An Apology

When I would watch a shitty movie or Saturday Night Live, I'd think, "Wow, these guys are really mailing it in." After living in Chicago for a couple years, surrounded by some of the funniest people in the country, I owe them all an apology. Comedy, like art, is embarrassingly fragile. An honestly confused face slays me while the contrived acrobatic wordplay of Modern Family makes me groan. Our comedic clitoris is fickle and unforgiving. The same move never works twice.

Having personally crafted or watched friends painstakingly craft plays, sketches, improvised forms, and stand-up routines, I've learned one immutable truth: comedy is hard. Some part of me always believed that comedy was within the grasp of the American dream. All you had to do was want it. Not. True. In fact, trying to make someone laugh is a surefire way to ensure they don't. 

So, I apologize, SNL. I've talked shit on you for a decade having never really given much thought to the astounding feat of performing a live variety show every week for longer than I've been alive. I apologize to George Lucas. The Star Wars trilogy have been some of my favorite films for the better part of twenty years. Who among us has made three magnificent films? Movies are magical. For most of the people on a set, it's the break of a lifetime. They treat Kevin James flicks like The Godfather. Their family invites the neighborhood over to see their baby for their two second walk-on role. In fact, an apology to all sketch shows I've written off, every stand-up special I sighed through, and to every improv show I've texted through.

If you ever want to appreciate music, pick up a guitar. If you've ever cared about the classics, pick up a pen. If you've been that guy shouting at your TV about a coach's "bad call," put on a headset. The cliche, "Those who can't do, teach" is wrong. Those who can't do, become critics. As far as I'm concerned, doing makes you exempt from criticism. The worst performer is infinitely more interesting to me than the most astute critic.

Even when I never make it as a performer, athlete, or writer, I hope that I can still charitably look down at those who do. They may not always be funny, or make the right call, or pen something beautiful, but they make things. And that's enough.

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