If you’ve caught any of my Instagram Live sessions lately or been following my random Twitter rants — you’ll know that I’ve been going through some motions and working towards change in my own life. This might be a big conversation, and there might be some sad elements, but in the end, this is a HAPPY POST.
Where Do I Even Begin?
To quote The King from Alice in Wonderland, “…at the beginning.”
I took my first step on a comedy stage in August of 2009. I went through a series of hardships after being severely indebted by film school. I found myself broke, unemployed and eventually on government assistance. It was by my own merit that I got a call-centre job, got myself a decent apartment, a car and started making things happen in my own life because everything seemed like a dead end.
I was attracted to comedy because it was a boulder I could lift by myself. I didn’t need a bunch of cogs all doing their part for the machine to get something right like the film world. I felt alone and this was a way of me owning that loneliness.
Comedy, for me, has been a trial by fire.
I know when I was a kid, I would watch funny actors like Jim Carrey and Chris Farley and their personalities definitely rubbed off on me. But I didn’t idolize them like a dreamy-eyed child with his nose pressed to the TV screen saying, “One day I’m going to be just like them!” That was never a motivation for me.
After being expelled from Bible college, reinstated, then quitting on my own accord, I honestly felt like I had zero idea of who I was or who I wanted to be.
No direction whatsoever.
I took to film school, due to my attraction to stories and my love of movies, but it was just a matter of time where I was humbled in that arena. Same thing happened in comedy but it was a much longer relationship with way bigger ups and way deeper downs.
Stand-up, for me, started off as a way out. A way to keep creating, to keep being, and ultimately, it was me not giving up on myself.
You have to know, no matter how bad things get, that you have something offer and that you can grow and pull more from yourself than you ever thought possible.
Of course, this is a lessen learned later on after you fall on your face a few times and get up from the mud.
But Over the Years Something Amazing Happened
Though stand-up started on a sour note and was shrouded by a sense of hopelessness, over the years, I began to tap into what makes me tick. I started talking to the crowds and experimenting with comedy and ultimately gaining the confidence necessary to believe in myself no matter what. I started hitting comedy milestones: performing in theatres, travelling Canada, getting on SiriusXM, getting on festivals, getting on TV. All that was cool but it wasn’t as cool as what was happening to me as a person.
I started acknowledging that it was okay to be wrong sometimes.
I started recognizing and fixing my mistakes.
I started taking personal responsibility over my own life.
This is and will always be more important than ANY CREDIT I could possibly earn. Know that. All those bells and trinkets are nice but it’s not as good as being at peace with the life you lived when you “…come to the end: then stop.”
I got sober. I got married. I had a child. I started making life about life and not about accomplishment. If there’s one piece of advice I can give to any dreamer out there grinding every-single-day, it’s this: You’ll always appreciate the accomplishments that strengthen your values; not the ones that strengthen your ego.
So Where Do I Stand? (Har-Har)
In the past year, I’ve committed to comedy shows I really care about because they grow the communities around them. This is an important value of mine. So my work with The Brantford Comedy Festival, Mancala Monk and The Dryer have been very meaningful and I’m very grateful for the experiences I’ve had thanks to Absolute Comedy.
Going forward, I want to keep walking towards my values, keep dreaming big, but the comedy grind, as it stands, is not for me. I’m not interested in heavy touring, I don’t crave to be a famous comedian and I don’t really think it’s the healthiest lifestyle for someone with a family. I don’t want to watch my son grow up through a computer screen. I don’t want to be away from my home base. I don’t want that at all. I want to be here and spend as much time with my family as humanly possible.
I have a road run coming up the week of May 23rd in Ottawa with Absolute Comedy then after that, I will be taking myself off the road for a little while to focus on family and the indie shows and brands I’m so happily a part of. Comedy will continue to be something that feeds my soul but I don’t want it to be the only thing feeding my belly. That’s a grind that takes me away from my family and the communities I love being a part of.
So this is just the natural next step for me.
Why I Think A Conversation Like This Is Hard For Most Comedians
When you’re vulnerable and putting yourself out there, it’s easy to be consumed by “comedian” as an identity. I AM A COMEDIAN! THAT IS WHO I AM! No, you are already who you are and wearing any title as a badge of honour won’t pad your identity anymore than someone who tells people their a wizard or a tree monster. I think it’s hard for a lot of us to find an identity outside of what we do and just be content with ourselves. Maybe we feel shame, maybe we feel lost, but there’s some guiding force that as a society has people finding comfort in titles because it makes us easy to define.
I don’t think we’re easy to define nor do I think we should be.
It’s okay to be complex, unfinished and unsure of yourself.
When I went to Bible College, I felt that God had a “calling” on my life because I was an influential person with a big personality and a heart for others. When I was expelled, all that shattered, and I thought to myself, “Wait, if that wasn’t my calling, then what is?” As if I was called to be one thing or extract one purpose.
I’m a little more comfortable now to define my own calling and make decisions based on my values. Based on where I want to be and who I want to be around and what I want to do.
I need to continue challenging myself so over the next while I’m going to be working on a personal project that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time and I can’t wait to take time to commit to that. I also just want to go enjoy my life. Play with my family at the park, eat good food, take care of my body, do things that nourish my soul. All this is important for the kind of example on want to be for my son but also the kind of example on want to be for you.
That’s right, you.
I don’t know who’s reading this or why you’re reading this but if I’ve had even the smallest amount of impact on your life, I hope it’s a positive one, and I hope I can inspire you to take the kind of big risks in life that help you find yourself. It starts with defining your values and then being brave enough to walk towards them, no matter what you’re walking away from.
Thank you to every single person out there who has attended one of my shows, watched one of my videos, read one of my blogs, etc, I will continue putting myself out there, but it’s going to be less defined. I don’t know if you like that or not but I’m okay with it.
I’m okay just going with the flow and seeing what’s next.
Comedy-wise, if you want to catch me at some of the shows I really really REALLY care about, here’s the dates: April 20th @ 7:30pm is The Dryer at Elaine Mae Theatre in Hamilton, April 25th is Comic Encounters at Mancala Monk in Hamilton and week of May 23rd I’ll be at Absolute Comedy in Hamilton. Any shows I’ll be doing in my local area I’ll post to my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so follow those if you want to be a part of those shows. Also, make sure to check out and subscribe to my Youtube Channel if you haven’t already. I have some cool stuff on the way.
Peace, Love and Pineapple,