Some Thoughts on Success

A lot of artists strive to become successful.

Throughout their careers, they fight torrents of obstacles, from lack of funding and lack of support, to lack of inspiration and lack of public interest.

But what is success in the arts? Is it money? Fame? Sell out tours?

Or is it working hard, and knowing you’ve done everything you can to create and hone content of which you can really be proud?

Personally, I would rather create great content that is seen by a select few, than terrible content that is seen by many.

The way I see it, art is one of those pursuits where there really isn’t a finish line. So technically, the typical definition of “success means getting all the way to the end” doesn’t apply.

An artist can work for years – decades, even – and not achieve anything even remotely resembling the “typical” definition of success. They could do what they do, to the best of their ability, and never become rich. Never become a household name. Never get on TV. Never become that one idol everybody refers to when talking about the genre.

For me, success in the arts can be defined as this:

– If you’re always trying to create the best work you can, you’re successful.

– If you’re passionate about what you do, and you want to use your passion to inspire others, you’re successful.

– If you face hardships and challenges, but fight to overcome them, you’re successful.

In art, the only way to be a failure is to stop trying.

I think what I’m trying to say is that I’m proud of what I’ve been able to achieve as a performer, even if nobody else is. I’m not famous, I’m not wealthy, and I’m certainly not popular. But I do consider myself successful.

(A truckload of money would be nice, though).

Brad

I’m Making A TV Show, Y’all!

Right now, I’m producing a show that will (hopefully) expose Wellington’s best comedians to the rest of the world .

Okay, it’ll be a web series (so technically not a TV show), but we are putting EVERYTHING into this, to make it as professional (and expensive) as we can, so it might as well be a TV show!

It’s called Wellington Mic Drop, and it’s gonna be a massive opportunity for Wellington’s incredible comedians to step up and broaden their fan base.

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This is a big deal for us. If this thing succeeds, it’ll open a lot of doors that are currently closed to the majority of comedians in New Zealand.

To make this happen properly, we need a little bit of help, so I’ve set up a crowdfunding page on Boosted. Please check it out, and donate a few bucks if you can. If a bunch of folks give even $5 each, it could help make Wellington Mic Drop a real jewel in the capital’s entertainment crown.


Here’s a video I whipped up, showing you just how supportive/special/passionate the Wellington Comedy Community really is.

Homeless Ghost?

This may seem a bit random… but I swear there’s a homeless ghost in Petone (Wellington, NZ).

And, no, this isn’t a short story.

Three times (not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES) in the past few weeks, I have walked past this guy and had nothing for him, but then I’ve gone back to give him something, only to find he’s not there anymore.

The first time I saw him, I went into a bakery to buy my lunch (a pie), and decided to also buy one for him. When I went back to give it to him, he was gone. (And my lunch that day was two pies).

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Two of these badboys.

The second time I saw this guy, I went to a dairy (corner store), bought myself a drink (can of Fanta, if you’re interested in detail) and got some change. When I went back to give it to him, he was gone.

fanta_organe

Boom. Fanta-stic (haha super groan).

The third time I saw him, I found a $5 note on the ground, and thought “He needs it more than me”. When I went back to give it to him, yep you betcha… he was gone.

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Five delicious smackeroos.

I’m starting to think this homeless man is actually some kind of benevolent spirit, trying to teach me a lesson to always have things on me the first time around.

Or maybe just “Always be prepared”. Like some kind of Scout Master ghost.

Perhaps from now on I have to walk around with food and money on me at all times, and one day I’m gonna run into him again and he’ll be like. “You have learned well.”

And then just disappear into mist.

Then I can spend the rest of my days walking around the cities of the world, vanquishing homeless ghosts.

Maybe It’s Me? Yep. It’s Me.

A few months ago, I wrote a post here, making an honest plea to the public to get off their butts and go see live entertainment (specifically, to go see ME make MY feeble attempts at live entertainment).

I made my case, stating a wide-spread public ignorance towards the performing arts was to blame for the difficulty I’ve encountered in marketing comedy, and the poor attendance numbers at my own shows.

Simply put; it was a whinge. Nothing but a big old “poor me, I’m the victim, you’re at fault” whinge.

I just wanna say that that post has now been deleted, because it pointed the finger in the wrong direction. I blamed the public for not coming to my shows.

As I write this, I’ve recently returned from performing two nights of my latest solo comedy show (Looking At Myself) in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

The show was in the Dark Room Theatre (a fantastic 50 seat small venue for independent productions) and very few people showed up.

I think I had 10 people the first night, and 9 the second. That’s 19 people out of a possible 100 for the weekend. That’s a huge fail in anybody’s book, right?

Wrong.

Yes, it was disappointing financially (and career-advancement…ly), but ya know what? It was still fun. I enjoyed doing the show, and I think (hope) those 19 people enjoyed watching it.

At the time of posting the now-deleted whinge-post, I would have blamed the people of Palmerston North for this.

This is an unspeakable travesty!

How dare they not come to my thing!

Those horrendous, slack-jawed fools!

But not anymore. The Palmerston North masses didn’t come see my show, because I didn’t give them enough reason to. That’s the sole reason.

I have a piece of work I’m proud of, and I’m sure they would have enjoyed, but I didn’t bust my hump to make sure everybody knows that. There are so many things I could have done better to get people in the door, and I didn’t.

So, I guess the point of this post is this:


Dear People of Palmerston North,

We both missed out on something pretty cool this past weekend. You missed out on seeing my show, and I missed out on being able to perform it for you.

But that’s not your fault; it’s mine. And I’m sorry.

I like you, and I’ll bring another show to you some time soon. It’ll be even better than this one, and I’ll make damn sure you know about it.

Sincerely,

Brad


TL:DR = Brad had epiphany about own failings as a comedian. Brad apologised for past whinge blaming others.

Fin.

I Started an International Incident

Whoops.

A couple of days ago, I noticed that a joke written on the packaging for rice pudding was a blatant rip-off of the well-loved (late) comedian, Mitch Hedberg.

I took a photo and posted it on Twitter.

Aunt Betty Hedberg Tweet

Then it blew up.

Like way up.

Marc Maron, Doug Stanhope, and a host of other people from around the world got onboard and got outraged at the injustice of it.

The company (Aunt Betty’s) caught wind of this and apologised, quickly coming to plate and saying they made a mistake and they’ll remove it from their packaging from now on.

Aunt Betty Hedberg Apology

The whole story even made it the Chortle, a UK website dedicated to all things comedy.

NZ company. US comics. UK website.

I hope that this incident can serve as an example to any other companies who think it’s “no big deal” to steal a comedian’s jokes.

Jokes are not open domain. They are not free for anybody who wants to use them for their own gain. Jokes are a tool, a product, a commodity no different from song lyrics, graphic designs, or paintings.

And the artist should always – ALWAYS – be given their due.

#JokesArentFree

What’s Wrong With You?

My friend, Julz, retells a couple of a events that shine a pretty disappointing light on men.

Honestly, fellas… we can be better than this.

According To Julz

Walking home from a great night out at 2am. I was up early that morning getting ready for the weekend. I had worked a full day in a job that I’m still learning. I went straight from work to a comedy gig I performed at. I had a great time and to celebrate did some karaoke with my mates afterwards. Then out of nowhere it’s 2am and I was tired; dead tired all of a sudden. The energy was gone and I was sipping my cranberry juice half asleep at the bar.

I realised that I’d left my car in the carpark on Willis and I was on Allen. Fleetingly thought of calling a Taxi. “Don’t be ridiculous Julz.” I told myself. “Can’t call a taxi to take me to my car.” So I set off walking. My feet were killing me that day. It’s not usual for that to…

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Going Back (To Tawa College)

Well, it seems I’m about to go and perform a lunchtime show at my old high school, Tawa College.

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Weird. Weird feeling. Really, really weird feeling.

I haven’t been there for (what is it now?) about 13 years, I think.

That makes me feel old. Older than old. The oldest. Like I’m Father Time’s great-great-grandpappy or something. Father Time sits in his ancient rocking chair, stroking his glorious white beard, telling stories about how he remembers me from his youth, and he’s all like “I remember Brad. He was sooooo old, even way back then…”. And the little children at his feet don’t believe there could ever be something so old.

Okay, so that’s clearly an exaggeration. I’m only 29, but the thought of going back to my old school still makes me feel like an old man.

But me feeling old isn’t what this is about.

Because despite now questioning my mortality (and the ever-approaching cuddle-wuddle from Death’s cold skeletal arms), I’m actually excited.

EXCITED.

Wow. My old school. So many memories. Some good, some not so good. Some of the teachers were awesome, and some… well, let’s just say I hope they’re not still there. For my sake, and for the sake of the current students. So many lessons learned, both in and out of the classroom. So many friends made and lost. So much time.

And now I get to go back and perform for a bunch of kids who are now sitting where I once sat. One or more of them might even be in literal exact spots where I rested my youthful backside. I could point at certain kids and say “Hey you! You’re in my spot! My butt used to go there.” And I would find it strangely profound in a whole “Circle of Life” sorta way. Although they most almost certainly won’t. They’ll just think I’m so old weirdo, talking about kids’ butts.

But think about this. Think about this, damn it!

I used to go to this school 13 or whatever years ago. What if some kid watching that lunchtime show, watching me try tell my silly jokey-jokes, decides to grow up and be a comedian. Then in 13 years time they come back and perform there too. And then some kid watching them decides to become a comedian. And the same thing happens again and again, and the cycle continues ad infinitum, until the sun explodes and any pathetic memory of the human race’s existence is erased from the cosmos for eternity…

Okay, so I’m clearly still on the death thing.

I’ve got some issues to work through, but they’ll have to wait until after the show.

See ya there, Tawa College!

A Very Short Story (Because Why Not)

Here’s yet another attempt at a short story. I feel like creating something, so here we go.

(Note: As usual, there will be absolutely no editing or reviewing as I write this. It will be think -> type -> publish. That’s it.)

(Another note: @FandomWright suggested the topic “Adam Wright”)


 

Adam strolled through the busy city streets, with no particular destination or agenda. The sun smiled down on him, and a light breeze offered its refreshing caress. It felt like a day for strolling, so stroll he did.

As his body aimlessly wandered, his mind followed suit. He pondered the scents and sights and sounds of the people who bustled by, the many remarkable things he had done already in his life, and the many remarkable things yet to come.

Would he ever climb Mount Everest again? Would he ever write another best-selling children’s book? Would he ever give another keynote speech at a global peace conference? Would he ever do anything more personally rewarding than life-coaching those at-risk urban teens? Looking at his accomplishments all at once like that made him appreciate just how full his life had already been and, since he was only 25, how much more time he had left to do even more.

Lost in thought, he failed to notice he had stepped onto the road. A bus whooshed past a hair’s breadth from his face, causing him to jump back onto the footpath, and his heart to attempt a death-defying leap out of his chest. He walked backwards, away from the road, eventually coming to a stop against the windows of a clothing store.

He leaned against the building, and breathed deeply while trying to regain his composure. After a few moments, he noticed that Jessie, one of the at-risk teens he had mentored, was standing directly in front of him, staring.

“Hey, are you okay, Adam?” Jessie asked. Jessie had been one of the most difficult teens Adam had ever worked with when they first met. He was thirteen, and already had a laundry list of police run-ins. He had been chewed up and spit out by the foster care system. The world had given up on Jessie, and Jessie had given up on himself.

But not Adam Wright. Adam saw that there was hope for this kid even when nobody else did. Adam endured abuse, outbursts of rage, and even vandalism and theft from Jessie. But eventually he broke down those angsty teenage walls. He made Jessie open up and confront himself about the destructive path he was hurtling down, and in doing so started the youth on a new path of self-improvement and joy. That was four years ago, and Adam remembered it with pride.

“Uh, yeah. I’m fine thanks, Jessie.” Adam said, his breath slowly returning to normal. “Just had a bit of a scare.”

“Yeah I saw that!” Jessie replied. “You almost got nailed by that bus. That was crazy!”

Then Jessie hit Adam over the head with a brick.


 

Okay, so you can tell (pretty obviously) that I lost track of whatever I was doing there.

That’s what happens when you start writing a story and have absolutely no idea what the plot, message, or even tone are gonna be.

But, hey, everybody loves a twist ending!

Hope you enjoyed that little pile of human brain nonsense.

Final Post for 2015 (Probably)

This is probably the final thing I’m going to post on here for 2015.

I haven’t been particularly active online this year, and it’s highly unlikely I’m going to suddenly have a powerful torrential surge (redundant language) of blog-worthy thoughts between now and the end of December.

In fact, I don’t think I’ve had a single “blog-worthy thought” my entire life. Now would be a weird time to start.

Anyway, let’s get a few items out of the way before we enter the meat of the post.

(Did I just say “enter the meat”? Wow, what a way to end the year.)

First things first; HAPPY HOLIDAYS to everybody who is celebrating something over the coming weeks.

Some of you won’t be celebrating anything at all, but hey that’s cool. Who needs joy, right?

Secondly, go back and re-read all the typey-typey-gold with which I’ve blessed you this year. There isn’t much of it in terms of quantity, but dang it’s good stuff. Quality reigns, y’all.

Don’t worry. I’ll wait here while you greedily gorge yourself with my blog’s glorious gooey goodness.

Have you finished? Was it as awesome as you thought it would be?

Okay, cool.

Thirdly, go hug somebody and tell them you’re thankful they’ve been a part of your life this year. Do it. DO IT.

Actually, go find somebody who HASN’T been a part of your life and give THEM a hug, too. They might need it more than you realise.

It has been a strange and eventful year for everybody, with all manner of scary nonsense going on in the world, and it’s nice to have somebody in your corner to help quiet the chaos and give you love.

Wait, did I just say something heartfelt? Ugh. Who the fuck am I?

Finally, here’s a picture of a cartoon goat.

 

goat

 

Enter the meat, everyone!