I started to get really itchy. Inside my head.
I didn’t know how to scratch it. So I avoided it. Until I broke out into hives and finally forced myself on stage.
I think it started when I interviewed Gary Gulman, one of the greatest comedians ever. It was over two years ago. And even though he was deeply depressed, I was jealous.
Because he was living my dreams. He was scratching my itch.
So I started to interview more comedians. And writers of comedy. I had so many questions. I interviewed Jim Norton, Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson!) Fred Stoller, Chris Smith (who worked with Jon Stewart), Paul Shaffer (the famous band leader on Jay Leno), Bonnie McFarlane. The list keeps growing.
And there are so many branches of comedy:
Stand up, voice overs, writers, monologue performers, sidekicks. And each branch has its own microskills.
That’s true for every skill. They all require you to learn hundreds of micro-skills.
So getting started can be scary. Very scary. Some people die with itches unscratched.
When I want to get better at something, I go underneath the skill. I imagine a small version of myself looking up at my dreams. If I can see how far away I am from greatness, I feel the desire to get there. That’s what this podcast is about. Picking apart greatness.
Jackie Martling came to the studio. He was the lead writer at “The Howard Stern Show” for 18 years and now he’s the author of “The Joke Man Bow to Stern.”
I don’t know anyone who’s looked at their crappy job and said “I’m going to do this for 18 years.”
So I wanted to hear him talk about what it’s like to love what you’re doing with your life. To feel good and dedicated.
That’s where I hope to find us help. (I say “us” because I’m still itchy). I still want to be a standup comedian. Not just “do” standup. Doing and loving leads to being.
I’m still at “doing.” Because love comes from having a deep relationship with the skill.
Jackie loves what he does.
So I’ll keep scratching.