Thank You (originally posted April 25th, 2012)

Too Much June 2008 by Linda KachuriI just want to say thank you, to everyone who’s come to a show I’ve put on or been in.  To comics who’ve done my shows or have made me laugh, thank you.  To audience members, who’ve shared their laughter, thank you.

I’ve been at this a long time, with some success, and some kicks in the teeth.  I keep going back because of the people, the people who laugh, the people that honestly say “thank you” and “I really love your stuff” – the people that get it.  I’ve recently gotten some national recognition from my peers (I can’t say how yet).  A short film I was happily part of last year was selected and is playing in Cannes, at the festival, not just in someone’s basement in that town.  I recently took a new contract working at the Festival Just For Laughs, which was my school of higher learning in comedy.

Learning comedy never stops.  Each performance, each crowd, each production teaches something new.  Living in a city that had no comedy clubs taught me I’d go crazy without the chance to express myself.  Trying to start a show there taught me how low some people value my beloved art.  Reestablishing myself, again and again, move after move, taught me not to rest on my laurels or achievements.  Keep striving, keep growing, keep writing and keep honing.  Be thankful for your loved ones who let you occasionally get manic.

I’ve seen some amazing firsts, comedians who streaked sky high – who’s ability was visible their first time on stage.  I’ve seen slow machines catalogue and compute and get better with each set.  I’ve seen people who’ve come to the stage with nothing but heart – and I loved them, even when crowds didn’t.  I’ve seen cults of personality, wonders of originality as well as thieves, borrowers and bombs – and I try to figure out what makes them do as they do.  I’ve met some of my heroes, and most of them didn’t disappoint – because they knew – you do it for the crowd.  It’s not really for you, it has to entertain to truly be valid, but secretly that gives you what you need.

Most of all I’m grateful for those that extended a hand, to help me grow as a comic and a person.

That’s why I love nights like tonight.  A Kick Ash Comedy night.  Each Tuesday (and some Saturdays) for the past 3 and a half+ years, I’ve had the pleasure to present a mixed bag of amateurs, first timers, semi and full time pros.  I didn’t know I was developing a philosophy towards the show, but tonight it hit me.  This is our chance as a community to extend a hand.  It’s a terrible dive bar, the sound is a step above fisher price, the light I built is actually mounted in an empty tomato juice can and sits on the bar – but people come, they listen and they laugh.  We’re in it together.  There’s no budget, no real chance for advertising, yet they come and the show doesn’t disappoint.  Sometimes, it even has shades of greatness.

Too Much 2008 June photo by Linda Kachuri 2A young man asked me, why don’t you charge cover?  Originally I was against having a show without a cover – the audience would perceive the show as having no value, but now, word of mouth has spread, people know of the wonder that happens there each Tuesday, and how invaluable it is.  How can I get you more money?  This show isn’t about money – it’s an education.  It’s a place to try new things, hone new bits, stretch.  Why do you have so few acts on?  More acts would mean less time per act, which wouldn’t give those acts struggling to make the next step a chance to stretch, give them the time to grow into their set or hang themselves with their weaknesses.  Identifying their weaknesses will help them defeat them.  This is a show to witness the artifice, before it’s swept under a showman’s cloak.  This is a show to rub shoulders with the future comic greats.  This is a show where people come to actually see the performers, chance to meet them and say “thank you, I really love your stuff”.

Thank you, you’ve all been too kind.  Mwah.  I love you all.

Paul Ash
Wednesday
April 25, 2012

 

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About Ash

Paul Ash is that special kind of person who sees the best in everyone, except himself. His self loathing comedy is peppered with rural charm and big city cynicism. This “muppet king of comedy” has been described as the “encyclopaedia of funny” and has an over ten year relationship with the Festival Just For Laughs, the world’s largest stand-up comedy fest.