Why Standups Are the Worst; Vol. 1

Evening. These are due May 5th, right Brandie?

Whoops. Maybe she won’t read this.

And hey, while we’re dreaming, let’s keep that positive attitude going. Because we’re approaching the last week of my junior semester, your spring 2014 year at an alarming rate. I don’t know if it’s my inability to keep time like an adult or the fact that HOMTV has thrown me off my schedule permanently, but every single semester, every single year seems faster and more rushed than the last.

Wait, let’s set the scene. Just imagine you’re me, smack in the middle of finals. What do you do at one in the morning amongst stress, panic and fear of failing this internship and not getting a job?

You listen to the Ratatouille soundtrack…duh. I thought that was obvious.

So establish that Paris mindset and ignore I’m Italian who ate an unhealthy amount of linguini. Just read what seems to be a deeper look into my mind as we progress every week. How terrifying.

For obvious reasons that only relate to my well being as a journalist, Brandie has been pushing me to do more standups recently. I should do them; and I’ll be the first to admit I never do. I’d anecdotally say with arbitrary numerals that 75% of the time standups add nothing to the story but put a face to the voiceover. And this is true for an even bigger percent of sports stories.

Journalism is spontaneous; it’s original, pure. In its truest form, reporting is capturing a moment and telling that moment’s story in a way that the viewer and the person living the moment can connect. Storytelling isn’t staged; it’s directing a camera in the perfect position at the exact time.

Standups? Exactly the opposite. Standup are the ten-take, pitifully planned, practiced to ad nauseum addition to the story that only interjects an authors opinion. Tolstoy didn’t feel the need to add the character “Lev” to War and Peace just so people could connect with the man who wrote the pages. No, he left his byline for his story. The end. Epilogue, acknowledgements, white buffer, binding. If it was good and tragic enough, those with reputations would take the extra ten seconds to flip the fibers to rave over who crafted the creation they just witnessed.

Or read. Tolstoy was an author. The analogy falls apart there.

Which isn’t to say I won’t do standups. I’d gladly do one if it furthers the story, a la a demonstration. But poisoning my videos, my packages with my face is criminal; they already let me get away with it once every two weeks on Meridian News Now. I swear, I’m out of place on that show….(a blog post for a different time). If there’s rhyme, reason, rhythm in the story to do a standup, I’m all for it.. Until that time, I suppose I won’t be hired because I didn’t point to the patch of grass where a high school soccer team won a game once. Man, my chance at fame flashed between my eyes…..

Speaking of fame, two big things at HOMTV over the past week: I was crowned #internoftheweek. (hashtags are all the rage now. I’m kind of one of the cool kids for using them) for the first week in May. Saving the best for last is tradition, so I understand why they didn’t choose me off the bat. Suspense draws the viewers in.

Sidestepping narcissism, I also directed my first live show. Embarrassing myself by typing this, I’ll say I felt I was more prepared to direct a live show that technical direct. Honestly, all two of you reading this, technical directing has got the burden of stress way more than the director. Of course they go together, but the buffer for the director is the TD. They’re pressing the buttons, what they do goes on air for all those dozens to see.

That’s me. Feel bad for me.

So back to the narcissism,. I usually technical direct live shows, and Darkus must have passed out or Brandie misspoke and I ended up Thursday at 11:30 am with the headset on my cantaloupe-shaped head.  And honestly, Darkus saying to me as the show wrapped that she was impressed with how smooth it went and how it was the best show we’ve had this semester made me much more proud of my skills than I’m willing to admit. Sure, it was a straightforward show. And yes, listening to Brandon for weeks on end direct nearly identical shows helped prepare me. But genuine, impromptu praise, not those simply spewed in evaulations to raise my self esteem or break me out of the pessimistic streak I constantly dig for myself felt good.

Will I be back?

-the millions said, waiting on the edge of their seat….-


Yeah, probably. Any place I can work until 3 in the morning on a Sunday and go home happy is a place worth staying.

Fine, maybe not happy. But accomplished. Accomplished because I’m creating work that tells a story of someone who might not always get their voice heard. Accomplished because I’m working hard towards a career that I love more than anything else. And that accomplishment, that satisfaction may lose me weekends but pay off in years.

Either that or I’m delusional. And one way or the other, I’m having a great time.


About Richie Cozzolino

Riccardo (Richie) Cozzolino is a Michigan State University graduate with a Journalism degree and a specialization in broadcasting. He is from the Metro Detroit area and graduated from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School in 2011. His love of Detroit sports (and sports of all kinds) sparked his interest in sports journalism. He is looking for jobs in sports broadcasting, especially in radio. Hobbies include learning and eating.
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