My Dream Job

For the very few who wonder what it must be like to be either a professional student or an amateur comic, let alone both; allow me to share one of my favorite lines told onstage.

Being a grad student is a lot like being a comedian. Now I have two jobs that don’t really pay anything.

Having the day job to support one’s comedy habit is akin to the common refrain budding PhD student’s face from their families, “so what ARE you going to do with that?”

After four years of graduate school and stand up comedy I still have no idea. One advances while the other stagnates and vice versa. The key is to find a job that allows for a bit of both. And at least for right now I think I’ve found it. Christopher Beam over at Slate offers a glimpse .

Also it would be nice if using humor was part of the job description as well. By this point it is commonplace to assume that Jon Stewart occupies not only the coolest job but also one of the most important cultural positions today. We here in the departments of communication studies, media studies, and journalism have been writing ad nauseum of the existence and impact of this position but suffice it to say that Stewart is the dominant satirist of our time. And this is a position to be venerated. Stewart is the H. L. Mencken or Mark Twain of our generation , a sentiment echoed not only by various academics but also by the likes of Kurt Vonnegut whose praise of Stewart strikes me as perhaps the utmost compliment anyone can bestow on a humorist.

I’m not saying I want to be the next Jon Stewart. I’m not so naive as to think I have even an ounce of his talent and charisma. In fact I don’t think we should have more people like him and Stephen Colbert. We should just bask in the brilliance they create. But I do think those of us who have been fans since the beginning and have gone to great lengths to illustrate the significance of what is going on at Comedy Central should be able to take their lead and find newer and more interesting ways to offer our ideas to the world. In many ways Jon Stewart does not do anything different than many academics interested in the current state of the world. It’s just that his method is, and it’s working.

Which is why, as a longtime fan of the show, as well as a practicing humorist, I was inspired by the Slate article previously mentioned. Commentary on current events, in a public format, with small doses of reasoned criticism gleaned from one’s academic training of choice, with some jokes thrown in, is something that I really think I could do. In fact it IS what I do. Can someone start posting those jobs on Monster? And then tell me about it on LinkedIn? And then show me how to use Monster and LinkedIn?


About Joe Faina

Rhetoric & Media Professor, Writer, Humorist

Posted on 06/08/2010, in Academia, Comedy, Political Pop-Culture and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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