So, survived Kingston, survived highway driving, and maybe came away with more ideas about comedy. I am going to try to go to a local improv show or two and see if it’s something I can work with (again, still no interest in performing). I will finish some scripts and research places to send them (turns out the BBC Writers’ Room doesn’t want submissions from non-residents of the U.K.). I will contemplate my job and life and whatever.
I remembered yesterday that I wrote a very impassioned letter to Lorne Michaels when I was 12 years old, BEGGING for him to make changes to ‘Saturday Night Live’. I wish I had a copy. I don’t remember much about what I wrote, but I think I said the show was getting too repetitive, and I’m sure I demanded to see more of Mike Myers (he wasn’t a full cast member yet).
I was 12. And already an ‘expert’ on comedy. It’s ridiculous. Why was I up so late, even on a Saturday, anyway? Well, the first time I remember staying up for SNL was when Buckwheat was shot. I was five years old when that originally aired. It’s possible I saw it on a repeat, so maybe I was six.
Of course then, like now, on the (very) odd occasion that I do watch, I rarely stay awake for the whole thing.
On the way back from Kingston, I listened to Jeff Garlin’s podcast from this past week, which featured Conan O’Brien. My cheeks hurt from smiling and I was probably in genuine danger of driving off the road from laughing so hard. But there were a few life lessons in there that stuck out too: Stick to your strengths, not everyone gets to follow their dream, and everyone is taking a fucking improv class and veteran comedians are starting to notice that/riff on it.
Perhaps most importantly, Conan brought up that he wanted to do comedy his whole life. When he was at Harvard, he got to meet John Candy. Mr. Candy*>, on hearing that Conan wanted to ‘try’ comedy, said that no, you can only ‘do’ comedy. Like a big, Canadian Yoda: Do or do not, there is no try.
So I will do. Do what? Still working on that. I am very old to decide to pursue a dream like this, but I’ve got to try before it’s too late, right?
I got to chat with Mark Watson after the show for a little while, much to the annoyance/amusement of the other comedians who were trying to do photos, then get their drink on? Maybe? Who can say? I don’t know what comedians do after tour shows.
Anyway, found out the tour went pretty well, and the comedians were just as perplexed about the towns they visited as I was. Mark was very, very good. I had heard most of the prepared jokes before, which is totally fine, because, seriously, who else in Canada had? The audience was excellent and playful, so he also got to play with them (including a woman in the audience with the comedy gig equivalent of church giggles) a lot, so his slot was spontaneous and fresh too (oh dear, that doesn’t sound right). He also quoted Stompin’ Tom, which was wonderful; I love when non-Canadians embrace our weird little cultural gems.
I mentioned to him that I would love to go the Melbourne Comedy Festival next year and he told me that I should definitely go. He said it’s a different feel than Edinburgh, more relaxed and less rainy than Scotland. I can tell that just from hearing what comedian say (or reading what they tweet): Edinburgh is made out like some kind of annual war (‘I have PTSD from that glassing at the “Just a Minute” recording’, ‘Yeah, well I nearly lost most of my toes after getting trench foot at the Pleasance‘) and Melbourne is all sunshine and loveliness. (I may be oversimplifying.)
I did mention that going would require the sale of a kidney, probably, and he said that maybe the festival isn’t so great that I should do that.
Whatever. I only need the one, right?
In other comedy news, Tig Notaro continues to nail it.
*For some reason, it just naturally made sense to be more reverential and only use the title for Mr. Candy. Sorry, Coco.