"We are alway trying so hard to find material and it's right there"

Email exchange with Mark Normand about yesterday's post on hanging out with other comics...


That's funny stuff. See, we are always trying so hard to find material and it's right there. I love when you just get mean and be yourself. It's hilarious. We're writing jokes about cats and shit when that's the stuff you should be talking about. That's you!! Its real, its truthful, a little cranky but it's you. I feel like this is what CK is saying, you gotta do shit that really eats you up.

Now I'm getting worked up...Even if that stuff rubs some people the wrong way- it still is nice for the people who go through shit like that and I think that's your audience.


Yeah, I totally agree with ya. I notice that sometimes I'm writing and it just GOES. I'm not trying to be clever or use wordplay. I'm just saying what I really think. And it's usually bitching about something. In fact, the more I'm using the word "fucking," the better it is. Because that means it's coming from somewhere deeper.

Mark pushes me sometimes on material that he thinks is in my voice and I appreciate it. "That's so you" is almost as good a thing to hear about a bit-in-progress as "that's so funny."

I wrestle sometimes with being a total grouch and ranting all the time yet I do feel like it might be my "natural voice" (or close to it). The tough part for me is figuring out how to go negative yet still making people laugh and feel comfortable about it.

Kinda related: I really liked this piece songwriter Jeffrey Lewis wrote about why he likes to err on the side of discomfort.

For me it’s in the too-personal that I often find my writing strength and my most powerful artistic ingredients...On one hand I think that if an artist is creative enough it should be possible to make great art without having to resort to self-immolation. I don’t know of any songs by Woody Guthrie or Jackson C. Frank that make reference to their own immense personal tragedies, but this didn’t stop these artists from making songs of the greatest emotional power. On the other hand I strongly believe that it’s important to use art and songs to push the boundaries of public communication beyond the usual, and thus maybe bring both the artist and the audience a bit of catharsis by trying to shine a light into a dark place.

Lewis writes that seeing Jonathan Richman perform his recent “As My Mother Lay Dying” was "about as personal and painful as an audience-artist interaction can get — and as emotionally redemptive." Here's the song, which is pretty fucking great:


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