Thursday, December 22, 2005

I've Gotta Be Me...or Maybe Not

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I used to see entertainer Anthony Newley guest-starring on variety shows while I was growing up. Nine times out of ten, he'd end up singing, "I've Gotta Be Me."

Sure, it's great to be ourselves, but sometimes (and not just in blogland) we like to be someone else...or at least imagine ourselves to be someone else, doing something else.

So, why don't you try this at home:

If I wasn't _______________, I'd like to be ___________________.

You can apply it to looks, gender, personality, profession, interests...anything.

In my case, it might read something like this:

If I wasn't a copy editor, I'd like to be a TV talk show host. I love to do research, I love to learn what makes people tick, and at the same time learn new things, and once in a while, I love to have an audience! My speaking skills and my listening skills would definitely improve.

Okay, so which of you folks would like to be my first guest on the TorontoPearl Show? Actually, maybe I can get Oprah to open up the show with me, followed by David Letterman and Ellen DeGeneres as my first guests. Matisyahu could be the musical guest, and we'd be big on audience participation for some spots on the show. Like let an audience member sit in the big, comfy chair and interview me for a change of pace, or I'd interview audience members and give them a great gift certificate to a local eatery or entertainment venue. The show's format would probably be a melange gleaned from all talk shows that I've watched for the past four decades.

Okay, we've got the show, we've got the guests, we've got the audience. Now we just need a decent band-- hey, PsychoToddler, do you want a permanent music gig; we could also fly Treppenwitz in once in a while to play his trombone or whatever "t" instrument he plays with you on stage.

Oh ya, and I need a personal assistant -- any of you willing to work for minimum Canadian dollars? And I definitely need a logo for the show; branding is so important. Hey, Air Time, doing anything these days besides planning your aliya and designing games for bloggers? Get The TorontoPearl Show a logo and get it chikchak, as quick as can be!

So...methinks I'm set to be a TV talk show host. Oops, need one more thing: advertisers. But I've got the best idea -- all you bloggers could run commercials advertising your sites! What a genius I am!

Now, if I could only make fantasy become a reality...

Who Took the Fun Out of Funny?

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In my younger days, I used to go to a Toronto comedy club called Yuk Yuk's-- Jim Carrey and Howie Mandel are two main comedians who stepped off the stage at Yuk Yuk's and into the embrace of Hollywood.

Yes, I would go see "household" Canadian comics but I often had more pleasure going to the club on Amateur Night to watch folks stand on stage and try to get the laughs. My friends and I enjoyed sitting very close to the stage so that we could get picked on by the comic and then heckle back if necessary.

It couldn't have been easy for these guys and gals to stand onstage, trying out their best -- and worst -- lines out on an innocent group of folks. You could sit alongside the stage and watch the sweat trickle off their forehead, the flushed looks, the nervous hand gestures. Many times they looked forward to that blinking red light bulb built into the ceiling in a discreet fashion, signaling their 3-5 minute set was up.

But I loved to laugh and I always anticipated that one day I might have the guts and the glory to stand up on stage and try out my collected humor bits that I'd written over time in my journals. I knew it was more difficult than it looked; to be spontaneously funny in a small group is relatively easy. To be able to do that in front of a large group, or to have your comedy routines down pat ain't so easy.

I never did make it (yet!) to Amateur Night, but I see some of my writings, some of my conversations with people as the next best thing. You don't know me all that well, but I've got you in my sights and I'm gonna give you all the humor I've got stored up.

But I must ask: Is that red light bulb blinking for me? Is it time for me to get off the stage already? Why aren't you people laughing? If you are, I ... can't .... hear .... you!!! Am I bombing, or will I be called back for Amateur Night, perhaps for the final set -- the best spot -- of the night?