By Chris Hanley - Originally posted on Medium
Oh boy, I just saw this, sorry…
Who the heck am I to answers stuff like this…
But I will give you my opinion…
(also I am going write my opinion as I listen to Bruce Springsteen so I might think I am doing a better job than doing.)
There are 2 types of people that do comedy, neither is wrong.
GROUP #1 Comedy is a hobby and I love it.
GROUP #2 COMEDY IS MY CAREER.
So I going to give a answers for each group.
Answer to Group #1 Comedy is a hobby and I love it.
Comedy is so much fun. Doing improv with people is a such fun and silly thing. It lets you meet so many like-minded people. When we first start, we are so in love with this “other thing” from work and life that lets us let loose.
Then we find ourselves a year in, just doing shows to do them and not respecting them. Also at this point, people are graduation classes and not getting things like on teams. You find self-forgetting the fun and lost in spinning wheel of “making it” … to what though? … is this still fun? right?
So at this point its important to go
“how can I make this fun again?”
It definitely helps. Making each show more important is great.
Also You can still hang out with your friends by just going to shows and supporting them. I know a lot of people in the scene who still hang out but don’t perform and they are great.
Hot tip. Take your close Comedy friends and bring them outside of comedy and do none comedy with them… Get a coffee and dish… get a pizza, thin or deep dish. This will take the pressure off going to shows to just hang out with people
Remember This isn’t your identity this is your hobby… it's fun but you have to make sure you are good frist.
find a good therapist
You will still be funny, silly, weird and nice even if you arnt a person on stage.
As 31 year old man I have gone threw 1000’s of Identities… its ok to change, especially when this change is positive.
There are amazing people everywhere don’t be afraid to join a hiking meetup or other fun stuff… Their are people who friend group is just people who go to the dog beach and drink beers together. Do these people even own dogs?
GROUP #2 COMEDY IS MY CAREER
ok here we go.
(Also side note Atlantic city just kicked it in so brace yourself)
When I was 7 years old, I watched a 60 minutes or something that had behind the scenes of the Simpsons and I found out that all the jokes came from something called a writer.
AND FROM THAT POINT ON I KNEW WHAT I WANTED TO DO….
WRITE FOR THE SIMPSONS… well the Simpsons in 1994
24 years a later I still far from that goal, but its still my goal…well maybe my goal now is to write for my own Simpsons type thing.
I been doing comedy for 8 years now… Well did my frist open mike 10 years ago, but took my first class at second city class 8 years ago…
I quit twice…
BEING COMEDIAN ISN’T A IDENTITY ITS A CAREER…
If you described ER as show about doctors, you would be describing each characters Career but not their Identity… George Clooney character Identity wasn’t a doctor, no that was his Career. His identity was Confident and stubborn and handsome and funny… and i forgot, it's been 20 years…
But do you know what I am saying…
Comedy is my job… I don’t get paid… but it's my job… even more than that it's my Career.
Noah Wyle character from ER started as this young med student learning his practices but threw show his Identity changed and at the end he was like head doctor ( i think… I stopped watching after Anthony Edwards died… spoiler)BUT at the end of the show Noah Wyle Character was still a doctor.
His Identity changed but not his Career.
What… why are talking about ER and not talking comedy…. and your not even talking about Julianna Margulies…
She was amazing… But my point this
If this what you want to do “DO”… then at this point ……
DON'T QUIT!! CHANGE & GROW !!!
Ok but I am so tired, stuck and like worst of all board.
If you been doing improv for a year or two and have not wrote a thing… a sketch, a Play, or A solo Character…. WRITE…. DAMN IT
Writing is fucking scary, and unlike improv your 100% responsible for if its funny.
Writing stuff is amazing… Nothing beats the feeling of a joke landing that was written 2 weeks before it was performed… that joke just sat there in joke jail…. being a good joke… waiting to be let out… and then it is and it KILLS…
Do solo stuff… Come up some thing you wanna see… about stuff you like and like make something fun…
Also my dudes… You're An improviser… Just can come up with fun outlines, good beets or a strong idea and wing it…Maybe it stinks or maybe it will go somewhere, then do it again.
THE TRUTH IS GUYS Is …
I WANT TO BE COMEDY WRITER AND I AM DYSLEXIC… 80% Everything I write I have to rewrite because my grammar and spelling is so bad… 40% Words I have to google… because even spell check is lost by my brain… MY POINT IS I HAVE TO WORK TWICE AS HARD AS YOU TO WRITE A BULLSHIT SKETCH ABOUT A GHOST FALLING IN LOVE >>> BUT I STILL DO IT !!!! SO NO EXCUSES
If your a stand up or mainly a writer person
ok please understand, I did stand up for a little bit and know you all hate improv… Improv people are so lazy, rich, and people who just want to hang out on stage…
BUT ALSO …
THEY CAN MAKE NEW MATERIAL SO FREAKING FAST
AND UNDERSTAND THEIR VOICE
But improv is so weird and cult…
Good then don’t drink the punch , go to the weird and fun cult party learn how to “yes and” Then Get out of Dodge before some odd guy name Del starts pouring sugar water with special ingredients.
Ask your improv friends what places they like… take ONE class… sure it cost to much… but its an investment in you…
Failure or our case “bombing on stage” is not the opposite of being funny. If being Funny is a cute boy, Then Bombing its little brother that wears overalls… If you hang enough with the little brother you will get close to the cute boy, I promises…. Then you and the cute boy will go on a bunch of great dates… sure the little brother will show up at times, but his older brother just gives him some tokens and he will wander off to the arcade…
The opposite of “BEING FUNNY” is meanness.
DON'T BE MEAN
If you go on stage and say Racist, sexist, homophobic or Hate filled shit… your not funny…Stop
Don’t be mean to yourself… If all your jokes are about how you suck,and are depressed … STOP
find a good therapist
— — Also posting facebook is not therapy… and your friends aren’t either…. It's its own thing, that is a lot of work… but working on yourself is always worth it..
WHAT IS MY IDENTITY THEN?
Your identity is you, how you treat people, what you do for fun, where you came from, the things you believe in, the Bullshit you have to deal with, the struggles you dealt with, and the kind people you let in and keep out… Ha and the kinds of jokes you tell
Comedy is your job, so take vacations, get hobbies and try having fulling life outside of it… then go to work
I Promise you…
If you are FUNNY, NICE, KEEP TAKING CHANCES / GROWING and KEEP SHOWING UP
COOL STUFF HAPPENS
I say all this as a guy who is really just starting out, but this what I want to do with my life and some thing I do 5 to 6 times a week… it takes people 12 years to be a doctor… so I got time.