If you pay attention you will notice that the best comedians are those who present to us real life with a twist. Think about your favorite comedian or even just a friend who always has everyone in tears because they’ve laughed so much. What is usually the focus of their humour? Life. Your life. My life. Their own lives. Life in general. Comedians take the things that delight us, annoy us, anger us and even the things that frighten us and weave them into a twisted, lighter version of reality that if done properly, leaves us laughing at the situation and at ourselves.
With that said, a quote from one of my favorite comedians and actors, Chris Rock, made me think about how so many people approach their careers and their lives. He said, “Comedians tend to find a comfort zone and stay there and do lamer versions of themselves for the rest of their career.” A quick mental review of some of my favorite comedians and their careers over time, confirmed that statement for me. Just to given on example, the late Richard Pryor was and will forever be known for his translations of racial and political issues into hilarious and profanity-infused performances. And among today’s comedians and comedic actors, it seems that those most sought after are indeed living in their comfort zone and raking in the bucks. Honestly, I don’t think I can bear to see Ben Stiller in another movie as the underdog son-in-law, underdog security guard, underdog underdog … you get the idea.
Ok, it does seem that this is a matter of defining a niche, so these comedians are known for a certain type of humour and its delivery, and this becomes their comfort zone on stage, which is great for their bank accounts and careers, at least for a while. And, yes, it is wonderful to find that place where everything comes easily to you, the point at which you exhale and float for while. But the thing to remember is that your comfort zone is designed to function as a transit area, you can’t you grow if you only stay with what you know! Trust me on this one, I tried it for years. You simply can’t shine your brightest and you run the risk of burning out on the inside, if you don’t embrace and express your whole magnificent, authentic self.
If you don’t regard your comfort zone as a transit area, the place to get on the next platform for growth, it becomes the Bermuda triangle of life! If you stay there, your dreams, your talent, your opportunities and years of your life can get sucked in and disappear. More than that YOU disappear, because when you refuse to be who you are meant , instead of some lame version of yourself, you diminish and atrophy. At some point you find yourself saying, “What happened? I wanted to do this, experience that. Now the time is gone and I am not who I want to be.” Curtain call.
As any good comedian would tell you, you don’t stop pulling punches until the curtain falls, so right now is still an excellent time to drop the lame act and turn the spotlight on who you really are. Don’t worry about the audience, life isn’t meant to be a spectator event – and don’t we all love happy endings?
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