Comedy and Setting Boundaries

Well put me in a crock pot and stew me up for dinner! By golly, what a tasty day to be alive. It’s another gorgeous day in Austin and I am ready to EAT. I don’t even know what that means. I’m hungry. That’s my point. Hungry for success snarf snarf snarf. No. I’m just actually hungry. I literally would like to put food in my mouth.

Anyways, things have been busy lately. Uber has been picking back up and I’ve been full throttle on the comedy pedal, which has been really fun. I’m trying to get most of my driving done in the morning and afternoons now so I can spend as much time as possible waiting to get on stage. There’s a lot of waiting in open mic comedy. Half the time you’re just choosing where you want to wait.

But that’s also the fun part. It saddens me more people don’t get to live a life like this, going out and hanging with your friends every night and telling jokes on stage. I also get why people don’t do stand-up comedy, though. You have to be a little bit insane. Or a lot bit insane. Some comics are legitimately insane. On Sunday this guy did a set where he talked about how he lit himself on fire. He wasn’t joking, his whole body was burned. He literally lit himself on fire and tried to kill himself four times. But it was hilarious. One of my favorite sets I’ve seen in a while.

There’s a couple comics you don’t want to make eye contact with. Half of us are homeless. All of us have issues. But hey, that’s what makes it fun. It’s funny walking around downtown Austin and knowing most of the people you walk by. It’s either another comic, a familiar homeless person, or a group of tourists.

And you never know what’s going to happen on stage at an open mic. Most of it is mediocre, but every once in a while you see something that’s hard to forget. Then it’s your turn to go up and you have this idea of how it’s going to go in your head and then it definitely doesn’t go like that. You really never know.

I did a set the other night where this guy named Sterm Werm went up and started talking about how he was a rapper and then did this rap at the end. I couldn’t resist, so I went up and started doing a freestyle rap about this dude. It started off really well and then I thought of something ridiculous and realized how ridiculous I looked and then my mind went blank and I just started laughing. Then I was in this awkward place where everyone was like “oh shit!” and was on my side for ten seconds, and then I was just standing there totally lost. Do I do comedy now? Do I start over? Do I smack my head against the stool? I don’t know, dude.

I tried to tell some new jokes but I was totally off kilter at this point. Things can change so quickly on stage. That’s what’s great about it and also terrifying. The night before I had the best set I’ve probably ever had, just absolutely creaming myself, and the next night I wanted to crawl in a corner and anamorph into a stupid little slug and beg to get stepped on. Oh, the ups and downs of comedy.

Comedy is a constant reminder that you can never rest on your laurels. You can rest on your air mattress, but you can’t rest on your laurels. If you think you’ve got it figured out, the next night on stage will be there to remind you that you’re an idiot. I think it’s a good lesson for life. I think every day we should remind ourselves we’re idiots… and that we are going to die. That should be everyone’s morning meditation. “I’m an idiot and I’m going to die.” The best way to start the day.

The world would be a lot better place if that’s how everyone started their day. I think ego and fear are destroying our society and if everyone could admit they’re dumb and going to die, we could all stop being a bunch of cunts and just get along. How’s that for a campaign speech? “You’re dumb. You’re going to die. Stop being a cunt.” – Jason Brendel 2022.

Cunt is a funny word. It’s used very commonly in other cultures but in the United States it’s seen as one of the absolute worst words. I know there are people reading this now who are cringing every time it crosses the screen. I think it’s the American accent that ruins it. It just sounds so harsh when we say it. When a British person or an Australian person says it, there’s a softness to it. They even use it as a form of endearment. “Ah, come here you cheeky cunt!” Anyways, moving on… I’m sorry mom and dad.

What was I writing about? Comedy? Ah yes, comedy… I’m finding myself falling in love with comedy more and more in this abusive relationship. Yeah call the cops, comedy is beating me up. If you’re addicted to ginormous emotional swings, comedy might be for you! Yeah! I’m mostly having the time of my life. That’s really the key, when it comes down to it. You gotta be having fun.

As long as you have fun on stage, nothing else matters. You can have fun crushing, you can have fun bombing, but it’s easy to forget this is supposed to be fun. I have an odd tendency to take myself too seriously, which is ironic because I don’t take life seriously at all. I’m constantly oscillating between not caring at all and caring too much. I either go with the flow too much or I try to control everything. I’m working towards finding more balance.

A lot of things are out of our control, and it’s important to be able to let go. Sometimes, however, we need to take some damn initiative and act. That’s where my problem comes in. I’m constantly hoping I can just float through life like a plastic bag in the wind. Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifitng through the wind? BABY YOU’RE A FIREWORK!

The point is, I’ve been working on saying what I need and what I want instead of just letting things happen and then dealing with them. Boundaries, baby. I was doing yoga yesterday and the instructor said something like “people who set boundaries actually have the most intimate relationships with those around them, because when they’re able to give, they give their all.” That’s a big one. Sometimes I try to give when I’m not able to, and it just makes things worse.

“No no no, I’ve totally got time right now!” I don’t.

“It’s fine.” It’s not fine.

Being able to say when it’s not fine… that’s been a tough one. Sometimes you just gotta say “I don’t want to talk about this right now.” Imagine if I went up to random strangers, started a conversation, and then when they continued the conversation I said “I don’t want to talk about this right now.” and then walked away. Do you think that would be good practice? Okay, fine. Not good practice. But it would be funny. And that’s all that matters.

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