I like to think of myself as a young comedian working on my stand-up act, like Patton Oswalt below, but without the expletives:
The A.V. Club: What if things don’t go well? Are you able to get perspective on that pretty easily, or is it bruising if something doesn’t really work?
Patton Oswalt: It’s not that it’s personally bruising. I’m in New York right now, and I had to run two sets for a TV show, so I went to two clubs. I went to Comix and I did my set and it went fine, and then I went to Gotham, and I ate it so fucking hard. [Laughs.] You get to a point when [the audience] knows who you are, so they’re happy to see you, but every now and then, you just get that, “This shit is not flying.” And then it’s even worse, because they’re like, “This asshole’s on TV, and he’s not fucking funny.” Like they almost expect you to know what the fuck you’re doing after you’ve been on TV for a while. So when you eat it like that… I actually ended up being pretty excited as I was re-writing it in the cab home [from Gotham], because I was like, “Oh, I have a lot more to work on.” I never want to get to a point where I feel like I’m done. Or like I got it. You always want to have that, “Oh shit, this wall just collapsed, and there’s a whole room behind it to explore.”
AVC: Is it better now than it was? At the beginning of your career, when you weren’t as known, it seems like it would have been an uphill battle every time, getting an audience on your side.
PO: Definitely. But you know what’s really weird? I’m grateful that I had that uphill battle for 10 years of going onstage and having nobody know who I was, because you have to win them over. Because I have a lot of friends who were stand-ups, and they just stopped after a while, because they didn’t like that battle, or they just couldn’t do it. And then they would get on a sitcom and get visible and get back into it, because the audience was just way easier on them. But they lost those crucial years of learning to turn any audience into your audience. And I think that’s really, really important. That’s why they’re okay stand-ups, but they’re never going to be great, because they don’t have that presence. They never built those muscles up.
I have a lot more to work on, too! And I would never have a home birth.