Comedy: If You’re Not Good At It, You’re Only Kidding Yourself

The Laugh Factory announced it will be offering free therapy for comedians.  I’m glad because I’ve been depressed for years and it’s hard to know which of these 15 issues to emphasize during my first session.

  1. First off, living in LA sucks.  The weather is so boring.  72 and sunny year-round. People here complain about the lack of variety.  And they’re so right.  I hate perfect weather.  It’s like going to the parties here where the ladies are all 9s and 10s.  How unoriginal.  Could we please get some 2s and 3s crackin’ up in this piece?  Who can keep looking at these spectacular racks?  Gimme some bucktooth & bowlegged b*tches.  So, yeah.  I miss the seasons so much.  The autumn, during which time I fell sick every year back East.  The winter, with those lovely 2′ snow drifts.  The spring, when it’s 30 degrees in the morning and 70 in the afternoon so I looked oh-so-cool rocking my down coat while walking to Starbucks on a break from work.  And of course the summer, when the humidity is around a thousand percent, so even when it’s 64 degrees out at night, I’m melting.
  2. The beaches here suck.  I’d much rather live on a river like back in my hometown.  I mean, the ocean can’t even flood homes here in Santa Monica and Venice because we get no hurricanes on the West Coast.  Peering out over the waves and seeing that stupid sunset disappear like we’re in a movie every evening is beyond dull.
  3. I have to travel the country and go see these really annoying things like Mt. Rushmore and Miami Beach for free.  And boy, how terrible is it to have to go to all these after parties on college campuses and live like I’m in Old School?  After bonging that 5th beer on a Thursday night, you really start to wonder what you’re doing.  I mean, don’t these people realize I had to work for a whole hour today?
  4. The other day, I had to get out of bed before noon.  It was awful.  I mean, someone called me at 11:30 am.  What the hell?  Where’s the etiquette?  I miss those days of having to hit the snooze button 16 times at 6:00, 6:10, 6:20 am, etc., until I finally got out of bed and to my desk at 8 am.  Well, 9:30 am.  But whatever.
  5. For a while, I’m solely responsible for people’s happiness on a given night.  That feeling of 300 people all cracking up at once and the warmth of the laughter and approval of strangers… it’s just a bit much.  Shut up and let me speak my piece, people.  You’re cutting into my time.  I mean, I just had to spend all this time trying to figure out which 7 minutes of gold I wanted to use for this showcase.  That’s rough.
  6. I remember this one time back in Cincinnati, after I bombed opening for Dave Chappelle, he asked me to come give it another try at my home club of Go Bananas.  And then when I opened his very first show when he got back from Africa, that he talked my ear off for two hours in the green room.  How rude.  He even had the gall to ask me for my opinion on things and hear me out.  How presumptuous.  Oh, and Kevin Nealon asked me to pick him up once from his home in Manhattan Beach and drive him out to Brea.  I told him it wasn’t really on my way since I was coming from Studio City.  He had the nerve to totally treat me like a human being and continue to have me open for him and put me on his shows.  Can you believe that?  Oh, and he crowds up my parents’ mailbox by sending them Christmas cards ever since they had him over for dinner.  A celebrity showing me as much (or more) respect than a “civilian”?  And Russell Peters making me feel bad by picking up a check every single time we go out?  Or how about the time Chris Rock stopped and talked to every single person who had a backstage pass to his show at Ohio State and offering me encouraging words of wisdom?  Like I have time to sit there and listen to my idols.  Or wait an entire ten minutes before my agents and managers call me back after the 3rd audition they got for me this week.  I mean, this Industry is full of inconsiderate people like that.
  7. This one really burns me up.  After I left P&G, they had the audacity to continue to hire me for gigs and send me to Europe to perform.  And hire my consulting business.  How the hell am I supposed to help them figure out how to sell more Gillette blades?  Has anyone heard of “Gillette”?  Who buys that crap?
  8. Last week, after this audition at Disney, we had to wait like 3 minutes for a table so we could sit outside in the 72-degree weather in February.  And the sun was actually making us a little warm.  Not hot or anything but it’s enough to get you to take off your jacket.  And then I had to hang it over the back of my chair.  AND – get this.  When we were leaving, I had to put it back on.  Ridiculous.
  9. Oh, man.  There was a day this week when I had to write a blog piece, come up with a whole one-liner, and record a YouTube video – IN ONE DAY.  Craziness.  And I had to answer all of these Facebook Wall Posts.  Sometimes with this job, it’s hard to know when you’re working and when you’re dicking around.
  10. It’s really difficult finding your way around the LA comedy scene.  It’s so clandestine and underground.  I mean, who’s heard of Google and Facebook, where everything is a public event?  I mean, how do you know who the booker of the show is? It took me a whole month to figure out it’s the guy who does 45 minutes and gets no laughs.  There are just no clues.
  11. Comics in LA are so not supportive of each other.  What is this “great job; great set” after every show?  Also, I do this weekly podcast and have asked five guys to do it.  They’ve all said “yes.”  Jo Koy had me come in and audition for his pilot.  Maz Jobrani wrote me a four-paragraph email welcoming me to LA and giving me his phone number in case I had any questions.  I mean, guys, just help me out some more.
  12. Being a comedian is such a risk.  I just wish I had the job security of Corporate America, where there are no layoffs or restructurings.  Everything is totally above board.  Everyone who works hard gets the promotion and raise.  It’s a complete meritocracy.  It’s not like entertainment, where everyone who’s ahead of me totally doesn’t deserve it.  What makes this guy, Chris D’Elia, so special?  He’s been doing it for like 6 years and already has a Comedy Central half-hour.  His Dad is a big-time TV producer but instead of just using Daddy’s connections, he actually went out and dropped 460 sets last year at small rooms out in the Valley to hone his craft.  It’s so lame – he just kills every time he gets up.  Or Aziz Ansari.  I mean, all the guy did was write a bunch of original sketches back when no one was doing that and work his ass off at UCB and develop a funny standup act and drop a new web video every few months.  And now he’s all on TV and whatnot?  This industry rewards completely inconsequential attributes like hard work and talent.  It’s just grossly unfair.
  13. I suppose it’s difficult to reconcile that I’m part of an industry whose job it is to sap people’s productivity.  Movies, books, TV shows, web videos… these are all distractions in the office, where people are doing actual work.
  14. The worst part about performing is right after a show.  I’m sure this happens to you all the time.  These two models – a blonde and a brunette (girls who wouldn’t give me the time of day in high school (oh, wait, yes they did)) – came up to me after the show and told me how funny I was.  And wouldn’t you know it, I couldn’t decide which one’s number I should ask for.  GOSH, that’s so annoying.  I know, I know – I should’ve asked them to join me for a threesome.  That’s what I’d do every time that happened to me after a Power Point at P&G.  I should learn to think faster on my feet.  Live and learn.
  15. And how about that Eva?  She had the nerve to come up to me on New Material Night and tell me I was “so funny” and ask me for a picture.  What makes her think I have time to sit there and pose for photos?

Rajiv Satyal and Eva Longoria (Laugh Factory, 2010)

And on top of everything else, I now have to pick which of the above issues I want to solve with no-cost therapy.  Who does the owner of the Laugh Factory think he is, giving away free Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and now free counseling?  Life is tough indeed.

Rajiv Satyal is a comedian.  He begrudgingly resides in Los Angeles.  And often reminds people that the sign at the Factory reads “LAUGH” and not “LA-UGH.”

12 thoughts on “Comedy: If You’re Not Good At It, You’re Only Kidding Yourself

  1. I have to do a power point presentation on large scale visualization systems tomorrow. Instead of working on that, I’m reading this. Damn, I am jealous. But it’s okay, because my 3 year old half-desi son is going to knock on Rajiv’s door (or more likely tweet him) and say “Satyal sir, my dad says you have an obligation to help me since you broke down the doors of comedy while he was slaving away in front of computer, not sure where life was taking him at the time.” (Rajiv, you should expect this contact with my son in about 10 to 15 years, just giving you the heads up.)

  2. Rajiv,

    Help a brotha out.

    I gotta get laid and Indian women don’t put out (at least at my school – also ironic that there are 1 Billion Indian people and there aren’t more slutty Indian chicks). I demand that you start dating Taylor Swift. I urge you that either you or you Indian American cohorts start dating hot American girls. If you did it give me so much street cred with other women at my school.

    Best, B

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