Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

A fine whine on Facebook

September 6, 2013

I had a comedian friend put out a status update on Facebook that read, “I am not getting anywhere with this. I may just give up.” My friend was referring to his desperation with comedy and his ability to get paid gigs. I read it and I had to write something about it; both to him, and now to you guys.

First, I want to acknowledge that you will never see me send out a post like that. Not because I think I’m hilarious, but because I refuse to give up. And second, because it came off as whiny.

While I think it’s brave to be emotionally truthful to your friends, I didn’t approve. I am from a household where men never admitted they had feelings. If I broke my leg, my dad would tell me, “Walk it off.”

“But dad, it’s bleeding and the bone is sticking out.”

“Go around the block a few times, you’ll feel better.”

We didn’t whine or cry, or else you would hear this brutal aphorism: “I’ll give you something to cry about.”

That was an automatic lip-zipper.

Nowadays (and I say “nowadays” like I’m the Old Lighthouse Operator in a Scooby Doo cartoon), it seems OK to tell everyone your innermost thoughts and feelings. I’m not completely OK with that.

Part of me wants to be OK with it. Part of me is all rah-rah, and “you feel what you feel and you should shout it from the highest rooftop.” I am aware this is hypocritical, but I only want to hear about your successes and not your failures. I like happy stories. Sue me.

“There were four people in the audience” is definitely a First World Problem. I mean, if you’re going to send out a status update from Syria, I may let you whine a bit. I’m not going to berate you if you text, “A bullet just went through my earlobe.”

I don’t believe in quitting. I spend a lot of time trying to make people laugh, and I am now, finally, less concerned with the rewards and more concerned with the results.

Did I make people laugh today? I sure hope so. If I didn’t, I will try again tomorrow.

Someone once asked me, “How long you going to keep trying this comedy thing?” My reply, “I’ll stop when I’m dead.”

I decided that I would give my friend some expert advice. “Kiss today goodbye … the sweetness and the sorrow … But I can’t regret … What I did for love.”

I went all “Chorus Line”-y on him. But it’s what I believe. Whatever you do, you should do it because you love to do it.

Was it Yogi Bear who once said, “Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.”? I believe he said it as he was trying to steal someone’s pick-a-nick basket (I know it wasn’t really Yogi Bear; hold the hate mail).

Don’t worry, if I didn’t make you laugh this week, I’ll be back next Saturday and try again.



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