My first meeting yesterday with my comedy coach, Michael Wheels Parise, was awesome! He was very encouraging--and seemed genuinely impressed about where I am right now--and has some definite strategies to help me get to where I want to be.
I've known of "Wheels" for a while and had considered his coaching sessions months ago, but after I researched him a bit, I didn't think he'd be for me. Wheels is tight with Andrew Dice Clay and opened for him for years... not exactly my style, right? Then I saw him speak at the World Series of Comedy a couple of weeks ago and thought, okay, he's been in the business for 26 years and can talk intelligently about it. Then last week I heard him speak again at an informal workshop one of my comic friends put together. I talked to him afterward and figured I should give this guy a try.
Oh, man. That was a good decision.
Funny--last week when we were setting up a time for our meeting, he mentioned he'd be in LA last weekend and was going to Idaho this coming weekend.
"Where in Idaho?" I asked. He said he'd be flying into Boise, but the club is in Meridian. "Holy shit!" I said. "I just booked a flight to Boise for Saturday. My mother lives in Meridian!"
Meant to be, we concluded. So of course, I'll be checking out his show Saturday night. In freakin' Idaho. Cool coincidence.
So then as we got back to the time/place specifics for our first meeting, he asked what section of town I live in. Turns out we're in the same neighborhood! Couldn't be more convenient.
We spent almost an hour and a half together yesterday at the Starbucks down the street. He takes a holistic approach to his coaching, saying it's important for him to really get to know the person. Makes sense--a good comedian is authentic, and has a good sense of self. You have to in order to build your on-stage character.
Whatever his stage persona, in real life Wheels is a sweet family man, with Facebook albums full of photos of him with his wife and 7-year-old daughter. He has an appreciation for the metaphysical and practices TM (transcendental meditation). A perfect match for me.
You know the Buddhist proverb, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear"? That couldn't be more true. My chiropractor is another teacher who recently came into my life, and I'm learning all kinds of stuff about the human body.
Some people are adverse to looking for help; they think it's a sign of weakness or that they can learn whatever they want from the Internet. That's just crazy. There's nothing like personal attention. If you want to develop your God-given talents, learn something new or simply get in better shape, I urge you to seek out a teacher.
Why wait? I'm gonna be 55 tomorrow, people. Time passes quickly.