When I started this blog, the goal was simple: Give people that are just starting out a guide so that they can be as successful as possible. I can not tell you how to get on Conan or pitch a TV show because I have never done that. I have spent over a decade in shady bars all over the country and I have dealt with the ups and downs of climbing the comedy ladder. When I was starting out, there wasn’t anything online to help you. You just walked on stage and made mistakes until you learned it. This may seem like a good method, but what it does is make it extremely hard for some to even attempt comedy. Not all of us can just collect ourselves and get up on stage. Some need that confidence that something like this blog can provide.
I will never charge people to access what I have written. I like to make money, but I want these tips available to those that are actually trying to find something to help them get to that next step. One thing that has to be remembered though when reading this is that these are my observations and experiences. Yours may differ. With any amount of advice, you can take all, some, or none. It wasn’t until I was doing it for a while that I had people that actually steered me in a direction that helped me get better and get more work. Not everyone will have access to important mentors like this, so hopefully this will help at least a little.
Comedy has to be entered into with a passion and a persistence that is not like many things in this world. Comedy is a long, painful, embarrassing, journey that many will just simply give up. For those of us that continue to grind and persist, and struggle, it may seem at times to not even be worth it. That is where the passion comes in. There are plenty of funny people out there, but there are not that many that can get on stage and articulate that humor to the masses. It is also a business and if there is one thing I have learned its that many human don’t like to take chances when it comes to their money. It is hard to get up on stage night after night to sculpt a joke that will work most of the time, but it is even harder to then go to someone and tell them to give you money for those well-crafted jokes. A lot of people just can’t do it. I have had to get part time jobs in between dry spells. I have had to pawn almost everything in my house at one point to keep this alive. The thing is, some people don’t want to go through that. Does that mean they were not passionate about comedy? No. It means that comedy is a great way to see how far you are willing to go for something. Before comedy rewards you, it will ask: What are you willing to give up? Some give up their friends. Some give up their marriages. Some give up great jobs. It will ask how hard are you willing to work. Will you go to every mic in your town? Will you spend three hours in a bar for three minutes on stage? Will you drive across the state for dinner and gas money? It will ask for more and more, and when you have given all you have to it, it may give you what you sought out. You may be a working comedian, or a get commercial work, or appear in shows and movies, or you won’t. Comedy will ask so much from you and still there is the chance that you will end up at the end of the road empty handed and broke. Most passions are cruel that way. Not every painter gets to live on just the sale of their paintings and not every singer gets paid for their songs, but we all pursued the thing that makes us feel alive and whole. These things that we pursue are what gives this human experience meaning. It makes a life worth living.
I knew when I was getting out of the military and pursuing comedy, that it may end up with me at the end broken and alone. The thing is, I had nothing else to lose. I was getting medically discharged from something that I was planning on making my career. I was already spat out of something, and had no fear. Would I have gone after comedy the way I had if under better circumstances? I don’t think so. I think I was looking for something to make me feel as though I wasn’t as broken as they told me I was. I wanted to care about more than a paycheck.
I would not call myself a successful comedian, but I can call myself a working comedian. It takes work and luck to make comedy something more than just pocket money, and I hope this blog does that at least a little bit. I hope that even though I am not a successful comedian, you will look at what I have been through and help it guide you so you can achieve what it is you are looking for in comedy. Comedy is hard, and that is why you need as much help as you can get along the way.