My Sixth Year in Comedy

On the eve of hosting Crow’s Nest and having my comedy anniversary at Throckmorton Theater, I started to question and doubt six years worth of jokes. It’s the same lack of conviction feeling I get when it’s been a few days since I did a set. The host is agitating a drunk Trump supporter. I am up next. It’s been over 2,175 days since that first three minute set at Tommy T’s, and it still feels like I don’t know what I’m doing. They say it takes 7-10 years to find your comedy voice. What if it’s just this, they went, f- it. I wasn’t funny anyway. 

I have one goal; Get better. Not funnier. Better. Anybody can be funny. Being good is when they go "I was thinking that same exact thing... but didn’t say it". Better is when they go "I could of thought of that!” Great is when they go home and google. The mantra for year six is own it. Anything you put out there, own it. This year, I really felt like myself. The asshole on stage is the same asshole off stage. But I still want to bring fire and go deeper. 

Year six was a shift. After 95 shows at The Swingin’ Door, we decided to shift it to Rail Club in San Carlos. I shifted my feet looking for a Saturday Night venue and did one show at Red Rock with a promise of one more. Then they shifted to residency for a year. Recording myself in a closet just wanting to see if I verbalize my thoughts and feelings shifted to a bi-weekly solo podcast. Zero to 93 real quick. I shifted from being a shy introvert, to a kind of shy person with opinions. I shifted from wanting to tell jokes to wanting people to have a good time. Sometimes it’s not about the jokes. It’s about if they want to come back or follow you.

Four big moments happened for me. My Mount Rushmore. Or reminders. One was Dana Carvey walked passed me in San Jose. He is the reason why I attempted doing this. Just the idea of him having fun on the biggest stage and how I had to share with my friends Monday morning. On a podcast, he mentioned interviewing Robin Williams for his paper and he asked, why he did comedy. “I want to play for the people.”

The second was seeing Billy Crystal do a drop set. Reading his autobiography, Billy Crystal was passed up for representation from a big agent because “he didn’t leave the audience a tip.” It sounded nice and cleaver, but it wasn’t until I saw him leave us a tip, I fully understand what separates them from the pack of comedians.

Third moment has to be Wendy Bartholomew doing anything I ask. I mean, co-produce. Everything from making fliers, buying a neon sign, curtains, and sound tech. Even drive and lets me be myself. It’s always a good feeling knowing someone has your back and understands what it takes to get better or do simple better. 

Fourth moment had to be hosting Crow’s Nest and doing 35 minutes. I just saw two 10 year comics bring fire in a broom closet in the Tenderloin. I walked to my car knowing I am nowhere near getting the fireman to put out my shows. Hosting this show in Santa Cruz told me I can get people to laugh. Sometimes it’s a performance, Sometimes it’s just being real. I think I have a voice. Or at least I’m right on track.

ComedyKevin Wongcomedy, blog