A week of self-isolation with no job has given me a lot of extra time. Time to think, time to reflect, time to work, and time to fuck around and do absolutely nothing. Before I continue my musings I must express some gratitude, a big reason I’m not freaking out is that my fiancee is able to work 100% remotely and can support us while I bring in zero income. Also, my Mother, she jumped through a ton of government contractor hoops - sent many emails, made many calls, but she is working from home for the first time in her career! Considering her condition - elderly, diabetes, emphysema, it was not an option for her to go to work. She would be screwed if this didn’t happen. Now, back to my musings on comedy in this weird time we are living in.
Initially, it took some convincing for me to cancel my shows. Roughly half of the other comedy shows were still going on. My rationale was people are still going to want to do stuff, why not keep that option open?! I very much felt like, “the show(s) must go on!” AND “I need money to pay for things.” After reading up and talking it over with some folks it was clear that this was a selfish stance, I’d likely be creating a breeding ground for the virus to spread so I pulled the trigger. I knew it was the right decision. This was further reinforced by the immediate relief I felt. For each show I canceled and deleted off my calendar I felt a little dose of satisfaction. Ultimately, having an empty calendar every night this past week has given me a sense of ease I haven’t felt in years.
I find it amusing that my last blog post was about FOMO, which Corona has pretty much wiped out. I love stand-up, but I also love no longer feeling the pressure to go out and perform, to do more, go network at this show, to keep going. This honestly feels like the first vacation I’ve had in years. I looked it up and it’s been 3 years and 18 days since I quit my lucrative 9-5 job to become a full-time, grinding, struggling, and now out of work, comedian-producer.
I lie to myself a lot, but what did you expect I’m a comic! Did you notice I put comedian first in the comedian-producer title? By putting it first I can pretend to myself that my focus is on the comedy craft. Well, I’ve spent some time this week going over my notes from the past few months and can no longer avoid reality. 80% of my notes are related to producing - business meetings, bookings, promotions, strategy, updates, more updates, another set of updates, only leaving me with a measly 20% to focus on jokes and personal stuff. I think its time to admit to myself that all this behind the scenes work along with showing up, setting up, and tearing down, requires a ton of time and energy. I wonder if it’s easier for me to admit now that Corona has temporarily killed my business, giving me back a ton of time and mental space.
With this new influx of time on my hands, I’ve been mostly playing games and watching TV, but when I feel like being creative I’m working on some of my solo projects that I never find time for. Also, I’m taking the time to organize and revise EVERY JOKE I’VE EVER WRITTEN (that doesn’t suck) to strengthen my hour. Luckily I have an electronic paper trail that’s captured a majority of these as it’s impossible to remember all the jokes from the past 6 years. It’s been fun finding them and some of them are gold! (That I completely forgot about) You know that joke you told for a month then one night it didn’t go well, you put it on the back burner then never used it again?
I’ve heard some comics are getting more active on social media, that’s probably not a bad idea. I haven’t made the leap to tic tock or instagram comic, but who knows, if we’re trapped at home for another 11 weeks that might be my next step. Comics often tell me, “Allan you work so hard!” and I’m like “pshhh I could be working so much harder!” But actually it’s my dream to be a lazy creative. I want to write tv shows how Larry David does it, whenever he wants. I want to tour the country with my stand-up sets then take months off and chill with friends and family, but until I have the money and success to do so I have to normally work this hard. So me? I’m gonna take things week by week and enjoy this taste of the lazy creative lifestyle, while I still can.
Comedian, Author, Improviser Producer, Sketch Writer and Teacher living in the Baltimore, MD. Likes sharing his thoughts on things.
Allan lives in Little Italy/Fells Point, Maryland with his wife and daughter.