Saturday, August 28, 2010

#1: So what the heck is this?

When I was about 5 years old I was at dinner with my mom, my brother, my grandfather, some of his friends, and various other people that I can't remember simply for the fact that I'm not Rain Man. At some point during the dinner someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. It was at that point that I stated "I wanna be a comedienne". As everyone laughed at this statement I knew I must have the right idea. I was then told that comedienne's are female. Still though, I got the point across.

All through grade school I would watch a lot of stand up comedy on cable, for the short time we had it. I was obsessed with comedians. Whenever I would do a book report, I'd always just skim the book and make it up as I went along. I made sure to get at least one laugh in whenever I did though. I did this as a reflex because of how nervous I was. I was always super shy, and I would be so scared in front of the class. In fact, I faked being sick my last 3 days of grade school for they made everyone make a speech in front of all the parents and teachers. My shyness also made me a target for ridicule.

When I got to middle school things actually got worse. I was mocked constantly. Everything about me seemed to be perfect fodder for people to tear into. I had bad skin, I was the first to start growing facial hair, just whatever they saw when they looked at me, they'd mock. I had such low confidence that anytime I had to get in front of a class, I would be even more nervous. I'll never forget in 8th grade science when we had to make models of a molecule. When I got in front of the class and presented mine, I was shaking so bad as I held it up that it was just bouncing around. You would have thought the molecule was extremely hot (that's a science joke). It was also in Middle School that the friends I had had for all of grade school turned on me.

One day when I went to lunch and went up to all of them, they all turned in unison and said "Shawn, Fuck off!". How do you handle that when you're 12? Well, even though it crushed me, I kept plugging along the way I always did, with humor. I made a few new friends that held me over until I got to high school and found where I finally belong (More on that in a future blog).

It was still my dream to be a comic, even though I had the worst stage freight. Finally I got my first chance. I saw a poster that said they were holding auditions for "Creek's funniest people" (I went to Cherry Creek High School.) This was my Freshman year. I said what the heck, put together an act, and tried out. I got in, and on January 5th of 1995 I performed stand up for the first time in front of a live audience (I was able to look up the date because I remember it was the same night they reviled Kramer's first name on Seinfeld).

The school theater held 720 people. I did a mixture of jokes I wrote about the school, and jokes that I admit I stole from comedians I had seen (Ironically one of them had been Michael Richards). I didn't really have an ending, so I was partnered up with this guy that was going to do a Ross Perot (remember him?) impression. He was to come out and kick me off the stage. Well this kinda backfired. To be quite honest, I killed. I'm pretty sure I got the most laughs. When he came out I did the pretending I was shocked and pissed off thing, then ran back to grab the graphs I was supposed to bring out and hold for him. In my act I had mentioned I was a Freshman, and I recall hearing just silence from the crowd as I was looking for the graphs. Suddenly a guy yells out, "Bring back the Freshman!". It was probably the biggest ego boost I've ever received in my life. Anyway, long story long already, he was wearing a mask and no one could understand him, so he epically failed. When we took our bows at the end, I got the most cheers. For a week after this, I was recognized at least once a day, and complemented.

On my 21st birthday, I went to the Denver Comedy Works for the first time, and saw Bobby Slayton. I learned shortly their after about their new talent night and so on Halloween of 2000 I performed comedy for the first time in an actual comedy club. I had 5 minutes, and I didn't steal any jokes this time. For the next year I did about 4 more new talent nights. However, I got frustrated. I entered a competition and the winner of it had been doing this character that she did for over 10 years. To me, that's not new talent. Plus, I just wasn't performing enough. I've always heard every successful comedian say you need to be doing stand up every night if you're going to be good. Once every 3 months wasn't cutting it.

OK, now to start to cut it short. I started to look at acting. I took some lessons, moved to California, did extra work, then got side tracked with video game testing. So what is the point I'm trying to get to by telling you all of this long winded back story?

All my life there is one thing I have been absolutely certain off. I was blessed with 1 thing. I am funny. Not just a little, but a lot. If you know me, I may very well be the funniest person you know. I know that sounds egotistical, but it's true. My sense of humor is the only thing that I am 100% confident about. There will be times when I make a joke and I can't believe that it came to my mind so fast. However, I don't use it. Yes I make people laugh in my daily life, but I don't really do anything with my gift. So it's time. It's time I start writing. This blog is my first step. I'm 31 now, it's time to get the lead out. Someday I may very well give my dream of being a comedian another shot, but for the time being, I just need to write. Here it is, my first blog and I'm not sure how to end it...I know. Ross Perot, get out here!

P.S. (Can you P.S. a blog?) I've been trying to think up topics I could write about and I said once I get to 10 I'd finally start. I will run out of these 10 topics quickly so if you have any idea's, please e-mail me at

Next week: What the hell is ShabeRaven?