Sunday, September 7, 2014

Eye of the Liger (stages are lonely)

A few weeks ago, actor  Robin Williams killed himself. It came as a shock to many. Now while I get depression, I don't fully understand suicide. Life is short enough as it is. You want it all to end? Don't worry - it will. That's one of the few guaranties you can count on. So why make it any shorter, especially a funny man, a guy who gets paid millions to act a fool? He had such an sweet gig..

Why are so many entertainers substance abusers? Why do they have self destructive tenancies? How can someone get on stage to perform in front of a large crowd and yet claim to have social anxiety? As a wannabe entertainer, I believe I can shed a bit of light on these questions. It's because us comedians, wannabe or not, have the eye of the liger. A liger, in case you never saw Napoleon Dynamite, is a mix between a lion and a tiger.

Ok, starting to understand the suicide thing now..
napoleon dynamite by thisRobot, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  thisRobot 

The funny thing about ligers is that they exhibit schizophrenic tendencies because their respective lion and tiger genes have opposite traits. For example tigers love water. Therefor ligers are drawn to water. Lions, on the other hand, hate water. So once a liger actually makes it to the water, it freaks out and runs right back to land.

I am exactly the same. I am extremely shy, and probably one of the most anti-social people you will ever meet. I keep my human interaction down to a minimum. Yet I am drawn to the very limelight that burns me like a moth. Once I am hit with the spot light I craved so bad, I am paralyzed with fear like a deer in the headlights.

Ligers, moths, deers.. triple animal analogy muddddaaa fucckkkkaaaaaa!!!!!

This conflict is in the heart of just about every comedian. It goes beyond a mere love/hate for attention. Comedians may seem heartless. They make jokes about other's pain, the decay of society, even rape, murder, and terminal illnesses. Nothing is sacred. But in reality their jokes spring from fear. 

Fear of loss. Fear of suffering. What better way to not lose anyone than not to have anyone? A joke at it's very essence is one distancing themselves from seriousness. It takes that which matters and makes it silly, makes it nonsense. Those who can't handle the serious side and pain of their lives turn to jokes to keep themselves from going crazy.

But jokes can't sustain all the weight of the harsh realities of life. Some of it still seeps through and the cracks get filled up with alcohol, sex, and drugs. Also chocolate cake. To be honest, I never cared for Robin Williams' stand up. As a wannabe writer and word smith (starting to get old with this wannabe shit, can some of y'all start buying my products!??), I love words.

Pictured below: not-so-starving artist. Please help me fund my banana addiction.

Some people assume that means I must love talking incessantly. The truth is just the opposite. I hate to see words wasted. I am like a cordon bleu chef intelligently mixing the right amount of each ingredient while considering how it will affect the overall recipe. You can't just pile a bunch of shit on a plate like some cheap buffet. At least that's what I tell myself. Robin Williams seemed to have the opposite philosophy whenever free-styling it.

He spewed as many words as possible into every sentence and even made up a couple of his own. I would get bored before he ever even got to the freaking point. But I do think he was a terrific actor, because he knew pain. He knew longing. He knew suffering. He actually handled these things with a certain delicacy understanding there was something more important beyond the mere entertainment aspect of his work. And then there was Tosh.0

More Like Point Zero

Tosh.0 is a funny show I will admit. But there is no delicacy. There is no understanding of a deeper truth. There is somewhat of a cheapening of humanity with his kind of humor. Comedy can provide needed relief from stress, but it can also provide unhealthy relief from any guilt or desire to fix things. Some things were meant to be taken seriously, because if they are not they won't be changed. Not everything was meant to be turned into jokes.

Sadly, it's not just comedy. We live in an age that worships the "don't give a fuck" mentality. Everyday I see countless memes posted on social media letting us all know how totally awesome the poster is because of how few fucks they give. "I'll take a shit in the middle of church, I don't give a fuuuuuck!"

"I'll slam a baby on hard concrete, I don't give a fuuuuuck!" Wow, you're sooo cool, bro. Watch the video below:

See all those people laughing and video taping while three chicks beat down one? Oh you think that's messed up? So what? They don't give a fuuuuuck! Because they've achieved such high levels of awesomeness!! Or maybe they're just a bunch of fucktards. So share a joke. But do it right. Because the world doesn't need another asshole who doesn't give a fuck. What the world needs more people who give a shit.

Dedicated to the memory of Robin Williams. Entertainment done right.

*Don't forget to check out my book!  

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