Surviving Comedy: Lose All Expectations
Comedy is a dog-eat-dog world.
To the regular person, comedy looks like a fun time because the regular person gets to be the one that laughs for ninety minutes and ultimately feel better about themselves and leave. However, for the comedians, it is a different story and many of us can attest this world is dark and depressing and everyone is out for themselves.
We’re all just trying to survive this scene to hopefully get ahead and actually be something.
There’s going to be A LOT of heartbreak along the way and this heartbreak will shape and mold you as you go. Hell, it may even make you quit comedy altogether (let’s hope you don’t).
The only way to truly conquer this scene and break into the industry is to lose your expectations.
Here’s what I have learned.
Expectations set you up for disappointment.
It’s common to have aspirations in your path to success.
Don’t get me wrong, you should have aspirations, but those aspirations shouldn’t be something you that becomes a hard and fast expectation. Some people grind for years and only remain comics on the scene versus actually becoming industry comics.
You could be the most skilled writer on the comedy scene, but that doesn’t mean anyone will take notice. You could be the nicest person, but don’t expect everyone to like you. The list goes on...
Whether it’s an actual goal or something as simple as wanting support from those close to you, expectations only increase your chance for disappointment.
For example, I know a comic who is a talented performer on the scene and actually has some industry credits, but one thing he keeps chasing and never reaches every year since I have met him is the late night television credit. The disappointment consumes him and even though he’s getting more recognition than most comics, he cannot get past not having this one thing.
Success doesn’t mean the same thing for every comedian. Some are successful working clubs and other mediums while never even gracing a late night show. You have to be able to let go and have things happen naturally versus always chasing something and never appreciating what you have.
You aren’t owed anything in this industry.
The way I see it, being a working comic is a privilege, not a right.
Sure, not the most favorable viewpoint, but it’s true.
Think about it. Just because you’ve worked so hard on your craft and grinded for years doesn’t mean it’s others jobs to care and give you opportunities to move forward. Comedy isn’t about handouts and it’s not some Hallmark movie where a comedian works so hard that everyone is on board at the end.
That’s just not a realistic mindset for this industry that is emotionless and always moving on to the next thing.
Expectations make us lazy.
At the most extreme level, expectations play into our ego which triggers entitlement.
I’ve seen it happen where someone is creating these expectations that they ultimately think they are entitled to after a certain period of time.
When these expectations become entitlement, we don’t work as hard as we should be to actually get that opportunity. We may believe we’re doing everything possible, but chances are the ego has taken over and you’re just coasting.
Waiting around for someone to see your greatness is the definition of a lazy comedian. This is why so many skilled comedians don’t rise above the rest.
Once this laziness sets in, chances are the real opportunities probably passed you by long before you realized.
Do you have experience with the trap of expectations? What was your experience? Comment below and tell us your thoughts!