Anticipation is a huge thing for a comic when you think about it. We anticipate getting the gig. We anticipate the success of the gig once we got it. We anticipate getting up on that stage. We anticipate the laughter of a new joke. Anticipation plays a big role in being a comic and it can undo you as well. I was in Seattle this weekend for a comedy competition and that is what ultimately did me in, I think, and caused me to not do as well as I wanted and not win the competition (and the fact that there were amazing comics on there did not do me any favors as well). I got to the place the competition was going to be really early because of festivities that were going on. I sat there just wishing the time would speed up somehow and I could get up on that stage and do what I thought was going to be a set that would bring me success. The anticipation lead to my nerves getting the better of me and causing me to not perform my jokes as well I would have liked. It was the anticipation of getting up there and trying to out do other people at something we all love to do. These comics all deserved to be there performing for the prize and that made me want to get up there more and more. I stumbled my way out of the competition because the anticipation of everything got the better of me. I didn’t listen to my own rules (last week’s article) and I it cost me.
Defeat is a part of competitions, show business, and life. We are all fighting for finite resources, be it jobs or money or shows. If you are going to be in show business disappointment and defeat is going to go with success. We have all read about the best selling author who had to go through hundreds of rejection letters before someone took a chance on their book and made them a success. With comedy it’s no different. You will have to send out ton’s of emails and promotional materials and for every 10 you may get 2 responses and they may both be negative. I remember wanting to get a comedy agent a couple of years ago and so I sent out my stuff to several agencies and I got a response from one agency and they said that I wasn’t ready to be represented. I was disappointed of course, but I had to think about what that meant. Does that mean I am a bad comic? Or does that mean that I do not have a following that would allow them to sell me to comedy clubs? I have auditioned for tons of work as an actor. I have only gotten 3 and 2 of those I just walked around in the background. You can’t let it get to you or it will eat you alive.
What’s hard for me is that my mind lingers on such things for an awful long time and it can bring me down to the point where I stop sending out emails and trying to get into more places around the country. What made me realize that comedy was in my blood was when I did a show in Medford Oregon. I got on stage and for 25 minutes I bombed. I was so shell shocked that I just drove home that night. While I was driving back I thought about giving it up and just doing something else. It was around hour 6 of my drive that I got this urge to get back up on stage and do it again. That was when I looked out into the night and realize that I was curse to relive this drive over and over and I would keep wanting to do it over and over because it made me feel alive. I think that is the weird thing about defeat. It is only defeat if you allow it to defeat you. If you give in to the thoughts surrounding the disappointment of not achieving a goal then it can drive you away from it. Instead, dust yourself off and go at it again because even defeat can be defeated.