Stand-up Comedy at the Birth of Your Baby

 
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This was a joke I made in my newsletter a few weeks ago but the more I think about it, the funnier it is. I’d really like to do this one day.

Here’s how it would work:

The week you’re expected to give birth I do a house show for you and your friends. A camera crew is traveling with me and they’re filming the whole thing. I’ll also try to book a few other shows and services in the area so I can hang around. That baby could come out at any moment! I’d do comedy in the car with you on the way to hospital (or one of those places where you give birth in a hot tub or where ever you plan on doing this), I’d do comedy while standing in the corner of the delivery room while you’re giving birth (preferably in a corner where I can’t see much), and then I’d do a little bit more when the baby is out.

I think it would be a lot funnier if during the whole birthing process, from the car ride to the end, if I’m mostly just ignored. I’m holding a mic. I’m telling jokes to the camera. All the chaos and drama of child birth is happening in the background as if I’m not there. I think that would be really funny footage.

In one of the videos I made explaining the goals for my Patreon, I talk about comedy specials I’d love to film. I describe two of them and mention a third that I’m not ready to share. This is that idea. I don’t know why I tried to keep it a secret. I feel like if I really want this to happen I need to put it out into the world.

Let me do comedy at the birth of your baby.

Very Real and Exciting Goals

This month I’m talking a lot about my Patreon. I keep saying that your support will go toward the creation of resources that reach far beyond my live shows.

I feel like I’ve been way too vague about what exactly those resources will be. Well, NOT ANY MORE! I recorded videos explaining the different projects I’m excited to make.

I can’t do them all at once so I laid out some goals on my Patreon. Every time I hit a new goal, I’ll be able to work on a new project.

Learn more about each goal:

Keep Going, Forrest Gump

 

“I figured since I gone this far, I might as well turn back and keep on going.”

 

You’ve made this far so you might as well keep going.

This month I’ve been using Austin Kleon’s 30 Day Challenge to keep track of my daily blogging and my Bible reading.

As I write this it’s 11:30 pm. I just got home from doing stand-up at a men’s event across town. I’m tired. I don’t feel like I have the energy to write anything creative/funny/interesting. But November is more than half over. I’ve made it 15 days in a row. I’ve already gone farther than I thought I could, so why not keep on going?

I’m really good at giving up on goals. I’m an old pro. Maybe when I feel like quitting I just need to be like Forest Gump and just keep going.

Stop Arguing, the War is Over

 This is a still from  THE OATH , a movie about arguing at Thanksgiving

This is a still from THE OATH, a movie about arguing at Thanksgiving

A while ago I talked about how I don’t like the language we use around arguments. We talk a lot about winning, like they’re competitions.

I’m reading Alan Jacobs’ How to Think (which is so good I want to eat this book) and there’s a chapter where he talks about this! He references Metaphors We Live By, a book by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson that discusses “one of the most deeply embedded metaphors in our common discourse…” (Jacobs’ words).

ARGUMENTS ARE WARFARE

You ever notice that? It's the only way we know how to talk about arguments.

Examples from Metaphors We Live By:

 

Your claims are indefensible.

He attacked every weak point in my argument.

His criticisms were right on target.

I demolished his argument.

I’ve never won an argument with him.

If you use that strategy, he’ll wipe you out.

He shot down all of my arguments.

 

It’s no good. You go to war with enemies, not your aunt at Thanksgiving. Everyone says war is hell. I get it. Hell exists in the Facebook comments.

We need to change the way we think about disagreements because the warfare metaphor is doing damage. War leaves no room for empathy. We don’t see a person on the other side of the “battlefield," we see a wrong idea/opinion that must be “defeated.”car

From Alan Jacobs:

 

“When people cease to be people because they are, to us, merely representatives or mouthpieces of positions we want to eradicate, then we, in our zeal to win, have sacrificed empathy: we have declined the opportunity to understand other people’s desires, principles, fears. And that is a great price to pay for supposed 'victory' in debate."

 

It’s almost Thanksgiving, traditionally a time of war. Let us lay down our arms, pick up a leg (turkey, that is), look across the table at the human being we love so dear, and talk about issues without going into battle.

Even just me saying that felt exhausting. Look, I never said this was going to be easy. I’d much belittle people with sarcastic comments and dismiss them completely. I’ve done it before and it’s REALLY FUN TO DO. But I know it’s not right. I might not change completely overnight but it is something I need to work on.

Seriously, Alan Jacobs’ How to Think is an incredible book. Read my other post inspired by it, The Courage to be Wrong.

Please Respect the Genius of Kenan Thompson

Yesterday I listened to an interview with Kenan Thompson and his long time writing partner at SNL, Bryan Tucker about how they create characters together.

Throughout the interview they played clips from Kenan’s sketches on SNL and I found myself constantly looking like a fool for laughing out loud at Wal-Mart.

Side note: One time I had to leave a Planet Fitness because Grown Ups 2 was playing on one of the tvs and I scream-laughed at some dumb joke. Everyone stared at me and so I had to run away.

When I finished the interview I started watching a ton of old SNL videos and it reminded me how good Kenan Thompson is. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves for being one of the most solid and reliable performers on SNL. Bryan Tucker thinks so too. He wrote a LOVELY tribute to Kenan on Slate that opens like this:

 

“Here’s a secret. If you’re a Saturday Night Live writer, and you want to get an extra laugh in your script, just add this line: “KENAN REACTS.” Sure, it’s sort of cheating. But we still do it sometimes. Because it works.”

 

I feel like this sketch captures that perfectly.

Leaving New Mexico

First of all, look at the awful thumbnail Facebook chose for this video. Come on, guys.

My weekend in New Mexico was one of the best trips all year. The only part that sucked was when I had to leave.

There’s this old joke about evangelists that they blow in to town, blow everything up, and leave the pastor to clean up the mess (I’m sure there’s more to the joke than that). When I first started ending my shows with a message on confession, I made that same mistake. I remember a few times (years ago) I didn’t even warn the pastor ahead of time. I just dived right in. I asked all the leaders to come down to the front because we were about to have a response time. All of them had this look like “uhhh, I’m not ready for this!” Kids would find a leader, pour their heart out, and the leader would have to figure out what to do next.

I don’t do that anymore. Now when I speak in churches I’ll either train leaders on a separate night or I’ll at least meet with them before service starts.

But I know there’s still more I can do to equip churches to handle those difficult conversation. Not only that, I want to create resources for those who are opening up for the first time. What’s supposed to happen next? Confession is never the end of the journey. It’s only the first step.

That’s what my Patreon is to help support.

In 2019 I want to start putting out podcasts, books, and video training that can help churches create a culture of confession.

Viktor Frankl and the Optimist's Calendar

 this is Viktor Frankl. he changed my life.

this is Viktor Frankl. he changed my life.

I follow a Twitter account called Year Progress that only tweets updates on what percentage of the year we’ve completed.

I thought it would be a fun reminder of much time we have left in 2018. Turns out the dumb thing only freaks me out and sends me into a ridiculous panic.

It’s 2018. I graduated high school 10 years ago. I started doing comedy 10 years ago. I graduated from college 6 years ago. Comedy became my full time job 5 years ago. Next year is 2019. Then it’s 2020. I’m almost 29 which means I’m almost 30 which means I’m almost dead.

Everyone over 30 is reading this laughing while everyone under 25 is throwing up because of how old I am. Just a reminder to all you Over 30’s, you probably have a birthday coming up that freaks YOU out and it’s coming at you fast!

We can all get caught up in a panic about how time is slipping through our fingers. It marches on whether we want it to or not. This is only life we have and if we screw it up, there are no do-overs. No time machines (…yet?).

One of the most important things that happened to me this year was that I read Viktor Frankl’s Man Search for Meaning. It’s an incredible book that legitimately changed my life.

As I look at where we’re at on the progress bar of 2018 I’m reminded of one of the most impactful passages in the book.

 

“The pessimist resembles a man who observes with fear and sadness that his wall calendar, from which he daily tears a sheet, grows thinner with each passing day. On the other hand, the person who attacks the problems of life actively is like a man who removes each successive leaf from his calendar and files it neatly and carefully away with its predecessors, after first having jotted down a few diary notes on the back. He can reflect with pride and joy on all the richness set down in these notes, on all the life he has already lived to the fullest. What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old? Has he any reason to envy the young people whom he sees, or wax nostalgic over his own lost youth? What reasons has he to envy a young person? For the possibilities that a young person has, the future which is in store for him?

No, thank you,' he will think. 'Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, although these are things which cannot inspire envy.”

 

2018 is a little over 86% complete. That could easily fill me with dread. But I want to practice looking at that through the eyes of Frankl’s optimism.