Goals For The New Year

(Sunday Paper, Volume II, Issue 1)

Happy New Year.

It's kind of cool that in this first go-around with the re-born Sunday Paper both Christmas Day and New Year's Day fell on a Sunday. (I mean, I know they always fall on the same day of the week, but I mean that this year's day just happened to be a Sunday.)

Because I liked the closure of last week's Sunday Paper falling on Christmas Day to end the year, and then beginning the new year of the Sunday Paper on the day the new year actually begins.

And since we've blown up the format a lot this past month or so, let's do it one more time as this week will be dedicated to my goals for the new year.

I have big plans for 2017.

I guess I should be more specific: I am here to lay out my comedy goals for the new year...goals in which I have big plans for 2017.

I have writing goals too, but we'll address those in much less detail in the notes at the end of this post.

I guess, to put it simply, my goal in 2017 is to get out and do comedy as much as possible.

But it's not quite as simple as that sentence makes it sound.

Anyone who's been doing comedy for a long time will tell you that in order to improve and be better you need to be on stage as much as possible.

That's hard for me. I can't get out as much as I'd like because of the family. But I am fairly confident I can get out more than I have these past couple of years.

So 2017 is all about doing that - figuring out how to strike that balance of family and comedy in a way that I'm still getting out for comedy more than ever before. Because I'm seeing the value in that advice - while I can recite my act over and over at home and in some instances have that be as valuable as certain open mic experiences, as I've gotten more and more stage time in the latter half of this year I see the value of having audience reactions and changing certain things on the fly. Especially when hosting. And I can't do that in my living room.

The part of this I'm most excited about (well, besides the performing) is that I'm adjusting how I'm keeping track of my performances. (I'm sorry, this is about to get a little bit geeky. I'm not getting into numbers, but more organization. Bear with me.)

I started my comedy journey in July of 2014. My first booked show came in January of 2015. So I've been keeping two separate logs - one for open mics and shows I attend and then another one for booked performances. The open mic one goes from July to July, while the other one is a calendar year, from January to December (based on when I started). It's kind of nice that there's a nice even six-month split between them, but as I got out more and more I wanted to streamline the system. I'll do that starting in 2017.

I've been counting open mics, shows I've attended, and performances since I started, but categorized separately. Beginning on New Year's Day, I'll keep all of those things on one log, number them separately, and keep track of which is which by color-coding them. I know. Snore. But I'm excited about it.

And I have big hopes for those numbers...I've been out a lot more overall this year than last. (I've performed about the same amount of times - though the former involved more open mics than booked shows and the latter vice versa.) The difference this year is the number of times I've gone out just to be around shows and watch them, whether to closely observe to try to learn something or just hang out.

Still, though, those numbers are piddling next to what I know other people are doing.

I feel good about where I'm at as a comedian right now.

But if I meet the numbers goals I'm setting for myself in 2017 I'll feel a lot better about where I'm at as a comedian a year from now.


*I loved the interactivity last week...if you care to share a goal for the new year, please do - either in the comments below or in the comments on the Facebook page.

*We have resolution on the coffee situation! I bought a new Mr. Coffee coffeemaker with Christmas gift cards this week, and my body is adjusting to being back on the normal caffeine schedule. Went with the same basic coffeemaker that served me so well for many years - "Old Reliable", I was thinking, until I realized it broke and wasn't all that reliable after all and that's why I was in the coffee mess I was in. But it was glorious. And I'm telling you about this first, before any writing updates, because it's important to know that Thursday I was pumped full of my coffee and sat down to get some writing done....

*........when my computer broke. This is like my nightmare. I've backed up fairly recently, but I don't back up every day. (I will now.) And my computer froze and it wouldn't start back up and I started to make myself come to grips with everything I would be losing - probably a bunch of pictures, which started-but-unfinished essays I would have to try to re-create, some comedy logs you may or may not have just read about...and I spent all day Thursday on the phone with Apple just trying to get my computer to restart. As of this writing, it appears my hard drive is not damaged and it's possible I won't lose anything. But I will be getting a new computer.

*So, writing goal number one for 2017: Get a new computer! Then, the goals are just to increase production over the past couple of years. Things in the writing department are trending in the right direction - I just want to continue to build on that momentum in a less specific way than with the comedy. (Although, I should say that, since I've now completed my "write a joke a day" challenge to myself for 2016, room in my brain is open for some hopefully more creative writing endeavors.)

*Not too long ago I shared with you a video written and performed by a local comic named Laura Merli. She put out another one this week that I thought was super funny...you can see it at this link here.

*We kick off 2017 with a few performances this week (all of which are listed in better detail at the 'Comedy Shows' link at the top of the page): Tonight I'm in the 9:30 '100 First Jokes' show at Improv Boston. It's the sixth straight year Improv Boston has put this show on, it's the second straight year I've been invited to be on it. It's such a good time for me - so many of the comedians in the city gather and hang out and then you get your time on stage to work out something brand-new in front of an audience that is very receptive. (I still do the joke that I debuted on New Year's Day a year ago.) And since I know more and more people in the comedy community each year, I'm looking forward to seeing more people I know on Sunday night.

*Then Thursday and Friday I'm in Portland, Maine, for two shows. On Thursday I'm at a speakeasy called 'Lincoln's', and on Friday I'm at Andy's Old Port Pub. I've not been to Andy's before, but I performed at 'Lincoln's' back in August 2015. I loved it...just haven't had a chance to get back since then. If you're in the area, definitely come by and check out what should be a great show. Well, they both should be great shows - I am just able to speak from experience about how great Lincoln's is as a comedy show and venue.

*One last comedy note - had a fantastic time hosting The Winner's Circle this past Tuesday night. It was my first hosting of a mic where the lineup wasn't set in stone and people could pop in and out and there more of a need to do time throughout the show in between comics. I thought I did a pretty good job considering all of those circumstances. It wasn't a perfect hosting job, but I certainly didn't bomb. And the crowd, though small, was great. Tuesdays, for the next few months, are going to be the tough night for me to get out and perform (it was Wednesdays most of this past year), but if I have the opportunity to host this show again I would leap at it. It's such a supportive place - that picture at the top of the post is from Tuesday night. They put the host's name up on the big board out front. Pretty great.

*Thanks for the support and for reading and thinking of me. Happy New Year, and maybe I'll see you at a show in 2017!