Group Therapy

Comedians are solo artists by nature. Us and our microphones, taking the lumps and the victories and putting them in our front passenger seats when we leave the show.

I’m used to doing the whole thing, no matter the thing. Corporations have departments to handle different aspects of a product. I, on the other hand, conceptualize, sketch, build, edit, ship, and field all the customer service emails myself.

My kind of process allows for a specific kind of result. I can do anything I want to, but I am limited by what I can pull off with my skillset. This weekend we are making a film though, and it is a group effort. It has to be.

Sometimes what you can do by yourself isn’t enough. I wanted to do something bigger, and while I could have shot this with a few local, amateur filmmakers and done an acceptable job knuckling out an “okay” comedy special for an old comedy legend, I didn’t want to do that. If I was going to have to leave my house and work with *shudder* people, it might as well be the best.

I am an insufferable introvert. I am trying to expand my own comfort zones through this project, because bigger things come from collaboration than I can ever pull off alone. And there’s a lot of mutual trust between these filmmakers and myself – me in them to play their roles and them in me to lace it all together into something worth having worked on.

It’s a foreign concept to a stand-up comedian, when most of our group efforts consist of poorly attended shows or podcasts that never quite get off the ground. I’m pretty good at half-assing things so I can tell myself they didn’t work and weren’t worth it.

If you’re in the art of working solo, consider an experiment in something bigger, and by bigger I don’t mean just enough to clear the bar. Find something way over your head that will force you to flick off the autopilot for a spell and really do some work.

You can always go back to the solo grind when it’s over.