What has influenced me as a comedian?
I want to share some things that have really influenced me.
My house show tour is in full swing. For the next few months I’m going to be performing nonstop in people’s living rooms. I’ll tell embarrassing stories from my life in hopes of getting everyone to do the same.
You know how in Super Smash Bros. if you play as Kirby you can swallow other characters in order to use their abilities? Here are some things I wish I could swallow to use their abilities while I’m doing house shows.
INVISIBLIA’s "The New Norm"
This podcast episode is about how men on an oil rig learned to cry and open up about their feelings and it made the whole rig more productive and safer. Like, it made them all better at their jobs because they didn’t bottle up their emotions. It’s a crazy story and really entertaining. There’s one part that made me lose my mind. Just wait for the part about the guy forgetting who he is. HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN?!
I always had this picture in my head of what I wanted my live shows to be like but I never knew how to put it into words. I needed an example I could point to, but I couldn’t find anything like that. Until I found Chris Gethard and The Chris Gethard Show.
It’s weird. It’s experimental. It’s honest. And it’s not afraid of anything. Chris Gerhard’s willingness to be open encourages his whole audience to be just as open about the kind of things the world makes us feel like we should keep to ourselves.
This is 12 minute documentary about him and shows the really special relationship he has with his audience. https://youtu.be/7ZWIasVzjiw
Tig Notaro Live
It’s one of the best comedy albums ever made. Tig opens the album by surprising the audience with the announcement that she has cancer. People can’t tell if it’s a joke or not. And then they realize it isn’t. She was just diagnosed with cancer a week ago and she’s going on stage to process what she’s been going through. She’s open. She’s honest. And she makes it really really funny.
You can find it on Spotify. Here's a youtube clip of how her opening with "Hello, I have cancer." https://youtu.be/9Kz-lV4t-3w](https://youtu.be/9Kz-lV4t-3w
Notice a pattern?
I just love honesty. I love when people open up and share their craziest or most embarrassing stories. We’re always trying to hide parts of ourselves because we’re afraid if people knew they’d never want to talk to us again. But something magic happens when we open up and share: other people look at us and say “me too!” It’s such a relief to find out you’re not the only one. And it’s even more powerful when you’re able to laugh through it.
If you can laugh about it, you’re not scared of it.
I know I’m not going to be able to change the world with a house show. I’m not saying I’m starting a revolution by telling stories about all the times I’ve pooped my pants as an adult.
I just know there have been a few people and performers who have had a real impact on my life.
Chris Gethard let’s me know it’s ok to be weird and sad and talk about depression.
Tig Notaro let’s me know my dad’s alzheimer’s isn’t too big and scare to laugh in front of.
I want to swallow them both, Kirby style, and hopefully on this house show tour I can do a fraction of what they’ve done for me.