Back in 2019, that feeling of emptiness kicked in. I had a well paying job, good work life balance, a loving family, good health but I kept wondering if this is it? Will I keep repeating this for the next 50 years of my life? (Thats assuming my life expectancy of 80 yrs or so).
I was 31 then and wondered if this was what they call mid life crisis. It seemed a bit too early for that. I watched umpteen series on Netflix, changed jobs twice in two years, travelled to a new country almost once a month. I was trying to find some meaning to my life, I think.
Sometime then, we went to a live comedy show by Kevin Hart. I watched his shows on television (always funny) and he was one of the very few comedians I knew by name. We bought tickets to his show and were not disappointed. I still remember some of his jokes. His strength, what I think is powerful story telling. He makes you imagine every scene to the precise perfection like he envisions. He laughs with you so hard that you feel like he and you are in the same scene.
It was after this show, that I also heard about his book – I can’t make this up – life lessons kevin hart. I just bought it thinking it would be a funny bedtime read. I didn’t expect any more from it then.
It didn’t occur to me then that comedians can also write about themselves, about their life and that it has power to inspire someone. Now to be clear, I had no dream of becoming a comedian myself (not that I could. I don’t find humour easy!) but I still found his book inspiring. What I liked most about it is the tone. Its like kevin is sitting next to you and talking to you. Now he is not giving you some bullshit piece of advice but merely telling you what his childhood was like. What did he do before he became a comedian? How he became one? His marriage, kids, life and so on. And that picture he paints with his story is so real and impactful that you feel like you were right there – when he was growing up, when he had no money, when he was rejected for shows (the ones that chase him now) and when he finally made to the grand stage.
My favourite character from the book is his mother who left no stone unturned to discipline Kevin. He describes her like a military officer in disguise of a Mom. Kevin was downright scared of her. He kept lying to her all his childhood to escape her strict regime. But in the end, it is indeed his mom who grinded those habits in him that could make him committed to his career.
Whats also interesting to know from kevin is how difficult comedy really is. How every line in a comedy show is scripted, practised several times with multiple audiences before it is staged live. The punches are improvised for timing, the story is personalised to connect. After rigourous rehearsal and re- rehearsal, the comedian puts his show to the final audience (which might/might not laugh as expected). The audience has power to make or break comedian’s career, his hard earned time on stage.
I finished this book in about a week’s time. I could not help but notice how energetic and optimistic Kevin seems irrespective of his field of work which is so repetitive and exhaustive. He made plenty of bad choices in his life but that does not stop him from making new ones. Infact, he is till exploring.
After reading this book, I planned to brush up my lost passions. Reading was one of them and so is writing. I did not do either since four years. I have resumed them now. Not to gain anything but strangely, when you practice something you like, that feeling of emptiness suddenly disappears.
In 2019, I read 24 books. I also bought a journal app for my phone to start writing again. I write most days.
Thanks! To Kevin! To my first book in 2019!