I’ve been doing stand-up for 8 years now. It’s taken me this long to feel like I’m starting to get the hang of it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really proud of some of the stuff I did to get me here. But now I’m about to start this stand-up tour and for the first time I feel like I know what I’m doing.
What is this tour!?
It’s called the TELL A GOOD STORY tour. I’m going to travel around performing stand-up comedy in people’s living rooms. They’re house shows and they’re the coolest.
The shows are small and intimate. I tell a bunch of stories from my life and get people int audience telling their stories too. So if I talk about my first kiss I’ll ask if anyone else has an embarrassing first kiss story. And we go from there.
I did 3 house shows this summer to get ready for when the “tour” starts in September. I wanted to test it out and get a feel for things. The shows were so much fun. People opened up and told stories their closest friends hadn’t even heard. “I’ve known you for years and you’ve NEVER told me that story!” That was one of my favorite moments.
What does the name of the tour mean?
Good question. Glad I asked myself! On all the shirts, journals and everything supporting this "tour" is a symbol. It’s a bunch of triangles and it’s a hobo symbol. You can watch this video of me talking about it or just read the description below:
HOBO SYMBOLS: Back in the 1800s hobos would leave little drawings in chalk. They’d usually warn fellow hobos of what to expect when passing through a town. Symbols might mean things like “This is a safe place to camp” or “watch out for the judge here.”
The symbol I'm using for the tour means "TELL A GOOD STORY." I love that. Hobos were outcasts from society and usually looked down on. They knew the fastest way to connect with a community was with a good story.
That's what the shows are all about. When I tell a good and honest story about my life it is the fastest way to connect with other people.
When you tell a story of something you've gone through, and you're able to laugh through the tragedy, it can be powerful for someone else going through the same thing. It'll let them know they can get through it too. They can have a similar story.
If you would like your own TELL A GOOD STORY shirt or journal (for writing down your own story) you can go here: http://www.taylorjohnsononline.com/product-category/merch/
Why did it take you 8 years to get to this point?
Don’t go asking personal questions like that! How dare you!
The truth is I wasn’t ready. Until now. I tried doing house shows a few years ago but it didn’t work. I put the call out to see if anyone was interested. I got one response and did that house show. It went ok. But just ok. Looking back, I wasn’t a strong enough performer to make it great.
This year was stressful for a while there. I knew I was supposed to be traveling full time as a comedian but I was starting doubt everything. I couldn’t get booked to save my life. My calendar was empty for months and it was getting harder to support myself.
Over the summer I was so discouraged. But a conversation I had with Garland Owensby changed it all. It was a great “who cares about success? Do what you love!” pep talk and it was exactly what I needed. I had wanted to try doing house shows again and this conversation pushed me over the edge. Literally. I fell off a cliff and died. This a ghost writing. Help me haunt Garland Owensby! He’s responsible for my death!
None of that is true. He gave a great pep talk and it FIGURATIVELY pushed me over the edge.
That weekend I recorded a video pitching the idea of the house show tour. I thought I might get 5 or 6 people interested. Maybe. But over 200 people shared the video on Facebook. It has over 17,000 views. A TON of people from all over the country contacted me wanting to do a house show. It was the right thing at the right time. It’s been the biggest blessing this year.
Soon the tour starts. When does it end? I don’t know. When people stop contacting me.
In September I’m performing around Texas.
In October I go to California.
A lot of people reached out from the east coast. I have to find a way to get to all of them. I don’t know. Being this busy is a new thing for me. I’m still learning. These are exciting new problems to have.
Does it sound like I’m bragging? Hope not.
I think I was struggling as a comedian this year because I was trying to fit into this box of “Christian comedian who performs in churches.” In order to get churches to look at me I felt like I needed to act a certain way. I needed to go about “marketing myself” in a certain way. It was fake. It was garbage. I was bad at it. I WAS REALLY BAD AT IT. But a friend told me it was ok to be myself. It was ok to do something different. If I’m bragging on anyone it’s Garland. This is the first thing I’ve done as a comedian that feels like it’s 100% me. That’s a new feeling.
I love these house shows. I can’t wait to do more.