Does comedy damage your psyche?

This week I wanted to address what I consider a somewhat negative (yet accurate) book review for Don’t Wear Shorts on Stage.

“I enjoyed this book, think it’s honest and truthful, but also rather bleak and dark. It kind of gave me the impression that all the time and dues paid doing stand-up comedy really weren’t worth it. I think this book adequately addresses the mean-spirited, egotistical, narcissistic, sadistic side of comedy, mainly coming from warped and burnt out stand-ups, and greedy club owners and managers. It has a very submissive spirit to it and seems to have damaged the psyche of the author a bit. That’s my take on it friends.”

I’ve blogged about this before but it’s worth repeating.  One of my goals for this book was to thin the herd on people who thought they’d make comedy their career.  I get emails from readers and every so often one will thank me for talking them out of committing their life to comedy.  So is my book dark?  Yeah, probably.  I did have a lot of discussions with Nick Griffin over the years.  As comics we tend to bitch to each other about the career while putting on a facade to others that it’s wonderful (Look at all these Facebook pictures I took on a mountain at 1:30 in the afternoon while you were stuck in an office!).  

Just like any other career no one is forcing you to do it.  My warning is just be sure you have a backup plan because odds are you’re not a touring headliner making six figures who can pay for a medical emergency.

Back to the review…This guy started the review with two positive statements but since the message of the book wasn’t what he wanted to hear (even though I was “honest and truthful”) he gave the book 3 out of 5 stars or 60% (which is a D- in my classroom).  The whole review is one big metaphor for stand-up I think.  I tried to do him a huge favor by exposing the truths of the career but the truth made him uncomfortable.  Well you go for it, dude, and get back to me in 13 years.


About Rob Durham

With an English Degree, three years as a doorman at the Columbus Funnybone, over a decade of stand-up experience, and a recent certification in teaching high school English class, writing a book seemed like the next inevitable step for Rob Durham. The son of a coach, Rob has an excellent ability to teach and explain things in the easiest and most direct way possible. His (often labeled ridiculous) memory allows him to think of every possible situation that a new comic might face because at one point he was there too. Rob gives an inside look at comedy that doesn’t sugarcoat the challenges every performer faces. Without ego and the myth that “anyone can do it” Rob gives the reader a true feel of what living the so-called dream feels like, from preparing for that first open mic night to touring the country. View all posts by Rob Durham

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