A big part of the problem has gotta be the whole time factor of doing standup. For pros, being on the road a lot has gotta be tough. I've heard in interviews people like PFT and Birbigs talk about how they like their current NYC "residencies" (at Best Week Ever and Sleepwalk With Me respectively) because it lets them spend less time on the road and gives 'em more QT with the fiancé/wife. My recollection is hazy, but I think Jim Gaffigan and Brian Regan have also discussed how they try to not be on the road for too long because it takes them away from the family.
Even if you're not at that level, it's still hard. You're out every/most nights of the week at bars and getting home late. That's not the healthiest foundation. Clearly you need someone who really supports you in what you're trying to do and understands the game and how it works. You could bring your signif other to shows, but how much comedy can you subject someone to before it turns into a punishment? (Then again, someone who never goes to see you perform seems like a problem too.) Bringing someone to an open mic is just plain cruel — unless you've got some sort of S&M thing going on and the whip ain't cutting it anymore.
For a certain type of comic, you also have to add on the whole telling the truth thing. (I don't think this applies to a comic who does clever one-liners or observational stuff.) People who really open up onstage might not be able to turn that off in their personal life. I'd imagine that'd be a pretty tiresome quality in some ways.
And even if it's just onstage that they're brutally honest or say unpleasant things, that's still gotta be a tough thing for a spouse/gf/bf to handle. I'm thinking about bits I've heard done by certain guys who fit this description. Giraldo talked about doing blow with a hooker and how awful marriage is. Daniel Tosh talked about getting a stripper in Kansas City pregnant. CK talked about how terrible it was to listen to his wife (at the time) tell stories and how, without her, he'd wind up living alone under a bridge like a troll...and how nice that would be. Chris Rock talked about getting caught cheating and how new pussy "always clears your mind." Howard Stern...well, what hasn't Howard talked about on air?
I know, I know...they're joking. These are jokes. And the stage should be the one place where you don't have to answer to anyone else. And a signif other should understand that a comic who wants to be personal but edits him/herself on sensitive topics is hamstrung. You might understand that, but still...
Imagine being married to one of those guys. How would it feel listening to those bits? Having your friends hear your husband tell those jokes? Would any of those guys be fine with it if the person they loved got up on a stage and discussed stuff like that in public? Is that just something you've gotta accept when you decide to be with that type of person?
And then you have someone like Dave Chappelle who's totally open about everything but almost never mentions his wife or being married on his albums/specials. Maybe that's an even weirder thing...to not be mentioned at all.
I got no answers here. Just thinking.
Anyway, I guess a comic could always try dating another comic instead of a civilian. But Jesus, who the fuck wants to date a comedian? I guess that's the problem right there.
Permalink | 4/03/2009