A career as a comedian is something we all desire.
Few of us end up getting there, some only stay on the scene level, and many others disappear from comedy altogether.
I recently started a 60-mics challenge (I will cover that later in the year) and only just two weeks into the challenge, something clicked in me: accountability.
Accountability is a huge part of building your own career as a stand-up: you have to write your jokes, you have to perform the jokes, and you ultimately have to sell yourself to clubs, audiences, and so forth.
While accountability is something that every comic should practice, it often falls by the wayside for many young and even some seasoned comics. Even I have been guilty of that on some level by grinding at a level that I only felt comfortable with.
We often make excuses for ourselves to slack on our craft, but to be great you have to go full force.
Here are my thoughts.
You only hold yourself back with excuses.
It’s natural for us as human beings to make excuses and in today’s world, it’s even easier. We’re overloaded, burned out, etc.
Some of the common excuses I hear (and have been guilty of) are:
Whatever the “reason,” we often don’t realize that these roadblocks are often just our own perception.
I was a big culprit of making excuses about two years ago, especially when it came to finding stage time and honing my craft. I’d often use the “I don’t have time” line. This past year has been different in terms of my own personal grind, but I see so many using this type of excuse or something similar.
Here’s the thing...if you say something like you “don’t have time” or “you’re too tired” then your chances of a career become lessened...and you’re only doing it to yourself.
No one is holding a gun to your head telling you to be a comedian. You have to light that fire underneath yourself and it takes that extra inner push to really get somewhere.
Making excuses gives someone else the chance to shine.
As comedians, you do have to have a somewhat competitive mindset to sell yourself so that audiences, bookers, agents, etc. will keep you in their mind over another talent.
There’s really only a certain number of spots on a given show and you have to make people keep you in their mind to give you that edge.
If you don’t, then you give someone else a chance to be the star when you could have potentially been in the spotlight.
Think about it, making an excuse to not do something whether it’s doing a show out in another borough, doing an open mic after work, networking, or just writing only slows you down in building YOUR stand-up. Someone else with even just a little bit more drive and determination will likely step ahead of you because they kept that goal of moving forward in the forefront.
It’s okay to be selfish.
Yes, that sounds a bit narcissistic, but you HAVE to be selfish to push your career; it’s a balancing act and learning to accept that you have to do everything you can to get your craft up to par and ultimately be seen.
Accepting this selfish attitude was difficult for me for quite some time when it came to my craft, especially when you have family, friends, or a job that doesn’t quite understand what you do. They may be supportive, but they ultimately will never get it because it’s not their craft to hone.
For example, my social life has really become intertwined with comedy. I have made friends in comedy that understand because they’re chasing that same dream, but when I had friends that weren’t in comedy, there would often be clashes. I’d feel guilty when they wanted to hang out, but I had to go to open mics instead to prepare material for a show. Looking back and seeing things now, there’s nothing wrong with doing what you have to do to ensure you’re all set. If you have to sacrifice certain things, then so be it.
At the end of the day, your career is about YOU, and you have to stop being your own roadblock. No one thinks about the people they don’t see or are exerting minimal effort. They remember the ones that show they really want this life and will do whatever it takes to get there.
Got questions or something to add? Comment below and tell us your thoughts!