Don't follow any advice, no matter how good, until you feel as deeply in your spirit as you think in your mind that the counsel is wise.
- Joan Rivers
when i started to get really sick again (July 2012) i stopped auditioning, writing and doing stand-up. as my readers know, during my admittance to hospital in the fall I underwent electroconvulsive therapy which expunged most of my memory. this included my whole comedy act. i haven't been on stage, written a joke or watched comedy since then. once back at home in LA during the winter, i found an old set-list of my jokes in the pocket of one of the jackets i would often wear on stage. once i realized what i was looking at i felt a shot through my heart & i turned cold. I crumpled up the small piece of paper & threw it in the trash. most of my act can be found on YouTube, written in files or in my voice memos but i haven't yet been able to watch, listen or read them. I know I could remember & work at it if i wanted but there's something blocking me from doing so- to the point where not only have i written several unpublished posts on this particular subject, but when the recollection of ANY of my jokes enters my mind i've expertly been able to eradicate them from my thoughts. the denial i've mastered comes from years of experience with a rape at the age of 15 that i kept to myself for 8 years. this is bad. am i comparing my comedy career to getting raped? jesus.
my very close friend told me that his father (a painter) quit doing his art for some time after he went through ECT & expressed that he had no desire for it anymore. after a few months however, he was right back at it & happier and more prolific than ever. i'm currently at day 48 (back) in the hospital and am taking my recovery very seriously. i want to be able to manage the chronicity of my manic depression and have come to the harsh understanding that i have to change many of my habits and lifestyle in order to make this happen. there are key components to my health including sleep, diet, exercise, sobriety, therapy and medication. i'm acutely aware that a schedule helps me a deal as does consistency. that said, creativity & productivity are high on my list of priorities and currently this blog is my only venue for exercising such catharsis. i realize i'm only 4.5 months since my last shock-treatment but i'm paralyzed by the very idea of joke-telling. how can something that used to be my raison d'être now be causing such consternation?
patients on my ward found out that i was a comedian by profession & creeped me on the internet. they were all overly laudatory regarding my talent. though it (obviously) was great to hear, i couldn't bear to know that floating around bouncing from from space to earth's computers & phones exists a past version of me performing jokes for crowds. i didn't want them to repeat any of my jokes to me or tell me their favorite parts, which some did anyway. there are already so many cracks in the foundation of my heart and their compliments made those fissures spread as though they were ripping through my chest.
most of my closets friends are stand-up comics by trade and i'd be lying if i said it's been easy for me to consort with them as we once did. i'm not the same funny i was. i'm not sure that i'm funny at all anymore & that's ok with me.
is this all because i feel like i have to change everything in my life as to not get sick again? since comedy was my #1 love, do i feel like that might be at the root of my unhappiness? am i afraid of being a sober comic? have i convinced myself that i'll lose sleep, get wasted, eat like shit & fuck around (and fuck shitty comics) the way i did before? have i just lost my confidence as a performer? are my old jokes simply less meaningful to me? am i too lazy and scared to write an entire new act? am i afraid that really succeeding in comedy is a pipe-dream? will doing stand-up again simply be my undoing?
i try very hard to never make decisions based on pride or fear though rarely do i succeed in doing so. i am scared. i don't want to get sick again. and i miss my love. i miss my jokes, i miss the spotlight and i miss feeling alive the way i do when i'm performing. i keep trying to be patient and wait for the answer to come to me, for some divine intervention to give me a sign…
so for now you get this blog. i get this blog. it's not funny, but it's not nothin'.