Now I make my living as a touring comedian. This means I’ve gone back to thinking about time in 3 sections: first semester, second semester, and summer. Get ready to feel old – college freshman this year were born in 1990. Yes! Weep! Weep I say!! You are old!!! Of course, feeling old is relative. I’ve personally become tired of 20somethings telling me they feel old. I hear this everyday. “I’m old,” they’ll say. “I feel old,” I’ll hear. “Man, I’m old.” As you can tell, all very original statements. I see if differently.
In days of yore, the mid 20s WAS old. People didn’t live that much longer than that. So that was middle aged in the middle ages. Sure, people married at 13 (mostly arranged) and had babies by 15, but you might not make it to 16, so you had to keep the line going! Now, however life expectancy is WAY up. And the mid 20s isn’t halfway at all. So I choose the optimistic view…people feel older at a younger age thus feeling old for the majority of your life. You feel old, than you feel older, than you are decrepit, than everything thinks you shuold be dead, than they pull the plug. Well, you know what they say, all the world’s a stage!
Colleges shows have gone two ways for me. Either they’re great shows, or they’re weird shows. The majority of students at my shows are freshman. Some sophomores come, a few juniors, rarely seniors. Thing is, most 18 year olds in this country haven’t seen live anything. They might have seen a play. Most likely, they’ve been to a concert, but it was someone they know and love, not a strange band they know nothing about. So when I come to campus, its the first live comedy show they’ve seen (and if I play my cards right, the only one). They’ve seen comedy on TV, but never in front of their face which is very different. I can see you. I can hear you.
So the good shows happen because these kids are excited to see a show and happy to be there. That’s interesting to me because there’s a stigma about what it means to be a college comedian. “The audiences are so easy,” some comedians will say. I think its because we’re so used to performing for people who hate existence in dingy backroom or expensive comedy clubs. When we have an audience that’s full of hope and potential, it throws us off.
Now I’ve never had a bad college show, only weird. Sometimes because of the fact that these kids haven’t seen live comedy, they don’t know how to be an audience. They might be used to laughing silently alone to a youtube clip. they might have strong preconceptions of what stand up is supposed to be thanks to youtube or TV. They just might know that you’re SUPPOSED to respond with laughter. Of course, they might just not find me funny. That’s another thing. The audience might have a scattered response. The ones not laughing always influence the ones laughing. People don’t want to be the only one laughing so they opt out of responding at all. Or they might not care they’re the only one laughing and everyone around them hates them. Or people leave and the audience becomes smaller and more self aware. Its a crap shoot, but them the breaks.
So far I’ve had good show at Hood College and App State. Doing a school OK and IL this week. I’m back a blogging. Someone read this.