I spent a year basically only performing in comedy competitions and it ruined comedy for me. Instead of appreciating the other comics on a show with me, I was suddenly comparing myself to them, deciding who was funnier. Picking apart their set to put my mind at ease that I was funnier and thus more deserving of a spot in the next round. That vitriol forced its way into all corridors of comedy for me. I judged people at open mics, on shows, other’s successes. It was bad. The 8 months I took off the stage were so valuable for me to reassess and refocus my energy. I feel like I am starting a new level of my comedy career. I have burned all of my previous material (except for 2 bits I like) because those jokes no longer represent who I am as a comedian, or what kind of art I want to put into the world. I recently did a ‘safe space’ comedy show in a yarn store, with a very cool and diverse audience AND roster. The show had a ton of queer comics, comics of color, and female comics. The people I love in my life. The people who have shown me so much acceptance. The people I want in my audiences and alongside me on bills. While building my set, I kept being like ‘can’t do that joke, or that joke’ and it donned on me, why do I have jokes I’m not comfortable doing in front of the kind of audiences I want to perform for? I shouldn’t. There will be a new, woker Matt Klopot coming to stages all over the city (and world?) starting in the spring. For now, I need to get writing!