While the idea of performing stand up definitely intrigues me, my ultimate goal is to be a comedic screenwriter. I write all the time, but writing and getting my writing out there are two very different things. I have been thinking that maybe by trying to do some stand up, I can get my name out there a little bit (amongst other comedians) and network with other like minded people. But I know that stand up is obviously tough enough in its own right, and I don't know if getting into it just to try to later get into screenwriting is a pointless idea. Do you have any thoughts on this matter?
I def think standup is a smart move, even if you ultimately just want to be a writer.
One time I was talking with a big shot writer/producer who also does standup. I asked him where standup fits in. He pointed at the stage and said "That's the hardest thing to do. If you can do standup, you can do anything."
I think it's a solid point. There's nothing tougher than getting up on stage and facing that judgement of a roomful of people while trying to elicit a primal response from them. It's so unforgiving. But that's why it'll also tighten up everything else you do. It'll raise your bullshit radar. It's no coincidence that people like Tina Fey, Judd Apatow, Larry David, Woody Allen, Dave Chappelle, etc. were all stage performers first before they began writing for the screen.
It's easy to sit at home and write stuff and think it's brilliant. When you get up in front of a crowd, you quickly realize most of your brilliant stuff is actually crap. And you get to figure that out quickly, in small chunks. With screenwriting, you have to put in a huge investment of time before you ever get any feedback at all. I'd say put your ideas to the test right away in a real-life setting and see how they fly. If anything it'll make you a more ruthless editor — the world could certainly use more of those.