About a week ago a post on my IG went viral. Well, is going viral. Now, if you know me, you know I have no idea how social media works. None. I had to look up algorithm to double check the spelling. I have no idea about any of those things. I don't quite understand how hashtags work and believe me when I say, I have read all sorts of articles on this stuff...and I am no closer to grasping how shit works. One may argue I feel even more confused.
Last week I managed to, somehow, get the attention of the algorithm (had to double check it again...ughhh..who came up with this word! In an ideal world it would be spelled algorhythm or algoriddim)!
As I type this the video has been viewed 1.7million times. WHAT?!?!? Exactly. I have no clue what that means either but here we are. I have gained about 13K new followers. EXCUSE ME?!?! Yup. And while I am not sure what that means for me, or you for that matter, I think in the grand scheme of things it matters to someone somewhere. Don't misunderstand me. I am so very thankful for the following. For the 'exposure'. In my line of work we need the following. We need people to want to hear what we have to say. We want to make you laugh. In fact we need you laugh, it's why we are out there slinging these jokes. Well, that and it helps us (well, me) with my depression (more on that another time). We want you to think we are funny.
Here's what I did NOT cater for. People are also going to think I am NOT funny and lemme me tell something to you...THEY ARE GOING TO LET ME KNOW.
My IG post has hundreds of comments. Hundreds. Most of them very positive. But the way my brain works is that the negative ones stuck out (See attached). My anxiety shot through the roof (well, firstly through the apartment above mine then through the roof 😉). I had to tune out and take some long deep breaths. Otherwise ah woulda get one panic attack!
It was getting to me. Viral Spiral party babeeeeeeee!!!
Then I stopped myself and reflected on my journey.
I performed standup comedy for the first time in June of 2014. I lost my dad a few months later and never imagined I would get back on stage. One year later I took to the stage again and have been slinging these jokes since! I love performing. I love laughing. I love the sound of laughter. I am in love with the art of comedy. I remember struggling to get followers and even toyed with the idea of 'buying followers'...Yep, that's a real thing. A good friend cautioned me against doing so: He said it was a terrible idea. I listened (I usually don't...I am stubborn😬).
Since I joined IG I have been exploring different ways to engage. Trying to get my name out. Trying to build my brand. Hoping people enjoy my work. No one knows the formula. There are hundreds of videos advising you what to do. No more than 10 hashtags. Post in the morning. Do not post when the moon in retrograde. Post ONLY if your phone is fully charged. Men engage with your post ONLY if you say the word 'Tits'. It's overwhelming and I truly have no idea how any of it works. One week ago the algorithm (WHO INVENTED THIS WORD?) found me.
I am the only standup comedian (that I know of) currently on the circuit who was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago. My accent has been a blessing and a curse. I joke so much about having to learn to speak English in a different language because often times it feels that way. It's like I am using English words and American's aren't understanding me. I have struggled. A LOT. I still do. I no longer take offense. I get it. We sound differently. Arguably, there are people who go out of their way to make it near impossible to communicate with them. Here's what...fuck 'em. Language barriers exist and there are funny moments that come out of simple misunderstandings. Like the one I posted (click the link).
I say all of that to say this. I do not think any comedian sets out to intentionally hurt anyone. Usually we are sharing our thoughts based on our personal experience. I am of the firm belief that everything can be funny but not everything is funny.
We (comedians/entertainers) are here to provide a salve for the the more difficult parts of life: Yours and ours.
Thank you for joining me on this crazy ride.