I’ve watched a lot of standup comedy over the years. Comedy Central was a main source of entertainment for me starting at a young age. Obviously this was before TV Parental Guidelines were put in place and immediately ignored by everyone.
Without Comedy Central, who’s to say if I would have developed my signature sparkling wit. ~Because if there is one word that best describes Comedy Central it would be “witty.” I certainly don’t think they should just change the name to Dick and Poop Joke Central.~
There are very few standup routines that I actually remember with any detail. I can have a decent recollection of Louis C.K.’s hilarious account of his daughter being bitten by a pony or Jim Gaffigan’s… uh… story about how Hot Pockets are hot. Obviously my ability to recall routines doesn’t directly correlate with the actual quality of the material.
The one piece of standup that sticks most vividly in my mind is a single punch line by comedienne Maria Bamford (now best known for her Target ads). I can’t even recall the exact setup of the joke. I believe that, as with all good stories, a cult may have been involved.
I did an online search to make sure I was somewhat close on what I remembered of this punch line. It has been about ten years since I saw this particular special, after all. According to the always accurate internet, the exact line is:
“She said I was afraid of success, which may in fact be true, because I have a feeling that fulfilling my potential would really cut into my sitting around time.”
Now why, oh, why would that one piece of comedy resonate with me so deeply? What possible reason would my increasingly forgetful brain have to retain this joke? My mind has gone through hundreds of information/data purges by now and somehow this line stays clear as day.
Perhaps it’s a coincidence that this line has stuck with me. I’ve never been bitten by a wild pony or had the inside of my mouth scalded by a molten hot Hot Pocket and I pretty much remember those bits. Or perhaps…
In an odd way this joke has kind of become my life motto. What? “Making a punch line your life’s motto isn’t a great idea,” you say? Well, bite me. I didn’t ask for your opinion.
I have actually used this joke to laugh away missed opportunities in my life. If I skipped an audition or didn’t get around to applying for a job it was because it would have “really cut into my sitting around time.” Ha, ha I’m a slacker, ha ha. It’s been how many weeks since I posted to this site? You get my point.
Fear of success and fear of failure are one in the same. No one is really afraid of succeeding, they’re afraid of the possibility that they’ll fail at being successful. Read that sentence slowly about five times and it will start to make sense.
People just say they’re afraid of success because it sounds better than being afraid of failure. No one has ever not tried something because they were afraid they’d be too awesome at it.
I’m much older now than I was when I first heard that punch line. I’d like to say wiser, but really I’ve just been through more crap. However, that crap has made me realize it’s time to drop this particular life motto.
One perk of having been through more crap is that you genuinely care less about what other people think. I am slowly easing into this new concept called “trying.” I think it originated in China. It’s a foreign idea to me, so we’ll see how it goes.
So what’s the point that this snarky self helper is trying to make? Most of the good things in life will cut into your sitting around time. Get off your ass and don’t worry about who’s watching.
Until I can find a good replacement life motto, I think my interim one will be “We call our act the Aristocrats.” What do you think?