Saturday, May 18, 2013

Billner 5

It's time once again to write another blog, since rehearsals are going just as scheduled and we are now scratching the surface of blocking. There isn't much more I can say about the process as a whole. The cast and my director Tucker have been great to work with and they could lock me in a safe somewhere and still put on this show successfully.

So I'll just write about whatever comes to my mind.

Why Comedy?

I'll always remember the first comedy special I watched as a kid. I was with my friend Travis and we had gone on a camping trip in one of those old school camping trailers. It wasn't technically camping since we went to one of those RV parks and parked next to a tree and a power outlet, but if you looked out the window the right way and put a fan near your face, you could emulate roughing it in the great outdoors. Thankfully in the upper corner of the camper was a TV and VCR combo and a copy of Bill Cosby: Himself. One of Bill Cosby's first stand up specials. Before that moment I couldn't imagine anyone wanting to watch someone stand in front of a microphone and tell stories about their lives, but after laughing hysterically like a couple of hyena's I was hooked on the comedy bug. 

I had always been a funny goofy kid. Then again so has everyone, I don't think there is a person alive who hasn't sat around with their friends and joked a little. Being funny however, became a part of my identity, and I got addicted to making people laugh. Like any kind of addiction, especially an addiction of identity. I did take it a little too far. I remember times growing up where I thought if I wasn't funny then no one would want to be around me and I would lose all my friends. So I constantly put that pressure on myself to constantly be funny. Unfortunately you can't always be on, the days I was off were the worst, it gave me crippling depression that was hard to shake off. Soon I would be so worried about cracking jokes that I would neglect discovering who I was, and what it was to be a whole person. It took me a long time to convince myself that people can still appreciate someone when they are not a constant source of entertainment. Something I'm slightly embarrassed to admit, but that's just growing up, we're all a little fucked up. 

Of course the obsession with being a class clown did have it's benefits, I tried a variety of different things. I had a pretty good comic series that eventually got put into the school newspaper and my drawing skills improved greatly. While piggy backing off one of my favorite comedians Stephen Lynch I taught myself to play guitar, and wrote a few kind of clever (but really, really awful) humorous songs. (Most of which I wrapped up in a paper bag and burned at the stake.) and thinking that my true calling was to be a famous comedian; I constantly wrote ideas for jokes in little notebooks. This followed me all the way through my four year tour of the Air Force. I only really performed my jokes in front of people once which shook me up so bad that I puked, and I stumbled through an awful joke in front of a SSgt when my buddy told him I wanted to be a comedian. (If you ever stumble onto this blog Scotty, I love you like a brother, but fuck you!) That memory still comes back to haunt me and makes me cringe. Still despite everything  I was convinced that I was destined to be apart of the creative community. I just didn't know where. While browsing for things to use my G.I. bill on, since I knew for a fact a career in the military was not what I wanted. I decided on acting. I felt my biggest hang ups were stage fright, and the lack of presence, so this seemed the perfect mix of studying something cool and interesting, as well as developing numerous skills I could use. In no time at all I was off to Boise State, and after 3 terms I switched schools to Oregon State when I realized I hated being close to family. 

As far as why comedy? It's a part of who I am. Not that I have a big ego about it, like i'm some comedic genius. I just know that compared to a rock with lips, I've got more jokes. Plus i've come to terms with that I'll never appeal to everybody, and for every person who enjoy's my company, there are probably a few that wish I would jump off a bridge. Because I feel like I've reached the point where I don't worry what I think everyone else will find funny, and just do what I feel is funny and that's what The Unfortunate Case of Mr. Billner is. A simple goofy story that I think is funny, about characters I like, with situations that crack me up, and still watching it for the 20th time now at rehearsals, there are still points that make me smile. 

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