(Sunday Paper, Volume II, Issue 53)
Let's start with this - did you notice this is "Issue 53" of the year?
I realized after last week's post, which I wrote as 'End of Year Two', that we had one more week left in the year....according to the Sunday Paper calendar, anyway.
Today is really the 'end of year two' of the new Sunday Paper...but I followed last year's format with the New Year's weekend post being the goal-setting post for the new year...not necessarily the 'year-end Q and A' post.
Anyway, the bottom line is this is unique - and something I suppose we won't see for another six years, probably: The Sunday Christmas Eve/New Year's Eve situation means there's 53 weeks of the Sunday Paper in the calendar year, and the first and last issue of the year are the New Year's goal-setting post.
I think that's cool. But you might. So let's get to the meaty stuff.
So, we all know 2017 was a tire fire of a year in real life.
But for me personally and professionally, it wasn't so bad.
Basically it boils down to the fact that I wanted to get out and perform as much as possible. I'd say I accomplished that goal - I definitely did more in comedy this year than in the previous couple of years. I didn't host as many shows as I did in 2016, but I performed about 30 more times than I did in 2015 and 2016. (Those years totaled out comparably.)
The biggest difference in 2017 wasn't just the performing - it was the fact that I also attended a bunch of shows that I wasn't on. Sometimes I do that and I end up performing on the show...which is always a really nice gesture by whoever is putting on the show. I hope I'll never take it for granted when someone puts me on their show just because I came by to support it. But overall nothing bad ever comes out of going out to a show - there's always something to learn, either by what's happening on stage or in the production of the show, and there's always people to meet.
The great thing about 2017, though, is that I didn't hit a ceiling.
I probably became better as a comedian because I got up so much. I definitely went to a lot of shows, I definitely did more during the year, just like I hoped.
But there's more to do.
And so the goal for 2018 is to do even more.
As great as 2017 was, there were a couple of slumps. From late August until early October I didn't get out much at all. So that feels like a missed opportunity - and an opportunity for improvement in 2018. (And it's no coincidence that that time period coincides with the most dramatic shift in the routine of our year here, with the girls starting school, and this year with me starting new work at that exact same time. Not that I'm making excuses...it's just nice to know there's a reason why it fell off.)
And then there's Kathy's school schedule. In the early part of the year I couldn't go out on Tuesdays because of her classes, then in the summer it was Mondays and Wednesdays for a month or so...and the semester that just wrapped up blocked out Wednesdays and Thursdays. I expected it, but I bring it up just to illustrate that there are certain times I was limited. In the first part of 2018, for example, her class will be Tuesday nights...so I won't be able to go out on Tuesdays but I'll be able to take advantage of opportunities on Wednesdays that I haven't been able to do in six months or so.
Then there are festivals. Cleveland was at the end of 2016 and there were none in 2017. There were a couple of rejections but I've gotten a bit more selective about where I'm applying. 2018 kicks off with the North Carolina Comedy Festival in February, so that's a good opportunity to get shows under my belt and make some new connections in a new city early in the year. Hopefully there will be more opportunities for travel later in the year.
And here's the goal I'm probably least comfortable putting out there because it's the one I'm most afraid of falling short on: I think it's time for me to start my own show. Hosting. Stage time. Connections. Producing experience. It checks all the boxes I'm looking to check.
There's obviously not a ton of comedy happening in this area (Framingham) right now, so I'm hoping I can find the right spot to host a show - maybe weekly, at least monthly...
But I feel uncertain about it. I feel like there are too many things that need to go right that aren't necessarily in my control that scare the heck out of me - the cooperation of the venue, and of course, a day and time that result in people showing up.
it's something I've thought about since I started comedy, and I think it's time to start approaching venues and try to pull the trigger on it. I'm scared of getting something off the ground and having it not succeed in my own backyard (not literally - that wouldn't be a great venue), but I definitely need to give it a shot. The positives outweigh the negatives...and I wouldn't do it if I didn't think iI'd be giving it my best effort to be a success.
So 'Operation Find A Venue' is underway. If you have a place in mind the you think would be great, please let me know...bonus points if you're connected to the people who make entertainment decisions there. I have a couple of places in mind that I want to approach first.
Stay tuned. I know you will.
*I suppose I should not be giving such short shrift to the writing goals after spending so much time talking about my comedy goals, but the comedy is really where the creative expression is happening right now. The writing is paying the bills - which is no small thing. I'm in a great spot with the writing right now - steady work, work that I am enjoying, and reliable income. I've found the groove I'd been looking for for a couple of years.
*I might need to change the way I look at my creative writing submissions. I liked this chart, which a writer named Julie Vick posted the other day. I like the way she quantifies her writing in a way that's not unlike how I have attempted to quantify my comedy. For what it's worth, I've also enjoyed a lot of Julie's writing - much of it humorous - that she's shared on-line...give her a follow on Twitter and check out some of her work.
*Oh, hey, while we're at it...give me a follow on Twitter too! (Not to brag - but I've had a good week on Twitter. Like, two, maybe three solid jokes over there.) And if you don't already like the Facebook page you can go ahead and do that. I cruised past 300 likes on the page this year but that stalled out quick. Tell your friends! Let's get to 400!
*I think I'm going to try to steadily share comedy shows on the Facebook page this year too, see how that goes. I feel badly that I don't do a good enough job with that.
*Speaking of which, New Year's Day I'm in the 7:30 show for 50 First Jokes at Improv Boston. Ticket info is at the comedy shows link above. And I think a couple of weeks ago I mentioned a show at Redbones on January 2nd...that's actually happening on January 9th.
*In the meantime, I'll be somewhere watching or performing comedy, trying to get the numbers for 2018 even higher.
*And for now, my immediate goal is too watch a ton of football. If you need me from Sunday until I am on stage Monday evening I'll be on the couch watching football and eating a lot of unhealthy food. (Maybe I should throw in a 'do some kind of exercise so I don't become unhealthily overweight' resolution.)
*And, as always, thanks for reading, thanks for supporting the shows I'm on, thanks for supporting me in spirit - I appreciate it and will keep working to get better because of the faith you've shown in me. Looking forward to keeping you posted in Volume III of the Sunday Paper starting next week.