Over the past year, I have really begun to ascertain the meaning of one word: competition.
Competition is the act of competing and is synonymous with “rivalry.” In many ways it can be healthy because it drives us to grow in some way.
Every industry has competition and entertainment is no stranger to this feeling. Actors have to compete for roles, singers have to outperform others, comics have to be appealing for spots on stage, and so forth.
It’s so easy to say that competition in the industry in relevant to those around us, but is it really?
While I believe there is some level of competition for comics alike, it got me thinking a little more deeply about the subject. Then I realized the bigger picture. For comics, WE ARE OUR OWN BIGGEST COMPETITION.
Your overall comedy brand will ALWAYS be different from “similar” comics
I have engaged in many conversations with comics this year that revolve around who we should “watch out for” and who we would be competing against if it ever came down to such a battle.
Surprisingly, I didn’t have much to contribute to these conversations as far as my own comedy “opponent”. Shocking because I usually always have something to say.
It can sound arrogant to believe that I have no outside competition, but in a way it’s true in relation to what I was hearing. Most of the comics based competition on superficial qualities such as race and gender. Sexuality even came up as one of the “defining” factors. That’s it.
In a world where the entertainment is continually evolving to be more inclusive, it seems a little backwards to just be thinking about superficial aspects.
If we are going to think so superficially my comedy archetype would be the “gay Latin male.” In that respect, I would have a decent amount of competition, especially if I moved to Los Angeles. However, in the current scene I have never been able to find any other “gay Latin male” comics that I identify with to say they’re my definite competition because I have my own comedy style, energy, opinions, and life experiences.
Even as a producer, casting shows never comes down to political correctness. It’s based on overall talent and energy of the comic. I’d never be opposed to casting “similar” comics on the same show because at the end of the day they will always bring something different to the table.
The beauty of comedy is it’s different from other professions like acting or modeling where superficial qualities do have an influence on you getting the job.
YOU have to keep up on your craft
This is a pretty obvious statement, but your craft is really all on you.
You write your own jokes and take the steps to get better. No one else can do that for you.
The audience can decipher on stage which comics really take their craft seriously with writing and getting stage time to ensure what they present is quality material versus someone up there who is just “fartin’ around” as my father would put it. You definitely don’t want to be the latter.
It’s up to YOU to get yourself out there
Whatever you are doing to get yourself seen depends solely on you. As a comic you have to think of yourself as a business person. That’s where the real competition lies: who is doing the most for themselves to get out there and be seen?
Visibility is the “x-factor” for comics. Plain and simple.
Don’t mistake visibility with just going up for stage time. That’s only part of the equation. Are you networking with other comics before or after open mics and shows? Are you making an effort to meet club managers? Are you putting in the effort to produce your own projects? Are you getting involved in others’ projects?
People will take notice when they see you going beyond the stage and it will eventually lead to opportunities that come your way.
Moral of this article? You do you.
Don’t waste time worrying about what others do because it will only lead to you standing in your own way of being a successful comic.
Got questions or something to add? Comment below and tell us your thoughts!