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I’m a time stickler. If you’re given 3 minutes to do a set, you have 3 minutes. You practice watching your phone timer or the timer on the microwave cruelly, heartlessly count down. You speak like you’re auctioning off a prize cow. Your voice goes higher like that’s going to help. If you go over, you rewrite cutting the fluff leaving the absolute necessary. Then you practice again leaving room for laughs. You practice like you’ll perform it–so people can understand you and enjoy. If you have 3 minutes, you have 3 minutes.

That was the set time I was given at a recent charity event. It felt really short, but it was stage time and I’m not going to argue. I delivered a cute story in 3 minutes. Because that was our time limit.

There were people going 7 minutes. There were people doing 3 song sets which were 3 songs too long.

You know it’s going to be great when you hear, “My piece goes a little over. Is that okay?” and the answer is, “Fine, fine.” Get comfy and focus on your breathing. We’re in for the Odyssey.

There’s good long. Led Zeppelin. Blues jams. Long form improv (see TJ and Dave). These are gems that need to be savored because they are rare. Long often means unedited, wandering, and too long.

I’ve heard from more than one person things reoccur in your life until you figure out the lesson you’re meant to learn. I buy that. Not quite sure what the lesson I’m supposed to learn here is. Maybe it’s not to follow rules since rules don’t apply to all. Maybe it’s how to diplomatically speak up because what I want to say, “Is how come we’re treated to they’re creative diarrhea for seven minutes because it’s not like they’re cleansing their system. They’ll be back with more.”

Until I learn the lesson and change my experience, I will continue to deliver tight, well- thought out sets that allow me to stand out and be easy to work with (as incredibly vain as it sounds).

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