Saturday, October 20, 2018

Awesome article about being a working comic

Several years ago, I tried my hand at stand-up comedy. I enjoyed it a lot, however life's instability got in the way. I had to go to Afghanistan, did a horrible set there, and have only been on stage a few times since.

I miss doing comedy. Although I don't necessarily miss performing - which I was my weakest part - I miss the creative process. I miss the challenge of writing humor.

Hopefully one day, when I get settled again somewhere, I will pull out the comedy books, throw away the Jersey Shore jokes, and get back on stage.

In the meantime, I still enjoy reading about comedy. And recently I found an article that caught my eye and peaked my interest. Written by road comic Chad Zumock, Tales From a Road Comic is a list of tips and tricks to survive in an underpaid industry of 557 billion participants.

Zumock gives some great advice, and I don't want to be hack and steal his thunder. The link is in the above paragraph and if you are interested, you should give it a click.

If you don't want to, I will list the four most important points. Consider this the cliffnotes.
  1. Always follow up

  2. Send weekly avails

  3. Never get too comfortable

  4. Handling down time
Number 4 could also be called "Stay active". Which I thought described the section better.

The best advice Zumock gave was "Stay organized and focused", which I think is great advice for any endeavor.

All of Zumock's advice is also applicable for a job hunt, and being an unrepresented comic basically is a 24/7/365 job hunt. It is a hustle. You have to hustle.

Maybe that is the cause of my dilemma. When I started comedy I had a stable job. In the last few years, however, my career has taken me across the world, back to school, bouncing in and out of hotels, and floating through spare bedrooms. Finding a steady job has been my hustle. I don't have time for another hustle right now. And besides, the stress of finding a new job kills my creative process. It is tough to write funny when I know I should be on LinkedIn or a job hunting website.

Maybe I should say screw the 9-5 and push my chips to the middle of the table and take a chance at being a road comic. I've already got the hustle down.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Month 8 in Qatar – Michael is Coming

Hurricane Michael is trying to steal my thunder.

For all my friends in the Florida Panhandle, stay safe. I will visit Tallahassee soon and I promise the next Michael arrival will be a lot less stressful.

It is hard to believe, but I will be returning to the US in less than 30 days. In less than 4 weeks, my time here in Qatar will be done and I will trying to reset my life wherever I find my next job. Which yes, I still haven’t found.

In a recent phone call, my mother asked if I am excited to go home. Of course, I had to tell my mother I am excited to see her after nine months – and I am – but in reality, that’s tough to answer. I am excited to see friends and family again, absolutely. But when I get back, it is back to instability. It is back to not knowing where I am going to be living and where I am going to make money. Those are both important and I don’t have either figured out yet.

Here I have both a place to live and a job – although my company is sending my replacement out here and when she arrives, it is no longer my job to do and without a job the company won’t pay for me to live in an apartment they are paying for. My company likes to say I am being “rotated”, but without a job to “rotate” back to, I like to say I am being “replaced”.

(Sorry if this letter is a bit depressing. I will get to the cool stuff, I promise!)

But I will figure out my next step soon. I’ve been known to land on my feet, even if it takes a while. And I should have a few weeks of vacation pay coming, so I will be fine. With no bills and no rent/mortgage, it might be my best opportunity to drive around America for a few weeks. Maybe I can get back into stand-up comedy and appear in a night club near you.

When I get back, I have a lot of roads I can go, both figuratively and literally.

As far as what I have done this month, it has been slow. I’ve haven’t really gone out much, except to the movies. My big event of the month was to see American hip-hop artist Fat Joe in concert. He was the first American artist to perform in Qatar since I have been here. I am familiar with several of his songs so that was a very cool experience. Like being back home.

There are still a few places I have yet to go that I need to see in my final few weekends here - mostly landmarks. Perhaps I will find another exotic restaurant. Or maybe, as the weather is beginning to cool a bit (topping at 95 degrees!), there will be food or art festivals to go to. I definitely want to end with a good time, even if I have a lot of planning to do over the next 30 days.

But anyway, I am looking forward to being back in the states. Qatar has been an amazing experience. To quote the movie Joe Dirt, “I’ve met some cool people, had some good times, cranked some tunes”. And since I write these after the month milestone is reached, my next letter will be written from the good ol’ USA.

Thanks for reading, following along, and in many cases, responding. It’s been fun.