I want to find five thousand people in our area who love comedy. When you get past the Seinfelds and the Kevin Harts and the Ellens, do you have any favorite comedians? Do you watch comedy like you listen to music? Do you know people’s albums? Track listings? Some people do, and that’s great. Some people don’t, and that’s also great.
When people ask me who my favorite comedians are, nine times out of ten, they have no idea who I’m talking about when I answer. And I’m kinda bummed about that. I want people to know just who Mike Birbiglia and Tig Notaro and Rory Scovel and Paul F. Tompkins are. Those four are actually pretty huge (and if you’re reading this tiny blog, you’re far more likely to know who they are), but most casual fans might know maybe one of them. If you don’t, that’s okay, but your life could be sooo much better if you gave them a chance. With just those few names, they have released dozens of hours of material in various forms that you might find absolutely hilarious and mesmerizing. You might also not enjoy any of it. That’s okay, too. But try it. And find something you do like. I keep going back to comedians’ stuff, just like you would listen over and over to a favorite music album. For me, for some reason, it doesn’t get old.
I’m not saying you have to be a student of comedy or a comedy nerd to be considered a “true fan”, whatever that is. I know writing what I’ve written could be off-putting, and that’s not the goal. I’m not saying you have to live an examined life to be fulfilled. You don’t have to know or examine why you like something (although I think that is a hugely rewarding part of the experience of being a fan of anything). What I am saying is that there is so much more to comedy than what you see on TV or on your phones. There are literally hundreds of comedians out there with thousands of hours of material, and that’s a bit overwhelming. But you can start somewhere. Make a list of people you’re interested in, and do some research for yourself. See who's opened for them. Check out festivals they've been on. Ask a friend for some recommendations. Go down a youtube rabbit hole. Come to one of our just comedy shows.
And that brings me back to this five thousand number. If we have five thousand people in Lane County who love comedy (and I know we do), who are open minded enough to go to a show of a comedian that they may or may not have ever heard of, who take the time to support and go to live comedy shows of all types from open mics to professional headliners – if we have five thousand people who do those things, then we will be able to put on amazing shows more and more often. We’ll be able to bring bigger and more well known names to our intimate and local venues. Bringing amazing comedians to a pizza joint in my hometown has been a dream come true. Maybe someday we’ll even get one of the comedians I mentioned above. We want to keep being able to do this for as long as we can. And for that, we need you.