The Wheat From The Chaff

Guess what?  Not everyone is a comedian.  That is probably not a surprise, but what I mean is that people that are getting up on stage and doing comedy might not even be a comedian.  I’m not saying it in a stuck up way (I hope), what I am saying is that not everyone has what it takes to be a comic, and there is nothing wrong with that.

I see it every year.  I see new comics come out to the open mics and they will hit it hard for about 2-3 weeks and a couple of things become apparent.  One of the hardest things for newer comedians is what happens once their friends stop showing up.  A lot of people just can’t tell a joke if their friends are not there to laugh at them.  A lot of people are funny, but fewer people can make a room of strangers laugh consistently.  People show up with a table or two of friends and they can make them laugh, but when they show up by themselves (because your friends have better things to do) and realize they can’t make that room full of people that don’t know things about them.

What people don’t realize is that the majority of comics actually write material and then work it into something that people will laugh at more often than not.  What a lot of these guys do is get up and then talk to the audience like they are talking to their friends and they realize that it didn’t come out the same way.  Writing is an integral part of being a comedian.  You are as much a writer as you are a performer.  If you don’t have someone writing your jokes and you think you can get up there and wing with success you may fall flat on your face.  A lot of people run into to that wall and they never return.

What really pisses me off is the guy (or gal, I’m just using guy to represent all comics…don’t make this weird) that walks up after doing it for 3 months going, “So, how do I start making money?” That is not how it works!  A lot of people work their asses off, coming every week to open mics, and working on their jokes and getting their material to the point where they have a great half hour…and they still might not be getting paid.  I lucked out.  After I was doing it for about 3-4 months I was getting paid, but those were independent shows that just took a shot on me because they saw me every open mic.  When it came to clubs…hell, I am still not getting paid to perform in every club!  In Spokane it took me about 6 months in before I got to feature a weekend at a club.  It doesn’t happen that way for everyone.  If you have the material and it is good and you know the right people then you can get work, but getting work should not be the end goal.  The end goal should be to be funny.

People also just don’t commit.  If you don’t want to be a comedian and just want to do it every so often there is nothing wrong with that.  If you see it as a hobby or something on your bucket list then go ahead!  You can’t however, show up every couple of weeks and think you can become this great comedian.  It doesn’t work that way.  The reason people get out and do as many open mics they can is to polish their jokes and the stage persona that they are gonna go with.  If you want to be a comic but can’t get out often then it will not work.

Sometimes you just run up on someone that thought they were funny and it just doesn’t translate to the stage. I have seen that a lot.  They did everything and they were not funny.  There is nothing you can do about that.  They either can’t write a joke or they just don’t understand how jokes work.

Not everyone is made to be a comic.  Even if you get all that stuff above together you may still not want to be on the road all the time or worry about where your rent money is gonna come from or running around to get work.  Not to mention the people that will tell you you suck or the family that question your career choice.  If you want it though…GO out and get it!!


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