Exclusive: “So… I Quit Comedy”: A Journal by OJ Patterson

I quit comedy on July 7th 2014. It was glorious. Upwards to twenty people underlit by candles in a Mission-Protero eatery: the Rite Spot Cafe. Despite years of yearning, I had never played there, so, I reached out to my friend, hilarious rapscallion Trevor Hill, and he put me up to, ostensibly, put me out. I did well on a show chocked with loved peers and luminaries. The room was rough all night but I got them, I fucking got them. 

I had played the Rite Spot the week before. I did terribly. I tried to work “new” jokes to a sleepy, sparse audience. The next comedian, super smooth Gary Anderson, had the set of the night. I felt horrible. 

Good thing I had a contingency show. My farewell show. 

Comedy years are like dog years. After six months you feel like pro, after two years you feel grizzled. That grizzle refreshes. It’s a license to complain, to spat, to tell tired jokes, to side-eye newbies and hope-eye clouted colleagues. You can burn yourself out on that. Not me. I went bonkers. I was ubiquitous. I was jubilant. A sprinting, spewing, evangelizing, all-encompassing embodiment of my absolute desire. 

Like all great things, something changed. A lot of things changed. Hard comedy living was my post-collegial grad school (where I basically did all the things I should have done as an undergrad). I laugh at the idea of “maturing” through the most juvenile time in my life, but I did. In the midst of growing, I felt a shift, a push. I fell in love. I dove. I cannonballed. 

I don’t know who I am anymore. When you elect to lose yourself in somebody, you indeed, by my experience, lose yourself. It’s amazing.

It’s also frightening. My identity as a comedian was forged longer and spoke truer than any other ideology in my life. After a while I became less and less (less mics, less supporters), changed more and more (new job, new apartment) and then, BOOM: I’m not the comedian I want to be, not the comedian that puts in the work, not the comedian touring on planes, trains and automobiles, not the comedian hanging in the back, hanging at the bar, hanging at the house party, not the comedian producing shows, or hosting mics, not the comedian spreading the most accurate information (shouts to Matt Gubser). Most of the aesthetics I covet as a comedian requires a lifestyle I no longer have (or, arguably, no longer need). So, in order to claim my chaos, to protest my irrelevancy, to break the cycle of weekend warrior compromise, I said goodbye. 

I quit comedy on July 7th 2014. It is liberating. I love telling people that I quit. It bums a lot of fellow comedians out. I love seeing them squirm at a maniacal reflection of their creative mortality. No, I will not covet your stage time! No, I will not do your show! No, I will not cover for your mic! No, I will not roast you! No, I will not be rejected by your comedy club or your festival or whatever else inspires semiprofessional jealousy. No, I will not be the characteristic laugh during the awkward folly! I will not! I will not! I will not! I’m dead! 

Three things makes “quitting” the funniest thing in the world. One, fuck me, right? Who gives a shit—in a macro sense—about San Francisco comedy as a lifestyle. Two, in comedy, you HAVE to quit. Most people fade out, few make a show of, and those who do are (usually) using a false finish as a promotional stunt (shouts to Justin Scales). Three, it’s a legitimate satire. The great times were good, but the good times weren’t that great. Comedy is self-righteous suicide. I killed myself thrice over to chase the dream, but, in a city with little industry, having no transportation, little capital and less business sense, I got as far as I could professionally/financially. Maybe that’s good enough. 

I’m committed to this. I’m prepared to be the Sammy Obeid of burying my talents in the backyard. 1001 Days of Tragedy. Still, I miss it; miss more than the stage, or the rush, or the definition.  Comedians are my family, my tribe. They speak my language, I’m understood. Maybe I should get therapy, do yoga, start a hobby. Maybe I should find a balance, figure out a cure for my innate tunnel vision. Maybe you’ll see me around, maybe not, maybe later, maybe tomorrow.
6/25. SCREAM: a tribute to Michael Jackson @ San Francisco Punch Line. 444 Battery St. SF. 8pm. $15. 1/2 Priced Tix: Here. Featuring Sammy Obeid, Chris Burns, OJ Patterson, Klee Wiggins, David Gborie and hosted by Marcella Arguello.

A tribute show to the King of Pop like no other with impersonations, singing, stories and stand up comedy. June 25th marks the fifth year that Michael Jackson was taken from us and for the third year in a row I bring you the funnest tribute show you could witness!

6/25. SCREAM: a tribute to Michael Jackson @ San Francisco Punch Line. 444 Battery St. SF. 8pm. $15. 1/2 Priced Tix: Here. Featuring Sammy Obeid, Chris Burns, OJ Patterson, Klee Wiggins, David Gborie and hosted by Marcella Arguello.

A tribute show to the King of Pop like no other with impersonations, singing, stories and stand up comedy. June 25th marks the fifth year that Michael Jackson was taken from us and for the third year in a row I bring you the funnest tribute show you could witness!

the table is set #laughoff

RAW, UNCUT, UNCENSORED BONUS EPISODE of the Blackstronauts featuring special guests Ivan Hernandez (of Boars, Swords and Gore)and Sam Tallent (of the Fine Gentlemen’s Club).
Recorded on 4/5/2014 at Sylvan Annex in San Francisco. Engineered by A.S.H. Clayton.

Listen to more episodes at:
www.blackstronauts.com

4/23. Fun Times With Friends: Magic @ Lost Weekend Video. 1034 Valencia St. Featuring Richard Toomer, OJ Patterson, and DJ REAL. Hosts: Scott Simpson, Aly Jones, Ron Chapman and Brandon Stokes. 8PM. $5–10. Tickets Available: Here. 

Friends Ron Chapman, Aly Jones, Scott Simpson and Brandon Stokes invite you to join them for an extravaganza of comedy, snacks, games and prizes featuring some of the best up and coming comics in the nation. It’s like a party crashing a comedy show or a comedy show crashing a party. Either way, it’s guaranteed to be some Fun Times with Friends!

4/23. Fun Times With Friends: Magic @ Lost Weekend Video. 1034 Valencia St. Featuring Richard Toomer, OJ Patterson, and DJ REAL. Hosts: Scott Simpson, Aly Jones, Ron Chapman and Brandon Stokes. 8PM. $5–10. Tickets Available: Here

Friends Ron Chapman, Aly Jones, Scott Simpson and Brandon Stokes invite you to join them for an extravaganza of comedy, snacks, games and prizes featuring some of the best up and coming comics in the nation. It’s like a party crashing a comedy show or a comedy show crashing a party. Either way, it’s guaranteed to be some Fun Times with Friends!

RSS: Random Street Stories (Episode 005) by AbstrktVolcano (aka William Head) featuring OJ Patterson, Sam Tallent and Matt Louv

RSS: Random Street Stories is a collaborative documentary film series by William Head, which combines the story-telling talents and personalities of the San Francisco comedy scene with featured musicians and djs from around the world. 
Filmed & edited by William Head for AbstrktVolcanoFilm.
More info at abstrktvolcano.com

Episode 005
Haight St / Valencia St / Clement St
Comedian OJ Patterson witnesses an unwanted liaison. Comedian Sam Tallent recounts a romantic tale that spans the test of time. Comedian Matthew Louv does something sort of weird.

Music by C.L.O., B-HAD
Selected Tracks (in order): Three (Bump Ass Beat) / Soulful Hip Hop Instrumental / At Night
soundcloud.com/clorap
datpiff.com/mixtapes-detail.php?id=400984

©AbstrktVolcano2014

2/21. Karinda Dobbins HEADLINES the PM Show @ Sports Basement. 1590 Bryant St. 6:30pm. Free. Featuring OJ Patterson, Josh Argyle, Jason Dove and hosted by Juan Medina.
[YO! Sport Basement and the good folks at True Hustle Entertainment (Where the Hustle is the Truth) have a special place in SF Comedy lore. Their gracious amenities and off-center atmosphere makes for a tremendously ample entertainment experience. It’s like hanging out with that really rich kid; what’s the catch to their generosity? Nothing! Also, where do they get their fancy, rich-kid clothes? The Sports Basement, probably! The PM Show boasts a rotunda for the senses. Groove with your eyes, drink with your ears, laugh with your hearts. Plus, I’ve never been, so HEY!.

Karinda Dobbins, gracing the stage/performance area with a headlining set, is a comedian after my own heart. She’s smart, progressive, sharp and indomitable. It’s an honor to watch her, and a delight to witness the symbiotic nurturing between Karinda Dobbins and comedy, working together to enliven our world.]

2/21. Karinda Dobbins HEADLINES the PM Show @ Sports Basement. 1590 Bryant St. 6:30pm. Free. Featuring OJ Patterson, Josh Argyle, Jason Dove and hosted by Juan Medina.

[YO! Sport Basement and the good folks at True Hustle Entertainment (Where the Hustle is the Truth) have a special place in SF Comedy lore. Their gracious amenities and off-center atmosphere makes for a tremendously ample entertainment experience. It’s like hanging out with that really rich kid; what’s the catch to their generosity? Nothing! Also, where do they get their fancy, rich-kid clothes? The Sports Basement, probably! The PM Show boasts a rotunda for the senses. Groove with your eyes, drink with your ears, laugh with your hearts. Plus, I’ve never been, so HEY!.

Karinda Dobbins, gracing the stage/performance area with a headlining set, is a comedian after my own heart. She’s smart, progressive, sharp and indomitable. It’s an honor to watch her, and a delight to witness the symbiotic nurturing between Karinda Dobbins and comedy, working together to enliven our world.]

I run a very fun show in Oakland on Thursdays. Here is an excerpt. Will you be there soon?

Adrian McNair (@adrian_mcnair) performs and talks all things Twitter. Recorded Live at the Stork Club in Oakland, CA.
Poster by Monica Ekabutr ( eelhips )
Engineered by Christian
Show Produced by OJ Patterson ( ojpatterson ) (@ojpatterson)
Sylvan Productions: http://www.sylvanproductions.com

"OJ & The Blerds of Baltimore" by OJ Patterson (ojpatterson). Recorded Live @ 1772 Market St in San Francisco.

I hate self-aggrandizing self promotion on this site due to an ever-evolving sense of pride and disillusionment. Nevertheless, I’ve put hours of editing (wanted to caption for my hard at hearing brothers and sisters) into a two-and-a-half minute clip after years of people asking where they could see my stand-up. I’d like to say thanks to kollinholtz and Jabari Davis for recording and producing this clip as well as cosplayingwhileblack for supplemental resources. Also, thanks to #blerds everywhere for making the world less lonely. 

Please feel free to spread this video and find me on Twitter for jokes and show dates