2011 has been quite a year for the Loony Lawyer. First, he came into being! It is hard to believe that a mere 9mo ago I was still referring to myself in the first person, and had not stood on a comedy club stage a single time in my entire life.
Winter last year was an amazing experience here in Oklahoma. We had snow so deep you could have actually skied Turkey Mountain (and for those of you who actually know mountains, but don’t know Tulsa, that is very much a term of art.) Apparently all that time indoors had an effect on my psyche because following the final storm I hit the comedy club thinking I might try my hand at becoming a comedian.
Following my late spring attempt at comedy I realized that those people on TV make this appear much easier than it actually is. Study would be necessary. I started reading everything I could find on the subject, even took a couple of classes (which turned out to have more benefits than the class itself.)
By summer I was addicted. The stage has always had a hold on me, but now that stage was just a simple mic anywhere that I could tell a joke or two. I started out every couple of weeks at the club, next thing I know I’m picking up open mics at coffee shops, casinos, even just random bars. And by this time I had picked up several comedic cohorts. Not the least of which was my instructor Roy Johnson, a very funny, partially retired (because he got sick of the business part of the business,) professional comic. And then there were the Comigos. Shelia Naifeh, Jeff Thomas and myself. Both Shelia and I are attorneys by day, and Jeff for some reason just hit it off with us. So we became The Three Comigos, largely because we often were found together at anywhere we could grab a mic.
By the end of summer some real comedy began to come my way. At least as real a it gets when you are an amateur in Tulsa rather than LA or NY. I began getting asked to perform at fundraising events, WoodyStock, OSU’s Tulsa Area United Way campaign, SPCA, Laura Dester Homeless Shelter, a Toys for Tots drive, among many others.
By fall and into the Christmas season I was doing shows fairly regularly. Still not paid gigs, but requested performances before larger and larger audiences. And I have had the opportunity twice now to perform at a professional luncheon for my day job (which I am counting as a paying gig.) Moreover, Roy Johnson got me an opening spot with him at a private party appearance he was doing (didn’t actually pay, but my expenses were covered making it my first road gig.)
Finally, to round out the year, I had my first gig that actually paid me just for performing comedy. Granted, it was because I was willing to wear the Santa suit to do the comedy, but hey, paid is paid.
All in all a great year. I have performed at 2 comedy clubs, a casino, a coffee house, a gay bar, a hotel, and 2 law offices. I have opened for a rock band, closed for a country band, raised money for some good causes, had a paid gig, had a road gig, and have created a world of new friends.
That having been my comedy year in review, I do still have a personal life where I am happily practicing law for homeless people. My wife wonders what I look like occasionally, because she is more of a homebody and I am doing something comedy related often 3+ nights a week. I have a new grandchild, which since he lives with us I actually get to see quite often.
Looking to 2012, I guess I have a lot to get accomplished since the year, as well as civilization ends early. My comedy goals are moderate if not petite as I have a wife and family to consider in all my decisions. Thus I cannot just pick up and attempt hitting the road as a standup comic, living on whatever I can scratch out. Law will still be my profession, unless of course something BIG happens, throughout 2012. I do however have a goal of increased paid dates. My goal for 2012 is to have 12 paid gigs. Yes, a small goal considering that is only an average of one a month. However, I also have a goal of performing “on the road” somewhere twice in 2012. Beyond performing “on the road,” my goal is that those trips pay for themselves, not make money, but not cost money either. Given an opportunity I would love to do a week in Virginia and a week in S. Cali. I have family and friends in both locations and would love to visit them while working. Also, I have started writing a comedic look at legal ethics, which I think could be turned into a CLE on ethics, which I would like to do at least once in 2012.
Thank you all for sharing some time with me in 2011, and here is to a wonderful and prosperous 2012.