Some of us can’t just leave our jobs and take their talents on the road. I have seen Jobs suck the life out of comedians that really want to pursue comedy, but because of the nature of the beast can’t do it the way they want.
Here is the first thing: Priorities! If you have four kids (or any kids really), then you may want to ensure that they are taken care of before dropping your job, and taking gigs 50 bucks at a time. This is a big shock to a lot of starting comics, because they assume that if you have talent, you will just naturally get work. That is nowhere near the truth. You may be the funniest person on the earth, but if you can’t keep the gigs coming, then it matters not. I suggest you let comedy guide you out of your job. Keep your job until you have so many gigs in a given month (and I mean good paying ones. Don’t quit your job for open mics!), that you have no choice but to leave it.
When I got out of the military, I had about 3k saved and 3 months of gigs lined up. At the end of those 3 months, I had 700 bucks and no work. Why? Because I thought that I would naturally walk into other work. That was my big mistake, that cost me my beautiful PT Cruiser (don’t you DARE laugh!!), and my apartment. That taught me to not just assume that things will fall into place like a normal job. You are a contractor (you specialize in installing funny), and like a lot of contractors, you have to go out there and grab your work.
Most of the comics I know, stay on the phone! They are always sending out emails and getting anything that comes their way. That has a lot to do with hustle, but it also has to do with taking it seriously as a job. If you are not ready to stay on people’s radar, then you may need to keep your day job longer. I send out about 4 emails a week to bookers and promoters. Why so little? Well that is 98% of the bookers and promoters I have addresses for. Which leads to my next point: Don’t be afraid to ask other comedians for any leads. I was terrified to ask other comics for booker’s info. Soon, they just started letting me know that they would have no problem giving me an email address. It doesn’t hurt anyone…if anything it hurts the booker’s spam folder.
In my 10 years, I have heard people say not to email bookers all the time, and I have heard the opposite. What I do is I send one every week. You have to think about it like this: These guys get emails from all over the country. They are not looking at all of those emails, especially from a no name address! That doesn’t mean to open an email account like ChrisRock@yahoo.com, but you have to understand that they get tons of emails from people just like you so you have to keep at it. Maybe they have a fall out, or they just want to get you off their back, but if they see you have emailed them all the time they may let you on and that is your chance!
The biggest thing to remember is that you may love comedy, but as soon as you have decided to take it on as a career, you have to take it seriously. That means all the other stuff like writing and promotional stuff needs to be professional. That means taking gigs in a high school gym at 4 in the afternoon. That means performing at a bingo parlor in front of 50, 70 year olds. That also means approaching both with the same amount of professionalism that you would if you were about to walk out on a stage in a theater.
And I know the picture is of Job…from the bible…but he suffers just like comics starting to turn comedy into a career…ok I searched for job and I got this picture and thought it was funny. LET ME HAVE A LITTLE FUN!