Last night I had someone recognize me from doing standup comedy.
This is the fourth time in my 10 years of doing stand-up that has happened.
Each time it’s happened, the people have commented not on my comedy, but on the seemingly-negative emotional story I told (and subsequently made people laugh while telling).
The first time was in New York City. I started doing standup in graduate school in Michigan. I learned quickly that telling real stories from my life - especially the tragic ones - helped me make the strongest connections to audience members. That’s what I wanted the most. When I moved to New York, I was able to do so many more shows. A tourist on a Thursday night in New York recognized me from the night before at a different comedy club. He thanked me for being so comfortable talking about child abuse.
The second and third times I was recognized were at the same comedy show. I did a standup show with a bunch of Vine-“famous” people here in LA. After the show, all of the performers were standing outside talking to the audience members. The people from Vine were expecting to be recognized and celebrated. I loved Vine, so I was thrilled to get to meet these people. (Between me and you, Aaron Chewning and Robby Ayala are even hotter in person). The show was 21+, and most Vine fans were like 14 years old, so the Vine people didn’t get the outpouring of recognition they expected. Surprisingly, a couple approached me and said “are you the child abuse comedian we saw at Gotham in New York?” That blew me away. I spoke with them for a second, and then two younger women walked up and one said “I think I saw you in North Carolina doing standup about child abuse a couple years ago.” That was me! So I got to embrace the emotional connection I made with them. It was wonderful.
Then last night, I was at a meeting of creative people here in LA, and this young woman walked up to me and asked if I did a set comparing my abuse as a child to my abuse from the pseudo-relationship I was in last year. That was me. It was crazy. She pointed out that I’ve lost weight and how grateful she was that I would get on stage and talk about these taboo topics. She herself had never experienced abuse, but she acknowledged the voyeuristic nature of all of us.
We want to hear about the stuff we’re not supposed to hear about.
I’m not famous.
I’m ok with that.
Some would argue that I’m not successful.
I’m ok with that, too.
I am, however, a person connecting to people in my own way.
I will continue to make the comedy I make and to talk about the stuff we’re not supposed to talk about.
#writing #comedy #losangeles #childabuse #comedian #comic @ellowrites