Setting New Goals: Fit & Funny

Yesterday, I completed a 10-day detox plan (yes, I live in LA SORRY).

I'm not telling you that because I want to you to comment on how good I look (but I'm not discouraging you from doing that, particularly on my Instagram). Instead, I'm sharing the thought process that I've been overcome with this morning: "what now?"

These last 10 days helped me get back on-track, both with my diet and my exercise, and I feel great. But I find myself staring at the month ahead of me (and the 27 days specifically that I have before attend a wedding in NYC) with a need for sense of direction to continue on my path.

Side note: I purposefully bought my bridesmaid dress 1 size too small to force myself to get into shape. The pressure is on.

As I started logging down in my journal exactly how I'll be eating and what I expect to lose in a month, I had a moment of clarity. Whether it's your body, your career, of for me my stand-up/writing, you have to do the exact same thing to reach success: plan, outline and commit.

We've all started the New Year off with a resolution to "lose weight," or "be more creative," but at least from experience I've found it to be more successful when I have a clear and measurable program in place, a goal in mind, and a plan of how to stay accomplished along the way. And believe me, I've yo-yo'd, so I know.

And with that said, I'm setting new goals. Yes, we get it, I want to be fit. But I want to be funnier, and take my work to the next level.

If you're on the same comedy path, consider:

  1. Researching festivals, fellowships, scholarships, etc and identifying which to apply to / when deadlines are.
  2. Get to working on your newest tape. Write those jokes now knowing you need a certain amount of minutes, and fill in the blanks.
  3. Logging your jokes/scripts and seeing where you are - then setting a goal of how much material you need to finish the next project.

Be funny my friends. Think thin thoughts.

Success and How I'm Impatient AF. But Am I Really?

I wish being a comedian meant that you could laugh all day. Just laugh. No drama, no stress, no worrying about the future.

But it's not as easy as it seems. It's a constant effort. I don't want to say it's an uphill battle...but since I can't think of a better analogy, let's call it a stair-master climb.

Like a stair-master, you know that with each step you take forward, you're doing something good for yourself. You control the pace -- you can make this journey go faster or slower -- but it's hard to keep going sometimes when you don't know how long it'll take until you reach your desired outcome.

I'm impatient AF. But am I really?

Knock on wood (or my Mac keyboard) but I would say I've experienced a lot of "early" success for only having done stand-up about a year. Maybe it was all this pent up energy I had from working in the entertainment industry (but always in creative-adjacent roles) or maybe it's that I've always been this funny but only just now got the guts to admit and pursue my dream.  But while I'm SO SO SO GRATEFUL for where I stand today, I can't say it doesn't irk me when people tell me to slow down, or not to expect things to happen so quickly.

I get it -- you have to wait to: pay your dues, to learn, to experience, and to practice. I'm not looking for a shortcut, but I'm looking to surround myself with the inspirational people, ideas, and platforms I need to be DIFFERENT.

You're right, NORMALLY, it takes ___ time to be comfortable on stage. It then takes ___ to find your voice and ___ for this and ___ for that. But what drives me forward is not the expected path. Isn't that what we're all in the game for, to change it? Why more of the same?

It's the same philosophy I fought when I told people I applied to Harvard and other Ivy League schools when I was just a high schooler in Fort Collins, CO. I'll never forget a comment a girl in my class once made, "You have to be like really smart though, and like no one makes it." Or the ideas people have when you tell them you want to be an actor: "Yeah but MILLIONS of people are trying to do that," and, "It's so hard to make it," and, "They're looking for ___."

But who the fuck are THEY?!

What posessed me to write this blog, and what's been on my mind the last week, has been that delicate and tricky equation that leads to success. What must go in to get what you want out?

Here's the only answer I have: no one knows. Actually, fuck that. YOU KNOW.

You determine your pace. You determine your confidence. It's up to you to GIVE IT EVERYTHING and pave the way for a favorable outcome to manifest.

While you can't control outside circumstances and events, you CAN control what you're feeding the machine. 

To that girl in highschool: I did get in to Harvard. 

To my parents dismay: Now I'm a (smart) comedian. #SorryNotSorry


Failure #__: NBC Diversity Search

This past weekend I faced a #ComedyFail that compelled me to write my first blog post -- which I've been meaning to do for a while. StandUp NBC. How'd it go? Well, read the pre-cursor below before I tell you that.

I've been asked a lot recently things like "how did you get to where you are today," and "how did you start following your passion?" 

Part of me always defaults to the positive responses, which are things I probably repeat just to tell myself more than others that it's OK. My go-to (true) response is below, which summarizes the constant struggle:

"For me, comedy came at a dark time when I was truly fed up with my life/career. It was from that frustration that I gave myself a deadline to do my first open mic, and the rest is history. When you make yourself do something, and have an end goal in mind, you'll start to notice the people and opportunities that will get you to the next step. I also love meditating and listening to Tony Robbins on YouTube. Those 2 things help center me when I feel like idk what's gonna be the next move. From Tony I learned to list out what I'd like to achieve to have a clear outline..."

So with that in mind,  I drove 7+ hours from LA to SF to participate in an open casting call for the NBC showcase; got in line at 3am (as they were only seeing the first 100 people, and I was #87 at that point); and prepared a 1-min, 2-min, and 7-min set to perform in front of the judges.

The punchline is that I didn't even make it past the first, 1-min round AFTER ALL OF THAT. But the aftermath (which I'm currently experiencing on this fine Monday morning) are the proverbial lessons I've learned... or again, am telling myself that I learned.

Positive me says, "Reem - absorb everything you can from this experience and use it for next time, tomorrow, and every day of your life." So here goes:

  1. Don't over-estimate yourself: I thought "OMG diversity? I'm Arab/Muslim/Iraqi -- I AM DIVERSITY." Which is why I was slightly surprised I didn't even make it to callbacks. Don't think you've earned a free ticket just by being who you are. There are WAY more factors that go into a recipe for success.
  2. Put your best foot forward: See above -- I assumed I'd get to round 2 so easily, which is why I kept my best joke for that. I had good jokes in round 1, but now that I know the outcome, wish I would've went 10000% in my first go and proven it right then/there.
  3. Don't let it get to you: Your first thought might be, "I'm not good enough," but that's not the case. Every show/competition/casting is like a job interview - they're looking for something specific and if that's not you, it's fine. 

I'm not saying I'm an expert or anything, but I wanted to share my experience for others to learn from. Or maybe to revisit in a few years, when I've "made it." :)