I enjoy attention. A small but persistent part of me believes that if I’m not heard, I don’t quite exist. This makes me annoying in movie theaters, funerals, and, quite seriously, in comedy groups.
I do comedy. It’s something I’ve always done, always pursued, always been interested in, but being within it always seemed beyond me. Comedy people, especially in New York, fall into collectives. They go to shows together, put them on together, go to parties and stand-up sets collaborate and improve. I’m a people person, and a community like that is all I’ve ever wanted. Except that it isn’t.
Because communities share.
I won’t share; I can’t share, can’t wait, can’t intern and climb ladders with a nuanced approach of patience and collaborative, reasonable ambition. For me, comedy was not something I pursued because it was fun; it was something I took up as self-definition, as a way to carve out a niche, as a way, even as a small child, to claim some corner of the world as my own. I thought I had to earn my keep, had to perform and justify my existence, and comedy filled that anxious void. As a result, I am jealous with it and, in the comedy world, that is a fatal sin.
I was the class clown because I wanted you to like me. You don’t have to, but I hope you appreciate, at least, the intention behind it.
This is embarrassing but it’s true: I feel uneasy at concerts or shows, because I get bothered to see a stage that I’m not on. That doesn’t come from narcism, you should know, but rather from an equally persistent insecurity combined with a sharp, desperate immediacy. I similarly am deeply competitive, far beyond my logical bounds, and that manifests itself inward and out. But that restless drive can make me a pretty insufferable person to deal with in comedy settings.
This is especially painful to me because those comedy circles are the places I’d most love to be a part of, and would aspire to fit in. But I can’t. I’m restless, competitive, and increasingly anxious with funny people. I need momentum at a reckless, impossible level, that makes patience and sharing untenable. This made me a pretty difficult intern at College Humor, which I feel an especially sharp shame about; I appreciated everything so much, but that wasn’t what got expressed. What came out was my insecurities, my impatience, my desperation to be established and exist. I was a pest, difficult, and as an extrovert my only solution to trying to hard was to try harder. It’s a double bind; I assume I have to somehow perform to be liked, and when people resent that, I feel awkward and, instinctually, double down.
In retrospect, none of you needed to hear me rap.
So this is an apology and explanation. I’m not in those circles. Other people, those who coupled their talent with patience and sanity are. It’s something I’m working on and if you hire me for a comedy show (do this please) I’m going to be nuanced and a pleasant, balanced part of a team. So if I’ve missed your show or talked a little too much during a meeting or didn’t show up to a team dinner, know that it’s wasn’t because I didn’t like you; it’s because I was dealing with a very specific quirk in a variety of ways. In the broad, public sense, I think you’re all funny and great and would love to collaborate.
I just have to find out how to do it.