So a lot of people don’t know, but I’ve sort of been living a double life for the past two years. I have a constant battle with trying to balance my comedy life with my personal life and my professional career. I have a degree in Computer Info Systems and I work full time in IT at a place that I will not name. I will not name my employer because I’ve been hiding the fact that I do stand up comedy from all of my coworkers. Well my cover was kinda blown this past week.
Tuesday night… I’m preparing to go up on stage in a few minutes. I’m analyzing the crowd and I see a familiar face. “SHIT! That guy works at my job!” I say to one of the other comedians. “What’s the problem?” he says. Nobody at my job knows that I’m a comedian. Why don’t I want them to know you’re probably thinking. Well there are a few reasons. Number one is… I don’t even know what number one is! I just don’t want them to know! lol
Nah in all seriousness, I’ve been hiding the fact that I do comedy because I don’t wanna be labeled as “the funny guy” at work. I try to remain as professional as possible and I work hard to prove myself everyday. I may be over compensating a lil since I am the youngest person in my department as well as one of the only black employees in the whole building so I really don’t wanna be viewed as a joke. At a previous job, as soon as they found out I did stand up everyone starts with the “tell me a joke!” and “ok make me laugh” lines. It gets old very quick and just makes for an uncomfortable workplace.
So what did I do at this show on Tuesday? Did I pull out? Abandon the gig? Take off running? Of course not. I grabbed the mic and addressed the issue the only way I could – with laughter, joking about my situation while on stage. It didn’t turn out so bad after all. My coworker laughed the whole time and then I approached him after the show. He congratulated me for a good show and then gave me his word that he would keep my secret safe and not tell anyone at the office. He even joked and said “but now I got some blackmail material on you” lol
When it was all said and done I felt like a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I kinda already knew this day would come and I’m actually surprised it took this long with me doing so many more shows locally lately. I’m still not ready to tell all of my coworkers about my “other life” but I won’t worry so much if any of them happen to stray into one of my shows in the future. I still have this grand vision that I won’t ever have to say anything to them. That one day, when I’m long gone from that job, they’ll be at home flipping through the channels and happen to see me on Comedy Central. And they’ll say “HEY! I used to work with that guy!”