Saturday, January 5, 2013

10 Things Every Comedian Should Know

10. Comedians are cliquish. There are the club folks, the alt folks, the Jersey folks, the folks who want to be like other folks. Some of them will like you, some of them wont. Its more a reflection on them and their lack of talent than it is on you.
9. For the Women: Men have the upper hand. Get used to it. You will have to fight harder and bookers and club owners will feel it is okay to try to feel you up and pressure you for sex. While it’s up to you, don’t be surprised when it happens. And don’t complain. This is not like other jobs where you can sue for sexual harassment.
8. Everyone has a drinking or drug problem or is in recovery from a drinking or drug problem. Everyone has had a rough childhood or has a chip on their shoulder. When someone gives you an unusual response, remember that this is after all the broken toy store. Perhaps they didn’t get their usual AA meeting.
7. When they say they want someone different, out of the box, and original, they are lying to you especially if you are a woman. Club owners want someone safe. Being boring gets you passed faster. However, those people will only do the same shitty club whereas the original thinker will eventually become the superstar.
6. I was fired from one club after getting them a shitload of air time. I was basically black balled from another for cussing them out. Bottom line, don’t be afraid to burn bridges. Don’t be afraid to make enemies. The people who are supposed to help you will, but the people who aren’t in your court will never be in your court.
5. It’s okay to be a fame whore. Fame whores make it. The purists never do more than the Walmart of Comedy. Plus they sit around all day arguing over what makes a joke and what doesn’t. If an opportunity arises to get on TV, do it. As Billy Gardell said, when he defended me on the radio, “You need to take your breaks where you can-end of story.”
4. Your friends will turn on your when you start to make it. Yes, if you make it or get any success the people you once went to mics with will bad mouth you any chance they get on the internet. They feel your success is not justified. Meanwhile if it was them it will be perfectly justified. Just remember comedians are not a community. They are just a bunch of dreamers who think big and there are very few doers.
3. Making it has very little to do with being funny. Sometimes it is being at the right place at the right time. Sometimes it is being the right ethnicity during a right time. Whatever. But much of it has to be with being hard working, being persistent, showing up, and most importantly not being afraid of rejection. Oh, and write a thank you note and return a phone call.
2. Every dog has their day. Some people get passed at clubs without a problem. Some people get on TV and it is easy to get jealous. Here’s the thing. Everyone’s journey is different. Some people end up as just standups, others branch into acting, then there are those who become writers, and many even go the talent/club management/production route. Bottom line, it is a marathon not a sprint. Keep your eye on your own game and don’t focus on others. The beautiful part is, if you stay in the race you someday end up working together on projects with others who have run the race as well.
1. Don’t be afraid to do your own thing. Others all want you to follow in their footsteps, and comedians are all followers. So don’t be afraid to make your own videos. Don’t be afraid to start your own podcast. Don’t be afraid to write your book. Don’t be afraid to pitch your project. Don’t be afraid to have another creative outlet aside from the shows where everyone is fighting to perform in front of three people. It won’t distract you from the dying art of standup, but rather will make it richer when you perform in front of  a packed house. 

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