Today we have a guest post by comedian Sarah Boston, who’s in a unique position of being a comic who has a car to drive to gigs with AND the wherewithal to have matching towels. Also she’s a super awesome person who happens to be an animal doctor what? Not only that but she’s decided to put her comedy earnings toward an incredible cause. Please read on…
So a crazy thing happened last month, after a year of doing amateur stand up around Toronto, I actually made some money doing stand up! I am not talking about free drink tickets or the odd $10, I am talking about an amount of money that you would sit back and say, “Hmmm, what should I do with that money?”. That is not to say that the drink tickets and the $10 are not greatly appreciated, because they are. It is amazing when any producer will share the spoils of a night of comedy. I don’t want to sound ungrateful for the small sums of cash because:
- I am grateful for the small sums of cash
- It is meaningful to pay comics, not matter how much you pay them
- Free beer helps me to convince my husband to come see me do comedy even though he knows all of my jokes
But sometimes I feel guilty receiving these small sums because I have a day job. Recently I didn’t hang around to wait for my cut of the cash after a show because I knew it would be a small amount, I thought the other people in the show could probably use it more than me, and, oh yeah, because the show was so Incel-ly and rapey that I panicked and ran to my car. (Will save that thought for another blog…)
My day job is being a veterinarian. As a group, we are not rolling around in cash, but we do okay. We are okay. I have a car, nice place to live and matching towels. I get Starbucks when I want to and I have a nice duvet. What I’m saying is, I’m living the dream.
This month I made a whopping $155 at a comedy event! This was Black Sheep Comedy’s event at Arch Brewery in Newmarket. I might have overachieved in the “bring your friends” department, something I have never done before. I generally bring between zero and three friends out to any given show, but this close to home show brought out the peeps. Twenty-seven peeps! This translated into cash money and Darcia and Cathy could not be more generous. (Thanks Darcia and Cathy!) I also did a veterinary corporate event last month for my fellow veterinarians, which was weird and cool and different and also for Pharma and they pay.
All this to say is that now that instead of making tens of dollars, for this month anyway, I made a few hundred. Can I say I am a comedian now? I don’t know. I never know. This windfall, combined with the ongoing stress that I should probably be doing more for the planet or become vegan or become an activist, helped me to decide that I’m going to donate all of my comedy wages to a good cause. Now before you get too excited, keep in mind that it’s not that much money. Amateur comedians don’t make much money, but it’s a start. Sometimes I wonder why I am doing this because I’m old and it’s a grind and I live far away and the day job makes me tired. I feel like donating some cash will help to keep me going.
The other insanely great thing that happened to me this month is that I MET DR JANE GOODALL. Just had to get that in because, in case you missed it, JANE GOODALL TALKED TO ME AND WE ARE BASICALLY BESTIES NOW. She is the kind of person that makes you consider leaving the life you know and dedicating yourself to her cause.
So it all came together and now any money I make doing comedy this year will go to The Jane Goodall Institute of Canada. Honestly, it was either that or quit my job and become an activist, following Dr Goodall wherever she goes. This seems a lot more manageable. I have a dog.
Sarah Boston is a veterinary cancer surgeon and cancer survivor. Ironic, right? Her book, LUCKY DOG: HOW BEING A VETERINARIAN SAVED MY LIFE, was published by The House of Anansi in 2014. LUCKY DOG will make you laugh and ugly cry, sometimes at the same time, most of the time out loud. Writing this book got Sarah on the path of comedy writing and eventually she found stand up. Now she can’t stop/won’t stop. She also started a satirical veterinary online newspaper called The Cageliner. It’s like The Onion, but for vet peeps. You can read it too if you want. @drsarahboston on Instagram and the dying art of Twitter