Jeff Lawrence

Gay Jewish Brooklyn Nets fan recovering addict Stand Up Comedian Need to know more?

SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY: COMEDY

I do think the great thing about FB is sometimes you post a simple thing like "I can't sleep" and so many people come to the rescue. Every remedy recommended I've tried, perhaps too much. What is so ironic, is the only thing I need to knock me out like a zombie is one hit of weed. That's it, one hit. And THAT is my drug of choice, I'm the hardest of addicts and cannot pick up no matter what. Staring out the ceiling pondering the meaning of life as the hours tick from 7AM to 8AM to 9AM is the worst feeling in the world. I never ever had a problem sleeping until I got into comedy. And I believe it won't go away until I leave. Ironically, whenever I'm on vacation I sleep normally, so clearly it's a stress and anxiety issue. I'm sure I'll get crucified by saying being a stand up comedian is overrated; NEVER criticize the CRAFT. But for so many comics it's life or death and I don't want it to be that for me. It should be something you love, enjoy, like, or just leave.

I definitely see stand up as being a part of my life in the years ahead, and not my entire life that defines me as a person. People get so excited when you tell them you're a comedian, they light up, it's a nice feeling. But everyone adds "at least you're doing what you love". If every comedian loved stand up then why are comedians as a whole so much more cynical, prone to addiction and psychosis? Just google it, don't argue with me. Is stand up really the crack cocaine of all art forms? A pro comedian once said to me "I love being on stage, but what I have to do to get there just isn't worth it". That resonated with me. It's not the time on stage that is grueling, that is the release of the tension, the reward of the laughter, the reason we all do it. it's the offstage business, marketing, politics, backstabbing, promotion, mistrusting, maneuvering, stealing, ass kissing and general exhaustion of trying to get ahead or at least maintain your place that takes it's toll. Not to mention road trips and the luscious Holiday Inn buffets. As Marc Maron said, if you want to be comedian, just know that you're in for a lifetime of heartache.

If you're new, everything is pollyana as you sling back beers with your friends in bars as you rise the comedy ranks...enjoy it while it lasts. I'm sure people reading this will say "why don't you just leave"? For the same reason you won't leave: "No fuckin way are you taking my place after all these years of work!" So onward I march planning gigs, road trips, business, yes business. Someone called me a "businessman" the other day. Damn right, if you're not, good luck to you in show BUSINESS, you will fuckin' drown if you don't know how to promote yourself and not let people take advantage of you.

Just like addiction, I take comedy one day at a time. Today I'll write, do some gigs, watch some tape, plan my calendar, work on my book, (yes you will want to read it) try to be of service, not be swayed by negativity, and at the end of the day, hopefully get some much needed sleep.