There is no end when it comes to comedy. The road narrows more and more. You are either chasing the next great joke or chasing the next big payday. Every conversation I have had with a comedian that I see in an enviable position is looking to get out of it. They are always looking for that position that will bring them either more fame or more money. It is hard to explain these things to those that just have to show up and work to get that steady paycheck. Comedy is full of ups and downs, and every comedian is trying to achieve less downs and more ups.
No level of stand-up comic is immune to the grind. If you are first starting out, you are looking for more stage time and jokes that work more often then not. When you get a suitable amount of time, now you are looking for places that will pay you something, anything. Once you get a couple bucks here and there for performing, you want to see if you can make it more of a full time endeavor. You contact your comedians friends you’ve met along the way and try to set up enough shows to pay the rent. You drive countless hours for little pay in hopes that these are the dues that are paid, and you will, by the end of this, be paid handsomely. You perform in dimly lit bars and wine cellars and comedy clubs where the only requirement was that you had reliable transportation. You sleep on floors and live out of a suitcase that is precisely 25 lbs. You send hundreds of emails and receive two replies both saying they don’t have any use for you. When you to start performing in more clubs, the only thing you want is to be the headliner so you can afford dental. Then you start headlining and now you look to be a “special event”. Maybe you want to be in movies, TV, have a successful podcast. The grind never stops.
You wonder why that narrow road has so few people traveling it? Because the grind can cause people to lose hope. The grind of constantly swimming upstream can cause some of us to drown. I don’t see it as a weakness, but a resolve that the heartache of the extracurricular of comedy outweighs the comedy itself. Not everyone can take rejection email after rejected festival invite. Just maintaining a career is a grind. I don’t want to seem as though I am complaining, most of life is a grind, I just wanted to illustrate why even though you think you are going to be great when you achieve that goal, there is always another one just a little further down the road.