Sponge Monkeys

Sponge monkeys. What if you were washing dishes with a sponge and all of a sudden a tiny monkey oozed out of the sponge and onto your dinner plate? What would you do? How would you feel? Would you sell the monkey? Would you take care of the monkey while it grows? Would you adopt it as your own, cultivate a healthy and loving relationship with it, nurture it, challenge it to grow, and then slowly resent it over time for not being the child you had hoped for but actually realize the monkey is a reflection of yourself and then you have an emotional breakdown because you realize you’re not quite who you thought you were and maybe you weren’t such a great child either and it’s been a while since you called your parents and sometimes you can be kind of an asshole at social gatherings but hey at least you have a monkey now.

So, what’s new with me you ask? I don’t even know anymore. I’m very happy, so that’s cool. I’m having an issue making money, which is a bit frustrating, but I’m trying not to fight it anymore. That’s the challenge of being a creative person at the front end of their career. I had a good thing going driving for Uber, but the winter months mixed with COVID has sent my earnings straight into the abyss.

Sometimes I consider getting a regular job, but I’m gonna ride this out as long as I possibly can because it allows me the best opportunity to advance my creative career. I put a bunch of copies of my book in the back seat pocket and it sells pretty well when I drive during the day. The other day, four out of my first six passengers bought my book and it just about blew my brain straight out of my skull. I usually sell one or two a day, but people were really feeling the poetry on a Sunday. I have a little bit of imposter syndrome. I think “why would anyone want to buy my book?”

Balancing imposter syndrome and balancing my ego is an awkward dance sometimes. I have days where I feel like I’m a talentless hack and nobody has any good reason to listen to my comedy or read my writing, and then I have days where I’m jizzing on my yoga mat to the compliments people give me. It’s really weird honestly. I remember one night I bombed horrifically on stage, and then I went to drive for Uber and this passenger was just enamored of my book. He was saying things like “you’re unbelievably talented” and “this is genius.” It’s like life is negging me.

Tony Hinchcliffe told me that I’m “somehow genius yet retarded.” And that’s exactly how I feel.

I think the ups and downs are something a lot of comics can relate to. Night to night, there can be such a discrepancy. One night you feel on top of the world, the next night you feel like burying your face in a Middle Eastern sandpit and pooping upwards forever. Sometimes it can happen one hour to the next. You perform one place and murder, then you go to another and bomb with the same jokes.

It’s probably the hardest part about comedy: learning how to deal with the emotional swings. Comedy attracts a lot of people with addictive tendencies like myself! Learning how to stay even keeled through it all is not something a lot of comics can handle. I struggle with it for sure, but some people really struggle with it. Even some of the greatest comics of all time got eaten up by it. People like Sam Kinison could never take their hand off the throttle. It can cost you your career and your life. Too many comedians have died too young. Don’t die, funny man! Don’t die on me now!

I’m glad I didn’t start comedy when I was younger. Sometimes I would wonder, “why didn’t I start doing this sooner?” but I’m glad I didn’t. I didn’t understand what it means to be a comedian when I was younger. I always wanted to be funny, but I wasn’t wise enough to truly understand the challenges of a career in stand-up comedy. I could easily see a scenario where I started comedy at 18 and became successful at 23 only to screw it all up because of my blind ignorance and addictive tendencies.

I also wanted to be famous when I was younger and I’m REALLY glad that didn’t happen. Son of a spoon-fed whore that would have been a disaster. I actually feel bad when I hear about teenagers becoming Tik Tok famous or whatever. Imagine making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year through some videos you posted online before you even became an adult. Yikes.

There’s something to be said about the value of finding your way as an adult, and I think missing out on that can have a devastating impact on your life in the long run. Like, you ever meet someone who was disgustingly wealthy growing up and they’re just an insufferable piece of sucky ass? Yeah, nobody wants to be that person.

What I’m trying to say is I find solace in struggle. Every time I lie on the bed and feel like the challenges of my life are caving in on me, I remember it’s better this way. Every failure is a learning experience with incredible value. It sounds tempting to be handed an easy life, but I don’t think it’s very meaningful or relatable. Most people struggle quite a lot. It’s pretty hard to relate to someone who never had to work because they recorded themselves dancing in the living room.

It makes a better comic, too. Ultimately, comedy is about relating to the audience. It’s about sharing a laugh. You’re on their level and they are on your level. For a moment in time, you get each other. I guess that’s all any of us really want to do. Connect.

Sponge monkeys.

Jason Brendel
Jason Brendel

Jason Brendel is an author, poet, and comedian from Northern California. Navigate the buttons below to follow him on social media, make a donation, or purchase his collection of laugh-out-loud poetry on Amazon.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Leave a Reply