"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Twenty-Twelve

Part T of the 2015 A-Z Blogging Challenge


2012 may not have been the end of the world like some people expected, but for me it was a time when a LOT of stuff changed. That year has been easily the most interesting, testing, growth-filled part of my life so far.

When it started, I had a crazy crush on a girl who already had a boyfriend. I was also coming up on the first anniversary of my foray into stand-up comedy. At the time, I was determined to make stand-up my career. January marks the heats of RAW Comedy, an open-mic stand-up competition where most of the comedians that become successful in Australia get their start. I had entered and was placing a lot of weight on the outcome. I was also very frustrated about this girl situation. I don't really know how to explain the reasons for my actions here, it's probably just best to watch the video...


Looking back, the only thing I regret about it is that sexist joke I made towards the beginning. I put the act up on YouTube where it got well past 900 views before my account got deleted.

In February, my good friend Rusty convinced me start my first blog. I had no idea it would be such a rewarding experience and that I would make such solid friendships with people I would never meet. I described the high points of the old blog in my O post here.

In March, I took part in my first ever Adelaide Fringe Festival. It was two five-minute spots at a pub in the west end of the city. Yet the way I swaggered around, proudly displaying my artist pass on my chest, it's like I thought I was Wil-bloody-Anderson. The two spots were very, very mixed. The first one was one of the worst gigs I've ever done. There were a couple of friends who saw me for the first time that night and I couldn't even look them in the eye afterwards. The second gig went a lot better. I tried out a musical comedy song that's ended up serving me very well over the last few years. Still, looking back on it I was very awkward and I'm glad I've improved since then.

Since I was just working part-time at KFC at the time, I had a fair bit of time to spare. And since my Fringe Festival artist pass could get me into most shows for free, I ended up taking FULL advantage of it. For four weeks I spent as much time as I could seeing every show I could get to and as I saw each show, I circled it off in my festival guide and put a number next to it. By the end of the four weeks, I'd seen 52 shows - a record that as far as I know has only been broken by my friend Josh, who doesn't have a job, but managed to get hold of an artist's pass by agreeing to help out at one of the venues when they needed him. I was wrecked by the end of the festival, but I was sure glad I put in the effort.

Oh also... I guess I kind of found Jesus? It was during the Fringe festival, I was at work getting to know a gentleman there named Chris. He told me he was Christian and I told him I'd been raised Catholic, but no longer went to church (I won't get into the reasons here). He invited me to come to his church and in a moment of spontaneity, I said "yeah absolutely". That weekend I didn't come because I had shows to see. The next weekend, I attended and was struck by three things.
1 - These guys had a much better idea of what it was to believe in God than what I'd grown up around. They did things because they believed in it, not because they were told they should.
2 - There were FAR more people my age than in the Catholic churches I went to. Again, they were there to worship God, not just because they were told to attend by their parents.
3 - The sermon went for THREE HOURS.
Luckily, there was a half-hour break somewhere in the middle. Otherwise I may have gone into rigor mortis from all the sitting still. I left in that break to go and see more shows, although I could tell that the young people I was talking to were shocked at the idea of leaving half-way through a sermon. The week after, I stayed the whole time and hung out with the youths at one of their houses afterwards. And from then on, I was in all the way. I went to church every Sunday morning, hung out with the group every Sunday night and after a while attended a devotional with the boys during the week. It continued that way until January the next year when I took a new job where I had to work on Sundays. I stopped coming into church and eventually got too busy for the devotionals. I unfortunately lost contact with them after that.


One more thing happened in March that played a huge role in me development - the breakdown of my parents' marriage. For maybe a month, I sat there as they passionately described all the reasons why their partner was an awful person and one they shouldn't have to deal with any more. It led to a very public cry for help in April that I describe in more detail in this post here.

On a happier note, in July Rusty recorded a podcast for Jax (described here), and we decided that we wanted to make it a regular thing. We recorded another three episodes, realised we weren't that interesting on our own and invited two more comedians to join us. We created 10 episodes of a show that I was really very proud of. It was hilarious and had its own identity which is pretty hard for a comedy talk show podcast to do. It also came at the right moment. If you ever listened to the Walking the Room podcast, I heard someone explain the the reason that show became so popular so quickly is because the two hosts had hit rock bottom with their careers and their lives and were in a broken vulnerable state. People related to it and joined in as they tried to climb out of the depths. We had a similar version of that. We were all very new to stand-up (I had the most experience at a year and a half) and all wanted to make it a career. I was still dealing with the effects of some of the things that happened in March, as well as a new development of having gotten a job as a door-to door salesman. It was the only period I'd ever had after leaving high school where I dreaded getting out of bed in the morning and hated the person I thought I was. Rusty also hated his job, but unlike me, he was quite good at it. Nevertheless, he was desperate for any creative outlet he could find (he's an engineer, not much room for creativity when there's millions of dollars at stake). The third person, Bridie, was unemployed, going through university and dealing with Cystic Fibrosis and the fourth person was that friend Josh. He wasn't in as weird a place as the rest of us, but he's always a very interesting person to talk to so it didn't matter.

That was the actual name of the podcast :P

Despite my love for the thing we were building, the others weren't so confident in it. After 10 episodes were recorded, one of them gave up on it and requested that the episodes we'd uploaded be taken down. The rest of us didn't have the heart to try again.

The next few things kind of link in together. Like I've mentioned, I'd gotten a job in door-to-door sales around August. I was selling electricity and was surprised to find I was only one of about two people in the months I worked there who remained past their first day. I've got a strange phobia of giving up on things, so every day for I think two months, I got up, got yelled at by people, got doors slammed in my face and made no money. To get to each suburb, I had to pile into a run-down van with the rest of the team which was full of empty cans and pieces of paper. They blasted Skrillex at full volume and smoked cigarettes, which made me choke. The whole time, my bank account slowly dwindled down, but my cocky bastard levels went up.

In late September, I started a course at the Australian Radio School, hoping to develop another avenue into showbiz. I'm still working in radio now, but only on a volunteer basis - I'm yet to get anything paid.

Also in September, the core friendship group I was slowly developing (see The Buttercup Gang) ballooned out to seven people with the addition of Juan, Jerida and Jasmine. I figured out pretty quickly that Sarah had brought Jerida in on the group with secret plans to set her up with me. Even though that girl from January had long left my mind and I currently had no one in mind to replace her, I was still very much against the idea of being set up. I didn't say anything about it, just welcomed her into the group like everyone else. Although I should have realised at the time how quickly we became friends on Facebook...

In October, a new door-to-door sales company called me up and asked if I'd like to come in for an interview. The fact that I was already doing sales for someone else was a complete coincidence - they were just looking for resumes online and mine was one of the ones they found. I was taken by the place immediately. The office was clean and white, there were secretaries there and the staff were clean-cut and professional. I never thought I'd be impressed by people who wear suits (and haven't since), but after working with the degenerates I currently did, they seemed like a Godsend. One other thing that I liked was that they didn't sell electricity, they sold charity - one of those things where you sign up to donate a certain amount each month. Anyway, they like me and offered me the job, so I quit the old place and began anew.

Two weeks into that new job, we all went on a work trip to Perth. The trip was meant to be two weeks, but I didn't want to miss out on my radio course and Jerida had asked us to watch her in the semi-final of a music competition, so I opted to stay in Adelaide for the first week and join the rest of my colleagues in the second week. They sent me out to work on my own during that first week, and I ended up just finding a place down, phone Jerida and chat with her for emotional support. I rejoined my colleagues in Perth in that second week, and I thought I'd make use of my time there by organising a couple of stand-up gigs. I'd just come off both the best and the worst sets I'd ever done, and I was unsure of my abilities. I knew I was completely out of favour with the head promoter in Adelaide and I needed to figure out how to be more consistent. Anyway, the two gigs I did in Perth sucked like you wouldn't believe. The first set didn't get a single laugh the whole time and in the second, the only laughs I got were once when I mentioned how poorly I was doing and once when the host got back on stage after and said "Who the fuck still wears a Meatloaf shirt?"


Well of course, Jerida had become my go-to person for emotional support by that stage, so we ended up chatting from different time zones to keep my mind off of how sad I was. It was after one such conversation that lasted six hours and kept her up until two in the morning Adelaide time, that I finally realised how I really felt about her. I asked her out the next day and she became my first girlfriend.

I was fired from the door-to-door job the day after we arrived back in Adelaide. Apparently I was the only person who spent more money going to Perth than we he actually made during the trip. Suddenly I was unemployed and struggling for a solid income, as I had been since the middle of the year. So what did I do? I went on holiday to the Gold Coast! Gang member Kelsey had originally come to me with the idea a few months ago and in December it became a reality. Everyone who was in the group at the time came except for Jasmine. It was close to the most memorable week of my life and it was the point where our group of friends really became a "gang". It was also in the Gold Coast that I first saw our podcast on iTunes, which made me really happy.


Getting and losing my job, failing at stand-up and getting a girlfriend all signaled another turning point for me. I no longer had the time to work on my blog. I had lost all confidence in stand-up and stopped turning up to shows. The poker nights at the pub that I'd been doing twice a week stopped too so I could spend the time with my girlfriend. In January, I was contacted by a promotions company and offered a job, which stopped me from going to church as well. But it was the definitive moment where that turbulent period ended. I still work for that company and a few others too - ones that I'm passionate about and make me happy. I'm much better off for it now.

24 comments:

  1. That does sound like a big year to digest in good and bad ways. The thing that struck me is how divorce affects our children at any age. :( I'm sorry you had to go through it. I was also moved by your mention of finding Jesus. That's def. a good thing. :)

    Great job on your 'T.'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what I like best in life, the fact that there's so many ups and downs.

      Delete
  2. What an amazing growth year, but so incredibly turbulent... I definitely felt for your younger self!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It makes me grin and cringe every time I think of it :P

      Delete
  3. Yeah, the world ending nuts shut up after 2012. Sure a growth year indeed at your feed. Even trough the crap positives things can come out on the other side

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely, I'm very glad it all happened.

      Delete
  4. Holy moly, that really was a watershed year for you! Growth can be fun and painful all at the same time.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sone years are like a roller coastet! But new things and growth - always good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah that particular yer just stands out for me. As did 2014, but for not as many reasons.

      Delete
  6. That was some funny stuff. I didn't see the joke as sexist. I thought it was hilarious and interactive. I love stand up. Best time I had at a comedy club, the comedian tortured my sister for being a tramp. I think anyone who comes to a comedy club knows to take all banter with a grain of salt. I think writers have the same fears. Some days you're brilliant some days you can't spell was...what a dumb word. Anyhow, stick with it. No one is great without practice. With every failure, you learn. You certainly have the talent and as my grandma always told me- if you reach for stars, you never come up with a hand full of mud. Keep at it! You've got it, you just need to believe in it.

    Lastly, I understand what you're saying about the church thing. I always tell people I'm a pretty decent Christian, but I suck as a Methodist (my religion). I used to feel bad, but religion should be a relationship, not a ritual.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally agree. When it becomes a ritual, later generations lose track of why the ritual is happening.

      I'm glad you didn't think it was sexist, but the judges did. If they hadn't put a line through my name the moment I took my clothes off, then they did it when I made that joke :P

      Delete
  7. Your 2012 sounds as much fun as mine. I really liked the video - really funny! Really.
    Girls and attitudes - and I'm a girl - go figure.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dude, I'm still hung up on the three hour church services. Really? Wow, I'm a born-again Christian, and out services are half that length. And forty minutes of that is jamming music. But hey, however you find God is cool!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A fair bit of it was music for us too. But not all of it :P

      Delete
  9. First off, who said you made friends that you will never meet. I've met Pat Hatt and we had quite an adventurous week that I'll never forget!! If you ever come to NY, I'd totally get together. Lol. Are you still in touch with Rusty? He should do a guest post for you!! 2012 seemed like a fun filled year. Hopefully the rest since have been just as great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a VERY good point. I have been to New York, but I was only 8 so I didn't get to appreciate it, Keen to go back to America again because I've got sports to see and bloggers to meet ;)

      It's funny, I still see Rusty as one of my best buds even though he's spending most of his time working up in Brisbane and we don't get to talk much :P

      Delete
  10. 2012 was definitely a big year for you. I don't remember much about that year myself, so it must have been a boring one for me lol.

    You make it back to the US, stop by and see me. We'll go to a Cubs baseball game together and have some of the best deep dish pizza Chicago has to offer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds delightful, do you think people will mind if I wear my Red Sox merch? ;)

      Delete
    2. Well, if you wear it in NY you'll probably get your ass beat. But aside from a few weird looks, I think you'd be fine with it at Wrigley. Cubs fans are some of the coolest people I know.

      Delete
    3. Haha I wasn't expecting that answer. I'd probably buy some Cubs gear to show my support :)

      Delete
  11. That was indeed a year of ups and downs. Change and challenges bring out the best in us, I think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes they bring out the best in us. Sometimes the worst :P

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Share This Page

Any part of this blog may be reproduced or distributed, providing credit is given to the original author.