Pitching vs. Throwing

Friday February 18th, 2011 – Cozumel, MX

Five shows down, ten to go – not counting the ‘Welcome Aboard’ five minute teaser for Sunday night. They sure do keep us busy, but that’s not a bad thing. If I’m on the road I’d much rather work a lot than rot in my cabin with nothing to do. This way is much better.

I’m putting more effort into preparing for these shows than I ever have in my life at any time, even when I was starting out. I’ve never been a meticulous preparer like some, only because I didn’t have to be. I was always able to take funny ideas and work them into bits on stage because I had solid natural instincts. I could always get enough laughs to survive.

Looking back, how ballsy but stupid that was. I wish I’d had the experienced me now to throttle that lazy punk kid in the face and get him to put in the effort of proper preparation because my whole career would have benefited tremendously. It’s only now that I get it.

Athletes are the same way. I’ve read a lot of stories about baseball pitchers that used to throw 100 miles an hour and didn’t have to worry about a thing. Their natural ability was what got them by – for a while at least. It was only after they lost it did they have to learn to transform from a thrower to a pitcher. Pitching is a craft, and takes a lifetime to learn.

I’m now becoming a pitcher, and can see how much work is involved in taking standup comedy to the master level I see myself attaining. This is where it’s easy to get in my own way, and I’ve had a knack for doing that over the years. A plan is more crucial than ever.

Right now I’m working on expanding my act and improving my stage show as much as humanly possible. After all these years it’s hard to really ramp it up, only because I’ve got so much stage time under my belt. I’ve already developed myself into a seasoned comic.

The truth is, as far as the business part of comedy goes, I’m funny enough to last for the rest of my life. If I never wrote another joke I could continue to squeak out a living for the foreseeable future, and I’ve made it farther than probably 90% of people who ever step on a stage make it. I wouldn’t have embarrassed myself, and in the end I‘d have ‘made it‘.

Unfortunately, that’s not good enough for me. I want to take comedy to new heights and really blow people away, audiences and peers alike. In the end, it’s ME I want to blow out of the water. I want to impress myself, but I’m the toughest audience there is. I’m a bitch.

That’s a tough pickle to find myself after all this time. Where I lack severely is business sense and promotion. I know that. That’s where my focus needs to be if I want to raise my pay scale, but I also want to take my product to the next level just so I’ll be proud of what I’m doing on stage. It’s a Catch 22 and I’m looking for a way to find the happy medium.

The shows this week were quite solid, so that’s a positive start. Last night was my three show night and tonight it was two. I worked in new material and the flow felt good, even though it will take months to polish it all up. This is the craft. I’m a pitcher, not a thrower.


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