Tuesday, March 5, 2013

10 Things I Would Tell Young Comedians

10. Don’t take part in gossip. It’s a waste of time and it is a bottom feeder tactic. You aren’t at open mics to make friends. You are there to have a career. Gossip will slow you down and sometimes your words might even come back to haunt you.

9. A booker will book a marginally talented comedian who is easy to get along with over a talented comedian who gets drunk, gets disrespectful with staff, and has sex in the restroom with audience members. What I am trying to say is be funny but also act professionally. After all, you are at work.
8. Not everyone will think you are funny, and don’t take it personally. Comedy is extremely subjective. There are some people who think Dane Cook should be roasted alive, others think he is the cat’s meow. Some think Tosh is a genius, I think he is a man who got a leg up because of the gender bias in this business simply because he is A MAN AND HAS NO TALENT WHATSOEVER. There are some who adore me and some who wish I would die. Bottom line, people will like you or hate you. Don’t let it ruin your day.

7. Don’t let one bad set ruin your life. Everyone bombs. Sometimes it is just a pipe bomb, sometimes it is big enough to destroy an island nation a la 1945. Let it go. There are many factors that go into tanking. Sometimes it is the night. Sometimes you are tired. Sometimes the crowd hates you because you are white, a woman, or a white woman. Sometimes it is that you are green. Either way, use it to get better. And also use it as a lesson that now you know what to do the next time.

6. Being passed at a club means NOTHING. At the beginning of my career I made it a goal to get passed at clubs that I viewed as the finest establishments. I got a lottery number, I brought peeps, you name it I did it. However I soon found out that was the biggest sand trap. Passed comedians did not get on TV or get careers. Passed comedians were lucky if they got one paid spot every three months at some dives. So just because someone is passed it does not mean their career is better. It just means they were perhaps the right gender or ethnic group to fill a quota.

5. Comedy is not fair. Everyone has a strike against them in the game. Sometimes being a certain ethnic group works in your favor if the industry is pushing it. Sometimes it works against you if the industry is burnt out on it. Most of the time being a woman, especially a young woman, will make you the pariah amongst ugly women comedians or will make male club owners think you are their fuck on a platter. That being said, every dog has their day in the dog house. It’s how you deal with it that makes you stronger.

4. Pay your dues. I have heard comedians complain about bringing and barking who have only been at the game for two months. I have heard comedians who have only been doing this a year complain about the mics. I have news for you, some of the best comedians I know cleaned toilets for several years. At one year you aren’t ready for prime time. So do what you have to do to get stage time.

3. Do not be afraid to branch out. A lot of people think standup is the only way to go. It can be a way to go, but it doesn’t mean it has to be the only thing you do. Translated, all the mice are going for the same piece of cheese. Don’t be afraid to take an acting class, do a podcast, write a blog whatever. The times my career has been most successful and fulfilling is when I am auditioning for TV shows, making my own videos, publishing books, making music and of course PERFORMING STANDUP.

2. Starve the negativity. It is very easy to make friends with negative people in comedy, especially older pros who feel the world owes them something. Being around them dampens your love for comedy and eventually you will view it as work and not as something you are blessed to have and passionate to do. Also, you will limit your own creativity and destiny by being trapped in the proverbial crap of their making. Just don’t succumb.

1. It is a marathon not a sprint. Like all races, some people start out front but then their breath dies and they drop off. I knew people hot out of the gate that years later are no where to be found, and then people who worked for years and finally took off. That being said, while standup is the starting line the finish line is different for everyone. For some the destination is purely standup. For others the destination is acting/radio. Then there are those who become writers. And then there are the folks behind the scenes as producers, club owners, and managers. The beauty is if you stick with the race and finish, no matter what your destination, everyone who finishes the race ends up working together. 

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
Paperback available at 877-Buy-Book, Amazon.com
E-Book available at Kindle and Nook
Audiobook available in the Spring of 2103
Portion of proceeds go to RAINN

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