Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Facing a Tough Choice On the Comedy Crossroads

I'm changing this blog. I can't go on the way I have been.

I've been writing humor of one sort or another for 16 years. In fact, I can't write anything else. Can't write drama, can't write romance, can't write science fiction. I do humor. That's it.
  • I've been a newspaper humor columnist since 1994. Haven't missed a deadline yet.

  • I've been blogging since 1999, before it was even called blogging, and we did our coding by hand, like real men.

  • I've written 7 or 8 audio theater plays which were all produced (honest to God, I lost count), and 5 of which will be produced by Decoder Ring Theatre in Canada next year.

  • I've written three stage plays (I won Best Comedy at the 2005 IT Works conference for my play, Cabin Fever U), and recently started a fourth.

  • In 2007, I received an art grant from the state of Indiana to write a humor novel, which I completed last October.

  • I've written a number of comedy sketches, some of which were even produced by an Internet audio comedy troupe. Today I sent off four new ones to one of my favorite shows to see if I could get any interest out of them there TEEvee people.
But I'm not happy with my blog.

You'd think I'd be satisfied that I'm doing most things right. But I'm not. And while I'm a glass half full kind of guy everywhere else, I can't even settle for 95% full in this one part of my life.

This blog originally started out as a once-a-week way for me to promote my humor column beyond the 30,000 people or so who read it on dead trees each week and on The American Reporter.

Then, from December 2008 to December 2009, I tried writing every day, to see what would happen to my readership. I actually saw a big increase, running around 4,000 readers a month. Then, when I cut back to 4 days a week at the end of 2009, readership dropped by half. That caused me to do a lot of thinking about what I want this blog to be.

The problem is that keeping a daily blog has become dreary. Three days a week I was putting up a video (Phone It In Sunday), reposting an old column (Wayback Wednesdays), or publishing my newspaper column (Contractual Obligation Friday). But the other four days involved me finding some story on Fark.com about some idiots — usually a British city council or some dumbass in Florida who assaulted their boyfriend/girlfriend with food – and mercilessly berating the poor sonsofbitches until my thirst for righteous indignation had been slaked.

I'm getting a little tired of that last part though. Not berating sonsofbitches, because that's a blast. Rather, I'm just tired of more than half my blog being the Here's What Erik Found on Fark Yesterday Parade.

So I want to do more personal stories for my non-newspaper days. I'll still do the videos on Phone It In Sunday, because the kids at The Cool Table are hilarious and I've gotten to hang out with them and eat their big giant cookie (that's Lindsey and Dave and a big giant cookie in the photo), and because people like Lisa Nova need the 36 extra hits I bring on any given Sunday to her 6 million+ views on her YouTube channel.

I'm going to get more personal and write about more observational stuff, rather than just stuff I observed on Fark. And if that means I write one extra post a week, so be it. If I write four more times a week, that's fine too.

I'm not going to become one of those freaking daddy bloggers who writes about the joys and elations of raising children, or one of those panty-waisted nancy boys, I mean modern men, I mean girly men — no, I'm sticking with panty-waisted nancy boys — who want to breastfeed their children and weep silently into their chamomile tea that God didn't give them boobs.

See, I told you berating poor sonsofbitches was fun.

And I have a couple of mommy bloggers that I enjoy reading, but seriously? Do you really need to give a blow-by-blow description of how your gynecologist had to sculpt your uterus so you could "try" for another child? Good God, woman, there are some things we do not discuss in polite society, and uterine sculpting (or whatever it's called, I just made it up) is one of them.

While we're on the subject, whatever happened to the good old days of surprising your friends with the news of the Blessed Event around the middle of the second trimester? I miss those days. These days, I get to hear about how these women writers are "trying," which means I'm stuck with the permanently-chiseled mental image of them laying on their backs with their feet over their heads, whisper-chanting "healthy baby, healthy baby, healthy baby."

Needless to say, I would make a horrible mommy blogger. For one thing, I don't have the right plumbing. For another, I get really grossed out whenever women talk about their. . . womany business.

(I don't always do well in this new age of "transparency and authenticity" we social media types keep talking about.)

Of course, this means I won't get the cool swag that the mommy and daddy bloggers get, like a free Chevy Camaro to drive for a week (friggin' Casey Mullins), and no one will give me a free digital video camera I can use to make wacky videos about my family. But I won't sell out like that.

Okay, I totally will. I'm not asking for much either. I'll even review a Canon EOS Rebel, and would be just as happy driving a Chevy Cobalt for a couple weeks. Anyone? Flip camera and a Honda Fit? Sketchbook and a bicycle?

All this is to say that I'm changing how I do this blog. More humor from within, less humor from those damn Farkers and their Farking headlines (hysterical though they may be). It's just too easy, and I've worked too hard for 16 years to get lazy now.

But I'm still going after idiotic sonsofbitches, no matter where they are.

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3 comments:

  1. Sonsofbitches everywhere momentarily sighed in relief, only to have their hopes dashed at the end as you keep them on notice.

    Whatever you do, whatever you write, I will follow you into the gates of Hell.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Whoa whoa whoa Dekers. I think you have some issues with me.

    I do uterine posts with panache.

    And as much as you may hate reading about babymaking bidness, you've obviously been there but you obviously don't know how alone one can feel when it doesn't just happen for you.

    So we (women) talk about it and we don't feel so alone.

    And the Camaro? All you have to do is ask. I didn't sell out one bit TYVM, they offered.

    pfft.

    Now if you'll excuse me. I have some PMS to attend to in case you couldn't tell. I'm going to go have a tampon Midol menstrual uterus cervical party and YOU'RE NOT INVITED.

    Ah. This felt good. We should do it more often.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Casey,

    Issues with you? No. Raging jealousy over your success and notoriety? Absolutely. And I'm not accusing you of being a sellout. Rather, I want some advice on how I can be one too.

    Keep in mind, while I'm a Guy, most of us tend to get rather red in the face when women, even our wives, talk about woman stuff. We're not as free with our bodies like you folks from Utah.

    (Seriously though. I always enjoy your stuff, including the girly parts, and have often referenced you and your blog in talks I give.)

    Sorry I'm not invited to the party. But I had a thing to do. Uh, yeah. A thing. At the place. With that guy who has that stuff. No, the other guy.

    ReplyDelete

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