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 depicts a different fictional character.
In today’s feature, Hunt writes about how deviating from his typical filming and writing schedule birthed hellish host Airbnb Guy — the dude who says “I’m on a boattttttt!” — a more socially dynamic model of the previous CharacterADays.
This is Airbnb Guy, a character I created on Day 14 of my #CharacterADay project, which entailed depicting one brand new character every day for a month. I like this character because he’s playful, and he reminds me that sometimes our best work comes from something that feels like a setback.
Twelve days into the project, I set off for a vacation to the east coast with my girlfriend. Sure, I was excited about all of the crab and lighthouses and crab-lighthouses that awaited us. But I was panicked about having to make videos without my normal morning writing routine and the white backdrop and pro NOVAC lights that I had used to give a clean look to my videos thus far.
I filmed my first vacation character hurriedly on the plane and apologetically posted it to my followers. To my surprise, fans wrote in telling me this was one of their favorite videos. They loved seeing my characters interact with the real world. To them, a white backdrop – no matter how “pro” it looked – could never match the energy and infinite possibilities of the real world. Two days later we stayed at an Airbnb on some guy’s boat in Portland, Maine (I highly recommend this). The boat made a perfect playground for a new character. While our host was wonderful, I found myself thinking about all the nightmarish hosts we could have been stuck with on that boat. And so Airbnb Guy was born. Along with him, a realization surfaced: a character is not just a set of funny ticks and catchphrases; it’s a chance to open a window on a new and peculiar world. This was the moment my project shifted away from the wall and out into the world.
Whatever you are making — handcrafted furniture, dangerously tall bicycles, a one-man musical about Dawson’s Creek and the career of James Van Der Beek — there are cool things that you have yet to consider. New directions for your art, ways to work better, ideas for sharpening your voice. All of those lessons are just sitting out there, twiddling their thumbs, waiting for you to come along and discover them. So the next time you see a bump in your creative path — an unexpected turn in the road — don’t cringe. Lean into it. Smile. You’re about to discover something you need.