Every Tuesday for the next month, we will feature a guest blog and video from New Orleans-based comedian CJ Hunt’s #CharacterADay series,a project of solo comedy videos that, each depicting a different fictional character.
In today’s feature, Hunt writes about how he developed character “Crossfit Guy,” the dude who (clean) eats, sleeps, gyms, repeats.
This is a video of “Crossfit Guy,” a character created on day 5 of #Characteraday, a project I undertook to create one new comedic character video every day for a month. In truth, I only filmed this character because I had run out of good ideas. The preceding videos featured far-fetched characters with creative twists: an ex-mobster travel agent; an office trickster with a dark secret; an aggressive man whose catcalls at women turn out to be empowering phrases. And then came day 5. Empty of creative ideas, I chose to do something ordinary: a jock character. To make it less generic, I chose to make him a lover of Crossfit — a competitive, cultish exercise craze that I was participating in at the time.
The resulting video was one of my most successful videos so far. Fans would watch the video and say, “I know a guy just like that.” We all recognize the gym-head who will not shut up about exercise. It is easier to laugh at what we recognize than it is to applaud an interesting concept we have never experienced (i.e. an ex-mobster travel agent).
Whatever you make — young adult novels, tiny art installations, giant paintings of mountains and waterfalls — try letting yourself run out of good ideas. It’s scary. We depend on our good ideas, right? That’s why we hoard them — saving them up for a future tweet or our next novel or painting. But when you let yourself run out of good ideas, you are forced to push into new territory. You are forced to take on subject matter that feels ordinary or below your standard. But, because you are smart, you will find something wonderful, and surprising in that new place. I promise. The painter exhausted by her elaborate landscapes turns instead to doodling a coffee cup. You know, just for the hell of it. Her audience loves it. Why? Because they don’t know much about waterfalls and sprawling mountain vistas with the sky on fire. But they do know coffee. They drink it everyday.