I’ve spent much of the last two weeks watching the Olympics. I think I enjoy the Olympics more than regular professional sports because I feel a bit of a kinship with the athletes. Artists and athletes are the same in many ways. They are trying to create a small change in their audience.
Musicians try to make you feel emotions that go deeper than words.
Athletes try to inspire you to reach your own physical peaks.
Comedians try to get you to think about the world in different ways.
Porn stars try to inspire you to buy penis enlargement pills.
The athletes want to inspire you. And more than that, they want that Russian chick to stumble, trip, fall on her ass, drop the ball, and drown. I’m not sure what event that could all happen in, but you know…
All of these artists want you to watch them and say, “I could do that. I could be that.” And there you are on your couch with your bag of Cheetos, watching the Olympics saying, Man, I gotta get to the gym. Girls/Guys that look like that are at the gym.”
And whether that thought occurs to you while watching the gymnasts or the weight lifters… remember this…. Those girls are not at your $9 a month gym. They’re at a special gym with a door that’s skinny at the bottom and wide on top so people shaped like us can’t get in.
It isn’t just the sport itself that we have to aspire to either. There’s little tell-tale skills you have to master first. I was watching the vault on gymnastics and they had that powder stuff they put on their hands. There’s a reason there’s no Columbian gymnastics team. “What the?… All the powder’s gone again! Please tell the Columbians to stop selling it!”
In the vault the powder is in a tray that’s level with the floor. And the gymnasts just BAM… palms to the floor to get some powder. I’m out right there. Can’t touch your toes? No powder for you. It’s not going to look good if you’re kneeling in front of the powder tray like a drug mule that dropped his stash. Then you get up and make that old man grimmace face when your knees pop. No vault for you.
I saw an interview with Michael Phelps where he talked about ducking out the back door of the gym to play hooky from his weight lifting sessions. That’s Michael Phelps, 22 Olympic medals, one of the world’s greatest athletes saying, “I don’t feel like working out today.” What the hell kind of hope do the rest of us have? I skipped my workout the next day. Thanks a lot, Phelps.
Most of the time the athletes are inspiring. The commentators are not. “Here’s Yuri Guranynski of Romania. Since the last Olympics he’s had knee surgery, a broken shoulder, a displaced vertebrae, a torn achilles tendon, a particularly bad nail fungus, and a life-threatening bald spot. But he’s managed to come back and take the Romanian curling team to the podium.”
We’re constantly admonished to exercise more and then we see these people who are masters of fitness and exercise tallying up more injuries than the audience at at British rugby match. Apparently you can exercise too much. I say, don’t take the chance.
How long is it before health insurance companies are saying, “Hmm, 6’5″, 140 pounds, 2% body fat… This is going to cost you.”
Yes, as artists and athletes we want to inspire you. That “we” for me is “artist”. I’m in no danger of becoming an athlete. But go sprint, swim, tell a joke, sing a song, paint a painting, have sex on camera. Don’t do the vault. You’ll kill yourself doing that. I don’t want to be held responsible when you try a triple twist with a double somersault and land head first, permanently scarring your face and severely thinning out your dating pool.
But after you’ve tried some of those things and discovered how hard they are, go out and support someone who does it better than you. Cuz that’s what we do too. 🙂
Check out this live bootleg recording I just released of one of my shows at Laughs Unlimited in Sacramento on June 23rd, 2012. Click “download” to get it for free or make a donation.