Doing My Best and Comedy Comradery

Well send me to the NFL and tackle me until I have brain damage, it’s another beautiful day to be alive! I kind of felt like I had brain damage after October was over, sweet mother of a Mexican mermaid what a crazy month…

I’m not gonna lie, I was definitely dealing with some burnout. Thankfully I’ve gotten better at listening to my body and understanding what it needs from me, but it can still be difficult to discern between being burnt out and being sick. I think a lot of us experience burn out (especially in Western culture) and it can either make us feel sick or it can literally make us sick.

One of the main challenges of being a functional adult in society is finding the balance between “working hard” and maintaining health and tranquility. Our culture is highly competitive, so it’s easy to get caught up in the mindset of always having to be the best. Something I’ve done lately is transition from trying to be the best into trying to be my best. Instead of asking, “how can I be better than everyone else?” I’m asking “how do I get the best out of myself? How can I maximize my own potential?”

I think it helps in a lot of ways. Everyone is working with a different set of abilities, whether we like it or not. All things are not equal, and most of us will never be the best. It doesn’t do a five foot ten high school kid with decent athletic ability any good to try and be better than LeBron James. It’s not going to happen. That story only ends in disappointment.

Instead, if that kid commits to getting the best out of what he’s capable of he can end his high school career with his head held high and no regrets.

Making this adjustment also allows us to be more appreciative of the people around us. If I’m doing comedy and all I care about is being the best, I’ll always be comparing myself to other people and I’ll never fully appreciate their greatness. If I were to think of it as a competition, I would be doing better if somebody else is doing worse, and that’s not a good head space to be in. 

Instead, if I focus on doing my best, I’m able to be a comedian and a fan at the same time. I can watch somebody go on stage and marvel at how much better they are than me and instead of thinking “I bet I can be better than that guy!” I can appreciate and enjoy the greatness unfolding in front of me.

Honestly, that’s one of the coolest things about doing comedy in Austin right now. I really believe a lot of the best young comedians in the world are here in Austin and it would be a shame to take it all for granted. There’s no doubt in my mind there are going to be people I’m doing comedy with right now who end up being some of the best comedians in the world in ten years.

Getting to experience the beginning of their careers alongside them is honestly so cool. Do I hope and believe that I’ll also be one of the best comedians in the world in ten years? Of course. But if I’m not, who cares? I’ll at least have had a front row seat to watching something amazing unfold, and that’s a pretty sweet deal.

Appreciating the other comics and the comradery of the comedy community is becoming increasingly important to me. Because comedy is so hard. It’s so damn hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s brutal. It’s defeating. It’s lonely. You have to give up so much. You have to sacrifice money, time, and relationships if you’re really going to be successful at this.

No regular citizen can ever understand that struggle, but fellow comedians can. We’re a group full of outcasts, but we’re outcasts together. We’ve all been through it; we know what it feels like to be called names and be misunderstood our entire lives. Comedians get it. I get it. I know what if feels like to be called a weirdo and to be looked at like something is wrong with me.

It has happened all my life and it still happens. It happens off stage and it happens on stage. Sometimes other comedians even look at me that way. “What the hell is he doing? Really, Jason? You’re doing a full minute straight of puns about rappers?”

I am. I am doing a full minute of puns about rappers. Yeah, it might seem stupid to you, but that’s why I like it. I like stupid. I like words. I like being silly. I like being dumb and smart at the same time. And I’ll figure out how to make it funny for everyone else.

That’s something else I’ve realized lately. Instead of trying to make jokes that I think everyone else will find funny, I’d rather make jokes that I think are funny and get people to see things through my lens. It’s hard when you’re in the beginning stages of comedy, because you’re only getting four or five minutes at an open mic or ten minutes on a showcase. It’s a short amount of time to get the audience thinking the way you do.

Often times I feel like the audience is just starting to understand me and then I have to get off stage. But I think that will serve me well in the long run as long as I keep developing more and more material. Speaking of which, I should probably go work on some of that material.

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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