Back to my Roots
Just finished my first weekend in Adelaide, back on the standup stage. I've done precious little in the way of live comedy performance since I started working heavily in radio and television, and I miss it! Especially working a heaving festival like the Adelaide Fringe. I see all my friends and colleagues hawking their shows, inviting press and agents, courting the media, trying to get a job that will get them off the streets and away from the smoky, cramped clubs. Here, on the other side of that glittering fence, I crave those carefree days of waking up at the crack of noon, sauntering down the street and bumping into other comics, and discussing how healthy our houses are (not that they are ever healthy - we always bump up the figures and make it sound like we're on the verge of selling out, when we're still miles off making budget).
My fondness for the stage and the hectic lifestyle of a standup comedian, reminds me of the way we think of high school. When you're at school, you hate it. You want to get out, too desperate to become an adult and get on with your life. Everyone you meet tells you that you will look back at those high school days like they were the best of your lives, and you think they're insane. The crippling hormonal depression, the fear of never fitting in, the sexual confusion, the endless hours of seemingly pointless homework, how could any of that be the best days of your life? They are, however. You didn't have to care, mistakes weren't costly, you didn't pay rent, you didn't have a mortgage, you didn't have to be responsible, for anything. In comparison to the constant pressure of adult life, yes, those tortuous days of school were the best of your life.
That's how I feel about standup. For years, I lived hand to mouth, throwing everything at my standup shows, hoping that someday I would get some kind of cushy job in tv or radio, and it would all have been worth it. That cushy job isn't so cushy. I sleep about four hours a night, if I'm lucky. I work between 8 and 16 hours a day (one day last week, i did 20!) Nothing I do ever seems good enough, because I never seem to have the time. I long for the luxury of getting out of bed when I feel like it, wandering down to some pub or some cupboard in a town hall somewhere, and saying whatever I want for an hour, without the fear of a Program Director or Producer or Client having an issue with the malarkey that comes out of my mouth.
This isn't to say I don't enjoy my life now. I love my jobs. All of them. The level of fun is as extreme as the level of pressure. Every day I go to a job that is like spending three hours in the pub with good mates talking shit - how can that be a bad thing? It's just a lot of work. All the work you do to achieve success? You have to work that hard, every day, to maintain it. And even harder if you want more. Like that Twilight Zone episode with the genie, you have to be careful what you wish for, because you might get it.
If you want to see me revisiting those glorious days of reckless irresponsibility, come see one of my standup shows. You might hate it, but I'm having a ball! Fabulous Adam Richard has 4 more shows to go in Adelaide at the Belgian Beer Cafe, and Adam Richard X premieres at the Melbourne Town Hall during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival on the 5th April.