouting up every week. Some stick around, others just pop in once or twice and then disappear. It is what it is, and it feels good.

Corridor Comedy is what I consider my ‘home’ for comedy. It’s where I started, and even though it seems to change venues every few months, it’s still a great place. Mostly because of the people. I haven’t seen too many comic scenes other than Austin and San Antonio, but from what I have seen, what we have here in San Marcos is pretty cool. We up and coming comics really look out for each other. We help each other write, and for the most part we really get along as if we were a family.

What I find most interesting about comedy is that it’s just like any other aspect of life. It’s a group of people who have a similar interest and are completely different outside of that. There’s nothing magical about it – it’s just people hanging out like you’d find in any book club or sports bar. One common interest, but so different in outlooks and such.

I recently read an article about how back in the Vaudeville Days, the jokes were all the same – what changed was the delivery or how it was presented. Comedy has really changed, and the article talked about how stand up comedy polices itself. It’s really easy to steal people’s jokes – but the community itself will really let it be known that it’s not cool. Sometimes the subject gets a bit hairy – especially when you start dealing with certain premises. For instance, there are only so many “Shamu killed the trainer” jokes you can make before you tread on someone else’s material. And there are comics that seem to make it their duty to be the copyright cops to ensure no joke¬†thievery¬†occurs on their shift.

And for the most part, that’s fine. But if you’re that person, you better be sure you can back up your claim. Saying that a comic can’t go from being unfunny to funny in a few weeks doesn’t justify it. I’m sure if you look back over my videos, you’ll see that at one point, the jokes went from being okay to being funny. Nothing really changed – I just told the jokes better.

Advice is also something that is rather tricky. Even though I’ve only been doing stand up for a year now, I have been watching comedy for a long time – specifically stand up comedy. I remember growing up, there was a stand up comedy show at 6:30p and we’d make sure to finish dinner so we could watch it. So, even though I’m still getting my ‘comedy legs,’ it doesn’t mean I don’t know the potential of a joke. Occasionally I’ll feel the need to share some ideas with another comic about their work. Sometimes it’s just a simple “change this word” thing, or maybe something a little more like “tell it from this angle.” And usually when I do, I get a thank you from the comic and go on. Sometimes, it turns into something more. Occasionally, though, it’s looked down upon.

And to be honest, I do appreciate advice from other comics, but it’s always a little easier to take that advice when it’s from someone you respect and/or admire. It’s a little harder to take that advice when it’s from someone who’s just started getting into comedy.

Another thing I’ve noticed about comedy is that as I go on, I get less and less interested in new comics. It’s not that I don’t care, usually I am excited that someone new has joined the group, but sometimes it’s hard to really sit through their set. Not because it’s bad, but because I lose interest. Maybe that would be different if I wasn’t taping every time. In San Marcos, I usually make a point to talk to new guys. In Austin, however, the scene isn’t always so friendly.

So as I get into my second year of comedy, I think the only thing I really want to focus on is to start getting gigs for myself. An opening spot here, a guest spot there. Just try to get out there and get a solid 10-20 minutes worth of good material that someone’s willing to pay to see.

Here’s to the first year of comedy for myself, and here’s to the rest of the ride…

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