I have been performing comedy for eleven years now, and during my time, I have changed a ton as a comedian. One way that I have changed, is that I have strived more to get noticed. When I first started and the years afterward, I was really into just hiding behind the shadows and just performing in hopes of getting work. I think that happened because I was so unsure of my comedy. It took me awhile, but I figured out that I needed to put myself out there if what I wanted to do is get paid to perform stand up comedy. No one just comes up to you with a fist full of money and begs you to perform.
Another thing that took a while to get was that it doesn’t really matter what the audience likes (to a certain extent) it is what the people paying like. I learned this from doing competitions and the bar owner not liking that you made fun of the old TVs on the walls. I learned that from performing at clubs and a booker not booking a person again because they wore a t-shirt. It’s not how funny you are in this business, but who you know. Do you know a traveling comedian? That may be better than that dick joke that smashes.
I learned to write reality better. What I mean by that is when I first started, I wrote a lot of absurd stuff. I like the ridiculous. As I got older and I wrote more, I learned to pull from my everyday and turn that into something that can make people laugh. That adds to the relatable nature of the jokes. This does not mean I have strayed away from that type of joke writing, I have just learned when and where I can pull stuff like that out.
I think what was most important for me is just valuing myself. After college, I told myself that I was going to get paid what most comics at my level would get paid. Jay Wendell Walker told me, “Don’t be afraid to say no!” I stopped taking every show and hoping I could make the money work. All it did was stressed me out and I didn’t have fun. Now, I plan better and I don’t accept everything. Sure, there are times when I want to go somewhere because it is cool, or I am trying to get in with a booker, but I learned about taking what I thought I was worth and trying to get just that. That has decreased my stress level and I enjoy myself when I am out doing shows.
I didn’t get into other things that I thought changed with me in the past years. I have gained more confidence. I have branched out more in my act, and I have tried to do things other than comedy to fulfill that part of me that wants to create. I hope it doesn’t take you as long as it did me to learn these things. Thanks for reading.