You like being a stand-up comedian. You enjoy the lifestyle. You get to hang out in bars, hear great jokes and spend time with funny people. There’s only one problem: You suck. No one likes you or your stupid act. Your joke about phone booths makes no sense. When was the last time you saw a phone booth, dummy?
So now you feel bad about yourself. But what can you about it? Well, you can work hard to improve but that sounds like a lot of hard work. And let’s face it; you probably won’t improve much anyway. So now what?
Have you ever thought about making fun of a comedian who’s worse than you?
Well, why not? Critizing others is a great way to feel better about yourself! It’s fun! It’s easy! But most of all … okay, I can’t think of a third thing. But fun and easy should be enough. Plus, it’s a great way to build confidence and self-esteem. And research has shown, probably, that pointing out the flaws of others helps draw attention away from our own flaws. Rolling your eyes, for example, is not only a great way to express yourself; it’s also good for your eyes!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about heckling. You don’t want to look like a jerk.
I’m talking about quiet heckling. Snide comments made just loud enough for your friends at the table to hear. Things like, “That joke was funny when the three wise men told it to baby Jesus.”
“That guy totally killed! …My love of comedy!”
“I have a spot on my lung that’s funnier than him.”
Now who’s getting laughs? Not the guy on stage, that’s for sure!
Try it! Just a few well-timed barbs at the expense of another and before I know it, I’m feeling like a pretty big man.
“But Col, what if I can’t find anyone worse than me?” That’s the beauty. There’s always going to be someone worse than you. If you can’t find anyone worse than you in Philly, try going to New Jersey! If you can’t find anyone in Jersey, try Delaware! (But you should probably give up after Delaware.)
“What it is exactly that makes putting other people down so awesome?” Well, think about it, stupid!
If you’re able to criticize someone else you must be better than them, right? It wouldn’t work otherwise. A big fat guy can’t make fun another big fat guy. It’s scientific or something. It’s the same reason heterosexuals lose interest in American Idol once the competetion becomes talented. It’s about helping people feel superior. It’s why we love shows about hoarders, strange addictions and internet predators. Hey, I may have gotten passed over for that promotion at work but at least I’m not addicted to eating laundry detergent like this idiot or getting the sexually explict
emails I sent to an underage boy read back to me by an incredulous investigative reporter over a glass of goddamn lemonade. Enjoy being tackled by the cops, loser!
“But Colin, isn’t ‘making fun’ of people wrong?” Of course not! I don’t really even understand the question. Who doesn’t like fun? And if there isn’t any fun, someone has to provide it, right? It might as well be you. Hey, if the guy on stage was doing his job we wouldn’t have this problem. So if you don’t “make” the “fun,” who will? Obama? Pfft. Good luck. He wasn’t even born here.
“But what do I do when that comedian I just mocked asks me what I thought of his act?”
Simple! Just tell him he did great! Don’t worry about looking like a hypocrite in front of your friends. If they’re really your friends, they’ll understand. You’re just trying to do what’s easiest. No one can blame you for that. Don’t be afraid of being “two-faced.” Stand up comedy is a difficult job and you’re going to need all the faces you can get. You’ve heard the expression two heads are better than one? Well, heads have faces, don’t they? I’ve never heard anyone complain about having two hands, have you? All good things come in twos, just ask Noah or boobs. Besides, constructive criticism may improve his performance and where will that leave you? Delaware, that’s where!
So the next time you suck, remember: It’s easy to mope and cry about it … so do that! (Might not hurt to have a few drinks, too.) But afterward, consider making fun of someone who sucks even more than you. Because if we can’t laugh at someone who’s not funny; then they’re totally useless. Before you know it, you’ll feel a lot better about yourself.
And then you too can enjoy a positive mental attitude!
Colin O’Brien was the guy who made those cricket sounds during the silence following your punchline but then afterward told you you were great. He lives with his parents.