Yesterday I bought a new notebook for my jokes. There are several reasons for this; my previous one was falling apart, I wanted one that is a little nicer with lined pages, and it symbolizes taking my comedy career to the next level.
A lot of the time I would flip through my previous notebook before going on stage, and occasionally I would come across hidden gems that I had forgotten or half-written jokes that needed working out. Also, my previous notebook contained a lot of my best material (as it should). Of course there are times when I take the stage with little idea what material I am going to do, but quite often I relied on my previous notebook to help me decide which jokes to tell.
That’s why it is time to put it in the past.
I’m not necessarily throwing out all of my old material, but I plan on writing and creating much more (jokes and content ) that I did last year. I think that a new book will help with that. Now, when I look through my notebook it will be blank (initially). That’s not to say that I won’t open and close sets with battle-tested jokes, but I won’t be using them as a crutch as much. There’s power in vulnerability, at least when it comes to art. Of course when you’re getting paid or auditioning for something, vulnerability could be dangerous. In low pressure environments however, vulnerability is what helps people grow.
The first time that a comedian tells a joke that works (not just gets a few chuckles, but really WORKS) is magical. Its an unparalleled feeling that I won’t bother to try and describe. The only way to continuously have that feeling is to write new material, try it, and be surprised the first time that it works. Then of course, you rework it to make it better but even then you are expecting laughs as you perform the bit.
Long story short, a new notebook will help me to grow and get better. It will force me to put past successes and failures behind me.