Saturday, September 16, 2017

Intellectual Growth & My Love for Stand-up Comedy

Self-reflection is something that I try to frequently engage in. I constantly assess my situation and find ways to improve and grow. That said, one breezy night in October 2016, a thought dawned on me: I should try thing I normally wouldn’t do!

Typically, I can be monotonous, safe, and boring with activities I engage in (don’t worry I’m adventurous elsewhere). I go to the same restaurants and order the same meal, interact with the same people I know, and the list goes on. I decided to put a halt on this monotonous routine and challenged myself to engage in activities outside of my comfort zone. The idea of “Outside the Box Project” was immediately born.  My goal was to try new, unique, and bizarre fads or activities and blog about it. I’ve tried a lot of new things, such as: cryotherapy, cupping, fencing (love), snowboarding, acupuncture, and sensory deprivation tank (super cool). Frankly, this outside of the box project helped me grow as a person and even gain confidence throughout the process (shout out to fencing!).  

Now that this project has ended—the next thing I want to focus on is intellectual growth. Being out of academia for three years has left a hole in my heart. I knew there’s something missing, and that something is research. I was eager to get back up the saddle and get involved in research again. After all, we control our own destiny. Luckily, I got in a neurosurgery lab to study brain injury. My new goal is to gain clinical experience and to get publish in a scientific journal. This additional gig now puts me to a 60-hour week and I am still happy about it. This experience is new for me since it's medical research compared to basic research (theoretical) that I’ve done in the past. I’m excited to learn new systems, devices, good bed side manners, and better quality assurance skills.

Despite of my 60-hour work week, I still manage to do things that I love: watching stand-up comedy. My love for stand-up comedy is not new. In fact, I've followed national headliners that I like: Louis CK, Bill Burr, and Tom Segura as my top 3 (I've seen all 3). But recently, I’ve also learned to love the local Minneapolis comedy scene. You all know my loyalty with stand-up comedy but let me tell you how it started. One snowy night in February 2017, I went to watch an open mic at ACME with a Tinder date (the only good thing I've experienced on Tinder...). I’ve been to ACME before but only when national headliners are in town. So of course, I was extremely skeptical about the quality of the show. After all, it’s free. When the show ended, I was surprisingly very impressed and left wanting for more. ACME’s structure for open mic is really rad. Of course, we have people who are trying stand-up for the first time but half the show are veterans with respectable credits on their arsenal (think Conan, Last Comic Standing, and so on).

People always ask me why I like stand-up comedy. Stand-up comedy to me is art. I know, I know, that sounds cheesy but really, it IS art. Performing in front of an audience to try and make them laugh is not an easy task to do. A recipe for a good comic (IMO) exhibits great style, quality, and stage presence (Brooks Wheelan was amazing at this). The reason why I got hooked to the local Minneapolis stand-up scene is because they are actually freaking good! We’ve had some of the big national headliners start at ACME (Nick Swardson is one of them). But also, I admire stand-up comics in general. I admire the hustle that goes with being a comic. These are people with day jobs who are trying to hone their craft and perform in as many open mics as possible to improve their set. Nowadays, it’s rare to see people go after what they are passionate about so it’s a nice change to see. Supporting local comics is just fun to me. I love supporting extremely talented people in my city trying to make it big. It’s fun to see their jokes evolve as well. I’m not sure whether to be proud or ashamed but I’ve officially watched stand-up comedy for 34 weeks in a row and I go to multiple shows in a week. Annnnnd I’m still not sick of it. Don’t knock my obsession, laughter is proven to be good for you after all. ;) 


  1. Agree with you on so many points. I've been told I never "sit still" and it's true. Outside of my full time gig I'm a published children's author, ghost hunter, retired firefighter and wanna be stand up comedian. I have a crap-ton more things I want to do, but it's good to see a like-minded soul out there taking life by the throat. Good on ya!

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