Comedy is a business that is one of the most difficult to navigate and for stand-ups it’s even harder.
Sure, you can be funny and that’s a great starting point, but it doesn’t mean anything without the drive and determination to succeed and do whatever is necessary to get to that next level.
Something that I consistently see on the scene is the element of self-sabotage. We may not realize it, but a lot of the time comics on all levels will limit their own success. This can be for a variety of reasons: self-doubt, lack of passion, ego, etc.
Whatever the source, this industry has a way of testing you to the point where it will eat you up and spit you back out.
Here’s some things I’ve seen comics do that ultimately hurt their growth.
Being a difficult personality.
Difficulty can come from many places. A lot of it has to do with unprofessionalism, which in many cases can be the kiss of death to your career growth.
Sometimes unprofessionalism can be grown out of (no one expects perfection from the start) and you learn as you go, but the painful reality is that some people just never understand what they are doing wrong and it leaves them wondering why they have not achieved greater success.
Sometimes it’s ego driven to act unprofessional, other times it’s from sheer lack of awareness. Whatever it may be, if you are deemed “difficult” know that it will always go south. Unless you are an exceptional talent would it warrant some type of pass, but even as time goes on, people become less magnanimous.
Doing the bare minimum.
You get out of your career what you put in and minimum effort will produce a minimal result.
Think about the comic that does minimal writing, goes to open mics and just talks aimlessly with no punchline. They will likely perform the same way at a bringer show because they didn’t strategize to get better. Each show will ultimately become a road to nowhere.
Especially with things like visibility. A lot of comics wonder why they don’t get booked and it’s highly influenced by how much people see you. Even I have been a culprit of limited visibility in the start of my career. Now that I look back I had no excuse and saying “I’m too tired,” “it’s too far away,” etc. was just that. Excuses.
This is why you see some great talents never make it. They didn’t do enough when it came to creating opportunities for themselves.
Getting consumed by the negativity.
Stand up comedy, whatever your niche, is inherently negative. Comics make fun of what they find outlandish, but we turn our negative thoughts into something that makes others laugh.
From what I know, comics tend to over analyze and overthink everything. Even I do it.
However, this overproduction of thinking can lead us to being consumed by what is around us and it can be easy for a comic to be consumed by the negativity. Social media is no help as it’s easy to jump on something or even become a victim of trash talk.
I personally don’t play into the negativity of the scene because it’s just not worth it and I can find something more valuable to do with my time. The truth is if you let the negativity consume you, it’ll control every aspect of your potential whether you believe it or not.
For the most part, our career as comics is all on us. You put in the work so make sure you do it right. Don’t be your own roadblock to a potentially fulfilling career.
Got questions or something to add? Comment below and tell us your thoughts!