People talk a lot about community. Friends are your chosen family. Find your community. Birds of a feather. All that jazz.
My best friend is a water skiier and a jet pilot (and, clearly, a badass). When she’s around jet pilot people, she clearly fits in. When she’s around military, she’s one of them. When she talks about water skiing, she uses all the jibber jabber and knows all the terms and competitions and whatnot.
My mom loves to quilt. She has friends at all the fabric stores in Indianapolis. She goes with some of her friends to quilting shows. Her friends will discuss their latest projects and patterns and exciting quilting news. For them, there is such a thing.
I used to be somewhat envious of people’s communities. I’m a floater- and happy to be one. I never really had a set community. I’ve always had a few good friends who are clearly part of different set communities.
Then it occurred to me. I clearly do have a community. I’m one of the misfits. I’m a comedy misfit.
When I go to read thrus for the sketch show I do regularly, I’m with my people. I’m with a bunch of goofballs who make big character choices and are excellent at making words come to life for the sake of comedy.
When I go to the Groundlings for shows or workshops, I’m amongst a bunch of hilarious people who are all writing their own work and creating shows and characters. These are people who want to work in the industry and have successful careers. But also, they just want to make people laugh. Be silly. Be outrageous. Have fun.
When I’m at UCB, I’m with people passionate about improvising. People who speak the same jibber jabber lingo that I do. We admire the same actors. Know the origin stories of different improv philosophies. Talk about them nonstop. Love to perform even if it’s for three people in the worst place ever. And- the good ones at least- listen more than they talk.
And especially when I’m at stand up mics, I’m with my people. These are a bunch of comedians who are thoughtful about their days. They look around and observe the world. They take note of interactions they have with people. They write down ideas they think might be funny. They’re willing to be brave and vulnerable in front of audiences. Even the douchebag assholes who yell at you for not thinking they’re funny- they’re my people because they want to make you laugh. They’re as insecure about their works as I am, they just show it in a different (more aggressive- less likeable) way.
In fact, comedians are quickly becoming my favorite people. They’re the loners who are willing to show up to an awkward space with a bunch of strangers and say “HEY! LISTEN TO ME!” They’re willing to be terrible because they know it’s a long-term investment. They want to meet like-minded people to work with. They want to bounce their ideas off people but are willing to say “Nah, I wanna do it this way. Thanks though,” if they don’t like what you say. They craft their voice carefully. Every word, every movement, every intonation matters. They’re willing to say the same thing over and over again until it’s perfect. And every time they say it, they pretend it’s the first time they’re sharing it with an audience. And they’re excited to be sharing it. It’s as magical as anything else.
But most importantly, all these communities are filled with people as obsessed with making people laugh as I am. They’re not interested in being the funny friend in their group of friends. They’re interested in their group of friends being nothing but funny friends. And making people they’ve never met laugh.
It’s the best.
And I call them misfits because, let’s be honest, when your passion and self worth are dependent on the feedback from total strangers, there’s something wrong with you.
Plus, if you met most of the people I hang out with, you’d agree there’s something wrong with all of us. And we would agree with you.
They’re my wonderful little funny misfits.
And I love them.