Prior to becoming a stand-up comic, I was a drummer for a bunch of rock and country-ish bands, traveling quite a bit, playing a variety of venues, everything from big clubs and festivals to wine bars, art spaces, and backyards. I spent four straight months bumming around America one time, coast to coast, top to bottom. None of it prepared me for the landmine landscape of stand-up comedy clubs (and “clubs”) and what stand-up comedians were/are expected to put up with.
I saw Graham Coxon (Blur) play a live solo set last night and had some thoughts. First, bit of backstory.
I’ve been performing, either drums or stand-up comedy, fairly nonstop since 2001. I haven’t made a “living” at either, always tethered to a “real job” to make ends meet and, in fact, fuel keeping the show on the road, so to speak, paying for rehearsal spaces, drum sticks, drum heads, actual, literal fuel, more alcohol than probably necessary.
It’s been an irregular ride, with dry spells of nearly no performing punctuated by multiple days, weeks, months on the road. But I’ve been out frequently enough to have sometimes been out when tragedy strikes and forced to deal with it however necessary to get through the day, and then get through a show.
I’ve been consuming art a long time. At an early age, I was captivated by singers, actors, then stand-up comedians. Continue reading