It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so it may follow that a thousand words can paint a picture. But how many jokes is that? This is an idea that local stand-up comedian and comedy show organizer of The Sinking Ship, Cam O'Connor, has considered throughout the course of his career.
O'Connor's interest in comedy began at an early age. He explains that he has always enjoyed making people laugh, but the decision to pursue a career in comedy took much longer, "In school I was getting kicked out of class 'cause I was more interested in making people laugh ... looking back, that makes sense. The things I was drawn to were always funny."
O'Connor began his career as a local stand-up comedian during the spring of 2008 when he was 28 years old. While some can't imagine making their career standing up in front of people, trying to make them laugh, O'Connor claims it gets easier. He says, "After a while you get addicted to it." As a person who has always enjoyed the laughter of others while being unsatisfied with his previous career options, O'Connor says, "For the first time in my life I feel like I am doing what I am supposed to be doing, so I just keep going."
The idea that O'Connor might compare himself to a painter occurred to him after he befriended a local artist and painter, Katy Wagner. "When I was first hanging around her I was wondering how many, like a brushstroke on a canvas, how many jokes that is equal to." He goes on to say, "art is anything that can give someone a feeling ... anything that uses feelings inside of you: songs, a poem, a painting or comedy, yeah I said it, comedy; anything that is created by a person that is an expression of what's inside them."
O'Connor approaches each new show with a common goal. The carefully prepared words he chooses are meant to collectively paint a picture that people will enjoy. When people view a painting, they are left with a memory of the image created by the artist. When people hear a comic perform, they also leave the show with a memory of the image created by the comic.
Comedy is a unique form of art because it evolves and is interactive. A relationship is formed between the artist and the audience. The crowd becomes part of the show and O'Connor says, "Everybody likes to laugh."