Being a humorist isn’t just your typical 9-5 job like being a doctor or an engineer. OMG those jobs are soo easy. Believe me, I wish I could go back in time, I could only BE so lucky to choose the path of brain surgeon or astronaut or something, but I can’t. That’s not how life works. Hello, Earth to everyone: time machines are only available to the 1%.
I chose comedy and comedy chose me. And we’re happily together, mom. It’s 2016 I can marry anything I want!
It’s true, though. Comedy requires much more time than many think. While the laughs come as the result of a stand up set or a cleverly worded article, an equal amount of work if not more takes place outside of those more public times. Thus, I’ve always made a point to view comedy as a full-time gig. But like one that makes you check the prices on everything you buy at the grocery store. Honestly how does fruit cost that much? Are Raspberries made in a field of gold? Someone talk to me here. I WANT ANSWERS.
Comedy is kind of like that iceberg analogy that was probably on a poster in your elementary school. You know, the one that describes the tip of the iceberg as what everyone sees, and what most fail to see is the majority of the iceberg which is hidden underwater. This analogy is good for two reasons: 1) It does makes a lot of sense 2) I used to think icebergs were really really small so I went through my whole life confused about Titanic.
As a comedian I have found this is to be the best and most cliche way to think about comedy. And I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but I love cliches as much as I love smiling because it happened instead of crying because it’s over.
I view humor as a powerful concept in the world. I tend to think about it as a lifestyle, or something that is all-consuming, not just another hobby like eating ice cream before bed and in the middle of the night if I can’t sleep and after waking up in the morning. In other words, often times you just see the tip of the iceberg as it relates to a comedian’s work, but you rarely see the effort put in behind the scenes.
Humor is a great way to make sense of a continuously confusing world. Using humor in stories can be uniting, making experiences more relatable and more human.
It’s not just talent or skill that differentiates the top from the bottom in the universe of comedy. The best comedians go all in. They really commit. They merge their passion for comedy, as an occupation, with their natural personality in an effortless manner – eventually it gets to the point where one cannot tell if they’re performing or simply living another day in the life.
This is the authentic, genuine nature that I believe audiences yearn for, especially in an ever-increasing world of disconnected, digital communication. I’m looking at you, Tinder.
Some of the biggest stand up comedians in the spotlight such as Amy Schumer, Aziz Ansari, and Louis C.K., emulate these exact notions. They challenge social institutions and societal norms, make awkward situations relatable and less…well, awkward, and help make sense of the world in a humanizing way.
Outside of comedy, there are very few outlets, if any, that can discuss pressing and taboo issues such as sexuality, racism, social constructs, and more, in such a striking way.
Comedians like those mentioned above may be sharing their experiences in an hour set on stage, or perhaps through a 30min television show, but rest assured much of the work came before those very public moments. Comedians work round-the-clock gathering material as you never know when inspiration will strike.
The true work of a comedian comes through living such experiences first-hand, being able to turn mundane moments into moments of enlightenment, identifying important situations and providing the needed commentary, and ultimately using honesty and thought to provide reflection and happiness to comedy consumers. As comedians and writers, we may only be getting a paycheck for the time on the clock, but our job and responsibility stretch much further.
So here’s to comedians, here’s to humor, and here’s to a world without Trump as president.
P.S. my dad is a doctor I was jk’ing about that time I said it wasn’t a hard occupation, it takes a lot of education and intelligence and I appreciate everything they do. Good job, doctors!
Bio: Jon Savitt is a comedian and writer with work featured on sites such as TIME, MTV, Huffington Post, Paste Magazine, CollegeHumor, and more. You can follow him on Twitter @Savittj.