A lot of people talk about the features of the iPhone with the orgasmic hyperbole of a Star Wars fanboy. Some it is justified: Apple made software virtually tangible, and that’s probably the greatest technological revolution we’ll all likely witness in this lifetime (on par with seeing the Internet’s exponential impact on the world for the last 15 years). It’s also deceptively simple. And it’s pretty. And, frankly, it gets the job done.
But I’m not here to write about that, nor amateurishly start sentences with conjunctions.
I want to write about how the iPhone saved my relationship.
I got an iPhone as a treat to myself in February of 2011.
A day later, I followed up on the hype of friends telling me that I had to get into the podcast game, more notably by listening to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast. It was overdue, but before getting the iPhone, listening to podcasts required a computer, the very device I wanted to avoid when I got home from an entire day of working on one. Now I had the chance to listen.
So I did, and my mind was thoroughly blown as disturbingly honest monologues and even more disturbingly candid interviews with my favorite entertainers were pouring into my brain, like endless gallons of wisdom. Each episode was guaranteed catharsis.
Then I dabbled with other podcasts, like improv-based podcast “Comedy Bang Bang” (formerly Comedy Death Ray), trivia talk show “Doug Loves Movies,” and the intellectual super-niche clusterfuck “Walking the Room,” along with numerous other ones based on stand-up comedy.
It was refreshing to see independent artists create their own mediums, making its collective audience dialogue inspire them to create more content. I started to question the power structure of show business. Then I became empowered by this and built a revenue-based business plan for my band because of it. (Oh yeah, I have a band, http://www.wartimerecitals.com)
My iPhone became my podcast gadget, that happens to make and receive telephone calls. I wish this didn’t sound like an exaggeration.
Then I realized, “Holy shit. I am in love with this medium. This medium speaks to me. This medium makes me want to participate more in the world. Oh, and I love stand-up comedy. Like … a lot.”
I told The Girlfriend about this “podcast thing” and she hopped on the bandwagon since I could not stop talking about them. She knew it was important to me, and knew it was more than “just some phase.” She became hooked, too.
So then The Girflriend (@sidzorz) and I started going out more, but instead of our usual marathon of live music, we started to be frequent attendees at The Comedy Store (thanks to free tickets via Twitter contests, which were won via the iPhone) and the UCB Theatre. Meanwhile, we started attending live podcast tapings on weeknights quite frequently. The Girlfriend was even featured on an episode of “Doug Loves Movies.”
Then The Girlfriend and I started to have very personal feelings towards comics, to the point where we’d go to a comic’s pilot taping or opening set, just in support of them having served us laughs (often for free, via podcasts). Comedy continues to be a very, very big and important part of our relationship.
It also brought a new conversation to our daily talks. Instead of just discussing our day-to-day bullshit and general music topics, we now consult each other on which episodes of which podcasts we had to listen to. We mock each other for missing out on key episodes. “YOU DIDN’T LISTEN TO THE ADAM SCOTT EPISODE YET?! EAT SHIT JK I LOVE YOU.”
This has been going on for over a year.
Then, the most amazing thing happened. It might be the most amazing thing that has ever happened in our relationship.
The Girlfriend, who is as shy as a tea leaf and fragile to public speaking as Helen Keller (BAD WRITING; HOWEVER I WILL NOT EDIT), said a series of words I never thought I’d hear anyone, let alone her, say:
“I’m going to do 5 minutes at an open-mic.”
Not only did she come to this beautiful moment with confidence, but she said it with THE GODDAMN BRICKWALL BACKDROP/SLEAZEBAG COMIC VERNACULAR! She may as well have said, “I’m going to test my five at the ‘Factory. Peace.” OBVIOUSLY, I FUCKED HER BRAINS OUT THAT NIGHT.
Okay, so maybe I was lying about “how the iPhone saved my relationship,” but how we used the device really added more to our already-healthy relationship (there was nothing to save; sorry, guys). Additionally, comedy made The Girlfriend and I realize that there’s more to our future than what we assume is the capacity of all the things we share together. And lastly, it made us show one another that we’re capable of changing and learning new things about ourselves in the process.
I look forward to The Girlfriend’s five minutes. I hope that she feels like her idol, Paula Poundstone*, for a brief moment in her life.
*Not lying: She is super into Paula Poundstone.