I’ve also done therapy, although I find that the pills work a lot quicker. Rather than explore the causes of my problems, I’m much more interested in suffocating them under a blanket of complex chemicals. Lately though, as in the course of this tour, even the pills haven’t really helped.
Part of the problem is that the tour isn’t selling as well as I had hoped it would, which I take to be a referendum on my talent and worth as a human being. You can obviously understand why I would equate mediocre tickets sales with failure at humanity. The other thing is a vague unease with my entire career. I can define the unease like this: “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing.”
I’m confident this is a common problem among people. They feel like a fraud to everybody around them and live in desperate fear that they will one day be discovered. That’s how I feel pretty much all the time. For a comedian, I have never felt very funny, and do not have any idea how to be funny. This a really bad combination for a comedian. And the older I get, the more I feel like the mainstream Hollywood community agrees with me. As a younger man, I thought it was only a matter of time before I got discovered and sent on a fabulous rocket ride of fame and fortune. (In my head, I think of that “rocket ride” as the end of the old “Wheel of Fortune” where you got to go shopping for ceramic poodles and elegant light fixtures with your prize money. That seemed to be the height of wealth and sophistication.)
Now that I’m older I realize that Hollywood has looked me over and found me lacking. My big chances have come and gone and I am left scrambling to keep my umpteenth basic cable television show on the air. I am left with this malaise, this feeling like I tried my best and my best was found to be marginal. I imagine a lot of people feel that way, like the dreams they had for themselves ultimately matter only to them, and their failure to achieve them is a letdown to themselves, but worse, to the people around them. By the way, nobody around me is telling me I’m a failure. On the contrary. But when those around me say encouraging things, what I hear is, “We’re just telling you this because you’re a failure.” So it’s a kind of a no-win situation for them. If they don’t encourage me, I think it’s because they think I’m a failure. If they do encourage me I think it’s because they think I’m a failure.
Do they make extra-strength Lexapro?
This kind of desperate feeling makes me want to do more, more, more. Like if I just make enough stuff, eventually something will break through and I’ll be able to breathe easy about my own self-worth. If you think, “That doesn’t sound like a healthy way to live a life,” I would say to you, “I agree.” It’s not.
In the last few years I’ve felt less and less like an artist and more and more like a hustler. Now, I like hustlers. I admire their wide-brimmed hats and coats with large lapels, but I don’t know that I want to actually be one. I don’t want to be a guy with ulterior motives or somebody who is doing something just to get paid, even if that something is extolling the rich, delicious chocolatey shell of a Klondike bar. (Which actually are delicious – no joke.) I’m sure I’m just like all of you: all I want to do is what I want to do when I want to do it. And like all of you, I can’t. Because, like you, I have responsibilities greater than myself. So I continue to hustle to meet those responsibilities.
Ideally I would just disappear for a while. I would sit at home and learn piano and play with my kids. I would lay in my hammock and read internet articles about Kevin Federline getting fat. I might write jokes on Twitter. I might get good at rock climbing. I don’t know what I would do, but I would like to figure out how to live in such a way that I don’t derive my self-worth externally, from the public. That’s the danger with my business. So much of it is designed to feed ego that people forget how to feed themselves. A lot of people like me maybe were never good at that in the first place so we always feel hungry for more. It’s a kind of reverse anorexia: the more we get fed, the more of ourselves we lose.
This is why celebrities get increasingly desperate to hold onto whatever fame they might have had at an earlier point in their lives. They need the attention because the attention is how they came to define themselves. I don’t think I’m like that but I would be lying if I said I was so far off. Fortunately, when you’ve only ever been a C-Lister, you don’t feel like you’re missing that much when you’re treated like a D-Lister. So thank God for small favors.
Anyway, the point is that it’s hard out here for a pimp. And
it’s even harder when the ass you’re pimping is your own.
UPDATE: Just wanted to write a quick note to tell everybody that, while I appreciate the supportive notes and such, I really wasn't looking for that. I just thought it might be interesting to share with you that I experience a lot of the same self-doubt that a lot of people go through and that I get depressed like a lot of people out there. Separately, I think there is a lack of honesty from people in my business about how scary and sad it can be. When everybody tries so desperately hard to be "somebody," it's hard to admit that most of the time we don't feel like anybody. Our real selves get sublimated by the image we're forced to create. Too often that image is supposed to be invulnerable. And I don't think it's just my business, either. I think it's the business of being American. Just wanted to share that I don't feel invulnerable.