My name is Rick Bailey. I’m a professional comedy writer. I’ve done some scripts for TV, film, Internet, and was co-host of a 200 episode podcast with one of my favorite people in the world. I’ve worked for one of the biggest names in stand-up, someone I respect tremendously, and did so as much for the pure joy as for the compensation.
Oh yeah, and I’m homeless.
Officially I’ve been homeless for 14 of the last 16 months. Unlike many in my condition I cast the blame squarely where it belongs; I made some horrible decisions. There were some contributors, sure, but ultimately I wasn’t too damn bright until the situation became dire. The comedy writing gig which had been a nice supplement to my income went away. No tears, no hard feelings. It’s just how Hollywood works. All good things come to an end. But I had not positioned myself in the industry as a “go-to” guy for comedy, so there was nothing else in writing to follow. I have never been the type to attend parties and push myself on someone for work. When it came to comedy I reasoned someone with a need would see my words, or know me personally, see the benefit and offer me work. I was also painfully shy in social situations, co-hosting the STFU Show notwithstanding. On microphone I forced myself to talk because it was my job. But if you ever saw me in a bar, I’d most likely be against a wall, nobody else around. I might have appeared standoffish. In reality it was shyness, fear of rejection, call it what you will.
But comedy was different. I didn’t have the confidence to get up on a stage in front of people, but I knew I could make just about anyone laugh. I’d been doing it all my life. Going way back I even have a report card (2nd grade) where the teacher noted I was trying to be funny in class, but she found it annoying/disruptive, and a parent-teacher conference was in order. Dad tore my little ass up over that episode. So thanks Miss D_______ you cunt. You crushed a little boy’s ambitions by ratting him out to his parents. Did you ever ONCE think maybe you could have demonstrated the proper technique about how to put your hand in your armpit to make a better fart sound? A little encouragement for a comedic soul in search of direction would have gone a long way. BUT HERE WE ARE…A SCANT 50 YEARS LATER I’M HOMELESS! Happy now? Let’s just go ahead and put a fern in the spot reserved for Teacher Of The Year, shall we?
OK, rant over. Back to the story (for those who don’t know me I do this from time to time). I had some business opportunities unrelated to comedy and I relied upon assurances that the businesses would go forward. I did so without contracts. Even though I saw my finances dwindling I didn’t make a move as it was only a matter of time until the businesses took hold and everything would be rosy. This blind faith proved to be my undoing. If I was my own best friend I would have been screaming at myself to make a backup plan. So why wouldn’t I take my own advice? I guess it’s similar to a marriage counselor who’s been divorced more times than Liz Taylor. You can be too close to the forest. Every single business opportunity fell apart in the eleventh (sometimes twelfth) hour. The odds of it happening again and again were probably astronomical, but happen they did. And I was woefully unprepared. By the time the word was official that none of the projects would be moving forward, I was already in a motel, and instead of a bright promise of a nice place in Orange County, I was homeless and staring at being unsheltered.
So the question begs, what now? And my answer is, I have no goddamned idea. I still have two business opportunities which are promising, but slow moving. I can still make people laugh with my words, whether spoken or typed, and at least for now, the Camry is holding together just enough for me to stay sheltered delivering food. But I don’t like being lucky for luck eventually runs out. When it does I will have nowhere to turn, nothing I can do to get out of this situation. I will become a statistic. And excepting those with a mental illness, I will say what every homeless/unsheltered person has uttered…”I never thought it could happen to me”. It’s never been my nature to give up, but honestly I’ve had some dark moments along this journey. I think what has stopped me from anything drastic was knowing there are people rooting for me, and depending on me to turn this around. So I press on, but it’s not easy. Not for one fucking minute should you ever think it’s easy.
As for this site, I designed and built it, and every word, save for attributed quotes, is mine. There’s not a lot of rhyme, reason, or rules I’m following here; it’s just thoughts and things I’ve experienced. Should you wish to register an objection, you are welcome to launch your own site. Here’s the order:
- Become homeless
- Build a website
- Write whatever the hell you please
Best of luck to ya, especially with #1.