Powering Through In Comedy
Summer 2018 (and 2018 in general) has been a really trying time for myself and many. The year thus far has sucked to put it kindly.
From emotional stresses to humbling career moments in comedy, the theme of unnecessary stress seems to be a constant.
I was recently on a show that was difficult to say the least. Summer rarely ever is a a high time for comedy, but this show in particular was just difficult from start to finish and each comic could feel it. The audience was a bit cold and it felt like an uphill climb for most of the show’s duration.
While this experience was not desirable, it opened my eyes to something: the concept of powering through.
Here’s what I learned.
Comics that power through are the ones who will go far.
A less than favorable crowd is going to happen. It’s just a matter of time where your jokes that got so much attention in one room are going to fall flat in another, but it’s your job to at least try and turn it around and get them on your side.
Throughout this entire show, I personally maintained the mindset of “working with what you are given” and just charging ahead. It really was a lesson in powering through and that show in itself was a summation of of what comedy at it’s finest represents. No one gave up on this show and it really was telling how each comic worked with the circumstances in that situation.
A former instructor of mine told us once that “you learn more in the rough nights of comedy as opposed to just always having easy nights.” Whether it’s your material or the room, a negative experience will always be something you grow from (however traumatic it may be), and those who persevere and refuse to give up will become all the better. It’s a necessary lesson to have it rough at certain points because it not only humbles you, but also makes you more prepared for the next experience.
You can’t control everything.
It can be very easy to want to control everything, even I have been guilty of it. But learning to let go and just let things be at certain times is a huge part of powering through. It’s about accepting the situation and just going with it because everything going perfectly is often a misleading occurrence.
You can’t always predict an audience, how a work day will go, or even your own standup (writing, opportunities, etc.); trying to control the unpredictable nature of comedy will always be a losing battle. This doesn’t mean that you give up, it just means you keep your head down and power through whatever situation comedy throws at you.
No one can control every element of their environment and no one respects a quitter. If you quit or defeat yourself, then every naysayer you’ve encountered will be right. You owe it to yourself to power through whatever this industry sends your way whether it’s overwhelm, unpredictability, etc.
Those that take on the mindset of powering through will be the ones that succeed.
Got questions or something to add? Comment below and tell us your thoughts!