Mitzi Shore infamously told a reporter "I love comedians and what they do," and when asked to elaborate, replied, "No, put that." because she wanted to let readers take from it what meant most to them. I've often quoted that mysterious line myself, but for a much different reason.
It's always hard to explain exactly why you love a place, a person or an experience. I usually settle for a few lame examples that never quite sum it up. With comedians, I usually go with "Because they're the most sane fucked up people I know" or "I don't know, they're just my tribe." But I finally had an experience that crystallized it for me.
A lot of douchebag new-age folks spout off about living life fully and honestly, becoming "fully realized" and whatnot. But do you know who actually live lives of raw, brutal honesty - walking the walk, without talking the talk? Comedians. To be a good comedian, you have to be smart, you have to be funny and you have to be able to be completely honest with yourself and with the audience. And that's not something you can just turn off and on when it's time to write or go on stage. Comedians will openly talk about their hopes, their dreams, their fears, their strengths & weaknesses, your strengths & weaknesses, their shitty childhood, their wins and losses, and what it all really means to them.
That may sound horrible - kind of like when you first hear the foundation of Buddhism is "all life is suffering." But much like how you find Buddhism is actually beautiful and makes that suffering of life more than bearable, so is living among comedians. Because the honesty goes hand in hand with a passion for creating art. And when you have a community of people who all believe in the same purpose - creating art and moving the art forward - the honesty has a purpose, it lives in a shared space where everyone is working toward a single goal. And that's what makes The Comedy Store a special place. It's truly an artist colony and a family, something you'll never find as strongly at any other club.
Now, look, it's not all Kumbayah or anything. These are smart, ambitious, often manipulative people. Everyone wants to be a success, some people at the cost of others. But there's an underlying current of respect for the art and respect for other people who practice and respect the art that's always there, even in the bitterest of fueds and jealousies. And most of the time, those hard feelings are just as out in the open as anything else. They're dragged out into the private public square of the family (and occasionally the public public square of the Rogan or Maron podcast), aired, dissected, confronted, argued, held onto or let go.
And the thing about that is that I've always found that owning up to your own dark side, your bad days and horrible experiences allow you to enjoy the good things a lot more. I've definitely found that since joining the tribe. I guess I sound a little like I'm spouting a religion, but hey, maybe we should all be a little more like comedians.