6 Similarities Betwixt Stand-Up Comedy and Sit-Down Cycling

How are we doing out there tonight, Poughkeepsie? (Puzzled looks.) You’re really a lovely crowd, I mean it. Please remember to tip your waiters. I gotta tell ya’, biking and comedy are two totally different disciplines, am I right? Anyone ride their bike here to the comedy club tonight? No? Well, shame on you for hating your Mother Earth. I biked here because I’ve got a lousy agent. He didn’t rent a car for me to get here from the hotel. And I know this agent is lousy, because it’s me! I’m my own agent. I gotta do everything for myself. So after biking here to do my set at Bananas Comedy Club, where some hack named James Fallon started, I found out — and this is true – the club relocated to Rutherford, New Jersey for the summer. Freakin’ Jersey! Fugghedaboud it! That’s why you looked at me like I was bonkers when I said Poughkeepsie. It’s a long ride: 77 miles, to be exact. Anyway, I should fire that agent, but I can’t. Well, let’s get to my set. Here’s how biking a joking are similar, like almost the the same exact thing.

Joking aside, I saw numerous comedians at the Moontower Comedy Festival this past week. After volunteering the first two evenings, I got to sit on those shows, and for the next two nights I got to see whomever the hell I wanted for free (which happens to be A Dude’s favorite number). At the after-party, I met Shane Torres and Nore David, and stood near co-star of HBO’s Hacks, Hannah Einbinder (daughter of original SNL cast member Larraine Newman). They were each funny in different ways, and like many comics they mine their own lives for material. It was well worth the time spent and late nights to have plenty of laughs. And here comes my list.

  1. THINK NEW THOUGHTS. I thought of this post while biking. See, I’ve already proved my point. When you’re out on a ride you’ll find your mind wandering and if you get into the flow, you’lll come up with new insights. Comedy is all about that being in the zone. Comedians Jake Johannsen, Jerry Seinfeld, and even the late Robin Williams have all been known to ride a bike. Maybe they even came up with some jokes about bicycling while they biked! How meta would that be?
  2. FUN. Obviously. While there are certainly many sweaty, hard, painful or other un-fun moments, overall, both riding a bike and telling jokes are enjoyable. Or they should be. The main point of a joke is to be hilarious. Although there are some less fun days on a bike, or jokes (usually puns) that are groaners, more often than not there’s something amusing about both.
  3. REPETITIVE. This just in from the Department of Redundancy Department (thank you, Monty Python). Telling jokes over and over is required to master the craft. To draw a parallel with the statue of David by Michelangelo, the point is to get to a place where you’ve chipped away at the big block of marble and taken away everything that’s not David. What’s left is your set. On a bike, you turn over the pedals over and over, eventually getting stronger and better (hopefully), or at least smarter.
  4. PHYSICAL. In biking you use your legs mostly and in comedy you use your voice mostly. But in both it’s a whole body experience. Especially with physical comedians — it’s right there in the name.
  5. HEALTH. Tied in closely with movement is the result. They say that “Laughter is the best medicine.” I would amend that to be “After actual medicine.” Exercise is way up there in terms of benefits to your well-being. So, yes they are both good activities to help you feel better. Bike to a comedy show like I did, and you’ll double the benefits.
  6. YOU MIGHT DIE. On stage if a joke bombs, or if you’re not killing it, you’re dying on stage. It may feel like actually dying, but hopefully it’s just metaphorically. On a bike you can literally stop living if a car smashes into you. Try to live to bike and joke another day.

Well, that’s my survey of simple and silly six cycling and comedy similarities. You may be saying, “Surely, you jest.” To that I reply, “Don’t call me Shirley.” Are there others I missed? List them in the comments.

My COVID-approval and volunteer wristbands for the festival.

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