So you're probably a fairly savvy fan of comedy now if you've gotten to the point of reading a comic's blog after seeing a live show. I bet your Netflix queue is stacked with new stand-up specials! I recommend Jim Jefferies, he's one of my favorites. After a decent amount of live shows under your belt you've heard quite a few comics talk about their personal relationship issues, and after the last laugh subsides from this chunk of material, you hear an oft-used phrase to wrap it in a neat bow:
"...So anyway, I'm single."
Always gets a quick laugh, maybe even an applause break depending on how good the joke which preceded it was. It's a simple transitional tactic that allows the comic to move on to his next batch of jokes about his current life, so that the audience doesn't have any follow-up relationship questions to ponder after the show.
Look, I've used it. All comics have at some point okay? I'm not that proud of it , but it still works so, whatever. But eveeeeeen STILL, after the dust has settled, I get asked the same question quite often by loving, concerned family members, as well as bored inquisitive drunk women after my shows:
"So are you dating anyone now???"
My answer is always the same. "I can't even have a dog let alone a relationship, and I actually WANT a dog."
Translation: No. I tried. It don't work out too well for Baby Al (That's my family nickname. You're Welcome). It's easy to begin a relationship but real hard to let the bad ones go for me. My past is shady and checkered in this department to say the least. However, I'm not special in that regard if you pay attention to my industry. Ever notice the uneven propensity for comedians to be single? Sounds like most of us who you talk to are, doesn't it? And the ones that are in a relationship...don't seem to be casting their significant other in the best light on stage much, do they? It's almost enough to make you think maybe...MAAAYBE...they should have ended it a long time ago. So why don't they? Besides all that luscious new material AM I RIGHT????!!!! (...Seriously do you really think that's the solution to our problems every time we run into a crappy situation? Stop saying the words "New Material" to comics, we HATE it.) Well, there's probably a simple explanation...
Personally I believe most comedians struggle with ending toxic relationships because our entire life IS relationship building. We are either searching for new venues/cities to create relationships, engaging in new relationships onstage with people who have never seen us, or attempting to cultivate and maintain current strong relationships with bookers and agents who we've worked with in the past. Because we have over-developed our ability to connect instantly with strangers, it's baffling to our ego when we can't make it work with the people we actually CHOOSE to be in our lives. We feel like we've failed because girlfriends/wives represent some form of stability that we crave, when in reality those mates could be leading us into further instability, and stunting our growth as a person and performer.
Hell, time itself even moves differently for comedians. Our 52 weeks feel more like 52 days because each week we spend somewhere feels like one singular experience. So a relationship that should take a year to move past might take three. We don't have the luxury of "moving on" by being in one place for long stretches and making new connections with people that we can nurture with time, and the thoughts alone can be debilitating. No matter how amazing someone is who we meet in a new town, or how much we would love to stay another week to get to know someone further who could change our lives forever...we always gotta go. Next city up baby. We're lucky if we see that person again in a year, and even if we do? Their life will be completely different than what it was in the moment we met them. Plus like I said, a year for a comic is like three to you "Normals". We don't change much but YOU do. It's just like that damn movie Interstellar. You seen it?! Uneven Time Transition even made Matthew McConaughey lose his cool, which was before thought to be impossible!...(as you can see I haven't thought about this much)
POINT IS, an intelligent entertainer can get trapped in their mind because it's so insanely complex inside of there. Constantly seeking approval yet constantly knowing that approval is trivial at best in our lives. We knoooow better, but we often give in...just to feel normal again. I wouldn't want to spend A DAY in my mind if I didn't have to, because Dude is JACKED! What makes us excel at what we do onstage can be our biggest enemy if the gear moves slightly off-track. So to that comic out there who is struggling to lift himself out of the Silence of the Lambs, Buffalo Bill-style torture pit he has created in his psyche, I say to you...
Your present is probably more beautiful than you could ever imagine. Re-train yourself to embrace the now, and be consumed by the present. Not the past. Not the future. The Right NOW. You're Steph Curry in 2017 son!!! Free-Agent Life! ;)
Also, do NOT listen to Bon Iver, that shit could literally kill you. I'm not sure if he gets a royalty check from Pandora every time someone slits their wrist with his station on, or if he's simply doing this for the love of the craft, but DAMN DUDE have a B-Vitamin!!!
...So anyway, I'm single. :)