Finding the Fool

Well stick a bag of trail mix in my eyes and call me blind, what a pleasant day to be questioning your sexuality. Just kidding, I’m past that. You ever struggle so much with women you wonder if you’re gay? No? Just me. Okay.

I wrote a joke about that once upon a time; the idea that it would be easier to tell a woman that I’m gay than it would be to explain that I have intimacy issues and performance anxiety. I don’t think I ever told it on stage come to think of it. I definitely should, it’s a pretty funny idea.

I can’t remember which comedian said this, but he was essentially saying that you should find the most embarrassing thing about yourself and talk about that on stage. It makes a ton of sense. First of all, I think it’s great for getting the crowd on your side. It makes it easier to make fun of everyone else if you’re able to open up your own embarrassing wounds.

On top of that, I think a lot of what makes a comedian funny comes from the most faulty parts of ourselves. If we’re able to understand the why behind ourselves it can help us with the how. That being said, it’s not easy to get up in front a group of people and talk about these things. I’ve really been focusing on embracing the idea that as a comedian, I am the fool. Here’s a little poem I wrote about it:

All pity the fool
I am he who has fallen
down upon my knees
I beg
not to be forgotten.

Ah, going with the flow of the fool. I’ve been very fortunate in my life, but I’ve had a lot of goofy odd-luck things happen to me. Sometimes they pile onto each other and it all becomes a bit much. It’s easy to get stuck in that trap of wondering “why me? Why do these things keep happening to me?” I think instead I’m starting to realize these things happen because, again, I am the fool. It’s better to embrace it than fight it.

Comedy is like life in that it’s easy to get caught up in taking it too seriously. As comedians we’ve all been there, standing on stage and someone begins heckling. We think, “hey screw you buddy, this is my time and I need to work on these jokes! This is serious for me!” But the second you relay that energy to the audience, it’s over. You’re done. Put a fork in me, I’m finished.

That has definitely been one of the biggest challenges for me so far: what to do when things go off the rails. So far I’ve been very reliant on my material in my short comedy career. Now I’m learning how to be funny rather than just tell funny jokes. I had a bit of an epiphany on a night where I decided not to do comedy, which is ironic.

Instead I decided to go to the hookah lounge with my neighbor. We were just joking around making funny faces and telling stories and we both acknowledged how we were connecting through this affinity to be silly and animated. It clicked for me in that moment that I didn’t always have to have a funny joke to be funny. I could just be funny.

So, I’m working on bringing that to the stage. The biggest challenge is completely letting go while I’m up there. It’s easy when you’re with your friends because you’re loose and comfortable around them, but it’s much more of a challenge to free yourself on stage. Something that has helped me is to say something completely ridiculous straight from the get go. I like to go up and say the most goofy nonsensical garbage I can think of at the beginning of my set, and that seems to loosen me up several degrees. Six Degrees of Silly. That could be the name of the first shitty comedy special  I put on YouTube. Okay bye.

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.

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