featured open mic

What the hell has Paul been up to?

10:42:00 AMPaul Clemente



In early 2015, my life was finally trending upward. After a tumultuous divorce, legal trouble, death (not mine), and what could be considered a mental breakdown from 2012-14 I was doing ... OK.?

In early 2014, I met the love of my life and I invested myself into being a better human and quality father. There was - and forever will be - lingering battles with mania and depression but there were very few things to complain about. At this point, I feel that broke-even in life. I crawled out of that dark valley of oppression, mental abuse, and apathy. I was finally ready to be a better person instead of just merely surviving.

I decided to do things for myself again. I was finally in an environment in which I wasn't made to feel gutturally guilty about investing time into my happiness. One of those things was to try and perform.

I joined nameless! comedy in early 2016. I performed improv at Blurrie-Con, Tatsu-Con, and a SOLD OUT show at Lucy-Fest. Not bad for my first year performing on stage! When they went on summer hiatus, I was itching to perform again. I realized how much I loved making people react to things I do.




Around Winter of 2017 a friend whom I performed improv with suggested me as the "mean" judge for a local talent competition called Chautauqua's Got Talent. It was another opportunity to do something I have never done before and perform in front more sold-out crowds of hundreds.

It was one my most fun projects ever. The owners of The Spire, Angelo and Ylsa not only gave me the flexibility to do some of my Kaufman-esque stunts during the show but they became some of my dearest friends afterward.





From hanging out with the talent from that show, I ended up meeting poets, musicians, singers, comedians, actors, and everything in between. I was so invigorated by the local creative scene that I thought - for sure - didn't exist in this area. I've met so many creative and friendly people this year who have all been willing and receptive to ideas and conversation. 

Three days after the dizzying high of Chautauqua's Got Talent ended, I wanted to try stand-up comedy and get back out in front of people. Again, the amazing bucket of people I have met in the past two years encouraged me to try and it made me feel valued and appreciated. 




This summer I will be involved with The Spire's Summer Showdown and I hope to be on a featured show at The Q. I am also going to try and spearhead an improv revitalization in the area at The Argo theater as well. 

I am at my happiest when I'm occupied with creativity. There are a few veins of creative pockets left in this community and I want to try them all. I want to audition for a play, sing karaoke at Forte, and perform poetry at a poetry slam. All of these things exist in my hometown! It took me over a decade to open up my damn eyes and drink it all in.

I can never get that time back but I learned a lesson. It's not enough to be willing. It's not enough to have an open mind. It's not enough to have talent. You have to truly be willing to try. It IS work initially. It won't come to you. No one is going to hold your hand through it all. It's up to you to embrace an opportunity and invest yourself in the experience. Whether it is good or bad is inconsequential. Fear is only a product of your own insecurities and no one genuinely wants you to fail. Art is socially acceptable masturbation. You might as well enjoy it.


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