People are always trying to find out what the difference is between them and their favorite comedians. I hear it a lot when talking to comedians and they wonder why they have been doing it for five years and still hosting, but some guy they saw on TV has been doing it just as long and…well, they are on TV. I have written before about the ways these guys are different. Today I am going to write about one way that stops many people, including me at times, and that is “no”.
See, what separates us from most of the comedians, actors, and singers you see is that they don’t take no as a final answer. No is more of a stop gap than anything. If you are a comedian reading this, think of the times you have been told no (in one way or another). The local booker doesn’t reply to your emails. Clubs don’t want you for anything other than hosting. Your family thinks its a phase. Instead of just letting that get to them and keep them from progressing, these people are pushing. Why? Because they know that no isn’t the end all be all! That is just one person, controlling a small bubble of the comedy landscape. So instead of letting it eat them alive, they push on past that person and go to another, and another, and another, until they get to the next step in their career.
It is not easy to do this. If it was, I wouldn’t be at an open mic right now writing this. When I first started trying to branch out, hearing no from someone would obliterate my self-esteem. Now, it is just part of the process. This is the way this industry runs. Is it fair? No, but the way I see it is like this: Everyone is trying to either maintain or make more money and gain prestige. If they just allowed anyone in that could hurt that without making absolutely sure they could at least keep the status quo, then that means loosing a room, or a valuable client.
Ok. So you’ve read all that and you think that you are one yes from being Tom Segura. Wait. Not letting “no” stop you is just one part of a whole. You still have to write you ass off and get on stages and maintain relationships with people. Every comedian out there has another comedian or booker or someone believe in them and help them and you need that as well, just don’t let disappointments get you down.