To explain: My Dancing With the Stars reviews are now being “syndicated” on Yidio.com — a site where you can watch TV shows and movies — and they wrote me a very nice little intro for the appearance of my first article. The whole intro is very nice and makes me sound way more interesting than I really am. However, the piece that really struck me was the whole “comedy pro” thing. A few thoughts immediately popped into my head when I read it:
1) Wow, that’s very nice of them to refer to me as a “comedy pro.”
2) I’m not really a comedy pro.
3) Or maybe they just meant, “he’s an old pro,” as in, he’s an experienced comedian.
4) Am I really an experienced comedian?
5) I’m an improviser and I’ve done stand-up once for five minutes. Does that qualify me as a comedian?
6) Why am I so hesitant to call myself a comedian?
7) I don’t hesitate to call myself a project manager.
8) “Project manager Jeff Ford” would be completely out of place in the Yidio.com intro.
9) Regardless, I’m definitely not a pro in the technical sense of the word. I’ve never been paid to perform.
10) However, people have paid to see me perform. Does that count?
11) I’m probably thinking about this way too much.
12) Ooh, Cheez-Its!
Obviously, I struggle with how to classify my performing habit. I freely call myself a performer, but I hesitate to call myself a comedian or even actor. It always felt dirty and presumptive to use those terms. They always felt more like job titles than categories. Chris Rock is a comedian. Tom Hanks is an actor. The totality of what I do as a performer doesn’t really compare in any real way to what they (or people like them) do. I’ve done the thing that Chris Rock does and I’ve done the thing that Tom Hanks does but I’ve never been paid for it or even considered it to be anything more than a fun hobby. In reality, the only difference between me and those guys is monetary success. Like most things, this is probably only an issue in my own head but I also have the bad fortune of having to live within my own head.