Sunday, March 26, 2006

New Rules for Disclosure

Telling people that I'm a comedian is always a risky proposition. It can lead to many follow-up questions that range from mundane to downright rude. "Can you make a living doing that?" is one of my favorites. What other occupation can you have where people feel that's an apporpriate question to ask?

For a long time I would avoid telling people I was a comedian in order to avoid the inevitable interrogation. I would say I was musician with a day job, a writer, a graphic designer, Russian spy.

But I'm proud of what I do and how I do it, so lately I've just been saying "comedian" when people ask, resigning myself to answer at least a couple of the less annoying questions that are sure to follow.

But after some recent socializing at non-comedy-related functions I think I need to tweak my protocols for discussing my profession with non comics. Or, more precisely, I'm going to actually stop discussing my profession with non comics.

I don't want to be rude, but a lot of people think they can talk shop about comedy, and so many people have opinions on the subject because they're the funny person in their group of friends. That's swell if you're that person, lots of non comedians are really funny people, but that's not the same thing as doing a specific type of performance and writing, i.e. standup comedy.

I think some people assume that when I call myself a comedian I'm trying to say that I'm funnier than they are, and they feel insulted. "You're a comedian? You think you're funnier than me? F&%$ you, you don't look that funny to me. I'm the funniest person in this room, someone love me!"

For the record, I'm not saying I'm funnier than anyone, I'm just saying "I'm a comedian."

Or a Russian spy.


At 5:25 AM, Blogger Richard said...

In London, "Can you make a living doing that?" is an appropriate question to ask people working in virtually every employment sector, if only to determine who will be buying the next round of drinks. Unfortunately, the answer is predominantly "No" and we tend to revert to paper, scissors, stone as a means of selection.

I hear the spying game's quite lucrative at this time of year.


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