I recently have been delving back into standup and it has been a weird experience. Not good, not bad, just different coming back. There was a time in my life where I would live and die by the punchline of the joke and the audience reaction. Now I find myself not resenting the art form, not embracing it, but rather not really caring.
About a week ago I did a show in Brooklyn for a small crowd and I found I did an up and down set but didn’t care. I had fun chilling with them afterward and they told me about a roommate of theirs who was trying to be a comedian at one point. Then I did another small show where I actually killed because I was riffing. It was good for my self esteem. It showed me perhaps I still had it. Then I did a show last night for the kids at FIT. It was the end of a long night and they had been there for several hours. By the time they got me they were pleasant, but they wanted to go home. It was a good show, but I felt as if I could have done better. A lot of me knows what I am capable of doing and that’s why it killed me. But there was this nagging voice, “You could have done better.”
It was nice seeing people that I hadnt seen in a while. The weird thing about not being in the clubs is that you don’t see people or meet people in the circuit. But it was good seeing Amy Beckerman who put the event together and it was a successful night. It was fun meeting her dog Porkchop and having Porkchop meet May…..
I have come to a sort of a separate peace with standup. I am not one of the cool kids who hangs out and effortlessly gets spots at Carolines. I will never be the top of the heap and win the “respect” of my peer group. The things that get me attention onstage are my willingness to be different and do anything. I am not known as a good writer or will probably never be saluted as a comics comic. I am a prop act, the most abhorrent in their opinion. I don’t make friends with the “right people” nor will I ever. I don’t have enough chips on my shoulder to be a “good comic.”
However at the same time I have stopped giving a shit about making friends with the right people. While the politics give me a headache I don’t care about getting an effortless spot at Carolines because I am friends with the right people. I don’t even care about the “respect” of my peer group. About a year ago I received more TV air time than any of them will in their entire careers. Fuck being the comics comic, no one ever knows the name of the comics comic. Hell I left that mindset in the dust long ago. I want to be famous. Shoot me for having ambition. When is the last time someone stopped you for a fan photo?
At the same time I still want to be a good comic and want to do what it takes in order to get that respect. I want to be one of the cool kids and sometimes even want to placate to them. Maybe I should talk about boring stuff or go on about my period like a lot of other female comedians. Did I say I was at a weird place? Yeah, I am honest. At least I have that going for me in this game. And maybe I will never be rated as one of the best comedians or one of the best female comedians but I no longer find myself caring. I don’t freaking know. Weird place…
On the other hand, things have been popping with the talk show. Last week at one point we had as many as two hundred people watching in our chat. I have been devoting all my time and energy on that as well as my advice column to the exclusion of all other things. I book guests, dream up new themes, host, and manage my peeps in my house. Sure it is work hosting people every week but it gives me an excuse to clean. Someone once told me that when something is a struggle it means you shouldn’t be doing it. It’s your will and not the universe’s will for you. And this, for as hard as it is to get off the ground, seems to be as smooth as butter.
I actually find I am a good host. I keep things moving a long and treat my guests with kindness as I keep everyone laughing. I am much better at that than I ever was as a standup and truth be told, I am okay with it. A few months ago when I left standup altogether I lamented it was a waste of time. My mom pointed out that it wasn’t a waste of time at all and that if I hadnt spent the time and energy I did in the clubs the doors wouldn’t have opened the way they did and I wouldn’t be hosting the talk show that I am now. Rather standup was a springboard not the final destination. Did I mention my mom is the smartest woman I know?
The people at YouNow are pleased with what I am doing as far as the show goes and how things are coming together. Yes I am not rolling in the dough but this past year I have seen glimpses of financial security. Things are starting to come together and for me the talk show is the next right thing. I feel like I am moving in a positive direction and keeping the momentum going rather than letting my puppet children and myself die the slow, painful death a reality TV star could.
At this point it looks like I am meant to host this talk show and do the standup as a means to stretch myself and make myself visible rather than to make that my ultimate destination. I like the talk show, I like the prospect of publishing a book, and I like making music. These things are coming easy to me. The standup never did.
They say the universe tells you where you are meant to be and maybe I have seen the light. Maybe the light is the talk show and maybe I have given the standup dream the ultimate light. Sure I will take the stage time when given it but I am not scrapping for it anymore. Did I think I would be saying this when I was twenty four, living hand to mouth, sleeping in my clothes because I got home late for a set, and spending every weekend on the road? Hell no. But I am saying it now.
Meet April Brucker: Talk Show Host, Actress, Ventriloquist, Comedian, Author, Singer and Advice Columnist. Did I forget happy and successful person? Love Aprilhttp://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Confessions/127192550719508