As you get further into comedy, one thing seems to be a perpetual theme: haters.
You could be getting passed at a club, writing a sketch, or producing a show and no matter what you do or how hard you try, there will always be someone who doesn’t like you or has something negative to say.
This is not a new concept and something you just have to deal with as a comic. One of the most prominent examples of haters is the career of Joan Rivers. Throughout her career, she always had someone putting an obstacle in her way or telling her what she was doing was wrong.
The most extreme depiction of someone being a naysayer for Joan is her infamous ban on The Tonight Show which ultimately ended with the arrival of Jimmy Fallon.
It’s just a harsh reality we have to face and intensifies with the more recognition and success you acquire. It doesn’t matter how nice, professional, or talented you are, haters will always be around the corner.
Here are my thoughts.
The more drive you exhibit, the more people will talk crap.
Having drive and determination is a double edged sword. On one hand, you need these qualities to support your passion for this industry; on the other, the more people see you making strides and being aggressive for your goals, the more they will look at you differently. This could happen with people you are close to or people you have never met.
Hell, even in my experience with comedy, I’ve had people have something negative to say; the one that seems to be consistent is from a close family member, but I’ve also had comics who don’t even know me have something negative to say.
It also seemed to intensify when I started co-producing for Comedians on the Loose and took another jump when I started writing for this blog. It just comes with the territory. People see you are making strides to get noticed so chatter is inevitable.
It’s easy to have something to say from behind a keyboard on social media, but not once has anyone who made a jab addressed their negativity in person. They just request spots for the Gotham show (insert eye roll).
It’s not really about you.
The golden rule for naysayers is if someone is talking crap, it’s not really about you. It all comes down to their insecurity and what they are lacking.
Insecurity is an ugly thing. Sure, for comedy’s sake it’s fun to see a person discuss insecurities on stage, but beyond the stage, it has potential to destroy anyone’s path.
Think about the internet troll who comments on people’s bodies and then you find out they are morbidly obese and don’t leave their home. Okay, that’s a bit extreme, but has parallels for haters in comedy.
It’s called the bystander effect. You’re doing something that they’re likely not doing and when they see you gaining recognition (no matter how big or small) it reminds them of their own dreams are not yet attained or they have let them wither away.
Very sad, but true.
The haters do not matter.
Your haters don’t matter and should only be used as fuel to do better. Not everyone is going to love what you’re doing, but if you're able to use the negative as polarity, then it will still keep them talking. It’s better to be talked about than not noticed.
I have my own personal philosophy when it comes to negativity and haters:
“I’m a busy person and worrying what others think doesn’t have room on my calendar.”
At least with my experience, the haters have always been people who don’t have any impact or real influence on the scene or industry. They’re just space fillers.
If someone is taking the time to consistently throw shade and be negative, then they obviously have too much time on their hands and could be using that energy for more valuable and productive things. Haters never go away with the successes you attain; you just learn to deal with them.
Moral of this article: focus on what you’re doing. Letting negativity consume you is just wasted energy and you have more power in your brand being both popular AND unpopular versus just everyone seemingly being on board because it creates a false sense of security.
Got questions or something to add? Comment below and tell us your thoughts!