When I first started standup, I'd ask other comedians for advice, and the No. 1 piece of advice I was given (besides don't be like Dane Cook) was: Don't date another comedian. I thought misery loved company?
I mean, at the time, it made sense. I got some attention from the male comics and that was nice, but when you're a girl in a boy's world, the attention is pretty much a numbers game. Also, I'd been around the open mic scene enough to think, "Why would I want to hang out in another mom's basement when I could hang out in my own mother's basement?" Does your mom have better snacks than my mom? Do you have a foosball table? If so, you should include that in your initial pitch.
I did a good job abstaining from dating comedians my first year in. It's pretty easy to say no to a male comedian's request to date when you've heard about his dick in graphic detail before you've actually seen it. I have learned more about male anatomy doing comedy than I ever did in 8th grade health class. And, I'm sorry, did I say date? I meant hang out. Dating advice: Be as vague as possible! That way if the date doesn't go well, you can face this person again at open mic, use the story on stage and pretend it was someone else entirely.
When you're in close proximity to other people who are doing the same things you're doing, that's when all the feelings happen ... the water cooler hormones begin to rage. This explains why the cast of the Brady Bunch was so incestuous. For guys in the comedy scene, I can imagine it's exciting: "A girl likes what I like! We're not so different!" You betcha, guy! We do like the same things! For some weird reason we like getting up in front of people and telling jokes and seeing how many days in a row we can wear the same shirt and hope no one will notice!
One way to justify dating another comedian is that comedy in itself is a job, and a popular place to meet other people is at work, which is a testament to America's lazy pursuit of love and lifetimes of passive-aggressive marriages. It's great for The Office; not so great in reality. But it's normal, I guess. So it's not outlandish to meet other comedians on the open mic circuit and have a connection. As a bonus: There's no H.R. paperwork to fill out. Comedy is a job for the lazy go-getter.
So with the logic that was provided to me by sitcoms, I began to wonder why the comedian attempting to be my surrogate father told me to not date a coworker. It's easier to get to know someone when they're not hiding behind the curtain of the Internet like the Wizard of Oz. Comedians pretty much lay it all out there on stage, unlike some people on Tinder or other dating sites. Except for this guy I saw on Tinder whose profile picture was next to what he referred to as his "favorite dumpster." I envy that guy because I don't think I have ever loved anything as much as that guy loved that dumpster. Actually someone ought to check on that: There might be some bodies or something in there now that I think about it.
And when you do meet another comedian you'd like to mouth kiss, what does it mean? What changes? Does it mean you can only go to comedy shows? Of course not, silly! As a couple, you will still feel that siren call in autumn that tells couples it's time to pick apples or the summer song harkening you to the famers market for overpriced apples that you mistakenly think I know how to turn into a dessert. If you two have managed to keep some regular friends after inviting them to multiple comedy shows, you'll still participate in the ancient ritual of game night, which should just about ensure that you'll be friendless by your first anniversary. You'll still bicker and fight — except you'll hear about it in a very public forum, disguised by the sentence, "I used to date this guy ..." Because the pretense of privacy is moderately more important than laughs. Sometimes.
And of course, like any other couple, a comedy couple will be asked when they will get married, repeatedly. Like any other couple, they might get married and they might not. If they do make it to the wedding, one thing is clear: There will be no open bar.
If I do get married to my current comedian boyfriend, I just don't want any of my comedian friends to ask, "Can I say a few words at the reception?"
Nope. We all know you can't stick to the allotted five minutes.
Kali Fencl is a former Scene intern and current standup who apparently is not on Tinder.
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