Every day since Election Night, I have woken up, stared at the ceiling and quietly murmured to myself, “Am I dead?”
The answer, so far, has been no. But damn it, doesn’t it seem time for a 300+ million person suicide pact, for whatever day the Inauguration is scheduled? I feel like I should at least make a solid plan to finally try all the bad drugs, because literally who gives a fuck anymore.
Optimists say “It’ll be fine. Wait and see what happens.” Cool guys. Let’s wait and see what happens after you drink this strychnine. Could be great!
People who are privileged enough not to be at risk in the first place say “Don’t be dramatic”. No you’re right, I will fold my hands and sit calmly while this bus goes off a cliff, Speed-style. Bitch, you are NO Keanu. (I am, however, 100% Sandra Bullock you’re WELCOME).
People who voted for this gold-plated dumpster fire…I can only imagine they are now realizing their horrible mistake. Lucky for them, much like their precious Social Security, someone else will foot the bill. Voting for Trump is probably a lot like masturbating to porn parodies – it feels good for a second but the shame lingers for a lifetime. You can never go back to the innocent times before Golden (Shower) Girls. Neither can Blanche.
It’s hard for me to do comedy in times of stress and turmoil, whether on a personal or larger level. Somewhere just now a lame white straight comedian felt an uncontrollable urge to roll his eyes and scream, “FUNNY IS FUNNY, CUNT!” Touché, sir. Now hurry along, you’ve got a smelly basement to bomb in tonight.
Sure, making light of the worst things is cathartic. Too often, however, the people making cracks are the ones who have literally zero stakes in the outcome. It’s easy to laugh when you are so secure in your position in the world that nothing can ever shake it. Gallows humor is only impressive if you’re waiting for your turn at the rope. Otherwise it just comes off as callous and frankly, cruel.
Safely telling jokes when the world is ending is a bit of a “fiddling while Rome burns” type scenario. Fiddle-dee-dee! Nothing will harm a straight Canadian white guy’s comedy career except a lack of Molson commercials to pay the rent with. Here’s a fun joke about toaster strudels that’s really about how my parents don’t love me!
For my entire life, my anger has been a source of contention. I’ve been told it’s unpleasant, un-ladylike, and toxic to my very internal organs. I’ve been told that my anger doesn’t serve me, and that instead I should focus on quiet contemplation or making art. I’ve been warned that anger makes your colon prolapse and hang out of your butt like a sloppy poo sock.
I don’t buy it. So far, my colon remains intact (fingers crossed).
Anger is as important as any other emotion; it’s a key step in the grieving process. In my case, I guess I’ve been grieving since the day I was born.
Anger is the last motivating survival instinct before giving up. In danger you must fight, flee, or curl up in a ball – the choice is up to you.
During the shows I’ve done this month, the only thing that keeps me going is rage. Without it, I would be a husk of sadness (which, let’s be real, I mostly am in the best of times). The idea of having an audience’s laughter buoy my hopes and sustain me with a sense of inner light is absurd.
Telling jokes has never made me happy; at best, it makes the audience have fun and forget their probably equally-awful lives for a second.
For me, a strong performance mostly induces a kind of anhedonia that keeps me from using my powers for evil. I am numbed by applause. That numbness can be as tempting as any other drug, particularly in dark times.
So yeah, doing comedy is not really a fun thing for me, but rather something I am compelled to do in a way I can’t fully explain. I usually walk off the stage grimly determined not to receive notes on my jokes from whatever random 40+ year old man happens to be around at the time (and yes, non-comedian men do want to give me feedback after nearly every show. Usually about how much nicer it would be if I weren’t so angry.)
I’m often frozen with my own inability to create – due to my driving, constant depression, my self-doubt/criticism, or being exhausted by circles which grant or deny the permission to create by self-appointed gatekeepers.
Some days it’s easier to curl up in a ball, or to flee. I have no qualms about doing either when I need to, in order to keep on trying another day. That doesn’t make me weak, it just makes me human. It’s not possible to fight the good fight day-in, day-out. Sometimes you just have to sit back and relax to Cheers XXX – a porn parody. (“NORM!”)
Now, at the edge of this very critical moment in American history, I’m saving my anger and fight for what very well may be the longest and darkest presidential term in the history of the United States. I can only hope that there are plenty of rageful souls out there with a little bit of fight left in them. Hold on to your butts, guys.